Exclusive 2010 Snowmobile Buyer's Guide

Published in the September 2009 Issue September 2009 Feature

SplashIf you're going to tackle the mountain terrain and deep snows of the West, then you need the equipment to help you get the job done.

That equipment is a mountain snowmobile with a long, deep lug track. You might get away with what is called a crossover sled-a machine that is designed to handle the trails as well as off-trail riding. Crossovers do fairly well in certain conditions and are ideal for those sledders who live in the Midwest and travel to the West to ride each winter. They're ideal because these snowmobiles work well on the trails back home in the Midwest and can also tackle the steeper terrain and the snows that cover that terrain when they head west.

That equipment does not, however, include trail sleds or short tracks. Those machines are fine for the trails but easily sink in deeper snow. Sure, you'll see short tracks in the West, but not very often.

What you really need to enjoy the West is a purpose-built mountain machine.

Following is what each of the major snowmobile manufacturers has to offer for those who love to ride the West. We present this information as a brief look at what is available for mountain riders, not an in-depth report on our riding impressions or a detailed look at each machine. That information comes in upcoming issues this season. We're hoping the information will allow you to see what might be in your price and horsepower range, as well as the available track lengths for each model.

The information is pretty straight forward. The key shows the information being presented, including the "season," meaning if the model was a spring-only buy or you can purchase it any time during the year. Some of the tech stats might be missing (indicated by a N/A). That means either the manufacturer doesn't share that information with anyone else (i.e., horsepower readings from Polaris and the sled weights from Yamaha), or the manufacturer is waiting for the actual production of the machines later this fall to get their final numbers (i.e., dry weight figures from Arctic Cat). Some information wasn't available by the time we went to the printer with this issue.

We also included a paragraph or two to give a few details about why one model might differ from another in the same engine class.

Season Track options (width x length x lug height)
United States MSRP Fuel type recommended
Engine displacement (ccs) - Horsepower Warranty
Dry weight of snowmobile






In season Camoplast Maverick

$12,199 (153-inch track)
$12,599 (162-inch track)

Regular Unleaded
1049cc - 130 hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

The Nytro MTX SE models have all the bells and whistles, including premium suspensions and a lighter track. All Yamaha mountain tracks are the Camoplast Maverick version but on the SE models the track is single ply, which is lighter than what you'd find on, say, the Apex MTX. You'll also find Fox Float shocks on the front and rear suspension of these models as well as a wider ski stance.


Phazer MTX
In season Series 5.1
$9,799 Regular Unleaded
700cc - 80 hp 1 year
486 lbs.

The little brother in the Yamaha's MTX lineup is the Phazer, which many consider the company's entry level machine for the mountain segment. Like all other Yamahas, the Phazer MTX is a four-stroke.


FX Nytro
In Season Camoplast Maverick
$11,199 Regular Unleaded
1049cc - 30 hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

This is the base model of the Nytro MTX, which is why it's a thousand bucks cheaper than the SE model. This Nytro has HPG shocks on the front suspension and the ProMountain CK 153 rear suspension, which also features HPG shocks. It also has a narrower ski stance compared to the SE models.


Apex MTX
In season Camoplast Maverick
$12,299 Regular unleaded
998cc - 150 hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

In terms of horsepower, the Apex MTX is the biggest sled Yamaha offers for mountain riders, producing 20 more ponies compared to Nytro models. The Apex is a four-cylinder four-stroke while the Nytros are still four-strokes but have three-cylinder powerplants. That's where the difference in engine displacement comes into play.






Summit X
Spring only 16x154x2.25 (600)
16x146x2.25 (800)
16x154x2.25 (800)
16x163x2.25 (800)
$10,449 (600)
$10,699 (800 - 146-inch track)
$10,999 (800 - 154-inch track)
$11,399 (800 - 163-inch track)
Premium unleaded
594.4cc - 118 hp
799.5cc - 151 hp
1 year
446 lbs. (600)
442 lbs. (800 - 146-inch track)
446 lbs. (800 - 154-inch track)
452 lbs. (800 - 163-inch track)

The Summit X is the top of the line when it comes to Ski-Doo mountain machines. There are several options when it comes to the Summit X, from two engine choices to three different track lengths. Note that the Summit X 600 only comes in one track length, though. All Summit X models have the distinction of being equipped with HPG Plus shocks on the front and rear along with lightweight chromoly A-arms on the front suspension and upgraded brake pads and a braided stainless steel brake line.


Summit X-RS Hillclimb
Spring only 16x154x2.25
$11,649 Premium unleaded
799.5cc - 151 hp 1 year
451 lbs.

The X-RS Hillclimb is aimed at sledders who are professional hillclimb racers or love to take on the biggest and gnarliest mountains around. Because that kind of riding can get real bumpy real fast, Ski-Doo uses premium shocks all the way around on this model, including HPG Plus R on the front, an HPG Plus in the center and KYB Pro 36 aluminum piggyback in the rear. The X-RS Hillclimb is the only mountain model with KYB shocks. Another significant difference is the ski stance, which can be adjusted from 41.6 to 43 inches, which is several inches wider than other mountain sleds from Ski-Doo and allows for stability on the mountain. The rails have also been reinforced and a fourth idler wheel added in the rear suspension.


Summit Everest
In season 16x154x2.25 (600)
16x146x2.25 (800)
16x154x2.25 (800)
16x163x2.25 (800)
$9,599 (600)
$10,299 (800 - 146-inch track)
$10,599 (800 - 154-inch track)
$10,999 (800 - 163-inch track)
Premium unleaded
594.4cc - 118hp
799.5cc - 151hp
1 year
447 lbs. (600)
447 lbs. (800 - 146-inch track)
451 lbs. (800 - 154-inch track)
456 lbs. (800 - 163-inch track)

The Summit Everest is Ski-Doo's in season base model, although the Everest mirrors the Summit X in that consumers have two engine choices and three track lengths to choose from. Again, the 600 only has one track option but the 800 has three lengths. While the Everest is considered the base model in the lineup, it still has many of the same features as the Summit X, most notably the Rev XP chassis and the res


Summit Sport
In season 15x146x2
$8,099 Regular unleaded
597cc - 104-106 hp 1 year
428 lbs.

After Ski-Doo made the decision to drop the Summit Fan from its lineup for 2010, the Summit Sport suddenly became the new entry-level sled for the company. This model has a new name for 2010, having been called the Summit Everest last season. Using the Rotax 600 rather than the 600 E-Tec keeps the price of the Summit Sport about $1,500 less, making it more attractive to those breaking into the sport or anyone else who is counting his pennies. Aside from the obvious dissimilarity in the engine department, another difference between this model and other Summits is the narrower track-15 vs. 16 inches. The Summit Sport is getting the HPG shock in the rear instead of the Motion Control found on the 2009 model.






800 Dragon RMK
In season Series 5.1
$10,899 (155-inch track)
$11,299 (163-inch track)
91 Octane or higher
795cc - N/A hp 1 year
472 lbs. (155-inch track)
477 lbs. (163-inch track)

The Dragons are Polaris' top of the line models when it comes to its RMK lineup. Dragon models come with an upgraded shock package-including Walker Evans and Walker Evans Air shocks-as well as Pro- Taper bars with hooked ends, a lightweight brake disc with a race master cylinder, lightweight spindle and ice scratchers. Those perks will cost just a few hundred dollars more compared to a standard RMK model.


800 Assault RMK
In season Competition
$10,799 91 Octane or higher
795cc - N/A hp 1 year
487 lbs.

This proved to be a very popular sled for the freeride segment, which is why the Assault is back for another season. This sled is aimed at very aggressive riders who like to hit jumps, fly off cornices and pound through the moguls. Two of the biggest differences between the Assault and other RMK models are the shock package and track. While other RMKs use some version of the Series track, the Assault uses a Competition track that is 146 inches long. As for the shocks, the Assault gets Walker Evans Coil Over Needle gas shocks in the front (a change from earlier this year), a Walker Evans coil in the front of the rear suspension and a Walker Evans Competition Adjustable for the rear track shock.


800 RMK
In season Series 4 15x144x2
Series 5.1 15x155x2.4
$10,099 (144-inch track)
$10,499 (155-inch track)
91 Octane or higher
795cc - N/A hp 1 year
477 lbs. (144-inch track)
487 lbs. (155-inch track)

The RMK is the base model for Polaris in the 800 class. The 155-inch model gets the same lightweight spindle as is found on the Dragon model but the 144-inch RMK does not. Ryde FX or Ryde AFX shocks are standard on the base RMKs.


700 RMK
In season Series 5.1 15x155x2.4
$9,799 91 Octane or higher
700cc - N/A hp 1 year
486 lbs.

Polaris had earlier announced that it was dropping the 700 RMK from its lineup but too many people sqwuaked and so this model was brought back for 2010. And for good reason. It's a solid mid-range horsepower machine that bridges the gap between the 600 and 800 class. The 700 RMK is considered a base model as well, so it shares most of the same features as does the 800 RMK, except, of course, the engine.


600 RMK
In season Series 4 15x144x2
Series 5.1 15x155x2.4
$8,699 (144-inch track)
$9,199 (155-inch track)
91 Octane or higher
599cc - N/A hp 1 year
469 lbs. (144-inch track)
484 lbs. (155-inch track)

The 600 RMKs are the smallest class Polaris offers with liquid-cooled engines. The 600 RMKs are very similar to the 700 and 800 RMKs in terms of features, shocks and track length and depth. The obvious difference is horsepower output.


Trail RMK
In season 15x136x1.25
$6,199 91 Octane or higher
544cc - N/A hp 1 year
464 lbs.

The only fan-cooled sled left in the mountain segment, the Trail RMK is truly a beginner's machine. The price is designed to appeal to those looking to jump into snowmobiling and the power level won't intimidate anyone.



Arctic Cat


Arctic Cat

M8 Sno Pro
In season 15x153-162x2.25
$11,299 (153-inch track)
$11,599 (162-inch track)
91 octane
794cc - 160+ hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

M8 Sno Pros have the added benefits of Fox Float shocks on the front suspension, telescopic steering and Cat's new 800 H.O. engine, which pumps out 10 percent more power than the '09 800 engine. Sno Pro models also come with a premium gauge. You can tell the Sno Pros from Cat's base models by their color: Sno Pros are white while base Ms are green.


M1000 Sno Pro
In season 15x162x2.25
$13,199 87 octane
999cc - 165 hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

Still the biggest stock mountain sled available on the market, the M1000 prides itself on its big horsepower and mountain climbing prowess. Available now only in Sno Pro dress, the M1000 also features Fox Float shocks on the front suspension and Cat's exclusive telescopic steering system.


M8 Limited
Spring only 15x153x2.25
$11,399 91 octane
794cc - 160+ hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

Available as a spring-only model, this M8 distinguishes itself from the rest of the M Series with its distinctive stealth black color. Premium perks include the telescoping steering and Fox Float shocks on the front suspension.


In season 15x153-162x2.25
$10,699 (153-inch track)
$10,999 (162-inch track)
91 octane
794cc - 160+ hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

Although the M8s are Cat's base models for the mountains, these sleds still come with the new 800 H.O. engine and new lighter and taller seat for 2010. The two primary differences between these base models and the Sno Pro versions are the sleds don't come with Fox Float shocks on the front suspension nor the telescopic steering, hence the $600 price difference.


In season 15x153x2.25
$11,999 91 octane
794cc - 160+ hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

The M8 HCR or Hillclimb Racer has the distinct advantage of a stiffer 90 durometer Power Claw track, which "grabs" better in chewed up snow conditions, similar to what professional hillclimbers find on the mountain during competition. The HCR also has a wider but still adjustable ski stance-42-44 inches-along with telescoping steering.


In season 15x153x2.25
$9,399 87 octane
599cc - 120 hp 1 year
N/A lbs.

The M6 is Arctic Cat's entry-level mountain machine, reflected in the engine size and price of the sled. Although this is an entry-level snowmobile, it still comes with Cat's exclusive Fox Float rear suspension and new blow-molded seat.

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