If I didn’t know otherwise, these photos of Arctic Cat M sleds in a powder wonderland appear to have been taken somewhere in the North American Rocky Mountains. Perhaps near Cooke City or Revelstoke?
They depict a typical ride near Sapporo, on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, which sees around 15 feet of snow during an average winter.
The person in the top photo is Keita, a hardcore Arctic Cat rider and friend of the crew at Country Cat. A snowmobiler for the past five years, Keita owned a previous-gen M8, and now rides the 2012 ProClimb M800 (162-in. track) in the bottom image.
I suppose it illustrates my own thick-skulled provincialism, but I wondered why Keita rides an Arctic Cat instead of a Yamaha.
The answer? Because the engine is made by Suzuki.
I’ve also come to learn that there are lots of non-Yamaha snowmobiles cruising around Hokkaido, and that the unique traits of each snowmobile brand are appealing to certain Japanese riders in exactly the same what that they are to North American riders.
In other words, Keita choosing an Arctic Cat to ride in Japan is no different than a sledder from Ironwood, Michigan, choosing to ride a Yamaha Nytro.
In fact, the 29-year-old (shown at right) is so pumped up about Arctic Cat that he’s planned a trip to Minnesota this summer, where he’ll hook up with P.J. Wanderscheid from Country Cat and head up to Thief River Falls to tour the Arctic Cat factory.
Perhaps I’ll get a chance to meet Keita while here in the states? And perhaps we’ll have the first-ever ArcticInsider Group Ride in Sapporo, Hokkaido, next winter? Anyone interested in a serious road trip?