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History / Background

Markesan Sno-Drifters

Sno-Drifter History

The Markesan Sno-Drifters were established in 1967. And are proud to be one of the original founding clubs of this states rich snowmobiling heritage, with our roots reaching out to the foundation of what is todays Antique Snowmobile Club Of America (ASCOA), established in near-by Green Lake.

Our growth has guided us through the days of over 100 snowmobile manufacturers and grooming trails with a 1971 Ski-Doo Alpine dragging a bedspring, to only 4 manufacturers and our newly purchased 2002 SUR-TRAC TM 125 class "A1" groomer.

The late 70's proved to be a growth period for the club, when the Markesan Sno-Drifters merged with nearby Prairie Drifters to create one club. With that we doubled our membership and now had two Ski-doo Aplines to groom our 18 or so miles of trail, talk about progress.

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Our New Sur-Trac Fresh Off The Truck From Canada

Throughout the '80's the club continued to improve it's status and equipment, which most of us know was difficult, as we began to see years of no snow and the loss of even more dwindling snowmobile manufacturers. But we dredged on, it was during this period we began searching for alternative methods of trail grooming to replace our old Alpine powered units. A couple different "odd" tracked units were tried with no luck, and then we purchased the first of our "modern" equipment, with the purchase of a used "Bombie". This was a vast improvement over what we had prior, and served us faithfully for a few years until added trail mileage and increased maintenance and lack of needed power lead us to the purchase of a used Track Truck. Again, this unit, the newest that we had ever own to that point, with heated cab, radio, and room for two people, was great and worked great. Then again, as we grew and added more miles of trail and began custom grooming for neighboring clubs, we found that we were once again under equipped, so we began searching the marketplace. And the following year added a 1976 Thikol Sprite to our equipment, and it had a front mounted sno-blade, something we had never before had.

It was at this time that we made another decision, although we had a power unit we had nothing for it to pull, do we spend $5000 on a new drag or can we make our own. It was decided that with the talent and know how within our club that we would make our own. So as a summer project we borrowed a nearby clubs drag, that had just purchased a new Arrowhead drag, and some pictures and measurements taken from the club we purchased the groomer from, who had also made their own drag, we came up with ideas. We began with basic size and cutter configuration of the Arrowhead drag and improved upon it from there. We felt that 4 wheels in our situation would not be the ticket, so we incorporated a large 4' dia. corrugated steel roller on the rear of the unit used not only to pack the trails but also raise and move the entire drag itself. Then we also did not like the typical low mounted stiff hitch on most units, this is where we assimilated a design for a 5th wheel type hook up from the club we purchased the groomer from. They had also found that this type of hitch provided greater versatility in their situation, and they were right. This drag design allows us to raise the entire drag 4 feet off the trail surface and spin the power unit 90 degs. to the drag for extremely versatile maneuvering. With a couple weekends of cutting and welding from our club members we had a very effective drag for a fraction of the cost of a new one. And it worked great on the snow, after only one small design revision. With this unit being much larger and powerful than our Track Truck, it soon became our primary unit, and after one year of having 2 groomers, found that the Track Truck was no longer needed and we sold it the following year.

Then in 1996,  it was voted to upgrade our grooming equipment once again, so the search began. It was then that we found and purchased our next unit, a 1990 LMC 1800 from Ontonogon, MI . This unit again was a nice clean, modern unit and a vast improvement over our old unit with more power from a big Cat turbodiesel engine, and it's a much more efficient running machine, to groom our now almost 70 miles of trail.

Once again, in 2001, the success as a club has fostered our most recent purchase. It was brought up at our March meeting that with the balance of our treasury, the feasibility of upgrading groomers was once again available to us. So a committee was formed, research was done, and at our April meeting a decision made to place an order for a new SUR-TRAC Groomer. These are very impressive, tractor based, track groomer, made from a New Holland farm tractor for reliability, power & ease of maintenance, then fitted with a track system to turn it into a very capable & dependable snow grooming machine. Visit our Contact Information/Guestbook page under related links for the SUR-TRAC website for more info.

Well I'm glad to announce a new era for the Sno-Drifters club which was back in the '90's, but as of the summer of 2008 the Markesan Sno-Drifters has officially taken occupency of our new permanent home. Yes we officially moved into our new shop, a brand new 40 x 60 bulding complete with radiant floor heat and plenty of storage space for all our stuff in one location (after we get it all organized) and it's right on the trail head coming out of the north west side of Markesan.

Here it is 10 years already since we purchased our SUR-TRAC Groomer, and the question has once again been asked, Is it time for a new groomer? Well with much discussion and research, pricing of new units, pricing to update our existing unit, it has been decided that we will keep and update our current SUR-TRAC groomer. So Joe, from J & C Trucking, loaded it up in May and hauled it back to Mike our SUR-TRAC dealer in Wausau, for a complete workover which included many updates and maintainance to the New Holland power unit, new tracks, updates to the front blade to allow greater lifting height, and a completely new and redesigned Hi-Lift Drag which will allow for greater lifting height of the drag as well, not that it's nessesarily a bad thing because that means we have alot of snow, but hopefully to prevent us from getting stuck as we had several instances last year. Anyway, Joe returned our SUR-TRAC in late July, so it's back and ready to go for hopefully another great year of snowmobiling.

So if you see us grooming our trails while your out riding, feel free to stop us and take a look at our equipment and ask questions and see what a club can accomplish with some ingenuity, talent, and a lot of HARD WORK.

Thanks for your interest in us.

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OUR OBJECTIVE: Is to promote, foster, and encourage the sport of snowmobiling in the State of Wisconsin for such purposes as to stimulate family outings.