Category: News & Events

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Yoga Journal

Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Eric Larsen.

It’s hard to blend in when you’re wearing a harness strapped to two huge 50-pound truck tires and pulling them around the rough trails near the outskirts of Boulder Colorado. Lurching forward and clawing against the weight with our trekking poles and sheer will, my expedition partner and I are perplexing figures to the numerous trail runners and dog walkers, and few, if any, are able to resist commentary.

“You know they roll better the other way.”
“Are you guys grooming the trails?”
“What are you training for?”


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I smile and nod, having heard the jokes many times before. After all, I’ve been training for our unsupported North Pole speed record expedition for several months now and as much as I want to engage each passerby with the finer details of our preparation and mission, I need to keep moving. Besides, I’m… to continue the puns…  tired.

In my mind, the journey from land to the Geographic North Pole is one of the most difficult expeditions on the planet. While there have been over 6,000 Everest summits, fewer than 300 people have completed a full expedition from land to the North Pole. Sure Everest has avalanches and altitude but the traverse across the Arctic Ocean has polar bears, bitter cold (55 below zero temperatures at the start), moving ice, open sections of water and ice so thin that it bends underneath your skis. There are no sherpas to carry your gear or huge basecamp tents, either. Each day we pull all of our gear (350 pounds
at the start) some of the worst surface conditions every designed by mother nature and then set up our small tent on a (hopefully) stable piece of ice.

Hence the tires.

I have a simple philosophy when it comes to training and preparing for my expeditions: Train hard, travel easy. Every step that I take with these stupid tires strapped to my waist prepares me for my actual time on the ice. The drag caused by the tires mimics the weight we’ll be pulling in our sleds on our way to the pole. Of course, we will also need to lift, pry, wedge and shove the sleds too, so I’ve designed a weird, but effective ‘truck tire crossfit’ workout to build our upper body, core strength and endurance as well.

Of course, the physical training is only one small part of our preparation. There is also gear research and testing, gear modification, fundraising, social media updates, website development, arranging logistics, media out reach, logistics planning and much
more. Every day brings more items on the ‘to do’ list than get crossed off. Still, it is exciting. The decisions we make now will have a direct consequence on our ability to succeed.

As does how we take care of ourselves. Being able to train hard AND manage the million other expedition details means taking care of our bodies as well. Staying hydrated not only on the trails but also throughout the day improves our ability to train, recover, type sponsorship emails and even sleep.



For those curious about what a typical ‘North Pole tire pulling training session’ might look like. We filmed this short while jamming to some pretty rad 80’s tunes!

Think Snow!
Eric

Training for the North Pole

  • January 2nd, 2014
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Anna Levesque.

This week my theme for my yoga classes is ‘Cleansing and Replenishment.’ This theme is easy for a paddler to appreciate. When it rains the rivers are replenished with water and anything that was stagnant or stuck on the river is washed away downstream. Our bodies also replenish and cleanse themselves without us even thinking about it. Every inhalation oxygenates our blood and our heart pumps that blood out to the rest of our body where it nourishes every cell. With every exhalation we expel the waste product of oxygen – carbon dioxide. In this way, every full breath we take replenishes and cleanses the body and the blood. If you pause right now and bring awareness to your breath you’ll tap into this natural cycle.

During this busy Holiday season turning to your breath can also be very useful for reducing stress and taking a little time out for yourself. Breathing is the best stress reduction because it’s always available and it’s free! At the top of challenging rapids that I’m nervous about running, I pause and take at least one full, slow breath. Breathing mindfully creates space in between my thoughts which allows me to relax, focus and tap into the flow of paddling well. It helps me to ‘cleanse’ my mind of negativity and see the perfection of the moment. In this way, the breath not only cleanses and replenishes the body, but also the mind. You don’t have to be paddling a river, or SUPing in the ocean or climbing a mountain to use your breath in this way. You could be at a family gathering or out last minute gift shopping – anytime you feel nervous, anxious or overwhelmed.

Another replenishing cycle that is good for the body and mind is proper hydration. De-hydration can lead to your muscles getting fatigued and not performing at optimum level. And, considering that fluids make up 60% of your body and assist with proper digestion, circulation, and transportation of nutrients, getting dehydrated can affect how you feel physically and mentally. That’s why the Vapur Anti-Bottles are a key piece of gear for me whether I’m on the river, in the yoga studio or heading out for a family Holiday gathering. Having filtered, fresh water with me at all times is key to feeling replenished and energized in any situation.

So this Holiday season if you find yourself feeling stressed or fatigued take a moment to breath deeply and have your Vapur Anti-Bottle filled with fresh water close by to give yourself a little gift of replenishment.

Happy holidays,
Anna

 Vapur is key when I'm kayaking, when I'm paddle boarding and during the busy Holiday season!

Vapur is key when I’m kayaking, when I’m paddle boarding and during the busy Holiday season!

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Anna’s Replenishment Tips for the Holiday Season

  • December 13th, 2013
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­­Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Chris Davenport.

 Well, I’m finally back in Aspen and have been up skiing some amazing powder on Ajax the last two days. But on my skins up the hill in the dawn hours, I can’t help but reflect on our recent journey to one of my favorite places in the world to ski, the Antarctic Peninsula.  If I was to pick one word to describe all of the majesty of this place I would choose “stunning”.  It’s magical in so many ways and continues to inspire me just like it did the first time I visited back to 2008.  The experience is incredible, with long, mellow glacier runs, super-steep pucker faces, wild glaciers demanding total concentration, every snow condition you can imagine, insane amounts of wildlife, wild weather, and of course the feared but totally awesome crossing of the Drake Passage.  Where else in the world can you find all of that in one packaged trip?  Nowhere that I’m aware of.

Another thing that makes this trip so special are the people.  I have to first thank the brains and brawn behind the Ice Axe Expeditions team, Doug Stoup and Karyn Stanley.  Without their leadership, logistics management, and positive attitudes the trip would never happen.  Then there are the guides… a world-class team of individuals with incredible mountain and people skills.  Getting to work with these folks is an honor and I always find myself learning a ton from all of them.  So my hats off to: Doug Workman, Gregory Mintsev, Andrew Eisenstark, Jason Mack, Rich Meyer, Andrew McLean, Kim Havell, Angela Hawse, Todd Offenbacher, Forrest McCarthy, Howie Schwartz, Jorge Kozulj, Marco Gaiani, Stefan Palm, Per As, Jim Delzer, Kris Erickson, Alain Ledoux, Ben Mitchell, Nicolay from Kamchatka, and Glen Poulson.  You guys are the BEST!

And then of course there are the clients, 100 inspired individuals who committed themselves to this epic journey and discovered a new place and new things about themselves and their abilities.  They allow us as guides to lead them into some incredible locations and ski lines unlike any they have skied before.  My group consisted of Joe Campbell, Abdur Chowdhury, Bruce Cummins, and Keoki Flagg.  Keoki shot like a million images during the trip, many of which you can see below.  Thanks to all of you for trusting in me and way to be solid out there in the mountains.

All right, since I have so many incredible images to share I’m going to annotate them and let them in part tell the story.

 

Every day starts with a 6 am guide meeting on the top deck of the Sea Adventurer.  Here Doug Stoup discusses the days objectives.
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Leading my group up to the summit on Nansen Island.  Wilhelmina Bay behind.  Photo Keoki Flagg.
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Me, Keoki, and Abdur take a break and transition to skins for another run above Andvord Bay.  Obviously we love our Vapur Anti-Bottles!
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On approach to some of the trips coolest objectives.  A number of teams skied the first descent of Mt. Narwhal (I made that up) on lookers right.
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Two rope teams approach the steep and intimidating face.  Everyone spent time discussing and evaluating the HUGE hanging cornice and agreed it was far enough from the climbing route to allow safe passage.
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Joe Campbell, Doug Stoup, and Keoki Flagg follow up a very steep face on Bluff Island.
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Doug and Joe get ready to transition into ski mode after the steep climb to the ridge. The face behind Doug was one of the craziest, double-corniced nightmares I’ve ever seen.
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You can just barely make out guide Doug Workman on top of the Narwhal.  The spines were probably unskiable, unless your name is Jeremy Jones!
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Myself and Rich Meyer on Half Moon Island getting ready for a short, steep couloir I called the “Delzaster Couloir” after guide Jim Delzer’s first descent.  There is our good ship the Sea Adventurer in the distance. Photo Joe Campbell.
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Steep turns on perfect snow into the “Delzaster Couloir” on my Kastle TX 97’s with Scarpa Freedom Sl boots.
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So what does a guide on the “Ski Cruise” carry in his pack?  Well this is mine.  Left to right:  Smith I/Ox Goggles, Backcountry.com Buff, Clif Bar thermos, two GoPro Hero 3+ with clamp mount, snow picket and wands, Beal 8.2mm 60M glacier rope, BD cobra axe, BD shovel and probe, BD Alias Avalung Pack, Vapur water bottle, tool kit with all sorts of items including bivy sack, cord, tape, clamps, and ski tuning gear, med kit, guide book, Clif Bars and Shot Bloks, UHF/VHF radio, Smith Overdrives and Frontmans, Spyder Bernese down jacket (in stuff sack), Kastle Hotmelt skins, a Red Bull, BD crampons, BD harness with glacier setup.
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Every trip we have a themed party on the ship.  This year it was the “White Party” and Jim Delver and I dressed up as the ships pastry chefs. We show off our delicious creations to 9 year old passenger Alexis Chowdhury.
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And this post just wouldn’t be complete without the requisite penguin shot. This is an Adelie penguin on King George Island in the South Shetlands.
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Guides and clients gather on a rocky point after a visit to the Arctowsky Station, a Polish research base on King George Island.
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Some amazing terrain the begs another trip.  We are returning in 2014 and these peaks are on my hit list! Photo Keoki Flagg
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Crevasses are one of the major hazards we deal with every day.  Keoki found this one and I grabbed him by the back of his jacket before he could visit the bottom.  Photo Keoki Flagg.
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One of my favorite things to do on the Peninsula is pick up a gleaming block of many thousand year old glacier ice on the way back to the ship.  It goes very well with Glenlivit, brings out the flavors.  I picked it up after we visited the now famous “Blue Hole”, a deep and incredible crevasse that you can safely enter and enjoy.
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“Ski Cruise” Wrap Up: Antarctica 2013

  • November 20th, 2013
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­­Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Jake Norton.

After almost 30 trips to the Indian subcontinent over the years, I’ve developed a good tolerance for the local gut flora and fauna. I rarely get sick anymore, and am fairly adventurous with my intake, eating street foods and enjoying local drinks. But, my rule of thumb – backed up by simple visual investigations – is to never drink the water.

“Don’t drink the water.” I was reminded of this saying as I filled my Vapur MicroFilter bottle from the tap in Agra. Those four words have become a trite sendoff for people traveling to the world’s lesser developed spots, an off the cuff warning that the destination doesn’t have the basic facilities we in the West have come to take for granted. For 764 million people globally, “don’t drink the water” is exactly what they wish they could do… but have no choice, for they lack access to safe water in their daily lives.

Such was the case for me and my teammates – Pete McBride and David Morton – as we traveled the length of the Ganges River for six weeks this autumn. Our expedition – generously funded by Microsoft Surface, Eddie Bauer, National Geographic, and Ambuja Cement, and supported by Vapur – was solely focused on telling the story of this most iconic, most revered, and often most reviled of rivers. From the very top of the Gangotri Glacier at the river’s source, we studied the river, conducted in-depth ecology tests of its waters, met with experts trying to save this troubled artery, spoke with the devout who revere her waters as the mother of all water, and saw firsthand its beauty and its challenges for 1500 miles all the way to the Bay of Bengal.

And, we were reminded daily of exactly why we didn’t want to drink the water. Chromium. Lead. Arsenic. Petroleum. Raw sewage. We saw those things, and much more, going into the Ganges nearly from start to finish. An estimated 1 billion liters of untreated sewage enters the river daily from the nearly 400 million people who live along its banks. In the delta on the Bay of Bengal, tens of thousands suffer from arsenic poisoning, resulting in skin lesions and damage to internal organs. The tanneries of Kanpur dump a slurry of chromium and other chemicals into the river, most of it unchecked by the government water treatments facilities.

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But, yet, people drink. They bathe. They live on and around and in this holiest of rivers, tapping its nourishing waters for all facets of daily life. And, many get sick. Many suffer a life of disease thanks to the pollution, or a life of servitude trying to bring water to their homes and villages and then treat it before consumption. Having seen it firsthand, and documented the river’s beauty and challenges, the spots where it’s pristine and those where it’s horrifically polluted, we’re now working on bringing the story and the river to life in film and photograph and the written word. We hope that this story can help awaken many to the plight of the river…and all those who depend on it.

As for the water? Thanks to the MicroFilter, I drank it and drank it, fresh from the source, for 1500 miles – source to sea. And I was one of the lucky ones and had the means to clean my water and not get sick.

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Drink Up!

  • November 15th, 2013
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund.

As of last week, roughly seventy outdoor leaders in training at the University of California became proud new owners of the Vapur Anti-Bottle.

The Leadership Training Course at UCSB is an annual five-month intensive that prepares aspiring individuals with the hard and soft skills necessary for guiding quality outdoor adventures. Participants are trained in outdoor disciplines such as rock climbing, kayaking, canyoneering, canoeing, backpacking, orienteering, camp cuisine and wilderness medicine. The course also covers a wide variety of other topics such as group dynamics, risk management, leadership styles, professionalism, decision making, trip logistics and even towing trailers.

These leaders in training are considered for a guide position with UCSB Adventure Programs upon successful completion of the course. This is easier said than done, as there are many course requirements and certifications that must be fulfilled by the end of the five months.

One of those requirements is a driving certification through the Smith System for which I am an instructor (random, I know). I used the prospect of receiving a colorful new Vapur Anti-Bottle to coax these newbie guides into listening to a two-hour lecture on better driving habits… I’ll give a bottle away to the person who can make that topic sound even the slightest bit attractive!

As an educator mostly of alluring topics such as rock climbing and canyoneering, I have this compulsive need to make sure everything I teach is engaging and not boring my audience to tears. I also strive to make logical, more-than-commonsensical arguments that are worthy of wholeheartedly buying into. Lecturing already experienced drivers about their driving habits automatically sets me up for failure in this endeavor.

I’m a firm believer that every experienced driver should take a course like this, given that while 90% of people claim to be “good” drivers, 95% of all reported accidents are attributed to driver error. I mean we’re imperfect human beings, traveling way faster than nature had intended for our brains, in gigantic steel death machines. It’s no wonder that tens of thousands of people are killed, millions of people injured and billions of dollars are spent each year in U.S. car accidents alone.

These stats mixed with the fun fact that our guides are driving paid participants in low-visibility 12-passenger vans, towing large trailers, and that the program’s financial security is affected by even the slightest fender bender, oh and just that I hate the thought of wasting two hours of everyone’s time including my own, makes me further poised to ensure that everyone listens.

Luckily, my bribe worked, which means those proud new Vapur Anti-Bottle owners are also successfully certified in the Smith Driving System. You’re welcome, America. The added bonus is that they now have a smarter and sexier way of staying hydrated while on the trail, in the ocean, at the crag, on the river and in canyon this season.

“I had no idea learning how to drive better with the Smith System could be fun,” said Mary Beth Dreusike, Leadership Training Course Class of 2014. “Laura was able to hold my attention for 2 hours before revealing the Vapur  prize at the end. As a trail runner, I’m a bit of a minimalist. I like things light and quick. The Vapur Anti-Bottle is perfect for my everyday life when I need to stay hydrated. It will come in handy for quick hikes away from camp or mini excursions where I don’t want to lug my pack around.”                       

Boo-yah!

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Outdoor Leadership just got Smarter, Safer, Sexier…

  • October 24th, 2013
  • Posted in News & Events
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Men’s Journal Gear Lab

Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund.

THE TRAVEL BUG

Many westerners travel the world in search of wondrous adventure and new cultural experiences, but quite often get more than what they bargained for… for no less than two or three days. Sure as scheiße, I’m talking about diarrhea.

Every world traveler I know has at least one story about that time they had a bad experience with some street tacos in Mexico, or was it that fruit stand in Thailand? It could’ve been the meat in Morocco, the veggies in Vietnam or even the coca tea in Peru. Perhaps the bacalhau in Brazil or from swimming downstream in the Dominican… The scary truth is you never really know for sure!

One thing is certain, however, and that is a lot of the common causes often boil down to good ol’ H2O. Our day to day lives are replete with the consumption of water and that doesn’t change when we’re abroad. We ingest it directly, make other drinks out of it, wash our fruits and vegetables with it, we do the dishes, we shower, we brush our teeth with it… The list goes on.

When you travel to far off places or even into local wilderness areas, you’re simply not immune as the natives are to the bugs that may be lurking. I’ve always been a little weary of tap water, so when I first started venturing away from home, the paranoia was slightly unsettling. I went down to Mexico and stocked up on bottled water, brushing my teeth with it and all. Even when I moved to England, I was looking at how much it rained and all the sheep roaming around, wondering where the tap water came from.

I then calculated what it would cost to keep hydrated on bottled water in Europe for a year. Ouch. Around that time, I also stayed in fairly large “Botel” in Amsterdam and refused to drink the water straight from the tap. How could they possibly provide that much clean water for that many people on a freaking boat? I filtered it through my old backpacking purifier, which was gigantic and time consuming. Well, that was 10 years ago and this is now… Vapur Blog_LB Travel Bug 1

VAPUR MICROFILTER TAKE OVER!

Just when I start thinking Vapur can’t possibly do anything further to fundamentally change outdoor sporting or travel, they bust out this MicroFilter.

In the quest to keep well-hydrated in the wilderness, I’d been resisting the urge to follow my colleagues in purchasing other brands touting a water bottle with a built-in filter. The main reason– the flow seemed so incredibly restricted and slow that I would actually get out of breath trying to suck the water through. This seemed counter productive. You were on a long hike, in a thirsty climate and fatigued from the simple task of trying to get a drink of water!

Or it SHOULD be a simple task, I should say. The process of filtering water has been complicating backpacking and travel for years, causing many people I know to go back to chemical treatments. I am not of that camp, as I think it’s a little gross to have to filter silty water through a sweaty bandanna and I just don’t like the idea of voluntarily ingesting more chemicals in life than I need to.

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THE MICROFILTER ABROAD AND OUTBOUND

Earlier this summer, my friend Michelle Jung and I went to Spain for a climbing trip/birthday bash. We had plans to go to the Balearic Islands and then spend some time up in the mountains near the French border, so I took the Vapur MicroFilter along. Mid-June is a time when the snow melt is still in full swing in the Spanish Pyrenees, which lends to some pretty radical cascading waterfall action and plenty of chilled, fresh water to drink.

Michelle is a well-traveled, 5.12 climber. She has spent countless hours both abroad and in backcountry environments, and has a lot of experience with different types of gear, so I was a little surprised by her unbiased excitement at the MicroFilter:

“This is simplicity at its best!”

She recently took that same MicroFilter with her on the John Muir Trail, where she broke the women’s unsupported, uncached speed record by 47 minutes. The entire hike from the top of the highest peak in the continental US, through the Sierra Nevadas up to Yosemite (215 miles) in 6 days, 6 hours and 5 minutes, all on her own for food and water (umm… I was busy that week). That’s covering almost 40 miles a day at high elevation, all necessary supplies on your back for a week, using the Vapur MicroFilter all the way. Notice how it didn’t slow her down one bit.

This MicroFilter packs a mega punch! Oh yeah, and Michelle’s pretty awesome too. 😛

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Flying with the MicroFilter

In preparing for Spain, I had this grandiose plan to pack super minimalist and light for once. This trip was going to be pretty gear and travel intensive. I had to pack climbing gear for one, and two, also had to keep in mind that I was  going to be on a boat for 9 days in the Virgin Islands on the way back, with a day in New York City in between. An overweight pack on my 110-lb, newly 30-year-old frame just wasn’t going to be an option.

I was simply going to pack the filter separate of the bottle and take an extra SuperCap to use when I didn’t need filtration. Let’s just say I found bringing one Anti-Bottle vs. two a negligible difference in weight and pack space, and so afforded myself the luxury of also having the .7 L size with me; my favorite for daily use, plane travel and harness jewelry. Ultimately, if the bottles weren’t so darn light and compressible, I might have been disciplined enough to stick with my plan. Thanks for encouraging my gluttonous packing habit, Vapur. Gosh.

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The MicroFilter & the Travel Bug

  • September 27th, 2013
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Anna Levesque.

Stand up paddleboard yoga, also known as SUP yoga, is a new trend sweeping across the US. It’s been around the coastal areas for a number of years and is now moving inland to lakes and rivers. It’s a fun and unique way to get outside, strengthen and stretch. As one of my students, a popular yoga instructor here in Asheville, NC described: “So fun to have river as the floor, and sky as the ceiling of the yoga room.” Many yoga teachers talk about connecting with nature in the classroom and that connection is so much more powerful when you’re actually practicing outside.

SUP yoga also requires a good deal of focus and mindfulness, much more so than yoga on a regular mat that isn’t moving! I had a student recently comment, “I had to move more slowly in and out of the poses. I couldn’t just pop into a pose.” I really like this aspect of paddleboard yoga – moving slowly, paying attention to our alignment and to how each movement affects our balance. In this way, SUP yoga strengthens our bodies and our minds.

I’m fortunate enough to live very close to the French Broad River here in Asheville and one of my favorite workouts is to paddle upstream against the current up to the Biltmore House and then practice yoga as I float back down to my start point. I especially love doing this on summer evenings when the light is beautiful and everything is starting to quiet down from the bustle of the day.

Staying hydrated while practicing SUP yoga can be challenging because regular round water bottles tend to roll around and can easily roll right off of the board. You need extra equipment like attachment points and carabiners to hold them on the board. Luckily, I am equipped with Vapur Anti-Bottles that easily rest on the front of the board while I practice making it easy to move around freely and hydrate when I need to!

If you’re interested in learning more about SUP yoga please checkout my websites: watergirlsatplay.com or mindbodypaddle.com.

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SUP Yoga & Vapur

  • September 23rd, 2013
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Chris Davenport.

I just finished my fourteenth year in a row visiting Portillo, Chile during the month of August.  The last ten of those years have been spent running my successful Portillo Superstars ski camp, a week of good, hard-skiing, geared-toward experts looking to up their game. My history with Portillo goes much further back however.

My Dad came here for a few years in the ‘60’s as a ski racer, so I grew up hearing all sorts of tales about this amazing ski resort hidden high in the Andes Mountains.  My Dad and his teammates would stop a few times on the flight down to refuel in places like Panama City or Lima or Quito, since the planes couldn’t make it all the way on one tank.  These were the days before the international highway that links Chile and Argentina through the high pass at Portillo, so after arriving in Santiago, they hopped on an overnight train, inevitably with several bottles of Pisco, and settled in for the long grind up the mountain.  Hearing these tales as a kid made Portillo sound larger than life – a place where ski dreams came true.

The bird's-eye view of Hotel Portillo - a virtual "cruise ship" in the mountains.

The bird’s-eye view of Hotel Portillo – a virtual “cruise ship” in the mountains.


I first came to Portillo back in 2000 to run a ski photography competition called the Andes Photo Challenge.  Partnering with Skiing Magazine, I brought six of the world’s top ski photographers and their athlete of choice to Portillo for a week of shooting a variety of subjects, including air, powder, and lifestyle. After the photo challenge concept was played out, I needed to find another way to come to Portillo, make some money, and ski every day with my friends.  Portillo, with its incredible snow, terrain, and hotel/party life, has a way of getting under your skin and becoming a bit of an addiction. The camp concept was born and that first year I invited Shane McConkey, Wendy Fisher, and Chris Anthony to coach along side me.  Somehow I convinced twelve bold souls to sign up and we were off.  Shane was with us for the first six years of the camp, and early on I added Mike Douglas and Ingrid Backstrom as well.  Now it’s grown so much that I’ve added a sixth coach, Daron Rahlves, to the roster.  We also have a videographer, Jesse Hoffman, who started as a camper ten years ago and has been with me ever since. My twelve-year-old son, Stian, is on his seventh visit to Portillo this season and has been my assistant coach for a couple years.

We’ve been so lucky to get to ski with so many amazing clients over the years.  Our campers range in age from 14 to 69, both men and women, with the common theme being that everyone is pretty much an expert.  These folks trust us to show them the best snow and terrain Portillo has to offer, and we spend quite a bit of time working on skill development.  Our campers ski in small groups and with a different coach each day, so they really get to pick up lots of individual tips from some of the best skiers in the world.  Imagine ripping steep powder lines with Ingrid Backstrom one day and then Daron Rahlves the next.  Or, allowing me to guide you on a hike up a steep and deep couloir.  You could be learning to do your first 360 with Mike Douglas, the “Godfather of the New School,” or even dancing on tables in the bar with Wendy Fisher as the band rocks the stage.  Regardless, Portillo is always a good time and my camp turns it up a notch for our guests with the guiding and teaching program.

Portillo Superstars Camp owner and Vapur athlete, Chris Davenport, demonstrating technique.

Portillo Superstars Camp owner and Vapur athlete, Chris Davenport, demonstrating technique.


Another element of the camp that make sit special for our campers is all of the coaches are on new gear – meaning next year’s gear, so our guests get to check out new skis, boots, clothing, and accessories before much of the industry has even seen it. For many years Mike Douglas and Shane, and me for that matter, would show up with white, graphic-less skis to test and evaluate.  We’ve got a pretty authentic and inspired consumer group with us so they enjoy getting first looks, and in some cases, first tests of lots of new gear.  One example is this year everyone was rocking their new Vapur Anti-Bottle on the hill, as they are so easy to roll up in your ski jackets or cargo pants. Another aspect of the camp that everyone really appreciates is the media side.  Every day our resident media expert, Jesse, films and shoots images of the guests as they coach and ski with the pros.  They take home plenty of epic shots and we edit up a nice highlight real for everyone.  And in the evenings each coach gives a presentation, a slideshow of a recent trip, expedition or perhaps even a ski film segment in the works to be released in the Fall. These little details go a long way with our guests and are really fun for the coaches.


The coaches of the 2013 Portillo Superstars Camp: Mike Douglas,  Ingrid Backstrom, Chris Davenport, Wendy Fisher, Chris Anthony, & Daron Rahlves.

The coaches of the 2013 Portillo Superstars Camp: Mike Douglas, Ingrid Backstrom, Chris Davenport, Wendy Fisher, Chris Anthony, & Daron Rahlves.


Fourteen years into my relationship with Portillo, I feel like we have gotten to know each other pretty well.  It’s truly a home away from home for me during the dog days of summer here in Colorado.  I know the other coaches of the Superstars Camp agree with me when I say it’s one of the trips I look forward to most every year.

A month in the Andes allows me to ski with all sorts of amazing people, both in the camp and private clients as well.  My family comes down now every year and my boys have been lucky enough to experience some incredible skiing and deep storms over the years.  I really enjoy the opportunity to work on my own skiing while I’m down there, figuring out new ways of doing things with my body position and balance, and developing skills that really take a lifetime to even get close to figuring out.  But more than anything Portillo gives all of us a chance to share our passion for skiing with each other.  My goal at the end of our camp, and at the end of every season in Portillo, is to send people home with the best ski vacation they have ever had.  I’m proud to say that our record in that department is pretty darn strong.  So thanks to Ingrid, Wendy, Chris, Daron, Mike, Jesse, Stian, Maureen, my Dad, and most of all the Purcell Family, the owners and gatekeepers of one of the world’s greatest ski destinations.

See you next season,
Chris
@Steepskiing


The campers of the 2013 Portillo Superstars Camp.

The campers of the 2013 Portillo Superstars Camp.

10th Annual Portillo Superstars Ski Camp

  • September 10th, 2013
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