Every now and then a new snowmobile comes around that just sort of fits perfectly right under you. And it makes you say “they built this one just for me.”
Last spring when we were riding the new 2003 prototype models, I got on a snowmobile designed for the trails…and you know, I’m really not a big trail rider. But something about that snowmobile captured my attention. It was the new Ski-Doo Rev—you know, the one Blair Morgan shined on last season in the Pro Open class of snocross racing.
But this was a trail sled, designed to hammer through the bumps and carve up the corners. Why would a mountain guy think that this sled was built for him?
Well, last spring when none of the Ski-Doo guys were looking, I snuck out with it and did a little boondocking. Its wide ski stance, short track and strange plastic rear end design just didn’t fit in the deep snow and extreme slopes. But something did…the feel of the snowmobile under the rider…it was just right. The riding position and ergonomics was a natural fit for mountain riding. But this was a trail sled.
Right away I started lobbying for a mountain Rev. I told the Ski-Doo engineers that’s the sled I wanted to ride next winter (this season). Throughout the summer I continued to drop suggestions, make requests and down right beg to get even a hand-built proto of a mountain Rev. Finally, in December, I got that call I had been waiting for—to ride Ski-Doo’s longtrack version of the Rev.
Every now and then, you get on a new snowmobile that fits like it was made just for you. And when I straddled the new 2003 Summit Rev, I knew this was my sled.
Riding the mountain trails of Grand Lake, CO, I realized why this was such a popular trail sled. It was smooth, responsive and a lot of fun to ride. But as we left the beaten paths and ventured our way through the trees and up ridges to those “out-of-the-way” play areas known only to the locals, it became obvious that the Summit Rev was designed for boondocking.
Its new chassis puts the rider in a higher sitting position, more forward and on top of the weight distribution. This facilitates two things: First, it’s easy to get your butt off the seat…and in mountain riding that’s a must. Second, it amplifies the rider’s leverage to tilt the sled from side to side. Again, in the mountains, you’re constantly encountering slope changes and must correct your balance constantly.
This Summit Rev was built for me…and Ski-Doo added a few other goodies that came as a most pleasant surprise. For example, a 144-by-16-inch track. Wow. By just adding one-half inch on each side of the track, you increase your footprint to offer as much surface area as a regular track that’s seven inches longer. And you can certainly feel it under you when you’re busting through deep powder…without the feeling that you’re driving a bus.
Several times while carving up a mountain ridge through tight trees I found myself in that situation where I just had to grab throttle and hope the track would hook up and pull the sled out of a tough spot. And time and time again it did. That extra inch makes a world of difference…and you could feel it.
Flying through a drift-blown trail with a lot of buried obstacles (like stumps and rocks), I found another pleasant surprise with the Summit Rev—a breakaway windshield. You know that sensation when you are traveling at about 30 mph and all of a sudden your snowmobile stops…but you don’t? Well, my first thoughts when I flew through the windshield (besides “this is going to hurt”) was that the windshield was toast. But after picking myself off the snow, I crawled back to the sled, picked up the windshield and plugged it right back into the hood—not a crack in it. Just in the dollar value, that will save me about $40 per ride (since I have a tendency to often fly through windshields).
Finally, after a hard day of riding, heading back to the parking lot was another pleasant surprise. Being somewhat past my youth, I was a little tired and wanted to relax and ride out. But our guide was taking us on some “shortcuts” that required a little more effort than just riding out. I noticed those riders on conventional sleds were constantly up and down on their sleds. On the Summit Rev, it was quite easy to stay in the seat most of the way out because I was already in an upright riding position.
The Summit Rev is easy to ride, easy to control and made for boondocking. It isn’t just a Rev with a long track thrown under it. For the past three years Ski-Doo engineers have been working on it, refining it, making it lighter (did I mention that its dry weight is 35 pounds lighter than this year’s Summit?), and working out all the bugs. Ski-Doo’s marketing group has spent a couple of years doing consumer research to find out what snowmobilers want.
Basically, the Summit Rev has been under development long before my first opportunity to ride it on the trails of McCall, ID, and long before I started lobbying Ski-Doo engineers to build the sled for me.
But even after learning all of this, there’s one definite thing I’ve concluded about the Summit Rev—it was built just for me.