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FRYEBURG, Maine – Local snowmobile rental outfitters agree that demand for snowmobiles has increased in recent years once the snow has arrived.

“For the end of January and February we sold pretty much every weekend and the middle of the week was also good,” said Michael Scontas of Northeast Snowmobile & ATV Rentals of Gorham and Fryeburg (northeastsnowmobile.com ; 800-458-1838).

“This Saturday and Sunday we’re 100% booking and we expect it will continue to be strong as March progresses, but we are facing the possibility of a quick warm-up next week, so after this weekend we will continue to play it by ear, ”he added.

He said there had certainly been an increase in the number of new clients.

“We’re finding that people don’t travel (to faraway destinations) as they normally would, so they stay closer to home and seek out some outdoor fun,” said Scontas, formerly of Eastern Mountain Sports and who now works for Terry MacGillivray at Northeast.

His comments were echoed by Peter Gagnon, owner of Bartlett and Bretton Woods’ Northern Extremes snowmobile (nxtsnow.com; 603-374-6000).

“It was a record demand – but not a record season, because it was such a late start,” said Gagnon.

“But once the snow fell, we have been sold out every day since February 1,” he said.

As MacGillivray and Gagnon have noted in the past, it’s all about getting out and enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery.

“We take people to places in the winter that they would otherwise not have the chance to physically go,” said MacGillivray. “We’re taking people to the top of Black Cap (behind Cranmore in North Conway), which otherwise would take a long time, and they would never get there.”

Gagne adds, “This is a great opportunity to explore the outdoors. It is an alternative to skiing for people who would not normally venture outside in winter. Some people like the feeling of power in the machine. Most of our clients are non-skiers, families who want to get out and see nature. “

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