2019 Snow Shoot – Clement Boutin’s best picks
For a second year, I had the chance to take part of the 2019 Snow Shoot in West Yellowstone, Montana. The Snow Shoot is an event where the 4 manufacturers invite journalists from the snowmobile world to come see and try the new products for the next season. It's an incredible opportunity to try out over 50 snowmobiles in a breathtaking scenery with a terrific team. Once again, I have the difficult task of choosing my favorite snowmobiles from the 4 manufacturers. The selection of the winners is not always easy, as the tests are short and snow conditions change quickly during the week. Despite everything, I had to make my choices so here they are!
This year Arctic-Cat innovates with the new suspension specially designed for mountain snowmobiles, the Alpha One with a central beam (Read…). Suspension for trail snowmobiles has not been left out, Arctic Cat introduces the IACT (Read…). You can now adjust the front and rear suspensions on 3 different levels while driving. The IACT acts on the front and rear suspension, which allows an adjustment according to trail conditions and your driving style. The handlebar has also been redesigned for the IACT suspension button. The heated thumb and handles now have 4 heat intensity levels.
2019 ZR 8000 Limited ES 137
My choice for Arctic Cat is the ZR 8000 Limited ES 137 with the IACT adjustable suspension. The power, the low and mid-range revs of the 800cc C-TEC2 8000 engine and the precision of the ZR platform impressed me once again in 2019. It is a snowmobile that sticks to the trail in a straight line and in curves. The active IACT suspension allows the adjustment while driving. You can switch from a firmer suspension to a softer one with your fingertip in seconds. You'll literally feel like you have a different snowmobiles during your ride. Multiple heat levels add to driver comfort. It's a beautiful sled and it’s really fun to ride it on the trail.
Me driving the ZR 8000 Limited ES 137 2019
In 2019 Polaris has a new more powerful engine, the Patriot 850cc, available in spring order only (Read…). There are also significant changes to the front suspension on mountain snowmobiles. The Polaris Indy is reintroduced in 2019 in a 129-inch version for trail enthusiasts as well as an EVO version, a snowmobile specially manufactured for new drivers with adapted performance. Another great year for Polaris.
Polaris Switchback Assault 144
For 2019, my choice is once again on the Polaris Switchback Assault 144 with the 850cc Patriot engine. It's a hybrid snowmobile designed for riders who love trail riding and love to go off trail. Its Axys platform and the IGX 144 suspension offer incredible comfort and agility, mainly due to its light and solid design. The new 850cc Patriot engine offers almost instant acceleration that gives great sensations.
Polaris Switchback Assault 144
The Polaris Assault is really fun to drive both on and off the trails. In addition, you can customize your snowmobile with exclusive colour combinations during the SnowCheck 2019 event. It also comes with several standard equipment such as LED light, storage bag and multifunction gauge. These features have allowed the Polaris Switchback Assault to stand out from the crowd and be my favorite.
Me in front of my favorite Polaris, the Switchback Assault 144
In 2019, Yamaha decided to significantly reduce the number of models available to make it easier for dealers and buyers (Read…). A new FOX Intelligent Suspension Technology (IQS) is now on some models for 2019. Yamaha brings old memories to life by reviving the Yamaha SRX. In the late 90s and early 2000s, this snowmobile was regularly seen on Quebec trails, its distinctive blue and white color did not go unnoticed. When I saw the new SRX 2019 with its turbocharged engine, its low platform I was charmed, I could not wait to try it on the trails.
Yamaha SRX 2019
The day of our tests, the conditions were ideal for this type of snowmobile, freshly surfaced and hard trails. Its lower platform coupled with the IQS suspension allows us to make the ideal adjustments to take turns at high speed, it is a machine that sticks to the trail. The combination of the 998-cc Genesis turbocharged engine and the less aggressive track provides a truly incredible top speed in a straight line. It is an efficient machine in trail capable of doing acceleration races without too many modifications. I've really been charmed by the power and handling of the Yamaha Sidewinder SRX 2019 and that's why it is my favorite this year
The Yamaha SRX 2019 in action
In 2019 Ski-Doo, still impresses with several novelties. A new turbo engine that many were looking forward to. A new 600R engine revealed in mid-2018 season which is the little cousin of the 850 E-TEC (Read…). The 900 ACE engine had some improvements done that increase power by 5 HP. Also the G4 platform on the Renegade Enduro and Grand Touring, but with "widened panels" version to improve wind protection on trails and also to make a place for the compressor for the air suspension on these models. The Renegade Backcountry version 2.0 now has its own segmentation called Backcountry, available in 3 versions and with new colors.
Ski-Doo X-RS 900 ACE Turbo 2019
With Ski-Doo my choice is always difficult, because I am mainly a trail enthusiast, but I like to go off the beaten trail occasionally. So a hybrid snowmobile would be ideal for me, but after trying the new 900 ACE Turbo engine, my heart swung for a trail sled. I still have to choose between the Renegade X-RS and the Renegade Enduro. Not having been able to try the Renegade Enduro enough, due to the difficult weather conditions, my choice stopped on the Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo. A powerful sled with its 150 HP turbocharged engine and several race characteristics. It is a fun snowmobile to drive on winding paths, in bumps, but really comfortable for long rides with its new seat and with its widened panels for better wind protection. I really enjoyed driving the Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo 2019.
Ski-Doo X-RS 900 ACE Turbo 2019 in a curve
I would like to thank SledMagazine.com and the 4 manufacturers for the invitation to the Snow Shoot 2019. Always a pleasure to try the 2019 snowmobiles for the first time in the majestic mountains of Montana.