In 2003, when my advertising agency, South End Media was just barely two years old, we began working with a group of Ski Doo snowmobile dealers in New Hampshire and Vermont. I was told, “Go up to the SnoDeo. It’ll give you a great chance to hang out with some of the guys.”
I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.
On a Friday morning, with printed out directions from Mapquest (pre-GPS), I got in my aging VW Golf and headed north from Concord to Coleman State Park in Stewartstown, not far from the Canadian border. Cell phone service disappeared somewhere around Plymouth. Three hours later I parked on Diamond Pond Rd. totally unprepared for what I was about to see.
Ignoring school busses that turned out to be event shuttles, I wound up walking three miles up the hill to Coleman, landing in a sea of people and snowmobiles. It’s ten in the morning on a Friday. I thought, “It has to be a holiday in Canada. Where did all these people come from way up here in the middle of nowhere?!”
It turned out I had walked into a snowmobile paradise. Thousands of people from all over New England, other parts of the Northeast, and Southern Quebec had descended on this little state park for the weekend to test ride the next year’s snowmobile models from Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski Doo and Yamaha. The Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club’s NH SnoDeo is the first place in the U.S. East of the Mississippi where snowmobilers can try out next year’s snowmobiles.
Getting picked for the team.
Four years later, I wasn’t just a visitor. South End Media had been hired to help bring in new sponsors and vendors and help promote the SnoDeo. What an initiation we got! The first day of our first SnoDeo we had a blizzard that was so wild that we had to shut the event down. Imagine a snowmobile event being shut down by a snowstorm? We had whiteout conditions with 60mph winds that even picked up a few snowmobiles and tossed them around.
The next year we started Friday morning at 37 degrees below zero. Now, I’m wondering what have I gotten our “flatlander” agency into? It turns out what I had gotten us into is eleven years of being part of “one of the top ten must-see snowmobile events.” That’s what Snowgoer magazine said about us a few years ago.
We have powered through The Great Recession, high oil prices, a first ever cancellation due to lack of snow, the SnoDeo’s 25th anniversary and a few bumps in the road. SnoDeo keeps on going. We made a lot of friends in a part of New Hampshire where I never thought I’d spend so much time.
Welcome to another world.
A trip to the NH SnoDeo gives you a chance to test ride as many new snowmobiles as time allows in a day, shop at our vendors, see vintage snowmobiles, go for a helicopter ride and enjoy some good hearty food. But it also gives you a chance to road trip through New Hampshire and discover our spectacular North Country and the Great North Woods. Visit some of the towns “above the notches” you don’t get to see very often: Twin Mountain, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Colebrook, Stewartstown, Dixvillle Notch, Errol.
Whether you’ve been riding snowmobiles all your life, or want to be introduced to snowmobiling, you must come to SnoDeo. You’ll meet a bunch of nice people who love their sport and welcome new riders like old friends. I bet you find yourself embracing New Hampshire winters; and doing your snow dance come Thanksgiving.
Fifteen years since that first trip to SnoDeo, my mode of transportation has greatly improved, you can find SnoDeo’s new home down the hill from Coleman State Park with GPS, we have Wi-Fi in the Warming Hut and there’s cell phone service just about everywhere.
That’s a SnoDeo!
The Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club’s 26th annual NH SnoDeo is March 2nd & 3rd. It’s the club’s major fundraiser for the year. Don’t miss “Braaps & Brews.” As SnoDeo winds down on Saturday, head over to Log Haven on Route 26 in Errol for a beer tasting hosted by NH Distributors featuring Newburyport Brewing Co. and Stoneface Brewing Co. This is an additional fundraiser for the Swift Diamond Riders and the SnoDeo.
For more information about SnoDeo and “Braaps & Brews,” visit us at NHSnoDeo.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for real time updates throughout the weekend. We invite you to post your pictures and stories of SnoDeo too.
South End Media’s president and creative director started his agency in 2001 after a 21-year career in radio as a DJ, production director and promotions director. South End Media still works with many of those Ski Doo dealers to this day. They also represent companies across a spectrum of industries from home decorating to tourism.
Kurt lives in Concord with his wife, Lucie and their two cats, Newman and Gillie. In the winter you’ll find him skiing or grabbing a snowmobile ride. Summers are spent at Fenway Park, tooling around New England in his convertible and spending as much time as possible at Lake Winnipesaukee. Follow South End Media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all at @SouthEndMedia.