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Norway Skibuskineering

July 2nd, 2015

 

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Known as the birthplace of skiing, Norway has probably been the subject of most backcountry skiers’ dreams. It has always been on my radar after watching the Norwegians dominate the Olympic Cross Country Ski events over the years, not to mention the stories of endless daylight and sweet terrain.

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There’s only one problem Norway creates for  skiers…it just happens to be one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. Be warned my fellow skiers: Norway is the 5th richest country in world, as is visible in the sculpture-laden streets of all the towns we visited. Here are some examples of what things cost in Norway as opposed to Canada:

  • Laguna Burger, no fries: $30 CAD. California patio with beach views not included.
  • Corona beer: $25
  • Gasoline, per/litre: $2.25
  • Last minute car rental: $199 per day

Having a lifetime of practice in ski bohemia, I knew we could stretch a budget. But Norway’s prices and our lack of preparation before this trip made for quite an uphill battle. Luckily we don’t mind ‘earning’ our turns, and our Norwegian Ski-Bus-Skineering mission began.

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We started in Oslo, but the classic fjord skiing was waaaaay up in the Lyngen Alps in the North. Following a quick Facebook check, I noticed that our friend Adam U. was in Norway and he diverted us to the much closer Jotunheimen zone and we hopped on the first bus out. This was all good in concept, but after we fell asleep the bus kept on driving right past our desired mountain pass in the night. Good thing camping is allowed anywhere in Norway, so we camped on the grass in Årdalstangen, a quaint little town that reminded me of  Terrace, BC.

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In Ski-Bus-Skineering if you don’t plan efficiently you can lose use huge amounts of time, forcing you to spend down time at bus stations (which tend harbour some sketchy characters). Eventually, we did reach snow.

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Once on snow and skinning uphill it felt good to be in our natural environment. The variable weather felt like a familiar mellow BC coastal ski tour. Of course in any new area it’s always good to respect the weather — I was feeling confident we’d get up to the peak when BOOM — whiteout, and the classic “stay-or-go” debate began. Fortunately it did clear after 5 minutes and we tagged Turboka peak.

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The weather tease proved to be a good warning sign for later in the trip — the next day was a full storm-raining through the tent, indicating that it was time to move on.
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Since we were in Scandinavia with funky weather, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a detour to Sweden, then a short stop to the bustling bike city of Copenhagen, Denmark — the #1 bike friendly country in the world! We stretched out the legs and took those rental bikes for a rip.
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Riding bikes in Copenhagen was such a cool experience and a definite highlight of the trip. Everyone rides bikes in Denmark, whether they’re a 4 year-old or 80 your-old…or the whole family. North America could really learn a thing or two, especially people who live in cities. The amazing benefits of bikes — they’re cheap, a healthy alternative to driving, good for the environment and you always feel better after your ride your bike.
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With more Ski-Bus-Skineering calling, we jumped back to Oslo and then to the other side of the Jotunheimen park, home of Galdhøpiggen, the highest peak in Norway.

24 hours to left to burn meant GO: Oslo to Lom by bus, hitchhiking with a German plumber to Spiterstulen, set up camp. At 7:30pm, climb…then turn around 500 feet from the summit thanks to another whiteout.

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Bag some birthday turns off Norway’s ‘almost’ high mark, hitchhike ride from Norwegian carpenter, 40 minutes later bus to Lom, and 20 minutes later bus to Oslo. A dialed skibuskineering connection. #journeyisthereward.
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Our first trip to Norway was a rewarding tease and we’ll have to come back. The Northern meccas of the Lyngen Alps and Svalbard are there waiting for us, as long as we stick enough Kroners in our pockets. Until then, local missions to BC’s Waddington Range sound right up our alley: Cheap, big terrain, and guaranteed adventure. Onto the next adventure…
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Story: Andy Traslin
Follow Andy’s adventures:
Follow Mike Traslin, Andy’s brother and fellow Osprey Athlete:
About Osprey Athlete Andy Traslin

“I like to push myself to the maximum in the mountains to see what I can do physically to my abilities. My parents got me into skiing and the mountains at a young age. I progressed to ski racing, to front country, then I started finding powder stashes I had to keep going further and further to see what was around the next corner.

In addition to having worked eight years as a ski patroller, I have been racing in the pro/elite category for several seasons as a mountain biker. Racing enables me to go further and faster in the mountains in pursuit of steep skiing and speed traverses.  Other activities I like: free ride mountain biking, road riding, bouldering, rock climbing, mountaineering, ice hockey, tennis, trailrunning . I like to go see live bands in small venues. I’ve been following the Vancouver Canucks for many years in their quest for the Stanley Cup.”

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10 Questions with Osprey Athlete Sven Brunso

June 14th, 2015

10 Questions with Osprey Athlete Sven Brunso

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1. What place inspires you?

The Alps are the place that brings me inspiration. The magnitude of the mountains, nearly limitless access, the ski culture and food make for an unbeatable experience. Every time I visit the Alps I fall in love with skiing all over again.

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2. What one item do you always have in your pack?

Hot Egyptian Licorice Tea in a thermal bottle. Nothing is better than some hot tea in the mountains. Sipping some sweet and spicy tea soaking while up the mountains is a pretty incredible combo.

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3. Who do you most admire?

Early mountaineers that made historic ascents with rudimentary gear. The early mountaineers were extremist as they did amazing things with little fanfare or potential reward.

4. What is your favorite food?

Kaiserschmarrn. An Austrian dessert made with pancakes, rum, raisins, powdered sugar and plum sauce. It’s so good that sometimes I will eat it twice a day while skiing in Austria.

5. Which Osprey pack are you using right now? What is your favorite feature about your pack?

I love the Kode series. On really big days in the backcountry I use the Kode 42 ABS pack. I can take a puffy, extra gloves, a big bottle of tea, all my avalanche gear and my skins. On regular days I will take the Kode 22 as it has plenty of room for everything I need and it feels like I am skiing without a pack. I love that both the Kode 22 and 42 have a great spot to stow my helmet on top of the pack.

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10 Questions with Osprey Athlete Ben Rueck

June 7th, 2015

10 Questions with Osprey Athlete Ben Rueck

Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder -- 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux -- Glenwood Springs, CO

Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder — 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux — Glenwood Springs, CO | photo by Dan Holz

 

1. What place inspires you?

The place that inspires me the most is Africa.  It is the one continent that offers the most diversity in culture and climbing.  Guaranteed if I travel to Africa I am going experience a life changing event.

2. What one item do you always have in your pack?

 Climbing shoes

3. Who do you most admire?

This is a complicated question for me. I think that I admire a person that pursues their full potential– no matter how scared they are. To expand outside your comfort zone is something that is difficult and takes commitment. If I had to narrow it to a person that would be negating many influential people in my life that live this kind of way. So I admire those who try.

Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder -- 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux -- Glenwood Springs, CO

Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder — 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux — Glenwood Springs, CO | photo by Dan Holz

4. What is your favorite food?

Mom’s homemade tacos.

5. Which Osprey pack are you using right now? What is your favorite feature about your pack?

Right now I am using the Variant.  My favorite feature about the pack is that it can handle all of my climbing gear and still feel comfortable on long approaches.

6. Do you have a favorite quote? What is it? Read more…

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Traverse Sans Retour at Les Calanques

May 1st, 2015

Osprey Packs Athlete Joe Stock is an internationally certified IFMGA mountain guide based in Anchorage, Alaska. He has been climbing and skiing around the world for 25 years with extensive time in the mountains of Alaska, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the North Cascades of Washington and Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Since 1995, Joe has been freelance writing for magazines starting with a feature article in Rock & Ice on climbing the Balfour Face on Mount Tasman in New Zealand. Since then, he’s published numerous articles on adventures and mountain technique in rags such as Climbing, Backcountry, Alaska, Trail Runner, Men’s Health and Off Piste.

To climbers, “Les Calanques” means sea cliff climbing on the Mediterranean Coast in Provence in south France. Where temperatures are warm, the food fresh and the wine the best in the world. My wife Cathy and I spent two weeks climbing in the Calanques. We rented a VRBO in the town of Cassis, which is 15 minutes from Marseille. Our favorite route of the trip was a linkup of Traverse Ramond and Traverse Sans Retour. This added up to 700 meters of sea cliff climbing with a crux of 6b (5.10+). Ten hours of climbing with an hour of walking on either side.

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At 8am, after an hour-long walk, we found the entrance to Traverse Ramond. It was shaped like a doorway. We rappelled from a thread (a sling through a natural rock anchor) in the roof of the doorway down the sea cliff. Traverse Ramond is an easy sea cliff traverse, but the wild location makes for a nice entrance route for the next route, Traverse Sans Retour. 

 

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Celebrating 25 Years of the Sea Otter Classic with Osprey Packs

April 16th, 2015

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“The Subaru Sea Otter Classic will turn 25 next year and the celebrations will take place April 16-19, 2015. The 25th anniversary will feature a roster of time-tested events and activities as well as all the innovative new products that participants go in search of in Sea Otter’s expo.”

 


Sea Otter Classic. photo credit: Sean Cope

Sea Otter Classic photo credit: Sean Cope

 

Osprey has been attending the Sea Otter Classic for half a decade now and we are thrilled to be attending the 25th Anniversary! This week we packed up the Osprey Packs van and made the trek west from Southwest Colorado to scenic Monterey, California for a weekend filled with top bike industry brands, athletes (all-star and amateur alike) and everything else cycling-related. Read more…

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Osprey Athlete Alison Gannett’s favorite places to ski…or MTB?

March 28th, 2015

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“My Favorite Places to Ski, Part 2″ was to be the subject of this post.The weather has been so strange this year (I’ll save that rant forlater), that I pondered writing my favorite places to mountain bike instead. Then is started snowing again! So instead I’ll write about where I’ve skied and biked recently. Quite a year it is when you can do both in the same day!

Whistler, BC, Canada has long been a favorite place for me. Big alpine lines, impressive backcountry access, beyond-stellar views, big big big…the list goes on and on.

 

Since I’m a small town girl, I adore staying in Pemberton, BC instead of in the fancy Whistler resort. Only a half hour away, Pemberton’s lush valley is surrounded by animal, veggie and berry farms, with mountains like Mt. Curry rising 8,000 feet above. For food, don’t miss Mile One – burgers with local Pemby Beef that are to die for, especially with toppings like handmade goat cheese.

The Whistler/Blackcomb resort is so massive that finding a local guide is essential to link the goods together. They do offer free guided tours (check the map/grooming report/big boards for info) or just post on Facebook before heading there and find a friend or friend of friend to guide you. Unless you want to spend a lot of time on lifts or looking at vistas, choose either Whistler or Blackcomb to ski for any given day.

The backcountry is vast, and often requires a sled, but I’ve found plenty great stuff via skins as well. The Duffy is one of the local classic places to go tour. This video below is of Alaska, but it reminds me of the alpine terrain in that area: Read more…

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2015 Red Rock Rendezvous: Climbing, Clinics, Demos, and More!

March 25th, 2015

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As Spring blooms, so does our excitement for the 12th Annual Red Rock Rendezvous which takes place in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas, NV and is hosted by Osprey Packs retailer Mountain Gear. This year is guaranteed to be a great one — attendees will be coming in from across the nation to enjoy a weekend of climbing, clinics, demos, storytelling and much more!

Those interested in experiencing premiere rock climbing, desert single-track mountain biking, trail running and much more will gather at the mighty red rocks that overlook the event. The crowd will range from top outdoor industry brands to expert outdoor athletes to novice enthusiasts interested in learning more – everyone is welcome and all RRR attendees will leave after an experience like no other!

What’s going on March 27-29, 2015 at

Red Rock Rendezvous:

Clinics with Exceptional Athletes: Mountain biking, climbing, running, or general backcountry skills – you name it and there’s a clinic for it! With over 75+ clinics, you’re bound to find something that interests you. Taught by experts in the field, these clinics provide a unique, hands-on experience in a small group setting.

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Dyno Competition, Dance Parties, Pancake Eating Contest and More! Be sure to check the schedule because this weekend is jampacked with a variety of fun games, on-site events, and presentations. You won’t want to miss the famous Red Rock Rendezvous Dyno Comp. in which participants put their dynamic climbing skills to the test! The same goes for the live music and other games put on by the sponsors of Red Rock Rendezvous — there’s a lot of fun to be had this weekend in the desert!

 Now that you have an idea of what Red Rock Rendezvous is all about, let’s fill you in on what’s happening at the Osprey Packs booth:

NEW for Spring 2015: Come by to check out the latest at Osprey Packs as we will have our select Spring ’15 product such as the Syncro Series and the revolutionary Atmos/Aura Anti-Gravity Series, and much more! Our on-site staff will show you all the latest and greatest and will be able to answer any questions you may have!AG Fit Station_Final_resend

Demo Packs at Red Rock Rendezvous and Feel the Osprey Difference:  We’ve got your back and will have our demo fleet of bike, climbing, and running packs available all weekend! Stop by the booth and talk with our team of expert pack fitters and outdoor enthusiasts who can help you make the best selection for your needs. Available demo packs at RRR include our Endurance/Trail packs, the Rev Series and 2015 Syncro Series as well as our Vertical Endeavor packs like the Mutant Series and Variant Series!

Our Anti-Gravity Fit Station: Revolutionary. Innovative. And maybe a little bit magic: our award-winning Anti-Gravity™ Suspension system provides seamless comfort that contours the body allowing a trail experience like no other.  Combined with custom capability and a full feature set, the Atmos AG™  sets a new standard in ventilated backpacking. Interested in what it feels like? Stop by our booth to try AG for yourself at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.

Trail Running Clinics with Osprey Athlete Ben Clark: Interested in getting on the trail? Learn from the best at RRR — Osprey Athlete Ben Clark will be available to share his knowledge of trail running with anyone interested in pursing this growing outdoor endeavor!

Wscreen-shot-2014-11-28-at-8-09-23-pmin an Osprey Pack: Have 3 minutes to spare? Great! Couldn’t be easier to enter to win! Take our short event survey for a chance to win an Osprey pack!

“Creme de la Creme” Giveaways: Just another great reason to stop by the Osprey Packs booth — we’ll be giving away custom Osprey hats, coozies for your bevy, organic lipbalm, and much more!

 

Needless to say, it will be a great time in the desert and we hope to see you there! Don’t forget to the visit Red Rock Rendezvous Facebook page for updates!

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We’re Headed to Outerbike in Moab, UT – March 13 – 15

March 12th, 2015

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“Test out the all of the latest and greatest bikes on the world-class trails of Moab, Utah. For three days, the world’s best bike and gear manufacturers will be set up at the Outerbike Expo site. You can walk through and see next year’s innovations, pick a bike you’d like to try and take it for a ride.

Repeat as needed.

There are 20 miles of connected loops that range from fun and easy to technical and gnarly. Your registration fee buys you access to the all the bikes, lunches, shuttled rides, prizes, movies and entrance to our evening parties.”

You heard right – it’s Mountain Bike Season and we are kicking it off in Moab, Utah — a stone’s throw away from our hometown of Cortez, CO! Read more…

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Earn Your Turns: 101 Months in a Row

March 1st, 2015

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From suncups to blower pow, huge peaks to bunny hills, North Vancouver brothers Mike and Andy Traslin have been consecutively earning their turns every month of the year for the past…wait for it… 101 months. They’re not alone in the endless pursuit of ‘turns all year,’ but they sure are passionate about it.

The quest for earning your backcountry ‘turns all year’ is especially popular with zealous skiers and riders in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and of course here at home in BC. With huge peaks holding snow year round, especially the Cascade Volcanoes, it almost makes you wonder why every skier doesn’t do it.

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Like Mike says — if you’re really jonesing for some ski turns in the fall, why wait? Just go do it!

In celebration of Mike & Andy’s 101th month (and hopefully hundreds more to come) here is a quick freeflow of thoughts from Mike, and some image highlights from the last 30 or so months: Read more…

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Plan B on Gutless Wonder 5.14b

February 9th, 2015
Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder -- 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux -- Glenwood Springs, CO

Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder — 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux — Glenwood Springs, CO

 

If there’s one thing you can count on during any photo or video shoot, it’s that you can’t count on anything.  It was a simple enough plan: Get together with a couple of pro climbers, film them on one of the most exquisite routes in SW Colorado, have some good times, then head on home.  Mission complete.

Don’t get me wrong, just like any other shoot, there was a ton of logistical planning involved.  Multiple shotlists were written.  Engineering obstacles on how to safely and effectively rig cameras on an overhanging 5.13+ finger crack were tackled.  Assistants were hired.  Groceries were bought.  Sleeping accommodations were booked.  Truck was packed full of camera gear, rigging equipment and a case of home-brew. All ducks were in a militant little row.

As I rolled into Grand Junction, I found myself driving straight into the inhospitable embrace of a winter storm, stoke level dropping faster than the mercury.

Now, you may be asking yourself, ‘Dan, during all of your careful planning, why didn’t you bother to check the weather report?’

Ahh, that’s a wonderful question.  You see, while a blustery curtain of white obscured our view of the great sandstone splitters of Escalante Canyon, the current weather forecast insisted that we were standing under clear, sunny skies.

Knowing exactly what to do in situations like this, I opened up the tailgate, pushed the case of homebrew aside and reached for a flask of bourbon.  It was time for Plan B.

The problem was, we had no ‘Plan B.’
Plan A= Amazing.  Plan B=Not so much

The crew, consisting of Ben Rueck, Sam Feuerborn, Mayan Smith-Gobat and I, decided to head back to town with our tails between our legs. As the truck warmed up and took the chill from our bones, we moaned about the seeping and now unprotectable cracks that would take days to dry…even if the sun were shining.  Options were few.  Indian Creek would surely be in the same, sad condition.  Likewise for Moab.

It was then that Mayan chimed in with her charming Kiwi accent, “It’ll be cold, but why not shoot the Puoux?”  Of course!  Among the overhanging limestone walls of Glenwood Springs, there was a gem of a climb called ‘Gutless Wonder.’  The route, which took two agonizing years of Ben’s life to complete, would offer just enough shelter from the roving mountain storm…probably.  I could see the pain on Ben’s face as soon as it was mentioned. It was a route he thought was in the rearview, one which he had never expected to revisit this soon, if ever again.  Having sent the route less than a year before, the wounds were still fresh in his mind.

We took refuge in a local coffee shop, closing the door on the thick clouds that loomed in the cold, dark sky. As Ben and I scribbled out a shot list, we faced the fact that this would be a run and gun mission. We’d be attempting to film a 5.14b route in single digit temps on the side of Colorado’s busiest & loudest highway. Because we were shooting on the Winter Solstice, the shortest of all days, we would only have a four hour window to film the entire piece. It would be rough, but we now had a plan B.

The wintery conditions were actually perfect. Well, maybe not for Ben – but definitely for the shoot.  The thick buffer of clouds diffused the intense Colorado sun, providing us with soft, even light.  As it turned out, this high mountain weather painfully echoed the same conditions Ben endured when he finally sent Gutless in 2014, so the agony you see in this video is quite authentic.

 

 

My name is holz2Dan Holz, and I have the good fortune of being the staff photographer for Osprey Packs.  Photography has been a passion of mine since grade school and I’ve used it as a vehicle to take me everywhere from my backyard in Colorado to the lush jungles of Borneo and the glaciated landscapes of Patagonia. People often ask if I have a ‘specialty.’  It’s kind of a tough question, because while I specialize in active lifestyle and mountain sport photography, I find myself chasing the magic light more than anything else.  If the face of a Nepali farmer is suddenly cast in the beautiful shadow of contrast, I become a portrait photographer in that moment.  Or if a setting sun embraces a rice paddy outside of Chiang Mai, for an instant I’m a landscape photographer. As a photographer, I am always exploring self-expression and pushing the limits of what I – and my camera – can do.  It’s a passion, it’s a job, it’s a lifestyle all wrapped up in a single package.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

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