Roots of Mountain Snowmobiling at the World Snowmobile Headquarters
Marty Anderson | On 15, Dec 2017
An old saying goes, “In order for your branches to reach high, your roots must run deep.” Racing snowmobiles around in a circle may not seem to have much in common with the pursuit of climbing bottomless, fresh powder on a mountain—but it does. The roots of mountain snowmobiling can be traced back through time at the World Snowmobile Headquarters in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
The Roots of Mountain Snowmobiling
Long before the magnificent mountain machines we ride today were produced, our roots were formed on frozen lakes and fields. There, weekend warriors would battle for supremacy on one of over 100 brands of new snowmobile. Yes, you read that correctly: there have been over one hundred different manufacturers producing snowmobiles throughout history. And while many did not directly contribute to the design of our current machines, they ALL contributed to the growth in popularity of our sport.
This rich history and growth is what made snowmobiling the “everyman” sport it has become. Whether it was your father, your grandfather or even simply an old friend-of-a-friend who watched snowmobiles race on Saturday morning’s “Wide World of Sports”, all sledders have been influenced by this past.
A recent tour of the World Snowmobile Headquarters in Eagle River showed us just how deep this history runs. The Headquarters sits on the edge of the infamous Eagle River Derby track in Wisconsin. It houses The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame , the Antique Snowmobile Club of America Museum and the World Championship Derby Hall of Fame.
World Snowmobile Headquarters in Eagle River, Wisconsin
Even sledders not familiar with the World Snowmobile Championship Derby cannot help but be in awe of the display of vintage sleds, posters, trophies, gear and other memorabilia from the past.
The World Snowmobile Headquarters is a quiet place (at least it was on this particular day). Visitors can almost hear the screams of the crowd in the photos on the walls. They can imagine the smells of race gas and belt dust as they walk amongst the purpose-built cornering machines. It doesn’t take much knowledge about snowmobiling’s history to be humbled by names like Wahl, Decker, Villeneuve and Houle which adorn the displays.
I could go on for hours about this history with facts and figures, but they say a picture speaks a thousand words. So here is a glimpse of our tour. If you ever get a chance to visit the World Snowmobile Headquarters, don’t pass it up—and be prepared to spend some time.