We joined Can-Am at one of the largest off-road vehicle gatherings in North America for the first annual International Off-Road Day. What ensued was a rainy, muddy, glorious day on the trails.
Looking out the plane window on approach at the Saint George, Utah, airport, I got my first glimpse of the massive rocky plateau and bright red sand dunes that make up the Sand Hollow State Park. This beautiful landscape would be my playground for the next few days.
I was headed to Sand Hollow State Park to experience International Off-Road Day at the huge Trail Hero off-road event as a guest of Can-Am. The main event on my itinerary was a trail run with a bunch of top ambassadors and racers for the brand.
Never heard of International Off-Road Day? Well, let’s dive in, because it was a ton of fun.
“International Off-Road Day is for everyone around the five continents who, like us, has off-roading in their DNA,” said Julie Tourville, Director Global Marketing, Can-Am Off-Road at BRP.
“Let’s come together and celebrate that lifestyle and the off-road experiences that make us happy. It doesn’t matter what vehicle you drive — just get out and ride, and be thankful for the land, the trails, the fun, and of course, the vehicles that get the job done in some of the harshest conditions out there.”
October 8, 2021, was the first-ever International Off-Road Day. The day was created by Can-Am but is not just about the company or UTVs. Can-Am wants to bring together the massively growing off-road community on one special day a year to help educate everyone on best practices for public land use and, above all, have fun.
Can-Am filled me in on some data about how rapidly growing this community really is. BRP, Can-Am’s parent company, has recently seen a 54% increase in revenues for year-round products, like UTVs.
Add in the fact that 43% of purchasers are new riders, up more than double from historical numbers, and you get an idea of just how many new people are getting into off-road adventure vehicles.
BRP has also seen a much more diverse customer base entering the powersports community. They are younger and have families, and a higher percentage are women. This all bodes well for continued growth in the space.
Can-Am Maverick Machines
During Can-Am’s trail run at the Trail Hero event, I got to spend time behind the wheel of two of Can-Am’s top UTV machines: the 2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo and then the 2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR.
Those are long vehicle names, but each letter and number tells you something about the machine. The important part for this adventure is the “RC” designation, as that lets you know these are the rock-crawling models.
The 2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo offers 120 horsepower, 14 inches of ground clearance, 18 inches of wheel travel, 30-inch tires wrapped on 14-inch wheels, and more. This 64-inch wide and 102-inch wheelbase armored-up UTV starts at $24,099.
The machine I spent the most time in is the 2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR. There are only two more letters in the name, but they mean a lot. First, you get 195 horsepower, a full 75 more ponies. You also get 2 more inches of ground clearance and 4-plus inches of additional wheel travel.
You also get bigger tires, 32-inch tires on 15-inch wheels. The RR model is also a whopping 72 inches wide, has a Smart-Lok front differential, upgraded shocks, a metal roof, included front intrusion bar in the roll cage, and more. The 2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR starts at $29,799.
I’m super pumped that I got to truly put these capable machines to the test. On the way to and from the main trail of the day (called the Maze), we did a trail called Bobsled. As you’d imagine, it has tons of banked turns, is super fast, and is loads of fun.
I had no clue what I was in for when signing up for this adventure but was super excited, and a bit nervous, when we ended up on the Maze trail. This trail is rated an 8 out of 10 in difficulty — and that’s on a dry, sunny day, not a windy, rainy, and cold day in the clouds like we had for International Off-Road Day.
I was with an all-star UTV crew, though, so I just watched, listened, and used a lot of skinny pedal to make it happen and keep up. The UTV talent in our group included the likes of Dustin Jones, Cowboy Cerrone, Chad Hughes, Rodrigo Ampudia, Jason Murray, Dustin Anderson, and more. The most impressive part to me was how the whole group was super inclusive and just generally full of stoke.
Overall, even with our huge group of 16-plus vehicles and the crazy pouring rain, we had few problems on the trail. We had one flopover in our group on an obstacle the locals call the Snakepit, but I don’t think the Can-Am even had a scratch. And it took maybe 6 minutes to winch it back over and drive it up the obstacle.
Most of that time I spent in the puddle under the vehicle searching for the tiny plastic UTV key that had been bumped out by the driver’s knee when the vehicle tipped.
Before my flight out, I also squeezed in another Can-Am off-road adventure, this time in much more pleasant weather. The sun was out and I joined ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours for an off-road tour of the Sand Hollow State Park. My group was both Can-Am UTV and ATV vehicles and consisted of all guys from a bachelor party, still hungover from the night before.
As you’d expect, the tour started off mellow as the morning sun warmed up the desert and the group woke up and acclimated to their machines. I was the tail-gunner for this big group of about 10 vehicles, Can-Am UTVs and ATVs. This allowed me to have a little fun and use my newfound UTV driving skills a bit without giving the group any bright ideas.
Near the end of the tour, we got to attack some big sand dunes. For a single-file, drive in the leader’s tracks kind of program, this was tons of fun. I high-pointed many a dune and had some fun sliding the UTV around a bit, just enough to stay within the rules of the tour and stay on the good side of the guides.
A few in the group, of course, got a bit rowdier than their skills allowed, but the guides were on top of it quickly and stopped the behavior before things got out of hand.
A big shoutout to the team at ATV Jeep & Adventure Tours for a great tour, excellent professionalism, and entertaining guides. You can book your own Can-Am adventure in a wide range of amazing areas through Uncharted Society.
More International Off-Road Day
I’m personally stoked to see International Off-Road Day take off as an annual event. For me, bringing loads of fresh entrants into the space into the community and educating them on Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace ethics, along with driving and recovery skills, is the most important part.
There is so much worth learning on all these fronts, and many people tend to overlook the basics. I understand though, as just jumping in and mashing the skinny pedal on one of these lightweight powerful UTVs is such a blast. I’m still grinning from my UTV adventures with Can-Am at the Trail Hero event, and look forward to more soon.