MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — To imagine a Minnesota winter without snowmobiling is like picturing a Minnesota summer without boating.
And as much as the sport has woven its way into our culture, as deep as the drift at the end of your driveway, it’s still relatively new.READ MORE: Deployment Of National Guard Makes Some Feel On Edge, Others More Safe
Although some of the early, bulky prototypes of snowmobiles were built back in the 1930s, it wasn’t until the mid-60s that smaller, sleeker designs with mass-market appeal sent the first snowmobiles roaring onto our winter landscape.
Dealerships popped up almost overnight, and it seemed like every company that had a product with a motor got into the snowmobile business.
With the sudden influx of these new machines came problems: We had a brand-new sport that was mostly unregulated.
It was early organizations like the Prior Lake Snowmobile Association that helped get Minnesota snowmobiling back on track.READ MORE: Pedestrian Struck And Killed In Hopkins, Driver Taken Into Custody
Now, nearly 50 years later, the PLSA is still going strong, with 86 families enrolled and maintaining 250 miles of trails.
They also organize important community functions like “Snow Sports Sunday,” designed to get neighbors interested in outdoor winter activities.
This year they drew almost 1,500 people to Charlie’s Bar on Prior Lake.
Let’s not kid ourselves: There is plenty of sled-head banter, but these die-hards are always looking forward.MORE NEWS: Brooklyn Center Issues Last-Minute Curfew After Protesters Arrested At Police Building
And in Prior Lake, the future of snowmobiling looks pretty bright.