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Dispatch from a winter of contrasts

March 14th, 2014

Osprey Athlete Jasmin Caton owns and operates Valhalla Mountain Touring along with her husband, fellow Osprey Athlete Evan Stevens. Jasmin grew up in Hills B.C. and has been hooked on skiing ever since. She devotes most of her time to her passion for outdoor recreation, primarily rock climbing, alpine climbing and backcountry skiing. Some of her most memorable outdoor adventures are guiding her parents up Bugaboo Spire, hiking the Valhalla Range in 3 days with her sister, and topping out on War and Poetry, a 30 pitch route in Greenland in a raging storm. Jasmin is an ACMG assistant rock guide and works for Squamish Rock Guides during the summer.

The epitome of winter bliss. Rosy cheeks, tired legs and great friends to celebrate with. "Porch beers" was part of the daily schedule of the VMT Women's Week.

The epitome of winter bliss. Rosy cheeks, tired legs and great friends to celebrate with. “Porch beers” were part of the daily schedule of the VMT Women’s Week.

Bhumi Mountain Camp participants skinning across the Secret Valley at Sentry Lodge

Bhumi Mountain Camp participants skinning across the Secret Valley at Sentry Lodge

As a ski guide and ski touring lodge owner, winter always passes in a blur.  A day of sitting on my butt in front of the computer is the exception not the rule, and time seems to slow during these days as I get caught up on my inside jobs. I revel in this time — I can almost hear my leg muscles say “ahhhhhhhh” as they sink into the couch and my normally ski-boot clad feet say “thank goodness” as my toes spread into the furry depths of my slippers. It’s nice to have a bit of time for hang-boarding, yoga, and feels great to achieve that feeling of caught-upness that comes when I tackle my to-do list.

But as I look outside, at the winter sun reflecting off the snow I know that I won’t make it a whole day. Afterall, my dog needs his walk so I’ll use him as an excuse and get out for a run or two. Hopefully I’ll finish this little post first! Read more…

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Active Lifestyle, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities, Snowsports , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Free to Roam

November 15th, 2013
Ben Clark running the last steps to the summit of 13,432' Oscar mountain outside Ophir, Co.

Ben Clark running the last steps to the summit of 13,432′ Oscar mountain outside Ophir, Co.

I don’t think I could be a mountaineer without traveling the world, and vice versa. For me the freedom to roam in the mountains in any way I want feels natural, like a “given.” I don’t mean to say that I can do anything I want physically, I’m referring to the opportunity to explore anywhere within reason or without one at all! I am grateful to be an American and to have the privilege of that freedom. If there is a mountain somewhere I want to climb — I can probably at least try it — almost anywhere in the world. So I travel.

One of the lessons I learned traveling was that in other countries, the U.S. stands out, and not just because of our extensive national park system. There were people out there who were so psyched on the U.S. that they would volunteer to die for it — no questions asked. I will always recognize that in our homeland, one of my best friends is one of those people and we grew up near Ft. Campbell, Ky.

My friend Don is a steady badass, and has been since we were 13. He is a helicopter pilot in the Army National Guard and an engineer in Atlanta, Ga. He’s a classic alpinist basing out of the hinterlands of mountain hope in the South and clawing up ice climbs in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia during the winter. After growing up together in Tennessee, Don and I were “all in” on the mountains for a few solid years and notched many adventures in our 20s in Colorado and one sleepless Mexican volcano trip. Two college dropouts — from architecture school and aeronautical engineering — we marched steady toward our dreams.

Don (left) and me on top of 14,005' Huron Peak in 2002. We are celebrating our Tennessee heritage in "special hats" before cutting loose and charging down the mountain.

Don (left) and me on top of 14,005′ Huron Peak in 2002. We are celebrating our Tennessee heritage in “special hats” before cutting loose and charging down the mountain.

Climbing peaks sometimes requires a soldier-like mentality; those who cope with fear are generally successful as long as they have tactical skills and luck. Many times when we were younger we talked about the balance between death and “getting the most out of life.” Six months after becoming a Dad, I sent Don an article contemplating some legitimate concerns regarding risks and the types of environments I was negotiating in 2012, Don got it and deadpanned:

“I will always love mountains, even in light of their ability to strike down the sturdiest of souls. I enjoy exercising my body in an environment that is set to the scale of my mind. Living and climbing in Colorado during my early 20s fueled my ability to pursue academic and professional accomplishments that I once thought were unattainable.

Four years ago I took an oath which affirmed that I would put myself in harm’s way for the greater good of our Nation. I would not have been able to take that oath had I not previously put myself in harm’s way for my own self-validation and pure enjoyment. In my own mind, from now on it might as well mean something.”

Don would go to war and die so we could visit the mountains if he had to. I’m not sure how I feel about war or death, but I know how Don feels about our country and I appreciate him even more because of it.

We are here today enjoying what we do because of sacrifices others have made. Ultimately it is up to us all to move ourselves forward remembering that sometimes others gave their lives and that we are the product of the freedom they are protecting. I did the edit on the video below and hope that you will take a moment to learn about Wear Blue: Run to Remember for those who serve our country and protect freedoms as innocent as being able to go outside. Remember those who protect our freedom, they are risking something for us that we should forever be grateful for.

 

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adventure, Advocacy, Osprey Athletes, video , , , , , ,

Sea Otter Classic 2013; One for the Books!

May 1st, 2013

The Sea Otter Classic proved to be bigger than ever this year as the 22-year-old event brought together racers, fans and bike companies from around the globe to start the spring season with four days of festivities, races and all things bike. The attendance was staggering this year; it’s grown exponentially since 1991, when only about half a thousand gathered around the course, to nearly 65,000 people attending, all in the name of love for our two-wheeled friend, the bicycle.

This year, there were a variety of races from road races to downhill mountain biking. Sea Otter serves as the first race to kick off the season as top pros in North America and from around the world flock to Sea Otter. However, all of the events are also open to amateurs so if you want to race your bike, you have the chance!

One of the greatest things about Sea Otter is that it is open to the general public, which allows everyone to check out and demo different bike product for the upcoming season from a wide range of vendors. Osprey teamed up with Cambria Bike shop for a four-day sale of Osprey Hydration packs and demos.
Osprey mascot Talon also made an appearance at the event as he cheered on our Osprey athlete Macky Franklin and even had a photo shoot with the Sea Otter himself!

Start planning your trip here for next year as everyone is welcome!

Photo via Alex Strickland

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Bike, Brand Team posts, Events, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities, Product, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,

Osprey Athletes Become Best Outdoor Personalities in Elevation Outdoors Poll

October 2nd, 2012

You may have already heard the news. Regardless, we’re proud to shout it out! Veteran Osprey Athletes Alison Gannett and Timmy O’Neill were both given the honor of being nominated Best Outdoor Personalities by Elevation Outdoors in its annual Best of Colorado poll.

The Colorado-based magazine Elevation Outdoors serves as the area’s guide to outdoor recreation. What’s more, it celebrates what’s best in outdoor sports and gear and who’s doing the most amazing things in the world of outdoor adventure. Here’s what Elevation Outdoors had to say about our very own Alison and Timmy:

Best Colorado Outdoor (female) Personality winner Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Free Skier, an accomplished mountain biker, surfer and inspirational speaker. An Osprey athlete since the late 90’s, Gannett is a global cooling consultant helping companies and individuals find cost-effective and meaningful solutions to reduce climate change impacts.

Longtime Osprey Athlete Timmy O’Neill was named Best Colorado Outdoor (male) Personality. O’Neill’s resume includes climber, comedian, slackliner, lecturer, drummer and coffee drinker. This year, O’Neil was named executive director of Paradox Sports, an organization helping disabled individuals enjoy life to the fullest through climbing, biking, surfing and paddling.

“It is fantastic to see Elevation Outdoors and its readers recognize Alison and Timmy,” said Osprey’s Director of Marketing Gareth Martins. “We are huge fans of Alison and Timmy with great respect for them as both athletes and activists. We can’t wait to see where this season will take them!”

You can read the entire Elevation Outdoors Best of Colorado 2012 list here!

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adventure, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture , , , , , , , ,

Guiding in Chamonix

September 5th, 2012

With Chris and Gavin from the UK on the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps at 15,782 feet, a couple weeks ago.

Guiding in the Alps surrounding Chamonix is the norm for American IFMGA guides. Over half of America’s 80-something fully certified guides are here this summer. Why? Not because the pay is great. The plane ticket here is expensive and the dollar is lame against the euro. It’s also not because the US doesn’t have great rock for guiding. The western US has some of the best rock in the world. It’s not because Chamonix is the birthplace of mountain guiding, either. We’re here because the guiding is AWESOME! With our customers we can zip to the alpine on a tram and climb impeccable rock all day, then whisk back to a comfortable town where guides are socializing and living their normal life. Small, non-knee crushing backpacks are another bonus.

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