Haslett, MI - The 16th Annual SAE Snowmobile Challenge was held at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, from March 3-7. This year 21 teams from the U.S. and Canada and one from Finland participated in the weeklong event.
The members of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association—Arctic Cat, Bombardier Recreational Products, Polaris and Yamaha—were proud Gold-level sponsors of the event. Representatives from the manufacturers were involved in the event and supported the skilled students participating from the universities and colleges from around the world.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison bested the tough competition and was announced the winner of the Internal Combustion Engine Division. The second spot for the overall competition went to Kettering University from Flint, MI.
The competition featured a new Diesel Utility category where North Dakota State took first place. The diesel category is new this year and was created as diesel sleds have different characteristics than gasoline sleds and there is growing demand for snowmobile use in the agricultural and hard work categories that would use diesel power. Second place in the Diesel category was awarded to SUNY-Buffalo.
The Finnish team of students from Lapland University of Applied Sciences celebrated their first year as the top Zero-Emissions team.
Michigan Tech University has hosted the Snowmobile Challenge for the past 13 years and experienced a beautiful snowy winter with temperatures solidly in the freezing range providing ideal conditions for the SAE Collegiate Design competition.
Building off successes from previous years, a record-setting 11 teams completed the 100 mile endurance run to Copper Mountain.
In addition to engineers and other supporting groups, the United States Forest Service is very supportive of the Challenge. Forest Service representatives believe that the snowmobile industry and clubs have made great strides and this partnership with the Snowmobile Challenge is a great opportunity for the students to help move forward in a partnership.
The SAE Snowmobile Challenge includes such activities as:
- Endurance Run from Houghton, MI to Copper Harbor, MI
- Technical presentations on emissions and design parameters
- Subjective handling event
- Acceleration Test
- Scientific testing of emission levels and sound levels
Plans are underway for the 2016 Challenge, which will again be held at Michigan Tech beginning March 7, 2016. The snowmobile manufacturers will work with the Michigan Tech planning team in helping design event activities and more.
The competition amongst the universities and the quality of the products produced continues to improve and the overall competition is getting more challenging each year.