Welcome to my third installment about the 2012 sleds that Snow Goer will ride this winter. So far I’ve rapped about the Polaris 600 Switchback Adventure and Arctic Cat ProCross F 800 Sno Pro. Now it’s Ski-Doo’s turn.

2012 Ski-Doo Renegade E-TEC 800R Backcountry X
Off-trail performance seems better on the 2012 Ski-Doo Renegade E-TEC 800R Backcountry X than other Renegades we've ridden.

At our annual spring test event — Rode Reports in West Yellowstone, Montana — something about the 2012 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry X with the E-TEC 800R engine felt different. I’d spent a lot of time riding Ski-Doo REV-XP machines for the past few seasons, but for some reason the prototype machine I drove at Rode Reports back in March felt strange — in a good way.

The skis felt more stable and planted on the trail and it seemed to suffer less inside ski lift. New for Backcountry X models is single-keel Pilot DS (deep snow) skis, which are wide for better flotation and they have thin edges to help them cut into the snow to sidehill or roll the machine onto its side. When playing in the powder on our test ride few months ago, the skis pulled up easier than Renegades I’d ridden, including the 2011 Renegade X we’d been running hard as a demo sled last winter.

The engine in the prototype 2012 sled felt especially hot, too. It was really crisp, really clean and really responsive. Sometimes all of the right parts with just the right tolerances and calibrations come together to make a really strong engine — and I think that’s what happened with this test sled. The skis lifted easily off of rollers in the trail and it was generally easy to horse around with all of the power.

So, since I and other test riders had so much fun testing a Backcountry X at Rode Reports, we ordered one as a demo sled for the 2011-12 season. I can’t wait to log what I hope will be a few thousand miles on our 2012 demo. We ordered the Drop Zone graphics package and 1.5-inch Challenger track, which should be a good for on-trail use and enough traction when the snow gets deep in the backcountry of northern Minnesota, the U.P. of Michigan, South Dakota’s Black Hills or wherever else we might ride the machine.

— Andy Swanson, Snow Goer magazine managing editor

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