The Development of snowmobiles? or the invention of the first snowmobile
A snowmobile (or snow scooter? often referred to by enthusiasts as a 'sled' and in the Canadian north and Alaska as a 'snowmachine') is a land vehicle propelled by one rubber track with ski(s) for steering. They are designed to be operated on snow and ice? and require no road or trail. Most snowmobiles are typically powered by two-stroke gasoline/petrol internal combustion engines. Four-stroke engines are becoming more and more popular in snowmobiles. Even though they are not designed for it? snowmobiles will skim on top of water if the speed is high enough? as demonstrated by the annual snowmobile river drag race in Kautokeino? Norway. Summertime occupations for snowmobile enthusiasts can also involve drag racing on grass or even asphalt strips. People that drive them are commonly known as snowmobilers. Snowmobiles will beat most stock or aftermarket cars in a 0-100 drag race. An average 2007 snowmobile goes 0-60mph in 4 seconds flat.
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. (Landen, p. 48)
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. (Landen, p.48)
The earliest snowmobiles were modified Ford Model Ts with the undercarriage replaced with tracks and skis. They were popular for rural mail delivery for a time. This early history can be ...