I would think based on you being in the snow belt and looking for a machine that won't bog down in deeper snow that you may not be happy with the 208cc engine. I would recommend at minimum the 254 cc -7.5 HP unit. 8/24 is a common ratio for snowblowers.i live about an hour and a half to two hours north of toronto,
generally speaking, our snow storms are 6-8 inches or less, im home most of the time, so i normally get out and plow it quickly,
but last winter we had a few storms where we got a foot or more overnight, and at that depth my current 5HP was basically useless, i would have to go on the slowest speed which might have paced me at 6-8 feet per minute, its too frusterating going that slow, id be faster shovelling.....if i go on a higher speed i could only cut maybe 3-4 inches of snow or else the engine would bog down, and i would have to stop, to let the engine come back up to speed,
i want something that can handle a foot or more of snow going at a reasonable speed, and not a snails pace,
The bigger the better😈.
If you find a deal on a Honda or Yamaha, 6HP will be fine.
CC to HP conversion chart for Ariens AX engines
Displacement / HP / Torque
136cc 4.0hp 7.5 lbs/ft
208cc 6.50hp 9.5 lbs/ft
254cc 7.50hp 12.5 lbs/ft
291cc 8.50hp 14.5 lbs/ft
306cc 9.0hp 15.0 lbs/ft
369cc 10.0hp 17.0 lbs/ft
414cc 12.5hp 20.0 lbs/ft
Good luck with your search