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Thread: Snowmachine for Grandma

  1. #1
    Member Superx's Avatar
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    Default Snowmachine for Grandma

    I'm looking for recommendation for a snowmachine for my wife. The old bird is in her late 50's and likes to get out to the cabin on weekends. Although riding double on my Expedition is cozy, I think she would like her own machine. We are not far from the Petersville groomed trails and would like to see the sights and explore. She has been riding her ATV for years so gets the idea of don't get stuck. We do have a run of less than a mile to the cabin front door that requires my "breaking trail" after a snowstorm. She should be able to follow in my wide tracks. We would ride about 300 miles per year max.

    My thoughts are:
    reliable
    electric start
    reverse
    144" track
    stable (wide ski stance)
    not big power
    relatively high windshield
    long seat so she could ride 2 up to shuttle visitors to the cabin
    reasonable suspension
    Under $3,000. Less is better. Remember not a high mileage rider.

    Any suggestions?

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    600 cc's or smaller. She may still have to yank the yo-yo once in a while. The 700's would be too much. A fan cooled machine is nice for pulling a sled or riding double. Won't over heat in packed snow. A 136 track would probably be easier for her to maneuver. The Polaris 550 fan would be a good choice. Watch Craigslist.
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  3. #3

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    keep an eye out for a 550 skidoo fan....Summits are lightweight, touring models have two up seats.....generally e-start and are normally bullet proof.... A 550 fan polaris is also a good choice......
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    Another nice thing about the fan cooled machines, is that they blow warm are back towards the rider. Make sure the hot grips are functioning well. Keep your lady comfortable, and she will enjoy going out. Have her wearing the right gear, best gloves and boots. Take extra gloves that you can warm up on the engine, or under the exhaust outlet to swap out if her hands get cold. Once the hands are cold, it's hard to warm them back up because the insulation in the gloves will keep the heat produced by the hot grips from helping much.
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  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    Keep your lady comfortable, and she will enjoy going out. Have her wearing the right gear, best gloves and boots. Take extra gloves that you can warm up on the engine, or under the exhaust outlet to swap out if her hands get cold. Once the hands are cold, it's hard to warm them back up because the insulation in the gloves will keep the heat produced by the hot grips from helping much.
    I would also add that gauntlets (handle covers) are the absolute best thing for keeping hands warm. Between those and functioning hot grips, your hands will never, ever get cold. Usually they're too hot, actually.

  6. #6

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    My 60 year old wife likes her 2003 Arctic Cat Panther 440. Reliable, smooth, and comfortable

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    Good info. Thanks.

    Reliability is key. I don't need another piece of machinery that requires much more than minimal maintenance.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Novices do better with longer tracks. Unless your wife is a particularly athletic 50 something DO NOT take her off trail on a sled with a track shorter than 144. I'd go longer and steer away from the 2 up. They're heavy, not very deep snow capable and sheer misery to get unstuck.

    If you're just going back and forth to the cabin on a regularly ridden trail then you can get her pretty much anything.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    I'd go longer and steer away from the 2 up. They're heavy, not very deep snow capable and sheer misery to get unstuck.
    A lot of the 2-up machines now have removable seats, so the weight and bulk isn't an issue. I picked up two in the last year - a 570 Bearcat with a 151" track and a 550 Adventure with a 155". Both lose their seats easily. I haven't had the Adventure in the deep snow yet, but with that track and it's obscenely large skis (to my eyes), I'm looking forward to it!

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    Member Superx's Avatar
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    I bit the bullet and bought Grandma a new Ski-Doo Expedition Sport 600 ACE 4 stroke. BRP has a pretty good sale going thru the end of January. I was able to find a 2015 model and save a few more dollars. Thanks for all the input.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superx View Post
    I bit the bullet and bought Grandma a new Ski-Doo Expedition Sport 600 ACE 4 stroke. BRP has a pretty good sale going thru the end of January. I was able to find a 2015 model and save a few more dollars. Thanks for all the input.
    Nice job!
    I have that same sled except mine is a 2011.
    She is going to love that sled.

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    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Would it be presumptuous to ask for a follow-up post on how she likes riding it? I was looking at that for my wife but she opted for an Arctic Cat Pantera 3000.

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  13. #13
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    We picked up the 2015 Expedition Sport 600 ACE on Friday and headed up the highway. Unloaded at the trail head and took the brief ride to the cabin. This machine is really quiet. My wife rode it and loved it although it was only a few miles on a well traveled trail.

    I made a few trips back to the trail head with her machine that night. What a fun ride. I felt stealthy! It was like riding an electric golf cart. The track made more noise than the 65 hp 4 stroke. It was pretty nimble and responsive but my usual ride is an Expedition WT 600 eTech 120 hp.

    I played with the 3 position power settings for the engine. Econo, Regular, and Sport. It changes how the fly by wire throttle responded to my thumb or trigger finger. I really like the light throttle pressure required to make it go. So did my wife. She chose the trigger finger position. It took a little getting used to for her but gave her better control and grip. I set her up in Econo mode which made the throttle mushy to me but kept her from being jerky. She was smooth and felt confident on it. The windshield was the right height as she could see over it yet it forced the air overhead. She's not tall and this was a concern. I'm tall and didn't feel the need for a higher windshield.

    I picked up a guest passenger at the trail head and shuttled them back to the cabin. 2 large people (500 lbs total) running up and down the rolling hills and the little ACE didn't even grunt. It was smooth. Did I say it was quiet. Made for a really cool little night ride.

    The next day we went for a longer ride. Found some powder and my wife got her first stuck. We talked about riding the machine as opposed to driving it. She felt silly getting stuck but explained stuck happens.

    Rode the Chulitna Bluff Trail and put on about 20 miles. She was all grins when we got back to the cabin. Kept talking about our ride all evening. I think she is hooked.

    The long track works for the snow conditions near our cabin. It comes with a flapper hitch and she can pull one of the Otter Sleds with materials and supplies. Much more torque in Sport mode than I thought was possible out of the little 4 stroke. Especially pushing a 154" track.

    This is the right machine for her.

  14. #14
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the write-up. Here's to more riding days with big grins!

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