I was 10 years old when my father decided to start Northern Toboggan & Sled. Being the son of a Sled Maker has had many perks. For starters, we always had amazing winter toys at our finger tips. I remember being pulled by our old Polaris Custom wide track on one of Dad's earliest toboggans. We would go through the woods and fields standing on the backboard, with the driver often trying to shed the rider. We always had ice fishing rigs that allowed us to blast across Lake of the Woods with all the gear you'd need for a day of pulling up walleyes through the ice. And most recently, the Sled Maker's grandchildren have come to love the afternoons of endless sledding on the mound we created on our 40 acres that we lovingly refer to as "Harren Mountain".
As I left home and began traveling and living throughout the lower 48, I began to notice a spark that so often lit when I would tell people of my family business. The spark is one of nostalgia and curiosity. How does one get started in such a unique business of craftsmanship? How are the wooden sleds crafted and how does one manipulate the straight nature of wood to hold a perfect curl? And though usually sugarcoated, how do we still exist with a viable business of wooden sleds in the 21st century?
After so many years of watching people's reactions, I too began to grow my infatuation with our business and my appreciation for my father's craft. Specifically, I became a bit obsessed with how we could package up that igniting spark, and share our story with a broader audience. Blogging and social media have become the natural outlet for this, and it is exciting to see how after a few short years we have a fair number of stories logged.
We see storytelling as a critical part of who we are and our future, and we intend to build on our momentum. I invite you to take some time and dive a bit into our archives. You can read stories of Dad's beginning, of steps in the process and of how Northern Toboggan Co has really become a family affair.