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In a snowmobile marketplace characterized the past two years by a dramatic inability to supply enough product to satisfy buyers, there are some exceptionally interesting all-new vehicles we might not have expected this fall.

The past two seasons have seen wild increases in new sled sales as buyers simply could not get enough snowmobiles to satisfy their needs. This led to a “take what you can get” mentality for both new and used sleds.

This never-seen-before reality has put the sno-mo OEMs in an enviable position. Truthfully, I can’t ever remember a time when there have been literally no unsold, non-current sleds.

Here’s what I think is a little weird, but exciting nonetheless: Unexpectedly, there is a significant amount of all-new 2023 product launching into key segments this season. Here are two:


The issue here cannot be overstated: Snowmobiling desperately needs more credible, truly value-priced models to inject increased participation and generate growth. Yes, the OEMs are selling snowmobiles in relatively large and highly profitable segments and these sales are occurring at near stratospheric price levels.

Most of a sled-builder’s profit comes from selling big power, full-featured models. The lower you go on the price scale, the less money OEMs make. It’s a fact that low MSRP sleds are a lot less profitable as a percentage of the revenue they generate.

I want to be careful in saying this but the new NEO series from Ski-Doo is from every measurable metric the sled we’ve been waiting for. The NEO is fully equipped with a 600cc liquid cooled, twin cylinder EFI engine, real clutches, full size dimensions, up-to-date front IFS and a never seen before long travel, single shock skid.

There’s a Brembo hydraulic brake, a 121-inch track and high quality bodywork that comes right from the G4 platform. Most importantly, check the MSRP of the NEO and NEO Plus.

These sleds are priced at a level that defies common sense but underscores how an OEM with the biggest market share, producing the most units, is capable of building a realistically equipped sled and selling it at an amazing price.

For the record, the NEO was a complete sell-out in just the first few days of Spring Break last April. I predict Ski-Doo will not be able to meet demand for these sleds again this year. Is this the snowmobile equivalent of the Sea-Doo Spark Personal Watercraft? Stay tuned.


Suffice it to say the S-4 engine package is available in multiple models and its advent is significant in a big way. This new 4-stroke ticks virtually all the boxes, including every important piece of technology needed to compete with 4-stroke market leader, Ski-Doo. At first sight I quickly realized Polaris has not taken on this important segment without great thought and attention to detail.

The S-4 engine is – as expected – a derivative of the Pro-Star engine series used in Polaris’ off-road products. This makes great sense as Polaris has a stranglehold on the off-road biz, particularly the Side X Side segment.

This 1000cc Pro Star variant has a stellar rep for power and tough-as-nails durability. Most importantly, the engine can be produced in snowmobile trim, all the while piggybacking economies of scale created by the off-road division’s huge production volumes.

What needs to be emphasized here is this: Polaris is credibly in the 4-stroke snowmobile biz in a big way. How long before they add a turbocharger and produce 130, 150 and 180-hp variants? The bulk of the development work required to do this has already been done in the off-road biz.

In its first iteration, the new S-4 sits solidly in the 80 to 90-hp 4-stroke segment. This is a smart place for Polaris to start its 4-stroke program because, clearly, Ski-Doo sells a ridiculous number of ACE 900 95-hp sleds.

So, will these two technical developments generate robust sales to new buyers and brand switching? Hard to answer decisively at this point in the sales season. Because of COVID, new snowmobiles have sold to the bare walls the past two seasons.

With the market pressures of the pandemic now usurped by a relentlessly predicted recession, it’s hard to know what the next six months will look like and more importantly what will end up driving sales in MY 2023.

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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