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It’s Almost Time: Vertfest 2013

February 6th, 2013

It’s that time of year again! Vertfest is and always will be known as “the best Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle in North America,” and it’s back, ready to kick off on February 16th and 17th in Alpental, WA. Naturally, we’ll be there to help celebrate. Here’s the full scope of what you can expect:

The weekend will begin on Saturday with the Monika Johnson Memorial Rally, with a race division that’ll take participants on two laps up Alpental and back — in addition to a recreational division, as well as a 50+ and splitboard division, all of which will offer up just one lap. Saturday will progress with a contest, an awards ceremony and an epic raffle with ski and pack giveaways. Saturday’s festivities will cap off with live music from Head Like A Kite and Daydream Vacation.

Sunday is the day of educational clinics, ranging from an Intro to Splitboarding with Neil Provo to a clinic focused on landscape photography to a Sidecountry Steeps Clinic with our very own Osprey Athlete Kim Havell. This clinic will take place from 9-12 and 1-4 p.m. You can check the full clinic schedule for details here, but be sure to stop by the Osprey booth on Sunday between 4 and 4:30 for a chance to meet Kim Havell, who will be doing a poster-signing!

Throughout the weekend, Osprey will be providing free demos on the Karve series of sidecountry riding packs, as well as the Kode 22 backcountry riding pack, so be sure to swing by to try on a Karve or Kode pack and get fitted by a professional. We’ll have Karve 6, 11 and 16 as well as the Kode 22 on hand for free demos. What’s more, we’ll be there with the entire Osprey winter collection and all of the new packs that will be coming in Spring of 2013. And while you’re at the Osprey booth, be sure to take the 3-minute Osprey Vertfest survey for a chance to win a brand-new Osprey pack. We’ll see you on the mountain!

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adventure, Events, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, Product , , , , , , , , ,

Have An Ice Day: Let the Ouray Ice Festival Begin

January 8th, 2013

It’s that time of year again — the biggest ice festival in North American is nearly here! This weekend, The Ouray Ice Festival will be back for three days of ice climbing, chatter, gear, equipment and competitions among world-class climbers. Held every January since 1996, the Ouray Ice Fest brings enthusiasts from around the world to Ouray, Colorado, with the end result being that the fest itself has become the primary fundraiser for the Ouray Ice Park.

This year’s event will be held this weekend, from January 10th through the 13th. And what’s more, we’ll be there to contribute to the festivities with a full display of all of our newest 2013 packs; free demos of Osprey Packs all day throughout the weekend, as well as free onsite professional pack fittings and daily pack giveaways. All you have to do is come by the Osprey Ice Fest booth to take a two minute event survey and you’ll be entered to win a Variant or Mutant climbing pack of your own. Adding to all of the goodness of the Ouray Ice Fest, swing by on Saturday between 2 and 3 p.m. to meet Osprey Athlete and pro climber Majka Burhardt!

For more information about the Ouray Ice Fest, you can check out the Ouray blog, and check out the 2013 competitor list here. We’ll see you there!

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Finding The Perfect Moment in Pig Poop and Powder

November 19th, 2012

Putting straw atop her compost pile on the farm. Photo courtesy The Denver Post

Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Freeskier, founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation and an award-winning global cooling consultant who has spent her life dedicated to solutions for climate change.

A reporter asked me yesterday how I find time to shovel pig poop and run a farm with my busy schedule. In general, I avoid this job at all costs, but for some weird reason, I bonded with it this week and decided that it is extremely similar to skiing powder.

Read more…

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Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, Southwest Colorado , , , ,

Help Mile… Mile & a Half Reach its Kickstarter Goal!

September 19th, 2012

When Dave and Kelly Finlay of Dolores, Colorado set out to thru-hike the Muir Trail, they had no way of knowing what their California adventure had in store. After it was all said and done, they had this to say:
“219 miles and 25 days to complete the John Muir Trail. Each day another story, another achievement and another photo. The smiles sometimes wavered, but my Osprey backpack never did.”
Now a year later and following countless hours of editing, the film is nearing its completion — and the Mile… Mile & a Half Kickstarter campaign is coming  to a close — but there’s still eight days left for you to help out! You can check their campaign out here and back their project all the way up until September 28th)!

Want to know more about what led to the film? Here’s the scoop:
We always dreamt of creating a documentary to share the adventure and grandeur of the John Muir Trail, and after nine years our eclectic group of five finally stepped into the California wilderness. Truth is, that first day on the trail, July 10, 2011, we didn’t know what all to expect. It was a record snow year, which in and of itself presented a formidable challenge. We had no idea whether we’d be able to overcome the endless obstacles set out before us, let alone capture enough footage along the way to produce a feature-length film.
With a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance, we finished all 211 miles of the JMT (as well as the 8 miles required to return to civilization after summiting Mount Whitney). As we had cautiously hoped, we left the trail with more than just sore feet. Our packs were often ridiculously heavy and the amount of work was no small task, but we truly exceeded our own expectations in capturing the images, sounds, and experiences of the trail.

Check out the trailer for Mile… Mile & a Half here, read our interview with Dave and Kelly on the Osprey Blog here (and be sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign before the 28th)!

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The 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Wrap-Up

August 30th, 2012

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the biggest and most challenging bike race ever held on U.S. territory. This year, it’s back with a vengeance. Starting August 20, for seven consecutive days, some of the best cyclists from around the world will take on 683 miles of the Rocky Mountains and ride through some of Colorado’s most beautiful cities. Osprey is proud to be the official pack sponsor of the Challenge and we brought you photos from each day’s events right here on the Osprey Bike Blog.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge stayed exciting from its start at Stage 1 all the way through the monster climb of Stage 4 and into the final flat and fast moments of Stage 7 when American Christian Vande Velde sped his way through Denver to win the 2012 race. As Vande Velde himself put it, “The opportunity to participate in a race like this, of this caliber is a beautiful thing. As long as there are races like the USA Pro Challenge in America, I want to race as long as I can. The crowds are so positive and so happy.”

From the USA Pro Cycling Challenge site: “We have some of the best cyclists in the world racing in Colorado,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. “This is one of the biggest stage races in the history of our country. We call this America’s race, and it really is. The crowds were even bigger than they were last year; Golden to Boulder was pretty magical. I can’t wait for 2013 and we are already talking about routes.”

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Photo: The Hippy Van at Stage 1 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

August 20th, 2012

Today marks the start of The USA Pro Cycling Challenge — so it’s only fitting that we have what Osprey Packs Assistant Product Line Manager Chris Horton calls “Osprey’s hippy van” all set for this year’s cyclists to ride up Lizard Head Pass for Stage 1 of the race!

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The State of Enduro Racing: Is It The Next Big Thing?

August 14th, 2012

The beauty of Enduro racing can be found on the transition stages with friends: riding along and enjoying the day.

I should preface this piece by stating that I am not an experienced Enduro racer, but rather one that has participated in several races, and likes the idea of a race that is like a ride with friends, but against the clock in the fun sections. The burgeoning excitement over this new style of racing is contagious, but I am unsure of whether to completely jump on the bandwagon of those claiming it’s the next big thing. Is it the next big thing? Can it dethrone the juggernauts that are DH racing and XC?

Read more…

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Adventure Saves The World: Outside in Aspen with Osprey

June 25th, 2012

I only wish this was a real cover of me on Outside Magazine, but alas, it is just a fun promo souvenir from my participation in Outside In Aspen.

In addition to lots of fun activities at the event, I was asked to be a member of a pro-athlete panel for the closing event Adventure Saves the World.

At first I was put off by the title, as I am always mortified by the carbon footprint of even my human-powered expeditions. Then I received an outline, from moderator Mike Roberts, executive editor of the Outside — and to my surprise and delight, this guy wanted to dig deep! He had quotes from Will Gadd, spouting about the BS of many expeditions with a cause, to the polar opposite — powerful athletes really making a difference, like Jake Norton, fighting for clean drinking water. Were we going to have to put on boxing gloves and fight it out? Were many people just using expeditions to raise money for their hedonistic activities under the fake umbrella of a cause?

Turns out, all the world champion athletes at this symposium were all in favor of philanthropy, but all had some key points that charity givers should note…

Polar Explorer Eric Larsen talked up the benefits of bringing nature’s gifts into the classroom with social media, and noted that donated money should go to the cause — not to fund an expedition’s travel expenses.

Willie Kern responded eloquently regarding how effective we were in reaching millions, saying that if even one person was inspired or changed, that made it all worthwhile. Olympic snowboarder Chris Klug mentioned that he is flooded with emails from organ donation recipients like himself, inspired to do even more with their new lives.

How do we recognize if an expedition is doing the right thing? Of course you can check if corporate sponsors are funding expenses and donation money is going directly to causes, and check to see the validity and rating of a nonprofit, but there really is more. At the end of the forum, I had an epiphany regarding the issue… maybe what it boils down to is authenticity: in the days of Google, one can really check to see if an cause-driven expedition is really true to that person’s heart and soul. Based upon the passion I saw and heard at this symposium, I was inspired to keep saving the world, one snowflake at a time!

Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Freeskier, founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation and an award-winning global cooling consultant who has spent her life dedicated to solutions for climate change.

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Singletrack Report: McKenzie River Trail

May 30th, 2012

Much of the trail runs next to the rushing river, creating a unique juxtapostion between the water and dirt.

The McKenzie River Trail (the MRT) is situated in Central Oregon, on the west side of the Cascades. This mountain range, predominantly made up of dormant and not-so-dormant volcanoes, does an efficient job of stopping the moisture from the Pacific Coast. On the west side you have temperate rainforests and old growth timber, and a stones throw to the east you are exploring an arid desert-like landscape. The MRT, being on the west side of the volcanoes, features towering Douglas fir, mossy forest floors, a raging river (complete with big waterfalls) and a cool climate. Apparently it rains frequently, but it was nice and dry for our visit down this renowned trail.

Read more…

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Trail Opening Celebrations in British Columbia

May 2nd, 2012

No better cause for celebration than some fresh mountain bike trail!

With the arrival of spring comes the introduction of new trails, poking up out of the melting snow like so many April flowers. They may have been lovingly crafted over the previous summer, granting a lucky few passage before the winter took hold, or they are a result of a trail builder’s many dark, wet, cold days digging and sculpting while others are riding powder on the higher reaches of the mountains (myself included).

Regardless of when they were built, these fresh nuggets of mountain biking pleasure reveal themselves to us in the spring, bringing exciting new experiences to share with our friends. New climbs to conquer, gaps to clear, or technical DH lines to master, these handcrafted pieces of dirt artistry hold in them the potential for another season’s worth of adventure, fun and challenge.

Nowhere is this celebrated more than at a trail opening. I grew up in Nelson, a town where these events were revered, looked forward to. The trail builder was not asked about certain nuances of their work in progress, but rather the details of the celebration that would take place once the trail was complete.

The openings would be a raucous affair, including all the characters that made my home what it was. More frat party than group ride, entire crowds would gather around key features on the new trail, cheering on the local legends and heckling others that timidly approached the line. Riders, spurred on by the crowd, took their risk taking to a whole other level, greeted by loud cheers upon success, and catcalls and laughter with failure. This would continue all the way down the trail, adding an element of spectator sport to the ride.

At the trail end, the rowdy group would then spill out onto the beach, or backyard, or backroad and the real trail opening celebrations would commence. My few friends and I were youngsters amongst this motley group of mountain freaks, and we would watch from the fringes, content with the ride we just had the chance to share with this crew. Eventually we would pull ourselves away, resigned to a curfew imposed by parents, riding away from the crackling bonfire, skunky clouds of smoke, and laughing voices recalling trails of the past, and talk of ones in the future.

I was happy to see that the trail opening tradition is being revived here on the Coast, perhaps in a slightly more commercial fashion, but managing to keep the raw excitement and spirit of a new trail launch party. Ted Tempany in Squamish is dropping the ropes on his new masterpiece, Full Nelson, on May 5th. With support from the Province of BC, SORCA, Anthill Films and Red Bull, Ted and others toiled over this berm and jump-filled snake run all winter, and are launching it to the public this coming weekend. The Red Bull-sponsored party is an all-ages celebration, unlike the trail openers of my youth. Lawlessness aside, the spirit is still there: a party to commemorate the hard work of some dedicated and visionary trailbuilders, and a chance to have some fun with your buddies on a brand new mountain bike trail.

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