Made for the Mountains - Week 1

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The Start of a 3-Month Adventure to Put the 2022 Land Rover Defender to the Test

Land Rover has made some incredibly bold statements about the 2022 Land Rover Defender:

  • "It's the ultimate expression of power, capability, and design"
  • "It's built for the toughest demands"
  • "You can go beyond where you've gone before"
  • "There's tough, and then there's the 2022 Land Rover Defender"
When it comes to setting expectations, that's setting the bar pretty high. Believe me, I should know.

My name is Tim Ricci and I'm an Internationally Certified Canadian Mountain Guide. My job takes me to some of the most remote mountain venues, and some of the most difficult off-road terrain, Canada has to offer. To do my job well, I don't need "good" ... I need "the best" that the automotive industry has to offer.

So, when I saw the statements Land Rover was making about the all-new 2022 Defender, I proposed a challenge: let me put it to the test. A real test. Not the pretty, made-for-TV tests that a marketing team would want you to see. And to their credit, they agreed. Maybe they're not being overconfident after all.

Over the next three months, I plan on putting the 2022 Land Rover Defender through everything I possibly can. As a guide for Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, Canada's Premier provider of Mountain Adventures for over 40 years, I'm going to be visiting some incredible places this summer. And I'm going to need to rely on the Defender to get me, my clients, and all our gear to wherever we need to go, in whatever weather we encounter, through some of the craziest conditions you're going to find in Canada.

I'll share my experiences with you here, with LAND ROVER CALGARY PRESENTS: MADE FOR THE MOUNTAINS. By the end of the three months, we'll see if the Defender can really go beyond where I've gone before.


Gutted out gravel roads, mountain biking, rock climbing, and even a drive-in movie

Before I did anything crazy in the Defender, I first needed to see if it was even practical. If it's not going to work for me and my family, it's sure not going to work for me and my clients (who, let's face it, are a lot more demanding).

Growing up in the mountains means that we have a multitude of sports to choose from on any given day, and because of that I have garage full of gear. Within hours of picking up the 2022 Defender I had put our bike rack on it, along with four mountain bikes with all our gear.

We headed out to Bragg Creek and hit some of the most amazing mountain bike trails the area has to offer. As to be expected, we dealt with a lot of mud, and hit a lot of puddles. It handled the rack with no issues, especially since the 2022 Land Rover Defender has the ability to lower the back end to make loading up the bikes easier.

We were absolutely filthy, so getting back into the vehicle with mud everywhere was definitely on my mind. Once we were back home in Canmore, I found that cleaning the vehicle was a breeze. All the mats came out easily, and the fold down seating made clean up pretty effortless.

On day two, I loaded up the SUV with climbing gear. My daughter and I were hitting up Grassi Lakes (an incredible climbing location; if you've never been, do yourself a favour and check it out). This was my first time driving it on a gravel road with the Defender, and it was a decent test because the Smith Dorian road up to Spray Lakes is always rutted out. It's a hell of a bumpy drive.

I discovered that the Defender is capable of switching drive modes based on the terrain. These include:

  • Normal driving (like on asphalt or pavement during the daily commute)
  • Grass/Gravel/Snow
  • Mud
  • Sand
  • Rock Crawl

Each of these options can be selected by a press of a button. And I've gotta say, it made for what I would say was the smoothest trip up the Smith Dorian Road I have ever had. Trust me ... I have driven that road hundreds of times over the years. I was wildly impressed.

We had a great climbing session and even by passed some mountain goats driving down!

We decided to have a family night before heading out of town. Why not load up and give a drive-in movie a go?

I had not been to a drive in since I was a kid, and with all the lockdowns on the go we were excited to try something new outside the house. Once there, I backed in the Defender, folded the seats down and was able to adjust the back-end height to give us the best viewing angle. It probably wasn't what Land Rover had in mind when they built that feature, but what can I say, I'm a resourceful guy!

Our entire four-person family watched from the back and ordered some great food from one of the many food trucks, delivered straight to the Defender. Good times all around!

Week 1 Verdict: So far so good! I can't wait to see how it handles the next round: a trip to the Columbia Icefield for a huge trip that combines multiple sports into one day.

Stay tuned!

About Tim Ricci

Tim moved to the mountains over 20 years ago and has not looked back since. Tim is a fully certified Mountain Guide and holds Canadian Avalanche Association Level 3 and Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) Level 3 certifications. Since September 2018 Tim has worked as Yamnuska Mountain Adventures Assistant Director of Operations.  Located in Canmore, Alberta at the Banff National Park gates, Yamnuska is a premier provider of mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, avalanche training and trekking experiences in the Canadian Rockies for over 40 years.  Tim Resides in Canmore, AB, where he lives with his wife Wanessa and two kids, Ella and Miles.

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