Michigan Tech News

Silent Running: Clean Snowmobile Challenge Starts March 13

Phone: 906-487-2354

By Marcia Goodrich


Last Modified 3:42 PM, July 20, 2009

March 8, 2006—

The public is invited to check out some of the greenest snowmobiles on the planet next week as the SAE Clean Snowmobile">Snowmobile Challenge gets under way at Michigan Tech.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. Fifteen teams of engineering students from across North America have taken a stock snowmobile and reengineered it to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance. This is Michigan Tech’s fourth year hosting the event.

The grand opening is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the Keweenaw Research Center, located near the Houghton County Memorial Airport. Following the ceremonies, the two all-electric sleds set out on a 10-mile range test, and the 13 fuel-powered machines begin their 100-mile endurance run, which starts at the Keweenaw Research Center track and then extends north to Copper Harbor.

The entire community is encouraged to see the sleds up close and talk with their designers at the static display, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, at the Houghton Fire Hall, located on the corner Gundlach Street and Sharon Avenue.

“This is an important part of the competition for the students,” said event organizer Jay Meldrum, director of the Keweenaw Research Center. “They have to sell visitors on the quality of their sleds, just as they would in industry. Plus, it’s a great chance for everyone from snowmobile enthusiasts to environmentalists to learn about some of the technology that goes into the development of cleaner, quieter machines.”

The popular acceleration and handling events are set for Saturday morning, with the acceleration tests starting at 10 a.m. followed by the handling event at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to see the student drivers put these experimental snow machines through their paces on the KRC track. Wear warm clothing and boots, and be prepared to walk from the roadway to the viewing area.

Everyone is welcome to attend the awards banquet, which begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 18, in Michigan Tech’s Memorial Union Ballroom. Tickets are $25 and are available from Michigan Tech’s Conferences and Institutes office, 487-2263. The deadline for purchasing tickets is noon on Friday, March 17.

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.