So you've been four wheeling all summer, having a great time. Maybe you took your quad hunting, or let the riding go into the cold season. Now it's all snowy though. You can't afford a snowmobile, but you want to get out. What can you do?
Well my friend, you're in luck. It just so happens that many ATVs can handle more snow than you think. True, they are a far cry from the convenience of a snowmobile, but as long as you've got good ATV shocks and good tires, you may not be in such terrible shape as you thought.
First thing to consider when deciding whether or not you think you should try it is clearance. If your quad rides too low, it will get stuck a lot easier. You may go over a snow drift only to get high centered, and that can be a pain to dig out.
Your tires are of obvious importance to the equation as well. Good traction is a must when driving in snow, slush, and ice. It's a good idea to chain up, at least on the back end, for that extra traction for the more difficult places.
If your quad isn't 4x4, be extra careful. You'll be fishtailing all over the place if you don't keep your speed in check and watch where you drive. If you're driving in just a little snow, two wheel drive should be fine though.
Next, what are you planning to do out there? If it's just joy riding, you may not have to worry so much. Ice fishing is a common thing to bring the ATV for. It weighs a lot less than a truck, so it's safer to drive out on the ice. Still, you have to take the right precautions.
Before you head out, ice fishing or otherwise, check the conditions. Check the ice on the lake before you get on it. People die every year from falling through ice they probably shouldn't have been on in the first place. If you're riding trails, make sure you know how much snow is really on the ground. It helps to know the trail before hand too, so you aren't caught by any surprises hiding under the snow.
When you head out, bring along emergency supplies. If you do get stuck, it will be a whole lot less painful if you have a shovel handy. If you have to spend the night you'll want to be able to keep warm. As mentioned above, an ATV isn't a snowmobile. Whatever winter fun you have in store, get your ATV or snowmobile shocks tuned up and have a good time.