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12 Tips for Safe Winter Riding

5 Reasons to Ride ATVs and UTVs in Winter

5 Reasons to Ride ATVs and UTVs in Winter

ATV winter

The winter season puts a chill in the air and often snow on the ground. You may think your off-road riding season is over, but does it have to be? When temperatures drop, don’t be so quick to winterize your off-roader and store it until spring. Many four-wheelers and side-by-sides can tackle tough winter conditions. Consider having some cold-weather fun with ATV Trader’s five reasons to ride ATVs and UTVs in winter.

1. Scenic Snow-Covered Trails

Race across your favorite trails like never before. Winter changes the landscape from lush greenery to frosty and even snow-covered paths. Your trail might look virtually endless with blankets of white flakes covering your off-road routes. Explore breathtaking backcountry trails in winter that most can only access by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, with the power of your four-wheeler or side-by-side. Check with your local ATV trail system to see if they offer winter riding opportunities.

2. Ice Fishing

Pack your rod and reel to ride across a frozen lake for winter ice fishing. If the ice on the lake is thick enough, riding on a frozen lake can be an adrenaline-pumping experience. Load your ATV or UTV up with your gear, and get ready for some ice fishing action. To stay safe, recommend traveling with a group. There should be at least five to seven inches of new, clear ice over the lake. You’ll also want to check the thickness of the ice every 100-150 feet to make sure it is still thick enough to handle the weight of your off-road vehicle.

3. Hunting

Winter is a great time of year for hunting, and your off-roader can get you across snow-covered fields faster than walking. This season also makes hunting easier since you can spot and track animals better in the snow. Winter opens up a range of game species to hunt, so grab your hunting buddies for a day of adventure, then haul your kill back home to warm up.

4. Winter Races

If you love watching fast-paced, high-thrill ATV racing, or you’re a competitor yourself, the competitions don’t stop in winter. Instead of kicking up dirt or sand, competitors create their own flurry of snow as they race along the trails. Here are a few ATV races to check out in winter:

  • AMA ATV Ice Race Grand Championship – The American Motorcyclist Association lets ATV riders get in on the ice racing fun at the annual Grand Championship. To compete, racers must modify their machine to run on frozen lakes and ponds. 
  • Great Lakes Ice Racing – Great Lakes Ice Racing hosts races throughout the season, from January through late February, in Gladstone, Michigan. Open studded quads and open unstudded quads are invited to compete on the icy track as fans cheer them on.
  • Ice Breaker Series – Big Bend Racing and Lucky Thumb Motorcycle Club host the annual Ice Breaker Series of winter races in Michigan. The race is open to several classes of quads over the eight-week period from January through February.
  • MSXC – Mid-South Cross Country Racing tears up the winter terrain with nine series of ATV races that run from late October through early April. The peak of competition takes place December through February on courses in Tennessee and Kentucky.

5. Plow Snow

Put your ATV or UTV to work in winter by using it to plow snow. With a snow plow blade attachment, and the right machine, you can quickly remove snow from driveways, sidewalks, and your yard. You’ll be a community hero if you can give neighbors a hand when winter storms roll around. Check out our previous article for more tips on using ATVs and UTVs to plow snow.

Conclusion: ATVs are called all-terrain vehicles for a reason. Winter riding offers a change of scenery, along with opportunities for ice fishing, hunting, winter races, and plowing snow. Embrace the chilly conditions and get ready to dominate the winter trails on your ATV or UTV.

If you’re looking for a four-wheeler or side-by-side to handle all four seasons, browse the nationwide selection on


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

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