Rear Engine Panther becomes a reality...
Written by Paul Shearer   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 14:37

It started several years ago when I bought a 67 p8 panther for parts, the engine was put on a shelf, and the rest of the sled was sold to a friend. I'd had a project in mind for that engine since the day I got it, I wanted to build a rear engine Arctic Cat panther.


Arctic Cat stopped production of rear engine machines in 1966, and being a rear engine sled enthusiaist, I figured I would carry on what Arctic had quit. I scoured my personal junkyard to find just the right pieces for the build, and this past fall, with no snow to ride on, my boys and I built my dream.


Here's a Utube video about the build, I hope you enjoy it.

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The Yellow and the Black.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 20:46

Remember those old yellow Ski-Doo snowmobiles from the 1960s with the black stripe around the hood? You know -like the one Ralph Plaisted rode to the North Pole and Steve Ave won the Eagle River World Championships with? The kind that Grandpa had, or the one you took your very first ride on?

In 2009, the little yellow machine that made winter fun will celebrate an historic milestone. The light and maneuverable snowmobile invented by Joseph Armand Bombardier turns 50 years old.josephbombardier_snowmobile

His patented rubber sprocket, coupled with an endless rubber belt, provided the essential components in an amazing story of success, and became the enduring logo of L'Auto-Neige Bombardier, maker of tracked transport vehicles.

Bombardier's dream of producing a sin­gle person vehicle was held in check by motor size. He built a prototype in 1949. utilizing his own engine design. It was too expensive to produce.

The power problem was solved in the late 1950s with the availability of the Kohler four-stroke single-cylinder engine. More prototypes were constructed, and in 1959 the yellow, tin cab Ski Dog was intro­duced to the world.


The little machines became immensely popular, and production numbers soared to 5,000-plus by 1963, a year of transition.

Tin cabs were replaced by Fiberglass. The twin track, single Ski RD8, forerunner to the Alpine, was introduced. Rotax two-cycle engines became exclusive, and the tiny, 148cc lost Rotax appeared and disap­peared. Kohler engine options remained available by dealer or distributor.

Model names were first used in 1965.

The 165cc chalet had a short run, but the Alpine and Olympic would become stan­dards for years. The Canadian Postal Service even issued a commemorative stamp when the Olympic name was retired in 1979!

The largest selling brand in North America, Ski-Doo became synonymous with snowmobile. Whatever brand you rode, you were "Ski Dooing."

This popularity did not occur by acci­dent. It was the result of an excellent mar­keting scheme. An advertising budget of $32.000 in 1964 expanded to $5 million by 1970. Eighteen North American distribu­tors and 2,000 dealers provided sales and service.

Yellow was the trademark color. The first departure was the Nordic in 1972, with a black hood and yellow side panels. Imagine the chagrin of purists as the 1973 TNT Silver Bullet was introduced, having only a tiny strip of yellow on the side of the hood!

Much was done to keep Bombardier in the public eye. Plaisted's North Pole expe­ditions were sponsored by Ski-Doo. Dollars were pumped into a highly suc­cessful racing campaign, developing TNT, Blizzard, and other performance machines. Ave, Ferland, Duhamel and Karpik were winners on the race track as well as in advertising.

Joseph Armand Bombardier died in 1964, leaving the company to son Germain. While reluctant to remove funds from the industrial side of the corporation to finance the recreational side, his 1966 successor and brother-in-law, Laurent Beaudoin, was not.

1969_ski_doo_olympique_12_3_77_6aIn 1969, Bombardier purchased plastic parts manufacturer Les Plastiques La Salle, and Roski Ltee., a fiberglass compa­ny. Soon was added a foam seat facility, a chrome plating enterprise, and even a tex­tile manufacturer to produce their own clothing!

In 1970, they purchased Lohnerwerke Gmb H of Vienna, Austria, to obtain their subsidiary, Rotax. Another plant was secured by buying Moto Ski in 1971.

Producing 210,000 units and owning nearly 40 percent of the market, 90 percent of the corporation's profits came from Ski-Doo snowmobiles by the early 1970s.

Low snow winters and the 1973 OPEC oil embargo put a death grip on the indus­try. Bombardier, also in financial straits, survived by entering other markets. Diversifying enabled the struggling com­pany to become a global giant in aerospace and rail manufacture.

Bombardier produced their one mil­lionth snowmobile in 1974, a TNT Everest.

They very nearly acquired Polaris Industries in 1980, the sale blocked by U.S. Anti-trust authorities.

A 1994 Summit was then" two millionth snowmobile.

Many years after Outboard Marine Corporation attempted to buy out Bombardier in the 1960s, their Johnson and Evinrude engine division was obtained in 2001.

Elan, 12/3, Alpine, Olympic, TNT and Blizzard are names belonging to a glorious past, and will long be remembered and revered by the Ski-Doo faithful.

The little yellow machine that could become the little yellow machine that did, and in a resounding manner.

Happy 50th birthday, Ski-Doo!


Reprinted with permission. More of Steve's work can be found in Iron Dogs Tracks the official newsletter of the Antique Snowmobile Club Of America.

Braapfest 2012...the legacy grows.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 15:17

It's been a pretty crappy winter across the Midwest, the snowfalls have been sparse and quickly melted away by a obviously misguided Mother Nature. Waconia managed to be help albeit with many lack of snow/ thin ice conditions. With all the subpar weather and conditions made it hard to enjoy this otherwise joyful season we know as winter. Well, luckily there's one bright spot left before spring gets here: Braapfest!


What is Braapfest? Braapfest is the brainchild of long time vintage snowmobile enthusiast Craig Crowl from Springstead Wis. Craig started this event back in 2008, the first years turnout was a good indication of things to come. Each and every year since 08, this event keeps getting bigger and better. Held at the Springstead Lake Lodge, the setting is nearly perfect. Sled races, games, and bonfires are held on the ice right outside the lodge so there's not a bad seat in the house. Several other lodges are within easy riding distance when you are looking for a change of atmosphere too.


When is Braapfest? Braapfest starts Thursday the 23 and ends Sunday the 26th of Feb 2012.


Where is Braapfest? As mentioned earlier, it's located on Springstead Lake. Address: 1065 North Springstead Road  Park Falls, WI 54552


What can I expect? Here's the schedule:

Weekend Schedule  2012

Thursday February 23th:

Ride to Lake Superior: 150 mile Braap to Lake Superior. We will leave at 10AM. Expect to be gone for 10 hours and we will be riding newer machines.

Friday February 24th:

11AM      Ride to Price County (vintage): Expect a 25 mile round trip with

lots of pit stops.

6PM       Dinner @ Chicos: Mexican food and great cocktails. Across the lake

from the Lodge.

9PM      PARTY : @ The Lodge   huge bonfire on the lake

Saturday February 25th:

7-10AM:     Breakfast : In the dining room of the Lodge.

10AM:  VINTAGE RIDE: Come ride with all the sleds. Expect a 30 mile ride

With a lunch stop of all you can eat pizza 2 The Birches Resort.

2PM:  We Ride Anything: On the lake in front of the Lodge. Drag strip, ovals,

games, and lots of fun. Food & beer served on the ice in our huge

heated tent. Loud Pipes Contest.


6PM: Dinner @ The Lodge:   Prime Rib, Shrimp, Ribs.

3PM- ?: Huge Fire on the Lake:

Outlaw Ditchrunners   LIVE 9PM-1AM

Sunday February 26th:

7am – 11am: Breakfast at the Lodge.


Here's the official flyer:



You want more info about this "can't miss" event? Check out the official thread in the Vintagesledders Forum.


Contact info for Craig Crowl, Springstead Lake Lodge: (715) 583-4403

And be sure to check out the Springstead Lake Lodge website too:


See you there!!!!!!!!!!



In remembrance of Edgar
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 12:23

The Antique Snowmobile Club of America is very proud to honor the "grandfather of snowmobiling" Edgar Hetten with this beautiful carved granite plaque. The plaque depicts the man and machine, in historic setting right after Edgar's 1960 trip across Alaska. This project was headed up by Gary Koska, of Cold Spring Mn. What a wonderful tribute to a man who changed winters for many of us.Thank you.



Here's the story in Gary's words:

I'm from Cold Spring, Minn., and a member of the Antique Snowmobile Club of America (ASCOA).

I first met Edgar in 1975 at the Dayco Spectacular oval race in Alexandria, Minn. I had bought a new Arctic Cat 440 Z and decided I was going to be a racer.

When I arrived in Alexandria with my new Z, it only had 2.8 miles on it. And when it was my turn to take to the track, I shot off the first turn and did a few flips.

As I sheepishly made my way back to the pits, I was met by this stately older gentleman who said to me, "Looks like you didn't come to prepared!" This older gent was Edgar, of course.

We talked for a long time, and I ended up with an invitation to Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, for a job interview in the computer area. Well, that opportunity didn’t work out and, six months later, I was a truck driver in Alaska

But, from that date on, Edgar always knew my name whenever our paths crossed, and I always enjoyed his company. He was one of the Guys.

That’s my Edgar Story, and what made me want to do something special for him after his passing last February.

So several months ago, I started the ball rolling on getting a tribute for Edgar Hetteen, founder of Arctic Cat and Polaris. It's a 15 x 18-in. block of Labrador Green granite from Brazil, then processed by a local granite counter shop.

A friend of mine, Ron Dietman, who owns Free Bird Monuments in Kimball, Minn., did the fantastic etching on the stone. Tom Anderson from the World Snowmobile Museum in Eagle River, Wis., has reserved space for the Edgar Tribute, as well as a similar stone in the making for Bud Wieman, one of the founders of the ASCOA.

We ALL miss Edgar, and I particularly miss my monthly trips to Grand Rapids, Minn., to give him his "secret stash" of burnt peanuts.

For more information about the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, please visit their website:

Scorpion Homecoming 2012
Monday, 30 January 2012 15:17

Just eight years ago, the Harrison family had a dream. Let's host a Scorpion reunion, a "Homecoming" of sorts. Like the old saying goes,"if you build it they will come", Scorpion enthusiasts came from all over to attend the inaugural event. The small town home of the Scorpion was buzzing with men and their machines.


This years event promises to be a great one, the feature sled will be the TKs of 1979-1981 . Stop out for the day, take in the trail ride around Serpent lake, and meet some of the nicest people in the hobby. The Harrison's also host an open house at the Scorpion museum after the show. Make plans to attend if you can, the museum houses a wonderful display of Scorpion/Trail-A-Sled history. Show starts 10a.m. in Crosby Memorial Park, Crosby Mn. Feb.4 2012.

For more information on this event, Please check out the Trail-a-Sled website.

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