Best of Old Sled Zone: 2018

So far in 2018, we have had lots of positive feedback on our continuing series showcasing vintage and old snowmobiles.

An ’69 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640 ER.
An ’69 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640 ER. Photo courtesy Keith Powell

So far in 2018 we have had lots of positive feedback on our continuing series showcasing vintage and old snowmobiles. We call the popular series The Old Sled Zone. We are confident this reflects both the nostalgia and passion snowmobilers continue to feel about these vintage machines from a bygone era.

We are pleased to re-post the “most liked” of the vintage sleds we have posted during the first 6 months of 2018 – based on the number of Facebook likes each posting received.

With 847 Facebook likes, this article takes the number five spot: Old Sled Zone—1969 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640 ER. 

I recently came across a big, bulky 1969 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640 ER perched in the back of a pickup truck owned by Gord Martin of Cranbrook. Gord has a number of old sleds, some in original condition like this old Alpine and some in mint, restored condition. This ’69 Ski-Doo Alpine Invader 640 ER is a twin-track workhorse model. (ER stands for electric start and reverse). This old Ski-Doo was originally sold by Hi Performance Sports Ltd, on 1957 Harvey Street, in Kelowna, B.C.

1969 was the year after insurance-salesman-turned-arctic-adventurer Ralph Plaisted and his group made an unbelievable trek to the North Pole riding Ski-Doo Olympiques. Looking at this husky Alpine Invader, they may have been a better choice for the Plaisted Expedition?

Here's how Ski-Doo went about promoting their 1969 line-up:

'Want a snowmobile so light-footed it floats over waist-high snow? No Problem! Ski-Doo.' —so stated Bombardier ads for the 1969 Ski Doo lineup. Promoted under the 'Ski-Doo ‘69 – Makes Fun No Problem' tag line their ads stated, “No snowmobile can boast a lighter footprint than the 1969 Ski-Doo. It comes from Ski-Doo’s lighter weight and perfect ratio of power to track. It gives Ski-Doo famous light-footed action over the deepest snow or slickest ice. And for 1969, Ski-Doo gives you a choice of three track widths: 15-inch Olympic series; new 19-inch Nordic series; and twin 15-inch track Alpine series for mountainous snow. You get fast efficient starting – quick, responsive steering.  You get all the power you need to climb steeper hills, haul a Ski-Boose (a Fiberglass snowmobile trailer) packed with gear and game, blaze your own trails through any snow-bound wilderness.  And most important, you get proven dependability that makes Ski-Doo the most reliable hunting and fishing partners of all!”

And remember 1969 was the year that Ski-Doo was leveraging insurance-salesman-turned-arctic-adventurer Ralph Plaisted’s expedition to the North Pole on a Ski-Doo.

Here’s some copy touting that adventure:

“It takes a rugged, remarkable snowmobile to challenge the treacherous Polar Ice Cap and reach the North Pole.  It takes a snowmobile that can start every time in 65 degree below-zero weather.  It takes a snowmobile with famous light-footed action to cross the Arctic Ocean on cracking, moving ice floes.  It takes a snowmobile with power to climb massive pressure ridges – carry men and equipment 825 miles, across the roughest terrain imaginable.  It takes Ski-Doo…the first snowmobile that would dare to reach for the Pole and make it!  All this adds up to polar proven performance…the kind that means “no problems’ to get in the way of your family fun.  You’ll never put your Ski-Doo through the grueling torture of the Plaisted Polar Expedition, 1968. But isn’t it reassuring to know you could?”

Evidently, Ski-Doo was originally cool to the idea of sponsoring the Plaisted Polar Expedition but ended up providing the Ski-Doo Olympiques machines for the adventure. After Plaisted's successful trek to the North Pole, Ski-Doo warmed up to idea and used Plaisted's trek as a selling point for the endurance of its Ski-Doo models.

We look forward to featuring some of Gord Martin’s and his friends other old snowmobiles in the future. Thanks to Gord for sharing his enthusiasm for these old snowmobiles.

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