Packin’ with punch

September 2023

One of the many winter activities that continues to grow in popularity is snowmobiling.

After a few years of Covid that challenged the supply chains, local snowmobile retailers are reporting that stock levels are finally returning to normal.

Patrick Trevisanutto of Half-Way Motors Powersports says it was a crazy few years. “Covid resulted in a spike in demand for snowmobiles and when factories were shut down and the chip shortage started to become an issue, manufacturers had difficulty fulfilling orders. This season is going to be much better as we play catch up to meet the pent up demand for machines”, said Trevisanutto.

The popularity of snowmobiling is evident by the number of annual trail permits issued locally said Adrian Tessier, the President of the Thunder Bay Adventure Trails.

“There was a definite jump in our memberships during Covid as cooped up riders needed to get out of the house”.

The club manages over 400 kilometers of groomed trails with direct connections to Minnesota at Gunflint Lake to the South, and Atikokan to the West, which connects to trails leading to nearly every town in Northwestern Ontario, and on to more Minnesota connections, and Manitoba.

“We’ve been busy providing maintenance and clearing brush this summer and we’ve also been really working hard to complete the trail between Thunder Bay and Pigeon River to Minnesota. This would be great for tourism, you could jump on your sled and go to Grand Portage for dinner and then ride back home. We’ve also been working on adding one and possibly two rest stop/warm-up shelters that our members can use”, said Tessier.

One special project the local club became involved in recently is the manufacturing of snow grooming packers. “There is real interest in the units we’ve created here. Just last year we were able to sell four packers to sites in Southern Ontario, one to a tobogan hill in Northern Manitoba and one to a ski club in California. We’re honestly blown away by the interest in this kind of equipment and it’s definitely a good news story for Thunder Bay and our club”, added Tessier.

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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