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In September, Arctic Cat announced a contest to give four lucky enthusiasts the chance to be the first to ride the all-new 2024 CATALYST snowmobile platform. There were so many entries, Arctic furthered the invite count and chose six! The cool thing about the announcement of the winners for me, I recognize half the names as regular followers of ArcticInsider! Congratulations!

The following winners will be headed to one of my favorite western riding spots, Togwotee Mountain Lodge in Wyoming, to join Arctic Cat on their 2024 Model Year photoshoot. These lucky winners will get to experience everything I loved about model year photoshoot events including:

Western Riding – Togwotee Mountain Lodge has a great facility with everything you need on-site. The cabins are fantastic, food is excellent and there are guides and rental snowmobiles available. Let’s not forget about the great on- and off-trail riding and beautiful mountain scenery which are all top notch.

Behind-The-Scenes – It’s quite the feeling to roll in to the Photoshoot “compound” as an invited guest. The thrill of seeing an entire line-up of yet to be seen pre-production snowmobiles all lined up in front of the semi-trucks really amps up the anticipation to ride. Plus, you’ll get to see the massive coordinating it takes to pair all-new gear to all the riders and snowmobiles for every photoshoot session. Whew!

For me (Kale) as a flatlander, I always enjoyed watching the Pros like David McClure capture the hero shots in the backcountry. Their riding ability is pretty incredible…and mine, is not. 🙂

Celebrities – You’ll meet all types of riders on the Arctic Cat photoshoot team that help pull off some of the spectacular photos. The first time you attend a meal and sit down next to a pro rider you’ve followed on Social Media, videos or the YouTube, will be one you’ll remember forever. By the end of your stay, those Pro racers and Backcountry riders will know you by name and share stories of your day ride experiences together.

Hurry Up and Wait – You may even get asked to be part of the photo or video shoot which is always a thrill to see your mugshot in marketing assets like catalogs, websites, videos or social.

Congratulations again to the winners!…take some notes and share them with me when you get back and Ill share your experience here.


Jim Ellis is 53yrs old, lives in Minocqua, Wisconsin, is a School Superintendent and primarily enjoys Trail Riding in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.


Paul Hein is 71yrs old, lives in Aitkin, Minnesota, is a retired carpenter/construction superintendent and loves trail riding and adventure riding through ditches and running the local river in NE Minnesota.


Bob Klapperich is 58yrs old, lives in Bigfork, Minnesota, works in Software Technical Support and loves trail riding anywhere in Northern Minnesota, Itasca County and Marcell, Mn.


Rocky Millburn is 18yrs old, lives in Oakley, Utah and works as a ranch hand and manager of a food truck. Rocky enjoys technical mountain riding on the north slope of the Western Uinta Mountains.


Trent Searle (L) is 32yrs old and lives in Springville, Utah. Trent is a Mechanical Engineer and enjoys technical backcountry riding in Skyline Drive, Wasatch Mountains and Bear Lake in Utah.


Sara Thiele is 32yrs old, lives in Wasilla, Alaska and doubles as a commercial fisher woman and a corporate executive director. Sara’s favorite type of riding is in the backcountry of Petersville and Hatcher Pass.


  1. Excited for them (and just a little jealous)! Hopefully the experience and more importantly the new Cat is everything they longed for!

    • All the winners will definitely have fun and they’ll get a good feel for the new CATALYST models. One reality of these types of early events, is the machines aren’t finalized. (They’re still prototypes) Again, everyone will get a good feel for them, but calibrations for engines, shocks etc will be close, but will continue to evolve until production.

    • Flights in/out of Jackson aren’t too bad. You’ll be fine. Im no doctor, but Ive had altitude sickness and it isn’t pleasant. My only tips to avoid it are to start drinking water (a lot of it) a couple days beforehand and continually while you are there. (Take a couple bottles w you on your ride) Alcohol – try to avoid it, or keep it in moderation. Drink water before you go to bed and don’t take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time…that ends poorly. 🙂 Snacks – bring em with. Your body likes carbs out there. If the photoshoot pavilion is anything like it used to be, they’ll have a ton of snacks, water, gatorades etc. for you.

      And as far as off-trail riding advice for flatlanders…if you get a guide, be humble, swallow your pride, tell the guide you know absolutely nothing about off-trail riding, then listen to the guide’s teaching instructions, and they’ll progress you through the day with new riding skills and terrain – you’ll have the time of your life! Snowmobiling is rife with Machismo…the riders who are able to stifle it, and open up their mind to learning from a pro, truly become the best students/riders.

    • Congrats Bob! You will have an epic time no doubt! Great advice given by AI. Especially water consumption. I will add to that by saying one thing. Object fixation! Where your eyes are pointing, thus goes the sled. Do not look at the object you are trying to avoid (tree, ravine, etc.) but rather the safe way forward. Oh, and an old friend (former Togwotee guide) used to always say..The Zen of off trail riding..When the brain, throttle and track act as one! Have a great experience out there!

  2. I’d rather ride with Kale, Bobby Flame, Jim R and that moar bar riser corn husker from Iowa.

    Can you make the arrangements for that?

    c0ngRAtuLaTi0nZ tW0 thE wiNNeRz Th0w¡!!!!¡¡!!!

  3. Looks like a great group of riders and enthusiests, congratulations to all. I’ll be eager to hear their thoughts on the 2024 snowmobile line-up, and to see the final video product when done!


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