There’s a metric that many people forget about whenever they hop aboard a new vehicle. It gets pushed away in lieu of talking about something’s horsepower, torque, pricing, availability, weight or fuel economy. But I’d argue that this oft-left-aside variable is far more important than all others: Giggle factor. 

The “giggle factor” is the vehicle’s inherent ability to turn any semi-sensible human adult into a giggling child hopelessly losing their mind in the same way a child loses it when they first go to Disney World. It’s the machine’s ability to break the adult facade of composure we’ve crafted for ourselves and just lose our entire shit, giggling our asses off until the cows come home. 

Now, there are varying degrees to said giggle factor, with some offering fewer giggles than others, and others just breaking the damn chart, going what I’d like to call “Full laughing gas.” 

Folks, when I tell you I haven’t giggled as hard as I did riding Ski-Doo’s 2025 Summit X 850 E-TEC Turbo R snowmobile, believe that it’s been YEARS. Hot damn did Ski-Doo’s new Summit return that manic laughter. 

Ski-Doo Summit X
Ski-Doo Summit X
Ski-Doo Summit X

Ben Dann

I’d already spent the morning riding Ski-Doo’s trail sleds and had a blast, including zero to, um, fast runs using both the MXZ and Renegade’s launch controls. Nothing really prepares you for the new crop of two-stroke, turbocharged mountain sleds that are currently on offer, though. 

The two styles are radically different from one another, as the trail sleds are wide, burly thing, while the backcountry sleds have narrower front skis width for better side-hill bite, the tracks are longer to dig into powder and the two-stroke, turbocharged power is pure braaapy lunacy. And along the well-groomed, hard-pack trails that led to more powdery fun, they feel as if they’re twitchy coke fiends waiting for their next fix, just ready to shank someone due to this not being their purpose. They want to eat powder and nothing more. 

And then you give it to them. 

Now, it’d been ages since I’d ridden powder. And the first spot our group’s pro rider took us to looked like a hillclimb filled with tight trails and big trees. I’d bonded with the prior sleds and my capabilities behind other powersports disciplines like motorcycles and dirtbikes allowed me pretty solid confidence along the trails all morning. But when we got to that hill, I felt a twinge of intimidation. 

Ski-Doo Summit X

Ben Dann

That didn’t last long as from behind me I heard one Ski-Doo representative call out, “They’ll follow you up. We’ll stay down here” motioning to the brand’s development rider, myself, and one other, as well as the mountain in front of us.  

I allowed Ski-Doo’s development rider to hit a fresh run first, watching him navigate the mountain with a skillful deftness that beggared belief. He was the epitome of a 12 o’clock boy, wheelieing the sled up to the top, sliding the snowmobile around, and then railing back down. “Sure, just do that,” I said to myself, nervously laughing. 

Get the RideApart Newsletter
Sign Up Today

The second rider took off and I followed, leaving him a good margin so I wouldn’t run into him if he stopped or turned. Two-stroke, turbo power and a great balance point meant that we were wheelieing the sleds in tandem. They weren’t quite 12 o’clock, but I laughed wildly nonetheless. And the sled felt comfortable eating the snow beneath it. That was probably because I wasn’t really pushing it to its max. 

We’d turned around, headed back down the mountain, and saddled up for another run, as the rest of our group watched our powder antics. “It worked the first time, let’s hit it” I said to myself, grinning like a fox. And with a handful of throttle, and a bit more bravery, we aimed the sleds and BRRAAAPPED back up. 

Ski-Doo Summit X
Ski-Doo Summit X
Ski-Doo Summit X

Ben Dann

This time, however, we were closer together and when the snowmobile rider in front found themselves staring at a three-foot-deep crevice wide enough to swallow the sled, he stopped abruptly. I steered my wheelie left, but then saw the same crevice in front of me and stopped too. We immediately got ourselves stuck or rather stuck for us, not our development rider friend who hopped up and got us out of the deep holes we dug for ourselves within seconds. 

Laughing again, we’d returned to the base, and headed off to a different powder area just as steep as the first, but far wider and open than the first, with fewer trees and where more folks in our group could play. And, of yeah, we played. 

Ski-Doo Summit X

Ben Dann

More wheelies, more side cuts, more deep powder, more in-helmet psychotic giggling was had. We played until the sun set and the views became ever more stunning. We left as the sun began to dip, but I could’ve stayed there forever, just riding and learning the personality and capability of this sled. Giggling the whole time. 

I still need a lot more work on my snowmobiling skills as our chaperone humbled whatever skills I thought I possessed. But more than that, I need to hone my snowmobiling capabilities to properly get everything out of the Ski-Doo Summit X 850 E-TEC Turbo R, as I think I unlocked maybe 50 percent of the sled’s giggle factor potential. To delve into cliche, this sled goes to 11 and I was at maybe a 4.5.

I know with more time, I can extract more, and maybe that’ll happen soon. But if you have a chance to ride one, do it. And if you have the means, they’re priced pretty average for the segment, setting you back just $15,849. I’ll guarantee that you won’t stop laughing and even weeks later, you’ll have a smile on your face. 

And that’s what powersports are for right?

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@rideapart.com