Category Archives: TerraVida
I’m finally back home in Asheville after a 2.5 month sojourn around North America with bike and kayak in tow. It has been an incredible experience that I will never forget, but it always feels good to come home.
I spent quite a bit of time in the Whistler, BC area, and I have come to the conclusion that it is probably the most amazing place to find yourself if you love skiing, biking, kayaking, or all of the above. I will allow the pictures below to do the talking.
Luke Radnor ripping Whistler Bike Park apart! Luke is one of the guys who pulls your bike off the rack when you ride up the lift, and this is his after-work routine.
The bro train dropping into the Crabapple Superhits. This is the biggest jump line in Whistler, and is a very cool place to watch local talent crush it.
If you’re ever in the area and enjoy hiking, there are two hikes that you must do… the Stawamus Chief and Black Tusk. They are very different experiences, but both spectacular.
The Chief is a short intense climb up to the summit of the 2nd largest granite monolith in the world behind El Cap. This is the view of Squamish from the top.
Black Tusk is an absolutely spectacular 16 km and 2000 vertical meter climb into the Garibaldi wilderness. It is worth every step though, and views like this are everywhere.
The kayaking in the area is every bit as incredible as anything else. Whistler has world class steep creeks within ten minutes of town. As a local, you could easily go paddling before work, work all day, and go riding after work. Here is the putin drop to one of the classic runs of the area, the Upper Cheakamus.
Photo by Bryan Harris with Guillaume Pedneault’s camera.
Different view of the same drop by Guillaume Peneault…
Just a few minutes past the pulloff for the Upper Cheak is Callaghan Creek. This is an ultra-classic run, and features some great rapids and back-to-back 15 and 25 foot waterfalls.
Then of course you have the big water training ground, and my favourite run in the area, Fear Canyon of the Elaho! This place demands respect.
One of the other great things about Whistler is the fact that you can balance all of these things with a super cool social scene at the end of the day. Lost Lake is a perfect afternoon cooldown before you go out for dinner in town.
Whistler is just set up for bikes, and is an inspiration to what I hope alot of US towns will turn into. It’s pretty fun riding a downhill bike to the bar!
So, long story short, go to Whistler if you ever get the chance. Be sure to keep checking here and on our YouTube Channel for media as I get my life sorted out and post stuff up.
Good lines all!
I love taking kayaking and biking road trips. For me, there is nothing quite like the feeling of loading up your car with all of the essentials of life… food, toys, cameras and sleeping gear. Life seems so simple when you have that singular focus of doing what you love the most.
The road west… good things always await.
I also do my best to be environmentally-conscious when possible. I try to ride my bike and walk when possible, consolidate driving trips around town, and minimize electricity usage. I truly believe that we are going to witness some crazy things during our lives as the planet’s petroleum resources become less and less capable of dealing with skyrocketing demand. It will have an effect on every aspect of our lives, from the economy’s health to our ability to buy food at the supermarket.
So, if I actually care about the environment the way that I think I do, why the heck have I just driven across the entire continent of North America to do nothing but play? That is an incredibly selfish thing to do! If everyone in the world lived the way that I do, what would happen? With our finite resources, It would be impossible for the world’s population to even come close to my standard of living and the luxury of traveling to enjoy the world in a kayak and on a bike.
I have conducted this internal debate a million times in my head, and have never found a good answer to it.
A first world luxury… flying out of the Homathko River, BC after an incredible four day mission.
I was on a kayaking trip recently when this exact topic came up. I’m not sure if I spurred it or not. I usually do, as I am always interested to play devil’s advocate and see how “environmental” kayakers justify their habits. Through the course of this discussion, I heard some very familiar responses… “it’s important that we use fuel to access these beautiful places, because when we enjoy them and document them, people see that and feel the desire to preserve them.” There was also the “well, as kayakers we carpool a lot and that helps to bring our footprints down.” But my favourite response of the entire discussion came from one of my friends who always calls it like he sees it… “dude, we’re all just a bunch of environmental nihilists!”
He has a good point, as it could certainly be argued that we operate under the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra.
So my questions are… does this bother you like it does me? How do you justify driving countless hours a year in the name of fun? Is the freedom for anyone except for the super wealthy to recreate in this manner going to die with our generation?
Well, it has been quite a whirlwind adventure across the country. Bryan and I drove over 3,000 miles in six days, and hung out with some awesome people along the way.
The first two stops on our trip were the Ottawa River and the North and South Fork of the Payette Rivers in Idaho. A full picture update is available over on the Immersion Research blog, but here is the video from those adventures. Hope you enjoy!
Hello Ladies and Germs! I Recently returned from a hut trip in the back country near New York Mountain, Colorado. A couple of months ago, I was sitting in my office working on the computer when I received an email from my uncle inviting me on a 4 day skiing adventure! I promptly replied that I would love to join the trip.
Several weeks later, the trip began with a groggy wake-up at 4:45am. I reminded myself of the amazing weekend ahead of me, dragged myself off the air mattress and began reviewing my gear. Food, compass, bivy sack, knife, map, first aid kit, lighter, fire starter, extra clothing, flashlight, sleeping bag, etc etc.
After driving west for about 3 hours, we arrived at the trailhead. A short while later after strapping on showshoes / skis with skins, we set-off up a snowmobile track. 6 miles and a terribly inefficient short-cut later we arrived at the hut!
Next to our hut there’s a neighboring hut called Polar Star, and upon arrival, a skiier from the other hut began yelling at me. I was bewildered. Evidently someone from their trip had been lost in the woods all day, and search and rescue were en route. The man had thought I was part of the search and rescue team, thus the yelling. (This made no sense to me, I was looking plainly at him when he began waving his arms and yelling at the top of his lungs). After offering assistance in searching for their friend, they politely declined and I trudged the last 1/8 of a mile to our hut.
Staying in a hut has many perks, and I soon discovered why my uncle loves these trips so much. Wood stove, gas lights, and whiskey make for an incredibly cozy experience in the woods.
Once settled in, the possibilities are endless. A steep trek straight to the top of the ridge reveals an almost 360 degree view of the snowy behemoths surrounding the mountain. The wind was extremely intense… I couldn’t help but imagine myself getting blown off into oblivion like a dry leaf in the wind.
The combined experience of the high winds, jaw-dropping beauty and the fact that I would be snowboarding down the mountain to our hut made this one of the most incredible places I’ve been to in a long time!
One surprisingly funny part of the trip was discovering the inner wonders of the outhouse. About 8 feet down, a stalagmite of shit rises up from the depths to greet potential outhouse users. Since the beginning of the winter season, various hut-dwellers feces freeze into a sort of ‘drip-castle’. A tall brown tower striving for the heavens, only to soften and melt back into a puddle come springtime.
I’m happy to say there are many reasons to move to Colorado. The biggest one that I personally accredit my recent arrival to: enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains for all their worth!
Hope you all enjoyed, and see you via the web again soon!
On March 11th, the fifth biggest earthquake in history shook Japan.
Inspired by our friends at Bliss-Stick (they are donating $100 for every kayak sold), we will donate $5 for every shirt sold to relief efforts in Japan.
We will donate these funds to the American Red Cross relief efforts, or you can donate directly at the American Red Cross Website.
Please see below for an epic compilation of kayaking and other bails! I’ve had all of these excellent crashes eating up space on my hard drive, and I figured it was time to entertain the internet world a bit.
Hope you enjoy!
Our world is changing very very quickly. The proliferation of smartphones, mobile devices, wireless Internet, and cell networks means that we are now more connected than we have ever been as humans. This is excellent from a communication standpoint, and certainly helps us to conduct business in real-time, but the question must be asked… is it good to be connected ALL the time?
In order to illustrate where we’re coming from here, consider the following statistics:
-Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
-Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
-Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
-Number of hours the average user spends online each week (outside of 35 hours at work): 13
-Number of people who are having a cell phone conversation at any given second in the world: 4,239,956
-Percentage of people who talk more online than they do in real life: 57%
With these figures in mind, I would like to ask you…
How long have these things been a part of our lives as humans?
Not very long. Television has existed for 84 years. The Internet, 42 years. Cell phones, 38 years, and Facebook, 7 years. Let’s take the duration of television for example… that’s still only about 1/1000th of the time that humans have been on the planet. Technology does not have a direct correlation to happiness, and it never will.* In a time when so many people’s lives are consumed by their houses, cars, computers, phones, and money, we believe that it is important to occasionally remember what really matters.
“If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
Sometimes you just need to unplug. What this means is different for every person, but taking a short amount of time to step outside and breathe in the natural world will always leave you happier and more at peace. These moments form the inspiration for TerraVida and its name.
The rat race, the grind, the man… they all just seem so trivial when you are doing something that you love.
* Just to clarify, I don’t mean to disregard the contribution that technology has made to our quality of life. Obviously, any of us would prefer to have modern medicine and access to clean water over not having it. The argument presented here refers instead to the dependence on technology and the need to always be connected. Feel free to fire away in the comments!
T-Shirt contests are one of the areas where we see the most potential for TerraVida. Allowing customers to create and vote on content is something that completely changes how many businesses will structure their operations in the future.
The traditional model involves businesses hiring top-notch, brilliant employees who create incredible work that they are sure will rock the world. The company then hires marketers to tell people how much they need to love the products, and why they will gain social acceptance if they buy it. This goes for clothing, cars, jewelry, electronics… anything really. But it carries with it one common flaw… the market is influenced by the company.
What we want to do with our contests is reverse that idea, and put the customers in control. By creating art and voting on it, our customers will guide what shirts they want to wear as a representation of the sport that they love. This idea is called crowdsourcing, and it is changing the world. Some of our motivation comes from witnessing the incredible designs that come out of the company Threadless… check them out if you’re not familiar with them. They are a t-shirt business that is run entirely on user-submitted designs. They have an amazing business model, but where they fall short is the fact that a kayaking, mountain biking, skiing, or other niche sport design will never win a Threadless contest. There just aren’t enough numbers in our sports.
That is where we come in. We have plenty of goofy ideas of our own, but we look forward to putting control into your hands, and allowing you to highlight just how darn cool outdoors sports are!
Now go create something awesome.
Nathan and Chris
Milton Friedman, a very influential business author and thought leader, believes in taking the legal form of a company at its word. A company is an individual entity in the eyes of the government, and has only one responsibility… to maximize shareholder wealth. A company, according to Friedman, is not and should not be influenced by anything else. This means utilizing the cheapest labor possible, leveraging the cheapest materials possible, only honoring service requests that are legally binding, and so on and so forth. He basically believes that as long as the operations are legal, the company should go for it, regardless of the negative fallout that occurs.
Friedman believes that giving back to the world should be left up to the individuals themselves, and not to the company. Although a compelling and logical argument, it is only justifiable for (A) those who never actually see the horrible effects of it, or (B) those who were somehow born without a conscience.
Given the amount of industrial pollution that is currently being poured into our atmosphere, rivers, and oceans, the sweatshop labor that is used to drive costs down, and the finite and rapidly diminishing nature of the world’s petroleum resources, we clearly have a problem on our hands. Those are the outcomes of a world of corporations governed by the myopic focus on profit at all costs. In founding TerraVida, we are very interested in following the example of companies such as Patagonia, and reshape what corporate social and environmental responsibility means.
We are fortunate to be in good company in our own industry as well… Astral Buoyancy, Immersion Research, Shred Ready, and Tribe are already breaking the trail for others to follow. As for ourselves, we are committed to constantly rethinking our operations to find ways to be more eco-friendly. We currently use water-based paints on organic or recycled t-shirts. We also pledge 1% of sales to one customer-selected charity or non-profit per quarter. This translates to roughly 5% of profit, and is something that we look forward to giving back to the beautiful places that we love playing in.
Every business is an iterative process, and we look forward to working towards bettering the planet through our company’s existence.
The TerraVida Team
I have often heard the analogy of comparing a start-up business to an airplane. A tremendous amount of energy (and risk) is present in getting the wheels off the tarmac at the very beginning of the flight, and the adjustments and recalculations that occur mid-flight are necessary, though not quite as difficult and pivotal.
I can’t yet speak from experience on whether the second part is true with TerraVida, but the take-off friction is certainly living up to its reputation! In spite of the frustrations of getting a business running properly, Nathan and I are both so excited about the potential of what we are bringing to the market.
We also believe that it is important to outline the core beliefs of the business. These are unconditional and will exist as long as TerraVida does:
1) Make excellent products (both in sustainable materials and stylish design)
2) Always involve our customers (it is our hope that design contests will become the primary driver for our apparel art, and we plan to make it worth it to you!)
3) Pay it forward (this will also be guided by our customers, but we pledge 1% of our sales, in perpetuity)
So, sir or madam reader, that is what we stand for. We look forward to the journey, and hope there is enough engine power and runway for a good takeoff!
Chris and Nathan