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'Snowmobile'? That Doesn't Cut It in Alaska.


Todd Palin drives his wife, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to the starting line of the Iron Dog snowmobile -- ahem, snow machine -- race in Big Lake, Alaska, in February 2007. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

That nip in the air? Means snow-machine season is just around the corner -- Todd Palin's favorite sport. (The First Dude is four-time champ of Alaska's 2,000-mile Iron Dog race.) Time to clear up a campaign trail mystery: What the heck is the difference between a snowmobile and snow machine?

Nothing.

So, snow machine? "That's the term they use in Alaska," says Ed Klim, president of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association. Other than the name, Klim told us, it's exactly the same motorized snow transport system found in the Lower 48. Most places call it a "snowmobile," including northern Minnesota and Quebec, which both take credit for inventing the modern snow racer. Swedes say "snow scooters," but Alaskans have always called it a "snow machine."

Why? Klim said it's probably because so many people in the state -- doctors, teachers, students -- use it for the daily commute, not just fun. On a visit to a Fairbanks high school, he noticed the parking lot had no cars or trucks, just those machines.

By The Reliable Source  |  October 21, 2008; 1:02 AM ET
Categories:  Love, Etc.  
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Comments

Snowmobile or snow machine, they're still stupid, inefficient and wasteful toys for yahoos and nitwits.

Posted by: andy | October 21, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I GUESS FROM YOUR ONE SENTENCE COMMENT YOU MUST HAVE ONE ---
OR IS THERE ANOTHER "TOY" THAT WOULD LABEL YOU AS A NITWIT OR A YAHOO

Posted by: MY WORLD | October 21, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Snow machines or whatever you call them are a MUST for certain people who need them on their job - such as park rangers, ranchers who need to bring feed to their life stock and others.
But for recreation? And for racing cross country in fragile ecosystems and wildlife habitats? No way!
I even question their use where ordinary automobiles would do the trick.

Posted by: RHSchumann | October 21, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I lived in Fairbanks twice, the parking lots at Lathrop and West Valley High Schools were filled with cars and trucks. I did have a neighbor who commuted to work on his snow machine, but not very often as it was frowned upon (we lived on post).

Posted by: ArmyWife | October 22, 2008 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Snowmobiles do not hurt the fragile ecosystem in any way. They ride on a layer of snow and ice, unlike hikers who destroy everthing they trample on. And the new snowmobile engines burn cleaner than your lawnmower. Think about it.

Posted by: IamJoe | October 22, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Snowmobile or snow machine, either way they are an absolute blast to ride. No girly boys allowed.

Posted by: Anti Andy | October 22, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

So they refer to a *snowmobile* in Alaska as a *snow machine*, ay?! Gotta be different, huh?! Must be the affect MOOSE meat has on the gray matter between their ears!?!?? Or it's an Eskimo thing, ay?!?!

Everyone in the lower 48 knows that a *Snow Machine* is what the ski lodges use to MAKE snow for the slopes, ay?!?!

Posted by: Bigrcube | October 23, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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