The best skiing and snowboarding take place in the backcountry. These areas are more accessible by using a snowmobile. If you have seen a Warren Miller ski movie recently, it is most likely that they reached the snow areas by either snowmobile, helicopter, or snowcat. Skiers and snowboarders head to backcountry to get away from the noise and crowds of ski hills to get solitude and fresh air in the backcountry and to pursue their passion of finding untouched powder. The older two-stroke snowmobiles were polluting and loud. Nowadays, with the advent of more quieter and efficient four-stroke engines, these environmental footprints have been substantially reduced. Moreover, the success of these snowmobiles is likely attributed to their aggressive appearance, sturdy engines and specifically to their ability to climb previously unreachable terrains.
According to Snowsports Industries America, the number of people who participate in backcountry skiing has almost tripled in the last ten years. It is by far the most rapidly growing aspect of skiing. Every leading snowmobile brand manufactures backcountry gear. Let us take a look at a few of the best snowmobile for backcountry skiing by these major snowmobile brands.
Ski-Doo Summit X 850
The Summit X 850 by Ski-Doo backcountry snowmobile offers a great competent combination by featuring the 4th generation platform along with 850CCE-TEC 2-stroke engine, which delivers extraordinary performance and exquisite driving experience. It comes with a track length of 154, 165, and now available in 175 inches as well. Summit X 850 features the SHOT System which stores energy, giving the rider to quickly start-up the engine after a complete stop unaccompanied by the usual weight constraint which was seen with the ordinary start-up systems saving almost 20 lbs. in this process, while also gaining from an alternate start-up system. One of the most salient features of this snowmobile is its ergonomic design which is geared according to the rider’s requirements. This Ski-Doo Summit X 850 is a perfect snowmobile for backcountry skiing and its driving experience is very intuitive with the rider feeling a sense of complicity by the machine.
Arctic Cat Alpha One
The Arctic Cat Alpha One is one of the most well balanced and easiest to ride snowmobiles for backcountry skiing. It comes with single-beam rear suspension which is stable and easy to handle and works perfectly with front suspension making it one of the most responsive rider-to-chassis sleds. It has reduced vehicle weight, track inertia and track rotating mass which are all dialed into the Ascender chassis. Also, it requires less energy to turn into an aggressive rider and that too in a controlled manner. The Alpha One’s skid frame follows the principle that a deep snow skid does not require two rails. As a replacement, there is a single, rigid rail that runs down the center of the track which allows more turning flexibility from the track, better sidehilling, quicker pivots, and reduced weight, still providing all the best what a mountain backcountry snowmobile does in powder.
Polaris Pro-RMK 800
Polaris offers RMK mountain snowmobiles paired with an excellent AXYS frame to make a great backcountry snowmobile. This AXYS frame provides a good advantage to the sled by providing rigidity, making them lightweight and specifically it offers the general balance to the snowmobile making it perfect for backcountry skiing. This Pro-RMK 800 is an exceptional vehicle offered by Polaris which features a strong 800CC cleanfire 2-stroke engine and comes in wide options of track lengths like 155, 163 and 174 inches. It has a well-calibrated and adjustable suspension that is designed literally to swallow the snow. It comes in different colors as well and provides an astounding driving experience by being one of the lightest sleds in the market. A conclusion is a snowmobile that is excellent for backcountry mountain riding since its name is in fact, RMK or Rocky Mountain King.
Yamaha Sidewinder M-TX
The Yamaha Sidewinder M-TX is different from other backcountry snowmobiles since it comes with a 4-stroke engine, heavier weight, and generous dimensions. Nevertheless, this vehicle rides greatly because of the combination of a 200 HP engine and a 130 lbs/ft. torque offering the necessary energy to reach the mountain peak at full force. Yamaha has been expanding its backcountry snowmobile models and arrangements to satisfy their customer needs. Additionally, it is possible to buy an aggressive 162 inches long that have 3 inches paddles, which provide you traction necessary for Sidewinder’s power to transmit on the terrain and propel the vehicle convincingly. Yamaha Sidewinder M-TX comes with remarkable mechanics that can never fail even on high altitudes. This is a noteworthy advantage over the 2-stroke engines. Yamaha snowmobiles are in an ideal situation with large amounts of snow in open terrains. However, with its heavyweight and larger size, quick maneuverability can become a tiring task in tight paths.
Polaris 600 RMK 144
Polaris 600 RMK 144 is a suitable snowmobile for hobbyists who love on-trailing riding and backcountry skiing. Its 600 Cleanfire engine (2-cylinder, 599cc) offers powerful and reliable performance. The lightweight AXYS platform ensures accurate cornering, superior maneuverability, and precise handling, while the RMK Adjustable front and IGX 144 rear suspensions facilitate a comfortable ride. Polaris 600 RMK 144 has Gripper skis and a 15” wide and 144” long Series 4 track with 2” height for deep snow riding, making it one of the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing. Riders will find the sled to be responsive and balanced and may ride with confidence in all conditions.
Polaris Patriot Boost RMK KHAOS MATRYX SLASH 155
Polaris Patriot Boost RMK KHAOS MATRYX SLASH 155 is a premium sled among the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing. Residing under its hood is an 850 Patriot Boost turbo-charged engine that yields exceptional performance in challenging conditions. It is complemented by the QuickDrive 2 drive system. Riders can choose between a 15 x 155 x 2.75” Series 8 or 15 x 155 x 3” Series 7 track to obtain superior grip on the deepest powder. Polaris Patriot Boost RMK KHAOS MATRYX SLASH 155 is based on the RMK platform and yields unmatched control and maneuverability. It is one of the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing on mountainous terrains. Polaris Patriot Boost RMK KHAOS MATRYX SLASH 155 starts at $19,599 and is a high-end product from the brand. It will suit riders who want nothing but the best. Non-turbocharged engine options are also available.
Ski-Doo Freeride is another alternative from the brand among the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing. It has been designed for conquering the backcountry and will enable skiers to reach remote areas. Its 850 E-TEC Turbo engine provides exceptional power for navigating challenging conditions and steep slopes. The REV Gen4 chassis features KYB Pro Series shocks and ensures that the rider stays in control, whether on powder or airborne. These features make it one of the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing. Buyers must be aware that the Ski-Doo Freeride is a spring-only model, and they should plan their purchase accordingly. A non-turbo variant of the engine is also available as an option.
Yamaha Mountain Max LE 165
Yamaha Mountain Max LE 165 is a solid choice for enthusiasts requiring the best snowmobile for backcountry skiing. It has a powerful 2-cylinder, 2-stroke high-performance engine with a 794cc displacement capacity under its hood. The Mountain Single Beam suspension with 7” front and 15” rear travel ensures a smooth ride on deep snow and steep slopes. Riders will find the machine easy to maneuver and the handling accurate. Yamaha Mountain Max LE 165 has a 165” PowerClaw Track with 3” lugs in a 3.5” pitch configuration to provide maximum grip and traction even in the deepest powder. It makes the sled one of the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing.
Yamaha SXVenom Mountain
Yamaha SXVenom Mountain is a relatively affordable sled out of the best snowmobiles for backcountry riding. It packs adequate performance to satisfy experienced snowmobilers without overwhelming new riders at the same time. The machine features a 2-stroke, 397cc engine coupled with an alloy chassis, allowing skiers to navigate the backcountry easily. Its Mountain Single Beam suspension facilitates exceptional handling even in the deepest powder. The 15 x 146 x 2” Camso Challenger track gives a sure hold to navigate unexplored territory effortlessly. All these features make Yamaha SXVenom Mountain one of the best snowmobiles for backcountry skiing. The asking price of around $8,700 enhances the attractiveness of the sled.