Our heaviest snow fall this winter, only 4 - 5 inches but it is enough to weigh down all the frond on this cycad revoluta. I have 3 of these from a small one bought on a DIY shop, up to this larger one.
While I wouldn't say they thrive unprotected with me, they do survive and push out new flushes every other year. There is a definite knack to getting them to flush, watering at the right time and lots of nitrogen seems to be trick most people use.
This one is due to flush this year so fingers crossed I'll be posting pictures of it come early summer.