The 1998-99 snowmobile season seems to be starting off slowly. The last few years we’d all be knee deep in that light, powdery snow we all love. If you’re like me, you’ve wanted snow to fall since October. It’ll happen!!! Just THINK SNOW!!! The racing teams need snow, as race after race are canceled due to the lack of a good base for the tracks. We don’t want mud!

This year, Polaris has introduced the big-daddy of the middle sized race sled, the 440 SP XCR. Nicked-named the EDGE, for good reason, this sled is expected to slam the competition. The EDGE stands for Excellent Design = Greater Excitement. It has broken the mold for a race- ready sled, that handles and rides like none other, on and off the track. This machine could possibly be named the prototype for the future Polaris snowmobile. It is equipped with unmatched performance, handling, style and engineering that the snowmobile industry has been waiting for, a long time. Polaris researched a new chassis, and suspension, to proudly carry this monster through the toughest situations in deep snow, and packed trails. The design was thought up with the help of high tech computers, and a few people, determined to go above and beyond the public’s expectations.
Not only is almost every part different from last years Indy 440 XCR, but there are about 375 less parts, making it approximately 20 pounds lighter. These weight reductions come from areas like the seat design, cooling system, molded side and front bumpers aluminum rear bumper, painted magnesium chain case and cover, hollow jack shaft and suspension design. Because of the shedding of about 20 pounds, the EDGE now weighs the same as the Arctic 99 ZR 440 Sno Pro and eight pounds lighter than the Ski Doo 99 MXZx 440 Race special.

The patented EDGE rear suspension, allows 13.9 inches of travel, which leads the industry. The suspension has been moved forward to maximize handling capabilities. The track shock is designed by Fox, and is equipped with an aluminum body remote rear reservoir that allows 8 positions of dampening adjustment. The new system called DAT helps provide substantial rear travel, while not lifting the rider of the ground anymore than the Xtra-12. This makes handling the machine more predictable, along with superior mogul and jump absorbsion. The front shocks, also provided by Fox, are equipped with dual spring allowing a soft ride with firm bottoming resistance. Also industry leding, the front suspension has an incredible 10.4 inches of travel. This allows the engine to be .75 inches lower than before, which lowers the center of gravity, making the ride more balanced.
Check out it’s style and see why this will sweep the competition in this years race season. For more information on the ’99 EDGE 440 XCR SP, check out WWW.POLARISINDUSTRIES.COM!

This year, Ski-Doo has a new MXZ 440 racer, which will hopefully top the Polaris EDGE. Sharing not a single bolt with last years MXZ 440, this will, in my opinion, be a close second behind the EDGE. Ski-Doo reinvented the chassis, engine, and suspension beurette, taking this years racing season to a new level. Without doubt, this will be an exciting season, with more competition than ever before. It will all come down to the teams and how they set up these machines. If the season ever starts, it will be one to remember!

This year, Ski-Doo racing teams are looking forward to the season because the new chassis will allow better handling on snow cross short tracks. This was builtfor the tough conditions and jumps of the short tracks. I believe tis will be a main point in the battle of the industries.
The 437cc engine of this years MXZ, was built with the new chassis in mind. The engine sits much lower in the chassis thanks to a new design, and higher mount of its carburators, which are flat-sides on the racer. This creates an unmatched center of gravity.

The new SC-10-2 aluminum suspensionis nothing short of amazing. It is fully coupled rear-to-front, and features a rear scissor cam for rear skid coupling adjustability. The result is far better stability of the entire chassis in all conditions. The new suspension allows for 10 inches of true travel. The standard track this year is designed especially for snow cross and features 1.25 inch lugs.

The front suspension was changed very little since last year. It is equipped with no bump steer and scrub, as well as improved roll center. To find out more, go to WWW.SKIDOO.COM!

As you can see, there are a few points which can be debated! Both manufacturers believe that theirs is the best…write to me with your opions on the best sleds of ’99 at [email protected]!!!

This years Yamaha racerhas been practically reinvented. The chassis is twice as rigid as other competition designs. If everything on this machine came standard on all of the competition’s sled, we’d all be shocked. The 700 is meant for riders who appreciate superior technology and more advanced performance. The only way to experience this machine is to clamp down on the throttle and look out!!! Acceleration and power mark this as a force to be reconed with. Unlike the rest of the industry, Yamaha created a form of power that last through all levels of RPM! The light weight aluminum frame is above its class in strength and weight. To find out more on Yamaha, and its 1998 line-up, go to WWW.YAMAHA-USA.COM

This year’s ZR 700 is ready to test its new liquid-cooled «torque master,» athe new member of the Arctic Cat family. This green monster is, (my fingers are crossed,) going to take the competition by the neck in this year’s race season. Without doubt, Arctic Cat has helped bring snowmobiling to a new level. Arctic Cat has succeeding in making the sport different in ways others didn’t think of. They were the first to come out with the truelly Aerodynamic design for a sled. In order to really experience the difference in Arctic Cat, take one for a spin! In my opinion, the green isn’t the best touch, but the overall machine has come a long way. See you on the trails!!!

The National Youth Hockey Promoters look back on a very successful World Hockey Festival – 2nd part

Patrick, Uganda:
I am the happiest person because of the many things I learnt from Australia, which include among others drafting a development plan for hockey. I was in the marketing group and I’m going to do my best to market hockey in Uganda and the world as well if all my plans go well. In Australia, I met new friends from many nations and had a lot of fun. I saw the sea for the first time, saw the Cadbury chocolate factory, played on turf for the 1st time. I also admire the urge that my friends had for the development and promotion of hockey worldwide, which has often been a dream to see youth enjoying them with it.
Lastly thanks to the DUTCH HOCKEY FEDERATION who sponsored my air tickets and I learnt a lot from David & Nienke. I believe that hockey will gain from us. Thank you!

Mario, Mexico:
The World Hockey Festival had a huge impact on me and it definitely changed my life. I had the lucky opportunity to meet 30+ people that share with me the love for hockey. It was a unique chance to get to know and understand how hockey youth around the world think about hockey and how it affects them and their countries. It was a great chance to build brotherhoods that will last for eternity. Since the beginning, it was a great experience for me because I had never been overseas, and I had never watched such an important tournament as the Junior Men’s World Cup, but the best experience of all was to meet such an amazing group of young people that are full of new and fresh ideas on how to improve the sport that we love so much. The staff of the YotY and the Festival has to take big part of the credit of the success of this event. Without that group of people that had always had the desire of promoting youth hockey, this year-long event would’ve never taken place. I want to thank everyone at the Festival just for being awesome people, and remember to keep the flame burning, ‘cause as long as it burns hockey worldwide will have a great successful future.

David, Netherlands:
I was sent together with Nienke Belgraver as ambassador for our country to Hobart, Australia. It was a trip that changed my life because it was something great. Not only it because it was a great experience, but also because we had a lot of fun with the group. The best days for me were the Wednesday and the Saturday. On Wednesday we went sightseeing and we had a lot of fun because we saw a beautiful country and we became a great close group. Saturday was the big day for all of us and the night was great. We went bowling and after that we went to my host family for a little party. To conclude I want to thank all the people who made this possible for us.

I think that the World Hockey Festival in Tasmania could not have been a better end to the Year of the Youth celebrations. The way people came together regardless of their background or colour or race was amazing. One could sense the passion and enthusiasm that these youngsters had in their veins – and that passion was the will to be involved with hockey. It is difficult to find a group of people to make friends within a week. The participants in Hobart made friends for a lifetime! I was touched to see that. Thanks YotY.

Nienke, Netherlands:
My highlight of the week was meeting all these new friends and contacts all over the world! I received in 2 weeks more than 80 emails from all the people, and I chat almost every day with them!

Nicole, Australia:
Well I would have to say that the whole festival was a highlight for me but things that made it very memorable were the different and unique activities which we participated in each day. I found them exciting and enjoyed learning about the different countries cultures. The Oceania day was a very moving day especially when you saw Patrick walk on sand and in the water for the first time. I would have to say that I came way with a wealth of knowledge and with all this information I am now in the process of writing a proposal to start a Junior Hockey board for Tasmania to develop and hopefully increase the players in state teams. I would like to thank all the staff that were there, they were all very caring and supportive and all round a great bunch people. I would also like to thank all the youths, they were all fantastic and I am very grateful that I could be a part of a worldwide experience. These people have become some of my close and dearest friends who I hold very close to my heart and share some very fond memories.

Penny, Australia:
On the flight to Hobart I was quite nervy because I had no idea what to expect from the youth festival I was going to. The other scary factor was that I had to speak in front of people from around the world, this being a person who has trouble speaking to her English class seemed to be impossible. I was later surprised at how I managed to make the finals. The work done in the working groups was great and opened my eyes as to how much work really goes into the putting together of a tournament. Being in the marketing group was great because we got to observe the marketing in action with the junior men’s world cup on just over from where we were based. In the workshop I thought it was quite interesting, the ideas we all came up with and, that people in other countries all over the world have some of the same ideas to better hockey as me. The most memorable part of my experience in Hobart was meeting such awesome people from all corners of the globe that share or even have more passion for their hockey as I do. This group of youths is amongst the best people I have ever met.

Jesper, Australia:
What I have experienced through the course of the week was amazing. I have met so many friends that showed me what hockey was about in their own countries and what they have done in hockey for their country. I was very glad I could go and witness this and the brilliant hockey that the Junior Men’s World Cup produced. Thank you.

The National Youth Hockey Promoters look back on a very successful World Hockey Festival

Siobhan, Wales:
To be given the chance to go over to Hobart was a once in a lifetime chance, and it turned out to be the best experience of my life. The people we met and worked on the World development plans with were brilliant. Well there’s Penny OZ who was the life and soul, Malcolm (kiwi)…well what can I say but sweet! Of course there was Bethan the Welsh wonder! We’ve made friends for life and I’m so grateful for being given this opportunity. We gained ideas from everyone of how to promote hockey in our countries… let’s just hope it works!!

Bethan, Wales:
I found out about the competition during June from the Swansea junior Coach (my club), although first I was a bit relucatant about doing more work after just finishing my GCSE Exams. But I thought I would give it a go – after having got an extended deadline because of a hockey trip to Germany. I handed my project in during July not expecting much to come of it. All my ideas came from the experiences of myself and those around me, as I have been involved in all levels of youth hockey in Wales – enjoying hockey to the fullest. My most enjoyable time in Hobart has to be the making of the World Plan – I was able to give my ideas and know people were listening to what I had to say. Meeting people from all over the world has to be a highlight, too – I have made life long friends. Hearing what other people had to say was brilliant, it made me grateful for what I have but also presented me with lots for ideas that I can now promote in Wales. Winning the award was the icing on cake – all the work had been done but it made me really believe that my ideas counted and that all the work I had done could make a difference. Now people from all around the world know who I am, I can make what I won worthwhile. The World Youth Hockey Promoter can really make a difference.

Kimberly, Ireland:
I had the most exciting and enjoyable trip I’ve ever been on while I was at the World Hockey Festival. I met some amazing people who have the same love for hockey as I do and its good to know that there are lots of like-minded people out there. I did a lot of work and saw some terrific hockey during my stay. I am grateful for every moment I had during the festival and for all the great people I met. I started missing it the moment I stepped on the plane!! I think the staff deserve a massive thank you for all their hard work because without them the whole festival wouldn’t have been possible. I know we’re all very grateful. Thank you.

Pablo, Argentina:
To begin with, I would like to confess how lucky I feel for having been part of the Year of the Youth Festival held in Hobart on last month. There were 30 different promoters from at least 20 different countries all sharing ideas, all sharing points of view and cultures. The experience that we lived in those unforgettable days is going to be something that is useful for the rest of our lives. But one of our main aims is to make this more than just a «memor. What we are really looking forward to is to make the YotY Festival a beginning; we would like to encourage youngsters to start playing hockey, to start loving the sport and to start making it grow in popularity. But what do we need to do this? We need active people; we need new ideas, but most of all, we need to be listened to. The first day of the Festival, we were told by the coordinators that they were expecting us to be the Future of Hockey and we assumed this role. Now we want to play it the most that we can. To sum up, I am asking to keep on giving us that chance because we have a lot of energy and new ideas to share and to put them to work. I know now that I speak in the name of all the YotY Promoters, when I say that we are fully to the service of Hockey Promotion any time that the FIH asks or need us. And we hope that they need us very often because we would love to serve the sport.

Siyabonga and Maggy, Namibia:
First of all I would like to thank the FIH and our local associations for giving us the opportunity to go to Hobart, Tasmania – an unforgettable experience. It was also very nice to meet the youth staff and I will use this opportunity to thank them for a wonderful week!!! If I may say so my group {15-18 target group} had the tallest and most wonderful leader Alan. Sandra was our computer genius, David the group clown, Nicole the lady with the golden voice, Kathleen our own soccer star and Suzi the reporter of week. If I had a million dollars I would call for a reunion. Thank you for everything HOCKEY!!!

Suziana, Singapore:
The World Hockey Festival was the most unforgettable event of my life as well as a good learning experience for me. I never knew that I could meet many wonderful and friendly people from around the world. I have learnt about the different problems that the unprivileged countries face and this had urged me to reach out my hand to help out these unprivileged countries. The most memorable highlight of the program was the Grand Finale. I felt satisfied and with all the hard work that we have put in while doing our projects. Lastly, not to forget, the special friendship that has developed between each and one of us could be felt as we swayed together hand in hand. It is definitely has been a successful and the most enjoyable event in the Year of the Youth.