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‘Grandfather of snowmobiling’ dies

February 15, 2011
Filed under Features

Edgar Hetteen, often called the “grandfather of snowmobiling,” died Saturday, Feb. 12 at the age of 90.

Hetteen co-founded Hetteen Hoist and Derrick, which would later become Polaris Industries, in 1944. His business partner and brother-in-law David Johnson built the first Polaris snowmobile in the mid-1950s, and to prove the sleds‚ durability, Hetteen took a 1,200-mile Alaskan trek on one in 1960.

Hetteen later left Polaris and started Arctco Inc., the company that manufactured Arctic Cat snowmobiles. After selling Arctic Cat in 1965, Hetteen started May Corp., a powered wheelchair company, and co-founded ASV, a rubber-tracked equipment company. He retired in 2005.

Hetteen has been credited with starting the sport of snowmobiling.

He died at a nursing home in Grand Rapids, Minn. He is survived by his wife, Hannah, and a daughter. Services are set for Saturday in Grand Rapids.

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