The alternative to borrowing or renting a sled is to buy one – new or used. Today's clean, advanced technology snowmobiles are as quiet, reliable and state of the art as automobiles and offer many safety and comfort features. Typically, new participants could look at a "touring" model in the popular 500 to 600cc range, that comes with electric start, reverse, thumb and hand warmers, high windshield, and mirrors. (One or two persons can use two-up sleds, while two people should never ride on a sled only built to handle one).
All snowmobiles have the same basic characteristics. What's different from model to model is how and how well each of the major components accomplishes its task. So a "performance" or "muscle" sled will usually have more power, stiffer suspension and aggressive features - like a sports car - while a touring sled will have more middle of the road power, a cushier suspension and a more comfortable seat – like a family sedan. As with buying a car, set a budget range and shop for the features best suited to your riding expectations, style and experience level.