1996 Arctic Cat SNOW COUGER

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PERSONAL FAVES: 1996 Arctic Cat Cougar

Everybody's had that one sled that stands out from the rest. It defines the fun of snowmobiling and every time you reflect back on it, there's a little twitch in your heart. In this series we asked our staffers to share their faves. Read what SnowTrax Television Co-Host AJ Lester has to say about the 1996 Arctic Cat Cougar.

Probably the most pivotal sled in my snowmobiling life is one that is often forgotten by most people. I believe this sled was really underappreciated in its time: It was a liquid-cooled 1996 Cougar 550. I'm pretty sure my dad bought it for me at a local Cat dealer as a leftover sled from the previous year.

In stock form it was nothing short of plain, albeit slightly pleasing with Arctic Cat's 1990's styling and graphics - but just begging for a little love.

And love it would get. Thinking back, it may be one of the reasons I'm the custom-build guy these days, spinning wrenches in the Trail Tech shop for SnowTrax and DirtTrax Television. We took that Plain-Jane '96 "Coug" and turned it into something I'll never forget.

That season at Supertax World Headquarters, the powers-that-be decided the Cougar would get overhauled and turned into a project sled. Since it was my personal ride, I was pretty excited.

The bits and pieces that were grafted into the Cougar turned out to be an M-10 skid frame with matching green sliders, a Cobra-Tech checkered flag low windshield and matching green ski-skins - because plastic skis weren't yet a "thing". We also decided to stud the track.

Looking back, it seems like very little actually went into it, but, for the day, this was a rocking set up. It's funny because it seemed like every time we stopped on the trail folks were checking it out and admiring the mods we'd made.

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