With its Expert package Summits snowmobiles, Ski-Doo is taking the next step in the “narrow wars” with a new front end that is adjustable between 34 and 36 inches – two inches narrower than previous iterations. There’s also a new Summit Edge model for in-season buyers and some other tweaks in the lineup.

Let’s jump right into the new models that we recently rode in Idaho. (Click through to read about the new Mach Z from Ski-Doo as well as the incoming Lynx snowmobiles from BRP.)

Narrower Summit X Expert

This new narrowness on the Summit X Expert package is aimed at making the machine easier to roll up on its edge and thus more playful in meadows. In fact, Ski-Doo officials say their testing and data shows that it takes nearly 10 percent less effort from the driver to roll up on its side while also keeping more track in the snow because the rear doesn’t have to tilt as far when the front end finds its new balance point.

     Sure enough, when our mountain tester got some seat time – or, more appropriately for mountain applications, riding time standing above the small and narrow seat! – the machine was more playful in open areas. It was both easier to roll up and also holds its tilt angle with less effort.

     He did experience a bit of a trade-off when tilting the sled on a slope and sidehilling, however. With the narrowness of the front end, there are circumstances where the sled will “panel out,” meaning the side panel of the sled will put enough force on the hill where it will unload the ski on which it’s supposed to be resting. The built-in adjustability should help with that – but it proved that riding at the narrowest, 34-inch settings may not be for everybody in all riding cicumstances.

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     That said, the new narrow Expert was also more playful in other situations as well. For instance, when climbing straight up a hill and then trying to whip the sled around for a re-entry or to square it up and go across the slope, it was much easier to make the sled change direction with the skis tucked a little more together. It was a bit of a handful on the rough, single-track trails that often lead to the playgrounds, however.

Summit Edge, Other Changes

Ski-Doo has a new Summit model this year that aims to give the in-season buyers more of the benefits of the spring-order snowmobiles.

     The new Summit Edge benefits from the short tunnel and tiny/barely existing snowflap that were first introduced on the Expert package. It also comes with a shorter/smaller seat than the Summit SP plus the naturally aspirated 850 Rotax twin equipped from the factory with the SHOT hot-restarting system. That means buyers walking through a dealership in October won’t have to be disappointed with their options after reading about all of the cool features available earlier in the year.

     The Edge won’t, however, be available with the incredible 850 Turbo engine package – which will continued to only be available in spring-order Summit X, Expert Package and Freeride packages. Every one of those spring models – with whichever engine you choose – will come with the lightweight hood this year that was first introduced to match the 850 Turbo.

     Otherwise, Summit and Freeride models return with the wide plethora of Ski-Doo-exclusive features, including tMotion rear suspension, FlexEdge tracks, available SHOT push-button hot start, etc.

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