For the past 33 years, Snow Goer magazine annually honors a Snowmobile Of The Year based on innovation, fresh thinking, emerging technology and market acceptance. As announced in the November 2023 issue of the magazine, the 2024 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year was awarded to the Arctic Cat ZR 600 in the new Catalyst chassis. Here’s the article that accompanied that annoucement. Click through to see past Snowmobile Of The Year honorees and stories. To see the staff’s Top 10 Snowmobiles for 2024 based on how other machines service their niches, click here.
2024 Snowmobile Of The Year: Arctic Cat ZR 600 137
Forty years ago, while emerging out of the ashes of a 23-month closure/shutdown, the renewed Arctic Cat brand released an ad campaign with a straight-forward and celebratory message: “The Cat Is Back!”
Fast forward to model year 2024, and that tagline seems remarkably fitting once again.
An unusually long run on a dated chassis platform and some turbulent financial waters that led to the brand’s sale to Textron generated many rumors in recent years. Cat faithful and snowmobilers in general pondered and openly worried about the venerable brand’s future.
But with the unveiling of the all-new Catalyst chassis for 2024 featuring a plethora of innovative designs, we want to say it all over again:
“The Cat Is Back,” times two.
First, the brand is back with completely new products. The Catalyst chassis is a monstrous step forward for Arctic Cat in many ways.
Groundbreaking features like a final belt drive (a first on a modern trail or crossover sled), sturdy composite running boards (a first in the industry) and unique steering geometry launch the brand forward. A copious amount of weight loss compared to the previous ProCross/ProClimb platform furthers the trend.
The brand also took known concepts like weight centralization and a compact design to a new level, thanks in part to its exclusive laydown engine architecture, sleek new body panels and refined ergonomics.
All these features and many more combine to enable the second part of our “The Cat Is Back” analogy: Arctic Cat is going back to its roots with the sort of fun, lightweight and aggressive snowmobiles that enabled the brand to historically have some of the sport’s most loyal followers.
The ZR 600, Riot 600 and M 600 models in the Catalyst platform are eminently engaging, giving riders a feeling of riding with, not merely on, the machines.
When aboard the ZR 600 137 in particular – our choice for the 2024 Snowmobile of the Year – memories of rockus good times of the original ZR line of the 1990s, the Firecats of the early 2000s and the limited edition Sno Pro 500s a bit later come rushing to mind. The sled and its rider feel unrestricted and free to attack the trails, field approaches, jumps or mogul fields ahead of them. Notably better rider positioning, significantly less mass and a far more balanced feel set this new Cat platform apart from its predecessors.
Each of the last 33 years, the Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year award recognizes innovation, fresh thinking and market impact. The 2024 Arctic Cat ZR 600 137 embodies all of that and more.
The Cat Is Back, indeed!
Editor’s Note: Every Snow Goer issue includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive print and/or digital issues.