The ski is an important component of any snowmobile and has a critical function in the handling and performance of the sled. Manufacturers are constantly tweaking the ski design in an effort to find something that looks great and performs well in all snow conditions.
The test staff at SnoWest spent a little extra time examining all four snowmobile manufacturer skis last winter during its evaluations of the 2014 snowmobile models. We certainly have our opinions on which skis work well and which ones fall short. Here’s what we found out when we took the time to measure each ski to see how it matches up with the competition.
The distances (other than the width) were measured from the tip of the ski bottom (not the tip of the loop).
Arctic Cat—The “Mountain 6” ski is the narrowest width of all manufacturers’ OEM skis offered. The ski bottom is of a convex design that tends to work well in the trees. The ski lacks an aggressive edge on the bottom, allowing it to wash a little in corners. It offers boot traction on top of ski and a creative ski loop design that offers a decent single-hand pull grip in with the ski loop … but not a lot of room for a second helping hand.
Polaris—The “Gripper” ski continues to lead the way in OEM performance. This is a design that we have felt offers the best of all worlds—floating through the snow, carving sidehills and holding its own like down the trail. The ski bottom has a flat design but with an aggressive keel. It offers boot traction on top of ski and a descent single-hand pull grip in with the ski loop.
Ski–Doo—The “Pilot DS-2” ski offers good all-around performance. It has the shortest keel length, but is one of the deepest keels which provide an aggressive feel. It also features a flat design bottom. It offers boot traction on top of ski and a descent single-hand pull grip in with the ski loop.
Yamaha—This mountain ski has a design that features not only the longest keel length of the bunch, but also rolled edges which provide multiple edges for handling and performance. The smooth top surface offers no boot traction. The ski loop creates some finger overlap which causes some pinching with a single-hand pull grip.