The Top 10 SnoRiders stories of 2021

Aren’t you a bit curious what our most-read stories were last year?

by Kyle Born

Three snow bikes glide through the snow.
One of SnoRiders’ most-read articles of 2021 is about the history of snowmobiles. In 2010, the first Timbersled snow bike systems were produced in Ponderay, Idaho. Photo courtesy Timbersled

2022 is here and it’s time to ring in the new year. While some folks focus on what habits to change as they flip open their new powersports calendars, SnoRiders reflects on what worked well in 2021.

When looking over our most-read articles of 2021, it’s clear that SnoRiders’ readers appreciate the broad range of subjects that we cover. Last year’s most popular articles were an eclectic bunch filled with practical, useful knowledge. Whether it be tips for buying a used snowmobile, knowing what to pack in your snowmobile backpack, or studying up on the history of snowmobiles, SnoRiders top 10 stories of 2021 highlight what interests you most.

So, curious what your fellow riders have been reading on SnoRiders? These are the 10 most popular SnoRiders articles of 2021.

From everyone here at SnoRiders, thank you for choosing us as your go-to source for snowmobiling information. Here’s to a super snowy, pow-filled 2022!

10. Snowmobile Trail Maps

Our ultimate list of snowmobiling trail maps

Tumbler Ridge Trail Map
SnoRiders has a range of trail maps available for download.

 

Welcome to the SnoRiders snowmobile trail map page, where you can find sledding trail maps from the best winter recreation destinations in Canada. Our downloadable PDF trail maps are intended to help you find the staging areas and main points of interest along the trail.

9. How to prevent snowmobile engine failure

Here are six ways to ensure the longevity of your snowmobile engine

A piston is held up for the camera.
Piston failure is caused by the piston clearance in the cylinder being ill-fitting and loose, allowing the pistons to rock in the cylinder bore. Piston slap is the result. In our personal situation, the piston skirt started to chip. Photo courtesy Trish Drinkle

 

Nothing can be more disheartening to a rider than engine failure—it's costly and sometimes season stopping. Here are some things to consider as a machine owner to ensure the longevity of your engine.

8. Five tips for buying a used snowmobile

Here is a checklist of what to consider and what to look for when you’re buying a used sled

A prairie sledder goes over a trail.
Rule #1 for buying a used snowmobile: Be realistic as to what you need. Joel Watson photo

 

Whether this is your first year sledding or you are upgrading to another newer machine, finding a great used sled can be easier knowing a few insider tips.

7. Top 10 best places to snowmobile in B.C.

Where to go for the ultimate B.C. backcountry snowmobiling experience

 

Four snowmobilers wave on a clear day in the mountains.
If you love mountain snowmobiling and being in the backcountry, then B.C. is where it's at. Photo courtesy Throttle Ops Photography

British Columbia is arguably one of the best places in the world for mountain snowmobiling. Why? For one, the snow—or as some call it, white gold. In some places, it can reach depths of 40 feet. Then there are the trails. With support from the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation, this province is home to over 3,000 kilometres of maintained snowmobile trails. Through valleys and passes, these trails take riders to snowmobiling areas in world-class mountain ranges.

6. Do you really need all that stuff?

What to pack in your snowmobile backpack

 

A backpack on a tarp in an igloo.
A well-made snow shelter needs ventilation and the highest point of the entrance needs to be built lower than the living space to prevent cold air from circulating through the shelter. Tunnelling in and up a hill is the easiest way to do this. Photo courtesy Zac’s Tracs

Being a responsible mountain rider is more than being avalanche trained and carrying the gear. One thing that many riders have overlooked is their preparedness for backcountry emergencies, such as injuries or an overnight stay. We ride with some very prepared sledders and we are all often asked, “What’s with the crazy heavy backpacks? How can you ride with those things? Do you really need all that stuff?”

5. Carving a timeline of snowmobile history

SnoRiders takes a look at the history of snowmobiling and the inventions that continue to shape our sport.

A black-and-white photo of a row of snowmobiles.
Snowmobiling is a sport that continues to evolve. Kirsten Armleder photo

 

Snowmobiling has been a part of the Canadian landscape since New Year’s Eve 1922, when a 15-year-old named Joseph-Armand Bombardier took his first “oversnow” vehicle for a test ride on the streets of Valcourt, Quebec. Little did he know that his creation would spawn one of Canada’s favourite and most popular winter sports.

4. Electric snow scooters: the next big (little) thing?

A small company in Russia is giving outdoor sledding enthusiasts another way to get around during winter: the snow scooter.

A man poses on an electric snow scooter.
The Sniejik snow scooter is most effective on snow up to 30 centimetres (one foot) deep, at temperatures up to minus 20 degrees Celsius, and ridden within a radius of 50 kilometres. Photo courtesy Max Gnedov

 

Sniejik is a lightweight electric snow scooter that allows riders to travel effectively on snow and ice in winter. The scooter can also swap out the ski for a wheel to travel across sand, gravel and swamps in the summer.

3. Where’s the high performance side-by-side snowmobiles?

When it comes to popular off-road products, high performance side-by-side ATVs top the list—but where is the snowmobile world's version of the side-by-side?

Picture of the 2005 Ski-Doo Elite, a two-seater snowmobile.
A revamp on previous Elite models, the 2005 version was billed as the safest, yet most powerful Elite ever. Photo courtesy Ski-Doo

 

What's the hottest off-road product on the market these days? There is little question that it is the super sporty, high performance side-by-side ATVs like the Polaris RZR, Arctic Cat Prowler and the Can-Am Commander.

These top sellers disappear off dealers showroom floors faster than leather jackets at a Harley rally. Which leaves us wondering where are the sporty, high-performance side-by-sides in the snowmobiling world?

2. “Which sled is right for me?” Here’s how to choose your snowmobile

The type of riding you do will determine what you need for a sled

A plume of snowy powder trails behind a snowmobiler in the air.
The Arctic Cat HCR has a beefed-up suspension that is ready to fly high or climb right out of the box. Photo courtesy Mekel Salinas High Country Society

 

For first-time riders, choosing your first snowmobile can seem like a daunting task. With so many makes and models to choose from, how can you be sure you are making the right decision? Here are some tips to help take confusion out of buying a new snowmobile.

1. SledTown ShowDown

Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, is the SledTown ShowDown 2021 champion

Lac du Bonnet 2021 SledTown ShowDown Champion
Sledders flock to Lac du Bonnet for its many kilometres of trail networks available and the quality terrain in this tranquil area.

 

From 64 Western Canadian snowmobiling destinations, Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, has claimed victory as the SledTown ShowDown 2021 champion!

Lac du Bonnet went on a historic run to take its place as the absolute best place to go sledding in Western Canada. During Round 3, this Manitoba SledTown dispatched last year’s SledTown ShowDown winner, Flin Flon, Manitoba. Once it took the provincial crown at the conclusion of Round 4, Lac du Bonnet went on to eliminate the 2018 SledTown ShowDown champion, McBride, B.C., in Round 5. For Round 6—the finals—Lac du Bonnet (11,428 votes, 62%) rode its nonstop wave of momentum right through Nipawin (6,962 votes, 38%).

Congratulations to Lac du Bonnet, SledTown ShowDown 2021 champion!

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