This season, it may well be that former snowmobilers will return to the activity. Just like the new fans, they will have several surprises when they see that the snowmobile has evolved in a beautiful way.
“For those who have not ridden a snowmobile for many years, they can expect many surprises because the world of snowmobiling, from a mechanical point of view, has changed a lot. The turning point was without a doubt the arrival of the REV chassis at Ski-Doo in 2003. It was truly a revolution, as the name suggests, in snowmobile riding. Now the rider, instead of sitting upright with his legs extended on the snowmobile, is now in the center of the snowmobile, in a much more square position. The transformation in driving, particularly in terms of driver comfort, is remarkable. We don’t get hit on the back all the time. “If the handling has improved a lot, what about the performance?
“Snowmobiles are much more nervous. They respond intuitively to the pilot’s inputs. This is a very good point. There is also a big improvement in the suspensions. Before, if you were having a good day, it was not uncommon to have to make an appointment with your chiropractor. Now, with the evolution of the suspensions, combined with the driving conditions, for a snowmobiler, doing days of 300 or 400 kilometers is not uncommon. This is commonplace with many snowmobilers. “
Another thing that has improved dramatically since 2006 is the engines.
“Since 2006, we have set new standards for snowmobile exhaust fumes. This has greatly stimulated advances in the field of motorization. Today we have snowmobiles that use a fraction of gasoline, and in the case of two-stroke engines, oil, compared to older models. Also, reliability is now there, which was not always the case in the past. We are very far from the models of the 80s and even 90s. “
For this expert, there is no comparison to the past.
“If people believe that only automobiles have changed, they haven’t seen anything about the changes that have taken place in the snowmobile world. At the turn of the millennium, manufacturers knew there was work to be done to improve the image and environmental impact of the snowmobile. They went to a major American laboratory, in order to develop a cycle for snowmobile engines that would meet environmental standards. From that, they gave themselves targets. Now, modern snowmobiles emit less than half of the hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide of older engines. We add to that less odor with synthetic oils. Really all the manufacturing standards have been tightened. We are now entitled to very energy efficient motors because they consume a fraction of what they used in the past. “
In the past, when we started our snowmobile, it was not uncommon to see a big blue cloud.
“Now what you can see in cold weather is white smoke that is largely water vapor. The engines have also become quieter. We are far from the 1968 Olympics of my uncle Gaston. “
HELP FOR THE PILOT
Fans can count on several other technical elements that enhance the experience.
“There are now two models of snowmobiles on the market that have power steering,” explains the expert. Everything has been improved for comfort, whether in terms of the engines or the suspension. Also, when you are less assaulted by noise and don’t get tossed around in bumps, you have more energy to control your snowmobile. Now there are heated benches, Polaris has even implemented a hand warmer that can be adjusted to the degree the person wants. Clothing has also become more efficient. You don’t have to dress like the Michelin man anymore. They are efficient, breathable and we are not disturbed in our movements. There are many aspects of doing the activity that have really evolved in parallel, greatly improving the snowmobile experience. “
We are therefore no longer in the days when you had to leave with your pockets filled with spark plugs and spare straps.
“You almost had to bring a toolbox with you. Snowmobiles are reliable. The on-board computers manage everything. There are even suspensions that adjust electronically, which help adapt to trail conditions. You can even choose the type of driving you want to do at the push of a button. Really, someone who hasn’t ridden a snowmobile in several years will be overwhelmed by the realization of what has become of this wintery leisure world today. “