Blending The Best

Ripping trails or floating through powder

July 2021 Feature

Just like putting chocolate on peanut butter, Ski-Doo engineers sometimes like to take features from one platform and put them on another. That’s what they did with the Backcountry and MXZ.

By blending the deep-snow capabilities of the Backcountry with the trail-pounding features of the MXZ, Ski-Doo has designed the Backcountry X-RS to perform in mountainous terrain—both on and off the trail.

The X-RS attached to the Backcountry signifies that this is a spring-only order and comes with the highest quality of options.

When we rode the model last spring, it was easy to tell that this sled was designed for the bumps and jumps found along the wind-drifted ridges of high elevations. Although it is available in two track lengths (the 146- and 154-inch tracks), it only comes with the 850 E-Tec engine in the Rev Gen4 chassis. If you get the Electric Start model, you also can get the large panoramic 7.8-inch wide LCD color display gauges and the QRS Vent Plus driven pulley and Belt Monitoring System.

You can also get the X-RS with the standard gauge and E-Tec SHOT Starter.

The Backcountry X-RS is for extreme riding—jumping cornices and pounding down trails. The harder you ride it, the better it performs. This isn’t a little bit of a mountain sled and a lot of a trail sled. Nor is it a little bit of a trail sled and a lot of a mountain sled. Ski-Doo has matched the best features from both to make it a legitimate 50-50 crossover sled.

Now, if you want to lean toward a better trail-handling trim, you can go with the Cobra or Ice Cobra tracks that come in a 146x15x1.6-inch size. If you want a little more for deeper snow, your options are a PowderMax 146x16x2-inch or 154x16x2- or 2.5-inch. The 146-inch trim weighs about 472 lbs. while the 154-inch trim weighs in at around 485 lbs.

Although the electric start version comes with more high-tech features, it also comes with more weight than you have with the SHOT Starter. That is noticeable in off-trail riding, but not so much as to deter an aggressive rider from taking on the powder.

We also noticed how effectively the pDrive primary clutch responded on the Backcountry X-RS. The clutch transfers the power smoothly through the drive train and onto the snow.

The Backcountry X-RS comes with the cMotion rear suspension and KYB Pro 40 Easy-Adjust shocks. The front suspension features the RAS 3 with KYP Pro 36R Easy-Adjust shocks. These are your standard shocks found on Ski-Doo’s MXZx race sleds. They are rebuildable and revalvable.

The more we rode this sled, the more we realize that for mountain riding you can actually have the best of both worlds—on the trail and off.

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