Where does the time go? Twenty years ago this month in Snow Goer magazine, editors were celebrating the arrival of the Yamaha SRX triple-triples, Ski-Doo’s launch of the CK3 chassis, Arctic Cat’s new ZR 600 machine with the new batteryless EFI system and the full-season builds of the Indy 700 and 600 XC models.
A big year? Yeah, you could say that!
The cover of the August 1997 issue that storied the 1998 models featured snocross racer Dennis Burks with the aforementioned Indy 600 XC all leaned over and blasting through the snow. It looked like a celebration of winter – and why not? Snowmobiles sales were growing by double digits back then, it was the perfect time to celebrate!
In the Hits & Misses section of the magazine – where editors raved and ranted about machines and features they tested the previous spring at the annual Rode Reports testing event – several items that were launched or significantly expanded that year were celebrated for being forward-thinking. They included something called the “RER” push-button reverse found on the Ski-Doo Touring SLE and Tundra R models. “If it works on the SLE, let’s hope it will find its way to the rest of the [Ski-Doo] line,” editors wrote. Indeed, easy push-button reverse found its way to the rest of the industry, not just Ski-Doo, quite rapidly.
Also from that Hits & Misses section: “The [Arctic Cat] Torque Sensing Link is a great component, particularly for rough terrain and aggressive riders. We also like the batteryless EFI. It’s great to see these two machine improvements spread to more sleds in the [Cat] line.” And now, 20 years later, the Torque Sensing Link is still a common feature that helps Arctic Cat rear suspensions, though batteryless EFI is finally being phased out after a long and successful run.
Editors did bemoan the fact, however, that Yamaha didn’t offer a spunky 440cc two-stroke twin to go cross-country racing before lighting up Polaris for resting on its laurels. “Polaris’ chassis is so old Moses rode one when he led the Israelites to the Promised Land; it’s so old that Jimmy Carter was president while the chassis was being designed. Oh, wait, that last one wasn’t funny, it was true!”
One more thing caught our eye when looking at this 20-year-old issue today: There were some fabulous full-page clothing ads from brands that no longer exist.
So goodbye, Cold Wave, Reima, Joe Rocket and Sno Rider – we miss you all. Kind of.