Russian ATV lets You Drive on Broken Ice

Showing up with the most exotic rig at an ATV party is a common goal, if not just a dream for many. It’s one thing to have a solid Yamaha, or even a HUMVEE, but there are other pedigrees that bring even more prestige to the mud and the rocks and now even the broken lake ice.

The Pinzgauer is one such vehicle. Named for an Austrian breed of horse, this boxy but nimble vehicle is something of an icon in European militaries. I rode in one during Moab’ Jeep Week back in 1998, and they really are part tank, part mountain goat. 

The Russians now have fielded another one that makes the American Tanks at the 1944 Normandy invasion seem even sillier, what with their canvas skirts and tinker toy framework design to let them float ashore.

With the new Sherp ATV, a rig produced in St. Petersburg, the Russians have once again taken the simplest route to solve a problem: Giant tires provide buoyancy and ballast, letting the Sherp break open frozen lake ice and drive on the chunks.

It weighs just under 3,000 pounds and comes equipped with a 44.3 horsepower Kubota V1505 diesel engine, giving it a modest 28 mph on land.

The self-inflating tires make it look like a big combination of a Stomper and a tank, but lakes with open ice are not an obstacle for it at all. Still, watching the thing crack through the ice and then bob like a cork, sometimes rolling dramatically forward, can give even the hardiest off-roader some special problems.

But even if it does become swamped, the Sherp has an on-board bailing system, which rapidly drains any water an over excited driver may take on. And the rig comes with a protective polymer shell, which doesn’t mean bullet proof, but at least durable.

The Sherp retails for $65,000, but if you want a larger cabin and a hard top, you’ll pay $70,000.

It might be worth it to spend all that money just to paint your Sherp olive drab with a big red star on the hood. Then you could freak out your friends by bombing through the ice and surviving. 

Photo credit: Youtube