Snowmobile

Reed Burgette riding the snowmobile equipped with GPS for surveying.
A snowmobile at Casey station equipped with GPS for surveying. (Photo: Jack Beardsley)

Snowmobiles are petrol powered over-snow vehicles which drive one or two rubber tracks. They excel in soft snow conditions that would normally stop the quads.

Snowmobiles are good work horses and can travel long distances unsupported, carrying about 60 kg, as well as pulling small sleds with loads of about 500 kg. In optimum surface conditions, some snowmobiles can carry two people.

Directional steering is by one or two skis. Transmission is via a torque sensitive variable speed drive belt system and duplex roller chain to the track. The specially designed rubber track belts have moulded cross bars in them to assist traction. Driving over rocks and soil is to be avoided as tracks and skis will be severely damaged.

The downside of snowmobiles lies in the suspension and undercarriage drive system, which makes them very high maintenance vehicles when compared to the reliable Honda quads.