2018 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year: SnoScoot/ZR 200

snowmobile of the year
The 2018 Snow Goer Snowmobiles of the Year: Yamaha SnoScoot and Arctic Cat ZR 200

The 2018 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year was announced in the magazine’s November 2017 issue, and for the first time ever, it was a tie because the influential machines that earned the honor were co-developed between two brands. And, that end product and the thinking behind it could be vitally important to the long-term viability of the sport. Here’s the text from the November issue of Snow Goer

2018 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year: Yamaha SnoScoot and Arctic Cat ZR 200 

Common practice in the sport says that a modern, trail-legal snowmobile should have at least a 120-inch track underneath it. It has to have at least 50 HP, and it’s going to have an MSRP higher than $6,000.

Common practice within manufacturer legal departments says that building a “tweener” snowmobile is not a sound idea. Oh sure, the need for such a machine is a common topic among snowmobiling parents and grandparents, who have been cobbling together small but tired sleds from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s to give kids something to ride after they’ve outgrown the 120-class youth sleds – which aren’t even technically or legally snowmobiles. The factories have heard the cries, but their skittish lawyers and bean counters have always slammed the door on the product planners when it comes to filling the niche.

Common sense says that if a company was going to overrule its corporate attorneys and spend big bucks developing a sled that could serve that transition role and potentially attract newcomers to snowmobiling, it would be a big-picture-thinking market share leader that’s banking some major cash from the sport.

Thankfully, for the long-term health of snowmobiling, somebody decided to violate all of those unwritten rules.

All of that combined is what makes us break our own rules and name the Yamaha SnoScoot and Arctic Cat ZR 200 the first-ever co-winners of the Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year award. We’ve never previously considered splitting the award, but it’s also never been warranted before. In this case, however, these two companies worked closely together to create this shared platform, and neither would have succeeded and launched the product without the other.

For the uninitiated, the SnoScoot/ZR 200 is a joint project between Arctic Cat and Yamaha that features an oversized version of the ZR 120/SRX 120 youth sled chassis powered by a 9.5 HP engine. Its cockpit is laid out to be particularly inviting to teens or smaller adults, but it’ll easily haul 200-plus-pound riders (trust us). And, when compared to the 120s, it has a working suspension system plus other components that make it trail-legal – including a headlight, taillight and seat that meet industry and government safety requirements for snowmobiles, plus an engine that meets noise and emissions standards.

The little machines are fun – we had a riot trading paint on them – and surprisingly capable in varying conditions. With the little Yamaha engine that was repurposed from a pressure washer, it’s never going to set land speed records, but that’s not its purpose. Instead, these machines are here to fill a very important niche in snowmobiling.

Are the SnoScoot and ZR 200 exactly what some people would have wanted from a “tweener” snowmobile? Maybe not – but they are what could be built at an acceptable price point. They are also a long-awaited first step toward keeping young people involved in snowmobiling while perhaps attracting some newcomers. Given our longstanding criteria for the Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year award – which stresses innovation, forward thinking and the potential market impact of a machine – these snowmobiles are worthy of our highest honor.

4 thoughts on “2018 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year: SnoScoot/ZR 200

  • Avatar for T Dumoulin

    Too bad someone wouldn’t “Wake UP” and make a tweener ATV in 4×4

  • Avatar for Bill Sparrow

    I’m now in my 60’s and have owned sleds since my teen years, Bravo Transporter 250 CC, Ski-Doo Tundra 300, John Deere 300, Yamaha Bravo 340, MXZ440 and others. The common thread was they were all simple, reliable, inexpensive and serviceable at home for the most part, unlike todays machines that have to go back to the dealer at $125.00/hr. I, like a lot of people, lost interest; I put tracks on my ATV rather than have both with separate repairs, insurance, depreciation, etc. I would love to buy a 400 CC, single, 4 stroke sled that does 70 km/hr, with a big track, serviceable at home and bullet proof; it can be done, but it seems the manufacturers and dealers want to milk enthusiasts for all they can get.

  • Avatar for Gerry D.

    I’m from Sudbury in my 60’s also and there are lot of 340’s abd 440 used sleds out there that can fill that void, some of them require minimal repairs and are still fun to ride and also dependable, it’s a great pass time workibg on them and are simple to repair, it would be a lot cheaper than buying a new sled!!

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