International Snowmobile Hall of Fame - Eagle River, WI

ISHOF Inductees - 1990

Edgar Hetteen - 1990 Inductee to International Snowmobile Hall of Fame - Eagle River, WI

Edgar Hetteen - Inventor and Manufacturer
Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Edgar was born in 1920 in Roseau County, Minnesota and served in the military in World War II. Upon returning in 1945, he founded Hetteen Hoist and Derrick, which was later renamed Polaris Industries. Edgar Hetteen, David Johnson and Allan Hetteen, his brother, built their first snowmobile in 1954. It was called the Polaris Sno Traveler. Edgar is often referred to as the "Grandfather of snowmobiling." A true visionary, he recognized early on the impact snowmobiling could have through new manufacturing jobs and winter tourism. To promote the sport, he traveled 1200 miles down the frozen Yukon River in 1960 to prove the durability of the Sno Traveler. Edgar left Polaris later that year but wasn't out of the snowmobile business for very long. Arctic Cat, a second venture, was founded a year later. Today's modern snowmobile owes many technical refinements to innovations by Edgar Hetteen including slide rails and forward mounted engine. In 1983, he co-founded ASV, a manufacturing company in Marcell, Minnesota, to build a new trail grooming machine called Track Truck. Edgar Hetteen was an industry founder, innovator and tireless spokesperson for the sport of snowmobiling.

C.J. Ramstad - 1990 Inductee to International Snowmobile Hall of Fame - Eagle River, WI

C.J. Ramstad - Journalist and Historian
Minnetonka, Minnesota

C.J. first encountered snowmobiling in the 1960s as a copywriter for a Minneapolis, Minnesota advertising agency with a new account, Arctic Cat. His mission was to visit the Arctic Cat factory located at Thief River Falls, Minnesota to learn about the machines and the people who built them. There he met Edgar Hetteen, founder of Arctic Cat. Subsequently, C.J. Ramstad wrote several award winning ad campaigns for Arctic Cat. In 1973, he founded "Snowmobile Week," the first publication of its kind, and it grew rapidly in popularity. In 1976, "Snowmobile Week" was purchased by "Snow Goer." C.J. Ramstad worked as editor of both "Snow Goer" and the renamed "Snow Week." Named editor of "Snowmobile" magazine in 1981, C.J. Ramstad introduced factual journalism, accurate technical detail and quality photography. "Snowmobile" became the number one publication in the industry. In 1986, C.J. Ramstad left "Snowmobile" to author two important histories: "The Legend," a comprehensive illustrated history of Arctic Cat's first quarter century, and "Of Ice and Men," a twenty-five (25) year illustrated history of the Eagle River World Championship. In 1988, he was named publisher of "Minnesota Snowmobiling," official publication of the Minnesota United Snowmobiler's Association.

Ralph Plaisted - 1990 Inductee to International Snowmobile Hall of Fame - Eagle River, WI

Ralph Plaisted - Explorer and Adventurer
Wyoming, Minnesota

Ralph saw his first snowmobile in 1964 and bought the "new contraption" on sight. An amazing chapter in the early use of snowmobiles in the polar regions of the far north was about to begin. To prove the durability of the relatively new machines, he left Ely, Minnesota, on January 28, 1965 and snowmobiled nonstop to Saint Paul, in -41 degree weather, in 13 hours and 52 minutes. This set time and distance record for snow travel at that time. Realizing that the snowmobile was potentially a practical vehicle for polar exploration, he began planning the first polar expedition in nearly fifty years. By the Fall of 1966, he had assembled a crew, sponsorship from several Minnesota corporations and Bombardier, the maker of Ski-Doo. Leaving Nunchuk Bay in early April 1966, he had finalized his assembled crew, which included CBS reporter Charles Kuralt, and traveled 200 miles to reach 83 degrees, 38 minutes North. However, warm weather in late April caused the ice to break up, leaving the expedition no choice but to leave the polar ice. Undeterred obstacles to be overcome, he convinced his crew and sponsors to try again. This time, however, they would depart from a more Northerly point of land on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Starting on March 7, 1968 in -60 degree weather, the expedition made steady progress, arriving exactly at the North Pole after 43 days, 2 hours and 30 minutes. His position was verified by the U.S. Air Force. Ralph Plaisted's April 19, 1968 record is still part of history as the first confirmed successful surface conquest of the North Pole.