Archive for April, 2009
Whew! The 48th Bi-Annual Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo has drawn to a close in Minneapolis and what a fun, rewarding ride it has been. Three busy days of providing the utmost in Osprey pack fit and customer service on the front lines where 35 years of design innovation and independence meet the backs of end users ready to head out for the summer-the nicest three weeks in Minnesota!
More popular than ever, this event saw the Aether/Ariel Series of packs lead the way out the door towards a lifetime of adventure, with Atmos and Aura bringing up a close second and the ever versatile Kestrels and Talons rounding out the list of the chosen Ospreys to fly the coop. Good choices all! The excitement throughout the shop was amazing, people and staff were motivated and moving fast to make sure every customer’s gear needs were met as they head out for a season of adventure. If you have yet to have a chance to check out one of Midwest Mountaineering’s Outdoor Adventure Expos, I leave my first one highly recommending that if you have the opportunity that you seize it with both arms and don’t let go. Three days of amazing presentations, clinics, films, food, fun, advice and incredible savings on all manner of outdoor adventure gear.
Special thanks to Midwest Mountaineering’s Rod and Sharon Johnson for hosting this unique retail event, as well as their staff of experts: Will-master of the camping department, Claire-expert pack fitter and recent through hiker of the PCT, Jessie, Seth, Sam and many others whose names elude me in my current state. They talk the talk and walk the walk of outdoor adventure and their enthusiasm and attitude is something to behold. Thanks also to Osprey North Central Reps extraordinaire Brian Block and Peter Grimes for working the event like the masters they are and representing Osprey in a positive, professional, progressive and downright fun way.
Enjoy the few pictures I was able to snap between pack fitting and enjoy the Osprey Packs. We will see you all again next April in Minneapolis for another amazing edition of the Outdoor Adventure Expo.
This just in. … Osprey Packs won a spot on ColoradoBIZ Magazine‘s “Companies to Watch” list, which will be published in the June 2009 issue of that magazine.
In its inaugural year, Colorado Companies to Watch attracted over 250 applications. With 110 companies selected as finalists, Osprey Packs prevailed along with forty-nine others to receive the distinction of being named to the inaugural class of Colorado Companies to Watch. Osprey just won spot #15 on Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work as well, which will be published in the May issue of Outside Magazine, which came out April 18!
Sam Mix here, with Osprey Packs. I have never been to a Midwest Mountaineering Spring Adventure Expo before. … For those who have been here before me, I bow to what you have built; for those who follow me here I say HOT DAMN, you’re in for a good time!
Besides being a must visit independent outdoor store occupying the upper most shelf of selection and service, 4-24 through 4-26 will see Midwest Mountaineering throw open its doors for the 48th Bi-Annual Outdoor Adventure Expo featuring a staggering 115 presentations, 70 exhibitors and everything on sale-including 20% off the Osprey Packs of your choice. Aether/Ariel Series Packs, Atmos/Aura, Talon, Kestrel, Waypoints, Wheeled T ravel and more! Much more!
So Whaddya gone do when it’s raining in Minneapolis this weekend?
I know what I’m a gone do-
Help you get the best fit and the best deal on a brand new Osprey Pack so you can enjoy the summer in your big backyard! Stop on by 309 Cedar Ave now through Sunday, April 26, enjoy one of the many fine presentations, take in the Radical Reels Film Festival and then stop by the camping department, inside-out of the spring rain- at Midwest Mountaineering to check out all that is new with Osprey, and what 35 years of Independent, Innovative Design can do for all of your outdoor adventures, not to mention your back!
More to follow with photos and assorted missives, misfires and more. See you there!
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, brings you the first post from Suffern, New York’s Sheila Monahan. Fresh off a snowboarding trip in BC, Sheila tore her ACL. She’s on the road to recovery now, starting with nearby hikes in NY State Parks…
Well, let’s see – one week after returning from snowboarding with Wildhorse Catskiing in Ymir British Columbia (just a stones throw from fellow brand team member Nick Spring‘s neck of the woods!) I blew out my knee on a trail in Vernon, New Jersey. After being very, very bummed and spending the next few weeks rehabbing my leg muscles, going to doctors’ appointments, and physical therapy, I was finally diagnosed with an ACL and meniscus tear. Soon after the diagnosis I was ok’d to hike and bike – but only straight ahead – no turning! So, for my first hike of the season I decided to head to Harriman State Park in Harriman, New York.
About Harriman State Park: Harriman State Park, located in Rockland and Orange counties, is the second-largest park in the parks system, with 31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trails, three beaches, two public camping areas, a network of group camps, miles of streams and scenic roads, and scores of wildlife species, vistas and vantage points. Harriman State Park’s major facilities include Lakes Welch, Sebago, Tiorati and Silvermine, the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, Sebago Cabins and Beaver Pond Campgrounds.
We had a beautiful, sunny 60-degree day as we set out. This being the first hike, and a short one, I decided to bring my Osprey Switch 26 snow pack. The pack is light weight and has a separate compartment for wet and dry things, which turned out to be very helpful even on a spring hike! My platypus bladder fit nicely in the pack, but half way through I realized I hadn’t closed the zip top very well! Water was everywhere! Easily fixed though and the material dried very quickly. The ski loops also held my collapsible hiking poles perfectly which I was anticipating needing to use for the descent from the summit. Hip belt pockets also kept my camera nice and handy.
A nice leisurely climb found us at the top of Pine Swamp Mountain with a gorgeous view of Lake Skannatati (where the trail started) and the Kanawauke Lakes farther to the south. We kept going up, but the we never got a nicer view than the one you see here.
The fleece came off for the hike down and it fit nicely right in the pack, especially after drinking (and losing) most of the water in my bladder (haha!).
I definitely needed the poles for the trek back down, but all-in-all, I think the first hike post-ACL tear was a success! I can’t wait until next weekend when we’re headed up to Lake Minnewaska, in New Paltz, NY. I hope we have some good weather, and this time, I’ll close the bladder all the way!
For more information about Sheila check out her bio page here.
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, checks in with Karl Harrelson, our BT’er from Virginia. Karl attended the Little-Big Adventure triathlon this past Saturday. Here’s his account of some furious paddling, running, and riding through VA…
Saturday morning brought the sun with it. It has been a fluky spring here in Virginia. Some rainy days, some cold days and a few nice, warm ones. Fortunately, this turned out to be a nice, warm one. A determined group of Moms, Dads, sons and daughters turned out for the Little-Big Adventure Race in Pocahontas State Park near Richmond, VA.
Attention RACERS: Karl took a ton of photos and videos at the event. You can find the entire collection on his Flickr page here…see if he snapped an action shot of you and your little one!
Native-American princess, Pocahontas would’ve been pleased with the course. A half-mile canoe sprint followed by a 3.5-mile mountain bike race, ending up with a 1.5-mile run got more than a few hearts racing! Two-person teams of one child from 7-to-17 years old and one adult knocked the cobwebs of winter off their bikes and the dust off their shoes. It was inspiring to watch the parent/child teams work together to accomplish this common goal. That was evident by the bright smiles and high-fives at the finish line. At times the transition zone took on a chaotic appearance with bikes, canoes, paddles, helmets and participants all converging in one spot. But the organizers, Running Kids, kept things moving smoothly along and provided an excellent adventure for one and all.
There are few events that bring families together these days, but Little-Big was just the ticket. Nothing quite cements that paternal bond like a mom’s or dad’s encouraging word or pat on the back. What a great event, I thought. It made me wish for childhood again. I witnessed some outstanding efforts by both parent and child in succeeding at their goals even when injured or exhausted. These kids today proved that their generation is not soft and doughy. They showed their muscle, grit and determination on a demanding course. They, and their parents, should be very proud of this accomplishment.
Also noteworthy, a portion of the proceeds of this adventure race benefited the Coalition for Active Children (COACH). COACH is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote a healthy future for children and their families through education and awareness about the lifelong benefits of increased physical activity and good nutrition. Sounds like a very worthy cause, huh?
Osprey Packs drew considerable attention at the Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Sponsor Tent. BRMS is an Osprey retailer in Richmond and store manager Nick Orrell introduced race participants to the advantages of a variety of Osprey Packs. There was a pack for all types of outdoor activities. We gave away some great Osprey hats and coozies and one lucky girl went home with a nice Osprey backpack for her next adventure. Everyone walked away a winner after completing this grueling battle against the clock. If you ever have an opportunity to enter such an adventure, you should jump at the chance. And what better way to cross-train for a triathalon than hiking and backpacking? A winding trail and an uphill grade will get your heart beating faster than a cat up a tree!
Blue Ridge Mountain Sports: Since 1972 Blue Ridge Mountain Sports has served as the outfitter for the Blue Ridge Mountains from New Jersey to Virginia to Tennessee. BRMS in Richmond is located in the Chesterfield Towne Center at 11500 Midlothian Turnpike. Phone – (804) 794 – 2004.
For more information about Karl check out his bio page here.
As an independely-owned company based in Southwestern Colorado, Osprey Packs is always glad to lend support to new up and coming initiatives based in our local community of the Four Corners.
This is why our company has chosen to support the first annual Rocky Mountain Green Films festival, taking place this weekend: April 17 and 18, at The Smiley Building in Durango, Colo.
This festival is 100-percent solar powered and features nine amazing feature films including “Return of the Honeybee,”(a film premiere), “Green,” and “Addicted to Plastic.”
Admission is free! Yes, you read that correctly. …There will be raffles with prizes, including a two night stay at the Enchantment resort in Sedona $1200 value.
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, checks in with Randonee ski racer and brand team member, James Whitesides. Here James describes an ambitious plan to make the Randonee national team…
There are so many quotable phrases about training consistently that I am overwhelmed every time I look to find one. I keep looking at them because, barring any miracles, it takes one hell of a realization to motivate me. When I recently looked at my training logs from six years ago I saw a different athlete than I am today; a 21-year-old road cyclist on the verge of becoming a Category 2 road racer. I was focused beyond all belief on the goal of being the best I could be at one sport. But then I grew up…
I worked a lot of hours in an outdoor shop in my hometown, Kalamazoo, MI, focusing on riding and snowboarding. In 2005 I decided to move to Colorado with my then girlfriend. After moving I had the epiphany that all athletes hope to have when I started skiing again: this is the sport for me. A year later I was Randonee (ski mountaineering) racing at Crested Butte with little knowledge of what I was about to get into. Suffering for four hours in a thirty-degree mist was all it took to get hooked. After two more races I was down to the two and a half hour mark and less than thirty minutes off of the winning skiers. For those that aren’t familiar with ski mountaineering races, think half marathon with 8,000 feet of climbing and the hardest downhill skiing most resorts have to offer. My best result to date has been 12th at the Wasatch Powder Keg in Alta. After that race I realized how much farther I had to go to get onto the podium.
This winter has been a wash. Skiing early was out of the question due to bad snow then too much snow. The mid-season snow pack has been good but inconsistent, I have been trying to get a new store up and running, and my ski partners have all had injuries keeping them out of the backcountry. But I have a plan.
With support from my shop and brands that I trust I am motivated to make the US Ski Mountaineering Association team by my 32rd birthday. Why my 32rd birthday? Well, there are several reasons. The first being I need to ski more (duh). The second is that the best performances I have ever had came after five years of consistency. I look back at my fifth year racing on the road and I can see that I was at the peak of my game. Setting a goal that high for myself will be hard to live up to but it is the only way I can have bad races can not totally give up. The long-term effort always has to prevail over the day-to-day.
My return to skiing has been interrupted this year due to the start-up I work for, uBRDO Cycle and Mountain Supply in Kirkland, WA, but we have plans to start carrying backcountry ski equipment. I also have started planning my training so that as soon as I finish my mountain bike season I will go into cyclocross and then onto skiing. With my peaks happening early in the fall and mid-winter I think I can be fast next year for the two Vert-Fest races in Washington and the USSMA championships in Jackson Hole. The support from the shop as well as Osprey will help keep me motivated and in the backcountry skiing and riding. Racing is something I love to do because of the rush and I hope that I can channel my energy into a successful run at becoming an elite Randonee racer.
For more information check out James’ bio page here.
For the second year in a row, Osprey Packs today was named to Outside magazine’s second annual “Best Places to Work” list. Osprey was ranked No. 15 out of 30 selected companies. The full list and related story will be published in the May issue of Outside magazine, available on newsstands April 28, 2009.
Osprey’s CEO Tom Barney explains the work hard / play hard balance of the Osprey culture: “We’ve always understood the importance of maintaining a healthy, happy and creative work environment,” said Tom Barney CEO of Osprey Packs. “We are always looking for ways to encourage our employees to get out and explore the outdoors and pursue their passions. We work hard and play hard, that’s what its all about.”
Check out the Osprey website to see first hand how Team Osprey plays hard while still creatively pulling that pay check!
Outside’s “Best Places to Work” list was compiled with the help of the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group. The year-long selection process began with an outreach effort that identified a wide range of non-profit and for-profit organizations with at least 15 employees working in the United States.
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures brings you Durango native Jim Philpott’s first entry recounting his participation in the recent Crested Butte-to-Aspen “Grand Traverse” ski race. Enjoy the read…
The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse is a backcountry touring race from Crested Butte, CO through the Gunnison National Forest over to Aspen. The race starts at midnight in the town of Crested Butte and finishes with a scary long groomer (because we were on Nordic gear) down Aspen Mountain to the finish at the base of the Gondola.
The week before the race this year the course received about 30″ of new snow and was getting hammered with high winds so the conditions were expected to be extremely variable. On race day though the weather cleared and with the exception of single digit temperatures and high winds in the early morning the weather was perfect! We even got a little powder skiing in off the back side of Star Pass.
The race is a team event with two people per team; this is mostly for safety reasons as there aren’t many rescue options once the race is underway. Other than endurance, a few screws loose “upstairs,” and a good strong team mate (mine being long time friend and Durango native Todd McGrath), gear selection is the most important aspect.
For my pack I chose my Variant 37 because I could fit whatever gear I needed and whatever gear was required without compromising comfort and versatility…I couldn’t be happier with the Variant for the purposes I’ve tested it with so far (primarily backcountry skiing trips). For skis and boots I chose to run nordic skis and skate boots with some small “kicker” skins for the big hills…of which there are a ton!
We ended up coming in 67th out of 149 racers, not bad for our first go-round, and we had a blast. You can find the rest of the race results here. Enjoy the photos and leave me a comment if you’ve ever done this race and what your experience was like. I’d love to hear other perspectives on the Grand Traverse!
For more information check out Jim’s bio page here.