Most off-road enthusiasts will tell you the biggest time of the year for activities falls in between April-October. I think this is a fair assessment with dunes, trails, etc not having many limitations for use in these months. But how many people actually let their machines sit for those “off peak” 5 months? I’d venture to say not many; considering these machines have a plethora of capability in the snow. And while subfreezing weather may not spark some individuals interests, the more hardcore equip themselves with snowmobile gear (or in one of my colleague’s case, “$4 garage sale arctic gear” as he may phrase it). Another option, and this is my personal choice (if you don’t feel like layering up to the point where your arms spring out after putting on 6 sweatshirts and 2 jackets), is to have a machine with a cab/enclosure.
I’ve done both rides, open and enclosed, and I don’t think you’d be surprised to hear that I’d pick enclosed every time in the winter. Although even with no enclosure, the rides were still an absolute riot! A few times, we have actually taken advantage of riding at night while there has been snow coming down. This particular spot had a fair amount of sharp turns which made drifting in the snow a blast. The fact that it was dark out at the same time also gave a whole new feel to these trails we had previously ridden around a half dozen times.
If you haven’t gotten your machine out for winter, or if you just use it for tasks like plowing during the winter, consider orchestrating a ride! Use caution, as mentioned, many trails during the winter months have use limitations to accommodate snowmobiles (which is fair considering those guys have machines that sit for 7 months straight!) so do your research before heading to your favorite spot.
Tell us about any rides you’ve been on in the winter, We’re always open to hearing feedback and peoples experiences. Who knows, your favorite riding spot may end up on the next SXSBlog.com “Rides” episode!