March 22, 2022

NDSU wins awards at Clean Snowmobile Challenge


A team of NDSU engineering students earned several honors at the 2022 SAE International Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held March 1-3 in Eagle River, Wisconsin. NDSU took second place in the diesel engine category and won awards for best handling and best fuel efficiency. The NDSU team was the only diesel team to complete the 100-mile endurance event.

The competition, an opportunity for students to enhance their engineering design and project management skills by applying classroom theories to real-world problems, attracts teams and companies from across the United States.

“My favorite part was definitely getting to see the sled finally done and compete at competition. It felt great seeing it do so well in the events,” said Brett Gildersleeve, a sophomore in mechanical engineering who grew up in Frazee, Minnesota and came to NDSU after five years in the U.S. Army. “Our biggest challenge was trying to find an exhaust system for emissions. Nothing was cheap or an easy install solution. It required a lot of fabrication.”

NDSU has competed in the diesel engine category for the past several years because it’s a great opportunity for students to get hands-on experience with the type of engine technology many local employers use.

“The Clean Snowmobile Challenge has helped me prepare for working in the real world by starting with nothing and finishing with a ready-to-go snowmobile,” Gildersleeve said. “It involves taking a stock snowmobile and then thinking of ways to improve it. Those thoughts eventually become designs and then we implement it onto the snowmobile. Once it is on the snowmobile, we test it to make sure it works and that it is actually an improvement or would add benefit. We also have multiple presentations and papers we write to explain about the snowmobile and data we have collected. The Clean Snowmobile Challenge really covers all aspects of what a typical engineer does.”

Other team members included Greg Murawski, Lane Kjeldergaard, Jonah Goetze, Blake Higgins, Brayden Tjosas, Nathan Klimek and Jackson Graham.

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