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.
The history of the "snow machine" is yet to be completed. Today's snowmobile bears little resemblance to earlier models. By today's standards, many of the machines of the 60's and 70's are considered antiques. From the ISMA website