The first attempts at building a vehicle that would move over snow on runners happened over 70 years ago. Many dreamed of building a power-driven sled, especially where heavy snowfalls often meant the difference between life and death when attempting to transport an ill person to emergency care.
In 1935, a snowmobile was built with skis in front and a sprocket wheel and tracked system in back. It carried 12 people, and family doctors, veterinarians, ambulance and taxi drivers were first in line to purchase one. A modified version found a market in the logging industry.
It was the late 1950s, with the development of smaller gasoline engines, before the one- or
two-passenger lightweight chassis snowmobile was marketed – and with it, a new recreational activity was born.
Ten years later, there were dozens of manufacturers producing snowmobiles that sold for a few hundred dollars a piece.
Today, with more than 4 million riders, snowmobiling is a major winter recreational activity and a significant factor in increased winter tourism in much of Canada and the snowbelt of the United States.
(Info courtesy of http://www.snowmobile.org)