After living in Alaska for going on 4 years, we're finally in a position to get serious about winter toys. I've been riding with friends locally twice -- once to Petersville, and once at Hatcher (skiing off snow machine trips, actually that time). I'm a novice when it comes to open country sledding.
Wife and I are both in our mid to upper 30s with two kids (ages 6 and 8). We want to get machines for primarily trail riding/touring with the kids, but also have the ability to dance off trail once in a while and follow our church group over the river and through the woods, as it were. I'm probably more ambitious than my wife is, but I'm not a jumper or daredevil -- but playing off trail at Petersville on a friends Ski-doo (136, 1.5 track) was a kick in the pants!
With that in mind, I think for the most part we're going to want touring-style sleds that we can take the kids on comfortably and safely. I also find appealing the 4-stroke fuel economy reported by many folks. So, I've found two used sleds that might fit the bill. Given your experience, and what I've written above about our intentions, what do you think of either of the following 2-up / 4-stroke sleds, perhaps for my wife (a more conservative rider) or myself:
1) 2006 Polaris FS Touring. (136x15x1.00 track). About 750 cc engine.
2) 2007 Yamaha Venture Lite (144x15x1.25 track). About 500 cc engine.
The guy who owns the Polaris flat out says it sucks gas big time and Marita says nothing's wrong (less than 55 miles to a tank, apparently). Something is clearly wrong, so I'd have it looked at by another shop before buying. Otherwise, reportedly in great condition. Mileage not mentioned. The Yamaha has nearly 5000 miles on it, but was used in western Alaska as primary means of transportation and was reportedly treated with kid gloves.
Prices for both are within $500 bucks of each other.
I use a 2008 Yamaha Venture Lite as a ski patroller at Hillberg Ski Area (Elmendorf AFB), and frankly it purrs like a kitten but is as unstable as )@#)( on a steep groomed slope... I haven't the foggiest idea why they bought this model for our use, other than it looks good and they had the money to burn at that time. The tippiness concerns me a bit if I were to get this for my wife and she ventured off trail... Any other experience with this sled?
Being new, would I find a significant difference playing in Petersville powder with a 136 x 1.00 (Polaris) versus a 144 x 1.25 (Yamaha). Is engine size worth choosing between???
Thanks for any thoughts and advice. I'll gladly follow-up with any questions you may have. This is a kick-in-the-pants sport, and I look forward to enjoying it more.