Vintage Snowmobile Mania

Ski Whiz enthusiasts jump on vintage snowmobile memorabilia.

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Left: The first-ever Whiz-N-Day was big news in Bellechester.

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At the peak of snowmobile manufacture, companies marketed machines and anything and everything to go with them. Ski Whiz made the Sno Cruiser, a sled pulled behind the snowmobile known as the "Skiboose." Produced in the early 1970s, the rig is a rare sight today, as many were put to work on farms as wood sleds after their life on the trails ended. Whiz-N-Day 2005 boasted three Skibooses, including one completely restored by collector and event organizer Joe Poncelet.

The Bellechester, Minn., show also featured an exhibit of Massey Ferguson/Ski Whiz memorabilia. Items displayed included owner's manuals, brochures, books and signs, patches, parts and decals. Among Joe's treasures: an original sled cover. He also recalled that Ski Whiz protective goggles and boots were originally available with the purchase of a new machine. An entire box of collectible matchbooks with the Ski Whiz sled on the cover was handed out to 2005 Whiz-N-Day participants. Those present also got a close look at the Ski Whiz clothing line, including snowmobile suits, sweaters, caps, mittens and helmets on display in the Bellechester Community Center.

The hall also served as a gathering spot for fellowship and refreshments. Tables were decorated with buckets of yellow-tinted snowballs (crafted from cotton balls) and yellow snowmen. Chili was accompanied by cookies frosted with favorite Ski Whiz model numbers on top. Baked goods were in plentiful supply: "Best of Show" was likely the Ski Whiz-shaped cake crafted by Lavonne Holton and her neighbor. Complete with heart-shaped gem headlights, the masterpiece arrived in one piece after being driven in from Merrill, Iowa.