The Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year honor has been awarded for 33 years to the machine that is most pushing the sport forward with innovation, technology and fresh thinking. Below is the explanation of our choice for 2023 – ripped from the pages of the November 2022 issue of Snow Goer. To see past honorees of the award, click here.
Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year: 2023 Ski-Doo Summit X with Expert Package 850 E-TEC Turbo R 165
A laser’s focus: It’s a term that’s sometimes thrown around loosely in reference to various things in modern hype-based marketing. But in our world, it is perhaps best exemplified by the process that led to the 2023 Ski-Doo Summit X with Expert Package – the Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year.
Ski-Doo designers clearly studied the way extreme mountain riders move on a modern mountain snowmobile. They examined their habits, their reactions to extreme conditions and their desire for nimble handling. Beyond that, they listened more than they talked, quizzing this targeted group on their wants, needs and desires. They then returned to their laboratories and examined each and every part and system on their already well-focused Summit lineup to deliver on the newly made hill-side promises.
The end result is shockingly good. This Summit in the new-for-2023 REV Gen5 Deep Snow platform is lighter, narrower and more powerful than the machine it replaces. That allows it to carve better, react quicker and accelerate harder, with a more connected feel than previous Summits.
It begins with the chassis layout. With REV Gen5, the side panels are pulled in 3.1 inches tighter to the centerline, while the running boards are narrowed by a similar amount. Each allows the rider to take much better advantage of the 34-inch-wide ski stance that was introduced in model year 2022.
To the untrained eye, going narrower may seem simple, but every under-hood system needed to be re-examined. Smart integration of the clutch guard into the side panels is just one example. Designers also moved the engine air intake and venting systems to change the airflow to critical components.
While working under the hood, they also upped the output of the revolutionary 850 E-TEC Turbo R two-stroke by 15 ponies. It now pumps a claimed 180 HP off the crank, thanks to new injectors, cylinder head, intake, ECU settings and additional boost. It holds that power level amazingly well at altitude.
Tracks and suspensions were also re-examined. Additional travel, easier roll-up and fewer unintended wheelies are promised by revised geometry. Plus a solid/non-pivoting rear arm and new PowderMax X-Light track with full-width grouser bars give a more connected feel. Premium returning items include the remote-adjust limiter strap and SHOT hot restart system.
Weight was stripped from wherever it could be found, as long as it didn’t affected durability: the suspensions, the track, the driveline, the tunnel, the new LED lighting system and more. All totaled, it’s 12 pounds lighter than last year’s model in the 165-inch length, and up to 16 pound lighter on other models. Even serviceability and vibration reduction were taken into account.
Mix in the available, flat-mounted 10.25-inch touchscreen gauge, compact seat, HPG Plus shocks and more, and you’ve got a custom-designed snowmobile that lets mountain riders do what they like to do best: Move as one with their machines while choosing tricky lines that others on lesser machines wouldn’t dare to follow.
The Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year honor has been awarded for 33 years to the machine that is most pushing the sport forward with innovation, technology and fresh thinking. For 2023, the choice is clear: The Summit X with Expert Package 850 Turbo R is alone at the top.
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. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.