Alberta Snowmobile and Powersports Show Recap
It was big. It was shiny. It was the Alberta Snowmobile and Powersports Show (ASPS) in Edmonton in all its glory.
The 2016 trade show was much like those of years past, brimming with the excitement of new gear, new parts and new dreams for a big winter to come. And the feeling in the air was just that—the optimism that a cold and snowy season could solve all the problems of a slow economy and a melancholy vibe following a couple of mediocre snow years.
The show started out slowly, leaving many vendors concerned that the rock-bottom price of oil and back-to-back El Niño winters had finally crushed the spirit of sledders in Western Canada. But it turns out that a 4-way combination of a wicked early season blizzard making travel treacherous, a pivotal ALCS Blue Jays game on TV, an Oilers vs Flames Battle of Alberta and the 509 Volume 11 premiere party all happening concurrently with the show is what seems to have been the cause of lower than usual attendance on Friday night.
Things were back to normal by Saturday afternoon, with bustling crowds moving booth-to-booth, anxious to see what is new and exciting for the upcoming season. As always, new offerings by the manufacturers were a big hit, including the lineup of brand new Ski-Doo Rev Gen4 850 Summits and the Yamaha B-TX and M-TX Sidewinder mountain sleds with their new factory turbo Genesis motors. The other manufacturers had less to reveal; Polaris stretched its Axys chassis into a 174” model for 2017 while Arctic Cat made a number of smaller weight savings refinements alongside a 3.0” lugged track in its Mountain Cat model.
All the regular vendors were there as well—dealers, custom shops, aftermarket parts, sledding destinations, clothing and accessories, sled films, trailers and sled decks. That is not to mention the random and quirky vendors like those flogging neon signs, shoe shines and Segway tours.
On par for Sunday, the pace was a little more casual in the aftermath of the rush of the crowds the day before. As usual, there were more than a few bleary-eye patrons casually strolling the aisles alongside the church-goers and families, all looking for last minute deals on gear or info on where to plan their winter getaways in 2017.
The 2016 ASPS was a weekend of four halls jam-packed with glorious sled related things, and likely not a single attendee walked away without dreams of deep days to come. Bring on the snow!
– Patrick Garbutt