The Johnson Skee Horse like the one pictured from 1966 was a 14 horsepower screamer for the time. As long as you were on a driveway, hard crust or a frozen Maine lake, it ran super.
But due to the extreme weight, if you got off the trail in three feet of new white powder, you did not go far until you bottomed out and sunk.
Then it was wait until spring or coax one of my three older brothers to help me dig it out of the Maine farm field.
The sled had a habit of the throttle sticking so once went air borne over a wood pile and had to bail off. Watching the sled head down the driveway to the busy US Rt 2 wondering if it would get hit.
It did not and by the time it crossed the road, the vibration caused the cold throttle cable to release. Graduated to a 1967 Sno Jet made in Thetford Mines, Quebec. Because dad got tired of digging us out. Hearing the complaints of the Skee Horse on an open field.
My Uncle Carl Hagan sold them and the 13.8 horsepower blue machine was much light, nimbler and I only had one complaint. The compression for an 11 year old was intense, severe. As I cranked my heart out on the starter cord, it would recoil and pull me hard into the engine casing, bruising fingers. Causing bleeding. So kept idling once I got it going. Not turned off because of the production pain to get it purring again.
The add-age for Maine snow sledding in the 1960's was "You tinker for two hours to use it for one".
Learned alot about mechanics and patience. No one went too far from the Maine farm land either as you did not want to get stranded. The trail system was make your own, help yourself. No Tucker groomers, club houses with organized sled heads running them like today.
As an adult, graduated to a Cobra Polaris that was uglier than sin but was a performer with its 440 air cooled engine. Bought from another Uncle Cedaric Benn. My first new sled in 1989 that was a Polaris 3 cylinder 650 that would fly bought from Elwood Tidd et all out on the Calais Road. Then another Polaris Storm that satisfied the need for speed.
New snow sleds have wider tracks, wider ski stance, gas shocks, reverse and are built to move on new groomed trails. There are 13,000 miles of snow sled trails to explore in Maine. Nowadays, Yamaha, Ski Doo, Polaris and Artic Cat wrap up the field but when I was 10, there were 50 brands of snow machines to ride. Boa Ski, Ski Whizz, John Deer Liquifiers, Rupp Nitros, Skiroule RTX's that were drop dead gorgeous and sleek.
Here's the list. New sleds are liquid cooled with radiators under your feet to keep them toasty along with electric thumb / handlebar warmers for your paws. But what if it won't run?
Here's a site to trouble shoot and get the snow sled fired up and purring. Visit Maine..the name is "Vacationland" after all! Don't let a little new white stuff scare you away! See Maine from a snow sled!
Riding along, seeing a snowshoe hare rabbit zip across the trail.
Visting with a white tail Maine deer drinking at an open brook.
A mountain covered in snow, and sunsets out of this world in our lap during a stop on the trail!
Get off the couch, put down the controller, circle the calendar for a weekend to come to Maine to rent a snow sled.
I can promise you the white snow fever and thrill of being on a snow sled, snowmobile in Maine will make you a sledder for life!
With new high tech clothing there is no reason to be cold either.
Join a local club and meet some super people in Aroostook County ! Explore ! Learn more about Maine snow sledding.
I'm in Maine, the way life should be.