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Aggression and Innovation: The History of Snowmobiles and Carbide Runners

Snowmobiles & Carbide Runners

Traveling in the snow used to be a pain. Snowshoes – those oversized tennis rackets from cartoons – were the best bet when traversing powder on foot. Sled dog teams made the process faster and more efficient, but feeding and caring for a team of huskies was difficult over long distances.

Big Beginnings

Believe it or not, it took longer to create an efficient snow vehicle than it did to launch mankind into the air. The Wright Brothers experienced flight back in 1903, but it was five more years before the Lombard log hauler (the first over-snow vehicle) made its debut. Similar to a locomotive, this lumbering steam-powered machine gained traction using two large tracks in the rear. The front end steered with two large skis. It was the only design that could skate across the top of the snow without sinking – and the snowmobile’s first ancestor was born.

The next five years provided several new developments. O.C. Johnson tried crafting a snow machine, although it fell through and had difficult steering. In 1913, a New Hampshire man named Virgil White designed a Model T conversion kit, adding tracks and skis to the popular family car. This was the first time the word “snowmobile” was used. A dedicated snow vehicle didn’t appear until 1922, however, when 15-year-old J. Armand Bombardier utilized the engine from the Model T in a more lightweight and streamlined designed.

Advancing Technology and Chasing the Future

Over the next century, people around the world created thousands of different snowmobile styles. They experimented with all shapes and sizes, but one aspect remained largely unchanged – the skis. Many of the earliest skis were wood. The ski material then switched to metal, which was much more durable despite the added weight. Finally, people discovered the benefits of carbide.

This material is ultra-strong and able to withstand hundreds or thousands of miles of snow and ice (depending on the condition of the ground underneath). Carbide cuts grooves into the powder, so you have the most responsive steering possible. It’s a true modern marvel for snow travel – and there’s even more potential for the future.

BITEHARDER has changed the traction game. Again. Now, you needn’t worry about constantly replacing your carbide runners or taking your machine to a shop. You can slap our revolutionary diamond-coated Stud Sharpening and Carbide Runner tools into a cordless drill and sharpen those carbide runners without even removing them from the snowmobile. The past has been good, but the future looks so much better.