A technique I've been applying when stuck helps a lot in lifting your sled out of a hole or from being stuck.
When you get your sled stuck, take two minutes to clear the snow out from under your running boards before you try to lift your sled out. You only need a few inches of clearance. Once this is done and you're ready to lift, do a count (so you all lift together) and right before 3, like 2.5, give the sled a good strong push down so that on three the sled is already on its way upward, like a compression push.
This may seem minute, but it makes a world of difference when lifting a heavy wet sled out of a hole. The suspension helps get that initial movement you need to get a good lift on the sled. If you think about it, the freestylists do this all the time when going off ramps. You will see a compression push right before they launch off their ramp. This is to have the suspension give them an extra lift off the ramp.
You Went To The Wrong Side
I recently just got the September issue and saw that you guys went to the Flattops area ["Don't Let The Name Fool You," SnoWest, September, 2009, page 38]. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but you totally went to the wrong side of them. Just kidding about that, the whole area is a kick in the dairy-ere.
I will say though that you guys should come and ride on the north side of them. We have some awesome riding over here. My friends and I would love to be your guides this year if you can make it down this way again. I promise, you won't be wasting your time.
Oak Creek, CO
(ED--Thanks for the e-mail. I will tell you it never fails. After I write a travel feature someone contacts me and tells me I went to the wrong place, rode with the wrong people, went at the wrong time of year-you get picture. If I ever get to the Flattops again, I'll be sure to look you up.)
Why No Ski-Doo Alpine Anymore?
I want to know why Ski-Doo went away from the old Ski-Doo Alpine. My dad drives a 1986 Alpine and it can go more places than my Ski-Doo 800. It can back right up a hill. It can't turn and sidehill very well but they could have worked with it and made it better.
(ED-We asked the folks at Ski-Doo to tackle this one, seeing as Josh is directing his question more to the company rather than SnoWest.)
The new Skandic series is better in just about every way. The Skandics offer great flotation with wider, longer tracks and much better steering with two skis.
It's great to read how the big boys compare against each other, but what about the comparison AFTER they've been modified (intake, exhaust, suspension, etc.) to the level an "average person" might go?
Also, how about comparing the stock version against the modified version? For example, a new Dragon places third in head-to-head testing, but what happens when you take a modified Dragon up against a modified Cat, all else the same? Thoughts?
(ED-Steve, Are you talking about like the Deep Powder Shootout when we went head to head with the mountain 800 class?
A mod shootout has long been in our discussions but to try and make a fair comparison would be very difficult for a lot of reasons. For example, what does the "average person" do to mod his sled? Modding to one is not the same to another, usually. To some, modding a sled is a tunnel bag or a windshield bag, while to others it's a pipe, silencer, maybe a turbo. It's all over the board. So it's tough to nail down just what a mod sled is.
If we were to pick just one product, say an intake system, and go with that for our testing and one sled came out victorious over another, then all the aftermarket company would have to say is we installed the product incorrectly or it doesn't do well in this or that specific conditions or whatever the excuse might be. We've already experienced that very complaint when we install something on our project sled and then write that it didn't do as well as we thought it should or as it was advertised and the company has come back and said, well, you didn't do this or that right. When the sled is stock, it all goes right back to the snowmobile manufacturer. Either the sled performs or it doesn't.
Now if we were to just add some mod parts like an intake or pipes or whatever and take the sleds through the paces like we do the stock sleds, we could get radar results and the like but it's not a fair comparison to match these sleds up against each other. It would probably make for good reading, but not for a fair comparison.
We have, in the past, allowed snowmobile dealers involved in our dealer shootout to bring one of their favorite mod sleds and put the radar gun on it and then reported the results. But it isn't a fair comparison against the other modded sleds that were brought because the mods were all over the board.
I'm sure that doing something with mod sleds will continue to be something we talk about and maybe even try someday, but we've got to figure out some way to make it fair.)
Here is Allen's response:
Head-to-head with factory sleds is always fun to read about and you all have this covered quite well.
My curiosity, however real, is now obviously difficult for you to put on paper. Your points were made very clear (thank you). I hadn't thought about all the "aftermarket" vendors and their issues. I see how/why you would like to, but probably can't find a way to compare fairly (and make everyone happy).
It's always been my curiosity to see how "simple modifications" (intake/exhaust type stuff) stack up against not only the "other guy," but the stock version. Suppose that would lead to a vast host of other questions, issues, arguments, etc.
I guess, I've always wondered "how good," "how big" and "when does a modified sled lose its factory dependability" when you start down the road of modifications.