The Sport Through History: How Snowmobiling Has Changed Over the Years


Through the years, snowmobiling has changed significantly. This does not mean any type of paradigm shift of things, such as big picture changes like long-travel suspension designs, direct-injection fuel systems, or four-stroke engines. Instead, these are the smaller things that do not make the headlines about the activity through the years, but that have impacted the day-to-day snowmobiling experience for those who enjoy this sport.

From improving performance to increasing the style by looking for snowmobile graphics, some of the top changes through the years can be found below. Being informed is the best way to see how this activity has evolved through the years and what new innovations are available today

Push-Button Reverse

The Polaris 600 Indy was one of the first snowmobiles that had this feature. At the time it was a huge deal, especially compared to the technology and capabilities of the old Indy 500. With the new version, which featured push-button reverse, it was possible to push the button, back up, and then turn around, even in tight spots. However, with the older models, it was necessary to get off the snowmobile and then drag the front or the back end of the vehicle around and then point it to the desired location.

The same is true when trying to get it on the trailer. Having the reverse present on snowmobiles was a real back saver. Even though the reverse was included on some higher-end snowmobiles, today it is a standard feature and one that has significantly changed the operation of these recreational vehicles.

Better Gear

Water and windproof exteriors that are designed for durability and lighter form have provided more comfortable and lighter gear that helps to keep riders comfortable, warm, and dry. No longer is it necessary to dress like the Michelin Man while riding a snowmobile.

Modular Helmet

While there are many people who like to wear the motocross-style of helmet while on a snowmobile, there are other people who prefer the warmth and feel of the full-face design. With this desire, the modular helmets came into the snowmobile market. This is something that many people claim made this sport much better.

Many people wonder what is so special about the modular helmet. Some of the top features include minimal fogging, improved comfort, increased convertibility, and unique features such as pull-down sunshades. These are features that have helped to increase the popularity of the sport in the past decade and a half.

Tighter Packaging

The tighter and narrower body designs and chassis have made the snowmobile much sleeker. However, being able to access the engines and all the other internal components has become much more challenging. While this is true, there is some good news. It is no longer necessary to change the spark plugs, which is something that had to be done in the past. Unfortunately, there is some bad news, too. For example, they can’t really be reached with ease. Also, the packaging and the higher-tech nature of the engine designs have made it more challenging and often a fruitless endeavor to perform the needed trailside evaluation, diagnoses, and required repairs.

Current Track Designs

The use of taller lugs is simple. However, the design of these lugs and the way they have been shaped and patterned has impacted and changed the way that modern snowmobiles handle today. Today, the tracks are no longer just a belt that comes with a series of different straight bars. Today, the lugs have been designed intelligently to offer more side bites along with improved acceleration and better stopping ability. Also, the carcass of the track being used will have a bigger role in ensuring plenty of traction, as well.

Getting to Know Today’s Snowmobiler

What is the difference between the people who used a snowmobile in 1987 versus 2017? Based on the information provided by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, today, the average snowmobiler is approximately 43 years old. They will also spend around $4,000 each season on their sledding lifestyle and they will ride around 1,210 miles a year. Additionally, 53% of these snowmobilers will trailer their sleds in order to reach a riding area and the others will ride from their home or their rented vacation property.

Just three decades ago, up to 55% of all snowmobilers fell into the demographic of 25 to 44 years old. So, while the average rider has gotten older, the basic age group has remained the same.

It is important to note that no matter the age of the snowmobiler, the most serious of this group have an enthusiasm for leading an active life. This means that they are dedicated to keeping up with the latest snowboarding technology and finding out as much as possible about what the industry offers. This can be invaluable information in the long run.

Potential Changes and Challenges Coming in the Future

Many people who consider themselves snowboard enthusiasts wonder what is going to come from the year ahead. Now is a decade where engineering has become innovative and made new and exciting things possible. Thanks to all the new technology and innovation, snowboarding is an activity that has quickly evolved. Everyone is unique in what they like and prefer. AS a result, it is up to an individual to figure out the type of machine they want for their own personal enjoyment.

When it comes to snowboarding, changes are occurring all the time. From the way people snowboard to the types of devices and equipment they use, there are many things to consider when it comes to snowboarding. Be sure to keep the information here in mind to see how this activity has changed and what may be coming in the future.

As snowboarding continues to grow in popularity, new and more innovative technology and options will be released. This is going to take the activity to new heights that have never been seen before by those who enjoy this activity and sport. Keep this in mind and make the most of this fun and exciting activity.