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I made a quick run to Thief River earlier this week and got to snap a few photos on the line, visit the race shop and spend some time with Team Arctic Cross-Country racers testing in Gonvick, MN for the first COR Powersports lake race of the season, the Gerald Dyrdahl Memorial on Pine Lake, January 1-2.

Enjoy the photos and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! – Kale

I drove north to TRF through, at times, near white-out conditions from St. Cloud to Detroit Lakes. By the time I reached TRF, the snow had already passed through and was clear and beautiful.
The ditches were filling in nicely waiting for that first groomer pass.
A month or two since my last visit, Arctic Cat has now nearly completed a new renovation of the front entryway which is bright and welcoming, as are the friendly faces.
Some, if not all, of these historical snowmobiles had been on display with-in the manufacturing facility. I was happy to see they were on display in the main lobby for all to look at.
Speaking of friendly faces, I stopped to say Hi to Matt Bjerklie (L) who was prepping 2023 snowmobiles for a photoshoot, which Calli (R) will be part of as the Marketing Lead for Snow. (FYI – the rear tunnel section poking out in lower right corner of photo is a 2022 R-XC)
It was thumbs-up on the line for Kim Broten (L), and Im an ass for not asking her name on the (R). Sorry.
The 2022 Blast ZR was on the line and being finished up.
SIDENOTE: Speaking of Blasts…on my way to TRF, Tom at Thomas Sno Sports sent me a photo and let me know my Snowmageddon order Blast XR Touring arrived. What a surprise! I was anticipating a mid-January build date.
I met up with Ben Langaas (High Performance Engineering team) at the Black Cat. He was thoughtful and brought a new poster for my office and signed it. Thanks Ben!
If you visit Thief River, the Black Cat is a must-stop to take in all the Arctic Cat memorabilia and grab a great burger. Pictured above is Al, who owns the restaurant, and shared his plans to create table lighting from vintage Arctic Cat helmets he’s collected. I look forward to seeing those!
Looking through my photos, I regret not getting one of Team Arctic race manager, Mike Kloety, but he was kind enough to update me on Team Arctic racing, and was preparing for the first COR Powersports race of the cross-country season. Inside the shop, were a few of HC Racing’s ZR mods including those from Zach Herfindahl and David Brown.
If I remember correctly, Mike told me this is going to be Zach’s 2022 terrain race sled, but they had set it up for lake racing to baseline calibrations.
Last week I showed a couple eye candy photos of Zach’s new mod. It is quite stunning in person and attention to detail is pretty fantastic.
Some of those attention to detail pieces from HC Racing (Hector and Corey) that interest me, are simple things like this throttle cable holder fashioned from a zip tie and piece of fuel line. Brilliant!
I always enjoy seeing hand scribed notes on race parts…this particular one referenced the Rebound and High/Low compression settings on the FOX Shocks of David Brown’s ZR6000R-XC.
On my way home, I went to Gonvick and stopped at Pine Lake where I met up again with Ben Langaas and a few other Team Arctic cross-country racers, as they were test/tuning for the first COR Powersports race of the season January 1-2. Ill share more of those photos/videos in a part II of this trip. If you are looking to ride, the snow looked fantastic in the Leonard to Bemidji areas, and groomers had visibly been out in certain portions.


    • It is mind bottling…the good lake racers stand-up and have a 20-inch riser, but Zach has introduced some new sit-down race style. He claims to get more speed in the corners…what a bunch of non-sense. Pffffft.

      Where’s my backpack and shovel? I’m gonna go for a trail ride…

  1. Interesting couple of pics sitting on the tunnel of the 2022 r-xc.

    Great report as always, Kale. Really enjoy seeing the people behind Arctic Cat in their work environment.

    Merry Christmas to you and to all Arctic Insiders from Central Ontario.

  2. Nice to a few historical sleds made it back to the lobby. Anyone who recalls being in the plant in the late 80’s early 90’s they must have had dozen historical sleds in there. And the back drop wall covered in vintage photos and advertising.
    That bright race sled though is getting way to close to being yellow.

  3. I remember sitting in the plant at Cat Fest 87 listening to Tony Lenzini discuss his riding that 1986 Cougar from Minnesota to Alaska, and hanging on every word. Is super-cool that very sled is on display again for all to see. It was at that same event where CJ Ramstad sold us an autographed copy of his all-new book “Legend”…i basically read it cover-to-cover while my dad drove us home from TRF…that kinda deepened my interest in the history and legacy of the Arctic Cat brand…um…even deeper to say the least…lol. And that 1992 Panther was driven from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic in about 1992, that sled is still cool to see too. Thanks for the race report Kale, lots of us Team Arctic fans eagerly awaiting some green flags to drop when January rolls around. Merry Christmas to all of my fellow Arctic Cat riders!

  4. Never been a prettier greeter at Arctco than Nancy Sturgeon. LOVE the simple throttle cable holder, classic Arctic Cat ingenuity. Merry Christmas Arctic Cat loyalists!

  5. Kale, whats up with Brown’s #17 being on Herf’s Race Winning Joker Mod ? He get’s last years hand me down’s ? I noticed it in the Eye Candy post too.

  6. Way to leave that 2023 brochure on the tunnel just barely able to see. I enlarged the picture 500% and still nothing to see, outside of some really long sleds. Certainly something different though. Mountain guys will, once again, be getting the best of cat for 23′.
    Great article! This is the stuff of Arctic Insider!

    • Leaving a 2023 brochure on the tunnel would have been a great Christmas gift for everyone here to speculate on, but its actually the owner/service manual for the 2022 R-XC snowmobile it sits on. 🙂

  7. Interesting, the commentary about the Black Cat prompted me to leave a comment regarding my DSM having a bit of fun with the locals, and it seems to have been deleted/vanished.

    • There’s no conspiracy theory regarding your missing comment. The truth is, I was cleaning up the 1000’s of spam comments on the back side of the site, and your APPROVED comment was a casualty of deletions. (It happens) If you need a source for Cialis, Viagra or are feeling lonely, I have what appear to be some really legit (cough) connections! 🙂

      • I didn’t mean to insinuate there was anything nefarious going on. If I thought there was, I would have openly said so. Thanks for the reply, though.


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