What do you get when you cross an ATV with a tank? An ATV with tracks. It might not boast the artillery of a tank, but its ability to manoeuvre through tough terrain—snow in particular—rivals the hulking mechanical behemoths. If you’ve ever wondered, “Could my quad climb this mountain in the snow?” then equip some tracks and find out for yourself.
Allen Parsons is part of the Powell River ATV Club and an avid ATV tracker. He, along with other members of the club, have been opening up a route onto the Sentinel Ridge outside of Powell River, B.C., for the last four years so they can ride through the area in winter. It will only be accessible for riders with tracks, a snowmobile or ski snowshoes. “We do not want wheeled ATVs in the area,” said Parsons. “They make a mess of the beautiful alpine area.”
Parsons rides a King Quad 750 equipped with the T4S Camoplast rubber track system. “You can ride over rocks, logs, slide alder and mud,” he said. “They just last longer if you stick to snow.”
Handling an ATV on tracks is a little different than what you’re accustomed to on wheels. Parsons had some advice for riders new to shredding on treads. “Gear down the ATV with tracks so you're not working the motor as hard,” he said. “Do not travel as fast as when you’re on wheels. They make the ATV a little harder to steer so you should be moving before you try turning the machine. But you can go almost anywhere you want.”
“An ATV with tracks turns your unit into a good, year-round machine,” — Photo courtesy Allen Parsons
Riding an ATV with tracks instead of a snowmobile offers a few unique advantages. “With a sled, you need the open space to get your speed up and it's hard to manoeuvre around trees and tight areas,” Parsons said. “With an ATV, you can just crawl around tight corners if need be. We have pulled lots of sleds out after they dug themselves big holes. Plus, an ATV with tracks turns your unit into a good, year-round machine.”
Thanks to Powell River’s hundreds of kilometres of trails and backcountry roads, Parsons never tires of exploring the scenic wonderland. “An ATV with tracks is an old man’s set of snowshoes. You no longer have to spend the day snowshoeing the logging road. In Powell River, we have very few restrictions on where you can ride with tracks.”
If you’ve been looking for an alternative to riding a snowmobile or ATV with wheels, maybe it’s time to swap out your ATV’s wheels for a different set of rubber. ATV tracks might take you to places you never thought possible.
“They make the ATV a little harder to steer,” said Parsons, “but you can go almost anywhere you want.” — Photo courtesy Allen Parsons