The Best Sled Is the One That's Best for You | Mountain Sledder
Patrick Garbutt | On 28, Jun 2018
Does this mean the best sled is the one you’re currently riding? Possibly. But there’s also a solid chance that it isn’t. So, why would anyone choose to ride a snowmobile that’s not the best for them?
Well, like sleds, no one is perfect. One of the flaws of the human psyche is a condition known as cognitive dissonance—fancy words for what’s better understood in the snowmobiling universe as the “Dool-Aid” phenomenon. The term Dool-Aid is a clever spin on the 1978 Jonestown deaths in which over 900 cult members—mostly voluntarily—consumed a poisoned Kool-Aid concoction in a mass murder-suicide event. In social media and forum flame-wars, it’s the alleged drink consumed by the cult of Ski-doo followers who blindly believe in the superiority of their Ski-doo snowmobiles despite hater arguments put forth that claim otherwise. However, the phenomenon isn’t limited to the owners of Ski-Doo sleds by any means; there are staunch and unwavering loyalists in all four manufacturers’ camps.
So when sledders are confronted with new information that contradicts their beliefs, ideals and values, cognitive dissonance occurs. It’s the psychological stress that occurs to brand-loyal sledders when they are presented with information that might suggest that their brand choice is not the be-all and end-all.
One way to deal with the stress of psychological inconsistency is to ignore or deny information that conflicts with existing beliefs, aka drink the Dool-Aid. But there’s another way, and that is to change the cognition; change the way you think. Maybe the sled that you ride isn’t the best—because it isn’t the best for you. Or maybe it is, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best for someone else.
The Best Sled Is the One That’s Best for You
So how can you be sure that you’re riding the best sled for you?
In truth, no editorial wordsmithing can spell that out for you. With our take on new models of mountain sleds each year, it’s not our intention to try to change your mind, alter your loyalties or cause you undue mental stress. And we’re certainly not engineers—we have no right to critique the efforts of the hardworking teams that design and build these beasts. So what good are we? Well, we are mountain sledders, and that makes us experts in the experience of snowmobiling. We can tell you what’s new on the latest sleds, and we can describe our own personal experiences riding them.
But there’s really only one way to find out which is the best sled for you. You have to try it for yourself.
Hop on a friend’s sled. Search out manufacturer demo days. Talk your local dealer into a test ride. Do whatever you’ve gotta do to throw a leg over one of these new machines. Because they all shine in their own way, they are all fun to ride and they are all significantly better than their prior generation.
Like people, these sleds aren’t perfect. But they’re getting a little closer every year. Just forget what you think you know and what everyone else tries to make you believe. Find out for yourself what’s best for you.
– Patrick Garbutt