Toyota New Hights: Shredding pow and testing out Toyota’s new SUVs in Breckenridge, CO

Comments by Jonathan Glass/

This past winter we got an interesting call from the good folks at Toyota. They were coming to Breckenridge with team rider, Elena Hight, for two days of shredding with the Olympian and testing out the new fleet of 4-wheel and all-wheel drive Toyotas.

We don’t get these types of calls often, obviously, as our product testing doesn’t extend much further than snowboard related gear and gadgets. So this wasn’t a trip I was going to pass up. And since our Editor-in-Chief, Susie Floros, was at Baldface Lodge for the Red Bull Ultra Natural, I was next in line (insert fist pump)…
As I’ve never been on a trip like this – a media trip with editors from various outlets not associated with snowboarding – I didn’t know what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised to find some top dogs from blogs I follow including Selectism’s Jeff Carvalho and Gear Patrol’s Ben Bowers.

Day one would kick off with an intense morning of testing out Toyota’s new outfit of vehicles including the new Venza – a smaller, all-wheel drive vehicle in the Toyota SUV family – the RAV4, FJ Cruiser, 4Runner and Land Cruiser. Naturally, I flocked to the 4Runner and FJ Cruiser, both of which proved to be beasts in the snow.

When sitting in the FJ, you felt you could conquer anything in your path. The dashboard was lit up with every stat you could wish for including a compass so you don’t get lost. It wasn’t as smooth a ride as the 4Runner but that’s to be expected as it’s truly an off-road vehicle, and when pimped out with the necessities, could be taken anywhere.

The 4Runner, probably my favorite of the new lineup, rocked a new rugged styling and was right up there, boasting a 240-horsepower V6 engine, perfect bombing through snow drifts around Breckenridge. This bad-boy could really handle anything and proved to be equally as smooth and comfortable when bombing down the highway.

Party Mode!

Party Mode!

But the best part of the new 4Runner has nothing to do with how it drove – which was smoother than my ’99 Jeep Cherokee that barely made to the event. I had noticed it while parked at a random spot we stopped at to take some scenic photos of the cars. Located to the right of the steering wheel was a small black button that read, “Party Mode.” My mind started to wander. What could this slightly hidden button that had one of my favorite words on it do? After further investigation, when you enter Party Mode, the car automatically transfers the sounds to the rear speakers making your next A-Basin beach party the place to be.

After we took out the new lineup of Toyotas it was time to mix it up and go snowmobiling at Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge. For about 3+ hours we whipped 500cc sleds up to the continental divide and back. The views, although covered by the incoming snowstorm, peaked through the clouds at times revealing valleys of snow for miles. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, rid of distractions and limited to only those who had sleds. I highly recommend this for your bucket list next time you’re in Breck.

The next day we awoke to some serious accumulation, and outfitted with new gear from Elena’s sponsors, headed up the mountain to get in some pow laps and deep tree runs.
It was one of the better pow days I had this year and it thankfully fell on a week day. Even so, the locals were out for some good times and were not stoked when we got to cruise pass the line with our “instructor” who was basically a tour guide that got us to the front of the line. Now that’s the way to snowboard at a resort!

The rest of the day was perfect, as each lap seemed like a first run with the amount of snow that was falling. To top it off, Olympian Elena Hight joined in for part of the day. Confirmed: That girl can rip!