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Random Photos, December Edition

Here are some random photos from my archives. In no particular order, of no particular signifigance, but posted for your (and my) viewing pleasure.

Arctic Cat's Nathan Blomker and Jack Nelson

Here Nathan Blomker (left) and Jack Nelson perform sanding duties on the then-prototype Twin Spar Arctic Cat, deep withing the styling shop at Arctic Cat. Two great guys.

One-Lunger Arctic Cat by Matt

Super-sweet one-lunger Arctic Cat built by Matt Pfankuch.

One-Lunger Arctic Cat by Matt

An under-the-hood-shot of Matt’s racer, with a gleaming Sachs single that’s ready to shake, rattle and roll.


Mike Van Muyen & Phil Molto on their Arctic Cat Sno Pros

Mike Van Muyen (left) & Phil Molto on their Arctic Cat Sno Pros from last race season in Canada. Molto, who is a writer/cameraman for Snow Goer Canada and Snowmobiler Televeision, wanted to test the Sno Pro 500 on the race track. He said, “Both Mike and I were very impressed, but my wife was not happy to see me back on the track.” Amen to that, brother!


Former Team Arctic racer Dan "Skittles" Skallet

Former Team Arctic cross-country racer Dan Skallet is still into snowmobiling, running a shock-rebuilding business as a side gig to his job as a Delta airline mechanic. I was at his shop recently, and Skittles proudly displayed his custom titanium sled dollies. Light. And cool!

Former Team Arctic racer Dan "Skittles" Skallet

Here’s another shot of Skittles working on one of the Fox shocks I brought him that day. Thanks Dan!


Arctic Cat Snow Blast

Anyone besides me remember (or go to) the original Arctic Cat Snow Blast in West Yellowstone, circa 2005?


Team Arctic racers at the 1993 I-500

How about the 1993 I-500 cross-country, which finished in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with Kirk Hibbert winning his second 500 after reeling in and passing Doug Lasher with only about one mile to the finish? Epic day for kirk and the then-new ZR 440. I gathered Kirk (purple Arctic Cat jacket directly behind the helmet on the seat) and as many Team Arctic racers/crews as I could, then grabbed some “team” pix. Lots of smiles that day.

Can you ID anyone in the photo? FYI: Dan Skallet is on the front row.


Kirk Hibbert working on Tucker's race sled

Speaking of Kirk Hibbert, here he is working on Tucker’s Arctic Cat Sno Pro race sled in the late summer of 2008, inside his most-excellent shop near Goodridge, Minn. In the back/left of the photo you can see Tucker working on his dirtbike, and wondering where on it I placed the “ArcticInsider” decal.


Stacked and Loaded

This is how I go ATVing with Tucker and Rob. Tucker has perfected a way of jumping each quad into the bed of the truck. I’ll get some video of that soon.


Arctic Cat booth at Haydays 2003

The Arctic Cat booth at Haydays, 2003, when the then-new-for-2004 Arctic Cat Sno Pro was unveiled. Anyone besides me remember the off-color joke that MC Jerry Bernardo made to Team Arctic racer Lissa Toncray, over the PA system so all of the thousand-or-so people could hear it?


Saluting you, CJ Ramstad!

The guy to whom I owe my job in this industry, who taught me a TON about everything from sailing to photography to how to avoid paying for gas money when taking road trips with friends, and whom I miss dearly… the late, great CJ Ramstad.

This perfect moment-of-CJism from the Duluth Spirit National was captured by Brian Balsatis, photographer to the stars and someone who loves “sick-deep pow.”



  1. 1993 I-500 pic: I spy Kevin Thompson in a mad bomber hat. And maybe Steve Thorson by the seat of the sled behind the guy with the broken leg?

  2. Interesting stuff John! In the future how about a story about CJ Ramstad? Many of us are familiar with his work, but we don’t know the “insider” scoop. It sounds like he was quite a guy. Just a thought.

  3. If you look in the back you can see me. Go-rilla snot and duck tape. Hey Bud, what did you do to this thing today??? cause it was flying.

  4. The monthly random photos are one of my favorite features from this site. Any time I see photos from within engineering like that, I always find myself studying for any cool, previously unseen detail I can find. It’s fun to try to piece together the thought process in sled designs. Also, it would sure be fun to find that banner from the right side of the stage at the Snow Blast concert… we could wallpaper an entire wall of Aaron’s shop with just the top half of that thing!

  5. Can’t see you on this small of an image, but you’re visible on a larger version of this pic Jeremy. Nobody has mentioned Hollywood or Jeff Lane. Or Al.

  6. The sled is kirks, as he won the race that year. We all had random numbers back in that i 500 as they were assigned by the race directors as you signed up. If you finished in the top ten the year before you got whatever number you finiished. Team arctic didnt do very good the year before as we all got to ride the infamous prowler. What a treat!!!!!!! But we were treated to a awesome machine in 93 with the zr.And yes John that pic is to small as i am sure you and i probably knew everybody in it but cant pick them out. I do see huber though.

  7. Skittles, Ryan Nelson, Thompson, Cant see gooby, where is he? Got to have a couple beers with him last year at the black cat though during the i 500.

  8. Unless I’m drunk, Jeff Lane/Gooby is in the purple Cat jacket on the left side of the photo, doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. Actually, the sled is NOT Kirk’s (he was #191 that year, and his sled was impounded for tech inspection), it’s a Bruce Koop’s (from McHennry, IL) who finished 99th. We wanted to get a team photo with a ZR, and that was the closest one available. What happened to you (Fyle) that year? After day 2 (of four), you were sitting in 4th place, 8:38 back from Struthers.

  9. This is great! Conversing with great AC cross country racers Jeramy Fyle and John Sandberg! Doesn’t get much better for a guy that has always been a huge cross country racing fan. Didn’t Dan Skallet race out of Brian Nelson’s shop, too?

  10. Yes, any stories or insight on the late C.J. Ramstad would be great to read.

    Hey, I just check and it looks like is back up!

  11. Yes Dan and i were race partners and brian sponsored us and helped us immensely. I was lucky enough to buddy up with CJ back in 87 or so and i got to go to west yellowstone with him and ride the next year sleds for photo shoots for MN Snowmobiler for about 4 years or so. He was a great fun loving guy. Never a dull moment with him and joel Mellentin, his brother in law i believe. I hope i spelled his name rite. I dont know anybody who could say a bad thing about CJ. Sorry about the mis information on the sled owner.


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