Guide to Types of SnowmobilesAre you shopping snowmobiles to find the right fit for you, your family or perhaps a child? The key to finding the right snowmobile is to know the different types of snowmobiles and what they are best used for. Here’s a guide to the types of snow machines on the market.
1. High Performance Snowmobiles
It starts with a lot of horsepower! These sleds are best suited to those with some experience riding snowmobiles because they are capable of very high speeds. Heavy-duty suspensions, tight cornering capability and smooth operation at full-speed are features you’ll find in high-performance snowmobiles.
Top models: Ski-Doo MXZ Series, 1200 4-TEC; Yamaha Apex and Nytro RTX; Polaris Dragon and Rush series; Arctic Cat CFR series, Z1, and F-Series.
2. Trail and Luxury Snowmobiles
These sleds aren’t the fastest in the snow, though they are by no means poky. The point is that these luxury snowmobiles emphasize comfort and warmth on the trail, even on all-day rides. They typically feature lots of power and supple suspensions to go along with top of the line accessories and options to make your time on them as comfortable as possible. They’re like large, fast sedans in the snow.
Top models: Yamaha Apex LTX GT, all LTX models, Vector GT; Ski-Doo GSX Series; Arctic Cat Z1 and LXR; Polaris LX Series.
3. Sport Trail Snowmobiles
These are typically the most affordable sleds and are a good choice as a first snowmobile for those who are new to the hobby. Today’s Sport models are still plenty quick, though not with more horsepower than is advisable for a newer rider. These sleds have smaller engines that are typically fan-cooled, comfortable suspensions and very respectable cornering.
Top models: Polaris 550 IQ Shift; Ski-Doo TNT Series; Yamaha Phazer Series; Arctic Cat F-570.
4. Crossover Snowmobiles
Excellent for the trail but not afraid to blaze their own way into uncharted territory. They feature tracks up to 144 inches and have good capabilities on trails, mountains, and uneven terrain. They do well in deeper snow than many snow machines because they typically have longer lugs, up to 1.75” or more. These are versatile sleds that do very well under all conditions.
Top models to consider: Arctic Cat Crossfire Series; Ski-Doo Renegade Series; Yamaha Nytro XTX; Polaris Dragon Switchback Series.
5. Touring Snowmobiles
Similar to the Luxury models, these are designed for 2 riders, possibly more, and are like the mini-van of the snowmobile world. They are best on straight-ahead trails, though they corner very well if you’re not racing at high speed. Touring snowmobiles feature the most comfortable suspension and seating available.
Top models: Yamaha Venture Series; Arctic Cat TZ1 LXR; Ski-Doo Grand Touring Series; Polaris IQ Touring Series.
6. Mountain Snowmobiles
The key features here are lightweight design and very long tracks for climbing steep grades. There is lots of power in these sleds too, as you might guess. They are not the most comfortable snowmobiles available, but there are no better climbers than these models.
Top models: Polaris RMK snowmobiles; Yamaha MTX series; Arctic Cat M Series; Ski-Doo Summit Series.
7. Utility Snowmobiles
Are you looking for a workhorse snow machine that isn’t afraid of pulling its own weight, or more? Utility snowmobiles feature wider tracks and plenty of good power. They are designed to pull and carry loads and assist you with work outside in the snow.
Top models: Ski-Doo Expedition and Skandic; Polaris Widetrak Series; Yamaha Viking Professional; Arctic Cat Bearcat Series.
Which of these snowmobiles is right for you? Take a few minutes to consider how you plan to use it. Will you ride alone or take a passenger? How fast do you want to go? Do you live near mountains or very steep hills? Is work or utility a consideration? Do you go on very long rides over groomed trails? The right snowmobile for you is found in your answers to these questions, and there are plenty of great snowmobiles in each category for you to consider.