Sometimes I forget that there was a time, not too many years ago, when the only viewable information we could get about snowmobiles was either magazines, books and promotional material.
There was no YouTube with a bazillion videos of snowmobiling.
No cottage industry of snowmobile videos. No weekly snocross races on Versus. No X Games.
Like many families that owned a registered snowmobile, we received a handful of free snowmobile magazines each year. SnowSports. A few Snow Goers. Some others too. I saved every one, and read them over and over. To the point that the covers got trashed.
I was too young and ignorant to actually subscribe to the magazines. If I happened upon a magazine rack that had a snowmobile magazine, it was like winning the lottery.
I don’t believed people shopped as much back in the 1970s as they do now. That, plus the fact that gas stations sold pretty much only gas and hard parts, meant that seeing a newstand was as common as seeing sasquatch.
I was so hungry to see anything about snowmobiling, that I would even check out the one lame snowmobile book that was in our school library. It was about 100 pages of text about safe riding, but I looked at it for the 10 photos that actually showed riding.
Somehow our family ended up with one of the Scorpion promotional magazines, even though we didn’t even own a Scorp. I read the story about the I-500 race a hundred times, imagining what it must have been like. Those imaginary moments were informed by some brief news coverage I’d happened upon in my youth, where the image of sleds racing down a windswept ditch was seared in my brain.
Even seeing an Archie comics with a snowmobile theme seemed incredibly-cool.
Man, those moments where I stumbled upon snowmobiles on television truly was like winning the lottery. Whether it was a commercial, news footage or whatever. Even the movie Snowball Express seemed amazingly awesome, simply because of the snowmobile footage. Of course, the only time I saw it was when it played on network TV, which was probably three times my entire life.
I remember getting the first CPC Calendar back in the early 1980s. It had the huge, wonderful racing photos, like the one of Bob Elsner taking the victory lap at the 1979 Eagle River World’s Championships. I saved every calendar I got, and studied them for hours many times each year. Still have them!
Maybe it was a good thing…not being able to have/see/consume/watch anything and everything snowmobiling, whenever we wanted? I’m convinced NOT having whatever it is that we want, makes us desire it even more.
I wonder if, like my 10-year-old son Calvin, I could have watched anything snowmobile related whenever I wanted at that age, I would still be so utterly in love with the sport like I am today? Or will the instant-internet-and-everything-else generation burn-out of their interests at the same speed that the images come streaming in?
Obviously, by virtue of the very existence of this site, I’ve embraced the intantly-consumable digital media. And I’m happy to say that I love it dearly. But I also love when the latest snowmobile magazine arrives, and I still save every one.