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Innovation from within

By By Kate Swanson

CEO Boisjoli plays key engineering role with new Pilot TS adjustable track

For snowmobile terrain, Ski-Doo’s new Pilot TS adjustable track solves headaches faster than any medicine. With a slight turn of the hand, the Pilot TS adjusts to more than 20 positions to fine tune handling to accommodate changing trail conditions.1115Focus-JoseBRP

The idea for the innovative ski came from BRP’s CEO José Boisjoli, who shared his thoughts on the engineering process and idea behind the Pilot TS ski with Powersports Business.

PSB: What made you first think of this idea for an adjustable track?

José Boisjoli: In the winter of 2009-10, I was snowmobiling on a trail between Québec City and the Charlevoix region. On Saturday, the temperature was -10 degrees Celsius, and riding conditions were icy. All day I had a hard time controlling my snowmobile, even though I’m an experienced rider. My snowmobile was always darting. Needless to say, I did not enjoy my ride.

The next morning, 3 to 4 inches of snow had fallen during the night, and the weather was around -2 degrees Celsius, which made for very nice riding conditions. Contrary to the previous day, my snowmobile rode magnificently. I realized that something had to be done to make sure that our clients would consistently enjoy riding our products. The following Monday I went to see our Ski-Doo engineering team to brainstorm on how we could resolve the problem. It took a few years, but we did find the solution: The Pilot TS ski provides simple and effective adjustments for easy turning in all snow conditions.

PSB: What effect do you think this product will have on the industry?

JB: We will see this coming season. Our goal is to make Ski-Doo customers’ ride the most enjoyable possible. I believe that those who buy our models with the ski, or the Pilot TS ski itself to install on their snowmobiles, will really appreciate its benefits.

PSB: Does BRP intend to include this design in future snowmobile lines?

JB: The Pilot TS skis already come standard on the MXZ Blizzard, Renegade Enduro and Grand Touring SE sleds. And if customers’ response to this new product is positive, we will certainly install it on more Ski-Doo models.

PSB: How often do you talk about products or new product ideas with your engineering team?

JB: My passion for motorized recreational vehicles started at a very young age with snowmobiles and motocross, which led me to study engineering. I don’t consider myself to be a good engineer, but we do have really great talents on our engineering teams. They know that I try all our products and that I share my observations with them. They don’t, however, always take into account my comments, and I’m ok with that.

PSB: Have your designs or ideas been used for any other vehicles such as Can-Am ATVs and UTVs, Sea-Doo PWC or Spyder roadsters?

The Pilot TS adjustable track comes standard on Ski-Doo's MXZ Blizzard, Renegade Enduro and Grand Touring SE models.

The Pilot TS adjustable track comes standard on Ski-Doo's MXZ Blizzard, Renegade Enduro and Grand Touring SE models.

JB: I like to be at the heart of new product launches. Let me explain: When we were working on the development of the REV platform, we wanted the rider to experience something new. We completely redesigned our snowmobiles with input from many people, myself included, and regained the number one position in the industry.

I followed the development, the manufacturing and the plans to commercialize our Can-Am Spyder, our first on-road product and one that was very different than anything else on the market. So my involvement with design and innovation is similar to much of our BRP team, where ideas can come from anyone.

PSB: How does your involvement with the engineering and innovation process give you a unique perspective in comparison to some of your peers?

JB: I don’t know the level of involvement that my peers take on, but BRP is what it is because of its culture, its systems and processes and its people. It is in our culture to encourage our employees to ride our products and come up with suggestions that will help us remain a leader in the powersports industry.

At BRP, we encourage our employees, from all departments, to try our products. We need to develop a visceral connection with our customers, and the only way to be able to do that is to ride and ride often. Then, we brainstorm on what or how we can enhance the customer’s experience.

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