Winter in the Northeast United States can be a grim time for any overlanding enthusiast. There’s just not a lot going on, especially compared to the summer and fall when we’re out in our vehicles almost every weekend. It gets so bad that you’ll do just about anything to beat that winter overlanding jones. It was in such desperation that the Vermont Overland Winter Challenge, the latest creation from Vermont Overland, was spawned.
There’s a reason why there’s a marked dearth of winter overlanding events in the Northeast. There just aren’t that many options available. Sure, there’s Bruce Fowler’s most-excellent Maine Winter Romp, but that’s generally a green-oval-only event and it’s a bit of a hike. And, yes, we can always head to an off-road park and, in fact, we considered that, but that doesn’t really give you the Vermonty vibe for which all VO events are now well known. The problem is that Vermont’s primary overlanding attraction, its abundance of beautiful unmaintained Class 4 town highways, is pretty much off limits between mid-December and early May for snowmobiling and mud season (yes, we actually have a season called mud). Sure, with careful research and planning, you can find some Class 4s that are not snowmobiled, but it’s still considered bad form to travel these roads in winter months. Even it that weren’t the case, Vermont has snow in February, so much so that any sort of event utilizing a circuit of public trails would quickly be log-jammed with the first truck flogging itself to break trail while all followers endlessly wait. Not exactly a fun proposition. So what to do.