Skis are a vital part of your snowmobile. If you are looking to upgrade your stock setup or replace it due to some issues, the market is never short of options. So it is better to have a proper understanding of the different aspects regarding snowmobile skis so that you can get your hands on the best option. Without proper knowledge, you may end up with something not worthy. This article will take you through the options of the best snowmobile skis. Here is what you need to take into consideration.
What Are Snowmobile Skis?
Snowmobile skis are an important part of your snowmobile. Without them you can’t take your snowmobile anywhere. They actually guide the snowmobile’s forward momentum and also turn the snowmobile as you turn the handlebars. They are usually made of metal or plastic. Much like the front tires of a car, the skis must be maintained and kept in proper alignment or else you may find it difficult to steer the snowmobile.
Stock Skis And Aftermarket Skis
Now if you are somebody in the need to buy new snowmobile skis, it is pretty common to wonder if all skis are the same and whether they fit all the snowmobiles. Most of the snowmobile manufacturers like Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Yamaha, etc. do have their own stock skis. Built for the average rider, these stock skis can be universal, but that doesn’t mean all of them should be universal and you can use them interchangeably in different snowmobile systems. There are snowmobiles that are ski specific and in such cases, you may need additional hardware to make the skis fit in. Apart from these stock skis, there are also aftermarket counterparts. These aftermarket snowmobile skis tend to work much better as universally fit snowmobile skis. They also deliver better performance for the different levels of riders. They will let you have aggressive snowmobiling with better cornering and reduced steering effort. These aftermarket skis are also found to be more durable.
However, though universal, there can be slight differences in the mounting points and the type of saddles you may need. Also, the ski you need depends on your riding style. The table below gives an idea about the average dimensions of the ski that you may need for different riding styles.
|Width||6″ – 6.25″||6.75″||7.5″ – 8″||7.25″|
|Length||44″||45″||42″ – 45″||45″|
|Center Keel Height||0.75″||1″||1″||1.5″|
|Weight (per ski)||6.8 lbs||8 lbs||7 lbs||8 lbs|
What To Look For When Buying Snowmobile Skis?
Keep the below-mentioned factors in mind before changing your snowmobile skis.
Design and Features
The design and features of the ski you need will depend on your riding style. The ski width is an important feature affecting the performance and handling characteristics. Mountain riders in deep powder condition will have to look for wider. As the ski width increases, it disperses the weight of the sled’s front over a larger footprint and thus enables more floatation. So for mountain riding, you may have to look for wider skis. Mountain riders may have to look for 7.5 to 8 inch width skis. Hardcore mountain riders may prefer much wider skis ranging from 8 to 10 inches. However, when it comes to trail riding, wider skis are not preferred. This is because the extra width may make it difficult to turn. Also, long track sleds featuring skis with extra width tend to push through corners on hard-packed snow. So if you are a mountain rider, who will also explore powder, then there is a need to compromise. This means you may have to look for a narrower ski or one with keel design meant for trail handling. With a square edge keel, you get a better bite on the hard packed snow. You also get good sharpening ability if the wear rod is placed directly under the spindle.
The keel and wing design on the underside of the ski are other features which can influence the handling capabilities of the sled in powder. With multiple keels, snow will get trapped under the ski which will lead to the bite needed to turn in loose snow. Also, with the smaller wing features on the edge of the ski, it will further help trap the snow and give the necessary bite while sidehilling.
Also, many keels can perform best in specific snow conditions only. So you need to match the keel design to the riding environment you are mostly in. Trails being hard surfaced, precision of handling and the ability to absorb punishment are key features to look for. This is greatly affected by the wear rods you use and the keel design on the ski. In most cases, the aftermarket trail skis allow positioning of the wear rods such that they can create the best bite and eliminate darting. With good keel design, you can have the best steering possible with reduced darting. Many aftermarket skis have keel designs which are favourable for this. With narrow skis, easier steering is made possible for the rider. Also, as trail sleds do not demand much floatation, skis can also be as narrow as 6 inches.
Backcountry or crossover snowmobiles need skis specific to the purpose. For achieving the optimum performance while boondocking a wider, more mountain style ski is preferred. It should be of 7 to 9 inch ski width.
Occasional riders need to look for more of trail oriented skis. In such cases, a 7 or 8 inch ski width with a keel design favouring trail riding is a good choice. The overall width should be such that it can get through the occasional powder, though it may not be the best in deep powder conditions.
Whether The Snowmobile Ski Is An Upgrade Or A Replacement?
If you are looking for a better upgrade, then the market is never short of options. Based on the type of riding style, you can have the best option for you. If you are trying to find a replacement for your damaged ski, possibly in a single side, it is better to have the OEM version as it is better to have both the skis of your snowmobiles matched.
Hardware For Installation
In case of upgrades, it is better to look for snowmobile skis that include all the mounting hardware as this can make the installation process a lot easier for you. If you are having a replacement, then you may have something to reuse from the existing ski.
As with anything and everything, the budget you have set aside is a governing factor in deciding the skis that you will end up with. If you want quality skis which are high on performance, you may have to spend more. Also, it is better not to invest in something cheap as these equipment are actually related to the overall safety of your snowmobile. The aftermarket will surely give you a wide mix of options to choose from so that you never feel short of options.
Best Options of Snowmobile Skis
Now as we have a basic idea about what snowmobile skis are and how we can select one, it is bets to know some of the best market options of snowmobile skis.
The C&A Pro Razor RZ is the best aftermarket option to have. It offers the best in class top quality performance for a snowmobile ski. Made of the UHMW poly material, it is built strong and durable. Though lightweight, they are built to perform well under a lot of stress. They are set to offer the best performance, whatever be the condition you are in.
There are 90 edges throughout the running surfaces of the ski and this includes the keel. As the outer keels are V shaped, they offer extra mobility with good control. Also, with the unique edge design you get the extreme penetration in cornering without any lift. It also provides supreme aggressive control for racers. Also, if you are a recreational rider, you can be at peace on the trails as darting is pretty much educed. The X EDGE design also helps significantly in diverting the snow away from the front, as a result of which the visibility is improved as snow spray is kept away from the rider. With the adjustable, flexible tip, you can have better customized as well as versatile performance. The installation procedure is straightforward.
Sold in a pair, they are not so affordable and are priced above $300. Also, you may need to buy separate mounting hardware, which takes the cost spectrum further up high. However, they are indeed the best choice for sleds that are 2011 and older. Also, for trail sleds that are 2012 plus and newer, the XPT model skis can be the best choice. They are available in about 7 color options. There are also other models like the XCS for the aggressive crossover rider, XT for snocross racing, BX for technical mountain riding, etc.
Camoplast Universal Touring Ski is unique as it has a one piece blow molded construction. This is a great upgrade which sets this snowmobile ski apart from the stock skis, offering reliable performance. They are lightweight, yet strong and durable. They feature an aggressive keel so as to offer good steering control. It is the best option for backcountry ski touring on snowmobile. You can explore far off trails without getting dragged down.
It is easy to install. They are sold as a pair. The mounting hardware and carbides are sold separately. The setup may not be perfect for racing on the trails as they are not meant for speed and cornering. Also, the plastic design though durable may not last longer if you hit stump or rocks. Available in black color, they are very affordable and the pair of ski will cost around $120. Models like Exo-S Touring Camo Skis are meant for trails. Exo-S All Terrain Camo Skis is meant for cross country ad utility applications.
This standard trail performance ski is well suited for the icy trail conditions. It has a durable UHMW polyurethane construction. The lightweight ski is built strong and durable. The parabolic design makes way for a wide intake profile and larger edge surface area. The wide footprint will give extra float in the deep snow. This gives optimal performance without slowing you down. The single keel design brings about improved cornering abilities and steering control is made easier. They also let you have precise handling as well as turning ability. They have the ability to handle fast turns. With variable geometry, the performance is quite predictable. Straight tracking allows minimal deceleration darting. The flat shield platform will assist in engaging and maintaining a sidehill. All this makes them best choice for racers and snocross riders. They are universal and can be mounted on most snowmobiles.
The installation procedure is straightforward. They are available in a wide variety of colors to match with your sled. This lets you have the best in terms of customization. Skis are sold individually. It is better to get your hands on the kit or else you may have to buy all the hardware separately. The full kit will cost you around $200.
Raider also comes with a blow-molded one-piece snowmobile ski. So there is durable performance without broken or loose parts. This ski which is light weight, yet strong and durable option also comes at an affordable price. This is the best option of snowmobile ski if you ride in deep powder. They provide enhanced handling for a smooth and safe ride. The wide one piece design will not let them sink in the deep snow, thereby offering stability and control to keep you afloat. The can also work well in most off trail situations other than deep snow. However, you may not get the responsiveness when working with hard packed snow.
The snowmobile skis are easy to install. Though affordable, the mounting kit and carbides are sold separately. The skis are sold as pair. Available in black color, the pair of ski will cost you around $130.
Kimpex Rush Ski Kit is very lightweight and offers good stability to be used under all conditions. The skis are made of UHMW material. The keel is so designed to reduce steering effort as well as darting. It features a raised rear portion for facilitating reverse driving. The integrated fixation provides extreme rigidity while providing faster installation. With the predrilled holes, it allows for easy installation.
It is sold as a kit including carbide runners, adaptors, rush and handles. The versatile skis are also compatible with other runners. The ski kits are also available in different color options. It will cost you around $320 for the kit. Kimpex Steath Ski kits offer wider width for better floatation.
The original trail ski from Slydog debuted over 15 years ago. They also offer new ski models. Your sled can perform well, whatever be the riding situation; if it is powder or the trails. So you can have skis for all terrains. All these models are custom molded using UHMW plastic ensuring strength and durability. They are lightweight as well as strong. Also with the patented reverse-angle keel technology, you can have good control with minimized darting. Each model is meant for specific performance depending on the riding style and the design of the sled. The Command is meant for the trails riding, serving as a perfect OEM upgrade or replacement. The Attack is meant for mountain riding and deep powder conditions. The Powder Hound is a Crossover style, build for powder and for trails. The Powder Hound offers maximum floatation for heavy sleds in deep powder. The Hell Hound is meant for Snocross Racing involving extremely aggressive riding.
The Slydog Snowmobile Skis can be seen as affordable alternatives to the old and damaged OEM skis. The models are easy to install. They are sold as a set with base price starting from $315.You can have different color options. There are about 19 color options, which indeed a wide range is keeping in view your customization needs.
If you are someone owning a mini sled and looking for ski upgrade or replacement, then we have that option for you. The PowerMadd Mini Skis are the ultimate performance upgrade for all mini sleds for pro stock and open mod drag racing. These high quality compression molded skis are lightweight while being strong and durable. They will also reduce friction.
The pair is sold separately. You need to buy other components separately. They are available in different colors. They will let you have an easy installation if you follow the instructions. The pair of skis will cost you around $200.