Osprey Athlete Payge McMahon is an adventure athlete, ‘rockin’ yogi’ and journalist who travels the world inspiring others to get outdoors, try new things and start checking off that bucket list.
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Ben White is a New England native who moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah. He loves skiing in the backcountry, climbing, mountain biking and generally messing about in the mountains.
Playing in the mountains is an incredible thing. Be it skiing, climbing, biking, hiking, paddling or any other fantastic activity, it’s all fun. However, when the trees change color from green to fire or from grey to green, the fun stops, or at the very least, changes. From when I was twelve until about fourteen or fifteen, the loss of snow in the mountains brought about foul moods and boredom. Once I started mountain biking, it was still a bummer to lose ski season, but riding a bike became just so darn fun. With the addition of climbing on the list of fun things to do, there’s a whole new dimension to be added in both the warm and cold seasons. While some people might get jittery at their favorite crag melting out or trails being dry enough to ride, I have always been captivated by the first snow of the year
It’s December now, so there has been snow on the ground and all the resorts are open, and while the feeling of returning to the familiar is slipping away, there is still more to be had. In November, feeling the snap of bindings and hearing the sound of skis sliding on snow went from being pleasurably nostalgic about the last season to the way things should be. Watching the mountains fill in and returning to areas that need more snow is just happening now.
As much fun as Utah is, New Hampshire still feels like home after skiing the 48, and watching Tuckerman Ravine fill in via webcam is almost as fulfilling as watching Snowbird fill in. Checking the snowpack for places like the La Sals, Idaho and the Pacific Northwest by word of mouth and looking at trip reports has me excited for what is to come.
Seeing clean tracks in an area for the first time that season is like a notice saying “hey everybody, it’s good in here again!” It’s like seeing people at a roadside crag or with smiles on their faces and mud on their backs from riding for the first time in the spring.
We all love playing outside, and often times it’s hard to choose a favorite activity. The feeling of the familiar returning after a few months of missing it is something exciting, comforting and all-together pleasurable. For me, the snap of carabiners and the whir of a hub are always enjoyable, but just don’t do it for me the same way that the zip-zop of skins followed by muffled sliding on snow does.
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. We couldn’t be happier that it’s finally June — which means we get to celebrate summer solstice — so this month we’re devoting it to all things summer related! Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!
Cold Splinters gave us a good summer mantra this week:
“Sit as little as possible; give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while one moved about freely—in which the muscles are not celebrating a feast, too.”
While you’re busy sitting as little as possible, you just might be taking some photos, and if you’re snapping some summery shots, then this photo contest is for you.
Nothing says summer like a good ole road trip, and if you like reading about the trials and tribulations of slowly making your way across the country, you should check out Gadling’s Traveling the American Road series.
And finally, just in time for the summer months, Outside has a brand spanking new look on their site. Cruise on over to check out the new design and plenty of summery articles and adventure inspiration, including tips on hot spots for fly fishing, more reasons for why we have to spend time outdoors and new mountain bike trails to explore.
Image: Cold Splinters,
Strange things take place north of the 66th parallel come mid-May. On about May 17th, the sun seems to enjoy its perch above the horizon and for nearly 60 days it refuses to dip below the horizon creating the “Midnight Sun”. While 24 hours a day of sunlight screws with your body clock, it does make for some incredible skiing.
I took a 2 hour flight from Oslo to Tromso, followed by sections of ride in vans and ferries to navigate the endless fjords carved from rugged peaks and glaciers.
After every possible form of transport — planes, trains, automobikes and boats — we arrived at the ultra-plush Lyngen Lodge, which would serve as our basecamp for a week. I use the term basecamp loosely as the lodge has 5 star accomodations and dining for 16 people and a boat moored out from to take you to the bottom of a lifetime of lines.
Your only limit is your own engine. With 24 hours a day of sunlight you can never blame the darkness on snuffing out another lap. On the first night we enjoy Reindeer steaks and some tasty Rhone wine. After dessert, I headed out for a 3,000 foot ski out the backdoor. I charge up the peak and stop only to snap some photos of the sun tracking horizontally across the horizon line for hours on end.
At home in Colorado, great Alpenglow lasts about 10 minutes, so it takes some time to realize that the light is going to be lighting my turns for the next 7 hours before it starts to get really bright again around 8AM. And a run in stellar corn is a good way to burn off some reindeer and flush wine from the system. I arrive back at the Lodge in time to have breakfast before heading to bed around 7AM.
I awake mid afternoon in time to take a boat trip out for some cod fishing. After our fishing excursion (very short lived as I have ADHD and fishing can’t hold my attention for any more than 30 minutes) we head across the fjord to a commercial fishing village that survives solely on cod fishing. The fish are hung from wooden racks for months until they dehydrate and then they are shipped to Spain and Portugal and served as a delicacy. The heads are dries as well and sent to Japan for fish-head soup. The factory has more than 100,000 fish heads drying while we visit. The smell is not one likely to be bottled and sold as perfume anytime soon.
Fishing aside, this trip is all for skiing. The highlight is a long boat ride through various fjords landing us in a sea-side basin below 5,000 foot peaks. These peaks are ultra-rugged and a lifetime’s worth of lines spill toward every edge of the island.
We started the skin at midnight and dropped in around 2:30 in the morning. The light was amazing and the corn snow had taken on the shade of a pumpkin shell. The glassy sea is broken only by islands and mirrors the color of the sky. The light is like nothing I have ever seen. Orange softens to pink and is replaced by bronze as nature lays tricks on my eyes.
Around 3 a.m. I dropped in and skied prefect corn thousands of vertical feet back to the sea. We scrambled to the sea and waited for our boat to collect us off the rocks. I cracked a beer (a rarity in Norway as they are $10+ per can) and sipped to my good fortune. Surrounded by friends in what may be the world’s most scenic location, the rock of the boat on the ocean’s ripples lulls me to sleep and I start to dream of another day skiing under the Midnight Sun.