ISHOF Inductees - 1990
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 - Journalist and Historian
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
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 - Explorer and Adventurer
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.