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Riding Tips November 16, 2020

Mountain Snowmobile Riding Guide

Riding a snowmobile in the mountains delivers the incredible experience of deep powder snow and exploring the backcountry.


Snowmobiling in deep power or in the mountains is much different than riding on groomed trails. From the terrain to the riding gear to the snowmobiles themselves, there are many differences to consider before getting started.


If you are considering taking up mountain or deep snow riding, the following guide is a resource to get you started.


*This is not intended to replace participation in safety courses.




Polaris offers a wide range of mountain and deep snow snowmobiles within the RMK family to fit a wide range of riding styles whether you prefer to ride in the meadows, navigate through the trees, or just want to get started with a mid-sized or entry level sled.


Within the mountain snowmobile lineup, there are many options to consider including engines to match the power of your sled to your preferred riding style or capability. Leverage the Polaris Help Me Choose tool as a starting point to select the right sled for your needs or reach out to your local Polaris dealer.




Mountain snowmobiles are typically designed to be lightweight and nimble to maneuver through deep snow. They typically have longer tracks with deeper lugs for improved traction and flotation in the deep snow as well as a narrower ski stance for easier maneuverability in off-trail terrain. Mountain sleds are also designed with a taller handlebar setting to support a more active riding style in which riders do more standing or shifting from one running board to the other.


Mountain sleds often come with a few different choices for track lengths depending on your preferred style. For example, Polaris RMK snowmobiles come in 146, 155, or 165 track lengths to suit different types of terrain depending on the model. Longer tracks offer more flotation and are easier to turn for those that are potentially not moving at high speeds through the mountains. Shorter tracks are quicker and easier to maneuver as their speed and momentum help keep them on top of the snow to drive them forward.


Other factors such as your size or geographic region can impact the right sled for you. Make sure to talk to your local Polaris dealer about how you will be riding to ensure the best riding experience possible.




To get started, it is important to practice your riding your mountain snowmobile in a safe, open, flat area before attempting your first ride in mountainous terrain. This is especially important for newer riders who are not accustomed to riding in deep snow.


Many members of the Team Polaris pro team offer clinics to learn backcountry safety, riding techniques, etc. Many of the clinics are offered for varying skill levels to ensure you are prepared when getting started with mountain riding. Polaris highly recommends participating in these clinics to gain confidence and learn safety techniques before venturing out in the backcountry.




Dan Adams, a professional backcountry snowmobiler and Team Polaris athlete, teaches the fundamentals of backcountry mountain riding in his Next Level Riding Clinics. The video below is a great resource to get started before signing up for a mountain riding clinic.

Sometimes you may start the day in sunny and hard-packed snow and end the day in deep powder. Always pay attention to changing snow conditions and adjust your riding and travel accordingly.

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