There’s no question that snowmobiling is considered a winter sport. Although the first snowmobiles were designed for transport and utility purposes, they have become more and more powerful over the years. Therefore, to ride a modern sled you need skills and muscle strength. Consequently, it is no surprise that snowmobiling has brought to life a series of new competitions.
If you want to find out more about snowmobile racing and learn why snowmobiling is not in the Olympics, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know into this post!
Is Snowmobiling a Sport?
Snowmobiling has a long and rich history from the earliest tracked vehicles. These weird machines were built for transport and work rather than for sports purposes.
They were powered by small-displacement, air-cooled engines that offered very low performance. Besides their moderate engine power, these vehicles utilized outdated technologies like cleated tracks, and leaf-spring front- and bogie-wheel rear suspensions.
As you might assume, operating these vintage sleds was neither exciting nor challenging. Therefore, they were only used for “outdoor winter fun” rather than sports purposes.
But over the years, snowmobiles have undergone amazing development, with their engines becoming more and more powerful. Besides this significant increase in power, their chassis, suspensions, tracks, and other features have also become much more advanced.
Snowmobiles were ultimately transformed into real powersport vehicles, which attracted a lot of performance-minded riders. Handling these modern snowmobiles is now a sports activity, as it requires more bodywork and many skills. This is especially true if the sled runs in the mountains!
When Did Snowmobiling Become a Sport?
Although it’s difficult to know exactly when snowmobiling become a sport, it may have happened sometime in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. At that time, snowmobiling became a popular recreational activity in the U.S. and Canada, and several new snowmobile competitions were established.
When was the First Snowmobile Race?
Paradoxically, while snowmobiles were officially invented in the late ‘30s, the first snowmobile race was held near Three Lakes in 1926. How is this possible? The answer is that this first race was actually between Ford Model T cars, which were transformed into “snowmobiles” with rear-mounted tracks and skis on the front. The first “real” snowmobile races were established in the mid-60s, like the I-500 (1966).
Which Snowmobile Races are the Best?
Although there are many famous snowmobile races across the world, the most well-known ones are arguable as follows:
- The Iron Dog
- Drag races
Is Snowmobiling an Extreme Sport?
Yes, according to Britannica.com, snowmobiling is considered an extreme sport:
“Extreme sports, also known as action sports or alternative sports, sporting events or pursuits characterized by high speeds and high risk. … Typically, extreme sports operate outside traditional mainstream sports and are celebrated for their adrenaline-pumping thrills. Racing and acrobatic competitions for motorcycles and snowmobiles are also often classified as “extreme,” and the term can be stretched to include such daring pursuits as rock climbing and skydiving.”
There’s no question that snowmobile riders can go extreme in many ways. Mountain sledding often involves risky situations like huge cliff drops and traversing/climbing steep hills.
What’s more, it’s good to know that the fastest snowmobiles can hit a whopping 120+ mph, so even trail riding can be considered extreme.
We can’t avoid mentioning the large variety of snowmobile competitions, from the adrenaline-filled SnoCross to high-speed drag races.
Is Snowmobiling an Event in the Olympics?
Contrary to popular belief, snowmobiling is not an Olympic event. What’s more, just like any type of motorsport, it seems that snowmobiling has no chance of getting into the Olympics. Surprisingly, in the early 1900s, certain motorsports like boat racing were featured in the Games. But everything changed when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it was dropping every sport that depends on mechanical propulsion.
Let’s face it, snowmobiling is considered motorsport, while the Olympics are more about traditional competitions between people. Its origins go back to the Ancient Greek culture, and as we know now, snowmobiles did not exist at the time!
In motorsports, racers are more dependent on their vehicle’s performance than their own skills and physical abilities. Sure, snowmobile racers are in top physical form, but this can’t be measured to Olympic standards.
Besides the traditional issues, there are many other viable arguments against the inclusion of snowmobiles in the Olympics.
Unfortunately, motorsports are typically unexciting for “average” spectators due to the length of these races. In contrast, many Olympic events virtually finish in a couple of minutes.
Also, don’t forget that snowmobile tracks take up a lot of space and are pretty expensive to build.
On top of that, snowmobiling is not very common outside North America. Unlike “universal” sports like swimming and running, snowmobiling requires a lot of equipment and an appropriate environment.
Since many countries are short on these things, a lot of people can’t get involved in this sport.
Snowmobiles were originally low-powered vehicles designed to travel on snow.
But with their growing popularity, snowmobiling quickly become one of the most thrilling winter sport. Although it’s not part of the Olympics, there are many different snowmobile competitions across the United States and Canada.
Besides professional racers, recreational riders can also go extreme in many ways, from high-speed adrenalin rushes to challenging mountain rides!