The snowmobiling industry has enjoyed a rich history that has made it possible to travel easily through the thick snow that often falls in Canada and the northern regions of the United States. For decades, snowmobiles have continually improved to meet the needs of residents who enjoy living in the colder climates and experiencing the winter months to their full potential. As with any major invention, however, the snowmobile industry was popularized by high-performance models and sports enthusiasts who have found ways to race the machines and compete against other snowmobilers in a variety of events. This industry has come a long way since the early purpose of the snowmobile as being merely a means of traveling through the snow with less difficulty.
The first patent for the snowmobile was issued in 1927 to Carl J. Eliason of Sayner, WI. His idea of a machine that traveled easily through the snow was simply called a “snow machine.” He used parts from a bicycle, a pair of skis, and some parts from an old Model-T Ford to create his first machine. It was a functional contraption, but it had its drawbacks and disadvantages. Eliason’s “snow machine” was more or less a great concept that was not perfected in a way to reach the full potential of the idea.
It was not until 1958 when Joseph-Armand Bombardier of Canada created and patented the machine that we know today as a snowmobile. Not only did Bombardier create and manufacture the first modern-day snowmobile, but he was also the first person to successfully market the machines to people throughout North America. His most popular model – the B7 Snowmobile – began being mass produced for sale in North America before introducing the more popular Ski-Doo model. The Ski-Doo was a more popular model of snowmobile because it was smaller and less expensive. Soon, the Ski-Doo replaced dog teams as a means to quickly travel across the snowy landscape.
By the 1970s, less than 20 years after Bombardier received his patent for the first modern-day snowmobile, there were already 250 snowmobile races that were sanctioned across North America. The United States Snowmobile Association became the forerunner in snowmobile organizations. It began and continues to sponsor one of the more popular snowmobile races – a 650 mile marathon that begins in Winnipeg, Canada and ends in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was also one of the organizations that helped to get the Snocross snowmobiling event added to the Aspen X Games in 1998, which has created the largest increase in popularity for the snowmobile industry.
One of the reasons that snowmobiles have become so popular in the North American society is because of their ease of use. Inexperienced users can learn how to ride a snowmobile in a very short time and begin experiencing the fun of speeding across the snowy trails. Many of the resorts in the snowy regions of the United States and Canada, including Utah, Michigan, and Alberta, cater to the specific needs of vacationing snowmobilers. Winter vacation resorts commonly keep updated information on snowmobiling trails in the area along with lessons and clubs that snowmobilers of any experience level can take advantage of.
Along with enjoying the fun that snowmobiles can provide is the responsibility of using the machines safely. When snowmobiling along trails or for long distances, it is a good idea to go with another rider and to let others know where you plan on riding to in case of emergency. Always bring extra food along with a first aid kit and the proper safety gear in the event that you get stranded. Before riding, inspect the equipment to make sure all of the parts are properly tightened and in proper working condition. Also, check the dangers of an avalanche occurring before leaving and try to avoid those areas.
The snowmobile industry has made a huge deal of progress in the technology and popularity of the machines. Beginning as merely a means to travel across the snowy lands with less difficulty, the industry has enjoyed a surge of popularity due to the many recent racing events and competitions. Now, snowmobiles are popular among all age groups and they can be thoroughly enjoyed as recreational vehicles when proper safety precautions are followed.