Snow Goer 1969-70: The Early Snowmobiling Lifestyle

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 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 and the 1968-69 section.

Snow Goer 1970
The January 1970 cover of Snow Goer magazine.


As the snowmobile industry continued to grow, so did the snowmobile magazine business. The frequency of Snow Goer increased from six issues during the 1968-69 season to eight issues for 1969-70. Issues were September, October, November, December, January, February, March and April, and the magazine was distributed to more than 50,000 paid subscribers.

This marked the second consecutive season that Snow Goer departed from specific snowmobile evaluations and instead focused on the snowmobiler lifestyle and different ways snowmobiles can be incorporated into people’s lives. There were stories about winter camping, ice fishing, how to feed deer and a new invention for trail maintenance called a “snow smoother,” plus a lengthy feature article about how snowmobiles were used to help determine whether the Northwest Passage could be used as a shipping lane to transport oil from Alaska.

Technical articles included how to troubleshoot drive belt problems, D-I-Y engine modifications, what to inspect when shopping for a used sled, speedometer kit installation, carburetor care and a snowmobile engine specification guide. A snowmobile trailer buyer’s signaled that the market was evolving beyond rural users who could ride from their homes.

Snow Goer magazine 1969
The December 1969 cover of Snow Goer magazine.

The cover of the September 1969 issue featured Michael Landon and Lorne Green. As stars of the popular television show “Bonanza,” they were shown with a pair of Polaris Colt snowmobiles at The Ponderosa Ranch in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. That ranch was a collaboration between the actors, NBC and landowner Bill Anderson, and it was based on the fictitious Ponderosa Ranch from the TV show.

The article said more than 250,000 tourists visited the ranch for horseback riding, hayrides and the like, but when winter rolled around activities were needed to attract visitors and justify the resort’s existence, so about 30 Polaris snowmobiles were sent to the estate on an experimental basis.

1970 Snow Goer magazine
Winter camping, anyone? This was the cover of the February 1970 issue of Snow Goer magazine.


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