With the introduction of the 2014 Yamaha SR Viper models, Yamaha started to have sleds built by Arctic Cat. For the 2014 model year, the SR Viper models had a variation of the Arctic Cat skis, using the same ski rubber (in-between the skis and spindle). That meant if you wanted to mount an Arctic Cat ski onto a Yamaha SR Viper model, it was a simple swap, everything fit perfectly using the stock ski rubber.
Starting with the 2015 model year, the Cat-built Yamaha models switched both the skis and the ski rubber to Yamaha-specific versions. This meant if you wanted to mount an Arctic Cat ski (OEM or aftermarket) onto your Cat-built Yamaha, you also needed the old-style, or Cat-style, or 2014 Viper-style ski rubber. No biggie, just a change.
Even now, if you take the skis off of a 2017 Sidewinder model and want to mount up a set of Arctic Cat skis, OEM or aftermarket, you still need the 2014 Viper ski rubber, which is the same as the current Cat-style ski rubber. You can get these from an Arctic Cat dealer as #3603-237, or you can get them from a Yamaha dealer as #8JP-F3743-00-00. Each one will cost right around $8 each, but the Yamaha version seems to be $0.60 cheaper in most cases ($7.72 vs. $8.32).
We’re swapping skis around all of the time and are quite used to this, but thought it would be valuable information for those with a SR Viper or Sidewinder model wanting to mount up a set of Arctic Cat skis, OEM or aftermarket. Using the proper ski rubber is quite important, as it keeps the ski positioned and tensioned properly on the spindle. The Cat-style ski rubber is unique with all of the little matching rectangles in both the ski (or saddle) and the ski rubber itself. The new-style Yamaha ski rubber has taller projections along the side that drop down into the Tuner ski, so they are really not interchangeable.
Maybe the next question to answer is why would someone want to install a set of Arctic Cat skis onto a Yamaha? Since 2015 Yamaha has been using their dual-keel, dual-runner Tuner skis in an effort to provide both tenability via various runner combinations, along with anti-darting characteristics, especially since there is extra ski pressure due to the added mass of the four-stroke engines. There are many more options when it comes to Arctic Cat skis, both OEM and aftermarket, so riders can select a ski they are familiar with for specific handling characteristics, and in many cases they are seeking a wider ski body for added flotation in fresh or deeper snow, specifically for crossover riding. With the added weight of the four-stroke engine, a sled benefits from a wider ski as this helps keep the nose of the sled up out of the snow better. The heavier the sled, the more it benefits from a wider ski profile in snow of any depth.
In our case, we like the handling characteristics of the Starting Line SLT and MoHawk skis with their keel curvature, giving us a light steering effort along with great bite and excellent tracking. These two skis have the same bottom profile with the curved keel and extra ribs running the length of the skis, but the MoHawk is a wider ski for added lift and flotation – an excellent match for the SR Viper and Sidewinder crossover length models.