At first glance, the recent announcement that DC Shoes has teamed with Yamaha to create the new DC/Yamaha SXViper Mountain seems a little (okay, a lot ) out of character for such a conservative company as Yamaha.
But the more we think about it, the more we think Yamaha is crazy like a fox. Yamaha already fully supports the FSX tour-where its sleds are very competitive by the way-which features a group of not exactly mainstream snowmobilers. By doing so, Yamaha sleds are getting exposure to a wider audience than they would at a snocross or hillclimb.
Now Yamaha is going after the boarder crowd which is huge in some areas, like Pemberton in British Columbia. We rode the Pemberton area last spring and were just about the only ones in the backcountry without a snowboard or skis.
According to a press release from DC Shoes, snowmobiles are the vehicle of choice for snowboarders to get to the backcountry to play in the powder. DC Shoes, the premier snowboard boot company, teamed up with Yamaha to create a snowmobile made for snowboarders: the DC/Yamaha SXViper Mountain.
The goal of this partnership is to promote snowmobiling to average snowboarders, who might not be exposed to how the pros use them.
"DC understands snowboarding," Ken Block, DC president, said. "It was a natural move to customize a great Yamaha snowmobile to work specifically for our pros-or any snowboarder-so they can have fun in the backcountry."
"Yamaha is thrilled to be collaborating with DC Shoes to reach out to snowboarders and backcountry enthusiasts," Luke Dawson, Yamaha's coordinator of motorsports communication, said. "Snowboarding and snowmobiling have a great deal of commonality-as more and more snowboarders realize how beautiful and accessible the backcountry can be, and that the ride up can be as much fun as the ride down, this synergy will grow. We anticipate that this relationship will be a valuable tool not only to reach out to snowboarders, but also as a way to continue developing snowmobiles that meet the specific needs of backcountry enthusiasts."
In all, five Yamaha snowmobiles have been altered by Utah-based Mountain Performance, under exacting guidance from DC to fashion the modifications best suited for snowboarding. Known as shred sleds, the snowmobiles have more than $5,000 worth of snowboarding-specific upgrades to each standard Yamaha SXViper Mountain. Additionally, the snowmobiles are transported in a unique, custom trailer that is fully enclosed and can fit four sleds.
The DC/Yamaha SXViper Mountains are stored at DC's Mountain Lab, which is located on a 22-acre spread in Utah's Wasatch Mountain range, near Salt Lake City.
DC's team chose the Yamaha SXViper for its lightweight balance of power and handling. On the DC/Yamaha SXViper Mountain, the track has been lengthened from 144 to 156 inches. A Transfer Enhancement Kit reduces the snowmobile's overall weight and transfers additional weight to the rear shocks to provide extra ski lift. The sled has also been fitted with Simmons skis.
Boarders can also strap their board down on the sled with a unique, custom-crafted rack attached to the chassis. To promote safety, the DC/Yamaha SXViper Mountain features exclusive, custom-installed avalanche survival supplies. These include a shovel (with a saw in the handle), collapsible probe, first-aid kit and avalanche beacon. Also included is a series of avalanche manuals.
The Yamaha snowmobile will have special, custom DC graphics. The handlebars have been raised several inches for better leverage and sidehilling and include larger round plugs on the ends for better gripping.
Mountain Performance added triple pipes with aluminum ceramic coating for additional cooling and also a new clutch kit. A new engine head gives greater compression and more power. A stock SXViper Mountain churns out about 150 hp but with the Mountain Performance changes the ponies have been bumped up to about 180 hp. The sled also has new cooling kits where the vents have been placed higher on the chassis to decrease the chance of snow buildup in deep powder.