Clinics & Demos

What it feels like…

To mess up a river-rescue rope toss:

Photo courtesy of All Terrain Images

“A fellow guide was trying to throw the rope bag to [someone who’d fallen out of their boat] on the French Broad. He had the bag in one hand and the rope in the other, like you’re supposed to. And it was a great throw: It went right to the victim. But he threw the whole thing—the end of the rope got loose from his hand. Another guide in a boat had to pick up the victim.”

— Jeff Makey, owner, River Right Instruction

To ride a mountainboard:

“I think most riders would say that it feels like snowboarding without the snow. All the techniques you would use on a snowboard [are] very similar to what you use on a mountainboard. Some people liken it to surfing. We’re about to break ground on a terrain park up in Banner Elk, so it would be like a snowboard ride in spring, summer and fall.”

— Matt McClain, president of mountainboard manufacturer Ground Industries

To get your Land Rover off a rock without using a winch:

“You feel it in the seat of your pants, the vehicle putting more torque on one side or the other. It’s very different from driving through mud. Driving over rocks, your suspension is going up and down. I had picked the wrong line [on the route], and one rock got caught on the undercarriage. You don’t just throttle forward. It’s very easy to punch a hole in your oil pan or transmission. (Can you say ‘expensive’?) We jacked up the right rear wheel and built it up … with rocks, so when we lowered the tire, it raised up the rear end of the vehicle so we could move.”

To drive down a steep, muddy hill in competition:

“You have to just suck it up and stay off the brake, despite the little panic you feel, because if you brake, you’ll go sideways over the mountain. The vehicle needs to be geared down to its lowest level before you start downhill. And you go slow.”

But why not just use a winch to get free?

“My jeep has a winch, but I was very intimidated by it. A cable can pop back; you can catch your hand when you spool the cable back. You need somebody to show you how it works. If you get stuck in some of these remote places, forget your cell phone, forget AAA: You’re on your own. I’ve had to winch out before, [but] an old-fashioned Hi-Lift jack is the No. 1 tool off-roaders carry, if they have any sense.”

— retired engineer Milton Milner, a graduate of the Land Rover Experience




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