Each year, Snow Goer magazine names the Snowmobile of the Year based on which machine is bringing new technology, fresh-thinking and innovation to the sport. This article appeared in the November 2021 issue of Snow Goer. To see past honorees, click here.
From its beginning, the snowmobile has been a showpiece of technology. Even early designs that now look rudimentary had to combine the intricacies of an internal combustion engine with a specific chassis design intended to spread the weight of the vehicle and its rider across a broad area to make the machine magically float across the snowy surface.
Now, we’ve got technology that instantaneously reads the terrain and adjusts the suspension accordingly, while a high-tech turbocharged engine similarly reads and reacts to the rider’s whims, whether he/she is trying to get the best launch off a starting line or is speeding across a snow-covered lake.
Snowmobiles: You’ve come a long way, baby! For 2022, that’s best showcased by the innovative new Ski-Doo Mach Z, the Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year.
The Mach Z is a high-speed, low-slung, purpose-built masterpiece, with subtle beauty that masks its incredible capabilities.
It starts with known quantities: A REV Gen4 chassis with wide-design bodywork plus the smooth-riding rMotion X rear suspension, sharp-handling RAS X front suspension and the advanced 900 ACE Turbo engine.
Each of those components, though, has been modified for this special-edition machine.
The suspensions have been lowered for ultimate speed and handling, but that’s been done before by others. New is the truly revolutionary Smart-Shox semi-active suspension that self adjusts in milliseconds to the situations the machine encounters, based on three driving mode: Comfort, Sport and Sport+. It’s the most advanced and reactive suspension ever put in a stock snowmobile – adding comfort while preventing bottoming and improving handling by controlling body roll.
The four-stroke engine, meanwhile, benefits from added boost to create 180 arm-stretching horsepower. In this form, the 900 ACE Turbo R has a legitimate shot at laketop supremacy, but just having “a shot” wasn’t good enough for Ski-Doo. So, its engineers added more high-tech gadgetry with the driver-controlled Launch Mode that gives it an unrivaled coolness factor. When enabled, it spits and sputters while waking up the turbo as the driver pins both the throttle and the brake. It then launches hard when the driver releases the brake handle, sending the sled and rider into delirium.
Such high-tech suspension, engine and ECU wizardry is normally reserved for exotic sports cars. For 2022, this full combination is only available on one snowmobile.
As always, the Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year honor places a high value on forward-facing designs, cutting-edge advancements and truly unique innovations. The 2022 Ski-Doo Mach Z has those in spades, making it an easy selection for the 32nd annual bestowing of the award.
Editor’s Note: Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! This story is from the November 2021 issue’s Cold Tested department. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.