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2010 Clean Snowmobile competition

Keeping Snow White

Clean Snowmobile Team keeps pollution low and enthusiasm high



While many students spent their spring break on warm beaches south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a group of 16 University of Idaho engineering and technology students instead chose to spend a few days on the shores of Lake Superior. But they weren’t going on a polar plunge. They were competing in the annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

“The fact that the team spends their spring break doing this really says something about both the members and the experience,” says Karen Den Braven, professor of mechanical engineering, director of NIATT, and the team’s advisor.

The goal of the competition is to design a snowmobile using E25 – a blend of gasoline using 25 percent ethanol – that produces low emissions, has high efficiency and generates as little noise as possible. Teams typically build upon the previous year’s work. This time around, the team used the same 600cc direct injection engine as well as last year’s chassis, but made vast improvements to both. They also used new analytic techniques to zero in on noise produced from specific parts of the snowmobile.

This was the 10th straight year the team has competed in the competition. It has brought awards home every single time, including first place trophies in 2002, 2003 and 2007. This year, the team placed third overall but won top honors for cold start, best ride, acceleration and handling. But the participants know that the true value of the competition is not the awards; it is the experience and knowledge gained.

The team consists of students ranging from freshmen to graduate students, many of whom participate every year. It gives freshmen and sophomores a chance to get their hands dirty early in their college careers and teaches juniors and seniors how to be good mentors. Plus, it gives them connections to industry when it comes time to graduate.

“Industry representatives are always asking me who the students are on the team,” says Den Braven.

“Whether or not it is a bad economy, they still want to hire the best. And the students on the clean snowmobile team can’t be beat.”

"Industry representatives are always asking me who the students are on the team. Whether or not it is a bad economy, they still want to hire the best. And the students on the clean snowmobile team can’t be beat."

Team Members:

  • Jared Denton
  • Austin Welch
  • Dylan Dixon
  • Josh Bartlow
  • Christapher Hill
  • Neil Miller
  • Giselle Veach
  • Cole Bode
  • Eric Buddrius
  • Andrew Hooper
  • Ian Lootens
  • Ty Lord
  • Sam Smith
  • Peter Britanyak
  • Parley Wilson
  • Dylan Dixon
  • Alex Fuhrman
  • Austin Welch
  • Jared Denton
  • Ryle Amberg
  • Ben Birch