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Snowcat Adventure & Usage Forum Snow Trac, Kristi, Thickol/LMC, Tucker, Bombardier stories & discussions

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Old 05-21-2018, 06:17 PM
Bobcatbob Bobcatbob is offline
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Default Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

1. They’re cool
2. Utlilitarian
3. Go anywhere, anytime....because they can

For me, all of the above. Though it started in 1978...the first “sighting”.

Back when Jimmy Carter was president, Evil Knievel was every boys hero, and your idols were your Dad and Grandfathers (mostly WWII vets)...you learned “manly” activities. Car repair (who hasn’t changed out a U joint when you’re 10 years old?), painting your house, cutting down a tree with an axe, etc. Though my Grandfather owned a crane....so I learned how to grease, lube, and clean a Grove 18 Ton machine at that time....and change the cable! At the end of a day, $20 richer, you couldn’t wait to “work” again. And when that day came, I was cleaning the cab windows on my grandfathers crane (this time in January of 1979)....having a hell of a time getting the smoke and nicotine stains off the cold glass....I saw a machine plowing snow in a lot next to where the crane was parked. It had tracks, a flashing light, fast....and could plow through feet of snow. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen (next to a Mach I Mustang of course).

Fast forward almost 40 years later.....I’m shopping auction sites for a Bobcat UTV....and I couldn’t believe my eyes: the exact Snowcat I’d seen as a kid was up for auction! I called my brothers to verify.....they looked...it was the machine we saw as kids (though in need of lots of work). I overbid to win it....and started on the refurbishment in 2016.....which I just finished this weekend.





Life has a way of working out.
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Why did I buy a cat? Several reasons:
  • We have a small cabin in Washington's Cascade mountains that is a couple miles past the end of the plowed road. We're willing to snowshoe in the winter, but having mechanized access would allow us to bring in friends for larger gatherings.
  • I enjoy working on vehicles from a simpler time. My first car was a '59 VW Bug and I went through every system and part. My mid-life crisis car was a '73 TR-6 that was lots of fun, but it was pretty finicky from a mechanical perspective and it wasn't much fun to drive on Seattle freeways.
  • Right out of college I worked for what was then Pacific Northwest Bell designing microwave radio systems and went on several snowcat rides to get to snow-bound sites. Steel-tracked Tucker and Thiokol Imps.
At one point I put all of these together and decided that it would be fun to have a small snowcat for winter access to the cabin and to tinker with in my spare time. I stumbled across the Forum in 2006 and read a lot for a few years, waffling between a SnowTrac (back to my VW roots) and an Imp (steering w/ sticks!). I started planning vacations that required driving through Weiser, Idaho and visiting Snotrans since it was "on the way". Eventually my long-suffering wife bought off on the idea and suddenly I was the proud owner of a 1973 Thiokol Imp.

In retrospect it has worked out pretty well. We've had tons of great events at the cabin w/ family and friends in the winter that wouldn't have been possible w/o the cat. I've also enjoyed aspects of working on it. That said, it has had some memorable (and spectacular) mechanical failures and consumed *way* more money than I'd planned. Now that I've been through many of the major systems I think (hope?) that it is getting more reliable, but time will be the judge of that. Part of me would like to get another cat (maybe an old telco Tucker), but my more rational half is adamant that that's not a very good idea. Again, time will tell.

Ron

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Old 05-21-2018, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

1) getting older

2) my Snow Trac cost less than the sled I was considering.

3) the Snow Trac will be worth far more after 10 years than any sled I would have bought.

4) interested in taking people with me, friends and family.

5) going fast on a sled, you don't see the scenery much at all. Animals are long gone when you get there. Animals see snow cats as farming or road building machinery and will stick around to check you out.

6) dare to be different, dare to own your own snow cat!

7) the Snow Trac match box was the first match box toy I had... well have. I still have toy from circa 1966...

Regards, Kirk
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Cause they are the coolest contraption out there. I first laid eyes on my cat when I was 7 years old, guy had it for accesing his cabin just west of Princeton. It sat just off the highway in plain sight till we picked it up 20 plus years ago. He was getting to frail to use it and passed it along to us. Dreams do come true
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Originally, communication site access was the reason, financing for the purchase.

Now, just fun.
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:52 AM
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Smile Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Always wanted to operate the big groomers at the ski area that i worked at as a lift operator, then in 1993 i started a job pumping gas wells in the Bookcliff mountains and the company bought a brand new LMC 1500 Beartrac. I was hooked from then on, they also owned an old Spryte, and a Thiokol Super Imp 1450, which i still have out in the shop. I guess i just love the novelty of sno-cats and the mechanic aspect of working on them. My wife is pretty sure that i am crazy and a glutten for punishment. Just enjoy having the ability to run into our cabin or just a ride up on the Mesa for a day of relaxing.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:50 AM
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J5 Bombardier J5 Bombardier is offline
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

I use my Bombardiers for firewood / logging, they are low impact on the ground, no ruts like a skidder would leave. My first J5 restoration was over 12 years ago and the fleet has expanded to another J5 and 2 Muskegs ( one being redone now ) and a SW 48 waiting for attention.. They are lots of fun, always something to learn , and always looking for parts !
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

was told I couldn't. (I don't take that well.)

always fascinated by motors and wheels. (must understand)

I believe I can fix anything with nothing. ( I hang out with people who can)

I am not that smart.

My excuse was a financially broke snow mobile club that was dieing. I was one of those passive members wondering what I could do. The club is a not-for-profit group of fun people enjoying over the snow activities and investing in youth and safety.

Most importantly:
I am very grateful for having met some very dynamic people that are truly alive and REALLY enjoying life, little did these people now, (you can't own a snow cat)
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

I saw Tuckers in the National Geographic Magazine and Mom would not let me cut the pictures out. Boy did I show her, got one of my own.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

My friends and I enjoy backcountry skiing together. My dad bought a M29 weasel and that made me realize that owning a personal snowcat was a thing. Did some searching and ended up with a BR100 from BC Canada. It was a little under powered but we got that sorted out. We get in a lot of cat skiing and that's great. A neat surprise has been the social snowcating. Apres ski with the Nottinghams and Tucker's, the Jamboree, McCall and MT Hood, it's all been great.

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Old 05-23-2018, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sno-drifter View Post
I saw Tuckers in the National Geographic Magazine and Mom would not let me cut the pictures out. Boy did I show her, got one of my own.
and was this the photo you saw?

this photo, is of the very first Tucker Sno-cat to appear in National Geographic Magazine, 1945 Tucker, model 420, powered by a chevy 6 cylinder, 3 speed transmission, and yes, it was originally yellow.

The photo was taken by Ray Atkeson, very well known Portland photographer, the photo was taken at Crater Lake, Oregon
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

We have great mountain sledding at our camp but it's mostly really technical riding and not for beginners. Wanting to get the whole family and some friends up and out on the snow to snowshoeing trails to great lookouts I started to look for an IMP. Iv'e spent most my life working on machines and as with this one there's always something to learn. It's been great fun both building and using the IMP and the wife approves!
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Old 05-23-2018, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

For the Girls !







My girls , Wife and 2 daughters
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Bought land with a hill, built a rope tow and needed something to groom with. I got lucky with this cat, good price good condition and lots of new spare parts. It does a really nice job plowing the driveway too.
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Winter is my favorite season. Backcountry skiing, nordic skiing, plowing or snowblowing, I just love it. We live about a mile from the trailhead for some cross-country ski trails on the US Forest Service land, and my wife and I talked for years about how great it would be to step up the grooming effort with our nordic club if we could handle deeper snow, level out some of the trails with side-hills, etc. So 3 years ago we bought our first snowcat and operate it as a donation to our club. Been a great experience, although more expensive than we planned (ahem, is it warm in here?).
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

The first time I saw a sno-cat was at my Great Uncle's cabin. That was it. At eight years old the hook was set. About 5 years ago we bought a cabin at 7000 '. No plowed roads in the winter and needed a rig to get the family in. Winter is our down time from the road construction business.

Found my first 1989 Tucker here on the forum and purchased it from a guy that went by the handle Waterman. Then came the 1960 Tucker 443 and most recently a 1998 Tucker 2000. The machines are way cooler than the sum of their parts. Tucker, in my opinion, has a amazing ability to assemble relatively simple components into vehicles that just work, and do it with style. Did I mention I am hooked?

The machines really do have the ability to take you and whomever you wish into a parts of the world few get to see, as you all know.

TUCKER ORANGE! And a little Blue.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Why did you buy/restore your snowcat? Inspiration?

Access to my cabin , Now I can bring everything for a weekend trip .
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