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Tetonia invites you to annual snow plane rally

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A snow plane at the annual rally in Tetonia. | Courtesy photo

TETONIA — Tetonia is inviting east Idaho to experience snow planes at its annual rally.

“I’ve heard about snow planes, but too see them and realize how much work and time it takes to keep them running and building something like that is extraordinary,” Jacque Beard, event organizer and Tetonia City Clerk, told EastIdahoNews.com.

A snow plane’s cab sits on skis with a large propeller on the back, moving it forward over the snow and ice. Beard describes snow planes as a cross between a snowmobile and an airplane.

“They’re loud, and they are really fun,” Beard said. “Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing you would experience.”

Tetonia organized the first event in 2012 with a local family who wanted to honor Dale Robson who passed away in the year before. Robson’s family said he build 20 snow planes himself and became the second person to glide across the ice of Jackson Lake in a snow plane in the late 1940s.

At the annual event, people gather at Ruby Carson Memorial Park to check out the snow planes. Beard said many of the drivers also give rides in an open field behind the park. The city also provides hot chocolate and coffee to event-goers.

“It was something we would thought would be fun,” said Dale’s son, Brent Robson. “It was a chance for all of us to get together and spend a day to talk about a tradition we have had throughout our life.”

Brent Robson said by the time he was 3, his father had him out on the lake riding beside him in a snow plane. He remembers at a young age being in a shop building snow planes with his dad.

“It’s something that’s been passed down,” Beard said. “Its the history. Just the love of the machine.”

Individuals come from surrounding states to each year’s rally that grows in numbers each year. Beard said between eight and 10 snow planes line up in the city’s park, many of which are self-built.

“They are definitely a labor of love,” Beard said. “They’re not something you can go buy in a store.”

The 2020 Snow Plane Rally will be Jan. 18 at Ruby Carson Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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