June 12th, 2017

Quads vs Sleds – Time to Be Honest

Many snowmobilers have other motorized hobbies to help pass the arduously long summer days while we wait for the snow to return. This is a necessity as true throttle junkies will go stark raving mad if they don’t have some outlet for burning fuel and raising adrenalin levels.  These summer hobbies are just a temporary fix, a mere stop gap measure to pass the time for most sledders. But can quads compare to sleds?


Quads vs Sleds – Time to be honest

I recently ran across a fellow who was trying to convince me that quadding is BETTER than sledding. Of course my first instinct was to run away as I am fearful of being that close to someone who is obviously a couple of nuggets short of a happy meal, but then I decided I had to stay and hear his argument. As he rambled on about sunshine and bikinis (both of which are available to snowmobilers, btw), I really came to realize that sleds are pretty much better at everything.

Let’s break it down by category:



Snowmobiles pretty much kick the crap out of any stock quads here. In fact, you could pull one spark plug out of any of the new 800s and still be in the running for horsepower against a quad.  This is a non-starter if you’re arguing for four wheeled supremacy. Win: Snowmobile



This is pretty subjective and changes based on model but to keep it simple let’s compare a new mountain sled to a new mud quad within the same company. A new Arctic Cat Mud Pro is approximately 100 kgs (over 200lbs) heavier than their new Mountain Cat sled. Now this is just using brochure info, don’t start arguing about wet weight vs dry or different track lengths – just take it for what it is;  you could have your ex sitting on the seat of your new Mountain Cat and it would still (hopefully) be lighter than a quad.  Win: Snowmobile





Quads sink.  As soon as the water is deep they need to find a way to breath to keep going.  Some use snorkels to be able to go in deeper water in fact. A snowmobile has no issues with this and can skim along the surface all day long. The world record for a snowmobile on open water is over 200kms. If a quad gets in deep water it can usually make it about zero meters.  Again, no competition. There are also plenty of videos of people (who obviously have more money than I) running their sleds on the sand dunes, and the sleds haul azz there as well. At the end of the day, a snowmobile is better at being a quad than a quad is.  Win: Snowmobile





This is a big one for the sun worshippers. The summer crew seems to love the heat over the cold. Here’s the problem: The hotter it is the less can you wear. The colder it is the more you can wear. This means that when you are snowmobiling you simply add on another layer until you have the perfect temperature to enjoy your day. Unfortunately once it gets hot while out quadding you can only get so naked and then you have nowhere left to go. And let’s face it, there are not many of us with bodies who should be parading around naked anyway. For humanity’s sake, Win: Snowmobile



One of the most enjoyable things about being out in nature is the abundance of wildlife. While snowmobiling we have seen moose, elk, rabbits, squirrels and the occasional ptarmigan. What do these have in common? Well for starters none of them will eat you. Conversely, when you are out on your quad enjoying nature (probably naked because of the heat) you have black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, bobcats, coyotes and wolves all hoping to tear off a limb and sit down to a fine, beer-soaked dinner. Add in the flies, mosquitos, wasps, bees and tics and you are actually lucky to come out of the bush alive; at a minimum you will come home a pint low on blood. Not even close, Win: Snowmobile



Snow is soft. Dirt is not. When you fall in a giant pillow of fluffy powder while fully clothed it is almost pleasant. Riding a quad naked through the sticks and branches before getting thrown onto a cement like bed of rock and gravel is, well, not pleasant. Enough said, Win – Snowmobile



As you can see, the snowmobile is clearly better in every category. That does not mean that quads are not necessary. They are great for hauling a pig out of the barn on the farm or something I guess, but let’s stop kidding ourselves; it’s really just a way to burn fuel until we can get the sleds out again.


— Marty