Snow Goer magazine was launched as the first national snowmobile magazine 50 years ago. To celebrate, Snow Goer is taking readers on a volume-by-volume walk through the history of snowmobiling, as captured on the magazine’s pages. Below is the review of the 1967-68 publishing season. Other years will be also be published — use SG@50 in the search bar on the website to find them. Here’s a link to the opening section; and here’s a link to the 1966-67 section
After a successful first year with remarkable acceptance by snowmobile enthusiasts, Snow Goer matured with the 1967-68 editions that had a better layout and more style throughout the pages, giving the magazine a more professional appearance than it had in its first season. It was more colorful, photography was better and the issues had more pages.
The list of writers expanded, too, including Special Correspondent Jim Beilke who penned articles that focused on racing and snowmobile performance. Beilke’s stint with Snow Goer lasted only one year as he went on to launch Race & Rally magazine in 1968, which became Snow Tech magazine in 1997.
Snowmobiling was becoming the “in” thing, as a short story in the issue described how young couples of the northland were enjoying the adventure of the sport with other couples. Tests of machines from 11 snowmobile manufacturers led the February 1968 issue, and the list of participating brands included Tradewinds, Motrak, Sno-Flite, Sno-Prince, Fox Trac and more.Editors evaluated handling, stability, traction, speed, workmanship, noise, controls and vibration, among other features and characteristics.
Editors also published test results of the 1968 Ski-Doo Olympique Super 370 that season, and it received high marks for handling, traction and workmanship, among other criteria. The short article said that for such a large engine, it was remarkably easy to start. This rare model spawned the Ski-Doo T’NT – a very limited production version of the Super Olympique 370 that was built to win races and outrun other sleds on the trail. The T’NT was the first sled positioned as a performance-based model, and it initiated the transition of snowmobiles from being multi-seat, general-use vehicles to single-seat machines built solely for entertainment.
Overall quality continued to dog the snowmobile market as, in summary of the tests, editors said that as long the snowmobile industry enjoys a seller’s market, the quantity demands will be met before “sufficient attention is paid to polishing the product.” Suggested improvements were ski stops to control “flopping,” and electric start on all machines with engines more than 300cc because women and children had too much difficulty with rewind starters, the editors said.
Riding a snowmobile across the Michigan Upper Peninsula was a major feat in the 1960s, and it required nearly a year of planning, two trial runs and assistance from all of the clubs along a 498-mile route between Ironwood and Sault Ste. Marie. Snow Goer photographer Mary DeRoche followed along and documented the four-day adventure from her car for a story in the March-April 1968 issue. An editorial in the Spring 1968 issue tells how Snow Goer had stepped into the computer age to manage subscriptions.