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Thread: Wheeler or Snomachine?

  1. #1
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    Default Wheeler or Snomachine?

    If you could only have one, which would it be?

    A wheeler, or a snomachine? I can only afford and have space for a single machine and am not sure what to get. I am leaning toward the wheeler as I could use it on packed or groomed snow as well as in the summer. Would be an older machine if that would make a difference.


    Just wondering what your thoughts were.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  2. #2

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    Hey bilder. I've had this conversation a few times in the last couple months so I will chime in.
    I have boats, trucks, snowmachines and bikes, but I do not have a four wheeler. All of my toys are seasonal and the thing that really appeals to me is a toy that can be used year round and is easy to load/unload. I see four wheeler tracks at my trap line all year round.
    If I had to have only one I think it would be the four wheeler for no other reason than versatility. A honda foreman to be specific. older would be just fine. good luck in your choice
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    I boat in the summer and snowmachine in the winter. I also have a wheeler at the cabin ( old cheap one for chores).

    When do you have time to utilize it? That is a huge player. I found that I could not boat and ATV in the summer. Not enough time.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Time is always the factor. Drive around your neighborhood and see how many toys sit 98% of the time. With that said, it's Alaska, and everyone seems to HAVE to have toys.

    Rent or borrow each and see what you like/enjoy more. If you have tiny kids, wheelers are probably more versatile. But I enjoy snowmachining the most.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    After spending over an hour on the phone looking for a part this AM, I will assure you that if you want reasonable parts pricing in Alaska..... DON'T BUY A POLARIS unless you price shop hard! Retail is $154.87, this price gouging fools want $209.00 or $198.30 plus freight and a longer wait time. You can figure out where not to buy parts from my next paragraph.

    Hatcher Pass Polaris and Anchorage Cycle Center had the best price @ $188.60. Normal Alaska lift. No freight. Faster than the others too. Both places had the same answers for time and the sales people were SHARP!
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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    I am just thinking of getting an older model machine to use to get a little further off the road system. Currently I am limited to as far as my feet will take me, but it would be nice to get a few miles further in on a machine before I start to hoof it. Will help with meat haul out as well. Many times I have passed on game simply because I would be unable to haul it out in time given how far I was from my truck. I have also not been able to check out some lakes and streams due to how far back they are- just a bit too far for a day trip on foot.

    I agree with it not being used all the time. That is why I am looking at an older machine that does not cost a whole lot. I hate the thought of having several thousand bucks just sitting idle for most of the year.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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    Well, if you want something to extend your hiking distance, then you should get the ATV. But if you really want to check out some country and fend off cabin fever, get a snowmachine. It's a whole new world out there after a good snow and, for me, having a reason to get out in the winter is critical. I've never seen ATV tracks where I ride.

  8. #8

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    That is a tough choice. I have both (older machines). I have about three grand wrapped up in three snow machines (one I just bought for a couple hundred needs a top end) and about eighteen hundred in my wheeler. I use both. I would consider going with older machines and get both. You can get a good used sled or wheeler for about two grand. You do have to be very careful when buying older used machines because sellers tend to vastly overestimate the value of their equipment. If I had a choice, I would probably go with the wheeler simply for the moose hunting aspect and taking the kids out. Of course if I had the choice (and money) I would gladly get rid of all my toys for one: an airplane!

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    I'd always choose the snowmachine over an ATV, and lately I'd choose a jet boat over an ATV.

    Please don't ride ATV's on groomed winter trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bilder View Post
    If you could only have one, which would it be?

    A wheeler, or a snomachine? I can only afford and have space for a single machine and am not sure what to get. I am leaning toward the wheeler as I could use it on packed or groomed snow as well as in the summer. Would be an older machine if that would make a difference.


    Just wondering what your thoughts were.
    I'd go with an Argo with tracks. Kind of like having two machines in one. .... but the initial cost would be like two machines.

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    If I could only have one, I'd go with the wheeler because you can ride a wheeler year round and on those winters where we've had no snow we rode wheelers all year. In fact, wheeling in the winter can just be a ball- I've had a ton of fun playing on the ice out at Jim Creek. But, I'd strive hard to get both, eventually.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    4 wheeler first was my call. By far the more useful of the two year round.
    Plowing the drive with a snowmachine... well, I just couldn't get it wound up
    high enough to keep from fouling the plugs!
    Sounds like you have a little hunting in mind as well. I ride the wheeler all
    year long and use it for chores. Deep snow, not so much. But you can usually
    find a packed trail or two to get you where you need to go. Love it come Ice Fishing
    time.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I'm with EagleRiverDee! I ride my ATV's year round. Yeah, I don't ride the mountains and high mark in the winter so that means I will live longer. I know alot of snow machine riders had ATV's on the trail, but most snow machine trails once they are packed will handle an ATV just fine. Heck most of the damage on Snowmarchine trails are made by snow machine riders that spin out and abuse the trails. If I really wanted to go off trail, some Matt Tracks will do the trick, but right now lack the justisification.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    No contest... Snowmachine. You can't ride a wheeler all year round. People that do must only riding on roads as they certainly don't work in snow. If they ride a wheeler on a snowmachine trail, they are doing it wrong and pissing off every snowmachiner out there by ruining our winter trails.

    Summer's short. Winter's long. You can go farther, faster, and do so much more with a snowmachine. I've got a wheeler, but I tell you it stays parked most of the summer as there is so much other stuff to do and the majority of the wilderness is off limits to ATVs anyway. Truth is, I actually do get more use out of my wheeler in the winter than the summer... when I put the plow on the front and use it on the driveway. I put a good 5 miles on that thing each winter just working the blade.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  15. #15
    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    No contest... Snowmachine. You can't ride a wheeler all year round. People that do must only riding on roads as they certainly don't work in snow. If they ride a wheeler on a snowmachine trail, they are doing it wrong and pissing off every snowmachiner out there by ruining our winter trails.

    Summer's short. Winter's long. You can go farther, faster, and do so much more with a snowmachine. I've got a wheeler, but I tell you it stays parked most of the summer as there is so much other stuff to do and the majority of the wilderness is off limits to ATVs anyway. Truth is, I actually do get more use out of my wheeler in the winter than the summer... when I put the plow on the front and use it on the driveway. I put a good 5 miles on that thing each winter just working the blade.
    It depends on where you ride- and no, we don't ride on groomed snowmobile trails. During low snow winters we have ridden four wheelers through January all over, I have pics on my profile of us riding at Beringer Pass in the winter. There wasn't but a few inches, literally, of snow on the ground. But Jim Creek is reliably snow free due to the wind. When there is enough snow we ride snowmobiles. A four wheeler is more versatile and has a longer riding season. Not much you can do with a snowmobile if the weather won't cooperate and snow. But I think the best is to have one of each. Then you can do whatever.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    If you mean Belanger Pass, up by Gunsight mountain, I think that trail qualifies as a road. I bet you could even ride a wheeler to Horsepasture Pass in the winter. Though it takes half as long on a sled, and wheelers just are not much fun in more than 12 inches of powder.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    No contest... Snowmachine. You can't ride a wheeler all year round. People that do must only riding on roads as they certainly don't work in snow. If they ride a wheeler on a snowmachine trail, they are doing it wrong and pissing off every snowmachiner out there by ruining our winter trails.
    I'll throw the BS Card on this one. There are many winters with little snow, then there are lakes and rivers where the snow packs hard or drifts hard. As far as wheelers ruining groomed trails. Its very possible if he/she is irresponsible, but there are many sled riders that fit that catagory and spin out consistantly leaving packed snow humps in the trail or holes where they spin out and get stuck. If you want to burn out, get off the groomed trails. I ride the Big lake groomed trails in the winter often on warm days. I leave little sign that I am there. And lastly, they are not your trails. They are EVERYONES trails.

  18. #18
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    18 years ago I would have called it a toss up here in the valley but now days a sled is near useless unless you haul it up into the mountains and even then the snow is often sketchy. I currently have 5 quads for the family and only one older sled. I won't be outfitting the whole crew with them until we can afford a recreational property or two in areas with good snow to make it worthwhile.

  19. #19
    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    3 years ago I bought myself a new sled. I'm still kicking myself for not getting a 4wheeler instead.
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

  20. #20
    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    Wheeler!! with power steering, independent suspension, and dont go underpowered

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