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You know you have a successful product when the brand name becomes the generic term for the entire product category. Like Kleenex for facial tissues, Xerox for photocopiers, and Velcro for hook and loop fasteners, the Ski-Doo snow machines built by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) have become synonymous with snowmobiles, especially in their Canadian homeland, where going snowmobiling is often described as going “ski-dooing”. Of course, this is entirely appropriate considering that company founder Joseph-Armand Bombardier received a patent for a snowmobile in 1937 and with the Ski-Doo in 1959, created the prototype on which all modern snowmobiles are based. Ironically, the most famous name in snowmobiling came about by accident. Bombardier intended for the machine to be called the “Ski-Dog”, because it was intended to replace the dogsled, but the printer misspelled the name on the first brochure.

A century ago, getting around in wintertime through deep snow in places like Joseph-Armand Bombardier’s hometown of Valcourt, Quebec was impossible except by horse-drawn sled. Bombardier was a tinkerer from a very young age and thought he had a solution to the transportation problem. In 1921, when he was just 14 years old, Bombardier mounted a Model-T Ford engine on wooden skis, with the engine driving a propeller. The machine floated over the snow, but of course the exposed blade was quite dangerous. Bombardier put his talents to good use and went into the mechanical repair business, opening up his own shop in 1926, all the while continuing to experiment with different snowmobile designs. Finally he came up with the machine for which he received his patent, the B7 – a rear engine, 7-passenger snow machine propelled via a sprocket-and-track system on either side and steered with front skis.

In 1941, Bombardier designed the successor to the B7, the 12-passenger B12, and in 1942 started Bombardier, Inc. to mass produce snow machines. During World War II the company produced tracked vehicles for the Canadian military. After the war the 18-passenger C18 joined the B12 in production. These vehicles, which came to be known as snow cats, were used as school buses and emergency vehicles, and for freight and mail delivery, and while they excelled at hauling large amounts of cargo or numbers of people, they were large and heavy and Joseph-Armand Bombardier had always dreamed of building a small, lightweight, more personal type machine. The small, yet powerful engines that were then becoming available in the 1950s soon enabled him to turn his dream into reality. The first Ski-Doo was an open-cockpit design for one or two-up riding, with a single, continuous track under the machine driven by a 4-stroke Kohler engine mounted in front of the rider inside a steel hood, which was open at the rear and fitted with coil spring suspended wooden skis for steering and a small windshield.

The Ski-Doo was an almost instant success, with first year sales of 225 rising to 8,210 four years later. Like its larger siblings, the new machine excelled at work-related and utilitarian tasks like transporting people and cargo, carrying workmen to job sites, and rescue work at places like ski resorts, but its performance and fun-sounding name attracted a new type of customer who saw it as a fun toy and wanted it for recreational use. The pull-start 7 horsepower engine propelled the machine to a brisk (for the day) speed of 25 mph, and it was such a blast to ride that magazine tests of the time referred to it as a “motorized toboggan” and snow-going motor scooter. The Ski-Doo launched a whole new industry and soon competitors entered the market, all emulating the Bombardier design. The sport of snowmobiling boomed, complete with racing events.

Bombardier did not rest on their initial success, but instead began to improve their ground-breaking machine almost immediately. The coil springs were replaced with leaf springs, which gave a better ride, and the wooden skis were replaced with more durable steel skis. In 1962 the heavy steel hood was replaced with a lighter fiberglass hood, which was fitted with a dashboard 2 years later. Around the same time Bombardier began installing more powerful 2-stroke Austrian-built Rotax engines in place of the original Kohler and JLO powerplants. The basic design was altered to create a range of models, including the high performance Super Olympique, with its dual carburetor 250cc Rotax engine, which debuted in 1966. In addition to recreational use, during the 1960s the Ski-Doo played an important part in improving the lives of people living in isolated communities in the far-northern regions of North America. Just as Joseph-Armand Bombardier had envisioned the Ski-Doo gradually replaced sled dogs during that decade, providing an economical and reliable means of transportation and greatly improved communication. Sadly, he did not live to see how successful the machine he created would be; he was just 56 when he died of cancer on February 18th, 1964.

In 1970 Bombardier took an important step to consolidate their supply chain when they acquired Lohnerwerke GMBH, manufacturers of Rotax engines. The following year the company continued to expand the Ski-Doo lineup with the Elan, Skandic, Valmont, and Blizzard models. By 1973 Bombardier had produced 1 million Ski-Doos. However, the snowmobile boom that had begun in the 1960s and continued into the early 1970s went bust, due to the combination of economic recession, rising fuel prices, and industry overexpansion, and snowmobile sales fell steeply. Many companies went under, got out of the snowmobile business, or were bought up by larger companies, but Bombardier remained committed to snowmobiles and the Ski-Doo brand. During the 1980s Ski-Doo technology continued to advance with significant models like the Formula, with its progressive-rate PRS suspension. During that decade Bombardier supplied Ski-Doo snowmobiles for both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Winter Games.

The two-millionth Ski-Doo was produced in 1993, the same year the company created a new segment in the market with the Summit, which was especially designed for mountainous terrain and powder snow. The legendary, high-performance MX Z also arrived in 1993, with an all-aluminum chassis, and powerful 463cc 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled 2-stroke rotary valve engine with dual 34mm Mikuni carburetors. This new machine also featured a new DSA (Direct Shock Action) trailing arm front suspension. Modern and refined versions of the MX Z and Summit continue to be part of the Ski-Doo lineup. During the ‘90s Ski-Doo introduced the first push-button reverse system, RER, a convenience feature that was ultimately used on all 2-stroke engine snowmobiles.

In 2000, the Ski-Doo Summit 700 was named “Mountain Muscle Sled of the Year” by SnoWest magazine. During this decade government regulations restricting snowmobile use on certain public lands went into effect because of noise and emissions from 2-stroke engines. While some manufacturers switched to 4-stroke engines to solve the emissions problem, Bombardier introduced semi-direct injection for its 2-stroke engine powered Ski-Doos, which reduced Hydrocarbons (HC) emissions by as much as 50% while boosting fuel economy by up to 25%. Another Ski-Doo innovation came in the early 2000s with the REV ride-forward platform, which placed the rider about a foot forward from the customary riding position, and in a more upright position. This gave the rider better control and a smoother, more comfortable ride. In 2003, Bombardier Inc. sold the recreational products division to a group of investors. The new company, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), retained rights to the sprocket wheel logo as well as all of the recreational product brands including Ski-Doo.

In this decade, Bombardier and Ski-Doo have continued to refine their Rotax 2-stroke engines with E-TEC technology, which delivers outstanding power, efficiency, and reliability. These engines exhibit extremely low oil consumption and very low emissions, for a cleaner environment and no smoke or smell. They also start easily, idle smoothly, have quick throttle response, and are more powerful while delivering exceptional fuel economy. The 3 millionth Ski-Doo produced was a 2014 Summit X E-TEC 800R. In addition to the high-performance MXZ, the best handling snowmobile you can buy for any trail, and the deep snow and mountainous terrain ready Summit, the current Ski-Doo lineup includes the Renegade, Freeride, Grand Touring, Expedition, Tundra, and Skandic.

The Renegade is a versatile crossover sled that excels on the trail and off, while the agile, lightweight Freeride has the capability you need for maneuvering in deep snow. The versatile Tundra is a go-anywhere machine that features telescopic front suspension and a flat belly pan that allows it to float over the deepest snow. For versatility with style and comfort, the Expedition comes in 4 versions so you can choose luxury and convenience or extreme performance. For 2-up riding you can’t do better than the Grand Touring, available in Sport, LE, or top of the line SE trim, which includes heated seat, luggage, and passenger backrest. And if you need a sled that’s adept at work and play, the Skandic delivers, with exceptional performance, traction and towing capacity.

Powersports brings lots of fun. Whether you are dashing through the mud or show, tearing up sand dunes, or hitting the water, you get thrill to the bone. In our inventory, we have everything you might require to have the best powersports experience possible. We take your fun seriously. We provide premium quality Ski-Doo parts and accessories you need to ride safely and in comfort. You can leave all your repair, upgrade, and customization needs to the professionals at POWERSPORTSiD.com. We are proud to carry a selection of powersports products that is second to none.

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