Sledding The County: Youth Snowmobiles

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine - While the market for snowmobiles favors adults, many started snowmobiling at a young age, and began on a machine similar to the Polaris 120 Indy. Mitchell Chandler of Chandler Farms says parents tend to start their children on snowmobiles in the County when they are quite young.

(Mitchell) Depends on the growth spurt of the kids and stuff. Some kids will be riding them at 6-7 years old, and some might be 8 or 9. It depends on when their growth is there and when they, they usually takes them a couple of years to outgrow the 120 but it depends on when they start riding them.

(John) Well the 120 was a little smaller chassis, obviously a smaller motor, you know, those were meant more for somebody from a child, 4-5 years old on up to 7 or 8. But once they got to that 7 or 8, 9 years old, depending on their size, it almost got too small.

John Alexander is the owner of Harry's Motorsports. He says in the past, once kids outgrew a 120, they would have to go straight to a full-size snowmobile. To bridge the gap, Arctic Cat released the ZR 200.

(John) 2018 was the first year. It's built for the youth and it's a trail-certified snowmobile.

While this is one brand's view of a middle step between a 120 and full-size machine, there are others out there, such as the Polaris Evo, first introduced for the 2019 model year.

(Mitchell) Just more geared towards the kids for when they come off of, like the 120. It's set lower, for seating, and they can touch the running boards easier. And it's slower, they got it governed to only go 50 mph to where that makes the parents feel a little bit more comfortable on that part of it.

Though different, both the ZR 200 and Evo are able to ride on trails, something a 120 would struggle to do. Alexander and Chandler say these particular snowmobiles are key to keeping snowmobiling relevant through the generations.

(John) The younger you can get them started, once they learn to do it, and enjoy it, as they get older, and they have their own families, that's what they like to do.

(Mitchell) For the family aspect of being able to step up through, all the process, and yes, it does make it a lot better.