Subaru Winter Experience from the eyes of a student

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The inaugural running of the Subaru Winter Experience powered by FlatOut Sweden has been a hit with everyone who’s attended. In that time, we have seen so many different types of people and personalities walk onto the frozen Dollar Lake in Eagle River, Wisconsin who are all eager for a good time Every one of them has left with a huge smile on their face. Two of those happy customers were J. Mykel Hill and his wife, Christine. Not only are they both Subaru enthusiasts, but Mykel is a Subaru Ambassador. Who better to ask about his time behind the wheel at the Subaru Winter Experience!

My wife and I recently attended the Subaru Winter Experience in Eagle River, WI. It was amazing how welcomed we both felt, right from the beginning.

We were able to share our experience levels and goals with the instructors, and they helped ensure our program would contain elements to meet our goals. We expressed that I wanted to push myself to see just how well I could pilot my vehicle on loose surfaces, while my wife wanted to focus on car control and learning how to use a manual transmission.

Our day began with mastering the ABS in 2018 Subaru WRX & WRX STI’s during an exercise called, “Don’t hit the moose” that required hard braking while keeping the car under control. It was amazing how well the ABS performed, and the instructors provided excellent feedback after every run. From “let’s try and go little faster” to “you must have had toast for breakfast, ‘because that run was butter”, the DirtFish crew knew exactly what to say to help build confidence and push us to venture outside of our comfort zone.

Our next lesson was the slalom course in a rear-wheel drive, 2018 Subaru BRZ. For this exercise, the control of the AWD was gone, allowing us to learn how to throttle-steer the vehicle navigate the course. The whole goal of these exercises was to learn how to manage the throttle and keep the car under control. It’s hard to admit, but my wife was much better on this course. It must have something to do with my decision to skip breakfast and not have any toast.

These two courses set the background for our next test; the BRZ course. This tight course demonstrated the skills that the DirtFish instructors taught us in the morning sessions. They even jumped in the cars with us, encouraging us to use the throttle a little more than we had initially intended. This pushed us to the edge of our comfort zone, sharpened our car control skills and helped us learn how to take the feedback from the vehicle to navigate this tricky course.

The afternoon sessions put us on the WRX course, where it was a little more open and we could increase the speeds and the length of the slides. The instructors jumped in and out of our cars for a ride, providing us instant feedback to push our limits. From helping us pick driving lines, to using the brakes and throttle, the DirtFish instructors catered to each driver individually.

In between runs in the WRX, Instructor, Michelle, pulled my wife aside to coach her on using a manual transmission. I am proud to say; she can now drive a stick!!! I have been trying to teach her for 12 years and Michelle was able to teach her in less than an hour. That goes to show just how well each of the DirtFish instructors focuses on helping their students!

During the last session of the day, we linked everything together. This is what we had been building up to; a Rally Stage! Pushing our comfort zones in all three brand new Subaru vehicles, this long course was a blast. I can honestly say, driving it without the guidance of the DirtFish instructors wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun!

My wife and I would recommend the Subaru Winter Experience, powered by Flatout Sweden to everyone! The entire team is focused on providing an authentic experience that will leave memories and skills that will last for years. Of course, once you get the opportunity to work with the DirtFish instructors, you’ll want to come back again and again!

Article by J. Mykel Hill