Background and Identification
A snowmobile (also known as a motor sled, motor sledge, skimobile, snow scooter, Ski-Doo, or snowmachine) is a motorized vehicle designed for travel and recreation on snow and ice. Snowmobiles do not require a road or trail, though most are driven on open terrain or trails. The engine generally powers a continuous belt in the rear that propels the vehicle, while two skis at the front provide directional control.
The first successfully tested snowmobile was assembled by Joseph Bombardier in 1936. This first snowmobile was steered by skis and included a sprocket wheel with a track drive system.
Snowmobiles produced before 1990 generally included seating for two people, but those manufactured after the 1990s are typically designed to accommodate only one rider. Snowmobiles built to seat two people are commonly referred to as “2-up” or “touring” models and are relatively uncommon as of 2020. Snowmobiles do not include enclosures except for a windshield. Their engines typically drive with a continuous track at the rear.
Early snowmobiles had rubber tracks, but modern snowmobiles typically include Kevlar composite tracks. Prior to the 2000s, snowmobiles were powered by two-stroke internal combustion engines, but four-stroke engines have entered the market since the mid-2000s. High-powered snowmobiles can reach speeds over 150 miles per hour, and drag racing snowmobiles can travel over 200 miles per hour.