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The Ultimate Betrayal: Switching Brands

The Ultimate Betrayal: Switching Brands

Growing up in Central Newfoundland I had the opportunity to ride snowmobile for up to six months of the year. It was in late summer early fall every year I would start to get extremely pumped for the upcoming sledding season. I can remember each year watching older guys ripping up and down the Exploits River on their sleds and that high-pitched noise coming from the screaming engines. So in grade nine I finally asked my father if he would buy me a sled. It took a bit of convincing but after putting up $1000 of my own cash I purchased a 1990 Arctic Cat Cougar 500 fan cooled.

From that moment on I have bled green. Seeing those screaming ZR’s whip around the river and up and down the railway bed really got my blood pumping. I can recall vividly the Arctic Cat commercial that hooked me as a kid. A guy driving an early 90’s dodge minivan through town, one that was obviously put through the ringer, getting all kinds of head nods, smiles and good looks. Then he stops at a light and the announcer says “what says more about you? What you drive or what drives you?” and then you see the Firecat on the trailer as he pulls away form the traffic light, proceeded by the Arctic Cat share our passion slogan. My original thoughts were, “man these guys have got it right. It’s all about the passion for the sport”.

Since Brand loyalty plays a major role with riders, for the next 10-15 years I had always rode an Arctic Cat.  From a 2010 T570 touring, to a 2007 crossfire 800 snopro and then most recently a 2010 crossfire 800 snopro. No one could take away the comfortable ride that Arctic Cat always had but in the spring of 2014 I decided it was time for a change. I was going to look for a new sled. It was on a trip to the west coast with the Sledcore Crew that I got the chance to ride a newer Summit xm. The ease of getting that machine on its side plus the ability to maneuver through the trees and the deep powder sold me. One rip up a steep incline that involved a small roll over and I was hooked.

Once I had my crossfire sold I had to decide which machine I was going to purchase. When purchasing a new machine it is important to determine what type of riding you are going to be doing. Are you trail riding? Lake riding? Banging through the ditches? Or playing in the backcountry powder in the steep and deep?  Even though I do a nice bit of on-trail riding in Central Newfoundland there are areas where I venture off the trail and the powder can get quite deep. If you are looking for this type of an adventure give Paul Rose of Riverfront Chalets a shout and he can show you where to find the deep stuff in Central Newfoundland. In addition, I also take at least 3-4 trips to the west coast each year and do some major mountain riding.

So for me I decided to go with a mountain sled. I had it narrowed down to the Arctic cat M8000 limited 153, Polaris Pro RMK 800, Yamaha Viper MTX SE 153 or the Skidoo Summit X 146 or 154”. So I decided on the 2015 spring order Summit X 146. The reason I went with the 146” was that I was still going to ride this on the trails a bit whenever I ride in central.

Here are some of my other reasons for purchasing the Summit:

  1. The Dealership – when purchasing a new sled it is imperative to have a good relationship with your dealer. You need to feel comfortable with the staff, their product and service knowledge level and of course ultimately it comes down to how much the sled costs. My Summit X was purchased from Central Service Racing, one of North America’s oldest Skidoo dealerships, located in St. George’s (NL) and I feel like family there.
  2. Type of Riding – I spend 75% of the miles I put on in a season in the deep stuff and 25% of the time riding a few trails when I go out to visit my parents. Hence my reason for purchasing a mountain machine.
  3. Features of the Sled/Reliability – The Skidoo Summit is one of the lightest mountain machines on the market in 2015, it came with electric start, kyb front shocks, hpg rear shocks, hand warmers, digital/analog gauges, riser bars, electronic reverse and a little bit of storage space in the front and the rear. Also if you spring ordered a sled through Skidoo that year they gave you a four year bumper to bumper manufacturer’s warranty. It’s important to note reliability and past problems with a sled as well. Since the xm chassis has been out for three years and the 800r etec for five years, Skidoo has the majority of the kinks worked out with the sled I was purchasing
  4. Accessories – What can you add to your sled to enhance you snowmobile experience and practicality of the sled. For me the Linq system that skidoo offers is second to none. You can carry a gas caddy with no straps, I have a completely removable two up seat with backrest and passenger hand holds for when the kids go along for a ride or my wife. Plus other endless add-ons that you can put on your sled to make it the way you want it to look and ride. The prices of these accessories are also extremely fair when comparing all the manufacturers out there in today’s market and what they are offering.
  5. Bang for your Buck – when you take everything into consideration it is important to ensure that you are getting the sled you really want at a price you are able to live with.

So for all of the reasons listed above I decided to make the jump from one brand to another. When I first put a deposit on the new Summit I figured surely when I ride this Skidoo next year, Karma is going to haunt me and I will have nothing but trouble with it. I am happy to report that after a full season of riding under my belt I am still getting use to my Summit but I have no regrets in the decision I made and have had no major issues with the sled. In parting, I would like to encourage everyone to get out there and try a sled that you are thinking about purchasing before you actually make a purchase. If you know someone who has a sled you’re looking at ask them if you can take it for a ride. This article is not meant to be pro-skidoo or anything like that. It’s simply my opinion of what I encountered when switching from one manufacturer to the next. Opinions are simply that. Each rider needs to base his/her preferences on their own riding experience. Snowmobilers are an opinionated group of enthusiasts and in my opinion there are no truly bad sleds anymore. You may like some better than others, but overall they all do about the same thing. All I can say is don’t be afraid to try something new. I guess now I bleed a yellowish-green.

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I was born and raised in the Exploits Valley town of Bishop’s Falls. I currently reside in Paradise, NL with my beautiful wife Vanessa and our two kids, Shealyn and Chase. Not so long ago, when winter lasted 6 months a year in Central Newfoundland, snowmobiling became a way of life for me. I can remember riding on sled back and forth to school in the winter months once we had enough snow. My family is everything to me, and over the past few winters we have all gone on several rides together. My wife has her own sled and the kids have a small one as well so we can all go together. As my children continue to get older I hope to pass along my passion for the sport of snowmobiling and I hope they continue to enjoy the outdoors as much as I have. After years of riding the trails in central Newfoundland I finally purchased a mountain machine in 2014. The exhilaration you experience when you are busting through powder drifts being covered in waist deep snow is one that is extremely difficult to describe but make for memories that will last a lifetime. Even though there are some pretty awesome unknown spots in Central I really enjoy riding on the West Coast of Newfoundland. Over the past three years I have written articles for Sledworthy magazine, including everything from getting your kids involved in snowmobiling, to brand loyalty, to various gear review pieces. It is my hope that through these articles I have portrayed my enthusiasm for the sport as well as passed on some knowledge about the winter activity that I absolutely live for. I look forward to writing many more articles for the magazine in the future.

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