When old guys talk about the good ’ol days of riding, they lie most of the time. They don’t do it intentionally; they’re being tricked by inflated memories. You don’t have to be old, even, to do this. I’m pushing 35 and I’d claim I was way better at stuff when I was 25, as you might expect. The reality? I could whoop my 25-year-old self’s butt on a sled. Easily. It wouldn’t even be close.

In all honesty (and with utmost respect to my elders) things weren’t better “back then.” Especially snowmobiles. The new class of 800cc mountain sleds is the perfect case in point. There has never been a more dynamic set of purpose-built machines produced. Never has the can’t-go-wrong factor been so high. Never has the technology been so advanced and never has a group of machines declared so emphatically the trend of a sporting niche while simultaneously predicting its future.

Gone are the days when a mountain sled moniker automatically meant it should go as high and as fast as possible, turn nervously and return to a hooping-and-hollering group of hooligans below Horsepower Hill (or whatever you called your favorite place to pull). The importance of merely high-marking isn’t simply detuned in these newest high-altitude beasts, it’s downright muffled. Today’s mountain sleds scream next generation. They want you to go differently. They want you to become part of a ride that sidehills through the trees as much as it goes up a chute. Or, heck, even just counter-steer some turns all day in powder bliss. Going straight up is gone and these sleds say, “Good riddance!” even if the old-you tries to hang on to point-and-shoot performance.

Today is a new day in the mountains. And this was clearly proven during our test of the three best 800cc two-stroke treats to ever hit the backcountry.


Click on the sleds below for the full tests!

Ski-Doo Summit X 800r E-TEC 154

Arctic Cat ProClimb M 800 Sno Pro 153

Arctic Cat ProClimb M 800 Sno Pro 153

Polaris 800 Pro-RMK 155

Polaris 800 Pro RMK 155

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