by Bill Andrews, Colorado Crew
Part One (Introduction) of a four-part series.
Many people think that once the weather turns cold and the snow starts to fall it’s time to park the Jeep and wait until spring or summer. But wheeling all year long is possible, fun, and challenging.
Snow adds a level or two of difficulty to a trail. What would ordinarily be a short, easy jaunt in the summer can be an all-day adventure in the winter. Snow also adds a degree of beauty and wonder that simply cannot be found in warm weather scenery.
To be successful at 4-wheeling in the snow, you simply need to take a few precautions, have the proper equipment (and knowledge to properly employ it), and learn a few techniques. Each of these areas will be covered in more detail in subsequent articles to this series, but here are a few basics for each.
Precautions: Dress appropriately, bring extra food and water in case you get stranded, bring extra clothes and blankets, and never travel alone in the backcountry. Additionally, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Finally, ensure that the road/trail which you intend to traverse is legally open for winter travel.
Equipment: You should have a well-maintained vehicle with proper attachment points, front and rear, and recovery straps designed for off-road use (don’t use a nylon tow rope with hooks from the local auto parts store). You will also want to have appropriate tools such as shovels and a farm jack. A winch can be handy but is not absolutely necessary. Tire chains can be very helpful.
Techniques: Air down your tires. Use a little more momentum. Turn your wheels back and forth. When you are stuck, try rocking the vehicle front to back to see if you can break out. Keep an eye on the time, it gets dark earlier in the winter. Finally, know when to say “when,” you want to quit before you are exhausted.
With these precautions, equipment, and techniques you can enjoy offroading all year long. Watch for more detailed articles on these topics in the coming weeks.