You have heard about it. You may have seen it. But until you try for yourself you’ll never know if you have what it takes to ride a snowmobile across water.
It sounds simple:
- Find a lake or pond with a gradually sloping shore
- Warm up your snowmobile
- Choose a spot to take off from the shore and identify a place on the opposite shore to drive back onto dry land
- Hit the waves with the throttle wide open
- Have fun!
According to Wikipedia, this water snowmobiling activity is commonly referred to as “snowmobile skipping.” Snowmobile skipping is further defined as a sport and/or exhibition where snowmobile racers hydroplane their sleds across lakes, ponds, or rivers. The sport is also often called snowmobile watercross, snowmobile skimming, or water skipping. Whatever name you have for the sport, it is hard to find a more exhilarating activity than driving a 600 pound snow machine across the beach and onto the lake…just make sure you know how to get all the way across!
Current Records for Snowmobiles on Water
The record for farthest distance driven on a snowmobile on water is 43 miles and was achieved by Kyle Nelson on Cowan Lake in Canada on September 3, 2005. (source: Guinness World Records)
The record for fastest speed achieved while snowmobile skipping across water is 106 miles per hour and was achieved by Rick Coffman on October 7, 2013. Rick was using a heavily modified Yamaha Nytro with an OFT turbo system and two stage nitrous injection. (source: OFTracing.com)
The record for longest ramp jump on a snowmobile on water is 49 feet and was achieved by Vance Irwin at Fox Lake Municipal Park in Alberta, Canada on July 1, 2002. This ramp jump occurred on water riding an unmodified Polaris 600 snowmobile. (source: Guinness World Records)
Water Riding Improvements to Implement on Your Snowmobile
Watercross requires only a few small modifications to your snowmobile, according to the International Watercross Association’s,"Getting Started in Watercross" guide.
In general, you’ll want to seal some areas of your snowmobile, reduce the weight of your sled in any way you can, and modify a few components.
The “Getting Started in Watercross” guide outlines the following modifications to start with:
- silicon the gaps in the belly pan, bulkhead, and tunnel.
- switch over to pre-mix.
- remove your oil injection tank.
- remove the seat, as you’ll be standing.
- remove the jumbo fuel tank and use a smaller 1.5 gallon tank.
- modify your front shocks.
How to Test Your Snowmobiling on Water Skills
The snowmobile skipping formula works this way as outlined by Science Buzz: In order to skip, the snowmobile must be going at least 5 mph for every 150 pounds of vehicle weight. Thus if a snowmobile and rider weighed 780 pounds, it would have to be going at least 30 mph to skip. The distance of water a snowmobile can cross is 2 inches, plus ½ inch for every 5 mph over the minimum skip-speed. Also, keep in mind a snowmobile cannot change direction while "skipping" - it can only go in a straight line. If a snowmobile doesn't make it across the open water, it sinks and it only takes about one second for a snowmobile to sink to the bottom of a lake or river so be careful!
If you end up sinking your snowmobile in the lake, have no fear, a sunk sled is able to be revived by cleaning water out of the carburetor, exhaust, spark plugs, and replacing the fuel after you figure out how to retrieve your snow machine from the bottom of the lake.
Now You Know How to Drive Your Snowmobile on Water
No more excuses. No more common sense reasoning. It is time to test your skills. Find a lake. Find a river. Fire up your sled and see how far you can go driving your snowmobile across the water!
Disclaimer! This is for information and entertainment purposes only! Pit Products is not offering advice regarding how or if to drive your snowmobile on water!
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