CLIMBING MOUNT SAINT HELENS

The first time I heard of Mount Saint Helens was when I was 10 years old. It had just erupted and my family and I were getting ready to move to Seattle from Detroit, Michigan. It was both excited and frightened. The wild west coast was something with mountain ranges and oceans and erupting volcanoes. Twenty years later I was living in Portland when I first climbed Mount Saint Helens. My friend Jim and I drove to Cougar, Washington, and went to the local bar and grill where they held a lottery for permits to climb the mountain. Nowadays you can go online a purchase the permit; ahh technology. We won the lottery, got our climbing permits, and slept the night in his Jeep, which sucked because Jim neglected to tell me snores a water buffalo. Now I don’t know if water buffalos snore, but I imagine that if they did they would sound like Jim. The next morning we headed out on the trail with spirits high. The hike was about 5 miles and gained 4,500 feet. The trail wove through the woods until we got to a huge field of boulders. Hopping from boulder to boulder for awhile it finally thinned out. Next came the pumice and ash. It was slow going. You would take one step and slide back half a step. It was overcast and snowing. We kept going for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly we pushed through the clouds and it was bluebird sky. It was a gorgeous day on top of the mountain. We could see Jefferson, Hood, Rainier, and Adams poking out over a sea of clouds. We sat for awhile soaking in the view and headed down. Looking back it was one of the best days of my life. I highly recommend it.

Andrew and Dan ascending.

Recently I was talking to two guys from the shop, Andrew and Dan, who climbed Mount Saint Helens back in June. Both moved to Portland a few years ago from New York state. They didn’t know each other, but weirdly attended the same college. Andrew has been snowboarding since he was 8 years old. He loves pizza. His favorite topping; just cheese. He’s a purist. Dan has been skiing since he was 5 and snowboarding since he was 13. His favorite food; chicken wings. Favorite sauce; the time-honored Hot Buffalo. Another purist. Pizza and wings. Classic New York.

Andrew on the ascent.

They camped overnight and hit the trail at 4:00 am. They took the Worm Flows Route which is almost 11 miles and ascends nearly 5,700 feet. Andrew was using his Arbor Coda Splitboard with Burton Hitchhiker bindings. Dan was skiing on Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skis and Marker F12 Tour EPF Bindings. Dan actually hiked up in his Rossignol Alltrack Pro 120 ski boots. They both had Dakine Heli Pro 24L Backpacks loaded with water, snacks, shovels, avalanche probes and Pieps tranceivers. The ascent took them about 6 hours. They were on the summit by noon. It was perfect weather. Blue sky all around. They hung out awhile drinking it all in and then came the fun part. The descent.

Dan at the summit.

Andrew contemplating his descent.

They took their time enjoying the ride down. It took them about and hour and a half to cover about a 4000 ft. descent. For both of them it was their first real big mountain. They both said they had the time of their lives. Cheers Gentlemen.

Dan and Andrew at the summit.

ARBOR SNOWBOARDS FILM NIGHT – COSA NOSTRA

Come one come all. Friday night, September 22nd U.S. Outdoor will be hosting Arbor Snowboards first feature length film, “Cosa Nostra.” The Arbor team has spent two years making this movie. This event is for all ages, so bring the family. Everything is free. D.J. Klavical will be spinning, beginning at 5:30 till the start of the film; and then after the film till the party ends. Three riders from Arbor will be here; Frank April, Mark Carter, and Erik Leon. Hang out and talk snowboarding. There will also be a photo gallery up on the wall that coincides with the movie. This free event is sponsored by Rainer. And don’t forget the giveaways. There is an Arbor/Rainier snowboard collaboration and a surfboard by Catch Surf that will be raffled off, just to name a few. Also, we will have happy hour deals throughout the store between 5:30 and 7:30, so feel free to check out the whole shop.

A word to the wise, get here early to reserve your camp chair with a Rainier beer in the convenient cup holder.

Arbor Snowboards: Sustainable, Real Wood Topsheets

For over a decade The Arbor Collective, proud makers of snowboards and skateboards, have taken considerable pride in their sustainable business practices and by extension their real wood snowboard topsheets: The Power Ply. They are lighter and they are stronger. Furthermore, the process in which Arbor Snowboards create their Real Wood topsheets “…allows Arbor to reduce our reliance on chemically treated fiberglass and petroleum-based resin by up to 20%” while enhancing performance and providing the rider with a look that is as timeless as it is progressive. It is no surprise that the snow, skate and surf industries leave a large carbon footprint, but Arbor is a company that is cognitive of this fact (as are a growing number of manufacturers) and thus makes it their responsibility to reduce that carbon footprint from that of Big Foot to a more manageable adult human being. Real Wood. Real Talk. Pioneering consistent sustainable practices will prove essential to preserving the longevity of our beloved pastimes. The video below gives you a glimpes into what goes into making the Arbor Snowboards Real Wood Topsheets.

2nd Annual Oregon Splitfest: Photo Recap

The 2nd Annual Oregon Splitfest has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean its not still soaking on the sun drenched and snowy memory banks of those who participated. Then again, who could forget exploring Mt. Hood’s Newton Canyon on a beautiful bluebird weekend? Setting up shop at Charlies Mountain View in Government Camp, brands like Venture Snowboards, Jones Snowboards, Arbor Snowboards, Karakoram and Spark R&D Bindings provided the gear that would take riders into the backcountry while PCNW Representatives: Matt Baker (Jones Snowboards) and Scott Davis (Arbor Snowboards) along side Abe Gilreath (Naklin) and US Outdoor’s George Bean and Paul Srofe helped get riders outfitted and organized.

The Gathering

Folks met on a Friday night at Charlies to get set-up and situated for the weekend’s ensuing adventure… and then a raffle happened! While adventurers were busy meeting and greeting each other they were also taking home prizes that will further their splitboard futures. One lucky winner even took home a new Venture Snowboard. Chalk that up to a win!

Newton Canyon Adventure

Head count: Matt Baker, George Bean, Paul Srofe, Har Rai Khalsa (photographer), Bean Dickey (Mt. Hood Ski Patrol), Trevor Lane, Abe Gilreath, Haley Bergstrom and Scott Davis.

Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Splitfest The sun arose Saturday morning and blessed this litter of powder hounds with bluebird conditions. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting to go gallivanting through the Oregon backcountry. Hi fives were had, coffee was consumed. By 9am they were suited up and ready to roll out from Hood River Meadows to connect with the Newton Clark Moraine in search of fresh tracks and good times…

… And so the adventure begins.

Paul Srofe Oregon Splitfest Newton CanyonPictured to the right: Paul Srofe. Paul is a buyer here at US Outdoor and has been in and around the Pacific Northwest snowboard scene for many years. Look at his face as he chugs up the Newton Clark Moraine. That there my friends could be the Websters Dictionary definition of focus. He’s got hungry eyes ladies and gentlemen, and he’s going to get that first track.

Dressed down in his Airblaster Ninja Suit, a pair of sweet shades and a rocking mustache, Paul is ready to carve the proverbial turkey.





George Bean Abe Gilreath Newton CanyonNaturally, there comes a time in every adventure when the dogs start barking and you need to give them a little rest. Outings like Splitfest take a lot out of you, so you have to take some time to refuel so that you are in peak shape when you reach the top. Write that down. Anywho…

Pictured to the left (sitting on their duffs): George “Grizzly Adams” Bean and Abe Gilreath of Naklin. These two might differ tremendously in appearance but splitboarding helps mend the bridge. What transpired in the following moments is a beautiful thing that I will let speak for itself. Check it out…3…2…1…

US Outdoor Paul Srofe air into bowl Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Naklin Abe Gilreath air into bowl Newton Canyon Mt. Hood US Outdoor George Bean air into bowl Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Air into bowl Newton Canyon Mt. Hood US Outdoor Paul Srofe carving Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Oregon Naklin Abe Gilreath carve Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Oregon US Outdoor George Bean carve Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Oregon US Outdoor Haley Bergstrom Newton Canyon Mt. Hood Oregon

As you can see, the 2nd Annual Oregon Splitfest yielded some awesome results. A very special thanks to Geoff Guillory and NWAC for creating and presenting this event and to all the brands that participated and donated prizes. Make sure to tag along next year!

Newton Canyon carve Mt. Hood Oregon

All photos taken by and credited to Har Rai Khalsa