Yamaha will stop selling snowmachines in North America

Yamaha snowmachines
A pair of Yamaha snowmachines in Norway (Graham Racher/Creative Commons photo)

Yamaha Motor Company — the Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles, boats, and other recreational vehicles — announced Wednesday that the company is phasing out production of snowmachines after the 2025 model year.

In a statement, the Japanese company said it aimed to grow its business through more environmentally friendly motors, and it would “be difficult to continue a sustainable business in the snowmobile market.”

For many Alaskans, especially those living in Northern Alaska, snowmachines are an essential part of winter travel. That’s especially true for rural communities not connected by roads.

For some, snowmachines serve a recreational purpose. Mike Vasser is the executive director for Iron Dog — billed as “the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile race.” The 2,500-mile course begins in Big Lake and travels north to the Seward Peninsula and Northwest Arctic before circling back.

Vasser said the Yamaha phase-out would have little effect on the Iron Dog.

“It shouldn’t have any impact on us,” he said. “We haven’t had (a) Yamaha sled entered in the race for at least seven years, I think. Nor have they been a sponsor.”

While Vasser called the move a “sad day for the snowmobile industry,” he’s not really losing sleep over it.

“I’m personally a Yamaha vintage collector and have been for a long, long time,” he said. “So in my opinion, the value of my sled just went through the roof because they’re not gonna be available anymore.”

On Wednesday, Yamaha thanked dealers and customers for years of loyalty during more than 50 years of snowmachine production. The company said parts and maintenance service will still be available after the final North American production run in 2025, following earlier phase-outs in Japan and Europe.

Yamaha’s new 2024 snowmachine models are in production and scheduled for fall delivery.

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