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Jeremy Renner
Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Renner’s accident is a reminder of the importance of applying PistenBully safety tips. When it comes to plowing or shaping large amounts of snow, the PistenBully continues to be one of the most reliable snowcats available. A snowcat, also called a ski cat, is used to keep ski trails controlled and easily accessible, and they’re also efficient in clearing out large amounts of snow. While more recent models of PistenBully vehicles include built-in safety features, accidents can still occur – especially if the operator forgets important safety tips. Unfortunately, this was the case in January of 2023 with Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner.

We lease snowcats to businesses and individuals looking to shape or plow snow, and we hope we can provide additional education on these vehicles and how to practice proper safety. While a PistenBully may be the perfect machine for your business, it’s important to remember how to use these machines safely.

What Happened to Jeremy Renner?

Jeremy Renner is an actor best known for portraying Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On January 1, 2023, Renner sustained severe injuries due to an accident while operating his PistenBully vehicle.

Renner was using the snowcat in an attempt to move a family member’s vehicle that was stuck in the snow. Renner got out of the vehicle to speak with the family member, then noticed his PistenBully was rolling away on its own. While trying to get back in the driver seat of the snowcat, he was rolled over by the vehicle, which weighed nearly 14,000 pounds (6,500 kg). As a result, Renner broke 30 bones and suffered blunt-force chest trauma. Fortunately, Renner survived this horrible situation, mainly due to his physique and overall health. As of June 2023, he is still recovering from his injuries but has made great progress and is even able to walk on his own.

Renner’s PistenBully

Renner initially purchased his own PistenBully in order to construct a sledding course for his children. Renner had intended to construct the course to avoid dangerous conditions caused by sledding down an unmanaged hill. He purchased a snowcat from a dealer in Nevada to help him shape and plow the snow.

PistenBully PB240D
Goku122, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After investigating the scene, it was determined that Renner’s PistenBully was an older model. Older models, by nature, may not have all the safety features offered by newer models, and it’s also important to keep in mind that any sort of vehicle will naturally wear down over time. The model was most likely a PB240D, which was developed by PistenBully in the 1980s.

Multiple decades have since passed, and new snowcat safety features have been implemented in modern vehicles. Snow and ice can be dangerous to navigate in any capacity, but PistenBully and snowcat distributors have a better understanding of how to do so in a way that doesn’t result in injuries or death.

PistenBully Safety Tips

While we hope you or your business benefits greatly from a PistenBully, we also value your safety and hope you’ll operate these machines carefully. Here are some crucial safety measures to keep in mind to avoid encountering a situation like Jeremy Renner’s.

Entering and Exiting a PistenBully

Renner attempted to re-enter his vehicle to stop it, only to be significantly injured beneath it. Never attempt to enter or exit a moving machine for any reason. If you do choose to exit your vehicle, make sure you engage the safety brakes if your snowcat has them. All newer models include brakes, so be sure you use them should you need to exit.

How you enter and exit your PistenBully can also prevent injuries. Be sure you’re using the handholds and steps when getting in or out to avoid slipping and falling. Make sure both hands and at least one foot are being used when entering and exiting your PistenBully. Don’t jump out of your vehicle for any reason, as you risk the vehicle running you over.

Use Your On-Board Safety Equipment

As with any vehicle, wear your seatbelt at all times. Always have your lights and beacon on when working, especially due to bad weather. However, it may be more beneficial to do your snow plowing before the weather becomes overwhelming.

Avoid Plowing in Reverse

If possible, avoid plowing in reverse. Your blind spots and sight lines may not be completely clear, so be sure you’re constantly scanning behind you before making any movements. You can also use spotters to help you move backward if necessary.

Operate at a Safe Speed

Don’t exceed 45 mph at any time, though you may need to adjust your speed according to the conditions. At high speeds, the vehicle can become more difficult to manage, especially if you’re traveling on ice. In fact, it’s better to take your time in general, as this can prevent PistenBully accidents.

Keep Up With Maintenance

By ensuring your vehicle is properly working, and the equipment is fully functional, you’ll be able to perform whatever tasks you need in a safe and secure manner. Improved maintenance is a key reason we suggest leasing a ski cat, as you can have maintenance performed over the off-season.

Suggested Reading: PistenBully Maintenance Tips

Modern PistenBully Safety Features

Newer PistenBully models include several other technologies and features that help keep people safe. A very recent model, the PistenBully 600, includes several features worth considering if you or your business need to plow snow.

PistenBully 600

Improved Performance

A 1980s snowcat, especially from PistenBully, has a remarkable amount of staying power. However, newer models generally boast much stronger performance.

For example, the PistenBully 600 includes a completely reworked frame, chassis, and engine. It also includes additional suspension to help support the driver. This performance enhancement helps the machine carry and haul more equipment. Along with other general improvements to the rocker arms, axles, wheels, and bearings, modern snowcats are designed to help get the job done while also considering the driver’s safety.

Additional Assistance

Technology has changed drastically over the past 40 years, and PistenBully models contain new features that help drivers perform their various tasks.

For example, the new AutoTracer helps steer the vehicle, regardless of if it’s operating in a rigid or floating position. When turning corners, the AutoTracer co-steers. It countersteers when navigating cross-slopes. This is one of the most innovative snowcat safety features in recent times, as these large vehicles can be challenging to turn and navigate.

The SlopeTracer was also developed to help maintain and shape snow. Overall, the SlopeTracer helps make the shaping and management of snow simpler and more reliable. Newer models also contain an automatic winching force control device, which puts less strain on the driver and winch cable. If your vehicle were to slip, for instance, the tool would increase its tractive force and prevent the vehicle from becoming problematic.

Why You Should Lease a Snowcat

As previously mentioned, Jeremy Renner purchased his own snowcat, which turned out to be a model from the 1980s. Newer models contain many additional safety features and improved parts, yet many businesses and individuals are unsure about purchasing one.

Fortunately, you don’t have to purchase a snowcat outright, as the more affordable older models may have performance drawbacks. Instead, you can consider leasing a snowcat from a reputable provider like Ski Cat Company. Leasing allows you to own the snowcat for a specific period of time in exchange for a payment. If you then needed to lease it for a longer amount of time, you could extend the period and pay an additional fee.

Leasing a snowcat may be more beneficial for you or your business than purchasing outright. Consider these reasons.

Suggested Reading: FAQs About Leasing a Snowcat

We Lease the Newest Models

By leasing a newer model, you can ensure you have access to all of the newest snowcat safety features while operating a much stronger vehicle. If you were to lease a PistenBully 800, for instance, you’d have access to the AutoTracer and SlopeTracer, both of which can help you navigate and shape snow. You can allocate your funds toward leasing a modern, more efficient snowcat versus spending it all on an older model that may not be up-to-date or is lacking certain safety measures.

PistenBully 800 Specs
Image Courtesy of

Newer models also make your job much easier and more efficient, saving energy and time. Older models may not be able to handle the amount of snow and equipment that a newer model can.

You Save Money

It may seem counterintuitive to lease a vehicle to save money, but the reality is that you can save money by leasing a snowcat. Depending on the climate in your area, you may not need a snowcat year-round. A lease can enable you to have your snowcat on hand when you need one but forego the cost in the off-season.

Purchasing a snowcat may be a viable option for some businesses, but innovations are constantly being implemented in snowcat manufacturing. Over time, your snowcat will become outdated, and you won’t have access to the newest safety features necessary to avoid snowcat accidents. Also, newer models can complete more challenging jobs at a faster and more reliable pace, which prevents you from needing extra equipment and time.

You’re Not Responsible for Repair Costs

Wear and tear are normal for any vehicle. However, if you were to lease a snowcat, you’re not responsible for repairing the usual wear and tear. Keep in mind that if you were to get in an accident or purposefully neglect to care for your snowcat, you’d be required to pay for the damages. Depending on the policy, insurance may be able to cover the damages, but your insurance provider will need to confirm this beforehand.

You Can Lease New Models as They Release

You may have leased through us at Ski Cat Company before, but a new model includes features you didn’t have access to before. If you purchase an older model snowcat, you’ll need to figure out how to sell it or gather the funds to purchase an additional vehicle. With a lease, if a new model interests you and you want to take advantage of its features, you can do so without the need to offload an older model.

Suggested Reading: Leasing a PistenBully 800

Ski Cat Company: Your Source for Leasing PistenBully Vehicles

While PistenBully snowcats are extremely safe – especially the newest models – Jeremy Renner’s accident reminded us all how important attention to safety is when working with snow. PistenBully accidents can be prevented by remembering important safety tips and being mindful of best practices. In addition, be sure to use modern snowcats with crucial safety features.

Jeremy Renner’s incident has brought about some concern over the safety of snowcats in general, but our team at Ski Cat Company knows snowcats can be safe, efficient, reliable vehicles that are highly effective for working with snow. Our team is committed to educating others about snowcat safety while leasing the most reliable vehicles on the market. Contact us about the advantages of leasing a snowcat.