by Rosemary Daver
Another year has gone by and once again it is time to announce the winner of the SnowRider website of the year! I had no idea what a wealth of wonderful sites dealing with snowmobiling there is out there. It proved to be a challenge but I found one that will appeal to most avid sledders. It will especially capture the attention of those with an interest in the history of snowmobiles and how the machine itself has evolved.
The Snowmobile Barn Museum stands out, not only for the fantastic design of the site but also for the content. The museum is located in Fredon, New Jersey and holds within its walls a collection of more than 400 snowmachines that span over 90 years. In addition, one may view a huge collection of snowmachine toys, ornaments, jewelry and adverts that have been gathered over the years by owner Dan Klemm. I was curious as to how long Mr. Klemm had been riding and what piqued his interest in gathering vintage sleds.
“Dan has been riding snowmobiles since 1965 and started repairing them in ’70 and started collecting snowmobiles in 1976. He saved the ones that parts could not be found for originally and afterwards started collecting rare and unusual sleds. About 10 years ago, he started collecting ‘showcase type’ of related items as well, knowing that he wanted to open a museum some day. These smaller items now number in the thousands and he still collects the antique and vintage sleds that number 400 total.”
I knew that there had to be a lot of interest in such an enormous and historic collection so I was bound to ask how many visitors the musuem had, on average.
Mr. Klemm replied that, “Vistors to the museum can range from 5 on a weekend up to 50. Occasionally we have special groups come in for the day and yesterday we had the local members of a vintage snowmobile club riding and socializing.”
The website itself is extremely well done. The design catches the eye and makes you want to explore it more. They provide plenty of information about the barn and the collection it houses but just enough to tantalize and make you want to visit. The links page gives sites that deal with antique snowmachines in case you would like to find out more about this fascinating topic. For those looking for that perfect gift, the site also offers a gift shop, in case you aren’t able to make it to the barn. The order page is very well set up and has amazingly clear pictures of the items to check out before ordering. My favourites were the toys!
The features page is another drawing point. Every month they feature different machines so there is always something new to learn about. They have great pictures and great tidbits of information to go with them. If you are interested in snowmachines that are a little different from the average, check it out. Kids will find this interesting!
For the snowmobile enthusiasts, they offer a forum page to discuss not only antique sleds but anything at all to do with snowmobiling. All sorts of information in these forums! The calendar page is a great way to find out what is going on in the area with the local clubs.
Finally, a common complaint is that sometimes websites and pages take too long to load. This is definitely not a problem with the Snowmobile Barn Museum website. This is what tipped the balance for me. So many congratulations to the Snowmobile Barn Museum, the 2003 winners of the SnowRider Website of the Year. Also, many thanks to Dan Klemm and Kathy Craig for answering my questions so well and for the use of the terrific pictures!
Pictures courtesy of the Snowmobile Barn Museum
Copyright 2003 by Rosemary Daver