Going viral on social media are pictures of a Jeep Grand Cherokee poking out of a huge snow mountain in a Pennsylvania parking lot. “OMG! How?” one commenter asks. “That can not be real” quips another. It seems that nobody understands what’s going on here, but as a Jeep Grand Cherokee owner, I think I have an idea.
Amy Pentz snapped the photos at Marion Auction (which specializes in farm equipment) roughly six miles south of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. “It was crazy,” Pentz told me over Facebook Messenger. “I drove by it on the way home from work and couldn’t believe what I saw. My daughter and I took a picture.”
As for how the 1996-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee wound up in the snow, Pentz doesn’t know. “I’m not sure how it got stuck in that snow pile. Maybe a stunt? It has sure been a popular photo.” she told me. “I’m not sure who would [have] done this either.”
I agree with Pentz that this could have been a stunt, but I think we can get a better understanding of what we’re looking at by analyzing the sick, sick mind of a typical solid-axle Jeep owner. Having been one for over a decade, I can tell you that there is something about huge piles of snow in parking lots that is simply irresistible.
Six years ago, I arrived at work at the Chrysler Technical Center dressed in khakis and a dress shirt, ready to spearhead the company’s electric vehicle cooling system design strategy. I was focused, with my Ti-83 Plus graphing calculator in my lap, and my ridiculously heavy Computer Aided Design-capable laptop in the passenger’s seat. I was about to lead a meeting, the goal of which was to create corporate standard processes for electric vehicle cooling system design. My head was entirely in the game.
Until I saw the snow mound.
I’d just commandeered my friend’s garage for two months to install a lift kit in my 1992 Jeep Cherokee, and my new 31-inch all-terrain tires were looking damn good if I did say so myself. The problem is that I’d ruined my vehicle with this expensive lift and these big tires, and had yet to really test out the vehicle’s improved capabilities.
So I had to do it. I just couldn’t resist:
Roughly two years later, after having turned my $600 Jeep Cherokee, dubbed Project Swiss Cheese, into an off-road beast, I found myself parking like an idiot anytime I had the opportunity:
But it isn’t just lifted Jeeps that cause their drivers to act a fool. When I was in high school, my brothers and I regularly beat the crap out of this 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (quite similar to the one stuck in the snow mound in PA):
I recall visiting a gym in Fort Leavenworth with my brother Michael. It had snowed recently, and there was a gigantic pile of crystallized water in the parking lot. “Should I do it?” he asked me. (This was a typical refrain from him in that Jeep. He’d take us to a ridiculously difficult obstacle — an impossibly steep hill or an absurdly deep mud pit — and always ask me “Should I do it?” I always answered yes, and he always went for it).
Naturally, I answered with an affirmative, so he slowly lined up the front bumper with the pile of snow, and gradually pressed the accelerator pedal. After only getting the Jeep up the slope a few feet, Mike backed up, lined the front bumper up again, and then stabbed the rightmost pedal. The Jeep rocketed to the top of the pile until the rear wheels were in the air, incapable of propelling the Jeep further.
“We’ll deal with this later,” he said, opening his door, and jumping three feet down to snow below before slamming his closure and heading in to get swole.
We worked out for a few hours, and then enjoyed another workout trying to dig all of the snow from under our bone-stock Grand Cherokee so we could give those tires some grip. In the end, we had to get towed off that parking lot snow mound by a kind soldier in a Jeep Wrangler. It was an absurd sight.
Anyway, my point is that there’s a good chance that the Grand Cherokee stuck in the mound at the Marion Auction in Marion, Pennsylvania could very well have gotten there as a result of the aforementioned Jeep-Owner Snow Mound Temptation that has baffled psychologists since 1941.
Perhaps a snowplow operator got upset by the Jeep’s childish parking job, and simply continued adding snow to the pile, ignoring the vehicle entirely? It’s just a guess, but if true, whoever parked this Jeep is an absolute legend, even if she or he doesn’t feel that way having to dig the vehicle out and repair what appears to be broken windows, and probably a few dents as well.
Still. Worth it.
UPDATE (Feb 5, 2021 1 P.M. ET): After initially leaving a voicemail, I followed up and was able to get in touch with Marion Auction. Per the representative, what we’re seeing is something that the company does annually. Last year, the vehicle buried in the snow was a car, not a Jeep, and usually the vehicle involved gets a “Don’t Text And Drive” sign. This year’s Jeep had had its catalytic converters hacked off, and though it could be made drivable, the representative told me, the company decided to just burry it in the snow mountain.