NYE – OUTDOOR EDITION

I know, I know, New Year’s resolutions are cheesy. We all make them, at least in our heads, and hardly ever live up to them. But this year is different because I’m talking outdoor resolutions. My New Year’s outdoor resolution is inspired by, or rather in spite of Kenny. Kenny works in the board shop. He’s a snowboarder and surfer, but his true gift is fly fishing, and thus he is my arch nemesis. Now if you know Kenny you would say how can he be anybody’s arch nemesis, he’s no Darth Vader or Lex Luthor, but you see Kenny has caught three Steelhead on a fly rod, and I have caught exactly zero. So my New Year’s outdoor resolution is to catch a steelhead on a fly.

Kenny on the Clackamas River

I spoke with three of U.S. Outdoor’s most intrepid outdoor explorers and these are their hopes for the New Year.

Kareen is a 27 year old native Oregonian that works in the camping and climbing department. This year she has three goals. She is planning a trip to Glacier Park in the spring with a good friend. She also picked up a used whitewater kayak last year and is planning on taking classes to learn the basics before she takes the plunge on going down a real river. But the thing she is most looking forward to doing is ski jouring with her dogs Gucci and Floyd. Gucci is a Husky German Shepard mix, and Floyd is a Black Lab and Rottweiler mix. These dogs were made for the snow.

GUCCI AND FLOYD

Ski jouring is where you harness up your dogs and they pull you in the snow. Ruffwear even makes a harness specifically for ski jouring. She plans on going to some of the mountain lakes around Mount Hood like Timothy Lake and Frog Lake. I asked her if she has anymore goals for the new year, she said, “Not get broken.” She broke her ribs last year snowboarding and it took her five months of rehab to get better. Not get broken. Good advice. Have fun this year Gucci and Floyd.

KAREEN AND GUCCI

KAREEN AND GUCCI ON THE TRAIL

Jen is another 27 year native Oregonian that works at U.S Outdoor. She works in the board department. Her main goal is to come back stronger than she has been in the past five years. She has had a full knee replacement and ACL reconstructive surgery in that time. Two summers ago she was skateboarding a bowl in Alaska when she went up to the top of the bowl and did a feeble, a skateboarding term for all you squares out there, as she came back down she landed wrong and heard a loud pop. A blown ACL. Since her surgery last year she has been on the road to recovery to accomplish her main goal this year. Splitboard Mount Shasta.

JEN SKATING A BOWL

JEN AFTER ACL SURGERY

She has been biking, walking and even doing a little running in her preparation for Mount Shasta. She is planning her trip for October of this year. I asked her what the hardest part of recovery was for her. It was not being able to do the things she loves the most, skateboarding and snowboarding. But she gave some great advice, “Surround yourself with positive things”, she said. She told me she has other things she loves to do, watching movies, doing her artwork, and just hanging out with friends. She also said that loving where you work helps. She may not be able to do the things she loves right now, but she gets to help people get into one of the activities she loves the most. Snowboarding. Surround yourself with positive things. More sage advice from another young lady at U.S. Outdoor. Good luck this year Jen.

JEN AT THOMPSON PASS IN ALASKA

Daniel is another U.S. Outdoor employee with an adventurous spirit. I’ll let him tell you in his own words.

DANIEL AT THE SOUTHERN TERMINUS

Plans for Summer 2018, The Pacific Crest Trail

This summer, Starting on May 18th, I will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through California, Oregon and Washington.

My first encounters with “Thru-Hiking” came in the summer of 2000 when my science teacher, Mr. Ryan sponsored a backpacking trip through the Three Sisters Wilderness Area in Central Oregon. The route was a simple one, heading south on the PCT from Lava Lake to Devils Lake 26 miles away. When we were unloading our gear and checking our equipment, two ragtag bearded men came to the parking lot looking for a ride into town. My Father, who was shaperoning the trip had been reading the Oregonians articles covering the journey that the two men were on, ironically. We gave them Snickers bars. They talked about their life for the three months the had been on trail. We said our goodbyes and on the final day of the trip in Wickiup Plains near South Sister I had decided that the seed had been firmly planted, and that I should probably hike the trail someday.

Fast forward to 2013. I had recruited the help of my dear friend M. Charlie Garros of Toulouse. I had met him in Turkey and whilst I was in Peru during the new year I had made the goal to shoot out around May 1st of that year. He flew in after reading my Facebook post. We hiked from Campo, where the the southern terminus is located, to Bishop Pass together, 846 miles in. I distinctly remember the Joshua Trees of the Mojave and the Western Junipers that grew ancient in the High Sierra, along with the many beautiful and dynamic individuals who shaped my ideas of friendship along the way. A combination of physical, mental, and financial stress had gotten me off the trail as Charlie continued to nearly the border at Manning Park, British Columbia, until an early winter storm cut off the final stretch in early October for him and many others.

Now, in 2018, I have felt a debt to the dream of hiking the trail. Spending not weeks but months in the wild is such a demanding goal that it has changed my reality in the city. Saving every penny, quitting smoking and drinking, and getting into a physical condition that would warrant hiking 30 miles a day for months are not only goals but necessities if success is possible. The gear that I’ve accumulated from a life suited to outdoor living will carry me to the southern terminus, but food resupplies, budgeting, and discipline will hopefully carry me to Manning Park. I look forward to the desert section of 700 miles with great anticipation. Crossing through 25 National Forests and seven National Parks, I look forward to long days and quiet nights in the backcountry. With some light mountaineering I can climb several non-technical peaks along the way for views, and the trail passes by Portland, my hometown, for inevitable beers with pals. When or if I finish will determine future plans to possibly accomplish the Triple Crown of hiking, which combines the PCT, the Continental Divide Trail (3100 miles) and the Appalachian Trail (2180 miles).

Wish me luck!

DANIEL AND CHARLIE ON THE TRAIL

Daniel asked us to wish him luck. I wish everyone luck in all their endeavours this year.

Even you Kenny.

2014 Jones Hovercraft Splitboard

Why not trust a splitboard designed by one of the most iconic backcountry snowboarders of all time? WWJD (what would Jeremy do)? The Jones Hovercraft Splitboard opens up the door to the backcountry like the pearly gates open into Heaven. Lets face it, the backcountry IS Heaven. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

The 2014 Hovercraft Splitboard from Jones Snowboards delivers key features that maximize both areas of touring and snowboarding. A mellow Magne-traction and Karakoram clips are features that put the Hovercaraft at the head of the class.

2nd Annual Oregon Splitboard Festival, March 8th – 10th

Folks, you are gonna want to be a part of the 2nd Annual Oregon Splitboard Fest, March 8th through the 10th, 2013. Put you boots on and skin that transforming plank and enjoy in the great Mt. Hood adventure! Plus, join the US Outdoor crew and others at Charlies Mountain View, Friday and Saturday night! Purchase some raffle tickets and try your hand at winning a new Venture Splitboard or Sparks Bindings! Visit OREGONSPLITFEST.COM for more details.

MTN Approach Skis & Backpack For Backcountry Snowboarding

As splitboarding gains steam, the powder dreams of every freeriding fanatic become reality. But there are some riders who refuse to relinquish their powder boards for a ski/snowboard combination. This is understandable given the infancy of splitboarding, although splitboard manufacturers have honed the craft in a relatively short amount of time. In any case, those who look to the backcountry for snowy solitude and fresh lines need only look in the direction of MTN Approach and their packable Backcountry Approach Skis.

Packable, you say? Yes, the MTN Approach Backcountry Skis are designed with a patent pending locking cam hinge that requires no special tools or expert knowledge to use, and they fold into a backpack constructed specifically for the skis. If that isn’t functional, I don’t know what is. Though they are only 148mm in length, they share the same blueprint of most AT skis but are much lighter and easier to manage. From the Poplar and Paulownia wood blend core and on through the cap construction, camber, sidecut and permanently attached nylon skins, these sled dogs act as powder hounds that help deliver you to and through the snow white backcountry gates. Oh, they are also designed with an Early Rise tip to maximize float! Furthermore, seeing their lightweight aluminum bindings with wide, heavy duty polyurethane straps in action I am reminded of a cross between snowshoes and snowboard bindings. They are highly functional and provide plenty of support and control thanks to a patent pending collapsible heel loop design that engages when you strap in. It really doesn’t get much easier. Watch videos and learn more about the MTN Approach Skis here.

Though the whole trip would be all for not if you didn’t have a pack that carries the MTN Approach Skis. Take a gander at the video below and you will understand how the pack is just as functional as the skis it carries.