You likely have noticed that the featured article of this issue focuses on the 800 class mountain sleds. This is probably the most competitive and highly coveted class in the industry that tends to drive industry sales.
It’s also a class that the staff at SnoWest spends a great deal of time examining. There have been countless times we’ve discussed, and even ranked, the snowmobiles of this class. We have argued the merits of each snowmobile within the class—listing our likes and dislikes.
Let me take a moment to review the things I like.
First, I like how Polaris, Ski-Doo and Arctic Cat have all increased their focus on the mountain segment of the snowmobile market. Over the past three decades, the industry has evolved from a time where the western market was just an afterthought to a philosophy of “If it works out West, it will work anywhere.” Sales have gone from less than 10 percent to more than 30 percent of the national market.
I like that Polaris has raised the bar, Ski-Doo has thought outside the box, and Arctic Cat has upped the ante.
The Polaris Pro-Ride chassis set the standard of what a snowmobile should do in extreme terrain. It introduced a new style of riders—those who realized the best snow is found in trees and tight terrain.
Ski-Doo engineers have figured out a way to get the most from technology: designing E-Tec engines and tMotion suspensions. This technology will carry the industry deep into the present decade.
Arctic Cat has gone all-in with its ProClimb design. Recognizing the new direction in western riding, Cat demonstrated it wasn’t afraid to put its cards on the table with a revolutionary look and aggressive design.
I like that snowmobile loyalists are having to leave their comfort zones and adjust their riding styles to evolve with the change. I’ve had to adjust. Those whom I ride with had to adjust. And I believe we are all better riders now than we were just a couple of years back.
I like knowing that the snowmobile manufacturers are competing for the market the old fashioned way—making products better and more dependable.
I like seeing aftermarket companies recognizing there are still plenty of opportunities to fill the niche markets with products designed to make good things better and better things great.
I like feeling confident that each time I go out on the snow, I’m wearing clothing designed to keep me comfortable, dry and alive; that as long as I use my head and recognize the adherent dangers of nature, I can manage my risks while enjoying my winter activity.
I like being with others who also enjoy nature and crave for the excitement of experiencing it on a snowmobile.
As for you … I hope you like this issue.