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SkiDoo Blizzards

    As SkiDoo basked in the sucess of the T'nT, they realized that in order to maintain their winning lead, they would have to come up with a new type of racing sled. While the T'nT had been designed as a dual purpose track/performance recreational sled, the new sled was to be a racing only model, produced in limited numbers and sold to registered racers. Although delivery of this new sled was suppose to happen late in 69', most actually got to their respective dealers in 1970. This sled, called the Blizzard, was similar in some ways to the T'nT, but benefited from having an aluminum tunnel, hotter free-air engine, and slide suspension. As expected, they dominated their classes. The Blizzards remained a race only type of sled from 1970 to 1978, when the first consumer level Blizzard was produced, the Blizzard 6500. The 78' Blizzard 6500 was based of the R/V chassis, with modifications such as a stronger crossmember to make it suitable for consumer use. It featured the Rotax type 354 for motive power, with an output of 65hp. From 1978 to 1984 when Blizzard production stopped, SkiDoo maintained a line of consumer Blizzards in conjunction with the racing models. The consumer models (5500, 5500MX, 6500, 7500, 9500, 9700) are all distinguisable by their higher winshields, larger skis, running lights, hand warmers, and other various amenities designed to make the sleds more useful for everyday performance riders. The last year of the race only Blizzard was 1982, ending with the Blizzard Formula 340.
    So, the question to answer is, would I/could I/should I get a Blizzard? Well that, of course, depends on the type of riding you intend to do. Although there are many people who own and ride racing model Blizzards, these sleds (most of the time) aren't always that practical for everyday riding. Take, for instance, the 78' Blizzard 440 S/S. Although the IFS of this sled, along with its 98hp Rotax 454, seems very appealing to the vintage sled rider, the short, narrow skis do not. Imagine trying to plane through 24" of powder on a forward biased machine that has 3in. wide and 18in. long skis.  Such sleds were designed to run on groomed, packed tracks, not on trails where snow conditions vary as much as the machines that ride on them. The cross country models are really the most practical of the racing models to do everyday riding on, which makes sense, because they have most of the features that make the consumer models so versatile.  In general, the consumer models make much more useful sleds in terms of riding. Which one depends on how much power you want. The 5500 and 5500MX models are the two at the lower end of the power spectrum, having 52hp. The MX differs from its standard counterpart by having IFS and 10in. of rear suspension travel. The MX however, doesn't handle powder nearly as well. The 9500/9700 top off the consumer line with 85hp. The 6500/7500 models drop in somewhere inbetween.  All of these sleds are good machines with nearly identical suspensions, save for the MX, so really the deciding factor is power.



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©2003 Stephen Phillips, Stib Inc.
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