I’m often asked about my favorite places to ski, so here are some of my recommendations from around the world:
Kootnay Mountains, British Columbia’s Red Mountain Resort and Whitewater Resorts:
While I love almost all of the skiing in BC, I’m choosing this area because of the consistently great snow that adheres to rocks, GREAT ski towns, the friendliest locals, phenomenally varied steep terrain, affordability and easy access (flights to Spokane,Washington,USA and short drive across border). When folks ask me if and where I have a pass, I respond that I don’t, but if I did I wish it was here and I wish I could live in Nelson or Rossland! Almost nowhere in the world have I experienced pillows like those in Steep Roots at Red Mountain, or powder that felt like backcountry but was actually inbounds like in Whitewater. It’s no wonder I choose to spend most of my season at these two places and that I run most of my Steep Skiing Camps in the Kootnays. What I also adore is the non-resort vibe at these towns/ski areas – reminds me of my childhood at Crotched Mountain New Hampshire. This is skiing as it should be.
Tip: Don’t miss the $25 dorm rooms at the Adventure Hotel or pay-as-you can or trade for rooms at Angie’s B&B. Don’t forget about the great slackcountry — bring all your backcountry gear almost every day to these areas.
Verbier, Switzerland + Chamonix, France or La Grave + Serre Chevalier, France:
I’m mushing these together because different folks may want one over the other or, ideally, both. Both are beyond words when using the lifts to access the backcountry. When I want to scare myself, I go to ski the couloirs in Cham. Besides Argentina, I don’t think I’ve ever almost peed my pants like when we skied the Rhonde when icy, and a guide died that day in the couloir next door in the same hour. I’ve also skied almost 7,000 feet of blower snow in a chute almost all to ourselves. Verbier also has epic backcountry off the lifts, but it is more wide open peak to peak adventure skiing and if you want to end up at a place with a bus or train back where you started, hire a guide or make a good friend at the bar. Another strong contender in this category is La Grave (pucker factor even higher than Cham) and Serre Chevalier (OMG steep trees/spines).
Manali, Indian Himalayas:
Typical response, “what Mountains are there?” Duh, they’re the HIMALAYAS, only the greatest, tallest and most epic mountain range in the WORLD. But great mountains don’t always make for a great skiing experience. Case in point, I adore skiing in the Chugatch Range of Alaska (Valdez, etc), but the rest – grey weather, greasy food, epic down time, heli expense, lack of trees for backcountry hiking on gray days, etc.) don’t contribute to my absolute favorite overall experience. Manali is an breathtaking Indian honeymoon destination, which changes everything. Epically tasty and inexpensive cuisine, no AK47’s like Kashmir/Gulmarg, colorful and almost weekly Buddhist and Hindu festivals, 5-star lodging and service at a budget hostel expense, Colorado-like weather/snow with Utah-like Intercontinental snowpack, and the mountains? Well, need I say more? Don’t leave home without: CR Spooner’s book “Ski Touring India’s Kullu Valley.”
To Be Continued…
Osprey Athlete ALISON GANNETT is a self-sufficient farmer, World Champion Extreme FreeSkier, mountain biker, award-winning global cooling consultant and founder of the multiple non-profits. In addition to being an athlete, ambassador and keynote speaking, Alison runs KEEN Rippin Chix Camps which offer women’s steep skiing, biking and surf camps around the globe. She has starred in many movies, TV shows, and magazines receiving many awards for her work including National Geographic’s “Woman Adventurer of the Year,” Powder Magazine’s “48 Greatest Skiers of All Time,” and Outside Magazine’s “Green All-Star of the Year.” In 2010, she and her husband Jason bought Holy Terror Farm, kicking off their next chapter of personal health and self-sustainability.
Osprey is 40 years young! I fondly recall the moment I selected “Osprey” for the new company, way back in 1974. At that time this beautiful bird was an endangered species and I thought, if that bird can survive the next few tough years, so can this new company! Like the bird, Osprey Packs has flourished since then, and continues to grow and multiply. Over all these years, we at Osprey have had the pleasure to meet and work with some of the finest, warmest people involved in this wonderful, friendly industry. We are indebted to all of you out there who have supported Osprey along the way, through thick and thin, and have made the last 40 years so fun and rewarding!
-Mike Pfotenhauer, Osprey Packs founder and Head Designer
Since 1974, when Osprey Packs was founded by Mike Pfotenhauer in the front of his rented house in Santa Cruz, California, our mission has been to create innovative high performance gear that reflects our love of adventure and our devotion to the outdoors. We’re so honored to be commemorating the 40th anniversary of Osprey Packs — thank you for 40 incredible years!
To celebrate, we’re giving away 40 Limited Edition bags over 40 days in celebration of our past, our present & our future. Enter to win #Osprey1974 by submitting a photo showing us where you’ve gone with Osprey: your favorite day hike, a long summer weekend backpacking, or satisfying your wanderlust abroad. One Grand Prize winner will win the Osprey pack of their choice!
Below are the winning photos from of Round 1 of the #Osprey1974 photo contest! Each winner will receive a 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Transporter 40 bag.
Have you entered #Osprey1974 yet? Join us in celebrating 40 years of Osprey Packs by sharing a photo of your adventures with Osprey! We’re thrilled to celebrate 4 decades of adventures with you and to give away 40 bags over 40 days.
Enter to win: tinyurl.com/osprey1974
Complete rules: tinyurl.com/osprey1974rules
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When we launched our #OspreyAt40 photo contest earlier this year, we knew we’d see some amazing photos of your many adventures, travels and treks — but we were blown away by the number of phenomenal photos submitted by so many loyal Osprey fans. Thank you for sharing your memories with us — we’re honored to have been part of your hikes, backpacking trips, MTB rides, snow days, city walks, summits, sojourns and every other adventure you’ve had with an Osprey Pack on your back.
We’re going to continue to celebrate our 40th Anniversary throughout the year — so please stay tuned for other fun contests and prizes. In May, we’ll be premiering the full-length documentary “Osprey Packs: 40 Years in the Making.” In the meantime, below are the final winners selected by our internal judges for Round 4 of #OspreyAt40. (Or visit our gallery of all of the 40 winning #OspreyAt40 photos here.)
Thank you again for sharing your photos with us and for celebrating our 40th Anniversary!
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Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. Since it’s about this time of year that people seem to start getting antsy with wanderlust, we figured we’d feature one of our favorite topics: travel. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!
It’s no surprise that we’ve always got travel on the mind. Exploring new places is a beautiful thing, both because it can change our perspective and connects us to new communities. So this week we’ve got a special Friday favorite: Passports With Purpose.
In its third year, PWP is built on the idea that “travel can change the world.” (We love campaigns that promote travel doing good things!) For the last two years, its founders and a whole lot of travel bloggers have put together their efforts to raise money for a good cause. Last year the initiative raised over $30,000 and built a school in rural Cambodia. This year they’re raising money for LAFTI, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Dalit (untouchable) population in India. Raising $50,000 will allow LAFTI to build a whole village of homes.
So seriously, as you start to think about things to buy this holiday season, consider putting your money to a good cause; because not only are you proving that travel can change the world, you’ll get the opportunity to score some cool gear — including an Osprey Vector 22!