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Image living in a rural Canada in winter thirty to forty years ago The snow blocks paths lanes and roads It is impossible to go anywhere you can hardly get out of the house to play outside Farmers cannot get to rescue stranded cattle Police cars firetrucks and ambulances cannot get through the drifts People are isolate One man changed all of this his name is Armand Bombardier He built machines that could travel over snow Bombardier was born in the rural community of Valcourt Quebec in 1907 Bombardier had a flair for inventing especially mechanical things At the age of 10 he had built himself a working model of a tractor out of a cigar box and an old broken alarm clock He went on to build a small boat with a working paddle wheel and a steam-generating plant with which he hoped to drive his aunts spinning wheel However she refused it When Bombardier was 15 he built his first snowmobile He took the engine out of an old Model T Ford and mounted it on to the frame of a large farm sleigh He put steering runners at the front and heavier rigid runners at the back To the drive-shaft of the engine he bolted a large hand-whittled propeller The snowmobile was a success it climbed over snowdrifts and level the ground with considerable ease Unfortunately Bombardiers father was not impressed and made him dismantle the whole thing and put the pieces away Undaunted Bombardier continued to design snowmobiles By the time he had graduated from high school in Sherbrooke and returned to Valcourt as a garage owner he had developed the plans to make good snowmobiles So he began building and testing them In 1934 one of his sons died of appendicitis because Bombardier could not get the boy to the hospital in time-the snowmobile he was testing then was too small For Bombardier
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