Now that the initial breathless hype has subsided and it’s time to make a spring buying decision, the staff at On Snow Magazine is bringing you 19 days of new snowmobile and technical innovations and our first impressions.
#1 ARCTIC CAT ALPHA ONE – There’s little doubt that the most talked about innovation for 2019 is the single beam rear suspension dubbed the Alpha One from Arctic Cat. It’s being heralded as a “game changer” by many experts, and it very well could live up to these expectations if all the early positive reports hold true when actual riders take to the snow next winter. For certain we can say the single beam design results in a sled that is much, much easier to “tip-in.” Our mountain crew spent the better part of a day on the sled in near perfect fresh, and plenty-deep snow conditions and they all agreed the Alpha One was heads and shoulders above the current Mountain Cat design. However, they also agreed there is a significant learning curve to the new design (remember how the REV forced us to ride sleds differently), and will require more saddle time to adapt. For expert riders, the Alpha One will most likely transform the riding experience. As for the rest of us, we never once had to put both feet on the same side of the running board, instead keeping our feet slightly back from the stirrups and initiating far less effort to get the sled to lean. The sled reacts so easily we often applied too much pressure, resulting in the sled turning in too soon and in some occasions forcing us to step off.