Can-Am’s Inaugural International Off-Road Day
Can-Am Adventures in Sand Hollow, Utah, at Trail Hero 2021
International Off-Road Day
Can-Am started an annual day of off-road community and adventure on October 8, 2021. The company is trying hard to get “International Off-Road Day” global recognition and acceptance by everyone and every company in the off-road space. It’s not just about UTVs or Can-Am. It’s about getting outside with family and friends to explore off-road opportunities and appreciate the places and machines that make it all possible.
“For all of you off-roaders out there around the world, this is a day to celebrate the places we go, the fun we have, the work we get done, the memories we make, and the incredible vehicles that make all of it possible. This isn’t about one machine or one trail, this is about everyone in the global off-road community coming together and celebrating all that is Off-Road Livin’.” -Can-Am
UTV Market Sees Growth
Before 2021 there wasn’t an official Off-Road Day. It was started this year by Can-Am because it saw an opportunity to bring community together and celebrate the massive explosion of growth in the off-road space during the pandemic. There is a huge opportunity here to bring in new entrants to the community and build a stronger industry that is also being respectful of the land, so riding areas can remain open even with more users.
BRP, Can-Am’s parent company, saw that a more diverse customer base has been entering the world of powersports lately; they are younger, have families, and more are women. New riders represented 43 percent of purchasers across the BRP portfolio in a recent quarter, which is more than double historical numbers. A 54 percent up tick in revenues from year-round products, including off-road, in the same quarter also hints at just how massive the growth is in the off-road category right now.
The Beginning of An International Celebration
October 8th was chosen as the date for International Off-Road Day because it is generally a day around the globe that has good weather for off-road adventurers. It is also a date that coincides with the annual Trail Hero event in Sand Hollow, Utah, which has become one of the largest off-road events in North America. A big part of that is the inclusive nature of the Trail Hero event, with everything from UTV to stock 4×4 SUVs to purpose-built rock-buggies all hitting the trails during the event.
It’s about getting outside with family and friends to explore off-road opportunities and appreciate the places and machines that make it all possible.
A good sign that International Off-Road Day is here to stay is that Can-Am dealers on at least three continents held events to celebrate the day. But, more importantly, competitors, like Polaris UK, helped promote the day on social media. Add in that the Trail Hero event has vested interest to see the day help drive participants to its already booming event, from across the off-road user spectrum, and you have a winning formula for bigger and better International Off-Road Days to come.
Can-Am Maze Adventure
From the Trail Hero vendor area on the shores of the Sand Hollow Reservoir we headed off as a big group, around 16 vehicles, in the pouring rain. I had no clue where we were going, but was stoked to be behind the wheel of the latest Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo for a day of challenging off-road adventures with an enthusiastic group of experienced off-road enthusiasts and racers.
To celebrate the inaugural International Off-Road Day, Can-Am assembled a big group of its ambassadors for the trail run. They were nice enough to invite me along to experience life behind the wheel and report on the action. Some of the top names in the UTV space were in attendance. This included; Dustin Jones, Cory Weller, Cowboy Cerrone, Chad Hughes, Rodrigo Ampudia, Jason Murray, Dustin Anderson, and many more. There isn’t really a more all-star list in the UTV world than this lineup. The best part, the whole group acted like family. Everyone was super inclusive and full of stoke.
Hitting The Trails On International Off-Road Day
After a mile or so of whooped out fence-line transit trail, we picked up the pace on a trail called Bobsled. It is exactly as you’d expect from the name: fast, flowy, and full of banked turns. There is little terrain that is more fun when in a lightweight, powerful vehicle with high-end amazing suspension.
After regrouping a few times, we entered a tight trail made entirely of rock. Extremely steep obstacles were around every corner, which were made even more challenging because of the pouring rain. Progress was slow, as we had a huge group for International Off-Road Day and conditions were less than ideal. We also had a few Jeep Wranglers and a Tacoma in the group, which were considerably slower than the smaller UTVs. It was extremely impressive to see the long wheel base, manual transmission Tacoma make its way through such challenging terrain, but it did take time.
About half-way through the trail, our group split in two. Half took an exit trail to head back to the Trail Hero vendor area to get lunch at the scheduled time. They were also looking to dry off and warm up, as many weren’t quite dressed appropriately for the weather and were shivering. The other half of the group, including myself, pressed on to complete the Maze trail.
Maze Trail Gets Interesting
The rain just got harder for the most part, with brief glimpses of sky throughout the day. The second half of the Maze trail has some of the hardest and most technical obstacles on the trail. Even though our group was smaller, it was still slow going.
Everyone was comfortable with the pace, though, as everyone was being safe and taking care of the equipment. We did have one flop over on an obstacle the locals call the ‘Snake Pit.’ The UTV landed in a soft sandy puddle and didn’t even get a scratch. It was quickly winched back onto its wheels and drove away without issue.
After popping out of the rocky Maze trail we hopped onto some more super fast flowy sandy trails to make our way back to the Trail Hero vendor area. It was impressive to see the pace of built race UTVs with experienced racers behind the wheel. While I can’t say I was on pace, I can say I held my own and personally unlocked another level of performance out of these impressive off-road machines. In the end, we ended up on trails for about 6 hours of wet chilly fun.
What Is Trail Hero?
Trail Hero has been around for 6 years, and has quickly earned a marque place on the off-road event calendar. It has become one of the largest off-road vehicle gatherings in North America. The five-day event centers around guided off-road trail runs in Sand Hollow State Park. It also consists of a wide variety of off-road competitions, a big vendor area, and evening parties and bonfires on the beach. And this year they welcomed the inclusion of International Off Road Day.
Trail Hero is a non-denominational event, as they call it. Anything that goes off-road and has four-wheels is encouraged to attend. There is a Jeep gathering, a UTV rally, and plenty of really difficult trails and competition for fully built rock buggies. The event is free for spectators, besides the state park entry fee, and the guided trail runs are a minimal cost. There are special trail runs and donations are made to non-profits to create awareness for how people with special needs and veterans can access our public lands.
There is lots of camping available on site at Sand Hollow State Park and near by, both in organized campgrounds and remote BLM land locations. There are also plenty of hotel options in the surrounding towns of Hurricane and St. George. Side trips to Zion National Park and/or mountain biking on Gooseberry Mesa are also super close.
The Future of International Off-Road Day
We are already looking forward to International Off-Road Day 2022. We can think of no better place to enjoy this day with the off-road community than at Trail Hero in Sand Hollow, Utah. The off-road opportunities are plentiful and diverse, and the area is extremely beautiful. Even in the pouring cold rain, fun can be had all day off-road, at least when surrounded by good people and when driving an extremely fun and capable machine.