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PHONE: (775) 629.2000
FAX: (775) 629.2029

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NATC Winter Test-West Yellowstone Airport, Montana

NATC's West Yellowstone Facility

The Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC), a subsidiary of Hodges Transportation, has utilized the West Yellowstone Airport Facility, located in Southern Montana as its primary winter test site since 1957. With optimal winter test conditions, this 735-acre facility offers approximately two million square feet of groomed test surfaces, virgin snow and mobility areas, and expanded facilities, NATC's Winter Test Facility is one of the world's premier locations for cold climate vehicle and tire testing, and training facilities.


As the West Yellowstone Airport operates only six months of the year, June 1st through September 30th, NATC has arranged, with the state of Montana, to lease the facility for exclusive testing and training purposes between, October 1st and May 1st, each year. NATC offers comprehensive winter testing solutions, along with complete facility and security support to meet individual customer needs, including:

  • Vehicle preparation and maintenance
  • Tire mounting and changing area
  • On-site instrumentation technicians and equipment for test support
  • On-site vehicles to support dynamic logitudinal and lateral traction testing
  • Complete on-board data acquisition equipment
  • ASTM, SAE, ISO, GM, Ford and RMA "snowflake" testing standards

    Support Facilities

  • Shops (2,000 sq.ft.)
  • Office (300 sq. ft.)
  • Storage (Van Trailers as Required)


    An 8' security fence protects NATC's Exclusive use of the facility and any customers desiring absolute security and privacy. NATC will not compromise individual security or privacy when the facility is shared.

    Testing Capabilities

    NATC extends access to the Airport for both commercial and military entities seeking testing or support in a winter environment. In addition, NATC is capable of customization for both customers and test requirements including:

  • Dynamic Driving and Lateral Traction
  • Dynamic Peak and Slide Braking
  • ABS Braking
  • Subjective and Objective Handling and Stability
  • Snow Packing
  • Acceleration
  • Traction Control Systems (TCS)
  • Mobility
  • Snow Removal Equipment Testing
  • Testing of Snow Removal Apparatuses, Snowmobiles and other snow-related equipment
  • Durability Testing

    Winter Testing Areas

  • Vehicle Dynamics Areas: Terminal Apron (2,200'x250'), Taxiway (8,400'x75'), Runway (8,400'x150')
  • Handling Course
  • Road Course
  • Grades
  • Ice Lane with J-turns

    Drivers Training and Education

    NATC offers driver education training that can be structured to suit a wide variety of vehicle operating scenarios. NATC's training services are appropriate for drivers of passenger cars, military vehicles, tractor-trailer combinations, commercial and school busses. law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, and public utility service vehicles, as well as for heavy equipment operators. Courses can be structured for varying skill levels and for specific driving situations such as snow plow operations and most other winter driving conditions. NATC also offers an advanced threat avoidance driving course intended primarily for corporate, government, or diplomatic chauffeurs.

    Tire Testing

    NATC has the ability to prepare tire test surfaces ranging from virgin snow over a packed snow base, to a hard packed snow base that may be encountered on traffic-packed highway surfaces. Courses are wheel packed as fresh snow accumulates providing a base of snow, packed to a depth of three to six inches. All vehicle handling areas are consistently maintained. In addition to maintaining the snow base, a road grader cuts the surface after the base is packed to a uniform compaction. This method is also used several times during the testing period, providing customers with uniformity. Prior to the courses being re-packed and re-groomed all loose snow and debris are removed.

    Surface Conditions

  • Virgin-Fresh Snow
  • Soft Pack (CTI 50-70)
  • Moderate Pack (CTI 70-80)
  • Hard Pack (CTI 80-90)
  • Ice; Frozen or Melting, Indoor and Outdoor

    The moderately packed snow dynamic driving and lateral and braking traction tests are conducted on prepared courses. This moderately packed snow is representative of freshly fallen snow on a highway that has been tire packed, having a compaction reading of 70 to 80 on the standard CTI penetrometer. The SAE average coefficient of the Standard Reference Test Tire (SRTT;ASTM E-1136) falls between .25 and .38 while the surface temperature ranges between +10 to +25 degrees F during tests.

    Instrumented Vehicles for Traction Testing

    Dynamic Force Measurement Vehicles (DFMVs) are specially built by NATC to calculate forces acting on tires during operation, allowing quantification of longitudinal and lateral traction. Each DFMV is equipped with on-board instrumentation, for data acquisition, and a fully selectable drive system to allow -slip measurements, on a single test tire. NATC's five DFMVs provide a range of capabilities from 13 to 24.5-inch rim sizes and 470 to 10,000-pounds of tri-axial load and slip measurements.

    On-Site Test Support

    NATC maintains a variety of on-site equipment and vehicles that are available to support testing efforts and insure consistency. In addition, NATC offers a diverse group of experienced personnel to assist in all capacity testing and/or customer need requirements.

    Support Equipment

  • Tire Maintenance Equipment
  • Compressed Air
  • Fabrication Equipment
  • Instrumentation Support
  • Vehicle Maintenance Equipment
  • Vehicle Payload Materials

    Support Vehicles

  • OshKosh Sno-Go Highway Rotary Blower
  • GMC two and a half ton snow plow
  • A one-ton and three-quarter ton GMC pick-up equipped with snow plows
  • John Deere 570A Motor Grader
  • 12 Foot Wide Wheel Packer
  • Special Snow Grooming Devices

    Test Personnel

  • Test Engineer
  • Test Technicians
  • Tire Technicians
  • Instrumentation Technicians
  • Maintenance Technicians

    P.R. Event Hosting

    In addition to its testing capabilities, the West Yellowstone Test Facility is an excellent choice for marketing and P.R. events. For these events NATC provides experienced, onsite, personnel who are available to assist with event facilitation and function. Recent marketing events have included; Continental Tire Arctic Blast and Nitto Tire Demonstration Events.


    The West Yellowstone facility is conveniently accessible from nearby Bozeman, located approximately 90 minutes north of the testing facility, with flight service provided by Delta, United, and Northwest Airlines. As West Yellowstone is a popular recreation destination year-round, early reservations are advised. This area is replete with a variety of recreational winter activities including; ready access to Big Sky Resort, snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling and any number of additional recreational areas. As NATC begins another great year in West Yellowstone, we look forward to serving all of your winter test and recreation needs. For additional information and to reserve your space please contact Jesse Bennett, Test Engineer at NATC today (775-629-2000 or


    For your convenience NATC has negotiated a special rate with the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana. The Holiday Inn is located at 315 Yellowstone Avenue, West Yellowstone, MT 59758 just 3 miles from the NATC testing facility. Please follow the link below to have the NATC rate applied. Should you need to contact the hotel directly you can reach the Holiday Inn at 1-406-646-7365. We look forward to seeing you and hope you enjoy your stay.

    Holiday Inn West Yellowstone


    Nevada Automotive Test Center
    a division of Hodges Transportation, Inc.
    Post Office Box 234, Carson City, Nevada 89702

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