There’s no snowmobile like an old snowmobile
Kurt Wurtzberger has a good-sized collection of antique snowmobiles but the signs at his residence on State Highway 68 several miles southeast of New Ulm read that he’s looking for more.
“Wanted: 1960s – 1990s snowmobiles.”
What’s so great about older snowmobiles?
“They’re easier to work on. They’re simpler than newer snowmobiles,” said Kurt.
In his barn are several dozen snowmobiles, along with quite a collection of snowmobile accessories including snowmobile suits and snowmobile manufacturer’s advertising signs.
His collection includes many Ariens snowmobiles, plus a number of Polaris and Ski Doo models.
“Ariens was the first sled I had when I was a kid,” Kurt said.
His collection includes snocross snowmobiles, stock, base models and high-performance machines.
Snow cross is the sport of racing specialized, high-performance snowmobiles on natural or artificially-made tracks consisting that feature tight turns, banked corners, steep jumps and obstacles.
Riders race at speeds up to 60 mph. Jumps are up to 30 feet high and snowmobiles and riders travel up to 130 feet before they touch the ground again.
Wurtzberger has enjoyed snow cross races in places like Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, Spirit Mountain in Duluth, and Lake Geneva, Wis. He’s enjoy the more common races in this area, drag races. Those are sometimes even done on grass.
Kurt said he enjoys riding snowmobiles on trails in Wyoming, which he described as “still fun.”
A 1999 Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s High School graduate, Wurtzberger is an M R Paving & Excavating Inc. foreman.
The early 1970s are considered the golden age of snowmobiles. In 1971, there were more than 100 snowmobile manufacturers who made 495,000 snowmobiles sold that year.
In 1986, there were more than four million snowmobiles in the world.
By 2003, there were four large North American snowmobile makers, Bombardier, Arctic Cat, Yamaha and Polaris. Higher-powered machines could stop 150 mph. Drag racers topped the 200 mph mark.
Snowmobiles are still widely used for travel in the arctic region. Most snowmobiles are used for recreation in places where winter snowfall is stable.
Electric snowmobiles that produce lower noise are being tested in Whister Blackcomb, a British Columbia, Canada ski resort.
Mountain sleds allow access to remote areas with deep snow.
The World Championship Hill Climb is held at Snow King Mountain Resort, Jackson, Wyo. each March. Last year, it drew about 10,000 people.