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Sledding The County: Snow Check Delays

Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 8:57 AM EST
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HOULTON, Maine (WAGM) -

Imagine spending up to 15,000 dollars or more on a new snowmobile, and not even being able to ride it. In this week’s Sledding the County, Brian Bouchard looks at how supply chain disruptions have affected the snowmobile industry.

Earlier in the year, many snowmobile riders looking to buy the latest and greatest sleds, paid for what is known as a “Snow Check”

“A snow check is a term that’s used as more of what they call a pre-order. They have a very short window of opportunity that you can order a snowmobile essentially of your choice to guarantee to have a sled when riding season comes around but unfortunately that wasn’t really the full case this year” - Jonathan Haskell – Sales Manager, Houlton Power Sports

Normally, snow checking also means better prices, better interest rates, extended warranties and/or accessories to try and incentivize riders to buy in early.  The Problem: Supply Chain and Computer Chip Shortages that have plagued many industries across the country.

“A lot of it has to deal with things that are being imported across seas, still sitting in container ships. Lack of transport drivers getting the machines from the factories to us is even also turning into a problem but as the machines show up they’re coming with missing parts and components which delays to the customer even more.” says Haskell.

And once you’ve snow checked a sled, there are no guarantees on when or if it will arrive before the start of snowmobile season. Many manufacturers require a non-refundable deposit, which would be forfeited if the snow check is canceled.

“They have options that they can choose, they can either choose to cancel all together, they can take the money that they put down and basically hold it to roll over to the next following order year, which means they would not have a sled for this season at all, or if we had a unit in-stock on the floor and they’re willing to transfer their preorder to something we have in stock on the floor and they’re willing to transfer their preorder to something we have in stock, which is not going to be exactly what they ordered, but puts them on a machine to ride” says Haskell.

Haskell also said that another option for riders would be to rent a sled until the snow checked sled arrives as many dealers and businesses around the county handle both long and short term rentals.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8

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