World champion snowmobile hill climber Kyle Tapio didn’t get to the top without a well-oiled machine. He keeps it so by hauling a 48-foot long trailer outfitted as a mechanic’s shop to his and his family’s hill climb events.
The Tapios made the mobile garage, which includes an overhead lift, out of an old Allied Van Lines moving van, father John said Thursday. The family and its mobile shop were ensconced at the Jackson Hole Snow Devils’ 42 World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb at Snow King Mountain in Jackson this week. Kyle rides an Arctic Cat machine.
John Tapio drove the big rig more than 11,000 miles one hill-climbing season. This year the family has only been to three races because of the lack of snow in parts of the West, John said.
The family built the mobile shop itself, including tool drawers that stay locked shut when the big rig rounds corners. Yet custom Tapio design and manufacturing allows a mechanic to easily unlatched and pull a drawer out with one hand.
The Tapios hail from Brush Prairie, Washington, but their name is known around the West. With six “King of the Kings” titles, Kyle Tapio has attained “hill climb legend status,” racers say.
The Snow Devils hill climb draws thousands to the town every winter. Racers who bring trailers arrive as early as Tuesday to stage their equipment around the base of the ski hill where the climb takes place. The event raises thousands of dollars a year for charity.