The very first Ski-Doo was presented to the world in 1959 as it was invented by Joseph Armand Bombardier. Initially, the brand was supposed to be named Ski-Dog, but because of a typographical error in a brochure sent by Bombardier in which the name was changed from Ski-Dog to Ski-Doo, the name stuck and it’s still used to this day.
Snowmobiles weren’t a hugely popular tourist activity yet in that period of time which means that the first customers that were interested in these devices were missionaries, land surveyors and prospectors, people who had a job to do and had to reach remote snow-covered areas.
But snowmobiling would soon become a popular fun activity, starting with sports enthusiasts, which would lead later to everybody wanting to try snowmobiling, at least once in their life. This made the Ski-Doo snowmobiles to be used on a much larger scale, which also meant their production grew.
The devices became so popular that in Canada (the country in which the brand originated from) people use skidoo or ski-doo as a general term for snowmobiles, while skidooing or ski-dooing is used as a verb that means you are snowmobiling. When your product changes the language in an area, you know you’ve made it!
After the popularity of the brand grew steadily in Canada during the 1960s, between the 1970s and the 1990s, the brand experienced a true bloom across the rest of North America and even reached Europe. By 1973 the company announced it was creating its one-millionth Ski-Doo snowmobile, which is quite an achievement!
As snowmobiling was becoming one of the most popular sports of the 1970s, in 1974, Bombardier collaborated with snowmobiling clubs in order to create various built trial networks, while also improving the general technology for the sleds by making them more comfortable and safer to ride.
Ski-Doo became an official supplier of snowmobiles for the Sarajevo Olympic Winter Games that took place in 1984 and for the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in 1988. In 1989 Bombardier entered an equal partnership with the most popular Finnish creator of snowmobiles, Nordtrac Oy.
In 1993 the company announced another landmark: the two-millionth snowmobile was produced. But the company, obviously, didn’t stop there, as in the same year it released the Summit model that was created to deal with mountainous terrain and powder snow which helped the Ski-Doo cover even more of the market.
In 1998 the company that first sold its products to missionaries and land surveyors was now celebrating 40 years since it was first established and was, by now, the go-to choice for almost anybody who was interested in buying or renting a snowmobile thanks to the investments the company did into making the products better with each new release.
Riding into the new millennium
While snowmobiling started to become popular in the 1970s, it wasn’t until the 2000s that the activity really took off as a sport that was tempting for many who visit the mountainside. This meant that the company would not face any difficulties in adapting to the new millennium since the demand, again, skyrocketed.
In 2000, Bombardier won one of its most important awards yet, the “Mountain Muscle Sled of the Year” which was awarded by the SnoWest Magazine in honor of the creation of a new model, the Ski-Doo Summit 700 Highmark. But the company wasn’t done improving itself, not by far. Instead, it went even bigger for the next release.
The Ski-Doo REV platform was unveiled to the public in 2002 and it was revealed to have the most nuanced technology for a snowmobile since 1962. To promote the model, it appeared in the 2002 James Bond film, “Die Another Day” which was the most successful one since 1995 when Pierce Brosnan took on the role.
2002 was really a tour de force for the company as it also made its grand return to the Winter Olympic Games, which in that year were held in Salt Lake City. The following year Bombardier Inc. became Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and it was about to up itself the following year with a new release.
It was decided that Bombardier will start focusing more on racing so in 2004 the company refined the MX Zx 440 race sled by changing features related to the suspension and the drive train which made it perfect for competitive racing. And, indeed, the company proved to be a popular choice for racers all across the world.
In 2009 the company honored its 50th anniversary by making its models new and modern. Among the new features included are higher fuel efficiency, lower sound, the level of emissions reduced, more reliable and lower sound. The change was also noticeable in the design used which made the snowmobiles ready for the 2010s.
Indeed, as soon as 2010, Bombardier released a brand new type of engine, named the Rotax E-TEC 800R which was attractive thanks to it being more efficient and having a much better performance. The first model of snowmobile to use this engine was the Ski-Doo MX Z X. Also, in 2013, the company celebrated the three millionth snowmobile produced.
Bombardier has expanded a lot since, and its offer now included jet skis, boats, ATVs and others, but its trademark continues to be the snowmobile. With a lot of dedication, the company has managed to be at the forefront for half a century and making sure you can always rely on its products.
From people who work in snowy areas to the police, from professional riders to people wanting to try it just for fun, the Ski-Doo snowmobiles have remained a staple thanks to the way the company adapted the product to what the public needed, capitalizing on the overgrowing market for winter sports.
What the future holds
In February of 2020, Bombardier presented to the world the newest innovations for its products during an event that took place in Cancun, Mexico where hundreds of people gathered. Here the lineup for the 2021 launch was introduced and the specialists were impressed once again.
One of the things that attracted the people the most in this lineup was the fact that the new models are much improved when it comes to cornering. This is a thing that all snowmobiles need some work on so seeing Bombardier taking the lead again showed that there’s no chance the company will stop being at the forefront any time soon.
But the cornering wasn’t the only new thing the company came out with as it also introduced a brand new engine for some of the models available on the market, the Rotax 600 EFI. This will make the start much easier and it will require less maintenance, not to mention, it will be much silent that the engines it’s planned to replace.
Further information was provided and it seems that the Rotax 600 EFI will signify the end of carbureted snowmobiles for the brand from now on. This means Bombardier is really taking not only technological progress seriously, but also eco-friendly technology, as it has been doing for quite some time now.
This makes Ski-Doo the only original equipment manufacturer in the world that has stopped relying on carburetors and fan cooling for the products. Now the company has a line made up of 4-stroke ACE, 2-stroke E-TEC direct-injected and 2-stroke EFI snowmobile engines. It’s always great to hear about such progress!
It’s no wonder, then, that the Ski-Doo snowmobiles are the only ones that have permission to enter the Yellowstone National Park. If plans go ahead for the 2021 release, then Ski-Doo will have, by far, the cleanest engine technology when it comes to snowmobiles, taking the lead from anybody else.
Given how popular the brand has remained over the years and how Bombaried has always tried (and succeeded) to remain at the top of the game, this can be qualified as one of Canada’s greatest successes, not only in the snowmobile industry but also, in general.