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, the 1968-69 section, the 1969-70 section, the 1970-71 section, 1971-72 section, the 1972-73 section and the 1973-74 section.
About the time that now ex-President Richard Nixon was waving goodbye and climbing into a helicopter, Snow Goer’s first 1974-75 issue was headed to the printer. The magazine got skinnier and the issue count was trimmed to four plus a special racing annual, reflecting the larger market.
One example of consolidation was played out by Scorpion, which acquired Brut snowmobiles, bought Rockwell Recreation’s engine families and reached an agreement to build Massey-Ferguson’s snowmobiles.
The spring tests in Colorado focused largely on the 440 class. Editors gushed about the polished-for-’75 Ski-Whiz 444T while the John Deere JDX-8 440 was ripped for instability. The Moto-Ski Chimo 440 was called “a Cadillac on skis, it’s quick, easy steering and offers the best ride in the business.” And the new Sno-Jet SST 440 was praised for its Yamaha engine.
The October issue featured reviews on the Ski-Doo Everest 440, Arctic Cat Panther 440, Rupp Nitro 440, Harley-Davidson Y-440, Mercury 440 S/R and Yamaha GP433F. The Evinrude Skimmer 440, Polaris Electra 400 and Scorpion Whip got ink in the November issue.
In the scientific tests of those sleds at 9,400 feet of elevation, top speeds varied between 66 mph (Rupp) and 51 mph (Arctic Cat); the Sno-Jet ran the quickest eighth- and quarter-mile while the mileage champ Ski-Whiz (24.8 mpg) was slowest. At 404 pounds wet, the Scorpion was lightest while the loaded Evinrude Skimmer (505 pounds) was heaviest.
And, in one of the interesting lines printed in the magazine’s history, editors said this about the Ski-Doo T’NT Everest 440: “Like an experienced woman, the Everest inspires confidence in the novice and stimulates the veteran to take full advantage of his riding ability.” What?!
The December issue focused on economy sleds – Arctic Cat Lynx 250, Moto-Ski Nuvik 300, Polaris Colt S/S 250, Scorpion Lil’ Whip 295 and Elan 300 SS – and had a feature on the “hot new breed” of musclesleds – the Kawasaki-powered Arctic Cat El Tigré 440, slow-but-comfy Moto-Ski TS400, the “fast and powerful” Polaris TX 440, the “ultra-low, ultra-wide and ultra-fierce” Rupp Nitro F/A 440, the transitional Scorpion Brut 440, the racing-bred Ski-Doo T’NT Free Air 440 and the super-fast Sno-Jet SST F/A 440 and Yamaha GPX 433G.
New snowmobile sales slipped another 27 percent – to 316,000 units, with still high inventory levels. That spelled the end to several more brands, including but not limited to Harley-Davidson, Suzuki and Columbia. The Ski-Whiz name also disappeared after Massey-Ferguson moved production to Scorpion and rebranded the sleds simply as Massey-Ferguson.