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Vertfest: One Grand Party for all Snowsports!

February 13th, 2014

That’s right folks — it’s here!

The Mightiest “Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle” in all of North America is returning to Alpental, WA on the 15th of February. So what does that mean? Well, it means that Osprey will be joining some of the best brands in the outdoor industry, including Outdoor Research, La Sportiva, and Mammut, to bring two full days of demos, clinics, beer drinking, races, snowfall, music, more beer drinking and many other forms of fun (all type 1 of course,) back to the great state of Washington.

We encourage all residents in the greater Seattle area to come out and join us this weekend — there are some events that you do NOT want to miss.

Not thoroughly convinced? Let us elaborate on why this may be the most epic weekend of skiing you’ll have this entire season: Read more…

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Vertfest: North America’s Biggest Freeride and Mountain Mettle Festival

January 17th, 2013

Every year, Vertfest returns to Alpental, Washington as the biggest Freeride and Mountain Mettle Festival in North America. What’s more, this year Vertfest will celebrate with festivities at two locations, adding Vertfest January 19th at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon! As stated on the site, “This new venue will host a challenging course, backcountry/sidecountry oriented clinics, demos and loads of fun. Come join us at Mt. Bachelor for the first ‘series’ race in the Vertfest Series. Elite racers will earn points towards the series point total.”

The 7th Annual Vertfest in Alpental will be hosted February 16th and 17th, and will kick off on the 16th with the Monika Johnson Memorial Rally, to be followed by an awards ceremony and a raffle boasting skis, packs and gear galore. The event will also host live music from Head Like A Kite and Daydream Vacation, featuring Asya of NYC based Smooshand. On the final day of Vertfest, special guest Jessica Baker of Ski Divas and Neil Provo, professional splitboarder from Salt Lake City will be there to show their skills in clinics.

Want to experience all of the glory that Vertfest promises to be? Get your tickets here, ASAP!

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VertFest 2012 Wrap Up

February 23rd, 2012

Forty-eight inches of snow in 48 hours. It was indeed a white, powdery Vertfest.

Another exciting VertFest has been wrapped in a blanket of fresh snow and put safely to bed, and oh what a fantastic event it was! The biggest side and backcountry skiing/boarding festival and rando race in the Northwest lived up to its billing and was certainly filled with plenty of “awesomesauce” and “mountain mettle” as promised.

Read more…

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Friday Round Up: Music From Daydream Vacation and Head Like A Kite

February 17th, 2012

We’re pretty excited to be en route to the Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass in Washington for Vertfest this weekend, so in order to keep our energy up and our toes tapping we’ve been rocking out to beats from Daydream Vacation and Head Like A Kite. The bands will be performing at Vertfest on Saturday. What’s better than ending a day of skiing with a beer and a dance party? That’s right. Nothing.

But even if you can’t join us for the festivities this weekend, you can still have a dance party… enjoy!



Happy Friday!

PHOTO via

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Vertfest: Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle February 18 to 19 at Alpental in Washington

February 8th, 2012

“Vertfest is filled with awesomesauce!”

VertFest is the biggest sidecountry and backcountry skiing and snowboarding festival and rando rally race in the NW. Come join us for the 6th annual Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle!

When: February 18 and 19, 2012

Where: Alpental at the Summit on Snoqualmie Pass, Wash.

All proceeds from VertFest support the Friend’s of NWAC, so you have no reason not to join in the fun! Thefestival kicks off Saturday with the Monika Johnson Memorial Rally and the Stanley Cup Fun Race. Saturday will be capped by the gear-filled awards ceremony, including our Karve sidecountry pack prizes, and live music with Daydream Vacation and headliner Head Like a Kite. The beer will be flowing after racers cross the finish line, so come join in the festivities and catch up with your friends even if you don’t tape on a bib number. Clinics will be on Sunday with some of the best athletes and guides in the business. Take a look below for information on all of the race categories and individual events. Gear vendors will be on hand both Saturday and Sunday to show you the latest gear for sidecountry skiing and riding. Check out gear from Outdoor Research, Jones Snowboards, Osprey, Scarpa and many, many more.

We’re especially excited for our Sidecountry Steeps clinic with Osprey athlete Kim Havell. Check it out:

AM clinic – 9am to noon

PM clinic (women’s only) – 1pm to 4pm

Learn to ski the steeps with renowned skier Kim Havell. Kim’s travels have taken her to all seven continents for steep descents on peaks such as Ama Dablam and Aconcagua. Kim’s knowledge and skill as a guide and instructor will help you build skills for navigating steep terrain and boost the confidence you need to ski the steep lines here in the Cascades or beyond. Participants must have a season pass or purchase a lift ticket.

Learn about the rest of the clinics here. Stay updated on event details on the Facebook page here. And don’t forget to buy your tickets for each event. See you there!

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Vertfest 2011 – Going Up?

February 15th, 2011

Vertfest, organized by Outdoor Research, is the largest backcountry festival and rando rally race in the Northwest with all proceeds benefit the Friends of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center. Osprey’s Director of Marketing Gareth Martins competed in last weekend’s race and gives us the inside scoop…

“I am a backcountry skier.”  “I like to earn my turns.”  “I enjoy the uphill (almost) as much as the downhill.” These thoughts cycle through my head as I charge up hill with 121 other skiers. “I enjoy running my heart rate at 90% of max?!” This thought joins the cycle as I fall into line my tips inches from the tails in front of me, tips behind me tapping my tails, keeping me moving. I am competing in my first “Rondo Rally” and I will survive.

Read more…

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Vertfest: Celebrating Backcountry Culture to Benefit the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center

March 8th, 2010

vertfestWords by Paresh Kamdar

Photos by Ryan Beck

Backcountry skiing is usually about getting away from the crowds. It is usually about spending time enjoying the beauty and solitude of the mountains at your own pace, making your own way. Why then would more than 100 backcountry skiers and riders enter a competition in a ski area on a gorgeous clear day in the middle of winter? I think the answers lies in their support for the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center and their desire to “fest” with others in the backcountry community.

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Verfest is a celebration of backcountry culture that benefits the Friends of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center. It is a euro-style “rando race” inviting all forms of glisse to participate in the human-powered race up and back down the mountain. The 4th Annual Vertfest was held at Alpental near Snoqualmie Pass on this bluebird Saturday, March 6th 2010. Martin Volken of Pro Guiding proudly announced that this was the most well attended rando race yet in the Northwest with more than 100 participants!

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) provides an essential resource to backcountry travelers. We have come to love and rely on the avalanche and weather forecasts provided by NWAC. NWAC operates one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive mountain weather and data networks in the US, providing information that is crucial to the safety of mountain travelers.

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The race course at Alpental is always steep and challenging. This year the cold clear morning made it extra technical with icy conditions.  The recreational category made one lap within the Alpental ski area climbing about 2,300’, while the race category climbed two laps for a total elevation gain of 4,100’. The second lap was a completely different route that took participants into the Alpental backcountry, out to the infamous “Piss pass” and back.

Local favorite Monika Johnson took 1st in the Women’s race division vertfest2completing both laps in just 2 hrs 7 minutes! Ellen Parker took 2nd with a time of 2:39 and Kristine Kleedehn came in 3rd at 2:44.  The Traslin brothers from British Columbia took 1st and 2nd place in the men’s race division. Andy’s time was 1 hr 40 minutes with his brother, Mike, just 3 minutes behind at 1:43! Kirk Turner took 3rd with a time of 1:46. Local favorite Lowell Skoog placed 4th with a time of 1:49. All incredibly fast given the vertical gain and technical nature of the course!

As for me, I think “suffer fest” would be a more appropriate name.  This was my 2nd entry into this game. I worked hard at it and was happy to have improved my time over my last showing at Crystal Mountain a couple of years ago.  It took me 1hr, 26minutes to complete the recreational category of 1 lap.  That put me in 9th place out of 41 in the category*.  I accomplished my goals of finishing without injury & of not getting lapped by anyone in the race category (in the event at Crystal in 2008, not only did I get lapped by one of the racers, Benedikt Böhm, but I later heard that he enjoyed a smoke between laps!)  It was fun to push myself and see just how fast I could tour up that much vertical. It was also fun to meet and hang out with many of the “who’s who” in the NW backcountry community. I got to have lunch with Lowell Skoog and Garth Ferber, a couple of local legends. I learned that Garth is one of only 3 employees at Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center! Wow! All that work with only 3 employees!  I shook hands with the Traslin brothers and thanked them for all of their inspiring trip reports. I met Tyler Kloster, of Karakoram and saw the prototype of his soon to be released all new splitbaord system!

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Vertfest is a great event that is gathering more support every year.  It’s an excellent way to meet others interested in backcountry touring adventures and to support an essential resource that is constantly underfunded.  The free beer and copious swag from all of the sponsors added to the fun. Everyone had a blast!

IMG_0031A huge thanks to Osprey for their support of Vertfest for the 4th year in a row!  Thanks also to Martin Volken and his crew from Pro Guiding for setting & maintaining the course, to Outdoor Research for organizing the event, to Alpental for providing the venue, to all of the participants for their infectious energy, and to everyone else that helped in putting this together!

Be safe out there and have fun!

*unofficial race results  – official results should be in later this week

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