Snowdog Users Group has interviewed the founder of Snowdog
About relocation, about the history of the Snowdog brand, about innovations and accessories, including a snow plow, about technical nuances and much more.
The responses that perhaps most of you, guys, were eagerly awaiting! Mark Berardo, the founder, and administrator of the extremely popular Snowdog Users Group, has interviewed Dmitry Sivkov, the founder of Snowdog LLC. Mark put together the questions from the members of the group and added their own. That is likely to be one of the most informative posts on the topic from what you have read before! So, let’s give Mark and Dmitry the floor!
— Dmitry, can you go over the history of Snowdog?
— Yes, the story began over 10 years ago. At that time, we already had extensive experience producing motorcycles and ATVs and had reached a level where the products we were producing and the market we served was limiting. In search of new ideas, we turned our attention to the Bolens Hus-ski machine, manufactured in Canada in the 1970s. We fell in love with the simple, reliable machine and adopted it as an example.
We spent two years on modernizing the design and developing production processes. We developed FWD, a folding handlebar, tension plates recessed inside the tracks, self-aligning bearings and a utility cover and registered for a patents for motorized towing machines. And the Snowdog was born. Finding success in the Russian market, we looked to expand to the North American market. In 2015 we set up a company in the United States and partnered with established distribution.
Today, we sell the products through an extensive dealership network of more than 160 in the USA and Canada. About 10,000 Americans have become Snowdog owners. It’s incredible! We're committed to our Snowdog users and sellers. Every year our design team makes improvements, and we have lots of plans for the future.
— Interesting. Are there new models coming to North America soon? Most specifically the electric model? Will there be units to the dealers this fall.
— Due to continued instability caused by events in Ukraine, we have experienced supply delays in the US and, more so, Canadian markets. Recently, we supplied a shipment of three models to the US — Sport, Long Track, and Twin Track models are available now at Snowdog dealers and in October, regular supplies of the Sport Model will begin arriving for North American assembly. An electric Snowdog is in the works. We plan to introduce a prototype unit for testing in 2023.
— OK. Are you ready to release the details around the move to the USA?
— This year, we will start assembling machines in the USA and Canada utilizing our distributor partners, Power Distributors in Ankeny (IA) and Power Source Canada in Milton (ON), for production. Over the next two years we will be partnering with new component suppliers with the goal of meeting the "Made in The USA" standard.
— Any plans to offer different motors in addition to the B&S for the North American market?
—We have tested other engine brands. We have found that reliability and consistent performance across varied applications and altitudes has been best with Briggs & Stratton in the North American market. Additionally, we know that B&S parts and service support through local independent dealers is strong.
— Are you planning to offer a snowplow as an accessory and a grooming specific model? Improved hitch and drag package optimized for trail grooming?
— We are working on many improvements and accessories. Snow moving and grooming enhancements are parts of what we are looking at.
— Any plans to offer a more aggressive track?
— We use specifically designed tracks for Snowdogs with 0.7" lug height. Typically a more aggressive track makes sense when moving at higher speeds — speeds that Snowdogs do not reach.
— Аnd now — more about the technical nuances. Snowdog owners ask: is there a better braking system in the works?
— We consider the large mechanical brake equipped on the Sport B13R enough since a Snowdog does not have inertia and slows/stops with the release of the throttle, and also operates at lower speeds. As the owner’s manual describes, the brake was largely intended to be a parking brake wen starting the machine.
— Has the sticking throttle issue been resolved? Could you provide a clutch upgrade for the older units with the enclosed comet knock off clutches?
— Issues related to the throttle nut and cables may result from temperature fluctuations (melting and freezing snow/water). It is essential to examine proper operating condition before each start. Meanwhile, we continue to work to help overcome environmental challenges with our machines each season.
— Why is the Snowdog not recognized by insurance companies? The Snowdog should have a VIN number. With a VIN number the insurance companies would likely accept the Snowdog into their systems.
— A Snowdog is not a vehicle however it does have a serial number that is unique to each machine. We have reports that this has been adequate for insurance purposes.
— What else would you like to talk about?
— Thank you for being an active Snowdog enthusiast and supporter. I wish you and every Snowdog owner continued enjoyment in fishing, hunting, or riding around the countryside.