STUCK DEEP IN THE WILD
You're kicking up powder and laughing as your 4x4 rig slowly churns up the mountain. Squarely locked in the middle of the caravan headed up, the inevitable happens, and your raised truck gets stuck in a snow drift. On hand with winches and beers, friends are quick to line up and pull you out. Just another great day wheeling in Montana
Any good automotive adventure begins back in the shop. So whether it's heading up the dirt hills in the summer or setting your truck up to mount snow drifts, you'll want to make sure your car is prepped to tackle the mountain. Snow tires with a flexible carcass, wider footprint, and some semi-aggressive tread patterns are our choice for floating on the snow without digging too deep. Another handy trick is airing down the tires to 6-8 psi to increase the capability and add some stability throughout.
Trekking into deep snow-packed areas that only the bold or crazy have tried to drive is dangerous, and you will get stuck. The activity changes from a risky undertaking to a fun afternoon romp by venturing out in a group. The same vehicles that can climb mountains in the winter are also adept at dragging others out of the snow.
Any off-roading community is more than a bunch of people enjoying a hobby - it's a lifestyle all its own. Attracting odd engineers, passionate gearheads, and some of the craziest people we know. Shouts echo off hillsides as a custom Jeep ZJ and Subaru Outback with ridiculous lift kit furiously race up the snowy hillsides. All while our 85' Toyota XTRA Cab slashes snow drifts, and a legion of Toyota 4 Runners and a Chevy Blazer lovingly called "Chey" scramble up the trail. The scene is out of a Hollywood film, and the positive attitude is infectious. Days like these are unforgettable.
Mapping apps like OnyX ensure we know which trail we're blazing today. The mapping software lets you set the course beforehand and send it to others. Once you have the map saved, it'll work even beyond the limits of phone service, which is where the real fun begins. These maps will also allow you to chart a course that stays off private property and sticks to public lands. While public lands are abundant in Montana, some states are dotted with private lands, so staying off them can save money in trespassing fines and, depending on the land owner, sometimes your life.
The last bit is to rip it up and have a damn good time. Memories made venturing into the snow-laden depths of the forest last a lifetime. Conquering the hill or ravine will add challenges and give the incentive to push the limits of that rig you have sitting in the garage. For the SWAE team, some of the best memories have taken place high atop mountains that had no business being conquered in the depths of a Montana winter. Sometimes we conquer a mountain not for the view from the top but for the challenge and camaraderie of doing things others only dream of.