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Meet our Contributors


Joe Rainville

Joe Rainville jumped into contributing in 2010 with an article on a prototype IFS John Deere Liquifire. Joe has regularly authored late model technical how-to, tech shorts, vintage history and snowmobile show articles for us since.

In his younger days he could be found racing snocross and hillcross around NY, PA and VT. Now an aerospace engineer from Fort Worth TX, he can be seen vacationing up north guiding vintage rides for the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, WI and still attempts the vintage class of the I-500 cross country race on updated vintage John Deere sleds.

It takes a strange level of dedication to own a fleet of 40 sleds in Texas, from 1972 all the way up to 2017. While Joe loves all things sled related, vintage prototypes are his personal favorite, but he still really needs to try mountain riding one of these days.

Olav Aaen

Tech Editor Olav Aaen is a long-time contributor to AmSnow. As a mechanical engineer and president of Aaen Performance, Olav has been heavily involved with snowmobile performance since 1968. Aaen Performance is best known for pioneering performance pipes and introducing the roller clutch to the snowmobile market.

Olav is a native of Norway and has been involved in many forms of racing, from snowmobiles to ATVs and cars. He has written several books on clutching and carb tuning and his performance shop is located in Racine, Wis. Check out Olav's Tech Notes columns in each issue of AmSnow and watch too for his how-to and tuning stories.

Do you have a question or feedback for Olav? Send him an email at

Les Pinz

Don't let that gray hair fool you, Les is a former Scorpion racer and has been involved with snowmobiling for years. He can push a sled as hard as anyone, when needed. A Minnesotan, Les has an extensive collection of vintage sleds and enjoys displaying and running vintage equipment at shows every fall and winter. He also frequently writes our Backtracks column (inside back page) about vintage sleds.

During the winter, if he's not out riding, he's out grooming the trails for others to enjoy! Oh, and look closely at a lot of our cover shots over the past few years, that guy pushing a sled hard through a corner is likely Les!

Do you have a question or feedback for Les? Send him an email at

Mike Carr

Mike writes various features and travel stories for AmSnow, and has for years. Based in Wisconsin, Mike rides 1,000+ miles each season, documenting most of his journeys and sharing his experiences with others. He's a great ambassador for snowmobiling. Look up a Wisconsin travel story, or many others on our Web site and you're likely to see Mike's byline.

Do you have a question or feedback for Mike? Send him an email at

Jessica Kline

Jessica is a long-time motorsports enthusiast and promoter. She is owner of Backwoods Promotions, which specializes in motorsports and outdoors event staffing and marketing. When she isn't hard at work, Jessica enjoys exploring the backwoods of her home province, Ontario, and beyond. Jessica loves to incorporate fun, new friends and random adventures into her snowmobile trips. Look for her contributions on the American Snowmobiler blogs as well as in print.

Do you have a question or feedback for Jessica? Send her an email at

Stephanie Santeford

Stephanie Santeford is an avid snowmobiler and photographer. A survivor of the backcountry, she has a passion for helping others learn about off-trail safety and avalanche awareness.
Do you have a question or feedback for Stephanie? Send her an email at

Tom Clement

Tom was raised in Grand Forks, N.D., and has been involved in the snowmobile industry for 30 years, currently he's racing on the cross-country circuit. Besides being a college business instructor and writer, he enjoys spending his spare time with his family, that is, when he's not finding new excuses to go riding or spacing out in his garage. His columns regularly appear on and he writes occasional stories for the magazine. He's also an avid motorcycle rider!

Do you have a question or feedback for Tom? Send him an email at

Butch Veltum

Butch has been test riding with us for several years. He runs out of northern Illinois and along with his son Ryan races the Midwest asphalt drag scene in the summer and early fall. He even won the Sunday bracket race at AmSnow's 2008 Super Sled Shootout in Martin, Mich. Butch knows sledding and is a hardcore racer and rider. Look closely and you might recognize him on the magazine cover occasionally.

Do you have a question or feedback for Butch? Send him an email at

Jason Houle

Jason is one of our technical advisors and has written several How-To and tech stories for us. He's the owner of Straightline Performance in Forest Lake, Minn., and has been intimately involved with numerous kinds of snowmobile racing for most of his life. Look for his hands-on tech features and his answers in the Ask the Experts column too!

Do you have a question or feedback for Jason? Send him an email at

Jamie Bellman

Jamie grew up in a drag racing family. After a 30-year racing career as a driver, he continues to build and tune others on the drag strip. Numerous body and clutching designs out of the Bellman Racing shop are still in use today on the ice and asphalt. Now, Bellman teams up with AmSnow to organize and direct one of the best snowmobile events of the year: the Super Sled Shootout in Martin, Mich.

Do you have a question or feedback for Jamie? Send him an email at

Mike Duffy

Our own personal avalanche expert, Mike is an avalanche instructor at Colorado Mountain College, Silverton Avalanche School and Elite Backcountry Riding School. He's also a backcountry guide and a rescue/avalanche team leader/avalanche mission coordinator for Vail Mountain Rescue Group. A mountain snowmobiler for the last 25 years and a member of the American Avalanche Association, Mike is a graduate of National Avalanche School, the National Academy of Winter Guiding, AVPRO and the Professional Avalanche Search and Rescue Course. Member He's a U.S. avalanche instructor for BRP, and he has also provided training for Arctic Cat, Polaris and Ski-Doo. He's been trained by Backcountry Access (BCA), ABS, Snowpulse and Ortovox. Get more info on his website:

Jim Czekala

In 1986, Jim opened up the first independent dyno testing facility for motorcycles and snowmobiles. Using the most modern fully computerized, fully instrumented SuperFlow engine dyno, he designed and built a chassis holding fixture and driveshaft system that enabled performance testing and tuning without having to remove the engines from the frames/chassis.

Jim also created, now a subscription-based website that serves as a Consumer Reports-style source of information on stock snowmobiles and aftermarket modifications and components.

In 1989, DynoTech Research partnered with American Snowmobiler magazine to host the New York Shootout, ensuring that the sleds were "stock" by dyno certification. It has been an annual tradition ever since.

Do you have a question or feedback for Jim? Send him an email at

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