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Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2014

Portillo Life

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So…For my 21st birthday, I decided to go to Chile to Ski Portillo, a resort two hours South of the capital Santiago in the Andes……WOW!

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This was the trip of my life. I know Jordan was the coolest trip in my life, in April, however this was on the same magnitude of awesome but I was skiing! Automatic win…but the trips were very similar if you can believe that. International travel is always something I have loved and I will continue in the future. Visiting different cultures and locations can open your eyes to how the rest of the world lives. This has changed how I have lived my life seeing how people get by with next to nothing, yet they are still happy. The time I spent in Chile was expensive for a broke college student like me, but for anyone with a job, this trip is very affordable with the right planning on flights. My friend spent $1300 for eight days of skiing, lodging, food, and flights. Not a bad price if you plan correctly and get the cheapest flight 9-10 months ahead of time.

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IMG_0531I showed up to the resort with not a cloud in sight, skies blue as the lake that backed up to the hotel. The resort owns the only hotel and it is ski-in ski-out with a ski valet. However if you do not want to pay full price for the hotel, you can stay in either the Octagon, or stay in the Bunkhouse and eat in the cafeteria. I stayed in the bunkhouse and that is what I recommend, even if you can afford something more. The good vibes in the bunkhouse were one of my favorite parts of Chile. Being in such close quarters with 45 other people in the bunkhouse and cafeteria and sharing a community bathroom for a week gets you to know each other more than having individual hotel rooms and separate dining tables.

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Choose-A-Chute

The skiing was great in my opinion. We didn’t get that much snow while I was there, but the base was sufficient to ski everything that was skiable at the resort. With only minimal lift and surface lift service, the best way to find the good skiing was to traverse once you made your way up to the top. The chutes were untouched because none of the locals like to ski steep stuff. Each night the wind would blow in a new inch or two of dust on crust for me to blast away from each chute one by one.

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Meeting so many different friends while I was there was by far the best part. My coach Jake Sakson is the best telemark skier on the planet currently. I met three other separate groups of Americans including Nick, Cam, Andrew, Tele Ted, the Stanford boys, two Chilean families who took me in as their own, and the Brazilian ski team members Andre Athie and Eliza Nobre.

IMG_0715The Brazilians brought me to their A-frame chalet after skiing a couple runs. We then proceeded to the mountain-top bar Tio Bob’s and had lunch. Then, Andre and Eliza, along with our friend Carlos, called the helicopter pilot to come pick us up, from the top of the mountain…and take us to the base. I kept skiing after this, but riding in a helicopter for the first time was a unique experience that I plan on doing more.

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I loved my time in the Andes. Ski Portillo will always have a place in my heart, and I’m sure they will remember me for a while to come, Gringo Loco. I was the craziest American at the hotel for this week of skiing and I made friends with all of the hotel staff and guests that were there for the week. Thanks to anyone who contributed to my time in Chile it was the best 21st birthday I could have imagined.

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Jackson Hole Versus Alta

IMG_0452Which do you prefer? I guess it depends on which activity you are doing. Both offer many adventures year round if you are prepared for the conditions. Winter is the obvious choice for skiing and snowboarding. Spring and Summer for skiing, climbing, and camping. Fall for fishing, hiking and mountain biking. With so many outdoor activities you cannot go wrong at either destination because they both are excellent in my opinion.

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Skiing at Alta is the only thing available. When I visited Alta, my cousin and her climbing posse took me monkeying on some rocks below Cecret Lake after I went skiing on a small snow patch above the lake. This makes Jackson Hole the obvious choice for snowboarders or those who want to shred with their snowboard friends like Steve Weiss. I have only been skiing at Alta, and hopefully will get to Jackson Hole at least once this next season.

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This summer I went to both and did different things. At Jackson Hole I rode the tram to the top and hiked down to Corbets Coulour which is the most famous run at the ski resort.

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This still leaves me with countless more adventures at both destinations. I have not skied Jackson Hole and did not fish at either location, nor did I mountain bike, or camp. Soon enough I will check these adventures off my list at both destinations and the results will way cooler than I am expecting, it always is.

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With one day until my 21st birthday in Utah, I had to make my way back to Colorado for my flight to Chile. I got a kayak as a present from my Uncle Bob which I have still yet to use but I will eventually get out and fish in a lake soon enough, pics to come.

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Bro-zeman Montana

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost

Driving into Bozeman Montana at sunset should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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Clouds setting up for an epic sunset

I ticked it off my bucket list shortly after the fourth of July when I visited my friend Colin, who is in school at MSU. It was a treat pulling up to a small random creek and throwing my fly line in the water before the last of the light disappeared behind the mountains. Having never been here before, I simply pulled up Google maps and looked for the closest creek or river.

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Despite not catching anything in the twenty minutes by the creek, I caught a great photo of my Subaru in the sunset, #NoFilter of course.

Colin was working at Montana Aleworks, one of the best places in town for draft beer and finger food at happy hour, so I stopped in my first night. Getting to know the waitstaff and bartenders was fun while I waited for Colin to get out of the kitchen. I went back every night for happy hour because it was such a cool place to hang and talk with Bozeman locals, especially if Colin and his friends that I had met, Ian and Thomas, were busying working.

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My schedule was free to do whatever came up in Montana, and we tried our best to stay active despite all of the cheap six packs consumed. First off was Hyalite Canyon, a quick twenty minute drive, where we saw Palisade Falls.

"Wu-Tang is for the children" -ODB

“Wu-Tang is for the children” -ODB

#FreeSolo

#FreeSolo

This was impressive to see up close, you can actually go in the waterfall for a nice dirtbag shower! After having a waterfall photo-shoot, we went freesolo up the canyon wall on some splitter cracks for a better view of the surrounding mountains. The mountains in Montana are BIG, so this only got me pumped to visit in winter when the snow arrives (soon hopefully).

Pringles duck faces #WestSide

Pringles duck faces #WestSide

Later that day, we chose to go downhill mountain biking in Leverich Canyon which was only five minutes out of town! This was fun because I had never used a nice full suspension bike to rip through the trees.

Colin taking the corner

Colin taking the corner

To me, downhill mountain biking is the closest thing you can do in the summertime to emulate skiing powder through the trees. I was using Colin’s friend’s bike that was not sized for me so I just walked the uphill and rode the downhill. SO. MUCH. FUN. #NeedMountainBike

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No shame advertisement for Columbia Sportswear

After another night at Aleworks, we woke up early and took a trip up in Hyalite Reservoir, where we hiked and had a picnic in the meadow. Chilling down by the water with a few beers was so much fun.

Colin taking a nap at Hyalite

Colin taking a nap at Hyalite

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Watching the Osprey go #fishing

We were swimming, listening to music, laughing, and watching an Osprey dive into the water to catch fish. Nature at its best! The bugs eventually came out at sunset so we jogged the trail back to the car to head down the canyon into town.

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#TryingStuff

Taking a trip into nature that has been untouched by human hands is a special, soul-nurturing experience. I love going to sit in nature and just observe the surroundings. Hyalite Canyon is a place that will always be one of my favorite in Montana because it was so special to me the few times I was spending time there.

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Hiking up to The Great One

The next day we decided to do a little summer skiing in the chute known as The Great One with Colin’s work friends Sam and Nick. I hiked the whole way to the peak in my Teva sandals where we encountered numerous mountain goats. We had to scare them away because our Sam’s dog could have provoked an attack.

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#SafetyMeeting

After having a safety meeting to at the top, and midway down the chute we hiked out of the valley floor, around the lake. Freshening up with a cold hippie shower in the lake added to the summer refreshment I enjoyed on the peak. #FreeTheHeelFreeTheWang

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A week before turning 21 so my birthday suit needed a quick bronzing.

For only being thirty minutes out of town, this was a cool summer ski opportunity that I am glad we capitalized on. Following the ski mission, we watched some world cup action and headed over to Aleworks for happy hour drafts and appetizers. My favorite was The Juice Double IPA.

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Post ski hike out

Waking up to adventure was easy when there was so much fun stuff to do close to town. I met up with US National Telemark racing champion Madi McKinstry for a hiking mission with her friends from school. Halfway through she had to bail for work, so I continued on and decided I would hitchhike the twenty minute drive back to town later. Six miles later I reached my destination where I could see fish through the crystal clear water. I assembled my fly rod and waded into the chilly pond. After having a few strikes at my dry fly, I realized I didn’t bring any other flies to tie on and decided to give up the fishing for the day. At that moment, a Pine Pig (forest ranger) popped out of nowhere and asked for my non-existent fishing license. Charmander the charmer did not succeed in getting out of a ticket for fishing without a license, just add it to my tab with the government. Hiking out six miles pissed off, fishless, and without a ride back to town was not the best hiking I’ve ever done, despite the surroundings. Just before the parking lot I found a ride and chilled in the backseat with a puppy enjoying the nice Montana breeze.

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I arrived back at Colin’s house just in time for the live music on main street to be ending and the downtown party to get started. We cruised down on bikes just in time for the cops to roll through and clear the street of drunks. The open container law is lifted for the evening so the liquor is flowing through the streets, like the Boulder Flood of 2013, one night a week during the summer. Cruising past the (then empty) beer dumpster on our way up the hill, we stopped to take a safety meeting and make sure that everyone could ride down without crashing in the dark.

Rallying with Ian and Thomas

Rallying with Ian and Thomas

The next day we drove up to Bear Lake, which turned out to be a warm pond. We skipped rocks and had some fun diving after the frisbee into the lake. We got to hang out of the truck on the way back and rally the empty dirt country roads.

Ladies love extension

Ladies love extension

Spending a week in Bozeman Montana was a spontaneous trip that I didn’t even plan on taking until the morning I called Colin and started driving north after my 4th of July fishing mission in Wyoming. I drove through the Wind River Canyon and stopped to wet my fly line. No bites but some pretty cool rocks!

Wind River Canyon

Wind River Canyon

I recommend everyone spend a week of next summer in the Bozeman area to adventure and play in the natural beauty that Montana is full of. Camping, hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, climbing, skiing, swimming, boating, drinking, backpacking, and all around adventuring within an hour of town is what makes Brozeman Montana so special to me. Thanks Bozemanites, enjoy the video, made with almost all of the clips I got while in Montana!

#TryingStuffInJordan – Part 1

Columbia Sportswear #Omniten #TryingStuffInJordan

This Spring I was granted the opportunity to travel to the middle east and tour The Kingdom of Jordan from top to bottom with Columbia Sportswear and the Jordanian Tourism Board. It turned out to be the trip of my life because I got to see so many unique locations packed into one awesome adventure. We went swimming, camping, climbing, hiking, and even got to ride camels. S15_Jordan_MG_0240

Securing this opportunity was a challenge among the #omniten brand ambassadors for Columbia to test winter survival skills. This happens to be one of my areas of expertise so I was able to help my partner Erika Wiggins, @Active_Explorer, win a free trip to The Kingdom of Jordan. My buddy Caleb Farro won the trip alongside our team and made a sick video to highlight how we made it to the Middle East and the #Omnigames competition.

 

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Everyday we were in Jordan was different than the last. First up we tour the capital city of Amman. This was cool to see the traditional market and all of the mosques that were on every corner. We ate some traditional foods and then headed out for lunch on our way South.

 

 

We arrived in the middle of the desert at our next location, The Fenyan Ecolodge. This place was stunning, lit by candles as we walked in, the stars could be seen in every direction with no light pollution. We ate a vegetarian meal and then stargazed on the roof with mattresses.

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The next morning, after having a goat friend and goat cheese at breakfast, we headed out on a slot canyon hike that took us eleven miles up a small creek into a lush oasis in the desert. Walking to the slot canyon was in the middle of the desert.

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S15_Jordan_MG_1069S15_Jordan_MG_1092After our hike we piled into trucks and headed out to the campsite. We each had our own tent and could go to bed and wake up as we pleased. When we woke up, the area was socked in with fog. Shortly after walking into the mist, it began to blow away and reveal the gorgeous canyon that lay before us. I had not even seen it when we pulled in the night before because the light was almost all gone. I was shocked at how the landscape had changed so much in such a short drive.

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We got to hike around and explore the rock formations, hunting for wild chickens. After our morning scramble among the rocks, we hit the road to Petra where we got to visit the ruins that are one of the seven wonders of the world. When we arrived off the bus, we saw a big white building…

Continue the Adventure with Part Two #TryingStuffInJordan

Winning A National Championship

10309636_10203227210348464_5160266218391221184_n   To become a National Champion in anything takes determination and hard work.

Seconds after becoming a champion my Dad pulled me aside. He looked me in the eyes and said “Do not take this for granted, soak up the moment because this does not come easy. Becoming a National Champion in ANYTHING is extremely difficult. Go have fun.”

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You cannot simply become the best in any discipline without putting in the practice and workout time that are essential to preparing for competition. This year my college Ultimate Frisbee team Mamabird, at the University of Colorado, put in the teamwork that was critical to bond us together more than any other team in the country. We didn’t take any rookies, and even had to trim the roster from last year, which meant that all players were returning Mamabirds. It showed at Nationals in a Cincinnati high school stadium where we put up a blowout game against Oregon in semi-finals 15-8 then onto the no doubt victory against North Carolina 15-10.

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Here is the final point in the championship game where our MVP Jimmy Mickle throws to his best buddy Carrot Tim.

 

After partying with my teammates and living up the moment, we all headed back home to Colorado to enjoy the championship life. Nothing was extremely different about life, but the feeling of wearing a gold medal and knowing that you are the best in the country for that year is amazing. All of the late night practices in freezing temperatures, laying out onto turf that feels and scrapes like concrete, and trying to catch a frozen disc with frozen hands eventually paid off. Some teammates made a decision to throw everyday, or lift weights to boost strength in the off-season, and personally I went backcountry skiing, but no matter what each one of us did, we brought that dynamic to the team that was critical to winning the season. This helped in securing the number one seed at Nationals, out of twenty, and then going on to win the whole tournament in dominant fashion. All of the hard work and money that we all had put into this team that we loved finally paid off and it felt so nice.

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Here is a nice video from Skyd Magazine summarizing the tournament.

 

The world was ours. We were at the top of the mountain looking down upon all of the other college Ultimate Frisbee teams that came to Ohio to try and beat Mamabird. Some people wanted massages, candy, lobster, fine wines, beer, casinos, and even a coffee cake with cream cheese icing. opted for a straight razor shave, a tattoo of our team patch on my calf, and two ferrets named Frodo and Bilbo, the Hobbits. I also signed up for a trip to Chile to ski for my 21st birthday. My choices were different than other teammates but that’s what makes such a diverse group so great. We all came together and made winning the Championship our common goal. Every game we played each season we talked about how we can improve to reach our goal. Becoming a champion took time, effort, and the collective chemistry that this team had. I listened to my Dad and soaked up the moment. My first football coach in 5th grade told our team “Hard Work, Pays Off!” and it was nice for this wisdom to finally ring true.

2014 College Ultimate Frisbee National Champions: University of Colorado Mamabird

 

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