A snowmobile ramp has traction for the treads and often has raised sides to help you guide your snowmobile off the truck. You need reliable loading and unloading equipment if you want the transition to go smoothly.
Most people use a ramp, though it’s not the only option. What is the best way to unload a snowmobile from a truck?
The best way to unload a snowmobile from a truck is to back it down a custom-fitted ramp that will set it smoothly on the ground. However, for snowmobiles without a reverse function, turn the parking brake off and roll the sled down your ramp instead. Releasing the parking brake will help prevent damage and make the job easier.
Unloading Snowmobile From Truck
There are different ways to unload a snowmobile from a truck, so I will give you three tried and true methods to choose from.
First, I’ll cover how to reverse a snowmobile down a ramp. Second, with no reverse function, and finally, I’ll give you an option for when you have no ramp to work with.
Unloading Snowmobile With Reverse Drive
Snowmobiles with reverse functions are the easiest to unload. All you need to do to get the sled on the ground is to start off level and lined up and then slowly back out and down the ramp.
Here are the steps in order.
- Before you can safely back your sled down a ramp, you need to set your ramp up properly. Ensure that you are parked on level ground and that the base of the ramp is on flat, sturdy ground.
- Always use a ramp that attaches so it won’t slip out of place.
- Center your ramp and snowmobile so the treads will move down the center of the ramp.
- Please turn on the engine and set it to reverse, which may involve flipping a switch on your handlebar.
- Next, you slowly give it a little gas, so your sled begins backing down the ramp.
- Take your time, so you don’t end up off the ramp or hitting the ground too hard. After all, you don’t want a damaged sled.
- Once you reach flat ground, put your ramp away and have fun!
Pro Tip: Whenever possible, have a second person spot you while you back a snowmobile down a ramp.
How To Unload A Snowmobile Without Reverse Drive
When your snowmobile can’t reverse on its own, you can still back it down a ramp. Although it’s not quite as quick and efficient as powered reversing, you only need to release the parking brake.
Doing this effectively puts your machine in neutral so the tread can move, even backward.
Here is a quick guide to help.
- Until recently, the reverse was a rare function for a snowmobile. If your model has no reverse, you can back it down a sled ramp by releasing the parking brake.
- Using the handlebars, you will guide the sled backward onto the ramp.
- With the track free to spin again, it can roll backward, so be ready for the weight of your sled as gravity helps you roll it down the ramp, especially if it’s icy.
- (Optional) This job is easier with two people, so you can each grab one side and guide the snowmobile down the ramp.
- Once the sled track starts down the ramp, you won’t need to push or pull as much. Just keep it steady.
- At the bottom of the ramp, remember to reset your parking brake.
How To Unload A Snowmobile From A Truck With No Ramp
So long as the weather is cold and snowy, you can unload your snowmobile from a truck even when you have no ramp.
Using this technique means taking advantage of the land and season’s natural features.
- Version 1: Back your truck up to a small hill or elevated area roughly level with your truck’s bed.
- Version 2: Back your truck up to a deep snowdrift.
- Version 3: Create a ramp from snow in the area to cushion your sled unloading.
- Once you have a natural landing zone for your sled, reverse it very slowly by using either of the methods above. Allow the sled to tilt slightly as the tail end moves off your vehicle and into the snow.
- Keep backing up until the entire sled is off the truck.
- Don’t forget to close your tailgate.
Pro Tip: If you plan to use snow when loading your sled back up later, don’t forget to check the weather. It’s much harder to make a snow ramp if everything has turned to slush in the sun when you’re done riding.
Bonus Method: The Pull Trick
Not everyone has the physical power to pull a snowmobile out of the back of a truck with their hands.
However, you can do it if you’re strong and willing to risk your toes and shocks. All you need to do is turn off the e-brake and pull your snowmobile out of the truck.
If you want to see someone do this, I recommend this video from Alpine Powersports. The person in the video makes it look easy.
Most of the weight is balanced on the truck, but it takes practice to get this maneuver right.
Since this is a method you can employ with no tools and no snow to act as a cushion, I would only recommend it as a last resort.
Helpful Tips To Know About How To Unload Snowmobile From Truck
Unloading a snowmobile from a truck bed should never be a headache or overly complex.
In general, all you are doing is easing it down to the ground via a ramp, cantilever platform ramp, or hydraulic lift.
However, if you don’t have those things, there are other ways to ease your sled to earth.
Here are more helpful tips to know about how to unload snowmobile from truck.
- If you do not have a ramp or natural feature of the land, you can easily back up to use the snow to your advantage. A pile of snow, even if it’s not deep enough to work as a ramp, can still provide a buffer and a softer landing for your snowmobile. Make a snow pile as dense and deep as possible, and then back up so your truck is positioned where the snowmobile will land on the mound as you back it out.
- Please practice common sense and safety when unloading your sled. Pulling a sled straight back and dropping its nose on the ground can cause wires and pieces to jar loose or move out of position.
- Snowmobiles weigh 400 to 600 pounds on average. You could safely lift a snowmobile off a truck bed if you had four to six relatively strong adults. The hardest thing about this technique is that cold and potentially wet metal and plastic parts don’t offer the best grip options. With just half that many people, you can typically lift the back end of the snowmobile as you pull back and set it on the ground, then do the same with the front end. This is much safer than trying to do it all yourself.
Unloading your snowmobile is one of those ignored skills that people rarely practice. Unfortunately, a minor slip or tip could land a 600 lb machine on top of a person.
Please use a ramp when unloading unless there’s no alternative. Even a ramp made from snow is better than dropping your machine on the ground.
Your skis might handle the impact, but it can rattle delicate wires and parts loose inside the engine.
Work with a partner to help you keep your alignment as you move down the ramp and onto the ground, and remember to take your time.