Riding in the back of Claude Rouault’s snowmachine can make passengers feel like a tossed salad.
The enclosed, 12-passenger1949 Bombardier B12 CS doesn’t have much in the way of suspension, but before cars and winter tires became common household items, it was the best way to travel in rural Saskatchewan winters.
“Back then, that was the way to go. That was luxury. Saskatchewan taxi” Rouault said.
Snowmobile enthusiasts like Rouault travelled from across the province to Clavet to take part in the second annual Snowflakes Vintage Snowmobile Club rally Saturday.
The show featured several dozen vintage snowmobiles, a group trail ride, a dinner and prizes. The club formed in 2010, and president Kelsie Mase said they decided to host a rally to showcase their collections.
“It’s for the sheer purpose of socializing. Just getting together with friends and family and making some memories,” Mase said, adding people take pride in working on their snowmobiles.
Whether they work on restorations, display-only, or racing models, many attendees brought multiple snowmobiles to show off.
Rouault gave rides in his machine, which looks like a cross between a tank, a wooden bus and a snowmobile.
His grandfather bought the snowmachine in 1950 and except for a few wooden panels, metal parts and seat cushions, it’s still in its original state. He said the vehicle was used to get to town, go to the curling rink, visit neighbours, reach remote power lines and go wherever horses or cars couldn’t navigate in the winter.
In the past, there were dozens of snowmobile manufacturers, but today, the market has shrunk to around four major companies.
Among the old models that remain, there are some unique gems.
“Some guys have a nice Corvette in their garage. This is what I take out every now and then.”
Travis Peters eagerly shows off his prized possession, the Super Whip. His custom built retro-red snowmobile is his take on a classic Scorpion Whip snowmobile.
“I customized it the way I thought it should have been built,” he said.
Using three non-functioning Scorpions, controls from a John Deere machine and custom seats, Peters spend a year and a half assembling his masterpiece.
“Some guys have a nice Corvette in their garage. This is what I take out every now and then,” Peters said.
Peters said he got interested in snowmobiles as a young man and enjoyed meeting like-minded people. The relatively inexpensive hobby also “sits well with my wife” he said with a laugh.