The 15th Annual SAE Snowmobile Challenge was held at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, on March 4-8. This year 17 universities registered for the event.
The members of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association—Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris and Yamaha--were gold-level sponsors of the event. Representatives from all of the manufacturers were involved in the event and supported the skilled students from the participating universities and colleges.
Kettering University, Flint, MI, was the winner of the Internal Combustion Division. The second place spot was awarded to New York State University, Buffalo. The results highlighted the students' mastery of a variety of technologies.
Michigan Technological University has hosted the event for the last 12 years and experienced the snowiest winter in years with temperatures solidly in the subfreezing range and presented ideal conditions for the SAE collegiate design competition.
This year, 9 of the 10 snowmobiles starting the 100 mile endurance run made it to the finish line. This accomplishment was remarkable in that in previous years, approximately 50 percent of the entrants did not finish the 100 mile trip.
The Zero-Emissions competition was won by McGill University. It was the only university of four to field a sled that was able to pass inspections and get out on the snow.
In addition to engineers and other supporting groups, the U.S. Forest Service was represented at the Challenge. Forest Service representatives commented that the snowmobile industry and the clubs have made great strides, and with their partnership, this snowmobile challenge was great for the students and helped move forward a great partnership.
The SAE Snowmobile Challenge included activities such as
a. An endurance run from Houghton, MI, to Copper Harbor, MI;
b. Technical presentations on emissions and design parameters;
c. A subjective handling event;
d. An acceleration test; and
e. Scientific testing of emission levels, and sound levels.
Plans are underway for the 2015 Challenge which will be held at Michigan Technological University. The snowmobile manufacturers will work with the planning team in designing event activities and standards.