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Hey Utah! Vertfest is coming to you!

March 6th, 2014

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“Vertfest is a multi-stop mountain festival dedicated to raising the level of snow safety education and stoke for backcountry enthusiasts, and supporting the efforts of avalanches centers everywhere. “

For the first time ever, Vertfest is coming to Brighton, UT March 07 – 9, 2014 to bring you the 11th Annual Wasatch Powderkeg Ski Mountaineering Race and a weekend full of top-of-the-line demos from different companies such as La Sportiva, Scarpa, Voile, Mammut, Outdoor Research, as well as yours truly, Osprey Packs! Read more…

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Vertfest: One Grand Party for all Snowsports!

February 13th, 2014

That’s right folks — it’s here!

The Mightiest “Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle” in all of North America is returning to Alpental, WA on the 15th of February. So what does that mean? Well, it means that Osprey will be joining some of the best brands in the outdoor industry, including Outdoor Research, La Sportiva, and Mammut, to bring two full days of demos, clinics, beer drinking, races, snowfall, music, more beer drinking and many other forms of fun (all type 1 of course,) back to the great state of Washington.

We encourage all residents in the greater Seattle area to come out and join us this weekend — there are some events that you do NOT want to miss.

Not thoroughly convinced? Let us elaborate on why this may be the most epic weekend of skiing you’ll have this entire season: Read more…

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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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Vertfest: North America’s Biggest Freeride and Mountain Mettle Festival

January 17th, 2013

Every year, Vertfest returns to Alpental, Washington as the biggest Freeride and Mountain Mettle Festival in North America. What’s more, this year Vertfest will celebrate with festivities at two locations, adding Vertfest January 19th at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon! As stated on the site, “This new venue will host a challenging course, backcountry/sidecountry oriented clinics, demos and loads of fun. Come join us at Mt. Bachelor for the first ‘series’ race in the Vertfest Series. Elite racers will earn points towards the series point total.”

The 7th Annual Vertfest in Alpental will be hosted February 16th and 17th, and will kick off on the 16th with the Monika Johnson Memorial Rally, to be followed by an awards ceremony and a raffle boasting skis, packs and gear galore. The event will also host live music from Head Like A Kite and Daydream Vacation, featuring Asya of NYC based Smooshand. On the final day of Vertfest, special guest Jessica Baker of Ski Divas and Neil Provo, professional splitboarder from Salt Lake City will be there to show their skills in clinics.

Want to experience all of the glory that Vertfest promises to be? Get your tickets here, ASAP!

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VertFest 2012 Wrap Up

February 23rd, 2012

Forty-eight inches of snow in 48 hours. It was indeed a white, powdery Vertfest.

Another exciting VertFest has been wrapped in a blanket of fresh snow and put safely to bed, and oh what a fantastic event it was! The biggest side and backcountry skiing/boarding festival and rando race in the Northwest lived up to its billing and was certainly filled with plenty of “awesomesauce” and “mountain mettle” as promised.

Read more…

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Friday Round Up: Music From Daydream Vacation and Head Like A Kite

February 17th, 2012

We’re pretty excited to be en route to the Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass in Washington for Vertfest this weekend, so in order to keep our energy up and our toes tapping we’ve been rocking out to beats from Daydream Vacation and Head Like A Kite. The bands will be performing at Vertfest on Saturday. What’s better than ending a day of skiing with a beer and a dance party? That’s right. Nothing.

But even if you can’t join us for the festivities this weekend, you can still have a dance party… enjoy!



Happy Friday!

PHOTO via

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Vertfest: Celebrating Backcountry Culture to Benefit the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center

March 8th, 2010

vertfestWords by Paresh Kamdar

Photos by Ryan Beck

Backcountry skiing is usually about getting away from the crowds. It is usually about spending time enjoying the beauty and solitude of the mountains at your own pace, making your own way. Why then would more than 100 backcountry skiers and riders enter a competition in a ski area on a gorgeous clear day in the middle of winter? I think the answers lies in their support for the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center and their desire to “fest” with others in the backcountry community.

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Verfest is a celebration of backcountry culture that benefits the Friends of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center. It is a euro-style “rando race” inviting all forms of glisse to participate in the human-powered race up and back down the mountain. The 4th Annual Vertfest was held at Alpental near Snoqualmie Pass on this bluebird Saturday, March 6th 2010. Martin Volken of Pro Guiding proudly announced that this was the most well attended rando race yet in the Northwest with more than 100 participants!

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) provides an essential resource to backcountry travelers. We have come to love and rely on the avalanche and weather forecasts provided by NWAC. NWAC operates one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive mountain weather and data networks in the US, providing information that is crucial to the safety of mountain travelers.

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The race course at Alpental is always steep and challenging. This year the cold clear morning made it extra technical with icy conditions.  The recreational category made one lap within the Alpental ski area climbing about 2,300’, while the race category climbed two laps for a total elevation gain of 4,100’. The second lap was a completely different route that took participants into the Alpental backcountry, out to the infamous “Piss pass” and back.

Local favorite Monika Johnson took 1st in the Women’s race division vertfest2completing both laps in just 2 hrs 7 minutes! Ellen Parker took 2nd with a time of 2:39 and Kristine Kleedehn came in 3rd at 2:44.  The Traslin brothers from British Columbia took 1st and 2nd place in the men’s race division. Andy’s time was 1 hr 40 minutes with his brother, Mike, just 3 minutes behind at 1:43! Kirk Turner took 3rd with a time of 1:46. Local favorite Lowell Skoog placed 4th with a time of 1:49. All incredibly fast given the vertical gain and technical nature of the course!

As for me, I think “suffer fest” would be a more appropriate name.  This was my 2nd entry into this game. I worked hard at it and was happy to have improved my time over my last showing at Crystal Mountain a couple of years ago.  It took me 1hr, 26minutes to complete the recreational category of 1 lap.  That put me in 9th place out of 41 in the category*.  I accomplished my goals of finishing without injury & of not getting lapped by anyone in the race category (in the event at Crystal in 2008, not only did I get lapped by one of the racers, Benedikt Böhm, but I later heard that he enjoyed a smoke between laps!)  It was fun to push myself and see just how fast I could tour up that much vertical. It was also fun to meet and hang out with many of the “who’s who” in the NW backcountry community. I got to have lunch with Lowell Skoog and Garth Ferber, a couple of local legends. I learned that Garth is one of only 3 employees at Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center! Wow! All that work with only 3 employees!  I shook hands with the Traslin brothers and thanked them for all of their inspiring trip reports. I met Tyler Kloster, of Karakoram and saw the prototype of his soon to be released all new splitbaord system!

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Vertfest is a great event that is gathering more support every year.  It’s an excellent way to meet others interested in backcountry touring adventures and to support an essential resource that is constantly underfunded.  The free beer and copious swag from all of the sponsors added to the fun. Everyone had a blast!

IMG_0031A huge thanks to Osprey for their support of Vertfest for the 4th year in a row!  Thanks also to Martin Volken and his crew from Pro Guiding for setting & maintaining the course, to Outdoor Research for organizing the event, to Alpental for providing the venue, to all of the participants for their infectious energy, and to everyone else that helped in putting this together!

Be safe out there and have fun!

*unofficial race results  – official results should be in later this week

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