After years of wanting to attend the Summer Outdoor Retailer show the timing worked out last fall. As usual, the road trip to Utah quickly turned into planning a bigger adventure, and by the time I left Vail the subbie was packed for a weekend of camping and paddleboarding in Wyoming with fellow AASI Snowboard National Team Member Eric Rolls.
With a couple of days of tradeshow exploration complete and a full tank of gas, we hit the road Friday afternoon and pulled in to Alpine a few hours later. After scouting around the National Forest Service dispersed camp sites we found a great spot by the river and set up our camp for the weekend.
Day 1 was a full day paddleboard float on the Snake River, starting in Grand Teton National Park from Deadman’s Bar down to the Moose Landing visitor center; the second time I’ve done this stretch. Grand Teton National Park is among my favorite of our national parks, one of the few that conjures the same grandeur and scale of Denali National Park (my backyard growing up). With every turn of the river the Tetons stand large, impressing themselves against the sky. I’m convinced it may be the most beautiful stretch of flatwater in the country.
With the boards inflated, board shorts on, and a few drybags of gear strapped down, we pushed into the current and began the 10 mile paddle. This part of the Snake is labeled Advanced but not because of rapids. The river braids extensively in this area, and downed trees create snags and strainers. The loose gravel bed shifts annually with snow, ice, and river flow, causing additional changes to the river. On a paddleboard, these changes are less of an issue, thanks to the portability and easy portage. Nonetheless, proper safety gear is important, and Eric and I both traveled with helmets, life jackets, and waist belt quick-release leashes.
Roughly halfway through we found the perfect gravel bar to grab some sun and eat lunch before continuing down the river. As we put back in, we found a little offshoot to river right and explored it, following it for a while before rejoining the main river. This is where we found a tree that had fallen across the river. It took a few tries, but I successfully stomped the first “hippy jump” I’ve seen on a paddleboard, jumping over the tree while the board traveled under. Further down the river we had to fully portage where a crafty beaver had closed off the river.
After rejoining the main river we quickly found ourselves at Moose Landing and hitched a ride back up to our car at Deadman’s before returning to camp. All in all, an awesome day on the river, and a great warmup for the next day.
Day 2 was the bigger adventure on the Alpine Canyon portion of the Snake, but that’s a story for another blog. Huge thanks to the companies like Big Agnes, Hala, Patagonia, Mountain Khakis, and Burton that help make trips like this awesome!
After the first full night of sleep in a week, it was time to hit the road and get to the mountains; the snowboard jones was killing me. The drive from Boulder to Steamboat is about 3 hours in good weather, and it was great weather. Blue skies and warm sun highlighted the windblown remnants of the Wednesday/Thursday snowstorm, but the roads were dry and we made good time.
The mountains were beautiful, I love this time of year in Colorado, there’s still color in the hills, but the mountains are crisp and white. Loveland was packed, which was great as it made me feel better about not stopping for a few laps (my gear was all in the boat, so riding had to wait one more day).
Coming down from Rabbit Ears Pass into Steamboat is such a great feeling; Steamboat feels more and more like home every year, and rounding that last corner and seeing the mountain always makes me a bit giddy. After a quick stop at the house to drop off luggage, tradition required a stop at Double Z’s for some fries and BBQ sauce, it really is the best.
I rounded out the day by partially unpacking and digging up enough gear to ride at Loveland on Sunday. Somewhat boring day for a blog post, but sometimes you have to get from Point A to Point B; today was that day in between.
“30 Days on the Road” is a blog series tracking my travel for thirty days in October and November; from leaving Alaska on October 27th until Steamboat opens on November 25th. Due to a series of cool opportunities I don’t have to be back at a “real job” until 11/26th, and after a summer that seemed way too long, I’ll be making the most of my free month with as much snow and snow industry fun as I can cram in. The goal is two-fold, first to get you pumped about the upcoming season, and two to help keep track of time as I wander aimlessly for a month.
I’ll also be posting updates on Facebook and Twitter, so make sure and check out the action there too.
Part 3 is the final part of the Gore Tour section of Day 3 of 30 Days on the Road. About time, as I need to catch up on everything that been going on since then.
I found the Q&A section extremely helpful in forming an overall picture of Gore. This was some of the “big picture” time, stepping back from the focus on the products and looking at Gore as a whole. This was a lot of talking, so fewer pictures in this section. Read more “Gore Tour: Day 3 of 30 Days on the Road – Part 3”
Day 3 of 30 Days on the Road was my second day for Gore, and it was a huge day. There will definitely be some follow-up posts coming out of this trip, but I’ll do my best at capturing the day in Day 3 (which I’ve split into two parts). This was a really cool trip, and I learned a lot; hopefully I can share that with you here. Read more “Gore Tour: Day 3 of 30 Days on the Road – Part 1”
The day started in Boulder at 7 am with a quick check to see if the foot of snow on the ground was going to mess with travel out of Denver. Aside from Frontier cancelling a few flights everything looked good, so at 7:30 am I was out the door and on my way to catch the RTD Skyride bus back to Denver. The bus was thirty minutes late, but given the road conditions that was probably pretty good. Read more “Snow and Gore: Day 2 of “30 Days on the Road””