vintage snowmobiles

What’s Old Is New Again: The Allure of Vintage Snowmobiles

These days, snowmobiling is a sport that attracts all kinds of people. Whether you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to enjoy the snow, or you love the freedom that a snowmobile offers, this is one activity that’s all about fun and thrills.

While it’s nice to have a brand-new snowmobile off the line, many enthusiasts out there are all about vintage sleds. There’s something about taking off in a snowmobile that’s been around the block (or the mountain) a few times. Not only do vintage models look better, but they come with style and history to match.

So, with that in mind, we’re going to look at the reasons why vintage snowmobiles are all the rage.

A Brief History of Snowmobiles

Back in the early days of snow travel, the machines used to traverse the white powder were massive, sluggish, and could barely make a turn without tipping over. The first recorded mechanized snow vehicle was custom-made in 1908. It was designed to carry logs across the snow, and it did precisely that, although it couldn’t do much else (including turn).

It wasn’t until 1913 that the first real snowmobile hit the slopes. It was invented by a man named Virgil White, and it used the framework of a Model T Ford as the chassis. This was the first time anyone had used the term “snowmobile.”

Model T snowmobile

By Dariusz Jemielniak (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, in 1924, the first “modern” snowmobile was born. It was called a motor toboggan, and it was essentially a sled with a motor mounted to the front. However, it was revolutionary at the time and included the same basic layout that modern units have, including a front-mounted engine that was liquid-cooled. This snowmobile was invented by a man named Carl Eliason.

The first Polaris snowmobile wasn’t invented until 1954, and it was unappreciated at first. The inventor was Polaris Industries Co-Founder David Johnson. At the time, Polaris made farm equipment, and the snowmobile model was seen as a frivolous machine. However, after that first winter, the owners realized the potential of having such a vehicle.

From there, snowmobiles started to take off, with mass production beginning in the late ’50s. Polaris slowly phased out their farm equipment and started making snowmobiles full time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why Vintage Is Always in Style

So why are vintage snowmobiles so popular these days? Surely modern technology can offer superior handling and performance, right?

Well, the art of snowmobiling is not just about getting the latest thing. It’s about finding your groove on the snow. Even though modern models are built to handle more terrains, and they are more efficient than those of old, they just don’t have the same kind of personality and response that vintage units do. Speaking of character, you also can’t find the same color schemes and designs that were popular 30-plus years ago.

Another reason that vintage sleds are always popular is that they are much easier to maintain. It doesn’t take an engineering degree to swap parts and keep it running, which is why many models from the ’70s and ’80s are still in excellent shape today.

Compare and See

If you haven’t experienced the thrill and excitement of riding on a vintage snowmobile, we highly encourage you to try. Older models can go for hundreds or thousands of dollars (comparable to brand-new vehicles), so if you’re looking to buy, go old school first. We believe that if you compare a new model to an old one, you’ll see why we love vintage.

Shop Snowmobile Tools



Company Information

Up North Sports
2000 Division St W
Bemidji, MN 56601

Toll Free: 1-866-335-8500
218-444-SNOW   (218-444-7669)
We Accept:
Visa MasterCard Discover American Express PayPal
McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
Credit Card Services