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Meet Diane, George Zalman and Kristoffer Smith of Offroad Passport in Fountain Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diane, George Zalman and Kristoffer Smith.

Diane, George, Kristoffer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The three of us met through our common interest in 4x4s. George and Diane used to lead a lot of local trail rides, and Diane became interested in writing trip reports and photography. Around 2006 while doing a lot of expedition-style, multi-day off-road trips, they began to cross paths with Kristoffer, a website developer. “We all had a lot in common as to the kinds of travel and trails we enjoyed, so we decided to create a place for people like us who love off-road exploration and adventure.”

Offroad Passport went live in August of 2009 and is now a community of over 2,700 members from all over the world. We are a member club of Blue Ribbon Coalition and Treadlightly!; organizations that advocate shared and responsible land use. In 2015 we were honored to receive a Project Clean Trail Grant from Extreme Terrain, which we used to organize a clean-up at Mud Springs and Log Corral Trail-heads.

We have been having a blast leading trips all over the southwest for over 8 years together now and we’re still going strong. We are always either planning new adventures, out on an adventure or just back from one and sharing pictures from the trail. We do a lot of off-road exploring all over Arizona, plus we’ve lead trips to places such as The Rubicon Trail, The Mojave Road, the Maze and Needles Districts of Canyonlands, Comb Ridge, and Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, Ut, to name only a few. Offroad Passport hosts two annual events: the Holiday Party After the Holidays near Scottsdale, in January, and the Annual Cinders Event near Flagstaff, in September.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This is actually a great question because most of the trails we travel are sprinkled with obstacles, and we like it that way. But seriously, we have had our trials. Early on we struggled with low attendance on some trips, but even when it was just us three or maybe a couple other people, we still went. There have been times when the weather didn’t cooperate; we’ve camped in rain, wind, sandstorm, heat waves. We’ve had to reevaluate our selves and current life situations and sometimes adjust the number of trips per year, or length of time and distance we’re able to travel. Sticking with it has paid off! Nowadays we almost always have a full roster for every adventure or event.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Offroad Passport is a free online community for planning and discussing off-road-based adventures, rigs, lifestyle, gear, etc. One thing we’re most proud of is our upbeat and positive members who help each other learn about expedition rigs, outdoor living and cool places to go in those rigs. Anyone may use the forum for organizing or sharing trips, pictures, industry news and discussion. We are a family friendly and all makes and models community; everyone with a capable 4×4 is welcome. Offroad Passport also has an optional club membership with perks like enhanced forum features and attendance to our specially organized trips and events. We’re proud to lead adventures to off-the-beaten-path destinations and points of interest; these are not your usual tourist stops.

What were you like growing up?
Diane: I was a geeky tom-boy. I loved bikes, forts. books and riding with my dad on his motorcycle. My dad was always working on a car or motorcycle, and I used to like to watch him or go with him to the races. As a teenager, I seriously aspired to be a drag-strip back up girl.

George: I’m from Prague, Czechoslovakia. My parents emigrated to the US when I was six, and they soon became one of the pioneer families of Fountain Hills, AZ. Back then Fountain Hills was all dirt roads, so me and my friends rode motorcycles all over the place out here. It was a fun place to grow up.

Kristoffer: I’ve always loved the outdoors. I began discovering the East Coast forests as soon as I could walk and graduated to ATV’s as a teen to cover greater distances. After moving to Arizona for college it was only a matter of time before he was exploring the desert southwest in full-size 4×4’s.

Pricing:

  • Basic Membership is always FREE!
  • Supporting Membership $15 Annually
  • Premium Club Membership $50 Annually

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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