Mountain Sport Class

Fan-Tastic Fun Mobiles

January 2008 Feature, Snow Tests Mark Bourbeau Viewed 823 time(s)

The mountain sport class is very similar to the 1000 "big boy" class in respect to the fact that this class fills the bill for a much smaller or niche group of snowmobiling enthusiast-the only difference being at the opposite end of the investment spectrum.

The smaller demand for these models supports the reasoning for only one 1000 machine and two 500 fanners-but the manufactures have to start out and then end their lineup somewhere.

Speaking Of Starting .

The Polaris Trail RMK and Ski-Doo Summit Fan have been the starting point for many a life-long love affair with snowmobiling, whether it was exposure through a rental experience (the Trail RMK and Summit Fan are very common and popular amongst rental fleets) or a first time purchase.

These two ponies are a well established base line for the industry with a more simplistic design and affordable construction, hence a much cheaper purchase price ($5,799 for the Polaris and $6,099 for the Doo) and operating costs. And when we say well established, we mean like a Terminator kind of well established as they keep coming back . they just won't go away.

This stalwart tenure of the Polaris has been going on since 1997 when the Trail RMK vied for the SnoWest Mountain Lightweight Class award and has been built on the Edge chassis the last seven years. The little Ski-Doo has been around as long, but the Summit 500 did not have a fan-cooled motor until five years ago and has been a Rev- based chassis going on four years.

Show Us Your Stuff

Both the Polaris and Ski-Doo are economically powered with a 550cc fan-cooled engine fed by two VM 34 carbs producing 60-65 hp. Above and beyond that similarity, the Trail RMK and Summit Fan become quite a bit more individualistic.

Package highlights for the 2008 Polaris Trail RMK include a conventional Edge chassis with the Escape trailing arm front suspension, including Nitrex shock absorbers good for 7.6 inches of front travel. Rear suspension is the torsion spring Dual Purpose Rail fitted with a Nitrex and Nitrex Select shock combining for 13.8 inches of rear travel. This chassis/suspension combo lends to more of a low-rider characteristic that we feel is more at home on trail type conditions.

Other standard equipment features include the ever popular P-85 Polaris primary and Team lightweight secondary clutches, the Phantom hydraulic brake, the 15x136x1.25 Shockwave paddle track, PERC (Polaris Electronic Reverse Control) reverse, adjustable hand and thumb warmers, mountain specific (the I.Q.) skis, rear mountain rack, speedometer/odometer and running boards with boot traction.

The 2008 Ski-Doo Summit Fan with its Rev-based chassis is constructed with the RAS A-arm front suspension with a sway bar and Motion Control gas shock absorbers, delivering 9 inches of front cush. Bringing up the rear is the SC-136 skid frame, also with the Motion Control gas shocks offering 13 inches of ride. As most everyone is aware by now, the Rev platform is significantly different from the Edge with its more aggressive rider forward positioning that also has the rider sitting higher for a much easier transition from sitting to standing, enhancing the "boondocking rideability."

More standards features complementing the Summit Fan are the Bombardier Lite/LPV 27 clutching system, 16x136x1.75 Rip Saw paddle track. Rotax Electronic Reverse, handlebars with a mountain bar, adjustable hand and thumb warmers, Pilot 6.9 dual runner mountain skis, adjustable ski stance, rear mountain rack, speedometer/odometer and running boards with boot traction.

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Snowmobiles that miss the mark for their intended purpose (like hillclimbing, high horsepower, etc.) usually only last two years max. The track record of the Polaris RMK and Ski-Doo Summit Fan confirms that neither of these ponies are a bad machine by any stretch.

And it is also well documented that our mind set at SnoWest is that boondocking rules. So our favoritism leans toward the Summit Fan with more rider ergos and constructed traits like the 16 fewer pounds that the little Doo (459 lbs dry) is packing around, resulting in better performance in more extreme snow and terrain conditions. The Ski-Doo's deeper lug track (1.75 vs. Polaris' 1.25) also makes a positive difference when the snow starts to pile up.

The power of these machines isn't going to scare anyone, which is why these two models are ideal rental sleds. And ideal snowmachines for the beginning or teenage rider. Depending on snow conditions, the SnoWest SnowTest crew can have just as much fun on these smaller machines as the bigger, higher horsepower sleds.

While we tend to lean toward the Summit Fan, we wouldn't shelve the Trail RMK rather than not ride.

Either way, the 2008 Polaris RMK and Ski-Doo Summit Fan are geared out to deliver economical and Fan-tastic fun on the snow this winter.


Polaris Trail RMK


Age of this model                               Tenth year



Engine                                     Polaris

Displacement                                     544cc

Cylinders                                            2

Carburetion                                        2 VM 34

Primary clutch                                    P-85

Secondary clutch                                LWT Team



Chassis                                               Edge

Front suspension                                Escape

Front shocks                                       Nitrex

Front travel                                        7.6 inches

Rear suspension                                Dual Purpose Rail

Rear shocks                                       Nitrex Select

Rear travel                                         13.8 inches

Center shock                                      Nitrex

Ski                                                       IQ



Dry weight                                          475 lbs.

Track                                                  15x136x1.25

Ski stance                                           41 inches

Fuel capacity                                      11.8 gallons

Price                                                    $5,799


Ski-Doo Summit Fan


Age of this model                               Fourth year



Engine                                     Rotax

Displacement                                     553cc

Cylinders                                            2

Carburetion                                        2 VM 34

Primary clutch                                    Bombardier Lite

Secondary clutch                                LPV 27



Chassis                                               Rev

Front suspension                                R.A.S.

Front shocks                                       Motion control

Front travel                                        9 inches

Rear suspension                                SC-136

Rear shocks                                       Motion control

Rear travel                                         13 inches

Center shock                                      Motion control

Ski                                                       Pilot 6.9 dual runner



Dry weight                                          459 lbs.

Track                                                  16x136x1.75

Ski stance                                           44.8-46.4 inches

Fuel capacity                                      10.6 gallons

Price                                                    $6,099

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