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A November Day at Arctic Cat

Bobby Flame returns a suspension to Arctic Cat

Wouldn’t you know it…Bobby Flame (aka Kale Wainer) is here today. In addition to regularily completing compelling freestyle, tailstanding and ditch-banging maneuvers, Mr. Flame handles media relations duties at Arctic Cat. Here he’s returning a 2012 Slide Action skidframe that had been used by one of the magazines for photography.


2012 1100 Turbo Arctic Cats on the assembly line

The wonderful, familiar hum of the assembly line was turning out beautiful 2012 F1100 Turbos in Limited Edition trim. Lots-o-white!


2012 1100 Turbo Arctic Cats on the assembly line

Just last week it was 2012 Sno Pro 600 Race sleds flowing down this line. A day from now it will be M1100 Turbos.


Arctic Cat engineers

L-to-R: Engineers Troy Halvorson (Performance category) , Lynn Berberich (Touring and Utility) and Kevin Shindler (Mountain and XF) talk with Kale about next year’s model line. Seems a little weird to think that we haven’t even started the winter of 2012 and these guys are talking about 2013 sleds, but when you consider the lead times required for planning and execution of new products, these guys are always working at least one year into the future, and often many years.


Arctic Cat Marketing gurus

More future planning, this time with three core Marketing guys. L-to-R: John Tranby, Gary Nelson and the in-every-photo Kale Wainer. Here the conversation had transitioned away from strategizing about how to best explain the full-featured adjustability of Arctic Cat suspensions, to retelling of many gut-busting stories of our friend, the late C.J. Ramstad. Lots of fond memories and sincere heartache because of his passing.


I-500 Champs at the Black Cat

This time of year there’s a definite buzz in the air about the upcoming snowmobile season, and of course racing is part of that. During a quick lunch at the Black Cat, Team Arctic champs Brian Nelson (right) and Joey Hallstrom discussed strategies for Joey to defend his vintage I-500 title this coming season (although I’m pretty sure Brian wants to help DETHRONE Joey and put himself on the top of the podium).


Brian Nelson points to Brian Nelson

The 2011 model year Brian Nelson points to the 1977 model year Brian Nelson. The hair is now grey but the competitive fire burns just as hot. Ever the engineer-racer, Nelson has already been working on some new ideas to make his 1979 CC El Tigre even more potent for the upcoming vintage I-500.


Corey Friesen at Arctic Cat

Back inside the plant, I chatted with Corey Friesen in the Styling Dept. Corey was happy that there were no nasty comments about some of his least popular graphic packages in the comments section of THIS INTERVIEW with him.


Dave Beito at Arctic Cat

Elsewhere in the Arctic Cat Engineering department, I ran into Dave Beito (right), who was smiling and laughing about turning 62 today. Happy birthday, Dave!

The other Dave in this photo (Dave Sabo) is one sharp cookie when it comes to snowmobile engine design.

When I think of the depth, knowledge and expertise of these and all the other engine gurus at Arctic Cat, I’m in awe of what they’ve already accomplished and excited for all that’s yet to come.


Mike McArdle at Arctic Cat

Mike McArdle is another Arctic Cat engineer with a lifetime of experience. Mike is one of the dyno operators at Cat. No, he’s not listening to his favorite iTunes in this shot, he’s listening for detonation/knock on an engine that he’s massaging with some new fuel maps.


Mike McArdle at Arctic Cat

After the dyno run, Mike showed me this “trophy” of sorts. It’s a rod end from an 800 engine that didn’t like the cruel and inhumane testing that Mike inflicted upon it during one particularly nasty dyno run.


Arctic Cat in TRF

All day long there was a definite presence of winter floating through the air. For sure just being among my friends here and seeing snowmobiles at every turn makes me think about winter. But there was a certain color to the sky and damp chill in the air that I felt from the moment I woke up in the morning.


Snow at Arctic Cat

It wasn’t until I peeked my head out of the engineering door around 3pm that I saw what it was that was tugging at my senses all day long: SNOW.

This was the first snow that I saw this season, and what a glorious sight it was!


My first snow, seen at Arctic Cat

Walking out of Arctic Cat to end the day, seeing footsteps in the light dusting at the end of the sidewalk, I felt that same thrill I’ve experienced my entire life.


Snow at Arctic Cat

With the bed of the truck nearly covered in white, all I could think of now is riding snowmobiles.

I know this snow isn’t going to last, but it’s confirmation that winter will be here soon. Cold, snowy winter.  

Thanks for reading.



  1. Just wondering if the XF1100 turbos are done. My friend longtime Ski-Doo rider is anxiously awaiting his White Ltd XF turbo.

  2. I just wanted to say John how much I like this site with all of the info/pictures and stories you bring here,we cat riders are so lucky to have a site like this and you with all of the factory connections.Thanks

  3. i see that the turbo sled are way behind there build dates, does this mean that the 11/23 build date for the f800 snopro green will be delayed into december. thank you

    To the rest of you at AC, your doing as GREAT job!
    Thank you for all your HARD work and making THE MOST AWESOME sleds!

  5. let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!doing my snow dance!! waiting for my 1100 turbo to show,let it snow,let it snow, let it snow!! wish my 1100 turbo would show,let it snow!!!!ho,ho,ho..wish my turbo would show!!!hahaha

  6. John, Looks good. . . Love seeing what is going on at the plant. Any word on if parts are still an issue or if it is just a time deal now?

  7. “these guys are always working at least one year into the future”

    AH HA! I knew Bobby Flame must have time travel capabilities… else would he know at Haydays, well before the season starts, that the red yellow & green plaid baggy pants would be THE IN style for the season?

  8. As Scott W. said above, this is by far the best and coolest sled site around, especially for Cat riders. John, you are to be commended and thanked, as I know it takes alot of time and effort to keep up and running! I know myself, and many of my friends, anxiously check out this site everyday to see what is new! And after being at the factory for the 50th, I have a true “connection” for all of the pix and stories that come from T.R.F. For a true blue Cat fan, there is nothing better than! we absoloutely love it here!!!

  9. I’m sure glad A.C. doesn’t make hearts, bone marrow or kidneys cuz you people would literally die with these late production times. Just putting it into perspective.

  10. Thanks for all the nice words. I appreciate it. And I appreciate that people like this site. I have great joy in doing it.

    For all the questions about production schedules… sorry, but I don’t know the answers. I will try to find out the remaining schedule and post it.

  11. It is great to actually see AMERICANS working on AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS. When the snowmobile engine plant opens all of us GREEN BLOODED CAT RIDERS can smile and thank the CAT GODS and think snow….. It will make happy anyway!! And we are blessed to have such a great website such as this one.
    Keep up the great work up at Thief River Falls oh an Mr. Sandberg does a pretty good job too! One more thing it is always better late than never! I can only dream of waiting for my new cat to be delivered thanks to an un named back surgeon. But once upon a time I was lucky enough to be like some of you,calling my cat dealer every other day new studs and carbides just waiting to be put on. I still ride an 01 but someday I will be waiting again just like a kid before Christmas.

  12. Why isn’t Kale wearing his vintage Cat one piece suit in any of the pictures? Canadian sledders can see it on the fall cover shot of SnowGoerCanada Magazine. I believe Kale is riding sled # 3 in the convoy.

  13. Why cant anyone at CAT post the build schedule? Why is it such a mystery, nobody claims to know anything… mine has been changed 4 times and I still have no idea when it is coming and the season starts in 2 days, although we have no snow, I want my sled. xf1100t LE SP….

  14. I am on my 12th arctic cat snowmobile.we bust are hump’s promoting and riding this fine product in a highly competitive part of the country..Why can’t we get a straight answer from dealer is apparently in the dark as much as I am. we snow checked 8 or 9 month’s ago.. 2 1100 pro climb turbo’s. the first from our ac and polaris dealer.I now get the distinct feeling we may be week’s or month’s away from a delivery..I tell you what if I fold on cat that will be the begining of the end for this kind of treatment…as far as calling the factory like other people have said they do…..that was a totall joke….al I want is a build date…..

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