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.
Story: Andy Traslin
Active Lifestyle, adventure, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities, photos, Snowsports, Travel
Round 4 of #OspreyAt40 kicks off at 10:15 am PST, Tuesday, February 25th!
Round 4 is the final round of our 40-day giveaway celebrating our 40th Anniversary — it’s time to submit your favorite photo memory of Osprey Packs if you haven’t yet already! At the beginning of Round 4 of #OspreyAt40, we’ll once again reset the votes on all photo submissions back to “0.” Resetting the votes to “0” tomorrow morning will mean that each entrant is once again eligible to automatically win a Limited Edition Transporter 40 pack if their photo submission is one of the first five photos to reach 40 votes on our contest page.
We launched this contest as a fun way to celebrate this milestone anniversary with the folks who’ve made the last 40 years possible: our fans. And we’ve been blown away by the amazing photos we’ve received of so many journeys, hikes, travels and treks. We’re so glad to have been a part of those incredible adventures! Below are 10 more #OspreyAt40 winners, including the 5 photos selected as Round 2 winners by our judges, along with the top 5 Round 3 winners selected by voters.
Good luck everyone! If you’re a US resident who hasn’t yet entered but would like to, please do so here: tinyurl.com/OspreyAt40
Official rules available here.
contest, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, Outdoor Activities, photos
“In an epic snow year, five friends leave their daily lives behind to hike California’s historic John Muir Trail, a 211-mile stretch from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.). Their goal — complete the journey in 25 days while capturing the amazing sights & sounds they encounter along the way. Inspired by their bond, humor, artistry & dedication, the group continues to grow: to include other artists, musicians & adventure seekers. Before they all reach the summit, hikers and viewers alike affirm the old adage — it’s about the journey, not the destination. Mile… Mile & A Half is the feature-length documentary of that journey…”
Can’t wait to see Mile, Mile & a Half? We’re with you. And you’re in luck; the MMAAH crew is arranging screenings of the film in select locations around the country. Check out the list below and follow the links for ticket purchasing.
June 14th / 6pm / Emeryville, CA / ClifBar HQ
Opus Orange performing an acoustic set
Buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/381524
June 15th / 1pm / Sacramento, CA / The Guild Theater
Opus Orange performing an acoustic set
Buy Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/374729
June 26th / 7pm / Santa Fe, NM / The Screen (JUST ADDED)
Tickets Will Be Available Here: http://thescreensf.com/
June 27th / 7pm / Durango, CO / The Gaslight Theater
Buy Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/392378
June 29th/7pm/ Washington D.C./ Greenberg Theater, American University in Washington D.C.
Buy Tickets here: http://american.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=583477
July 18/7:30pm/DeLand, FL/The Athens Theater
Buy Tickets here: https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=6bef24530cd077ff08ee04aa7ed35621
August 1/6:15pm/Seatlle, WA/The Mountaineers Program Center
Buy Tickets Here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/403822
August 9/6:30pm/West LA/Adventure 16
Buy Tickets Here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/402961
August 23/6:30pm/San Diego/Adventure 16
Buy Tickets Here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/402968
September 6/8:30pm/Cascade Locks/Pacific Crest Trail Days
Event Details Here: http://www.pcta.org/about-us/events/pct-days/
Check The Muir Project Event site for additional event info and details.
adventure, Events, film festivals, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, video
America has 200,000 miles of trails that, as the American Hiking Society puts it, “allow us access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude, inspiration, and much more. Trails take us to good physical and mental health by providing us with a chance to breathe fresh air, get our hearts pumping, and escape from our stresses.” We couldn’t have said it better.
Of course, these expansive trails come at the cost of a lot of hard work on the parts of the people who help organize for, plan around and essentially build the trails we use on a regular basis. As such, it’s only appropriate that we take time out of our busy lives to appreciate not only the trails themselves but also the work that goes into their very existence. National Trails Day — held every year on the first Saturday of June — is one such time when everyone can come together to celebrate trails through a wide range of events including “hiking, dog walking, bike riding, trail maintenance, birding, wildlife photography, geocaching, paddle trips, trail running, trail dedications, health-focused programs, and children’s activities,” among others. Pioneered by the American Hiking Society and its outstanding volunteers, National Trails Day boasts events in all 50 states —and you can easily find an event in your area here.
adventure, causes, Events
We see a lot of great photos throughout the week. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each week and highlighting one each Friday on our blog to inspire our weekend adventures. We call it the Osprey Round Up.
We are fortunate to have Canyonlands National Park right in our backyard… so when David Taus posted this spring photo from Canyonlands National Park on our Facebook page, we knew we had to share. And we know the feeling of anticipation and excitement that comes with a trip to the canyons.
The Needles. My favorite and oldest Osprey Packs (the big green silhouette from ’97!) One Alpacka Raft. One beaten up copy of Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. Volker Neumann, Tim O’Shea, Peter Hoagland, Nick Novelli. Three weeks away.
Have a great time, David and friends! Happy Friday!
Friday Round-up, Outdoor Activities, Southwest Colorado
Group checking out ruins... no touching Youvonne!
I’ve lived in Southwest Colorado for four years now and it still amazes me all the places in my own backyard I still have not explored. Thankfully Osprey Packs gives its employees the opportunity to take a paid day off to explore the wilderness. This gives us here at Osprey extra time to play in the beautiful place we live in.
Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, photos, Southwest Colorado
Forget bottled-at-the-source. How about dunking your entire face into the source!?
In the Andes near El Bolson, Argentina
David and I woke to a drizzle that shimmered in sideways curtains. The camp grounds of Refugio Heilo Azul stirred with hikers waking, packing, coming and going.