'Snowmobile'? That Doesn't Cut It in Alaska.
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?
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.
The Reliable Source
October 21, 2008; 1:02 AM ET
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