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About five years ago Ski-Doo had an interesting byline associated with the company’s marketing and advertising. Remember this: “What’s New Is What’s Next”? When I first read that catchy byline I paused for a moment to digest the real meaning of the phrase.

Go ahead and do as I did and you’ll get to the same spot. The byline is 100-percent accurate. What’s new in the sno-mo-biz is precisely what is next. There’s little doubt some of the stuff we’ve seen on the ground for model year 22 and 23 is definitely “new”.

From a technology standpoint you’ve got semi-active suspension with Ski-Doo’s Smart-Shox technology. A similar system that’s a little less developed right now is available from both Arctic Cat and Yamaha. Electronic “connectivity” is increasing every year. Polaris 7S and Ski-Doo’s latest nav system are pushing the envelope of what a cold weather recreational vehicle like a snowmobile can do when technology is integrated. Turbocharging is rampant in the sport right now. When it comes to boosted induction, nothing is more interesting than the Polaris Indy VR1 Boost 2-stroke turbo for trails and Ski-Doo’s 850 2-stroke turbo for the vert market.

Okay, that’s a quick trip around the “whats new” technology aspect of snowmobiles circa 2023. I have more thoughts on what’s next – actually what’s next from the big vantage point. So, seriously – what is next?

We have 180 to 200 horsepower production snowmobiles equipped at the factory with turbochargers. These sleds eclipse the performance of aftermarket modified sleds popular just five years ago.

We have mountain sleds with 3-inch lug, 175-inch tracks, which in the hands of an experienced pilot can literally climb until you run out of mountain. These sleds – in many cases – are unstoppable.

We have a growing fleet of entry level sleds which appear to be carrying lower prices with each subsequent introduction. There is truly remarkable value and credible trail performance in these targeted-at-newbies snowmobiles.

So, here’s my question: What’s the next big thing? Honestly, it’s getting harder to predict where we might be going through the next decade. Let me say this first. I am convinced at this writing electrified sleds are not the next big deal. They will and are entering the market but until they can go 175 miles (280 kilometers) without a charge this method of powering a modern sled will remain useful only to specialized operators.

What’s really happening is this. The snowmobile marketplace is among the most “mature” off-road businesses. Snowmobiles have been around for a long time and OEMs have been able to respond and develop a plethora of variant snowmobiles and ground-breaking tech. Snowmobile makers have been doing this – as I said – for a long time.

Look at emerging SxS off-road platforms and you’ll see segment breaking vehicles are introduced regularly. That’s because the SxS marketplace is still very young. There are lots of places for OEMs to insert new and innovative, targeted products.

So, what’s next? Maybe you have some thoughts on this topic? If you do let me know what you think is next for the sno-mo-biz.

Mark Lester
Mark Lester
Mark Lester is Co-Publisher of SUPERTRAX Magazine and a regular Host on SNOWTRAX TV, which can be seen on Sportsman Channel across America and in Canada on OLN, Sportsman Channel Canada, Wild TV and REV TV and globally on our YouTube channel.
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