FTLComm - Tisdale - January 23, 1999  
Snowmobiles, motor toboggans, snow machines all of these terms have been used to refer to this remarkable invention that has become a fixture of the snow covered portion of North America. But for most people the name that sticks and is most commonly used is that of one of the main inventors of the machine Armand Bombardier who called it a "Skidoo". It is likely that though Skidoo is the trade name it is just as often used as a generic term to refer to this machine and the activities related to it.

This article is hardly intended to be a definitive article on the sport but rather a commentary on it this year.

For really good skidooing there needs to be good snow cover on the fields, otherwise it is just to rough on the rider and the cost of maintenance to the machine makes it prohibitive. The machine on the right is fairly typical of the genre, this one is a 1994 Bombardier Skidoo and has been modified for racing with some augmentation to its engine so that it develops 120 horse power and that will drive this vehicle across the snow at speeds above 100mph. It is a two cycle, two cylinder, Rotax powered machine which uses a gasoline oil mixture.

The young owner has had the machine for two years and reports that during that time he has had little or no
expense in repairs and told me that similar machines can be purchased for under $5,000. He told me that it is comfortable cruise across fields with this machine at 60mph and the fastest he has gone with it is 100mph on a lake. If you can imagine riding a vehicle that close to the ground at speeds of between sixty and one hundred miles an hour you can easily see why the sport is so popular and why each weekend there are numerous injuries around the province and a mounting toll of fatalities.
But of course these vehicles have an enormous range of use from hunting, to reliable transportation in the arctic, to family outings and social interaction. Below is a picture of a family machine with its covered sleigh for the children to ride along behind the machine while at the lower left is a group of machines parked near a hotel restaurant on the South side of Prince Albert.

From the first appearance of a wooden version in 1954 or 55 that was used to deliver the mail, with its canvas track, to these machines with their outstanding suspensions and durability this industry and recreational activity has come a long way.