For those that are new to the world of snowmobiling or those who don’t expect to use their snowmobiles too frequently, the more reasonably priced sport or trail models are your best bet. Lightweight, so they’re easy to load and unload, these entry-level bikes don’t offer the high speeds, performance, and power of some of the other types of snowmobiles. They are, however, easy to handle and perfect for riders looking for a fun jaunt through a winter wonderland. Many sport or trail models also have smaller, fan-cooled engines versus those that need liquid coolant, meaning you won’t have to worry about doing as much maintenance. Not all models come with reverse standard, so you may want to look for a snowmobile that has this feature or gives you the option to include it, especially important for new riders who are still getting the hang of maneuvering their sled. Check out the Ski-Doo MX Z TNT or the Polaris 600 Switchback Adventure.
If you plan to take your snowmobile on long rides or if you just want a few extra perks, you might want to look into some luxury trail models. A bit pricier than trail or sport models, luxury trail models still aren’t very speed-oriented but instead place an emphasis on the quality and comfort of the ride. This type of snowmobile will feature things like upgraded suspension, shocks, and noise control for a smoother and overall more pleasant ride, as well as cold weather bonuses like heated seats and hand warmers. Check out the Ski-Doo GSX SE or the Polaris Turbo IQ LX.
If you want to be able to bring a passenger along for the fun, you’ll want to pick up a touring snowmobile. You can pick up a basic two-seater or look into luxury models that offer many of the same features as luxury trail snowmobiles do. Some good ones to check out include the Yamaha RS Venture GT or the Arctic Cat Z1 Turbo LXR. To include yet another passenger in your cold weather cruising, have a look at the three-seat Ski-Doo Grand Touring SE.
More advanced snowmobilers are looking for the most power and maneuverability from their sleds, so they’ll want to focus their search on high-performance models. These snowmobiles have larger, more powerful engines that are liquid cooled to accommodate higher performance. Although you’ll have to keep an eye on the coolant level to keep one of these models in top shape, one major advantage of this engine type is that it will perform well even when the weather is a bit on the warm side. Because of the larger engines, these snowmobiles are considerably heavier. Almost all come with perks like reverse and electric start standard, making them one of the more expensive snowmobile options, but if you’re a frequent rider it’s worth the additional cost. Check out the ProCross F 1100 Turbo Sno Pro from Arctic Cat.
If your preferred terrain is vertical rather than horizontal, you’ll want to look into mountain snowmobiles that boast design features specific to that type of riding. Longer, narrower, and lighter than other types of snowmobiles, these models also have extra long tracks to tackle deep, heavy snow and high-horsepower engines to best steep inclines, even at high altitudes. Check out the Arctic Cat ProClimb M 1100 Turbo Sno Pro or the Yamaha FX Nytro MTX 162.
Can’t decide between a trail or mountain model? Don’t worry; you don’t have to. Crossover snowmobiles are designed to handle all sorts of terrain and snow depth equally well. Some good models to check out include the ProCross XF 800 Sno Pro High Country from Arctic Cat or the Polaris 800 Switch Back Assault 144.
Not all snowmobiles are used for play; if you have some wintertime plowing or hauling to do, you’ll want to explore some utility models. Longer, wider, and heavier than most other types of snowmobiles, these models are designed for function over speed. Check out the Arctic Cat Bearcat Z1 XT Groomer or the Tundra Xtreme from Ski-Doo.