Nothing kept us warm — not the cheap whiskey or the flimsy fishing hut with the malfunctioning propane furnace.
If only we’d known about the SnoBear, a bizarre yet highly functional recreational vehicle for the hardcore ice-fishing set.
A cross between a snowmobile, an SUV, and a motorboat, the SnoBear glides across frozen lakes at high speeds. When you reach your fishing spot, built-in power drills cut as many as six fishing holes into the lake’s surface. And when you’re ready to call it quits, bunk beds drop down for a good night’s sleep.
The SnoBear, which costs $35,000, holds about seven people comfortably and has room for at least a dozen 12-packs. (We know because we asked.)
The vehicles can also be tricked out with everything from satellite TV to GPS-enabled fish-tracking devices.
The SnoBear is the brainchild of Tom Lykken, a former engineer who used to fume when blizzards prevented him from reaching his favorite fishing spots.
“We had so much snow one winter that basically I didn’t get a chance to get out ice fishing anyplace,” Lykken told the Grand Forks Herald. “I’ve always wanted to fish remote spots where other people couldn’t go.”
Isn’t that the same reason Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest? Ok, maybe not.
The company now generates more than $5 million in annual sales, and is expanding beyond the ice-fishing market. Ski resorts, search-and-rescue operations, and eco-tour operators have all expressed interest in the SnoBear because it moves so effortlessly over packed snow and icy terrain.
Here’s our favorite feature: It floats. After all, we’re on pretty thin ice over here.