The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge is an annual snowmobile event where teams build and modify existing snowmobiles and compete in multiple events based on improvements in design, emissions, noise, fuel economy, cold start ability, acceleration, handling, and overall performance.
As a Judge at the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Tech, the day begins at 5:30 am, picked up at 7:00am, with a Judges Meeting at 7:30am, and then the fun begins. It was below zero for the first 4 days. The Challenge started Monday with the Teams checking in and performing final check on their snowmobiles to make sure they meet all competition rules.
Sixteen Universities sent both electrical and mechanical engineering students from across the US and Canada (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Univ. of Wisconsin- Platteville, Univ. of Idaho, Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Michigan Tech, SUNY-Buffalo, Univ. of Waterloo, Northern Illinois Univ., North Dakota State Univ., Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth, Kettering Univ., McGill Univ., South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks-Bristol Bay).
There were 181 students, 85 on-site Judges/Volunteers, and an additional 106 Judges that score the students presentation papers online. The fuel used was 16 % bio-isobutanol mixed with high octane gasoline. This is known as iso-butanol 16, similar to E10 (10% ethanol in gasoline). There were 4 Electric sleds along with 2 Diesels, and the rest were Internal Combustion 2-stroke and 4-stroke sleds. Of the 11 that started on Tuesday morning, 9 of them made the 100 mile run to Copper Harbor, which broke a previous record of six.
Wednesday and Thursday were spent listening to Student Presentations of their Designs and MSRP. Wednesday evening was a “Snowmobile Public Display” at the Copper County Mall in Houghton. It is a time to network with Industry, Supporters and Students. Friday allows for some free time and completion of testing.
Saturday is kicked off by a “Cold Start” of the snowmobiles that are in the Competition. And, it was barely above Zero! Then the teams moved to the Polaris Acceleration Event and the Polaris Objective Handling Event. The day ends with the Awards Banquet where the winners receive a variety of 31 Plaques, Trophies and Money.