Snow Goer 1981-82: Goodbye To Arctic Cat, Scorpion

50th-finalSnow 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 1969-70 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 plus links to the 1966-67 section, the 1967-68 section, the 1968-69 section, the 1969-70 section, the 1970-71 section, 1971-72 section, the 1972-73 section, the 1973-74 section, the 1974-75 section, the 1975-76 section, the 1976-77 section and the 1977-78 section.



Snow Goer’s new season kicked off with the September “1982 Catalog Of Snowmobiling” featuring a Kawasaki Interceptor on the cover, but devastating news awaited readers inside.

Snow Goer 1981
The November 1981 cover of Snow Goer magazine.

Under the headline “Tough Sledding For Arctic,” the story said, “Arctic Enterprises, Inc., manufacturer of Arctic Cat and Scorpion snowmobiles, will sell its snowmobile operations as part of a reorganization plan stemming from federal bankruptcy proceedings… No 1982 models will be produced.”

The impact was seen in the Buyer’s Guide, with just five full brands – John Deere, Kawasaki, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Moto-Ski – plus the cockpit-oriented Manta and the Chrysler Sno Runner. Snow Goer stressed the positives, pointing out how advanced the new snowmobiles were compared to sleds made a decade earlier, thanks to capacitor discharge ignitions, better suspension, quieter and smoother-running engines, better brakes, etc.

The 1982 John Deere Trailfire 440 won the magazine’s mileage test at 33.4 mpg. The 1982 Shoot-Out named the Ski-Doo Blizzard 9500 the fastest and the John Deere Liquifire as best handling, but the Interceptor 550 was the overall winner for collecting the most points between the test categories. Editors said of the Interceptor, “It’s new, it’s quick, it’s Kawasaki’s snowmobile way of showing the difference between a bullet and a slug,” and praised its new 530cc engine and Vari-Ride rear suspension.

1981 Snow Goer
The December 1981 issue of Snow Goer magazine.

The value-oriented Yamaha Bravo and worker Ski-Doo Nordik debuted for ’82. The red-hooded Bravo was featured on the November cover, with a comely red-headed model on the seat staring into the readers’ eyes. On the contents page, editors teased, “This sexy little number has it all, red hot garb, sleek chassis, unwhimpering performance and only a moderate thirst.”

The season’s final issue previewed 1983 John Deere models called the “Mini Fires” – a liquid-cooled Sprintfire and free air Snowfire that an editor grass-tested in October. “Riding over Deere’s test track of railroad ties and a two-foot jump, I could not bottom the suspension even though I’m not a lightweight,” he wrote. Another story featured Tony Lenzini’s death-defying, record-setting, 5,627-mile ride from Michigan to Alaska in 62 days. The incident-filled solo trip was Lenzini’s first snowmobiling experience.

“People tell me that if I’d been an experienced snowmobiler that I’d never have made it. I would have been too afraid. I was too naïve to know any better,” he said.

Worldwide snowmobile sales dipped 12.6 percent, paced by a large drop in Canada.

Snow Goer 1981
The October 1981 cover of Snow Goer magazine.

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