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Thread: 400 pages of remote Alaskan subsistance photos in the villages.....99% Polaris.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default 400 pages of remote Alaskan subsistance photos in the villages.....99% Polaris.

    I noticed that almost every single picture that I viewed that involved being on a snow machine......was mostly Polaris 340 and 440 longtrack machines in all the major villages of our state. I didn't see a single Tundra or Bravo. These were all recent action photos of whaling, seal hunting, caribou hunting, trapping, and traveling. Guess I won't be getting rid of my Polaris Widtrak LX anytime soon. I only saw one Ski Doo in all those pictures from across our state.

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    nope, and wife just picked me up a 440 .. I'm excited to get it redone and cleaned up... and on the snow'

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    I bet it has more to do with what the dealer sold than actual brand loyalty.

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    Most will buy what the local dealers sells, but there are folks out in the bush that are loyal to particular brands too. As for the 340 and 440s, they are the best when it comes to fuel economy, the longer track models are great for hauling a homemade plywood sled around, they ride good when you end up carrying a passenger which most families do out here in the bush.
    Here in my village I am paying $5.66/gal for gas. My 440 uses far less fuel than my 550s, and I dont mind cruising along on the trails at 25-30 miles/hr.
    Been a loyal Polaris fan for years but sure would like to find a good older model utility Skidoo with a 440 fan cooled engine and a longtrack one of these days.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    Most will buy what the local dealers sells, but there are folks out in the bush that are loyal to particular brands too. As for the 340 and 440s, they are the best when it comes to fuel economy, the longer track models are great for hauling a homemade plywood sled around, they ride good when you end up carrying a passenger which most families do out here in the bush.
    Here in my village I am paying $5.66/gal for gas. My 440 uses far less fuel than my 550s, and I dont mind cruising along on the trails at 25-30 miles/hr.
    Been a loyal Polaris fan for years but sure would like to find a good older model utility Skidoo with a 440 fan cooled engine and a longtrack one of these days.
    Your word not only reinforces what I saw, but also has more stock than what most people around here will tell yah. You know how it goes though...........
    The closer you get to Anchorage and Wasilla, the bigger the snow machines, boats, guns, ATV's, ect. The guys that are actually out there off the road system, are more practical in what they use........not to mention more experienced IMO.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Most folk are pretty practical when it comes to snowmachines, the environment requires that. No mechanic shops in most villages so people buy what works and what they can fix when necessary. Most buy similar models cause parts are interchangeable, a lot of guys also cannibalize old sleds to rebuild the ones they are using. Back in the old days used to see a lot of older folk riding Elans, Tundras and the occassional Bravo. Great fuel economy, light weight and easy to maintain. Lots of people in village are buying used snowmachines off of Craigs and Alaska's List, only place now that you can find a good 340 or 440 snowmachine. Manufacturers seem to be focusing more on building recreational sleds and not as much on affordable utility models.They need to realize a lot of us out in the bush and off the beaten trail still prefer utility models over and above the recreational models.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I noticed that almost every single picture that I viewed that involved being on a snow machine......was mostly Polaris 340 and 440 longtrack machines in all the major villages of our state. I didn't see a single Tundra or Bravo. These were all recent action photos of whaling, seal hunting, caribou hunting, trapping, and traveling. Guess I won't be getting rid of my Polaris Widtrak LX anytime soon. I only saw one Ski Doo in all those pictures from across our state.
    Yamahas were popular for awhile in my wife's home village, especially the Bravo longtracks, but seemed like folks always went back to Polaris, and generally in the 340-500 cc class, fan, long track. I have one myself, a '96 that I brought to the pen from SW Alaska. It is dependable. I will be putting miles on it tomorrow. Other manufacturers make good enough machines, but there's something to be said for a knowledge/parts base in a small community.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    A good friend of mine lives in Unakleet. He has been a Polaris fan since childhood as that is what his dad ran. he moved from MN to Unalakleet as a teacher.
    His girlfriend (now wife)rode a Skidoo. He switched to an E-Tec after finding out that she burned half the fuel he did when riding at the same speeds and in the same conditions. They travel to other villages at high speeds sometimes across the tundra and with the high cost of fuel in the bush it was a no brainer.
    I know a lot of people in the village like polaris machines but with the new technology Skidoo has come out with (600ACE and E-Tec) I see a time when skidoo will take over in many areas. Hard to scoff at 18-20+mpg's when you are paying $7 per gallon for gas.
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    They're all "skidoos" in Tununak...but me, I prefer Yamaha... 4 stroke at that...gas is just too expensive, & mines gets @20mpg...no oil, 'cept the yearly change...& it's much quieter & less smelly than the 2strokes...

    Everyone & their mother drives cars that are 4 stroke, 4x4s that are 4 strokes, & outboard that are 4 strokes, I don't know why they still ride 2stroke gas guzzlin' snowmachines...but Yamaha's makin' some gains out here in SW AK...hopefully, 2strokes will be a relic of the past...

    I don't like E-tecs either, you still hafta add oil, still loud, & still STANK!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    A good friend of mine lives in Unakleet. He has been a Polaris fan since childhood as that is what his dad ran. he moved from MN to Unalakleet as a teacher.
    His girlfriend (now wife)rode a Skidoo. He switched to an E-Tec after finding out that she burned half the fuel he did when riding at the same speeds and in the same conditions. They travel to other villages at high speeds sometimes across the tundra and with the high cost of fuel in the bush it was a no brainer.
    I know a lot of people in the village like polaris machines but with the new technology Skidoo has come out with (600ACE and E-Tec) I see a time when skidoo will take over in many areas. Hard to scoff at 18-20+mpg's when you are paying $7 per gallon for gas.
    That makes a lot of sense for all of us, and I don't think that Polaris is far behind (if it wants to survive), but here's the thing: they are expensive machines! You can buy a LOT of gas for the money you might spend on one of those machines over and above a two stroker you already have. And in many parts of the bush folks don't have much money... unless the government does a cash for clunkers, what can the guy do whose fish and furs aren't bringing in much cash? As for me, I probably won't be buying one anytime soon either. I just don't use my machines enough to justify that when there are always other bills to pay. Toys, after all, are still toys.

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    Ski-doo's are cheap and break down too often. The local dealer here only sells a few, but makes his money off repairs.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    Most folk are pretty practical when it comes to snowmachines, the environment requires that. No mechanic shops in most villages so people buy what works and what they can fix when necessary. Most buy similar models cause parts are interchangeable, a lot of guys also cannibalize old sleds to rebuild the ones they are using. Back in the old days used to see a lot of older folk riding Elans, Tundras and the occassional Bravo. Great fuel economy, light weight and easy to maintain. Lots of people in village are buying used snowmachines off of Craigs and Alaska's List, only place now that you can find a good 340 or 440 snowmachine. Manufacturers seem to be focusing more on building recreational sleds and not as much on affordable utility models.They need to realize a lot of us out in the bush and off the beaten trail still prefer utility models over and above the recreational models.
    Those are all good points. I have replaced pistons out on the trail on an Indy 440 back in the day. I've also worked on carbs, clutches, seals, bearings, slides... you name it. I would hate to have to deal with any major engine problems on some of the new machines out on the trail, especially the 4-strokes.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    That makes a lot of sense for all of us, and I don't think that Polaris is far behind (if it wants to survive), but here's the thing: they are expensive machines! You can buy a LOT of gas for the money you might spend on one of those machines over and above a two stroker you already have. And in many parts of the bush folks don't have much money... unless the government does a cash for clunkers, what can the guy do whose fish and furs aren't bringing in much cash? As for me, I probably won't be buying one anytime soon either. I just don't use my machines enough to justify that when there are always other bills to pay. Toys, after all, are still toys.
    You have a good point there. My new machine cost $9,957 and that was without a spare belt or plugs.It alll adds up.
    Getting the 600ACE vs the 550F motor was a $1600 option but I am very glad I did get it. Not just for the gas and injection oil savings. I really do like the way this machine runs and sounds and the lack of 2-stroke smell. Of course 22mpg is hard to argue against.
    One nice thing with the 4 strokes is the lack of injection oil witch seems to get more and more expensive. Probably more so in the bush and if you run out in the middle of nowhere you might be SOL.
    Eventually everything wears out and some of this new technology will envidebly end up in the bush IMHO.
    Those in the bush who depend on having a snowmachine around for their livelyhood are in a different situation VS those of us who just ride for fun or a little icefishing.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    Ski-doo's are cheap and break down too often. The local dealer here only sells a few, but makes his money off repairs.
    This is how I feel about Polaris machines.
    I used to work building and maintaining snomachine trails in MN for the DNR down there in the absolute heart of snowmachine country and me and my boss both developed a deep dislike for these machines. This was based on the ones we had to ride at work and seeing thousands upon thousands of machines on a regular basis and noting witch ones we saw get towed the most or were broken down tralside.
    The Skidoos and Arctis cats seemed to do the best. This is just personnel observations working on trails that would sometimes see as many as 5,000 or more sleds on a good weekend(verified by counting machines we would set up).
    I don't want to start a brand wars thing but I do loath Polaris machines.
    I had an Arctic cat (1976 jag 2000) when I was a kid and me and my sisters couldn't kill that machine although we rode the crap out of it mostly me riding it.
    It would seem that from looking at machines more closely for the last few years that Skidoo has led the charge in engineering new technology into their sleds. They are lighter and get better mpg's than any other brand.
    Yamaha switched most everything(bravos exzempted)to 4 strokes. Arctic cat and Polaris
    were on the bubble making a few models of each and Skidoo completly redesigned the 2 stroke motor Coming out with the E-tec. They now have the 600ACE to deal completly with the EPA regs and even exceeding the more restrictive NPS regs for yellowstone.
    Another thing I consider is the market share these brands have.
    Yamaha 20% of the market. Polaris 20% Arctic cat 20% and Skidoo with 40% of the market share.
    Usually whoever owns the market share makes the best sleds. Otherwise people would quit buying them and they would loose market share after a couple of years.SKidoo has held this marketshare for the last several years.
    I would ride any machine if I had to except Polaris. Just my personal opinion.
    I am no expert but have seen more machines than most Alaskans working on trails in MN.
    Like I said I don't want to start a brand wars argument but would say SKidoos are anything but cheaply constructed.
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    Polaris Indy, Gen II, and Edge sleds were dependable, tough, and easy to work on. Put an Edge sled on Craigslist and you'll get calls from the bush instantly. Newer models aren't as popular. Give the old Alaska Power Sports a lot of credit for making Alaska a Polaris state.

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    Default Brand loyalty and how one observes the world:

    This seems to be a Chevy/Ford, Mac/Windows, Winchester/Remington type of controversy. I have two Polarii, and two ACs. As I mentioned before, the only machine that ever roasted itself (almost new) w/o warning of any kind was a Skandic. I had an Elan too, and it was bullet proof, but would rattle itself apart. I used machines really hard out in the bush, but not here. For ten grand, Chris, I can buy a pretty nice used car which will use far less gas than my pick-em-up and help me justify putting gas and oil in my old 2-strokers. But I promise, should we ever actually connect for ice fishing, I will ride my Mountain Cat

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    This seems to be a Chevy/Ford, Mac/Windows, Winchester/Remington type of controversy. I have two Polarii, and two ACs. As I mentioned before, the only machine that ever roasted itself (almost new) w/o warning of any kind was a Skandic. I had an Elan too, and it was bullet proof, but would rattle itself apart. I used machines really hard out in the bush, but not here. For ten grand, Chris, I can buy a pretty nice used car which will use far less gas than my pick-em-up and help me justify putting gas and oil in my old 2-strokers. But I promise, should we ever actually connect for ice fishing, I will ride my Mountain Cat
    I understand that Steve. I have always been a Chevy guy as has been my dad.
    Last year he had to buy a new truck as his last one got moosed and he bought a Ford.
    Fords lead the american automakers in sales and customer loyalty and satisfaction.
    This obviously means they produce a quality product customer like.
    I don't think everyone will/should switch but when the time comes for those in the bush to get a new sled and if they decide to buy new they should look at machines that get good fuel economy. That would currently mean a Yahmaha 4 stroke or a Skidoo ACE 4 stroke or E-TEC 2 stroke.
    I just think that when someone says the number one selling brand is cheaply made you
    might consider what everyone else thinks. Judging by their share of the market ( meaning sales numbers ) SkiDoo is the number 1 brand out there.
    Not that the others are bad but customers overwhelmingly think that SkiDoo is currently the best brand for their needs and has been for the last few years.
    Btw Steve I don't care what you ride when we are fishing I always carry a towstrap.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    Btw Steve I don't care what you ride when we are fishing I always carry a towstrap.
    That's good, but your machine might be too heavy for me to pull!
    Happy New Year!

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    I applaud the honesty and reality of the ones who actually do live out there, living what I saw in all those pictures. Nitroman, Sayak, Nukalpiaq, and others know what I'm talking about. Regardless of machines breaking down on a recreational trail MN, as opposed to comparisons to people who use these machines out there as there only transportation......are two entirely different things. The two machines I'm referring to.....are the 340 and 440 polaris machines that make their way out to the bush, not all the other Polaris machines. They are reliable, and easy to fix. They affordable, and simple. A 440 or 340 polaris longtrack (any year) usually costs only $2000 or less on craigs. This is a fraction of the initial cost of a newer 4-stroke machine that won't start in the same cold weather as a simple 2-stroke machine. These practical folks live in a places where everything is more expensive, fuel, shipping costs, and parts.......not to mention less available cash flow. A 440 or 340 Polaris will have acceptable fuel consumption, while being 3 time less the intial costs. I guess some folks are missing the original point.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    You don't have to pull on it Steve my machine has Electric start.
    My 600ACE only weighs 22#'s more than the 550F model anyway.
    I have towed a few polaris's in my time. My dad even built a plywood sled one year he used it for firewood. I found that it fit a polaris short track perfectly. We had to tow the neighbors grandsons indy lite witch broke down halfway back from Tustumena and the track wouldn't turn.

    If you used a snowmachine as your daily driver 3-5 months a year and paid what they do in the bush for gas, one of these new fangled machines might seem more appealing to ya.
    I will have to let you try mine out and you will probably be pretty impressed.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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