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SOTY

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SOTY

Postby kh550 » September 17th, 2010, 11:40 am

Dear Snow Goer Staff,

I would like to comment on your naming of the 2011 Yamaha Apex SE as your SOTY. Was this a misprint? Well, after reading John Prusak's editorial I realized that you guys actually meant it.

In the editorial he stated that the SOTY must be, "an innovative, trendsetting representation of the future, and offer a unique and positive impact on the sport." This could mean anything and is probably the reason why you had to write an editorial that explained and defended your choice.

The choice of the Apex SE is a head scratcher and your rationale seems at least somewhat contradictory to me. For example, you didn't support the Ski Doo MX Z Ace - and the chief argument against it was that is still offers "entry level, two stroke performance" with a $2,000 higher price tag (by the way, 25+ mpg's anyone??) Yet, you made no mention or concern about the price of the Apex which very few can afford -- nor that the price of the 2011 SE jumped $1,550 over the price of the 2009 Apex GT. That makes power steering a pretty expensive option. (By the way, for full disclosure, I'm not a Ski Doo owner)

I'm sure the 2011 Apex SE is a very nice sled, but not the SOTY. It might be time for you to re-think your criteria or at least the way you apply them. You essentially named the SOTY to a $14,949 sled that has been on the market for over 5 years -- simply because they added power steering and variable exhaust to it. There were better choices.

Kevin Hooper
Ishpeming, MI
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SOTY

Postby JohnPrusak » September 19th, 2010, 2:46 pm

Three thoughts, Kevin:
1) You state your case well, and we'd like to consider your letter as a Mailbag Letter to the Editor for our January issue -- you cool with that?
2) The MX Z ACE is a nice snowmobile, and as stated in the editorial column, it was definitely, seriously considered for the honor and it was a clear lock for the Top 10. But price is a higher of a consideration for a entry level sled than a high-end, performance trail machine (in other words, $14k for 162 hp and other high-tech features is generally more acceptable than $9k for 60 hp), but that's not to discount your perspective on this. We went back-and-forth on these two models as well as Polaris Pro-RMK for a long period of time, dating back to initial discussions during our Rode Reports testing in March all the way up to our final decision this summer. It's a process we take very seriously.
3) You mention "there were better choices." You mention the 600 ACE, and, as stated, it was very seriously discussed. But were there other machines that you thought fit our definition, as stated? We're always seeking feedback.
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SOTY

Postby kh550 » September 21st, 2010, 2:27 pm

John,

Thanks for replying -- that's pretty cool! You are welcome to use my letter in your magazine.

The thing that I was trying to say was that in spite of Snow Goer's efforts to define what the SOTY is, the definition of what is trendsetting and representative of the future of the sport is differs between buyers. To some it's about features and new ideas; to others it's about what is trendy and will sell that year; to others it's about others it might be about sleds that promote the growth of the sport for individuals or families. I personally don't see a $15K sled with power steering as very representative of the future of the sport. Your choice of SOTY is an older sled with new make-up and a huge price tag.

It was actually your article describing the importance of the SOTY criteria that got me thinking about this. It was a good article but it made me wonder why you had to write it? Anyway, in the case of the Apex SE, power steering may be considered an innovative idea, however, it came at too high a price. In your reply you stated that the Apex SE is a $14K sled, however, it is a $15K sled. As you know, it was named the SOTY as the Apex GT in 2006 (a good choice at that time IMO). The list price at that time was $10,899 -- still high for the time but the whole sled was innovative at that time.

Fast forward -- you basically have the same sled five years later -- now with power steering and variable exhaust (and minus the nice Ohlin shock package) -- and a $4,000+ price increase since the 06 model. Also, the Apex SE will probably be purchased by what... 2-3% of market buyers? Innovative? Trendsetting? I guess an argument can be made for anything but truth is they had to put this feature on this sled because if they had placed it on a mid level sled they'd have priced it out of the market. The choice of the Apex seems more about the feature than the sled itself - and if that's the case that's why I suggested re-thinking the criteria or the way it's applied.

I did like the Ski Doo ACE as a choice because the entry level market needs an influx of technology and ideas - and the mpg's will offset some of the initial cost. I also liked the Polaris PRO RMK because it has a lot of good and new ideas in a sled that the mountain market will love. Of the two of these I think the Polaris would have been the better choice but either would have been better than the Apex.

If I could have made a suggestion, it would have been the Ski Doo MX Z TNT Carb for providing the innovation of affordability with features - a rare combo today. I know this sled quietly has gone under the radar and has made the top ten list in the past.

Oh, by the way, I'm a Arctic Cat guy and I do agree that they don't have anything right now that I'd consider for SOTY. Maybe next year.

Last thing... you guys have done a very nice job in the last few years with the Snow Goer magazine. Congratulations on a very good magazine!

Kevin Hooper
kh550
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SOTY

Postby montysnowgoer » September 21st, 2010, 5:33 pm

I've been reading Snow Goer for 25 years and see your choices for sled of the year are based on innovation and tectnology rather than appeal and value of the dollar.When a buyer looks over the sleds in the showroom,the first question asked is HOW MUCH?It's not how much does it weigh or what's the latest tech features .I want a sled that looks sharp for a reasonable price.The problems I see is the writers and those who test the new sleds are constantly demanding expensive changes that hike the prices every year.By the way;How are the sales doing?
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