For most people, the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City ended with the closing ceremonies, but for owners of Sportsmobile's 4x4 camper vans, the games went on into the summer. Just outside Park City, Utah, not far from the Olympic Village, Sportsmobile West continued its annual tradition with its sixth annual Sportsmobile Rally in the slickrock town of Moab. Because many owners are new to off-roading or are moving up from smaller 4x4s and SUVs, participants in past rallies have asked for real-world training so they can take full advantage of their vans' off-road capability. In response, this year's rally focused on driver training, exploring the van's limits, solutions to common off-road problems, and seminars by Quigley Motor Company (maker of the van's 4x4 system) and Warn on winching--all a part of Sportsmobile's version of the Olympics.
A close look at a Sportsmobile explains a lot about its owners. This custom aspect attracts buyers who want their Sportsmobiles to fit the specific demands of their varied interests. At any Sportsmobile gathering--whether around a Baja surf spot, ski resort, fly-fishing area, dirt-bike trailhead, or the annual rally--you'll find extreme-sports types, retirees, bankers, adventurous singles, car-campers moving up or Class-A RV-ers moving down, family vacationers, or backcountry explorers, all comparing notes on the custom features of their vans and the most interesting places they've explored.
The vans can be found across America, with a few in Europe, Africa, Australia, and Japan. One customized model was even spotted in Russia. Wherever they travel in the world, one thing owners agree on is that a quick stop isn't possible anywhere there are people. Inevitably, owners returning to a ski-area parking lot or emerging from the local market will find a small crowd wanting to know more about the vehicle.