There are still pockets of nice snow that nobody has been on this winter north of Denali State Park and south of Igloo. We headed up to a good spot between Honolulu and E. Fork Chulitna and played in the woods and lower foothills on the east side of the highway. It's nice that it's only 1 1/2 hours from the house for us.
The snow up that way is set up super well. You can still get stuck, but you have to try hard. Not any great powder, but great for exploring and hill climbs in the woods. I managed to stick the Bearcat a mere 100' off the highway in a place I couldn't turn around and nobody could get past me, facing uphill of course. Amazingly, 5 minutes of shoveling and the application of the Snobunje jumped it right out and back on top of the snow. This allowed one of the kids on a mountain sled to get by me a pack a trail. Once they made a couple passes at the first hill I went right up. From then on we worked together to pick a trail through the spruce to the high country. Bands of alders were no match for the super pig Bearcat as I smashed a trail for the younger guys to follow. Once above treeline we messed around in some of the small hills staying off the big stuff since it was so wind loaded. We had a bunch of fun jumping (yes a Bearcat can jump) off some wind ledges into a drainage and jumping our way back out of them.
The flat light was killing us and one of my bad lines found a creek that had about 5 "S" turns in about 100 yards. I managed to jump 4 of them before launching right into the 5th. I managed to case the other side and at least the Bearcat was primarily on dry land. It was at this point that the kids dubbed the Bearcat "Shamu"... a fitting name that will probably stick.
Is the Bearcat a mountain sled? Nope, but you can still have fun on it if you are physically up to it. The 4-stroke will climb hills like nobody's busniess if it has traction. It will get you places no Bearcat should go...and I found a few of them Riding a big machine like this with your brakes locked and still moving downhill at 30mph will get your attention.