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Hitting the powder

I don’t think there is anyone in this country that will be sad to see the end of winter, especially one like we just experienced. So with the snow receding, giving us the first look at grass and fields again, you might think I’d be turning my attention in this entry to seeding or something summery like that.

But I am going to make one last mention of winter and snow. Why? Well, because I came back from snowy Quebec last week after having spent a couple of days field testing Can Am’s newest line of ATVs and UTVs equipped with the brand’s add-on track systems, one of which is designed specifically for snow.

Can Am recently introduced the Apache Backcountry and long track Backcountry LT track systems for its machines, and a group of journalists, me included, was invited to test them and see for ourselves just what they’re capable of. And what they’re capable of in snow turned out to be pretty impressive. I spent a day taking both a side-by-side Can Am Defender and a couple of ATVs over snow in the mountains north of Quebec City that was too deep to walk in.

For producers who feed cattle in remote locations over the winter, an ATV or UTV equipped with these tracks would come in pretty handy. If they handled the kind of snow we experienced in the wilds of Quebec, I’m sure they can handle the comparatively little we get on the prairie. (The snow level was up to the eaves of the houses in Quebec City, no exaggeration.)

I have to admit this was one of those field tests that rate pretty high on the fun meter. We convoyed a group of Can Am machines up and down some out-of-season logging roads in Quebec, hill climbed and broke powder with them too. I think the only similar experience I can recall was when I was training in how to operate Jet Skis in English Bay at Vancouver several years ago. But that was for another job!

When it comes to running in snow, I have to say I wouldn’t have expected that kind of performance from an ATV or UTV even with tracks.

The Backcountry track system is designed specifically for snow, but Can Am also offers an all season track system, the Apache 360, which can operate in mud, snow or anything. For producers who spend time in the early spring soil sampling in wet fields, the 360 would be a useful option. And it still offers a really big advantage in snow

As you’d expect, the 360 all terrain tracks didn’t perform quite as well in the deep snow as the Backcountry modules. But they did pretty well nonetheless.

The machines maintain their full load rating, whether running on wheels or tracks. And once tracks are initially installed, switching back and forth with tires is as simple as changing a tire.

As usual whenever we do a Grainews field test, the video cameras were there, and we’ll have online video posted soon to give you a better idea of what we were up to. Of course, we’ll also feature a full report on the tracks later in the summer. So if you’re thinking of adding tracks to a farm ATV or UTV, watch for it in the pages of Grainews.




About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.


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