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Thread: best option for family atv's vs sleds?

  1. #1
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    Default best option for family atv's vs sleds?

    I was hoping for some advice on which option to pursue. I get cabin fever every winter so sleds would be logical. But could use the versatility of the atv to plow snow and use during the snow free months. I guess what it comes down to is what can you do with a family of 5 in the winter with a few atv's, or should I look into buying sleds?
    any advice would be appreciated thanks

  2. #2
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    That is a tough question to give you a generalized answer too…………

    It depends! I too have a family of 5 and I currently have two ATV’s and one Snowmachine. The Smowmachine has been ridden exactly 5 times in the last 4 years, but to understand why, you will have to understand that my three children are ages 4, 2 and 0. They are simply too small to enjoy any winter activity for any length of time, and keeping them warm enough for snowmachine rides has proven problematic at best.

    The ATV’s are a different deal all together. I usually put on about 400 miles a year and the Wife will average about half that. 95% of our riding involves the kids as a group family activity, so for us it is really a “no brainer” as our utilization of the ATV’s far surpasses that of the snowmachine. In-fact last winter I sold two of my older snowmachines to make room in the garage and because they just never got ridden.

    If you look at it from weather and calendar time perspective, you will no doubt realize that the ATV season is far longer than that for vehicles dependent on snow cover and appropriate ice thickness for operation. Additionally many folks find that ATV’s are easier to operate and ride, as well as providing a superior ride comfort than most snowmachines. You can of course still use an ATV in the winter, provided you have proper tires, chains when required, and stick primarily to the trails or hard packed snow and ice.

    In my mind the ATV is the clear choice for a guy that cant, or doesn’t want to buy both ATV’s and Snowmachines. Totally understandable when you figure a new top of the line machine, be it ATV or Snowmachine is going to set you back about $9,000

    I didn’t expect to get a whole bunch of use out of a snowmachine so I opted for an older used model (AC 580 Powder Pig circa 1997 for the sum of $1100) and had enough cash left over to put on a two up seat, reverse, and bearcat clutches and still not feel bad when it just sits in the garage taking up space. After all, its not like I am writing a $200 check every month to pay the thing off. The ATV’s on the other hand, we bought new and top of the line at the time. We got about $16,000 into them with the mods, bags etc. but they are super dependable and have been maintained to go the distance from day one by yours truly.

    Good luck on you decision!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    We get less time off in summer so our quads see lighter use. My kids 11 and 12 spend a lot of time on them in the summer, but the youngest is too young and we are too busy. Rural Alaska is a bit different and I really don't have any issues letting my kids ride them alone any more. Helmets are mandatory and only one rider per vehicle. I control what trails they are on and they only use them to get to friend's houses. I mostly use mine during hunting season. ATV's get about 3 times the fuel mileage that my snowmobiles get.

    We have a snowmobile for every member of the family. At an average of 10mpg per sled and an average of 20mph on a family ride we will burn $50 per hour in fuel. I'm not sure our budget can handle that and I can see a lot more snowshoeing and xc-skiing in our future.

    We are blessed to be able to do either activity right out our back door. I see you live on the Kenai Penninsula. If I lived down there it would be a no-brainer..I would have snowmobiles. You guys don't have crap for ATV trails, but a ton of snowmobile trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I would have snowmobiles. You guys don't have crap for ATV trails, but a ton of snowmobile trails.
    I agree, I wouldn't buy atvs over snowmachines if I lived on the pennisula.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Wheelers or sleds?

    Personally, I think sleds are much more fun than wheelers as I have a utility ATV. Dont get me wrong, brush bustin, river crossing, and bogging are awesome, but you cannot beat breaking 2 feet of fresh powder and the thrill of LOTS of horsepower. If you get good at riding a sled, I think it is more fun.

    The peninsula is defintely snowmachine friendly as you can ride pretty much anywhere between towns and there are numerous places to ride (caribou hills, turny, etc.) along with places near the house. I know my siblings and I have spent many countless hours towing sleds and snowboarding behind a snowmachine...

    Cost-wise, wheelers hold their value much better than a sled and you can get an older snowmachine that would be plenty for what you'd use it for for very cheap (even a couple maybe). Every year there's the bigger-badder that someone has to have (heck, mines an 06 and its probably considered a putser now), so used prices are usually very good if you look for a deal

  6. #6

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    As much as I like to ride my atv, if I had to choose between the 2 I would go with a sled. Forunately I don't have to make that choice and I am able to do both.

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    Default thank you for the input

    I sure didnt expect to get so much info. It makes it alot easier to make a decision. As of right now I think the craftsman snowthrower will get another winter of abuse and the fam will get sleds. thanks again for all the great input and welcome more.

  8. #8

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    If your looking for places to ride this winter feel free to ask away in the snowmachine section. Lots of good folks and tons of places to ride, Alaska is beautiful in the winter.

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