Long as it was, the snowy winter turned out to be pretty hot for Arctic Cat Inc.

The Minneapolis-based company posted a strong first quarter Thursday with profits nearly tripling as the prolonged winter aided snowmobile-related sales. Sales of all-terrain vehicles surged as well.

The company reported a profit of $5.5 million, or 40 cents a share, a 172 percent jump from the same period last year. Analysts had forecast earnings of 21 cents a share.

Sales rose 9 percent to a record $120.8 million for the three months ended June 30.

Chairman and CEO Claude Jordan said ATV sales rose 5 percent during the April-to-June quarter, a period when the business had a tough ­comparison after rising 93 ­percent in the year-earlier quarter.

"In addition, we benefited from late-spring snowfall in North America that helped snowmobile parts sales," Jordan said.

The company raised its earnings guidance for full-year profits — it now expects earnings to be in the range of $3.27 to $3.37 per share, up as much as 17 percent from the $2.89 per share it earned during its fiscal year that ended in March.

Arctic Cat shares closed up $2.40, or 4.8 percent, at $52.04 on Thursday.

Dee DePass