6 Different Types of Snowmobiles

There are a handful of different types of snowmobiles to choose from. Each of these has a slightly different purpose or condition that they perform better in. It’s good to know each of these to know what type best meets any needs or preferences you have. 

I’m Chaz, and I love everything about snowmobiles. I’ve been riding since I was a kid and am familiar with all of the different types of machines you can get. I know what each type is used for and why you might want one over the other. 

I’ll give you a brief description of all the different types of snowmobiles in this post. I’ll tell you what each type is best used for and any significant differences it might have from other options. This is good to know whether you are a first-time rider or more experienced. 

Let’s get after it. 

1. Trail Snowmobiles

Trail snowmobiles are very common, and these are some of the most popular options for beginner riders to use. They are designed for basic riding purposes and do best on groomed and established trails

There are many different options in the trail category, but nearly all of these sleds will have a shorter track and lighter weight. This makes them easier to handle, which is ideal for riders who don’t have much experience. 

Trail sleds won’t have the best engines in terms of power and top speeds, but they are still very reliable and will give long-lasting performance. They are fun and easy to ride and are a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn how to snowmobile. 

This type of snowmobile can also be pretty affordable, making them a good option for riders on a budget. The lighter weight and easier handling make them a decent choice for older kids or smaller riders. 

As their name implies, trail snowmobiles are great on trails but won’t give you amazing performance off trails. Their shorter track limits what they can do in deep snow.

2. Mountain Snowmobiles

Mountain snowmobiles are designed to handle off-trail conditions are can handle the deep snow and variable conditions found when backcountry riding. They are often called backcountry sleds and allow you to explore far away from established trails. 

Mountain snowmobiles are typically pretty light but have a powerful engine. This allows you to stay on top of the snow but still have enough power and torque to navigate up steep inclines and other challenging terrains. 

This type of snowmobile also comes with an extended track that is better for deep snow. The longer track gives you more float over powder while also allowing for increased bite and traction in the same situation. 

Mountain sleds aren’t the fastest option out there, despite having powerful engines. If you drive one on groomed terrain, you will notice this limitation. But if you need or want to venture deep into the mountains, they are a ton of fun. They can also be really expensive.  

3. Crossover Snowmobiles 

Crossover snowmobiles are designed to do a little bit of everything. They offer versatile performance in many different terrains and snow conditions. They are popular with people who like to explore many kinds of riding styles. 

Crossover sleds can come in a range of different engine sizes and will typically have a medium track length that allows for versatility. This gives you the ability to ride on groomed trails or venture into off-trail situations. 

Riders like to use crossovers when they aren’t sure what type of terrain or snow condition is going to appear. This makes them a good choice for anyone who likes to travel with their machines and wants to make sure they have the right one. 

Despite having versatile use and decent all-around capabilities, crossover snowmobiles don’t have anything they really excel in. This makes them less popular with experienced riders who know exactly what they want regarding how a sled performs. 

4. Performance Snowmobiles

Performance snowmobiles offer some of the best capabilities in on-trail situations. They are built to perform at high-end levels, and you can take them up to full throttle without worrying if they can handle it. 

This type of sled will have a large, powerful engine capable of going really fast. You can expect a ton of horsepower out of these, and you’ll need to hold on tight when you let on the throttle. 

Performance snowmobiles are often used as racing sleds because of their increased power and acceleration. They have other features that help them stand out when going fast and can have specialized tracks and suspension systems. 

These sleds are also capable of handling well and have good maneuverability, but you need to know what you are doing to manage them. Inexperienced riders will have a tough time dealing with a performance snowmobile and can be easily overwhelmed. 

But if you have experience and want a high-performance or racing sled, these are the way to go. 

5. Touring Snowmobile 

Touring snowmobiles are designed for long-distance riding purposes. These will come with special features that allow you to haul extra equipment or passengers and have many comfort additions as well. 

Nearly all touring snowmobiles have an extended seat that can accommodate two people. They are also longer, giving you extra room to store equipment or gear that you might want to haul with you as you ride. 

This type of snowmobile also has a soft suspension that makes it easier to ride for long distances. They are highly comfortable and will also have extra features like stereo systems, heated seats and grips, and a wider windshield. 

If you need to cover long distances in the snow or just want to be really comfortable when you ride, touring snowmobiles are a great option to explore. However, they are really heavy and can get very expensive.

6. Utility Snowmobiles 

Utility snowmobiles are made for function rather than performance. These sleds can help you haul heavy loads and get to hard-to-reach places while offering reliable performance along the way. 

Utility sleds aren’t as commonly used by recreational riders. Still, if you live in a place where snowmobiles are needed for transport or necessity, a utility snowmobile can be worth its weight in gold.       

This type of snowmobile won’t have extremely high top speeds or look flashy, but it will help you get to where you need to go and give you serious towing or cargo capacity. They are heavy but often have wide tracks that provide increased float in powder. 

These machines can also have many useful features built into them that can help you out in winter environments. Items like hitches, racks, and winches are common. If you need a working sled, a utility snowmobile is recommended. 

Final Thoughts

The snowmobiles listed here are the primary types you’ll see out in the snow. There are a few other types like kids snowmobiles that I didn’t mention because they really aren’t that commonly used other than for, well, your kids. 

If you are wondering what type of snowmobile to get, read through the descriptions above and then do a bit of research to see which style best matches your needs in the snow. 

About Chaz Wyland
I’m a snowmobile fanatic. I live for riding and am out on the trails or backcountry as often as possible during the winter months. I was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains and have snowmobiled in dozens of North American locations. When the snow is falling, you’ll find me on a sled.

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