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How high could sled registration go?

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At our recent monthly OVSC meeting our club president broached the subject of a possible substantial increase in sled registrations fees along with major changes to the winter and summer grant programs.

While it was stressed that the ideas in a recent report released to the NHSA are not carved in stone, there seems to be a belief (by some) in Tilton that major changes are needed to the structure of the sport in order for it to survive with the ever decreasing number of folks registering in our State.

The numbers thrown about for sled registration were somewhere well north of $100 per sled, even after the club discount.

I haven't seen the report to offer a constructive opinion of it. However, I do know that if faced with a sled registration of well over $100, I would probably abandon NH all together and sled in Maine. Living near the Maine border both at home and at camp, it is a luxury I can afford.

Have any of you here seen/read the report? Can you offer more details, especially in regards to actual suggested (new) sled registration amounts?

And what about the suggested  changes to grant in aid, especially in regards to the purchasing and maintenance of grooming equipment?

I think this is a topic worthy of discussion, given the short and long term ramifications it will have on the clubs and riders across the State.....

 

 

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It will cost more to register my sleds than it does my car. That is just crazy.....As it is I wait till there is snow before I register and I am sure this would compound that as well as causing a substantial amount off people to abandon registering in NH all together.  Seriously what are they thinking...gee registrations numbers are going down How can we fix this..hey I know lets double the registration fees that will fix everything...Ugh...I think you will lose a lot of the casual riders like myself. Who only gets to ride a handful of times every winter. 

Edited by snorander

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Resident/Non resident $150/160 and $120/130 with club membership discount.

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16 minutes ago, snorander said:

.I think you will lose a lot of the casual riders like myself. Who only gets to ride a handful of times every winter. 

I both agree with you, and sympathize with you.

But, NH has been committed to a statewide trail system with a goal of providing good trails in all counties, and for all clubs, during the entire sled season.  The weather hasn't been cooperative, and neither have the population demographics and lifestyle choices. If the registration numbers go down, then we have to either change the way the trails are supported or find additional revenue.In a similar vein, F&G is looking for new revenue from any source, and is now asking the Federal government to pay for rescue work in the White Mountains federal lands. I believe that F&G might get a slice of any sled registration fee increases. The "club discount" plan favors riders who register multiple sleds, and these folks would not be a typical casual rider, especially not a rider who uses only local trails in the southern half of the state that are most impacted by low-snow winters. When local riders look out the window and see bare ground they don't register, but the system still demands money to remain operational. Would it be possible that at some point a club would have to have some minimum number of paid members to qualify for GIA?

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Attached is a link that will bring you to a twenty minute report presentation. I would encourage all to watch, listen and then express their ideas and/or concerns with their club president and county director:

 

NHSA Report Presentatiom

 

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This is going to become a hot topic very quickly as we get into the riding season. Being on that committee I totally agree that we need to do something to help better fund our trail system but I don't agree with the amount of the increase. All clubs in Rockingham county are against this increase but also agree that something needs change. We'd like to see the fines (off trail, unregistered, loud exhaust) up'd to $248 each and the rental sleds registration increased first. We feel that we should go after the low hanging fruit first then look at what the shortage is and adjust accordingly. Plus this years voucher issue at dealers will cause more people to register as non club members, giving more $ to GIA.

This issue plus the whole NHSA voucher # requirement for registering this year will most certainly have a major impact on smaller clubs and I'm sure we will have more clubs drop out all together. In my personal opinion between the price of new sleds, trailering to the riding areas and the registrations this sport may be on the verge of pricing itself right out of existance. I really hope not as I've put a lot of time into trying to keep this sport around for my kids and future generations.

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Is $120-$130 really to much to register? Has anyone been skiing in the last few years at $80-$90 per lift ticket for one day. The cost of maintaining our trails has gone up substantially in past 10 or so years. a new groomer is now up over $230,000.00 for just the groomer not the drag. I understand that not everyone runs new sleds and some people may only get out a few times a year, but lets face it this is a very expensive sport. Something needs to be done with the current Grant in Aide system we have there is just not enough money to go around to fund all the projects and groomers in the state. I am not sure this is the answer but it will at lease get people talking and maybe come up with other ideas.

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As we continue to loose trails every year, and rate increases in registration, I will not register in NH in the future. I'll trailer to Maine.

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Historically Maine is right behind NH in registration increases within a year or two.

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5 minutes ago, Rock On said:

Historically Maine is right behind NH in registration increases within a year or two.

Yep-  You can always count on rate increases.  I don't mind paying a little more as long as they have the trails to ride, unlike NH that I think is really trying their best to end the sport.

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6 hours ago, Rock On said:

Is $120-$130 really to much to register? Has anyone been skiing in the last few years at $80-$90 per lift ticket for one day. The cost of maintaining our trails has gone up substantially in past 10 or so years. a new groomer is now up over $230,000.00 for just the groomer not the drag. I understand that not everyone runs new sleds and some people may only get out a few times a year, but lets face it this is a very expensive sport. Something needs to be done with the current Grant in Aide system we have there is just not enough money to go around to fund all the projects and groomers in the state. I am not sure this is the answer but it will at lease get people talking and maybe come up with other ideas.

Why would you support this registration increase? It is also going to end any state funding of groomer purchase or refurb. Where is that money going to come from? Just upping hourly rate does not guarantee funding to a club.It only comes into play if great snow year and no breakdowns. As the majority of clubs will never qualify for straight unassisted financing it will be a major set back. The only reason clubs get financing is because with Trails Bureau putting up 65 % of the cost it is a no brainer for bank. The note at maximum would be for 35% cost of machine. The state will not standby and see any groomer in program repossessed. If a trade and RTP involved the actually potential loss exposure drops dramatically. Most clubs would have to get a club officer to co-sign to qualify for financing 100% of a machine. A more reasonable increase coupled with a refined GIA equipment program will go further to assisting the clubs to maintain trails.If not between the high registration cost and the ability of clubs to maintain trails with antique equipment the clubs will lose members and the state will lose registrations.

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I never said that I support it, still undecided at this point but something needs to be done differently to fund our sport in NH. I just get sick of people bitching while driving their $65,000.00 truck pulling their $12,000.00 trailer loaded up with $15,000 snowmobiles saying that $150 is to much for a registration!! They said it would take a cycle of 62-65 years to replace every large groomer in the state using our current system. Most of the big clubs want to replace their groomers every 5 or 6 years, the numbers just do not work using the formula we have now. My club has 2 Pisten Bully's one is a 2003 and one is a 2002 they have both been through the refurbishment program once but they are getting old, we do not have the money to replace them even using the current grant in aid program. I agree maybe a small increase and a new GIA program would be better. I think that one thing to do is to make clubs that have purchased a new groomer using GIA should have to have it refurbished  at least once before they can buy another new machine and stretch the useful life of a trail groomer close to twice as long. Just my 2 cents.

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It's tough to make a good decision on the subjects of sled registrations and the distribution of state support dollars because we on the outside don't have access to the data. What's the correlation between a club's membership total and the amount of use on that club's trails?  Do the clubs with high usage get the highest support levels? There's really no way to answer that question because there isn't any traffic count data. Before DOT gets behind a road improvement plan they do a traffic count and look at problem areas, I doubt that BOT uses those criteria. I think we all know that the Pittsburg trail system gets used hard, and that they get a significant amount of support from the state. But there are no hard numbers other than club membership and total miles of trails. If nobody rode the Pittsburg trails would they get the same support?

It comes down to how do you distribute the available support, or do you increase the support so everybody has enough. NHSA seems to have come down on the increased supply side rather than advocating the rationing of the available support. I'd love to know what data NHSA looked at to support that decision. Increasing that supply has its own set of downsides.

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Most likely the answer would be no. Grants are not automatically paid out. Grants are a reimbursement. As FR pointed out, lack of snow means no grooming hours and no grant money accessed. It does roll over in the specific BoT account, but the club can have a very tough financial time because the costs exist regardless of the lack of revenue.

The federal change to the RTP, at what is already a trying time, is putting another element in the mix.

 

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19 hours ago, Rock On said:

They said it would take a cycle of 62-65 years to replace every large groomer in the state using our current system. Most of the big clubs want to replace their groomers every 5 or 6 years, the numbers just do not work using the formula we have now. My club has 2 Pisten Bully's one is a 2003 and one is a 2002

Even with the higher pay rate for grooming it would take my club 25+ years to get enough money to replace our large groomer at current prices. We have an 84 Piston Bully for grooming so if your 2002 or 2003 are looking for new homes I'll let you know where to drop them off. I'd have no issue with Coos county getting new groomers every couple of years if they DONATED their old groomers to southern clubs.

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It cost me $80 to register non resident in Maine last year and I'm 15 miles to Kittery. I know what I'll do.

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19 hours ago, RK-SXViper said:

Even with the higher pay rate for grooming it would take my club 25+ years to get enough money to replace our large groomer at current prices. We have an 84 Piston Bully for grooming so if your 2002 or 2003 are looking for new homes I'll let you know where to drop them off. I'd have no issue with Coos county getting new groomers every couple of years if they DONATED their old groomers to southern clubs.

I agree with that 100% cycle down the groomers to clubs who may not put that many hours on them a season.

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I can get a non resident registration for Maine for $100 for the season, more snow, more trails better conditions less idiots on the trail.

This sport is expensive, and registrations going too high will not increase participation. Sled prices are to prohibitive for new people, and not everyone wants an 800cc turbo charged rocket that seats one person.

So lets take a look roughly at cost:

2 sleds new: $ $8300 per sled:: 

Trailer Hybrid $4600

Gear for two people $500 per person the cheap: $1000

Registration: $66 per sled:  $132

Insurance per sled Cheap $250 : $500

 

total  $22,832

 

Now this is an estimate, yea they could buy used or a non covered trailer That is a lot of money to start.

 

This is why registrations are down, cost is too high.

 

I am going to Maine

 

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2 hours ago, BigGuyNH said:

This is why registrations are down, cost is too high.

 

I am going to Maine

 

So, we have an expense of $22,832 for two sleds, and a registration expense of $132, so the registration makes up about ½% in the first year year and 1½% over a three year period. And you think that the registration fee is the place to look for cost savings? You could buy a used machine and save 20%-30%. As much as I like to complain, the registration and club membership costs are a tiny fraction of the total cost of participating in the sport. If Maine offers you a better snowmobiling experience then registering in Maine makes a lot of sense, but a $50 difference in the registration fee shouldn't be the only criteria. For the people with new machines the registration costs are negligible, for people with old machines who don't travel to the north, the registration costs are more significant. 

The challenge in NH is providing a trail system that meets the needs of the high-end user who most values the experience and the casual riders who worry about the costs. I suspect you could double the registration fees and the Pittsburg crowd would still show up.

BTW: There's no magic here, operating a groomer in Maine is no cheaper than operating that same groomer in NH.  Clearing brush is no cheaper in Maine. Maine has the advantage of having more of their state being like northern NH.

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aI don't disagree with you at all. my point is that the number of registered sleds are declining which is the reason that they are not bringing the funds. They are not replacing people who have stopped sledding with new people that is the issue. one factor is cost of the sport. 

 

hardcore people will always pay and ride, but you need new blood to make the sport grow

 

 I call it the Harley Davidson Syndrome, alot of older riders Not many new families are coming into the sport. 

Edited by BigGuyNH

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9 hours ago, BigGuyNH said:

I call it the Harley Davidson Syndrome, alot of older riders Not many new families are coming into the sport.

You're right. It's happening to sports like golf, motorcycling, and snowmobiling.  Younger people look at these sports and decide they just don't fit their situation. So, don't worry about the long term, just focus on the next 10 years. Anybody who thinks there will be a viable trail system in southern NH in 20 years isn't being realistic.

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When it comes right down to it...ITS POCKET CHANGE.  I know we don't want to hear it...and it seems like a lot of money...and we all can complain about it and everything else...but REALLY.  We talk and compare it to skiing...longer season they make snow.  Atving...longer season (but need to travel usually).  Register in another state...travel, place to stay, etc.  We all see all the issues...right?

Well what about going out to dinner with the family, water parks, theme parks, hobo railroad ride (I do that small section of rail trail on a sled in minutes in the winter and may even see a crazy person) , Clarks trading post, etc...All  good fun but $'s.  Dinner for 4 is $60-$80 easy and if you include a favorite beverage even more and thats for only 1-2 hours of entertainment value?

The trails are much better than they used to be...I do see a value in better trails don't you?  Clubs are doing a good job with what they have AND with less volunteers.

I can see both sides of all the  issues...but when it comes right down to it...PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT WHEN THERE IS SNOW THE TRAILS NEED TO BE GOOD...I will pay for good snow.  There is proof of that in the data of a LOT of late club memberships/registrations in FEB and even MARCH.  I know we preach to the choir here most of the time and some of us are a little extreme but it does make for some good conversation and brings out some issues we all should think about.

So lets bring on a SNOWY season and EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!  Fire up the grill and have a SPIDER DOG!

Just my $.02 but going up to $.05!

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