Nathan’s Snowmobile Ski Carry System

Post by blogger | March 2, 2010      

By Nathan

Hey everyone, I have seen the pics of Lou’s sled and home made ski carry system, and just saw the new post by Caleb and his ski carry system and I thought I would share a few pics of mine. The problem I see with Caleb’s is that in the event of a roll-over with the sled, the skis could possibly be damaged as the angle of the skis is not in line with the sled as well as the metal tubes used to wedge the skis is not flexible. Same with Lou’s system. I would predict that your skis would just break away from your sled if you tipped it over with those snowboard bindings. Not to mention that, Lou, your exhaust extension is one of the ugliest things I have ever seen, no offense. Bear in mind I’m talking about the worst case scenario here. You do have a college age son with friends and I am that age too, and well, lets just say we have more balls than brains when a throttle is involved.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing uses ATV gun racks.

My home made backcountry ski carry system is made of two ATV gun racks bolted to the rear floorboards and the tunnel. Virtually bomb proof. And the gun racks are rubber so they won’t damage the skis. I utilize bike tubes as my strapping as they flex going down bumpy trails to prevent unnecessary ski flexing as well as in the event of a roll-over they stretch to prevent damage to the skis. As you can see the skis are almost perfectly in line with the rest of the sled if it did roll. And your poles are strapped with your skis (a complaint made by Caleb). I also had a sheet of aluminum bent to prevent my first aid kit (or boot bag) from sliding back into my exhaust turn-out (sold by Yamaha). I have yet to have any problems with this system over the last three years. A buddy just bought the same snowmobile and we built the exact same system on his sled and he can attest to the functionality of it as he has rolled his sled with skis attached.

I hope this helps other backcountry skiers in the future.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing.

Another view of the rig, showing my bicycle tube bungies.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing.

Aluminum partition prevents gear damage from hot exhaust turnout.

Snowmobile ski carry for backcountry skiing.

Note how the skis follow the front/rear axis of the sled, thus preventing damage in the event of a sled rollover.

One last thing. My sled is for sale. Located in Missoula, MT. If anyone is interested??



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15 Responses to “Nathan’s Snowmobile Ski Carry System”

  1. Derek March 2nd, 2010 11:42 am

    What are you asking?

  2. Nathan March 2nd, 2010 4:18 pm


  3. Dostie March 2nd, 2010 6:26 pm

    That’s probably a good price. I wouldn’t know. But compared to all the whining I hear about the price of skis or bindings or boots you’d think at least someone would provide some sort of textual swoon with that figure. ‘course, maybe the silence that is so deafening is the same thing.

  4. Nate March 2nd, 2010 9:41 pm

    I think that’s the best system I’ve seen yet. Now, if only I had the $ to buy a sled.

  5. Nathan March 2nd, 2010 10:06 pm

    Thats what I owe on it. Just don’t have a job currently to pay for it.

  6. Lou March 3rd, 2010 8:22 am

    BTW, I just wanted to assure Nathan that a tunnel dump exhaust is on the list for our Nytro. I don’t like the exhaust turnout, still too much chance of gear damage.

  7. Scott March 3rd, 2010 9:03 am

    No job to pay for your sled, yet you just got a new BMW?

  8. Nathan March 3rd, 2010 10:43 am

    Good eye. I have two wonderful parents that are giving me a very extended loan for the bike. Plus I gave them a truck and motorcycle in the deal. What can I say, they need someone fun to ride with this summer.

  9. Frank K March 3rd, 2010 12:21 pm

    That’s a nice clean look on that system. I saw another one during my travels to Revelstoke last week that caught my eye. Basically it was a piece of shaped plastic bolted to the standard rack which took the place of the boot sole. In other words, you would just click you skis into your snowmobile the way you would normally click your boots into your bindings. Assuming the DIN was low enough, the skis should come right off during a rollover as well.

    The problem of course is the lack of adjustability for other users of the sled if you were to tandem, and dynafit users would need to find an old pair of dynafit compatible boots to actually cut up and use in the same way. Still, it was a pretty innovative looking rig.

  10. Lou March 3rd, 2010 12:42 pm

    Frank, that sounds quite trick! I might have to play around with some variations, as I do have some retired Dynafit boots laying around here I could cut up (always thought I could find a use for those).

  11. Frank K March 3rd, 2010 1:15 pm

    Yeah, Lou, it looked pretty trick. Bonus: “I’d let you drive, but your skis don’t fit”

    Nathan, it looks like you started by bolting 2×4’s to the sled, and then Cabela’s gun racks to the 2×4’s, right? And are the racks the XL’s or the regular sized ones? The more I look at it, the more I like it.

  12. Nathan March 3rd, 2010 5:30 pm

    Frank, yes there are 2×4’s used. This gets the skis high enough so the bindings don’t hit the tunnel. Without them, you could only mount one ski per side. As for the gun racks, I have no idea what brand or size they would be. I just bought what the shop had on the rack. And they work solid. I found some scrap steel around the garage and used them on the outside of the 2×4’s to clamp them to the sides of the tunnel. And I also used steel plates to mount the gun racks to as well as clamp the 2×4’s to the running boards.

  13. Caleb Wray March 4th, 2010 6:22 pm

    That is a pretty nice system Nathan. I can see the advantages. What I am really interested in is your exhaust modifications. I think I am going to replicate. Looks perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Rick March 5th, 2010 6:51 pm

    Im a bit of a ski rack enthusiast/breaker

    I personally dont like that much weight on the tunnel. Especially that far back. I have a similar set up using a gun rack but my skis are 2 inches from the dash, and the middle mount (which carries most of the weight) is at the back of the seat. I only put one pair on, one ski on each side and they do not hang past the rear tow bar. I know you said youve used it for three years

    #1 if you flip or get stuck you’ll be taking off your skis or quite possibly break them.

    #2 if you are on rough packed terrain, you are going to beat the heck out of your sled, the gun racks will break and it will really effect performance.

    just my $.02 and if your just cruising out flat packed trail, it would be fine.

  15. Nathan March 5th, 2010 7:56 pm

    I am getting to the point that I would love to only carry my own pair of skis. But I’m sure you know, dirt bag friends will always weasel their way into you getting them into the backcountry. Which posses the problem of how to get their crap 13 miles back there. Towing is always a good bet when they’re not that good of friend but you need someone to dig you out in the case of an avalanche. But that takes too long to stop every couple miles to let their legs rest. And standing on each side is sketchy and not affective when your co-pilot doesn’t know how to shift weight. And doubling up on the saddle is super bad for the suspension, constantly bottoming out. I guess what I am getting at is that any way you put it, snowmobiles can really make what should be a fun day into a huge headache.

    Getting back to your concerns, I do believe that the bike inner tubes solve a lot of problems with the gun rack system. They will break way before your skis will. And if you tip over the sled, just tip it back. No, biggie. Ya they are a pain and in the way when you get stuck, but if you have nice friends that end up in the same boat as you, they won’t mind yanking your sled out, even with crap in the way.
    I have been on some pretty rough trails this year due to lack of snow, and the rack has held up great. The bike inner tubes act as a second suspension, allowing the skis to flop around without flexing like they would if I used fixed straps. And I don’t really notice the added weight to the rear of the sled. Somewhere you’re gonna have to compromise something in order to go skiing with a sled. If it were easy, it would have a lift.

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