Vintage sleds are booming, and a group of enthusiasts from the website VintageSleds.com gathers once every winter in International Falls, Minnesota, to celebrate the old machines and the culture that goes with it. The gathering is called Live On Skis.
VintageSleds.com website creator and owner Larry Preston says Live On Skis is an anti-event event. There aren’t schedules, trophies or the pressure of a contest. People who have become close friends through the website get together just to ride old sleds, hang out and “remind everybody of how much fun they had on the sleds when they were kids,” said Preston, a 43-year-old Polaris owner/driver/restorer.
The Scorpions, John Deeres, Evinrudes and others machines at Live On Skis range from jalopies that barely run to carefully restored rides that are fit for a museum. But in reality, condition doesn’t matter. It’s more important that people get together to ride, create memories and share what Preston calls, “can’t-get-it-started” stories, among other tales.
Last year’s Live On Skis attracted about 150 machines from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. The event usually includes a vintage ride where the pack putts and sputters its way through the swampy, wooded trails along the Minnesota/Canada border. Modern sleds follow along to help tow the broken down machines back to camp.
Attendees are proud that Live On Skis is unlike most other antique-vintage-classic events that have races or other forms of competition. “People really love just riding their vintage sleds,” Preston said. “They’re more challenging, physically and mechanically, to ride than the new sleds. They’re harder to turn, harder to steer.”
For more information about Live On Skis and its vintage sled community, check out VintageSleds.com.