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Trail Days: Celebrating the People and Traditions of the Appalachian Trail

May 14th, 2015

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The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.

Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life. Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Osprey Packs has proudly attended AT Trail Days for more consecutive years (12 in total!) than any other Osprey-sponsored event. Mid-May is a gorgeous time of year on the Appalachian Trail and the city of Damascus, VA is full of some of our favorite people: thru-hikers! Thru-hikers typically hike a long-distance trail end-to-end (like the Appalachian Trail) and are a special group of outdoor enthusiasts whose commitment to backpacking parallels our own. Backpacking is an activity deeply ingrained in our company heritage — our founder and Head Designer Mike Pfotenhauer’s passion for backpacking was one of the reasons he founded Osprey Packs 41 years ago in 1974.

Thru-hikers continually inspire us with their commitment, tenacity and gumption, which is one of the reasons we support backpacking and community-oriented events like Trail Days and initiatives like the Thru-Hike Syndicate. We look forward to the opportunity to give back and support the hikers’ efforts by providing the them (and larger community of Damascus) with free gear repairs and much more during the fun Trail Days celebration May 15-17, 2015.


 

Trail Days gets better every year — here are just a few reasons you should stop by the Osprey booth:

“Long Start to the Journey” Premiere:

Join us for a documentary film premiere directed by Osprey Ambassador and filmmaker Chris Gallaway who documented his efforts to complete the AT Trail in “The Long Start to the Journey”

Date: Friday, May 15th, 2015

Time: 9:00 PM

Location: Rock School

The Long Start to the Journey – Trailer 1 from Horizonline Pictures on Vimeo.

Free onsite gear repairs: We’re offering gear repairs for all AT Thru-hikers at Osprey’s Tent City location for the duration of the event, Thursday through Saturday, 9AM-6PM. Come out and see the work of Master Repair Tech Jason “Jimi” Boblitt (he also shreds on Air Guitar!) and PackMaster Otis, who after years of practice has perfected his amazing “Kung-Fu” Pack repair techniques. Stop by, get your gear trail-ready and see the masters at work!

The Crew at Work

“Guess Your Own Pack Weight” Contest: How much do you think you’re luggin’ around in that pack of yours? Well, we can tell you! Guess within a pound of your pack weight and win some Osprey goodies! Giveaways happening Thursday through Friday – so bring by the pack!

Osprey’s “Repair Your Own Pack” Clinic:

NOTE: Limited Spots! The first 20 to sign up will receive free food, drinks, an Osprey Packs Repair Kit, Custom Osprey Pint Glass and custom Osprey hat – make sure you sign up!AG Fit Station_Final_resend

Date: Friday, May 16th, 2015

Time: 4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Location: Osprey Booth

Our Team will go over everything in our BC Repair kit along and how to use it while out on the trail:

  • Removing Buckles
  • Installing Quick Attached buckles
  • How to repair a tent pole with our tent pole section (something that McNett sells)
  • How to repair and stitch a hole in both mesh and fabric
  • We will go over the whip stitch
  • How to repair a zipper in the field
  • How to repair a zipper slider in the field
  • When to use duct tape (and when NOT to)

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.


For more information over Trail Days, check out their site and Facebook:

Schedule

Vendors and Exhibitors

Facebook


2015 Thru-Hike Syndicate

The 2015 Thru-Hike Syndicate is out on both the Appalachian & Pacific Crest Trails!

We’ve once again partnered with our friends at Vasque Footwear, Darn Tough Vermont Socks, NEMO Equipment, & LEKI to support a group of 20 incredible thru-hikers on the AT and PCT.

Follow the Thru-Hike Syndicate on Instagram for updates from the hikers along their journeys to complete two of North America’s most epic hikes.

 

Facts About The Appalachian Trail

Information via Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Support the AT Conservancy

The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. The A.T. is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.

  • About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
  • The A.T. has hundreds of access points and is within a few hours drive of millions of Americans, making it a popular destination for day-hikers
  • “Thru-hikers” walk the entire Trail in a continuous journey. “Section-hikers” piece the entire Trail together over years. “Flip-floppers” thru-hike the entire Trail in discontinuous sections to avoid crowds, extremes in weather, or start on easier terrain
  • 1 in 4 who attempt a thru-hike successfully completes the journe
  • Most thru-hikers walk north, starting in Georgia in spring and finishing in Maine in fall, taking an average of 6 months
  • Foods high in calories and low in water weight, such as Snickers bars and Ramen Noodles, are popular with backpackers, who can burn up to 6,000 calories a day
  • Hikers usually adopt “trail names” while hiking the Trail. They are often descriptive or humorous. Examples are “Eternal Optimist,” “Thunder Chicken,” and “Crumb-snatcher”.

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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.

If you haven’t yet attended an Osprey Packs event, let us fill you in on what will be happening when you stop by our booth. We will be offering some of the best giveaways, pack deals and athlete appearances for the 25th Anniversary Sea Otter celebration!

What’s New from Osprey for Spring 2015? If you haven’t seen for yourself, come check out the updated Syncro Series, Escapist Series, and Zealot Series - these packs are available in great new colors with improved functionality and the custom fit that Osprey is known for!

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The Zealot 15L now comes in Atomic Orange or Carbide Grey

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The New Airscape Backpanel for The Syncro Series

  • Smokin’ Deals on Osprey Hydration and Commute Packs — While Supplies Last! This is your one chance to receive a killer 20% off our new 2015 packs such as the Syncro, Escapist, and Zealot as well as Osprey classics like the Raptor/Raven and select Osprey Commuter Packs! Visit the Cambria Bicycle Outfitters next to the Osprey Packs tent and be sure to arrive early — these packs will go fast!

 

  • Meet Osprey Athlete and Enduro Racer Macky Franklin! Come by the Osprey Packs booth to see a video slide of Macky Franklin‘s recent MTB trip to New Zealand. Macky will be on hand to answer any questions about his personal experience at the Chile Enduro World Series, world travels seeking races and ultimate single track. We will have exclusive Macky Franklin posters available for free so stop by and get a signed copy!Moab5-332x500

 

  • Osprey Giveaways: The Best Swag You Eva’ Had! Need to keep your bevy cold? We’ve got a coozie for that! How about some chapstick with SPF during the long day of racin’ – Osprey has got you covered! We’ll also be handing out tire levers, stickers, custom Osprey Packs hats and much more! Stop by to grab some fun swag and ask our Osprey team any questions you may have about our products!

 

  • Pack Gurus to Help You Get the Perfect Pack! Not only is the Osprey Sea Otter crew avid mountain and road bikers, but they also know, use and test the rest of the Osprey product line up on a daily basis. They’re ready to help you make the best pack choice based on your personal preferences and pack needs. Questions, Comments, Feedback, Ideas? We want to hear it all! Stop by our booth for a chat with and a high-five from one of our Pack Gurus – you’ll be glad you stopped by!

 

 

Sea Otter Classic photo credit Sea Otter
Sea Otter Classic photo credit: Sea Otter

 

See what Sea Otter is all about in this video celebrating both the last 25 years as well as what’s yet to come!

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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:

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So while there last week, the skiing was, well, just ok. Temps had gotten so warm the week before, going above freezing in the valley and all the way to the summits way above. BUMMER. Alas, Whistler and Blackcomb are so extensive, that we even had fun cruising all the groomers. I had fun testing my new Meier Skis – a new women’s prototype that we are working on together that will launch next season. Like our new graphic? Its in the photo above. Venturing off piste was sketchy, slide for life conditions to say the least. So we puckered ourselves just a bit anyway – why not?

Since our backcountry plans got stuffed (no snow on the approaches), we turned to mountain biking those areas instead. Why not? Since my plush Juliana was at home in Colorado, I demoed a more appropriate gravity bike 65 degrees of slackness and 6 front and back to ease my fears from Bike Co. Even though I make a living teaching Mountain Bike camps with Osprey Packs, I wanted to push my own riding. So my friend Susan set me up with Pro-Downhiller and MTB Coach Sylvie Allen and Sweet Skills Mountain Bike Coaching. Whoop, whoop! She took my riding to a new level, with a bit of boosted confidence from my plush ride. One line in particular, to the side of the main Cream Puff trail, had me puckered with its slanting fall line but with some help, voila! Thanks Sylvie! Here is a short video of some of the splendor:

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Up next this year: KEEN Rippin Chix Mountain Bike Camps with complimentary Osprey Packs hydration pack demos. I’m hoping the new Osprey Zealots will be in the mail this week, so that you can try them in my upcoming MTB skills and singletrack camps in Fruita, followed by Eagle/Vail, Paonia, Crested Butte, and Moab.

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This hydration pack not only has all my favorite great looks and features (bite valve/hose magnet, rigid reservoir, helmet carrying fixins, special tool compartment/carrying system, etc), but also enables carrying of your more gravity oriented equipment.

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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!

This weekend, March 13th-15th, join Osprey Packs and 20+ other bike industry companies for a weekend of demos, parties and over 20 miles of trail loops with options for every riders skill-set! Don’t miss any of the fantastic after hours events including free film premieres, Happy Hours and much more – check out the schedule of events for complete details.

While you’re getting your MTB season kicked off properly in Moab, don’t forget to stop by the Osprey Packs booth for some Outerbike Magic!

Here are just a few reason why you should stop by and say “HI” this weekend:

Find the Osprey pack of your Dreams - Our dedicated & knowledgeable event staff, Jeff and Patrick, would love to help you find the perfect match for your on the trail adventures. Stop by our booth to see a fullSyncro20_S15_Back_VelocityGreen line of Osprey Packs Bike products, ranging from our re-vamp downhill/enduro specific pack — the Zealot 15 — to our improved Syncro Series, which offers the Osprey ventilated AirSpeed™ suspension for those hot days on the trail.

Can’t make up your mind? Demo it! – We have options for everyone and will be offering product demos throughout the entire weekend so you’re sure to get the right gear for you. Experience the custom fit and functionality that Osprey is known for by taking one of our packs out on the trail. We’ll have a limited supply of day packs and reservoirs available for you to demo so don’t delay and be sure to stop by the booth to check them out!

Premiere Giveaways - Like free stuff? Well then our tent is the place to be. We’ll be handing out the exceptional Osprey coozies, chapsticks and much more!

Win a Pack! – Couldn’t be easier to enter in to win with our 3 minute event survey for a chance to win an Osprey Pack! We will announce a winner daily.

 

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A Busby Yurt Raising

March 11th, 2015

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The weekend we raised our yurt this past summer was one of the most wild experiences of my life. Post-weekend, my knuckles were swollen, I would wake up nightly to unconsciously scratching of mosquito bites on my legs, and I had a handful of cuts and bruises that lasted a few weeks. But at the end of the day, we had a yurt!

The whole experience was, for the most part, smooth. It was challenging — yes. It was time consuming. But it was fun! And it was rad that we had friends come out and help with various parts of the raising. From hands-on help from the start, to homemade mojitos and jalapeño poppers mid-day, borrowed tools and a trailer, responses to frantic text messages… all the kindness from our support network here in Montana was slightly overwhelming.

For one, I learned that yurts are totally beginner friendly. With a little common sense and planning ahead, I really think anyone can do it. Our advantage came from first disassembling the yurt from the woman we purchased it from, and then building it back up again.

Initially, we called Hayes, the owner of Shelter Designs in Missoula, and asked him if we could hire him for the yurt raising, as the yurt we purchased was a Shelter Designs yurt. There are a lot of moving parts, and Hayes is a great crowd organizer… he knows what needs to get done. Obviously, he does this for a living. When Sean asked him, Hayes basically said (paraphrasing here), “I’m pretty busy this summer, but I think you guys can handle it. I’ll send you a DVD.”

I thought… A DVD. Really? What are we doing here, baking cookies or building a house?

But when we actually watched the DVD, we knew Hayes was right. It explained everything from start to finish, with super detailed instructions—exactly the things he would have been telling us had he been here. So we would do a few tasks on the yurt, and then watch some DVD on a laptop… go back to yurt stuff, have lunch, and watch a little more DVD. That got us through it. That DVD was the key to building our yurt.

Here are a few shots from the big day. Arranging the windows, doorways and lattice walls:

Our buddy Mikey, placing the tension cable through the tops of the lattice walls:

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The cable is made to fit our 30-foot yurt EXACTLY. Thus, it takes a bit of time to wiggle it through the lattice walls perfectly enough for this hook to actually lock.

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Brandon, Sean and Mikey, prepping to lift that ring (at their feet) above their heads and start placing the beams, which connect to the outer lattice walls. This is the most dangerous part of a yurt raising… those beams are heavy!

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A nervous smile from me on the ground. My job was to run around the yurt like a crazy woman, handing the guys one end of a beam, and placing the other end of the beam on the cable in the precise spot. Luckily, we only had a few tense moments, one of which involved a beam nailing me in the arm. I had a massive bruise to show for that one.

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Until the first five (maybe six) beams are up, it’s super tense because someone always has to be holding that ring up (which weighs a ton). It was a lot of arms-over-the-head action for those guys.

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Once the beams are in, it’s fun to put on the white lining (1st layer) and the insulation (2nd layer). Although, we were pretty lucky the sun was behind a cloud during this part… that insulation is like one big sun screen!

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Here was the HARDEST part of the day. Even harder than putting in the beams. That crescent roll up there is the outer canvas of the yurt and it weighs a million pounds. Maybe not a million, but it sure seemed like it. It took 4 of us to hoist it up to the scaffolding, and then a lot of grunting and groaning to get it out of the center ring and onto the roof. I won’t even go into the madness involved with trying to spread that thing out around the yurt. Again, if you’re building a NEW yurt, your canvas comes nice and folded — like, the size of a sleeping bag — and you roll it down easily over a designated opening. With ours? It was a bit of a jumble to get it looking good. It took us about three hours on just on this part.

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And after getting the top on, we had to then put on the side insulation panels and the side canvas panels. They were heavy, but nowhere near as heavy as the top. This part was also difficult because our yurt is so high off the ground, and we had to use lean-to ladders (as opposed to the A-frame ladders) to get as high as the top. Eventually, we splurged and bought a 12-foot ladder — which is KEY for 30-foot yurt maintenance.

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Then there was the dome, being pulled up the outside to the top:

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And then, behold the yurt in all her glory after the final pieces of the structure were on! All in all, these steps took us 1.5 days to complete. Yes, it’s THAT easy!

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Sean & Mollie Busby are Osprey Packs Ambassadors. Sean is a professional backcountry snowboarder. In 2004, while training for the 2010 Olympics, Sean endured a complicated diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Considering leaving snowboarding all together, Sean was inspired by reading stories of kids living with T1D that inspired him to keep living his dreams. He founded Riding On Insulin, a nonprofit, to honor all the kids who inspired him to keep living. In February 2014, Sean became the first person with T1D to backcountry snowboard all seven continents at the age of 29 in 2014. Mollie Busby graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Journalism and Retail. A series of life-changing events brought Mollie and Sean together in February 2010, and after five months, Mollie moved west. The pair was married in September, 2011 and now resides in a 30-foot yurt with their dogs, Daisy and Glacier, in Whitefish, Montana. For more, visit Two Sticks and a Board online, or follow Sean and Mollie on Instagram.

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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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The Largest Ice Festival In North America: Ouray Ice Festival Celebrates 20 Years

January 7th, 2015

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If you’ve never attended the largest ice climbing festival in North America, we can certainly give you a few reasons to come out for the 20th Annual Ouray Ice Fest. This celebration of ice climbing takes place in our beloved backyard of Southwest Colorado, January 8th-11th. Osprey Packs has been attending the Ouray Ice Festival for almost a decade and each year the festival manages to outshine the previous year with exceptional clinics from professional athletes, gear demos from over 20 sponsors, and, most importantly, awe-inspiring ice climbing competitions featuring top competitors from all over the world.

Ouray Festival Clinic

The park itself is an attraction worth seeing — for months preceding the festival, the Ouray Ice Park “Ice Farmers” have been cultivating immaculate, deep blue pillars of ice. The pillars stand a few hundred feet tall, towering above festival-goers in the small box canyon outside of Ouray. The stent of the ice-formed “hallways” provides over 200 ice climbing routes and makes a perfect playground for every ice climbing enthusiast, from skilled professional athletes to aspiring first-timers.

Need another reason to head to Ouray? How about demos from some of the top outdoor industry companies in the sport? Each day of the festival includes the opportunity to demo the latest and greatest from gear and apparel companies like Outdoor Research, Petzl, La Sportiva and of course, Osprey Packs! If you find gear that you like, you can test it out in one of the many clinics offered by San Juan Mountain Guides. All of the clinics offered during the Ouray Ice Festival are taught by world-class ice climbers and athletes, including Conrad Anker, Will Gadd, Kyle Dempster, and Osprey’s very own Ben Clark and Marcus Garcia!

After an exhilarating day of watching the competitions, testing gear and perfecting your ice techniques in the park, you’ll want to check out the additional events happening after-hours in the town of Ouray. There will be a celebratory kick-off on Thursday, a fashion show on Friday and “Prom Night” put on by Petzl on Saturday! Here’s a complete list of events.

 Osprey Packs will be located in the Gear Expo area just above the park and we will have several great on-site activities that you won’t want to miss:

Demo our packs: Whether you own an Osprey pack or in the market for a climbing pack, come try out our updated Mutant or Variant packs. Both of these provide unique features that can complete your ice climbing experience, whether it’s in the backcountry or at the park! 15_OurayIceFest_Demo_403x403

Win a pack! Take our 3 minute Event Survey and you will be entered to win an Osprey Packs Limited Edition Trip 20, ideal for multi-pitches, day-hikes and everything in between. We will select a winner each day of the festival at approximately 3 PM.

Fit Specialist on Site: Our staff are the cream of the crop when it comes to finding and fitting the perfect pack for you. Feel free to stop by and ask questions, geek out on our gear, or receive  advice on what is best for your upcoming travels, treks & endeavors.

20% off all Osprey Packs at Ouray Mountain Sports: It’s a “Win-Win” if you’ve found the right pack for you: after trying on and testing out a demo pack you’ll receive a 20% off the at local Osprey Packs retailer Ouray Mountain Sports, located conveniently in town.

Clinic With Osprey Athlete Marcus Garcia: San Juan Mountain Guides is a premiere guide company in Southwest Colorado and a longtime partner of Osprey Packs. SJMG works with top-tier athletes from all over the world to bring you the highest quality clinics and experiences. Maximize your experience at the Ouray Ice Festival by signing up for one of SJMG’s clinics, taking place Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday. Most of the clinics are full or filling up rapidly, but check out the remaining clinic, “Introduction to Ice Climbing” with Osprey Athlete and local CO legend, Marcus Garcia.

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Don’t delay — get your axe in gear and get to the

20th Anniversary of the Ouray Ice Festival! 

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Mt. Fuji Skiing with Osprey Athletes Mike & Andy Traslin

December 22nd, 2014

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Fresh off the plane and on our way through customs, we stopped and stared at a poster of Mt Fuji. We were still wearing the Variant 37 ski mountaineering packs we’d crammed into the overhead compartments to avoid extra baggage fees. The stewardess first thought we were participants in “The Amazing Race,” but now with Mt Fuji in front of us, the method to our madness was being revealed. Nevertheless, her comments boosted my motivation for what lay ahead.

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We spent the next tens days climbing and skiing in Hakuba, Kita Alps and surrounding areas. Then we set our sights on Fuji. One evening, I asked the owner of the pension Mr. Maruyama about climbing Mt. Fuji, and his eyes immediately lit up. He grabbed his homemade green tea, some paper and pens, and crafted a hand written map of Mt. Fuji. He spoke few English words, and used his  daughter for translations where needed. He had fond memories of driving to and from Hakuba and Mt Fuji to climb it in a day. “Fuji Attack! Fuji-san Attack! Attack!” I thought I was getting ready for a hockey game, further boosting our motivation. He even lent us his special edition Mt. Fuji mountain bikes. We managed to sneak in a training ride on the local singletrack trails.
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The bus system in the area is efficient when you know what to ask for. We hopped on the bus to Shinjinku en route to Fuji, where we hit a logistics roadblock when we were told ‘no bus to Fuji or climbing’. After scrambling around Shinjinku for alternatives, my brother asked the same people the same questions and sure enough – there was a bus to Fuji that evening. Oh, traveling and language barriers.When got where we needed to be, found a hostel, and lined up a 10am departure for Fuji… just to add to the challenge.

Mt Fuji is known as the most visited mountain in the world, with some 300,000 climbers and hikers each year. We met plenty along the way. The Germans were skeptical about our summit bid, and I wasn’t giving us very good odds either with a late start and clouds hovering on the mountain.

The backpackers blasted off the bus with their running shoes and cotton t-shirts, while we stood with our gear perfectly prepped for departure at the back door. The jammed back door. Waiting for each and every hiker to unload through the front. Not your usual start to a mountain wilderness experience.

We got on the move, and traversed to a sign that detailed a complete ’14 step how-to guide to the summit’. Good to see we were on the right side of the mountain and off to a good start.

 

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Once we hit snowline it was go time and we could safely abandon the signed route and do things the old-fashioned way. Up, up and away, past the T-shirt and running shoe crews.

As I was cresting the crater, a couple of Japanese climbers looked at me from above. No crampons, eh! A couple sporty front point ice moves with no gloves did the trick.

 

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But the true summit was the highest point of the crest, not where we were standing. After some debate with the Japanese about traveling by rock or snow, we of course chose snow. We’re from the Coast after all, and snow travel is always faster. So we wished luck to the rock walkers and sprint skinned to the summit to avoid the impending whiteout.

 

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We’d bagged the summit, but the Amazing Race was far from over. We had a plane to catch. We dropped off the summit and skied epic corn on the 40 degree SE Face, one eye on the snow, one eye on the watch.

 

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Story: Andy Traslin

 

 

 

 

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Learning to Catch Air with Osprey Athlete Alison Gannett

December 19th, 2014

 

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One of the main reasons I started KEEN Rippin Chix Steep Skiing Camps was frustration. There was no information out there regarding catching air, let alone doing it well. In order to win freeskiing competitions, I had to up my game and my airs were just not consistent or confident. I even landed on my face jumping from a tramway in a ski movie. Embarrassing!

So I started asking the top male pros how they did each air, and why did they choose different ways to catch air off of different obstacles. Most responses consisted of “I just go”, “don’t hesitate” and “all air is just the same.” Needless to say, this didn’t help one bit. Clearly there must be certain muscles flexed and not flexed, focal points for the eyes that would increase success, better places to put my hands/arms/shoulders/knees/ankles/ass/etc.

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Years of observation, success and failures have enabled me to develop my own special way to catch air, which ultimately led to my step-by-step process to teach ANYONE to be successful catching air if the desire is there. A memorable moment was teaching three 80-year old ladies and their 90-year old friend – I’ve never seen smiles so large.

So what are the keys to catching air? Read more…

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