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Before snowmobiling became a sport, the vehicles were originally created in order to traverse the winter landscape in Canada. The idea was first conceived by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, who was a teenager at the time. The young man used a conventional bicycle as the main component of his invention and added rails to propel the bike across the snow. Other devices emerged that included paddles. Steam power was added. Carl Eliason filed the first patent for the “motor toboggan” in 1927. In the decades that followed, the machines evolved.

Snowmobile by Type

When thinking of investing in snowmobiles, prospective buyers need to choose from different types of machines. Entry-level machines have a basic design, are lightweight and a low-powered 70 hp or less motor. The vehicles might also have an electric starting mechanism.

Performance models are heavier, bulkier, and have heavy-duty suspensions. The engines have a minimum output of 85 hp. They commonly feature electric start and maneuver easier for the experienced individual who requires a machine that has optimal power and performance.

Sport Trail devices are made for the aggressive rider. The machines are lightweight but have durable suspensions. The snowmobiles are appropriate for novice and intermediate riders.

Touring snowmobiles are constructed as large, heavy machines that are not meant for agility. The track lengths are also longer. The machines have comfort features that include fancier seats and backrests. In short, the machines are used for leisurely treks across snowy terrain.

Mountain machines are light in weight but built durably with lengthened narrow tracks spanning 153 to 174 inches in order to enable them to pass over or through the thick powder found on unbroken mountain trails. The engines are high-powered to compensate for the problems encountered secondary to high altitudes. Examples include the Arctic Cat M8000, the Polaris Pro RMK and the Ski-Doo XP.

Crossovers are designed for all types of terrain and uneven ground. The tracks are longer and the machines have sturdier suspensions for off-trail riding. Examples include the Arctic Cat Crossfire and the Ski-Doo Renegade.

Factors to Consider

Before purchasing a snowmobile, riders might consider using rentals in order to learn the difference between machine types and determine which machine best suits their needs. Other considerations for investment include:

  • Riding frequency
  • Riding experience
  • Trail or terrain types
  • Slow recreational or adrenaline thrill-seeking rides