So far, this season is shaping up to be one of the snowiest on record, which is great for snowmobiling in most parts of the state. Before heading out, you can check with the local clubs to find out trail conditions in a particular area.

“We’ve had some really awesome trail conditions this season so far because of all the snow,” said Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association. “I am really encouraged and am looking forward to great riding on some of the best trails in the Northeast.”

The snow was great when those who love old-time snowmobiles took their heirlooms out on the trails in the Bangor area for the third annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride on Jan. 15, sponsored by the Paul Bunyan Snowmobile Club.

The number of participants and spectators has grown every year. More than 80 snowmobiles (including vintage and newer models) and their riders took part in the trek from the clubhouse on Union Street in Bangor to the Penobscot Snowmobile Club in Hermon.

“The turnout was tremendous. We had twice as many sleds as last year,” said Marcia Mower, a member of the Paul Bunyan club and an organizer of the event. “The ride went off without a hitch. We had a sled or a vehicle at all of the road crossings to stop traffic so the group could cross together. That worked well this year. Only six of the vintage sleds broke down during the ride and needed assistance in either getting back to the trailer in Bangor or to the Hermon club, whichever was closer.”

The ride began bright and early at 7:30 a.m., as snowmobilers gathered at the clubhouse for coffee, doughnuts and to check out the antique sleds.

“This year there was a large number of people who just stopped by to see the old sleds. At one point I think I counted over 115 people,” said Mower.

That many older sleds all in one place — either at the clubhouses or on the trail — attracted onlookers.

Everywhere the group went, people gathered around to ask questions about the old sleds as well as restoration techniques and tips. Snowmobilers traveled at a slower speed than usual, going 20 miles per hour most of the way.

They also brought along spare parts, such as belts and spark plugs, and tow ropes just in case of a breakdown on the trail.

Club member Toby Williams of Bangor came up with the idea for the ride several years ago because he loved tinkering with old sleds and scouring the countryside for parts. Williams began going on rides with a small group of friends who also owned vintage sleds. He decided this kind of ride would be a great event for larger groups of snowmobilers and the idea for an annual vintage ride was born.

At the first ride began in 2009, there were 14 vintage sleds along with nine newer sleds.

This year, at the end of the ride in Hermon, there was a meal of “hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, shepherd’s pie and whoopie pies for dessert” for the large group, said Mower.

There are plans for a fourth Vintage Snowmobile Ride next year, with hopes that with each passing year, there will be more participants.

Cathy Genthner is a registered Maine Guide licensed to guide snowmobile trips. She owns River Bluff Camps in Medford, located off ITS-83. She can be reached at:

[email protected]