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ArcticInsider Features Articles

Nun Like It

(8/23/2017)

Arctic Cat minibikes

It's the 1970s. Your a kid...part of the baby-boomer generation. Chances are, the prospect of riding a minibike was as powerful as any desire you'd yet experienced, although puberty might soon deliver some next-level desires.

The only desire that matched that of minibikes/dirt bikes, was the desire for snowmobiles.

Click to read more.

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My Favorite Sled: Rodney Dragan's 100-105 MPH Pantera

(8/18/2017)

Rodney Dragan and his 100-105 mph Arctic Cat Pantera.

Today marks the first of what will be a semi-regular feature here that I'm calling "My Favorite Sled."

To make it work, I'll need your help and submissions (click on the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page).

Today's story is from Wisconsin's favorite son, Rodney Dragan, and his 100-105 MPH 1991 Arctic Cat Pantera.

It's a great story of machine that's been ridden hard and put away wet.

Click and enjoy.

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TGIF: The Aug. 11, 2017 Edition

(8/11/2017)

Vintage Arctic Cat Arcticwear, for the family that dorks together.

I'm thankful that the family that plays together dresses in matching Arcticwear together, stays together.

I'm thankful for that form-fit style that can only be achieved by tucking my snow pants into my boots.

I'm thankful that one-piece snowmobile suits never go out of style.

And I'm thankful it's Friday, Aug. 11, 2017.

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Celebrating Production of the ZR 200 and Sno Scoot Snowmobiles

(8/9/2017)

2018 Arctic Cat ZR 200 and Yamaha Sno Scoot Production

This week, Arctic Cat began building 2018 model year Arctic Cat ZR 200 and Yamaha Sno-Scoot 200 snowmobiles.

The milestone was reason for celebration, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and group photo to mark the historic occasion.

Historic? Definitely!

I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that these Cat-designed sleds are the most important snowmobiles of the year, and perhaps the most important snowmobiles of the decade.

Click to read a bit more and to see some more pix.

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TGIF: The #44 Aug. 4, 2017 Edition

(8/4/2017)

I'm thankful for Steve Houle, one of the most badass racers/tuners/engineers and personalities I've ever met.

I'm thankful his H82LUZ mindset made him a nationally ranked racer on 3-wheels long before he became a snowmobile racing hall-of-famer.

I'm thankful Steve's company, Speedwerx, might in some small, tiny way, be influenced by the outstanding holeshots he usually got on three wheels.

I'm thankful for the next few days of relative tranquility (because once he catches wind that I posted this video, the payback could be hell).

And I'm thankful it's Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 (aka: #44 on a 3-Wheeler Day)!

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Roger Receives Serial Number One

(8/1/2017)

Arctic Cat's Roger Skime presented with his RS Edition snowmobile

Last week, Arctic Cat legend Roger Skime was presented a very special gift on behalf of everyone at Arctic Cat: a 2017 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 RS (Roger Skime).

Serial number 01.

The ceremony took place at Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, Minn., during a pause in the day where all employees came outside and paid their respects to the man who was so instrumental in the existence of the brand.

Only a couple hundred of these special snowmobiles were built prior to last season, in honor of the man himself. It's fitting and cool that Roger now has the very first one. Know Roger, it will take everything in his power NOT to ride the sled, because Roger wants to ride every sled. Really.

But I have a feeling that this machine will remain unridden, which is ironic when you think about it.

Congratulations to Roger and the Skime family. Likewise, congrats to the other lucky few who own RS Edition models.

Click to see the full-sized photos.

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Join the Crew: Aug. 5 Walk-For-Wishes with Tucker Hibbert

(7/27/2017)

Tucker Hibbert Walk For Wishes. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Interested in spending a few hours hanging out with Tucker Hibbert and a pile of like-minded people, all the while raising money for Make-A-Wish Minnesota? 

Join the gang on Aug. 5, 2017, at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis.

Just like last year, a donation of $20 or more confirms your spot on Team 68 and reserves your limited edition t-shirt. Every dollar raised by the team will go directly to Make-A-Wish Minnesota. The crew raised more than $10,000 last year...holy awesomeness!

To join Team 68, CLICK HERE and click the blue “JOIN TEAM” button. If you’re unable to attend the event, you can still join the team (and your Team 68 shirt gets mailed to you).

See you there!

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Let 'em Eat Cake

(7/24/2017)

Arctic Cat snowmobile passion. Eat cake!

Summer... graduations, weddings and Sunday evening trips for ice cream.

Oh, summer is also a good time to think about snowmobiling.

So let's all eat cake and celebrate the ride.

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TGIF: The June 30, 2017 Edition

(6/30/2017)

TGIF vintage sled with antlers

I'm thankful that vintage snowmobilers are so dang horny.

I'm thankful the buck stops here.

I'm thankful for Bambi, Bullwinkle and Rudolph.

And I'm thankful it's Friday, June 30, 2017

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King of Badass: 1971 Arctic Cat King Kat 800

(6/27/2017)

1971 Arctic Cat King Kat 800. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

The 1971 Arctic Cat King Kat 800...one of the original musclesleds!

Powered by the 800 Kawasaki four-banger, this and the 800 3-cylinder Hirth version were the biggest and gnarliest Arctic Cats of that year, and that era.

Only 124 of these babies were produced. They are among the most sought-after snowmobiles to this day.

This King Kat is owned by the Ische family of Glencoe, Minn., who allowed my to photograph it for the 50th Anniversary of Arctic Cat book that we produced in 2011.

To this day, and to my eyes, there is nothing that screams "BADASS!" on a snowmobile with quite the same authority as four cylinders sticking out of a hood.

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Hey Jughead (Snowmobiling is Comical)!

(6/16/2017)

Archie snowmobile comic magazine

Once upon a time, there was a generation of youth who read comic books. There were all sorts of comic books, from Marvel super-hero stuff to satirical MAD magazine to car-culture stuff like CARtoons. And pretty much everything in between.

This generation of youth read (and sometimes purchased) these comics at drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, bookstores and even comics stores.

If you were a snowmobiler WAY back then, your heart absolutely RACED on those rare occasions when a comic book featured your favorite sport. It was kind of like hitting the jackpot.

Funny now, looking back on a few examples of these comics from the early 1970s. The writers surely identified the subtle nuance of what the snowmobile experience was like back then: that sleds were often a bit unreliable.

I love that in our modern age, we can make a few clicks to watch video or see images of every single aspect of snowmobiling that exists today. Snowmobiling is literally at our fingertips. We're damn lucky.

But there's a part of me that appreciates (and wishes for) the simplicity of yesteryear. Of Archie, Dennis the Menace, Scooby Doo and snowmobiles that were tough to keep running a whole day.

Click to see a few more comics.

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Making Tracks: Happy Birthday, Roger Skime

(6/11/2017)

Roger and Bernice Skime. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Roger Skime turns 74 years old today.

To celebrate this day and the immeasurable impact Roger has had on the world, snowmobiling, Arctic Cat and so many individuals, I'd like to share a story written about him a few years ago by his granddaughter Kylie Lehrer.

It's an awesome story that truly captures Roger's essence.

Thanks to Kylie for sharing this remarkable insight into the man who's made so many meaningful and impactful tracks.

And Happy Birthday, Roger!

Click to read read more.

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Capturing the Kitty's Thunder

(5/30/2017)

2017 Arctic Cat Thundercat ZR 9000 Turbo. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

A new, modern Arctic Cat Thundercat returned to the frozen battlefields of speed this past winter.

It had some mighty deep tracks to follow to earn the name "Thundercat," as the original is still legendary among those who experience it.

It also had the challenge of overcoming the outstanding performance the previous 9000-Series machines that had been powered by the Suzuki twin turbo.

I'm gathering info for a story that will appear later this summer about where exactly the new T-Cat landed compared to its predecessors, both in stock and mod form. 

For now, I'll leave you with a few pix that visually capture this Kitty's thunder.

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Flashback: Feb. 22, 2012. Team Arctic Hillclimb Crew

(5/25/2017)

Team Arctic's Tupper, Kincaid, Shimpa & McClure. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Flashback. Feb. 22, 2012. Island Park, Idaho. Near Arctic Cat's mountain test facility.

(L-to-R): Todd Tupper, Rob Kincaid, Al Shimpa and David McClure. Each is a key member of Team Arctic's hillclimb race program. Tupper is the racer/engineer. continue reading ...


New Pro Open Rules: CSRA's Ken Avann Responds with His Opinion

(5/22/2017)

Pro Open Snocross racing from 2016. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Controversy?!? Right now there's plenty of it when it comes to the new rule for Pro Open snocross sleds for 2017.

Ken Avann, president of the Canadian Snowcross Racing Association (CSRA) was one of the principal architects of the new stock-sled-based rule change.

Click for Ken’s perspective on the new rule and what it will accomplish.

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Mash-Up Masterpiece: The Cat Kid's Custom Arctic Cat ZRThundercat

(5/16/2017)

Doug Hanson's custom Arctic Cat ZRT 600

Doug Hanson (aka "The Cat Kid") builds some truly wonderful custom Arctic Cat snowmobiles.

This ZRT/T-Cat mash-up featuring a bunch of Thundercat, ZR and performance goodies is a perfect example of his work.

Click to see some more of this fine sled.

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Inverted Thinking: Say Goodbye to Mod Sleds in Snocross

(5/4/2017)

Pro Open Snocross sleds, when they were truly Open. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Say “goodbye” to these stunning and tricked-out Pro Open mod sleds in snocross this coming season.

They’re gone, replaced by Stock sleds with raspier, slightly louder exhaust.

That sound you hear? Sadly, it’s not the howl of 160-hp mod engines and twin tuned pipes. Instead, it’s the proverbial road to hell, being paved with good intentions.

Click to read my rant.

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Flashback: September 2014. Arctic Cat Next Gen Bodywork

(4/27/2017)

Prototype of the 2018 Arctic Cat Next Gen bodywork. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Flashback to September 2014.

Inside the Arctic Cat styling shop in Thief River Falls, where Nathan Blomker and Corey Friesen worked their design and styling magic on what would eventually become the 2018 Next Gen bodywork.

Click to see and read a few nuggets from that.

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Q&A with John Collins, Vice President of Textron Specialized Vehicles

(4/24/2017)

John Collins, Vice President, Consumer, Textron Specialized Vehicles. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

In the three months since Textron announced its intention to buy Arctic Cat (and the six weeks since the sale was finalized), the brand’s loyal legion of riders, dealers and employees has wondered what the future would bring.

Last week I sat down with John Collins, Vice President of the consumer business for Textron Specialized Vehicles, and asked key questions about the future of Arctic Cat as part of Textron.

Click to read about Textron's plans for Arctic Cat, including its people and products.

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Q&A with "Duke" Johnson, the Million Mile Man

(4/21/2017)

Arctic Cat's Gary "Duke" Johnson. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

This week at Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, Minn., Gary “Duke” Johnson logged his last miles aboard a snowmobile (or ATV) as field test rider for Arctic Cat, a job he’s had since 1979. At the tender age of 64, the Thief River Falls native is riding off into the proverbial sunset called retirement, having ridden more than 1 million miles aboard snowmobiles during his career in the company's Field Test department.

Let that sink in for a moment. One. Million. Miles.

Yes, Duke has had a job that most of us would dream for: getting paid to ride snowmobiles.

I chatted with Duke this week about his career with Arctic Cat.

Click to read what it was like to become a million mile man.

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