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My Snowmobile Ski Rack

Accessing ski terrain via snowmobile is pretty much like being given the keys to the candy store. That’s especially true here in Crested Butte, where the heavy snow zones are all miles away from anywhere a car or truck can get. But once you’ve gotten a snowmobile, the next question becomes “How do I attach my skis to the snowmobile?”. The worst way is to attach the skis to your backpack, possibly catching the skis on trees and definitely making for a sore back. The next worst way is to place the skis on top of the running boards and attach them with some bungee cords. I used this method for years, but it tears your seat apart, takes time to set up, and is only good for one pair of skis.

Once skiers get serious about sled skiing, they will often purchase a rack from Cheetah Factory Racing. They’re nice, but they’re very expensive, and they put the weight of the skis right on the tunnel, which has bent the tunnel of a number of my friends’ sleds.

So, I decided to try my own thing. I’ve seen a number of homemade ski racks, and most of them seem pretty marginal at best. Perhaps my system will fall into the same category, but so far I’m very happy with it. I purchased gun racks from Cabela’s (click on the image at the bottom of this post), and then I tried to figure out how best to attach them to my sled. In the end, the only way I wanted to attach the racks would require welding, which I had done by ACD Welders here in Crested Butte. He was able to weld small brackets directly to my sled as well as tap the holes so I could mount the racks right in them. I added a little bit of rubber padding for shock absorption and lock washers, and voila!, I was done. Some pics:

The welded brackets:
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The base of the racks:
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Rear rack:
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Loaded and ready to go:
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I like the location of these mounts a lot. The weight is placed on the running boards and the bumper, both capable of taking some weight. The racks themselves are fairly flexy, so the hope is that both the skis and the snowmobile will be safe and secure with this set-up.

Anyone have an opinion on this set-up? Good, bad, or otherwise? FYI, my total investment is currently $130.

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13 Comments

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  1. Frank,

    Funny I ended up on your site, I was just looking for how to make a better ski carry system for the cougar you sold me a few weeks ago. The sled has been running like a champ. I like the gun rack system but I think I’ll probably try to rig something up something a little cheaper. Have a good one,

    Nick

  2. Check out the backcountryadventuregear.com site they sell a simple set up for not much more. Its only four bolts and no welding. Its very simple and has worked great for me. Way cheeper then the cheetah.

  3. I also own the 09′ m8 and like your idea. I was just wondering what are the racks you bought? I looked on cabelas web sight but can’t find the ones with the same base plate. I can only find the ones that go on the handlebars. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  4. Joe- The photo of the rack at the bottom of this post is a link directly to Cabela’s. Just click it. On sale right now, too :)

  5. Nice job –
    Did you tap the aluminum plate or do you have nuts on the back?
    Do you take the rack off when you are riding with out skiing? if so do you ever find that the plates welded to the back bumper get in your way?
    Is there a metal core in the gun rack parts. I would imagine so but it looks plastic, and I have not put my hands on one yet.

    this is the best non CFR set up i have seen. Im in.

    Nick

  6. Thanks Nick. The welder tapped the plate for me, so yeah- no nuts. I have taken them off for the rare occasions when I’m not skiing, and I haven’t noticed the plates being in the way at all. Unfortunately, they’re plastic, no metal in them. I broke one at the end of the year last year- but not too bad considering over 1,000 miles on them.

  7. Buyer reviews on Cabella’s website indicates these gun racks are flimsy, vibrate when in motion and break quickly. Might look for something more durable.

  8. I think it’s been close to 2 years now, Troy. It’s a good, quick, and simple setup and overall I’m happy. They will break if the skis are loaded poorly or if you roll your sled. If I won the lottery I’d buy a rack from CFR, but man are those ever expensive for what they are. The racks mentioned elsewhere in this thread look worth a look as well.

  9. Breaking in a roll is probably a good thing. Better that the racks break than the skis. Thanks for the feedback.

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