Tom Avery's Bio

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF
Hi, My name is Tom Avery, and I am a Snowmobile fanatic. You can ask anyone, because that's what I tell them. You can even ask my wife... well, maybe not. It's not a good thing to remind her. I started snowmobiling in 1968, at the age of 10. Dad bought a '66 Polaris Lil' Whip. Single cylinder, 8hp, JLO engine. It'd only do 20 mph, but we thought it was really fast back then. What you have to realize, compared to the snowmobiles today that have ten inches of suspension travel, and all you do is add gas and oil, is that back then you rode for an hour, and fixed it for ten!! Our Lil' Whip even had the wheel kit. We didn't use it that much in the summer, but I did manage to turn one inch of snow in the back yard into a mud bowl, by going round and round in circles for like 2 hours straight.

I graduated from the Polaris to a SnoPony. This one had a real engine. 340cc fan cooled two cylinder, with 28 horsepower. It had a narrow ski stance, and a simple wedge seat that was barely big enough for one person. We did all the usual tricks as kids. Tied all sorts of objects to the back of the snowmobile and try to kill each other. Toboggans, Snow boards (of the 70's), saucers, etc. I always preferred driving the snowmobile to riding behind. I wrapped my brother and kid sister around numerous trees while playing crack the whip on the golf course behind the house. I swear that the reason my hands and feet get so cold these days is from all the time I spent working outside in the dead of winter on the snowmobiles. It really was ride for an hour, and fix for 10.

In 1975 the SnoPony motor died. I saw an ad for a 440 electric start motor for $100. Ah ha, electric start, that would be the answer to all the starting problems. I bought the motor, and in two days shoe-horned it into the SnoPony. Unfortunately the exhaust ports went out right where the steering hoop was. Some major mods to the steering system were made, and we were off and running again. The next summer, with nothing else to do, I tore apart the 340cc engine to find two blown head gaskets. Fixing that, I realized I had a killer go-kart engine. I conned a friend of mine into selling me his go-kart that had a 5hp Briggs and Stratten engine on it with a torque converter. Next thing you knew I had a 28hp Gokart!! But despite that, and all the mini-bikes, and motorcycles, my true love has always been snowmobiles.

In 1975, I bought a Skidoo T'NT 340 F/A, much to my parents dismay. They thought I should be saving that money. Even though it was a 340, it was a psuedo-racing sled. I used it to dominate the golf course. The winter of '76/'77 was especially good for the east side of Cleveland if you liked snow. With both the SnoPony, and the Skidoo, I had a friend over every day after school to go riding. Well, until one friend's mom happen to be going down the street in her car. There was a bit of snow on the road, and I was going faster on the tree lawn on the snowmobile, than she was on the road. ;-) Oh well. The after school riding was from about 4pm to 6pm. Then dinner, and open a calculus book for a while. Then ride the golf course till midnight. Despite having three 5 gal. gas cans, I was making runs to the gas station about every other day.

There were a number of riders on the golf course that all thought they were hot. Some had new 600cc Arctic Cats. It didn't matter. We started off on a lap around the course, and regardless of how far back in the pack I started, I'd be in the lead before we got all the way around the first time. Twenty years later, I still meet people who knew me by reputation back then. If only I'd known it then.

In working for Digital Equipment in the late 80's I got into a a snowmobiling notes group. Then I moved on to the Internet and Alt.Snowmobiles from its inception. I helped move the group to its present home at Rec.Sport.Snowmobiles. There, in 1996, I ran the first organized tracking of new sled purchases. Today I ride Polaris snowmobiles. Being in Cleveland, the winters are often suspect, and the trails are nearly non-existent. I trailer to PA, NY, MI, and Canada. I fly to Salt Lake City, Utah, to ride in the mountains. I currently own a '95 XLT Special, a '97 Ultra that been piped, clutched, picked, and has a few other mods. I have a 80's something Kitty Kat for my son and daughter. I do all my own work on my sleds. I'll be managing the 'Ask the Expert' column and contributing in numerous other ways.

TA - Polaris Blue Blood Newsletter
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