Lutsen Resort Classic Shuttle

Lutsen Resort is shuttling folks between its property and the Lutsen Ski Hill in the classic luxury of a 1935 Red Jammer bus built by the White Motor Company under contract with the National Park Service. The company built just 500 buses and about 100 are still operating, according to Edward Vanegas, Food and Beverage Director at Lutsen Resort.

The bus is painted the red of Mountain Ash berries, and there is an abundance of those berries here on the North Shore. It carries up to 14 people with a ski equipment rack on the exterior driver's side. Passenger doors for each row of seats are opposite.

Currently, the shuttle makes three runs in the morning and three in the afternoon with three stops each trip on resort property.

Bryce Campbell, President and CEO of North Shore Resort Company, acquired the 133-year-old Lutsen Resort in 2018. He has a lifelong passion for historic lodges. When he can, he visits the historic National Park Lodges including Glacier and Yellowstone. He is inspired by the writing of Christine Barnes, an authority on historic lodges, and refers to her books often.

He recalls seeing his first Jammer at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a historic resort in Alberta, many years ago. He’s admired them ever since.

The buses took on the Jammer name because of the sound they made when the drivers shifted gears. The "jamming" sound came from the unsynchronised transmissions, where double clutching (ask your granddad) was required to shift gears in the days before synchronized transmissions.

Campbell says the name Jammers may first have been attached to the drivers of these vehicles before the buses themselves. Either way, the driver jams the gears, and the bus makes the noise.

The Lutsen Jammer was built in 1935. It was fully restored about 20 years ago when the flathead six original engine was replaced with a big-block Chevrolet 454. The unsynchronized transmission was replaced with a fully automatic at that time.

This one became available at Krown Restoration in Wilsall, MT about a year ago, and Campbell bought it for the historic Lutsen Resort. Krown has restored the interior and mounted the rack on the driver’s side exterior to hold skis and gear.

“Our goal is to have three buses eventually,” said Vanegas. This summer they hope to operate tours with the buses up and down the shore.