That’s my first thought whenever I’m sitting at the bottom of a hill and someone is making an insane climb up a chute on either a top-of-the-line mountain sled or modded machine, or when I’m watching a sled fly across a frozen lake at what seems like mach speed.
It’s usually no ordinary stock sled that’s making that climb up the chute of death or rocketing across the lake.
Something has been done to the snowmobile.
When you’re watching those really cool snowmobile videos and you see a sled doing one of those crazy but very impressive technical climbs, you can just about bet the ranch that it’s not being done on a bone stock sled.
I’m the first to admit that stock sleds these days are doing, going and making tracks in places we never dreamed of just a half dozen years ago. Stock sleds today are taking me places I had only seen on a map (not even on Google Earth because it wasn’t around until just recently) years ago. Today’s sleds are indeed impressive and I’m pretty content with taking one into the backcountry to track up some deep powder.
But then you sit on a sled like Ryan Harris’ project sled, the Arctic Cat M-80 (which you get a full report on in this issue), and you can’t help but think, what have I been missing?
M-80 is wicked cool. It’s very fast, climbs very high, goes through the deepest of powder with ease and spanks any stock sled which dares take it on.
That’s the beauty of snowmobiles. If you want your sled to look like M-80, all it takes is money.
Or, if money is harder to come by than wrestling a donut away from Ralphie May, you can add pieces and parts incrementally. Add pipes now and do a little engine work when you get more money. Or do some clutching work and add a pipe later. Or put a new track on. Or new skis. Whatever you want, whenever you want.
Of course, that’s what Mod Stock is all about—a shopping mall where products are listed in one place so you can compare and see what will work on your sled, all under one cover.
And, unless it’s a real technical piece of equipment and takes a mechanical whiz to install, you can do most of the work yourself with the parts listed in these pages. That saves even more money and gives you the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.
And if you hit a snag during installation, there are plenty of other sledders out there who are usually willing to offer advice and tips and can explain how they did it. The SnoWest forums are a good place to ask questions. The aftermarket manufacturers are another good source of information.
Once installed, your sled becomes an even bigger source of pride and bragging rights.
And, next time I’m sitting at the base of some mountain or on a frozen lake somewhere and see a sled climbing or zipping by me, it just might be you and I’ll be thinking, hmmm, all it takes is money. (I wonder where I can buy some of that fearlessness?)