Unless you’ve been living under a very big rock, you’ve heard the tales of Japan’s surreal terrain, neck deep powder on tap — day or night. The hype was buzzing extra strong this season and we were itching to go get a taste of it one way or another. When the plans finally took shape, it was May! Not exactly the prime month for free refills of pow, but if we didn’t pounce on the trip this year, it might have never happened, right? So we went with the flow and booked a ticket.
Touchdown Narita airport where the culture shock began. In a bustling world far from home, we circled through security not once but twice, but it worked out for the better. Our extra lap bumped us right into a Japanese snowboarder wearing a Canada toque, fresh off a winter in Canmore. Turns out our new friend Yuske (last name), local snowboard legend, also rode a G3 split and represented the Caravan crew we were trying to meet. Off to a good start. Yuske led us and our bulky bags through the maze of Tokyo train systems to a meet up with the Caravan crew, G3’s Japan distributors. After food, drinks, and a classic night in a ‘capsule’, we were eager to escape the bustling city for the mountains. Our bus to Hakuba pushed us upstream through nonstop currents of cities and people in constant motion before dropping us at the source…the mountains.
A world apart, we found mountains quite reminiscent of our Coast Mountains back at home, with multi-peak linkups just waiting to be skied. After a week of fun, we were ready for the bigger days. Fortunately our pension owner in Gakuei-kan was an instructor, guide and pro back in his day, with a wealth of Japanese ski touring history to share with us, shaping ideas for where to head next. The plan hatched for the Hakuba Sanzan, linking the 3 highest peaks in Hakuba in a day.
Meeting at precisely 6:00am on his orders, we hopped in the van and headed up with a vengeance. With only a brief pause before the off-road section, he pinned it and we held on for the ride. This wasn’t his first rodeo. Even the river wouldn’t have stopped him but we insisted on saving his car (and us for that matter), so we jumped out and let our feet do the rest. Most people enjoy the luxury of a 2 day trip with a mountain lodge overnight stay, but with our fine thread budget it wasn’t an option. So we slogged in the spring heat and enjoyed it for all it was worth, transition after transition – hike, skin, ski, repeat.
But even we were hardly roughing it. With a cafe 500 ft from the last summit, we couldn’t say no to a soup and coffee before bagging the last peak. Solid weather, fun skiing, and our unstoppable shuttle driver all made for a great trifecta of the three high peaks of Hakuba.
With one amazing Japan ski trip in the bag, we’re already plotting a mid-winter return for the legendary winter conditions. With any luck we’ll once again land in the hands of friendly, seasoned locals, and the powder refills will flow as constantly as the sake from our first night in Tokyo.
The Inca Trail in Peru is perhaps the world’s most famous trek. This four-day camping trip follows a 500-year old stone path that ends at Machu Picchu, an ancient city reclaimed from the jungle. I hiked the Inca Trail with my Dad, my sister Kate and her girlfriend Kim. We started and finished the trip in Cusco.
A mushroom cloud of smoke from hundreds of barbecues rises from Inti Raymi celebrations in Cusco. Inti Raymi is the biggest festival of the season. This party is taking place at Sacsayhuaman (pronounced “Sexy Woman”), a location famous for 100-ton stones fitted together so tight that a toothpick can not be fitted in.
While city center Cusco is tidy and historic for tourists, the surrounding streets are real Peru. This woman is selling chopped up snakes in a soda bottle. Other bottles contain the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus juice and various potions for what ails you.
The Inca Trail is lined with ruins. Here’s Kate exploring the Phuyupatamarka ruins. The fascinating thing about all these Inca ruins is that nobody really knows what happened. There was no written language before the Spanish arrived. And all of the written accounts have a Spanish Conquistador twist. This results in each Inca history buff having their own theory of what happened. Historical spiels by tour guide’s often start with “I believe….”
Dad eleven hours into the second day. What is a comparable trek in the US? Rim-to-rim on the Grand Canyon? The Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier?
Porters resting at the high point of the trip at Dead Woman Pass at 13,829 feet. Porters carry 20 kilos of group gear plus their personal gear. We carried our sleeping bag, pad and hiking stuff in 35-liter Mutant 38s.
998 Exhibiting Brands. 21,814 Total Expo Attendance. 4 days of Outdoors Industry Good Times.
In addition to being the tradeshow “where the latest technical innovations of outdoor gear are found,” Outdoor Retailer could be described as one giant summer camp for any and all retailers, brands, nonprofits, athletes, activists and organizations related to the Outdoor Industry. For Outdoor Industry companies, this tradeshow allows us to come together twice a year (once in summer, once in winter) and connect — whether it’s putting a face to the the person we’ve been emailing for months or seeing our local retailer friends again. It’s a time when people from all over the world gather at the Salt Lake City Salt Palace, take a look at the innovative gear coming out next season and celebrate what brings us together: the outdoors! And while we always have a blast at OR, this summer’s show isn’t going to be just another tradeshow for us — we’re celebrating our 40th Anniversary with our industry friends, partners, retailers and fans alike!
Attending OR August 6-9? Be sure to visit the Osprey Booth (#5010) to see our Spring 2015 product line — we’ve got some exciting new packs and gear debuting at the show! Make sure you don’t miss a beat by checking out the Show Overview ,Event Schedule, and Education Schedule.
And if you’re not able to attend (OR isn’t open to consumers, unlike the majority of the events we attend!) you can get a sneak peek of gear debuting at the show and follow the day-to-day news with outlets like the OR Show Dailies and The Gear Junkie (whose Summer OR gear preview features our Spring 2015 Atmos AG!) as well as following the #ORshow hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. We’ll be posting behind the scenes updates on the Osprey Packs Twitter and Instagram feeds — be sure to follow us for the latest!
If you’re heading to the show for your 1st, 2nd or 40th time, you probably know that there’s never a shortage of activities, parties, panels & events, but because this just so happens to be our 40th Anniversary summer show, we want to make sure you know about some special Osprey Packs events you won’t want to miss:
$40 Spring 2015 Escapist 25– All Proceeds Donated to the Conservation Alliance: We’re proud to be longtime supporters of the Conservation Alliance, an incredible nonprofit that for 25 years has been engaging Outdoor Industry businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. Osprey will be offering our Spring 2015 Escapist 25 (Retail $125) for $40. All proceeds from the sale of this pack (which won’t be available at retailers until Spring 2015!) will be donated to The Conservation Alliance.
Leave No Trace “Great Gear Giveaway”– Make sure you make your way to the Leave No Trace booth as they will be giving out one of the best prizes at OR! The Great Gear Giveaway happens on Wednesday 8/6, Thursday 8/7 and Friday 8/8 of the show and includes 6 boxes of gear filled with an assortment of gear from 20 Leave No Trace partners!
Osprey Packs 40th Anniversary Happy Hour– Free beer and amazing pints provided by Klean Kanteen? We could stop there, but that’s not all! Join us from 4:30-6:00 on Wed. 8/6 and we’ll also have fresh Osprey Packs swag and a very special musical appearance that will surely have you groovin’ during the Happiest of Hours! Come enjoy a beer in a commemorative 40th Anniversary pint, get your Wilderness Ranger Cookbook signed by USFS Ranger Ralph Swain and get in on great giveaways!
The Conservation Alliance 25th Anniversary Party– We’re not the only ones with a milestone anniversary to celebrate at this OR! The Conservation Alliance turns 25 this year, and we are celebrating their tireless dedication to uniting our industry and protecting the wild places we love! The Conservation Alliance is throwing a party to celebrate with their friends & supporters, featuring music from Osprey favorite The Infamous Stringdusters, on Thursday August 7, from 6-10 p.m. at The Lot (115 S. West Temple), directly across the street from the main entrance to the Salt Palace.
Ragnar and OIWC Relay Challenge Presented by Outdoor Retailer — This Friday, August 8, 6am-10am at The Pavilions, relay teams of three will pound the pavement on this 3-mile, out and back course. Come out to cheer on Osprey’s teams – or even better sign up and help us build another team!! Support the work of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) who provide advocacy, education and resources for women in the Outdoor, Bike, and Snow Industries.
Check out this ZigZagging interview from last OR show with Osprey Founder, Mike Pfotenhauer! Here’s to a great show!
The Telluride Jazz Festival is America’s destination Jazz Event. Since 1977, Telluride’s majestic perch high in the San Juan Mountains has been the site of the annual event produced by Colorado non-profit organization the Telluride Society for Jazz. The intimate format, majestic aesthetic, town-wide programming, and superb music come together to create a truly unique weekend experience.
2014 Telluride Jazz Festival poster by artist Jennifer Morrison Godshalk
In addition to enjoying performances from world-renowned jazz musicians, one thing you definitely DON’T want to miss is the Osprey booth! We’ll be set-up right next to the stage — so we can talk about packs and wax poetic about jazz while the musicians on stage fill the festival with incredible sounds. Your Jazz experience won’t be complete unless you stop by and say hello!
Here’s what’s happening in the Osprey Packs booth this weekend:
Fall 2014 Pack Display- This Jazz Festival, we will have a full display of packs that are just hitting our retail stores! You have the advantage of seeing them first! This will include our new climbing series, new 24/7 series, travel and duffel packs as well as the premiere of our ABS compatible Kode pack! See these packs on our website or preferably…just stop by the booth!
3 Minute Survey (with the chance to win an Osprey Pack) –Take our three-minute Jazz Festival event survey and automatically be entered win a new Osprey pack — winners will be chosen daily, so come by on any of the three days for your chance to win
Free onsite sizing & pack advice — Planning a backpacking trip? Interested in our wheeled travel packs? Looking for a good bike commute bag? Visit the Osprey Packs Jazz Team at the during the festival and get answers to any and all product questions you may have. Don’t forget to get fitted by our Fit Gurus!
All sorts of Telluride Jazz Festival giveaways, including:
Lip balms with SPF 18 to keep your mouth happy & smiling at the festival
Osprey Eco Coozies We are serious about helping you keep your festival beverages cold!
Osprey Packs stickers Show off your Osprey pride!
A sweet deal: 20% off Osprey packs at Jagged Edge in Telluride – We’ve teamed up with our local Telluride retailer to offer a 20% off our packs in celebration of the Telluride Jazz Festival! Don’t miss out on this chance to get a great new and their shop is right next to the Telluride Park so just a hop, skip, jump away!
Crystal Henson is our #WhatsInYourFestyPack winner who will receive two GA tickets to this year’s Electric Forest as well as two customized Ospreys to carry her Festy Pack Essentials! Here are a few words of wisdom from Crystal, for those of you attending Electric Forest or any Festival for that matter.
My festy pack embraces the sustainability practices encouraged by Electrology, and three years of first-hand experience at Electric Forest. My festy pack is an Osprey Sirrus 24 and contains around 83 items.
Osprey Athlete Joe Schwartz is a resident of British Columbia, Canada. He has been a professional mountain bike rider for over a decade, and was a featured rider in the New World Disorder series of bike movies, as well as other movie productions and TV shows (Ride Guide, Drop-In). Through his work with film companies he has been fortunate enough to travel all over the globe, riding in some very exotic locales. Joe is an ACMG certified backcountry ski guide, and has worked for numerous catski, heliski, and ski touring lodges all over BC. While mountain biking is his main love, Joe uses his skis as an escape mechanism. His past adventures include completing multi-day ski traverses throughout BC and achieving a number of committing descents in the BC Coast Range, the Canadian Rockies, and in the French Alps.
This is a question normally asked in the initial research part of planning a trip somewhere exotic, before you’ve made any decisions, but I had already committed to this destination and legitimately had no idea where the island was. The reasons for this were a long winter of ski guiding, my Ireland-med school-attending girlfriend, our months apart from each other, and that Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, was the furthest south she could get a direct plane ticket to after a rainy winter in her new home of Cork. The plan was already in action, and I would have been happy to meet her on an oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic, so tickets to this Spanish island were booked, and then I started looking in to exactly where I was headed to.
Happy to be leaving winter behind at the Calgary airport
And the soul funk continues as we bring to you the second installment of our #MusicMondays series!
The Jam in the Van crew has made their way over to the world famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a momentous scene—this meeting of jazz and heritage—has stood for decades since as a stirring symbol of the authenticity of the celebration that was destined to become a cultural force. Stay up-to-date on their very latest exploits by following Jam in the Van on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or by subscribing to their YouTube channel.
We can definitely dig what they are laying out in New Orleans and look forward to seeing the Jam in the Van Jazzfest performances online soon! In the meantime, and without further ado, Osprey Packs and Jam in the Van bring to you a session from SXSW 2014 with American Aquarium, a band (like many of their musical heroes that paved the way before them) can wrap some of the ugliest feelings in the most spirited soundscape.
On Wednesday we watched the weather as it fell by the feet, crossing our fingers and hoping it would roll into Colorado. On Thursday, the storm blew east, dropping over a foot in 24 hours in the Colorado mountains. Powderhounds throughout the state rejoiced—us included, with reservation. We were stoked that the ski areas on I-70 were getting dumped on, but I-70 wasn’t our destination. Our sights were set southwest of Summit County, way southwest. So far southwest, in fact, that we would be closer to New Mexico than to Vail Pass.
The storm flirted with us. It was headed to Silverton, and then it wasn’t. And then it was. And then it stayed. And stormed. And stormed. And stormed.
The storm coated the roads and blocked the visibility and made us—a pack of women, of powder whores, of chicks—giddy with excitement. We threw our fattest skis and warmest coats in our cars and trucks, kissed our people goodbye, and drove into the blizzard. Read more…
“Vertfest is a multi-stop mountain festival dedicated to raising the level of snow safety education and stoke for backcountry enthusiasts, and supporting the efforts of avalanches centers everywhere. “