View Full Version : Stupid Snow Trac Question
01-25-2006, 05:04 PM
O.K., what is the difference between a Snow Trac and a Snow Cat? Is there a difference? In the Movie "The Shining", was that a Snow Cat or Trac? :confused:
01-25-2006, 05:10 PM
A "snow cat" (also snowcat) is a generic term for an oversnow vehicle, it can be used to describe any of the various brands of the these types of vehicles.
A "Snow Trac" is a specific brand of vehicle that is no longer in production, but that has become popular with individuals as an All Terrain Vehicle, mainly for use in climates with heavy snow. It is particularly well suited to family use as it has a large interior cabin and is economical to purchase.
The specific vehicle used in the movie The Shining was an Aktiv Snow Trac ST4.
Aktiv Snow Tracs, in the late 1970s could cost as much as $40,000 new. A more modern competitor could easily cost $80,000 at that time. You don't want to know what a new one costs today!!! The Snow Tracs are easy to repair and easy to maintain. But there are some other brands models that are also fairly common for private ownership.
Here in the USA, common brands include TUCKER (an antique Tucker 442 with upgraded tracks looks like an orange truck in picture #2 below) which can be found in several configurations. Bombardier made the little Bombi (picture #1 below) model which is popular, but the engine is behind the driver and that limits its ability to be a good family vehicle. Kristi (a Kristi KT3 is photo #3 below) was a Colorado based company that made several small snow cats, many are still in use today. Other common brands here in the USA that are used by individuals for private transportation include Thiokol and LMC.
Good post Bob, and great pics. Very interesting! :)
01-25-2006, 07:33 PM
Thanks Bob for such a great post. It wasn't really a stupid question, but I knew that you would answer it even if it was. :a1:
01-25-2006, 07:42 PM
pic all from Iceland
01-25-2006, 09:38 PM
Here are 3 more snowcats that would be typical of personal use snowcats.
The Tucker is for sale, asking price is US $6000. It is from the 1950s or 60's. I had the information from the seller but can't find it now. Notice the tracks are very similar to the tracks of the Tucker Bus in Villi's photo above. They are also very different from the tracks in the photo I posted in my original reply because in that photo the tracks were not original.
The 2nd photo is a Thiokol Imp. This type of unit would have originally been used for worker transportation in remote areas, use at a ski area, etc. It is not configured as a ski slope groomer. This particular model is a 1974.
The final photo is an LMC 1200 that is also in private use. This would likely have been an old trail groomer or doubly duty machine because it has the open back area and a multi person cab. Most new units have seating for only a couple of people and are dedicated for their tasks. Groomers are highly specialized machines, transporters are generally of a different configuration.
If you look at most of these, you can see that most sit OVER the tracks, while the Snow Trac actually sits down in between the tracks. A Snow Trac will easily fit into a standard garage. Also most of these other units have levers for steering, while the Snow Trac uses a standard steering wheel. The Snow Trac turns very much like a car. The other 2 track units are capable of turning inside their own length, the Tucker and other 4 track units turn similar to the Snow Trac's SUV radius turns. Most 2 track units use a hydrostatic, or similar, type control that uses a huge amount of horsepower. The advantage of the Snow Trac is that the turning consumed almost no horsepower but the other style could use nearly 50% of the engines HP.
For what it is worth all these vehicles are cabable of climbing extreme grades. A Snow Trac, with only about 40hp, could carry a full cargo load (a ton) up a 70% grade while driving forward and 90% grade in reverse. Not bad for a glorified VW using a design that was initially developed for the US Army in the mid-late 1950's.
01-25-2006, 09:59 PM
Bob, you may have partially answered my question in the previous post, and I could look it up (but your explanations are just so beautiful!), but were most of these vehicles diesels or gas powered?
01-25-2006, 10:31 PM
The older units are gas. I honestly don't know what % of the new units are gas versus diesel. I know some are gas, some are diesel. Scot Trac, which makes some really ineresting units, offers some Kubota engines. Bear in mind that these are designed for extreme cold weather, diesel is not well suited to -40F. I suspect, but I am no expert on the new equipment, that much of it is powered with gas? Bear in mind, my interest in these things is limited to the types that would be used for ATV type uses and personal transportion by private owners. New units are simply way to expensive for that purpose, units from the 60's and 70's are affordable and many seem to be suitable as ATV/transportation. Units from the 80's and newer were developing into more task specialized units as ski & snowmobile grooming became more established, the equipment they used also became more specifically suited to the tasks, costs have skyrocketed -- and units therefore are less suitable for personal & recreational use.
01-26-2006, 09:19 AM
We have plenty of Tucker Snow Cats up in my area.
I thought I'd also mention though that many of the middle aged to older people around my area refer to any snowmobile as a "snowcat". That would include all of the newer snowmobiles on the market.
They use the word snowcat like many people use "kleenex" for facial tissue.
01-31-2006, 08:04 PM
both snow cat was the vehicle that came back up the mountain ...
however, jack " honey i am home" disabled a st4 in the garage when the wife was attempting to escape...
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