What should parents look for when choosing a sled for their child?

by Kyle Born

A small child sits on a full-sized black snowmobile.
Matching up a child with a snowmobile isn’t as easy as you might think. Photo courtesy Stan Langley

Most parents are eager to share their favourite pastimes and hobbies with their children. Sledhead shredding folks are no exception. Moms and dads who are looking to integrate their kids into the sport may not know how to go about it. That’s why it helps to get advice from someone like Stan Langley, owner of Universe Satellite Sales in Rocanville, Saskatchewan, and recent recipient of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations’ (CCSO) Excellence Award for the Outstanding Snowmobile Dealer in Canada.

“We have to bring the family back into the snowmobile industry,” he said. “The only way to do that is to have something for the kids to ride.”

Langley recommends the Arctic Cat ZR-120 or the ZR-200.

“They’re super sleds,” he said. “The 200 sled won snowmobile of the year. The 200s can go through a fair bit of snow on their own. That moved the kids up from a very young age to give the 10- and 11-year-olds something to ride.”

Stan Langley sits at a booth with a man and a child.
(On left) Stan Langley, owner of Universe Satellite Sales, equips sledders of all ages with appropriate snowmobiles. Photo courtesy Stan Langley

For any adult considering a snowmobile purchase, there are myriad choices. When it comes to kids, not so much.

“You start out with the 120, go to the 200 and then where do you go?” said Langley. “You have to jump into a 570 or a 600 snowmobile. The 570 isn’t a fast sled, but it’s a big, heavy sled. A lot of kids are starting out on bigger sleds, which may not be a good thing, but at least they’re learning. If the kid has never ridden a sled, you don’t want to put them on something too big off the bat.

“We have to go back to the days when Arctic Cat had the Lynx, Yamaha had the little Enticer 340 and the Bravo. We need to bring that back.”

One way to counter the challenge of a little person riding a large snowmobile is to have ample room to roam.

“We’re out in the country so we have wide open fields where mom and dad can watch the kids drive around in a quarter section of land,” Langley said. “That’s one of the advantages of living out in the country—kids can learn how to ride.”

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