For some reason the colder weather and recent snow flurries has me reminiscing about Mercury Snowmobiles. Remember those?
The infamous “lead sleds” (Mercury’s early and very heavy snowmobile) and the legendary Sno-Twisters (when Mercury got it light and right). Snowmobile historian Charles Plueddeman wrote a detailed article on the history of the Sno-Twister and the infamous sled #5.
I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie – on the Eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The “Soo” as it is often called, gets bombarded with lake effect snow from Lake Superior. If you’re into it, the U.P. offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails for the snowmobile enthusiast. It’s a great family sport – if you respect the machine and ride safely.
The Soo is home to the International 500 snowmobile race. I was there – from start-to-finish when brothers Stan and Doug Hayes won it in 1976 riding a 440 Sno-Twister for Team Mercury. The Sno-Twisters and Trail Twisters were way ahead of their time – an evolutionary leap from the early Mercury sleds. These machines are still very popular today. They continue to dominate vintage snowmobile races and grass drags.
There you have it. A quick ride down the snowmobile memory trial. For those of you that get out and ride, please respect your machine, fellow riders, skiers and land owners. Enjoy your time on the snow. Before you know it, the snow will melt, and you’ll be back on the water – boating. Where we all belong. It’s only right.