Vintage snowmobiles and tradition

Thanks to the recent snowfall accumulation there’s still time to get out and ride the trails, but there’s some snowmobilers out there that may have you turning your heads and re-thinking your family time.

Posted: Mar. 7, 2018 6:49 PM
Updated: Mar. 8, 2018 9:14 AM

John Mudge is a mechanic by trade, but he spends a good amount of his spare time working on vintage snowmobiles. John’s father started teaching him how to fix these machines when he was around ten years old. He also used to take him sledding right up here next to the television station. For a boy of ten it was a dream come true.

"This is kind of like the X-Box of the 1960’s and 70’s. This was a big thing. Geeze when Dad brought this home like, what little kid wouldn’t be happy with a mini-bike or snowmobile."

John has such an admiration for these machines, he’s now acquired a collection. Now John is continuing the tradition with his own son Johnny. While he doesn’t take the sleds out every day, he does ride them on nicer days, and the time he’s spending with his son riding these machines is priceless.

Johnny Mudge, a third-generation snowmobiler says: "I think it’s cool because I never got to meet my Grandfather on his side so it’s pretty cool to use what he used."

Howard Bushinger is the man who recorded John Sr. back in the 70’s. He remembers what it was like to ride on sleds with limited suspension.

"I was on the back of a 71 Artic Cat facing backwards there taking the film, and it wasn’t very comfortable. We didn’t… there was no grooming of trails. It was all washboard, but a lot of fun."

John Mudge talked about one of the things that makes these sleds different.

"It’s a much slower paced machine than as the ones are of today, where today you can run through the trails 30-40 miles an hour, and you know the bumps aren’t so bad, whereas this thing here you would be getting ejected."

So keeping the machines running in tip top shape isn’t just preserving the past, it’s keeping up a tradition of spending time together, and doing something fun.

"You’re going to see the newer ones more often, but when these are gone, they’re gone, so you might as well spend the time you have em’."

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