4X4 Skills, Training, Recovery – Colorado Schools for Off-Road Driving
We simply can’t know everything about everything. And for most, the unknown is not an easy place to “visit” (for fun), especially when it comes to exploring into remote wilderness / desert locations via dirt roads. With that, anything off the tarmac / pavement is the “UNKNOWN” for those who have yet explore beyond the gripping confines of paved road. Yes, we are talking about dirt roads. This may be a “weird concept” for those of you living in rural areas where every road is a dirt road, except for the one that connects you to your local WalMart and Home Deport. But for those in the urban – suburban area’s, you have lived a life gripped to tarmac.
The New Yorker (of all the Magazines…) published a story written by M. R. O’Connor called “Dirt-Road America – What do you see when you escape the pavement?”
Somewhere along in life, you chose to get yourself an AWD vehicle, a 4X4 truck or better yet, a bonified Toyota Land Cruiser! Maybe your friends got one and “I want to be different, just like all my friends!” Or, maybe it was left to you by your father or grandfather and now you want to kick up a little dust down some old dusty “unknown” road as you did as a kid, but now you are the “responsible one,” now you are the one driving, the one making the choices as to where you will go to test your “dirt-skills” and the mechanical ability of your rig. Typically we are very lacking in the skills of what an old FJ40 can do or the stock 80-Series Land Cruiser with it’s well suited stock suspension that can get us into plenty of “I’m in the deep end of the swimming pool” moments.
Many of us grew up thrashing our dad’s pickups in the woods, learning the long hard way of using a “come-a-long” aka hand-winch for mud hole extraction. For the rest of us getting acquainted with with dirt on four wheels for the first time, maybe some proper “schooling” in a controlled environment is more suited for curricular educational learning. I am sure some of our bad habits could be “un-learned” with some proper field-classroom instructional direction from trained professionals.
HIGHER DIRT LEARNING – RIGHT HERE IN COLORADO!
CUSTOM 4WD RECOVERY SYSTEMS – C4RS
With Red Line Land Cruisers being located in Colorado, we look first those who provide educational 4X4 skills training here. Our first call was to our buddy at Custom 4WD Recovery Systems (C4RS) as they are experts in off road recovery! We use C4RS’s high quality custom & production off road mobility recovery gear & systems but they also provide top level & hands on mobility & recovery training for military & civilian markets. As of late, they have been working more in the military capacity, but we will be talking to them more on the civilian side soon! Stay tuned for more updates from C4RS on the Red Line Land Cruisers Blog Section!
ON TRAIL TRAINING
On Trail Training was founded by Matt Balazs, has over a decade of experience as a professional off-road guide in the Colorado High Country. Matt recognized a need for qualified driving and recovery instruction, thus On Trail Training was born. Located in the front range of Colorado, On Trail Training offers classes for anyone with an interest in traveling off road in a full-size vehicle.
The folks at Pathfinders 4X4 understands there is much more to driving in the backcountry than just turning a key and pressing the skinny pedal. 4X4’s are unique machines and there are specialized techniques needed for their use. PF4X4‘s instructional program covers winching techniques and usage of the venerable Hi-Lift jack, tire selection, mechanical items, driving techniques and survival prep. PF4X4 tailors their course to each student and also conduct WOMEN ONLY classes. Novices and experts alike benefit from increasing their understanding of the physics involved and the strategies to employ when venturing off road. Give yourself the opportunity to learn proper techniques in order to get maximum performance, enjoyment, and safety from your time spent in the backcountry. And you can even rent a 4X4 with the PF4X4 team!
BILL BURKE’S 4-WHEELING AMERICA – SINCE 1986
Bill Burke is an internationally recognized trainer and recovery expert who teaches back country driving techniques, winching and extrication methods, vehicle preparation and maintenance, land navigation and woods skills through classes, private training, instructor and trail leader courses to individuals, families, groups, clubs, vehicle manufacturers and dealers, tour operators, government agencies, and all organizations that use 4WD vehicles in their operations.
4-Wheel Drive Education starts with an understanding of how a 4-wheel drive (4WD) works, giving you insight into why your 4WD performs as it does. Bill, through his experience as an ASE Master Truck Technician and the use of training aids, will teach you how to get the most out of your 4WD. Each obstacle, stuck vehicle, and piece of 4WD equipment becomes a discussion, a demonstration, and an opportunity for learning. Safety is fundamental.
Bill’s sense of humor and history, geographical expertise, and environmental insight combine to give a greater sense of civilization as we know it relative to the prospectors, explorers, natives and dinosaurs who were on the trail before us! His comprehension of group dynamics and personalities means that even in large groups, each person feels like a vital part of the training rather than merely a participant. From first-time 4-wheelers to highly experienced drivers, each student will expand their skill level exponentially under Bill’s watchful eye.
THE INTERNATIONAL 4WD TRAINERS ASSOCIATION – I4WDTA®
The mission of the I4WDTA® is to promote environmentally responsible, safe, and skilled 4WD use by educating and certifying 4WD instructors that have a proven ability to transfer knowledge and skills to 4WD users through the most up to date training curriculum.
The I4WDTA is composed of Certified Trainers who, collectively have among them literally centuries of off-road, back country, and vehicle recovery experience. Some have motorsports, independent guide, and training businesses; others may serve as after-market vehicle equipment manufacturers or specialty vehicle builders; still others are automotive vehicle consultants or engineers. The Association represents a diverse population of men and women who share a similar passion – the safe operation of Off Highway Vehicles (OHV), cherishing the outdoors, and providing years of enjoyment for all OHV enthusiasts.
I4WDTA equips individuals, many new to this recreational activity, with the the knowledge and skill-sets for operating an OHV at the best of their ability and prepare themselves for potential challenges they could meet on the trail. The I4WDTA motto is, “the most valuable 4WD equipment you can purchase is what you put between your ears!”
On a different level of training are the Educational events held at the Overland EXPO’s each year.
Overland Expo® is the premier overlanding event series in the world—no other event offers the scope of classes taught by the world’s leading experts alongside a professional-level trade show that brings together all the camping and vehicle and motorcycle equipment and services you need to Get Outfitted. Get Trained. Get Inspired. Get Going.
• MAY 20-22, 2022 EXPO WEST – FT. TUTHILL COUNTY PARK FLAGSTAFF, AZ, USA
• JULY 8-10, 2022 EXPO PNW – DESCHUTES COUNTY EXPO CENTER BEND, REDMOND, OR
• AUGUST 26-28, 2022 EXPO MTN WEST – THE RANCH – LOVELAND, CO, USA
• OCTOBER 7-9, 2022 EXPO EAST – OAK RIDGE ESTATES, ARRINGTON, VIRGINIA
YET ANOTHER LEVEL OF DIRT – C4X4RAR IS NO JOKE!!!
Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery (C4X4RAR) is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in vehicle recoveries on 4×4 trails. C4X4RAR Search and Rescue – Emergency Support Team provides emergency support to local and state agencies through large area vehicle based search, person extraction, back-country access support, communications support and other means. C4X4RAR never charge for our services and operate entirely on donations and membership dues nationwide. All donations and dues received support C4X4RAR rescue and recovery missions as C4X4RAR have no paid positions. C4X4RAR quickly organize teams and manage recoveries coordinating with Sheriff Offices, Local Police, The US Forest Service, the BLM and Search and Rescue Teams.