Old Sled Sighting: Grandpa Hap Yaworski tells the story of taking the old Autoboggan camping

Five guys and a load of camping gear was no trouble for the good 'ol Autoboggan sled!

A Polaris Autoboggan.
A Polaris Autoboggan—"more of a bulldozer" than a sled, according to Hap Yaworkski. Photo: The Yaworski family

We recently ran a SnoRiders' article about the Yaworski snowmobiling family from Edmonton and Smokey Lake.  In the article, they mentioned the family had inherited their love of snowmobiling from Grandpa Hap Yaworski.

“My grandfather and dad were active snowmobilers from the late 1960s,’’ James Yaworski said. “Grandpa’s first snowmobile was a Polaris Autoboggan.” James and his wife, Carol, have passed on the love of snowmobiling to their daughter, Katrina. “I have been sledding since I was five years old on tracks my dad dug into the snow in the backyard,” Katrina said. “When I was older, I’d go out to my grandparents’ cabin on Hanmore Lake to ride on the lake and area.”

Along with the original story, the Yaworski's sent us a picture of an old Autoboggan that Grandpa Yaworski used to ride. We are pleased to feature his story in Old Sled Zone:

Grandpa Hap Yaworksi said, “I owned the Autoboggan for about 4 years from 1966 to 1970. I bought it from a trapper in Peace River. It was made for Arctic Cat, (actually they were made for Polaris, I believe) they were made under many names; mine had a Kohler engine.”

He continued, “The machine was very heavy about 500 to 600 pounds. It was very reliable. Top speed about 10-12 miles per hour but very hard to turn you needed about 90 to 100 feet. It was more of a bulldozer going in straight lines. Unstoppable. One of my most notable journeys was a trip to Siebert Lake in the winter of 1967-68 with four other friends. We could not drive into Siebert Lake because the road was snowed in for about the last 10 miles. It was about 9 pm at this time because we left after work Friday night. We decided to use the Autoboggan to go the last 10 miles. So we hooked up 2 sleds with our camping stuff, etc. Two guys on each runner, me driving, and one of the guys holding a lantern to show our way. The sled had no lights. We broke trail and got to the lake at 11:30 that night. Three of the guys stayed to set-up camp at the picnic shelter. One of my friends and I went back for the rest of our food, etc. It took about 2 hours. Next morning we went fishing and had a fabulous day. That day a couple of guys with an Alpine Ski-doo arrived at the lake and could not believe that we brought in our whole camp with this old Autoboggan and five guys. We fished Saturday and a couple hours on Sunday. We packed up our camp and about 15 fish we took home, weighing from 5 to 15 pounds. On our way out we met a couple and two small children following our tracks to the lake. We told them that the lake was about 5 miles further. We put the kids on the sleighs and the adults on the runners and drove back to the vehicles. A trip I will always remember… no trouble with the machine.”

Thanks for all the the good old memories of a Canadian classic – the Autoboggan.

To read more about the Autoboggan check out this story too: http://snoriderswest.com/article/general/david_johnson_co_founder_of_polaris_had_strong_ties_to_the_canadian_market

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