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Thread: Virgin Snowmachiner-Which one to buy?

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    Default Virgin Snowmachiner-Which one to buy?

    I'm mostly a non-motorized sports fan, but I've always been intrigued by what you can do with these machines and where they can take you. Mostly, I'm interested in where they can take me skiing. I'd like to be able to rally in the deep stuff like I see on snowmachine porn (once I learn how to do it), but I'd also like to be able to get places. Pretend I have as much $ as I need for the ideal snowmachine, and then I can look for compromises. Currently, I have no idea about any of it. I've spent years in Turnagain pass on the non-motorized side, at first scoffing at how loud they are and complaining about the quiet mountains they are interrupting. After 10 years though, I'm really wanting to get over there to cause some racket. Thanks for any help.

    Mark

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    Get a late model mountain sled. 600 motor and 144" track. Summit, RMK, or M6. You might find your backcountry skis starting to collect dust after you get one. Don't think you're taking the easy way out, as a newbie in deep snow and hills you will come home exhausted.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Dark Side!

    The big jump from ski to sled comes with something that many "virgins" don't consider... A snowmachine can take you further through the snow in 30 minutes than you can walk back through the rest of the day.

    So, who are you going riding with? While I personally prefer Arctic Cat over everything else on the market, I'd still recommend that you consider buying the same manufacturer and similar models to the other people you'll ride with. You'll be so much better off when a mechanical problem does show up. And there is no such thing as a maintenance free snowmachine! Expect to work on them a lot.

    For an entry sled that can do some mountain work, I'd look for a Cat M6 from the last few years (they've dropped the 600 lineup, unfortunately).
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Default I ride

    With nobody now. I have a group of skiers I tour and ski pow with, and they will be pissed I'm on one of these until they realize we can access some stuff nobody else gets to. I can work a bike mechanically with the best of them. I guess I'm a little intimidated about working on an engine, and machine like this. Worse case scenario, crap breaks in the middle of nowhere and I freeze to death right? Is there a how to fix the basic crap class I can take?

    High marking isn't going to be something I'm into. Seems like an avalanche teaser even on stable days. Traveling and seeing more of AK in the winter is my first goal, but I also want to be able to rip around have some fun on the thing. No idea if there is a sled that does both okay. So, thanks for the conversation.

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    It's a Ford, Chevy, Dodge question and you're gonna get a lot of responses on this.
    #1 go stand on a bunch of sleds and see what's more comfortable.
    #2 if your gonna haul a skier up a hill your gonna want more power.
    #3 see #2, a longer track will float better if your hauling another guy to a hill for skiing

    I you wanna play in the powder, 144 range at a minimum. I'm going the route of a Polaris 800 155 because i play in the hills. If more of your riding is trail bound, I'd look at a 136-144 class but with the 136 you'll not make some areas in the hills depending on the show depth.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Yes, there are sleds that do both. In fact, given your goal, I'd redirect you from the Mountain class over to the Crossover class and you might even look for a 2-up seat.

    And I'm thinking more routine maint and dealing with breaking stuff when you crash... not having to work on the engine. The engines are actually pretty simple and don't need much. You'll spend more time maintaining the running gear.

    Highmarking is way overrated. I'm a boondocker (think cross country rather than alpine). What you're wanting to do can quite easily be done.

    Tell you what you should do... when the pass is opened for snowmachining, head across the street and strike up a conversation with some snowmachiners that are unloading their sleds. Let 'em know you're a newbie and looking for input on what kind of sled to get. You'll get a lot of first hand info and I guarantee that you'll get to take a sled or two for a spin around the loop to see how it feels. Nothing can help you decide what to do better than getting just a bit of joy riding time in.

    I'll bet you could even get someone from this forum to take you out for a few hours and show you the ropes on their 2nd sled.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Yes, there are sleds that do both. In fact, given your goal, I'd redirect you from the Mountain class over to the Crossover class and you might even look for a 2-up seat.
    Skidoo Renegade Backcountry X, 800 with a factory 1+1 seat. Perfect for a crossover.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    As it is close to getting my machine ready for winter I would be willing to go over the basics of maintenance with you as I prepare it to ride. I am in Chugiak, if you are interested just shoot me a PM.

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    Since elfbkr is a new member they can't PM you yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by elfbkr View Post
    Worse case scenario, crap breaks in the middle of nowhere and I freeze to death right?
    Hopefully more like crap breaks in the middle of nowhere and it's inconvenient but you're warm and safely camped for as long as it takes to deal with the situation. As JOAT said, the sled will take you further than you can walk, so make sure you're prepared for that when you go out. Search out older threads on this forum for info on what to bring and how to prepare. Challenges only become emergencies if you're unprepared or injured.
    Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

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    Member russiarulez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elfbkr View Post
    I'm mostly a non-motorized sports fan, but I've always been intrigued by what you can do with these machines and where they can take you. Mostly, I'm interested in where they can take me skiing. I'd like to be able to rally in the deep stuff like I see on snowmachine porn (once I learn how to do it), but I'd also like to be able to get places. Pretend I have as much $ as I need for the ideal snowmachine, and then I can look for compromises. Currently, I have no idea about any of it. I've spent years in Turnagain pass on the non-motorized side, at first scoffing at how loud they are and complaining about the quiet mountains they are interrupting. After 10 years though, I'm really wanting to get over there to cause some racket. Thanks for any help.
    Mark
    I was in your shoes about three years ago. Got tired of walking up the hill and watching the motor heads zoom past me.
    Never really had the money for a sled or friends that would let me borrow their sleds, so I started renting and learning how to ride.
    A year ago I finally gave in and bought my own sled.
    From my limited experience Polaris and Ski-Doo would be right at the top of the food chain right now.
    I bought a Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry 600 and it's been a great sled. I have a ski rack on mine, but honestly I've been having so much fun riding that I haven't used it for skiing even once... yet.
    One other thing that kept me from using my sled for skiing is the lack of riding buddies that are also skiers/boarders.
    Nobody wants to sit and wait for you while you do your ski thing.
    If you plan on using your sled mostly for riding in the mountains and for skiing I would go with a mountain sled (summit for ski-doo and I think RMK for polaris) with an 800 engine.
    My backcountry is a cross-over sled and it does ok, but I really wish I bought a Summit.

    If you do end up buying a sled, I'd gladly go skiing/riding with you once we get some snow.

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    Me and a friend started off on his '97 Summit 583 with a wopping 136" track. Two of us and just the one sled. Did a lot of riding/snow boarding in Hatchers and at Turnagain. Couple of seasons of that before I bought an '01 RMK 800. Night and day difference in pulling some one up the hill but I still think starting on the smaller sled made us better at it.

    He quickly went out an got one too and that got us going farther back to find powder to board down. Lost Lake, Petersvilled, etc. Alas, he went and had kids and I was out a riding/boarding partner. As russiarulz says, easy to find guys to go sleding with but not so many want to go ride and ski. Get a sled and learn to ride it this season. Figure out who to go skiing with next season - if that is still a priority.


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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    "If that is still a priority"

    +1!
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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    elfbkr,
    In another life I'm the current Vice Pres of the Anchorage Snowmobile Club, and part of why our club exists is to help folks like you get set up correctly. Shoot me an email at erikinak@gci.net and lets talk. Maybe I can give you my shameless recruitment pitch...

    Cheers!
    Erik
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member H20Dogg's Avatar
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    Skandic with a 600 etec

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    Search out older threads on this forum for info on what to bring and how to prepare. Challenges only become emergencies if you're unprepared or injured.
    Meant to include these links the other day to help get you started elfbkr:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ck-Whats-in-it
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...vival-quot-Kit......
    Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

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    Member franklinfleagle's Avatar
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    for a first sled i'd try to find a 144-154 mountain 600, 600s are more reliable than 800s and are still light, i don't think you would want a 4 stroke allthough some people do run them in the mountains but a m6, summit 600 sport or summit 600 etec or rmk 600, if you can afford it go new with an extended warranty if not try and find something within a couple years of new and not too many miles, a 600 will typically rack up more than double the amount of trouble free miles an 800 will i would look for a 600 with less than 300 miles and if you really want an 800 i'd be lookin for somethin brand new with warranty or something under 1000 miles, if you buy used try and have a friend that knows snowmachines with you when you go look at it, you do not want to make a 10,000 dollar mistake, snowmachining is my favorite thing to do in the world and you will quickly fall in love with it, especially if you're riding turnagain cuz its just freakin awesome down there i'm sure you're well versed in backcountry travel as you've been down there for years but remember on a sled you can cover a lot of potentially hazardous terrain in a day of backcountry riding so always ride with a buddy and don't ever leave ur avvy gear at home good luck with your search, and get ready to have one of the most funnest winters you've ever had b4


    edit: as already mentioned the backcountry renegade is also a great sled, it is a coupled skid so it will not handle the deep snow as well as a mountain sled but it will handle the bumps better and most the gade's and backcountry's have a 16" wide track which gives you the same footprint as a 146 15 wide i use my renegade in the mountains and at turnagain, i'm upgrading my track this year to a 2 inch track but i think its a great sled...

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    Member cjustinm's Avatar
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    i'd go with an rmk 600 144, i have (2) my wife and mine and have had no problems and have 4,500 miles on my 2010 (i had the sled sent to me with a bad sensor so i guess one prob but it was just the fact they forgot to hook up a sensor). it will easily go about anywhere, very reliable, and will tow a sled fairly easily. as far as breaking down in the middle of nowhere and freezing to death get a sat phone..... as was said 800 engines generally have a few more issues expecially the cranks in the polaris 800's. i have personally seen more problems with skidoo sleds but hey every manufacturer cranks out a lemon now and again. basically whatever you fit comfortably on within your price range. most good mountain sleds run close to the 10k mark nowadays. enjoy the dark side, i haven't touched my snowboard in a couple years.

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    I guess the Tired Iron sleds are going to die, (sigh)

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    I would agree with a low mileage 600 in 144. As for two up, not as fun as you might think, hard on the passengers butt. I rotate sleds out every two years or so and have owned them all. It is a ford, chevy thing but look on the snow west forums, dootalk & arcticchat.com and you will see what has had issue and what guys like. I like skandics for work and RMKs for play but the summits and M series are every bit as good, I have had them all, just my preference.

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