AP NEWS

Polaris: Mixing vacation rentals with a sales pitch

March 7, 2019

You’ll see them on Main Street and you’ll see them up in the hills.

There’s no doubt to the popularity of off-road vehicles in the Lake Havasu region and for those who may want to experience it before making a full-time commitment to owning one, there are some area businesses that are offering rentals.

The idea to rent was born about three years ago when, according to the Detroit News, two Polaris employees had an idea that would allow vacationers to rent the latest models of Polaris snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or Slingshot three-wheelers.

The idea was that renters might become converts of power sports vehicles.

It was first tested in Colorado, then New Hampshire and California. Vacationers would rent a vehicle, sign a waiver and buy insurance for the day’s ride using a computer tablet.

The concept has taken off here with rentals at a number of locations in and around Lake Havasu.

“We are surrounded by miles and miles of dramatic and beautiful scenery that is accessible to 4-wheel drive vehicles, so it’s clearly an activity that is enjoyed by many here,” Terence Concannon, president of the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.

Paradise Wild Wave, located on Industrial Avenue, just south of State Route 95, has been a popular place for recreationists to find a UTV.

“About 40 percent of our customers are coming from Minnesota and Canada right now,” owner Ron Caldbeck said. “The age range runs the gamut, too. They are pretty popular and everyone enjoys it.”

Joe Reynolds, the general manager at Paradise, said they are hoping to offer guided tours this fall or early next year when permits are approved by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

“Once the permits are approved, we’ll be able to do tours, hopefully by the end of this year,” Reynolds said. “We work to make it a fun experience for everyone. We place a GPS tracker on each machine so everyone feels safe and we also have a GoPro camera on each one.”

For those renting a machine, a trail map can be downloaded onto a phone.

“We’ve done each route,” Reynolds said. “Riders can get to the bat caves, old mines, Crossman Peak. A lot of it depends on the age of the rider. Some are looking for more adventure, but anyone can enjoy it.”

Reynolds said the ultimate tour will be on the 675-mile Arizona Peace Trail that encompasses Mojave, La Paz and Yuma counties.

Paradise has RZR models from 2018, 2019 and will be getting in 2020 vehicles toward the end of the year. They have both 2- and 4-seat machines. They also don’t require security deposits on their rentals.

Arizona Watersports and Off Road has two locations in the region, including Lake Havasu and Parker.

Those on the west side of Lake Havasu can rent a Polaris RZR at Pirate Cove Resort in Needles, California for tours of the iconic Route 66 and Lake Havasu.

According to Polaris senior vice president Bob Mack, Polaris UTVs are in 75 locations in 30 states and have done more than 25,000 rides.