Snowmobiling, The Early Days

Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
1971, Probably the last photo ever taken of Blue Slide Lookout still standing. In the Ahtanum area west of Yakima, WA


Someone had cut the cables during Elk hunting season the fall before. There were high winds the week before this photo was taken.


Wil-Lee's Cafe, Goose Prairie, WA 1972


Calispell peak, Colville National Forest 1977.


Cabin on Calispell Peak.


Graves Mountain Lookout Off Sherman pass, Colville NF
 

Jaynelson

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Nov 26, 2007
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Cool photos! It's so sad that lots of the historical stuff in the mountains get trashed/burnt/damaged beyond use. Happens here too. Can never figure it out, because for the most part the stuff is so out-of-the way that only outdoor enthusiasts would ever knows it's there/access it. Guess it only takes 1 or 2 skids 1 time tho.
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
I bought this 1970 399 Olympique from a Ski Doo dealer in Portland OR in 1974. I was looking for a 399 engine to put in my Elan. He had this new old stock Olympique upstairs in a warehouse and sold it to me for the same price as just a new engine. About $450 if I remember correctly.

Yellowstone NP 1974. Snow Coach. These things had 318 Mopar small block V8 engines in them and went like stink through the park.


More snow coaches.


Buffalo, Yellowstone 1977.


Snowmobile races in west Yellowstone 1977.
 
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cascadesnowjunky

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Aerosled here are my kids from a couple months ago standing next to the concrete pads that the blue slide lookout sat on. We were riding our motorcycles up there. Thanks for sharing those old photos, those are really cool.
 

wwracer

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Lik'n that gas caddy on the Doo... the racing at Yellowstone...won't see any like that again anytime soon, the winter fest their has turned into an absolute train wreck. I don't think even the chamber of commerce supports it anymore. Would be nice to see a real outfit revive it, getting ISOC snocross race would be a big plus
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
Hey cascadesnowjunky, thanks for the photo of your kids at the Blue slide Lookout site. I haven't been up there in a long long time. Is the garage still there? I think they converted it into a snowmobiler shelter.

A friend and I were riding up there in a snowstorm at night one time. My Elan was the first year for that model. The ski steering tie rods were connected with a threaded rod bent 90 degrees and would break pretty easy if you hit something with a ski. The next year and later models had rod ends on the tie rods. I hit a stump under the snow and broke one so we left the Elan in the garage and rode out double on his Olympique.

It was snowing so hard we could only see a few feet so had to follow our own tracks back out. Coming across the top of Darland it was snowing so hard we couldn't see our old tracks. I had to walk out in front of him with a flashlight to find the tracks.
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
Revelstoke 1996

Making first tracks in the Sugar Bowl on Boulder Mountain.


Caribou on Frisby Ridge. The deeper the snow gets, the higher they go. They walk on top of the snow and eat moss off the trees.


The "Old Frisby cabin". Only the stove pipe is visible.


 

cascadesnowjunky

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Hey cascadesnowjunky, thanks for the photo of your kids at the Blue slide Lookout site. I haven't been up there in a long long time. Is the garage still there? I think they converted it into a snowmobiler shelter.

A friend and I were riding up there in a snowstorm at night one time. My Elan was the first year for that model. The ski steering tie rods were connected with a threaded rod bent 90 degrees and would break pretty easy if you hit something with a ski. The next year and later models had rod ends on the tie rods. I hit a stump under the snow and broke one so we left the Elan in the garage and rode out double on his Olympique.

It was snowing so hard we could only see a few feet so had to follow our own tracks back out. Coming across the top of Darland it was snowing so hard we couldn't see our old tracks. I had to walk out in front of him with a flashlight to find the tracks.
Yes the garage has been converted to a shelter. It has a woodstove and loft, it is not much but a good place to warm up when it's really cold. I have heard it has possibly saved a couple lives over the years when people are on top and got caught in blizzard conditions.
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
Clemens Mountain Lookout. Ten miles northwest of Naches WA. It was built in 1968 so fairly new when this photo was taken in 1972. One of the tower legs was broken during a wind storm the winter of 2006-2007. It was torn down in the spring 2007. Today a cell phone tower stands on the sight.


Bear lake cabin 1972. About 8 miles northeast of Rimrock lake near the top of Bethel Ridge on what was then the Tietion Ranger District, Snoqualmie NF. Does anyone know if it's still there?


Blankenship Meadows (Mosquito Valley) cabin June 1973. It was probably a miner's cabin. This area was designated as the William O. Douglass Wilderness in 1984. I suspect it is probably just a pile of rotten logs today.


American River Guard Station. New Years eve 1970. On the American River at the junction of Chinook pass highway and the Bumping lake road. I lived here during the summers of 1970-1972. The cabin was not maintained and then vandelized in the 1980s. It now is restored and on the US Forest Service cabin rental program.
 
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BeartoothBaron

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I love the old pics, especially from Yellowstone before that got retarded. Wish we could still ride there without all the restrictions; I hear now it's so locked down, you might as well just do the snowcoach tour. I have an uncle who used to race sleds in central WI in the early 70s – he mentioned clocking over 100 on radar, on a 292cc race sled – I should see if he's got any pictures from those times.
 

goridedoo

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Wow, super cool pics, didn't know your cellphones had cameras back in the 70s ;)

You are very lucky to have been able to ride through Yellowstone... I'm no trail guy, but would LOVE to see it from a sled.
 
Jun 23, 2004
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Wow, super cool pics, didn't know your cellphones had cameras back in the 70s ;)

You are very lucky to have been able to ride through Yellowstone... I'm no trail guy, but would LOVE to see it from a sled.
Bucket list thing for sure.
I’m fortunate enough to have been able to ride through the Park twice. Once in the late 90s. Working in Casper. Wife n I made a banzai run from east gate to West for New Years Eve! Left about 3pm. Broke the skid on my XCR somewhere and rode that thing with no rear suspension. Made it in time for New Years , barely, and got Deee-runk!
Second time, early 2000s wife, I and a buddy rode the Park. Wife had busted tail Bone from bad landing riding near Dubois a couple days earlier. And we had to fool the Sno cops that our sleds were quiet enough to gain entrance. Took about 10 runs through the noise trap before we all passed !

Phenonmenal experience for anyone who claims to be a snowmobiler....
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
In 1973 I had one of the first "Sit down" Sea Doos It was wide and stable with an 18 HP single cylinder air cooled Rotax. I would change that engine into my Elan in the winter and back into the Sea Doo in the summer. The stock Elan was 12 HP. With 50% more HP it would go like crazy.


Water skipping in Blankenship meadows in June. Before it was the William O. Douglass wilderness.


Before Mount Saint Helens blew there was no vegetation on the sand dunes in Pot Holes (Osullivan Reservoir) in Central Washington. A couple years later willows started growing on the dunes. I suspect the St. Helens ash is the culprit.


Winchester Waste Way dumps into Potholes here.
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
First trip to Yellowstone, between Christmas and New Years in 1974. I had a brand new 1975 Jeep. With an American motors 304 V8 and 427:1 gears in the axles it would cruise at 70 mph towing the snowmobile trailer. We were the only ones in the motel in West Yellowstone and headed into the park early the first morning before the entrance gate was staffed so didn't have to pay. The only other people we saw was a park ranger on a snowmobile and a snow coach with skiers.


Beryl Springs



Elk


If the streets were bare when the snow coaches would come into West Yellowstone they would jack up a ski on one side and put the tire on so they could steer.
 
Jan 13, 2012
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Central Washington
Bethyl Ridge off White Pass in Central WA, Spring 1972. Elan Blizzard, 292 Blizard, 340 Blizzard. Looking southwest toward Rimrock (Tieton Reservoir) Lake. The large clearcut on the right side of the photo is Pine Grass ridge.


Washington Snowmobile Association (WSA) races at the Jefferson Ranch on Chinook Pass.


Water skipping in Blankenship Meadows June 1972.


Crossing the Diamond Fork of the Klickitat River south of Cultus Hole in the Ahtanum.


Re-installing a motor that fell out climbing out of Manastash Lake.


The axel bearing in the chaincase of my Elan wet out at Green Lake in the Ahtanum. We had unloaded at Tree Phones where there was still enough snow. It would go down hill but the chain would skip on the sprocket when I tried to go up hill, so my wife and I headed down the north fork while the others went to tree phones to bring my rig down to the ranger station to meet us. We ran out of snow but no problem with bogie wheels.
 
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