Home Living Step Aboard a Bombardier in the Northwest Angle

Step Aboard a Bombardier in the Northwest Angle

 

On remote Oak Island in the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, a yellow-painted Bombardier snow bus rumbles its way across portions of frozen Lake of the Woods, ferrying anglers out to ice houses for a day of trying to lure one of the storied 50-inch walleyes, Muskies or Northern fish thought to be abundant in these waters. After all, this is said to be one of the best fishing spots in North America.

The Bombardier snow bus or “bomber,” as locals commonly call it, is named for a Canadian mechanical engineer who invented one of the first commercially viable snowmobiles. Joseph-Armand Bombardier wanted to create a multi-person vehicle that could move easily in the snow and to improve living conditions for people like himself who called remote Quebec home.

Tragically, Bombardier’s own son died after his appendix burst and the family was unable to reach the nearest hospital in time because heavy snowfall had blocked the roads from their small village. That tragedy provided further motivation for Bombardier to perfect his invention.

The new overland snow vehicle would soon be used by postal workers, doctors, clergy, the military and others. But years later, sales declined after crews in Canada started to regularly clear rural roads. Bombardier then focused on the snowmobile market, launching the Ski-Doo in 1959.

Today, Sunset Lodge, and other ice fishing resorts in the Northwest Angle and throughout the northern U.S. and Canada, still use vintage models of the throw-back vehicles as transport.

Videographer: Matt Ehling

________________________________________________________________________

Organizers want to take competitive fishing one step further by allowing students to compete in a state tournament through the Minnesota State High School League. One Greater Minnesota reporter Kaomi Goetz takes a closer look at the sport and what it means for these young anglers.

Minnesota winters are getting warmer. And that’s worrisome to businesses in the northern part of the state that depend on cold weather, such as dogsledding firms in Ely. One one of the coldest weeks of the year, Kaomi Goetz ventured north to learn more about these global warming concerns.