For some of us the arrival of winter snow actually puts a smile on our faces—it’s snowmobile time!
In case you were thinking that those sleds you see on all those trailers belong to only an isolated few, think again. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, in 2018 there were 124,786 snowmobiles sold worldwide; 53,179 were sold in the U.S. and 47,024 were sold in Canada. Further, there are over 1.2 million registered snowmobiles in the U.S. and 600,000 registered snowmobiles in Canada.
Snowmobiles also encourage group riding like no other activity. Not only is it more fun in remote areas when you know someone can help—or if you get the chance to help a fellow rider—but the après-sled festivities with them create lasting bonds.
So if you already a seasoned rider, check out some of the industry’s newest; if not, maybe one of these exciting models will get you into the game.
YAMAHA VK540 $9349 MSRP
“If it ain’t broke…” the saying begins, and that is definitely the case of this sled. The two-up Yamaha VK540 is legendary for its durability, reliability, and never-daunted abilities. A simple, fan-cooled 2-stroke engine with heated carburetor and both manual and electric starting assures an easy start no matter how far the mercury drops. The VK540’s 20 inch track has aggressive 1.5 inch lugs to provide plenty of traction and the hi/lo range transmission with reverse offers versatility to go where you want. The VK540 has been the top choice of riders in remote areas for a good reason, namely it is dependable, pure and simple.
ARCTIC CAT ZR 9000 Thundercat iACT $17, 599 MRSP
When snow conditions are variable, Arctic Cat’s new iACT ride control settings will smooth out rough, icy patches or give firm control when you need it, all with the touch of a button. The ZR9000 Thundercat with iACT adapts to conditions on the fly. Powered by a turbocharged CTEC 4-cycle engine with 200 horsepower available, and driven through a sophisticated CVT, this may be the fastest production sled available today. Technology and comfort haven’t been overlooked either, and the Thundercat features two large digital displays to keep you informed. Thumb and hand warmers, 12V outlet, electric start, and other amenities will keep you on trails for hours.
Arctic Cat, Div. of Textron Specialized Vehicles
POLARIS PRO-RMK 163 $13,299 MSRP
Polaris calls the PRO-RMK 163 “The Ultimate Mountain Sled” and for good reason. It’s said to be the lightest, strongest, most “flickable “deep snow sled on the market. The world’s best mountain sled features the industry’s best power-to-weight ratio to give riders instantaneous lift and immediate response. Power from 800 Cleanfire H.O. engine was developed in conjunction with the finely-balanced AXYS platform to deliver ultimate responsiveness, performance, and ride quality. Even the seat is designed for energetic mountain riding. Digital displays keep the rider informed, while the storage and comfort features will keep you riding for hours.
Polaris Industries, Inc.
SKI-DOO Renegade Enduro $12,849 MSRP
Geared for the true adventure sledder, the 2019 Renegade Enduro provides a smooth riding experience, delivering up comfort, style, and exhilarating performance. Four engine choices are capped by the 150-horsepower Rotax 900 ACE Turbo that gives instant acceleration at the punch of the throttle. An air ride adjustable-on-the-fly rear suspension, Pilot TS adjustable skis, studded Ice Ripper XT track, and a heated seat remain standard. Push-button reverse, electric start, new heated seat with storage, and even heated visor outlets keep operators comfortable and in control. The multi-function analog/digital gauge with display tells all you need to know, while hand and thumb warmers have five settings for all-day comfort.