Your “high performance” versions of snowmobiles don’t have much in the way of utility for backcountry skiing. Cargo/ski racks, tow hitches, stuff like that; too much weight. Our Yamaha Nytro 4-stroke needed a tow hitch. It also needed a rear bumper that did something more than look okay. I ordered up some 1 inch x .095 wall tubing from ThyssenKrupp Metals (that’s the thinnest wall tube they can bend down at CODE 4×4, where master fabricator Chris Overacker made the tubing do his bidding).
After drilling a few holes and getting the bumper powder coated, installation was a snap, utilizing three stainless steel fasteners per side. I ordered up a basic snowmobile hitch, modified it to fit the tubing, and we’re off and running with our MountainSmith Sled (for a current line of sleds, see this.)
We’ve also got a steel framed Colorado Cargo Sled for hauling large loads, but the MountainSmith sled is my favorite as it’s easy to drop from the snowmobile, attach the harness trace rods, and man-haul it. The snowmobile hitch adapter in the photos is something I made years ago. It includes a shock absorbing spring and rubber bumper system to minimize stress on the sled and bumper.
As for the bumper, not much to the design except I extended it out about 10 inches farther than stock. This gives more leverage when picking the snowmobile up from the rear to get it unstuck. More, I tilted the extended bumper down a bit, so the hitch ends up being several inches lower than the stock location, for a better tow angle.
The new bumper adds a few pounds weight to the snow machine, but it’s worth it for the type of riding we do. Oh, and it’s also an attachment point for towing those needy skiers we meet once in a while on the trail (grin).
Next mod: I’m gonna’ go for it and do a homebrew version of a tunnel dump for the exhaust — then we’ll be ready for the big winter!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.