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Making Tracks on First Snow

First snow in my town this snowmobile season

Well, the weather forecasters got it right: Snow fell throughout central Minnesota for much of the day this past Saturday. With a reasonably strong N/NE wind, it wasn’t one of those peaceful snowfalls, rather, it blew at a 45-degree angle.


First snow in my town this snowmobile season

Venturing outside around 1pm, the driveway was covered and the truck wore a glaze of ice coated by fresh white.

For a bunch of reasons, I love to drive around when it’s snowing. For starters, I simply want to be outside when it’s snowing. But I also enjoy desolate roads when most people are bundled up inside, afraid of the dire warnings they’ve heard television and radio. Seriously, I drove my truck around for nearly an hour, plus rode my bike on roads for another 45 minutes, and only saw one auto. Were this a day without fresh-fallen snow, I would have seen 50.


First snow in my town this snowmobile season

Whenever I go for a snow drive, I hit a few spots where the local snowmobile trails intersect, just to see what they look like.


First snow in my town this snowmobile season

The grey sky and white trail spark memories of previous rides. This spot reminds me of a ride early last winter. Our neighbor hosted their annual Christmas party the second weekend of December. It’s a fancy-dress deal, and last year it snowed like crazy that day. Most of the guests never made it there. My wife and I snowmobiled to the party. We had so much fun on that ride that we busted out of the party early and went snowmobiling on the roads and ditches for nearly two hours.

I love how storms can change our best-laid plans and when I take advantage of those detours to have some fun.


First snow in my town this snowmobile season

One of the local lakes showing that it won’t be too many more weeks until there’s decent ice.


Snowmobile tracks in the yard

Sunday morning the sun was shining the yard in need of some tracks. So my son Cal and I broke out the SnoSports and vintage sleds.


Snowmobile tracks in the yard

After an hour of chasing each other around the yard, we’d had our fill for the day.

Afterwards, as we stood on the deck overlooking the evidence of our play, Cal spoke plain truth: “This is what a yard is supposed to look like.”

I agreed wholeheartedly. His words of wisdom sparked a story idea that I’m going to write soon, about the allure of seeing snowmobile tracks (on yards, ditches, lakes, trails, mountains and anywhere else).

We laid down our first tracks of the season. And we’re looking forward to many more.

Thanks for reading.



  1. These days snowmobile tracks all look the same… but when I was a kid they were all different and often time you could almost Identify the sled by the track it made…for example; certain scorpions were easy to tell, the old center drive tracks narrowed it down to a suzuki or maybe a couple others, and it got really exciting if it had cleats as there was a few different styles of those.. and then when the ski stances started to get really wide you new were looking at the latest and greatest in tech!!! the good ole days…lol

    and ofcourse you knew the sled was fast if it showed a stud pattern or by how long it carried the ski or spun the track!!

  2. Great article John. Sending it to my wife so she can read that I”m not the only person who likes to drive around on fresh, snow filled roads after a storm.

    Flintstone: Don’t forget the Cat 2/3’rds cleated track with the cat logo (“A” with the arrow through it) that got stamped into the snow!

  3. After the first snows i always go out of my way to see if people are riding the trails by my house love the tracks ….and yes all yards should look like yours !!!!

  4. I love driving around on snow covered roads, too. I also have a problem with watching the tracks in the ditch as I drive down the road. Wife will say, “are you watching the tracks in the ditch again” as I am slowing heading for the shoulder.

    The first snow fall also reminds me of something else, because its when i asked my wife to marry me. We enjoy going for walks late at night right after a snow fall.

  5. Nice to know I’m not the only one that enjoys driving in fresh snow. As a kid I was also obsessed with trying to identify the make of a snoQwmobile based on the track it left in the snow. If my memory is correct, I believe Sno-Jet had their logo on the track. I think the uniqueness (or in some cases quirkiness) of older sleds is what made them so fascinating. It was also fun to identify them based on their sound. Many were pretty unique, like the familiar whine of a Scorpian.

  6. I agree with Pingel, back in the day you could identify the sled (or maybe I should say its powerplant) by its unique exhaust tone. The brap, brap, brap, of a wankel. The whine of a JLO, or the specific sound of a Kawasaki powered Cat.


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