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    Dirtbag Diaries: Transitions - Efficiency Manifesto

    Dbd_transitionsParents new and old will be especially touched by this episode of The Dirtbag Diaries. Show host Fitz Cahall sets the stage:

    No one skins uphill to put together a splitboard efficiently. They do it to shred down. Making a transition at a belay is part of the process, not the main event. Transitions may not be sexy, but they make or break us. They are the difference between a cold night spent shivering on a ledge and walking out in perfect evening light. Almost five years after I wrote the Monoboard and started The Diaries, I find myself in a metaphorical transition. My passions run from the mountains to the Seattle music scene and I've become adept at moving between them. My life is about to change. My passions won't. It's time to refine the transition.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Transitions - Efficiency Manifesto"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "Transitions - Efficiency Manifesto" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    Special shout out to Walker Cahall for this episode's clever show graphic, and to Fitz and Becca Cahall as they near delivery time.

    Riding Frozen Oceans

    The Patagonia ambassador team is pleased to share today's interview with one of their newest members, snowboarder Forrest Shearer. Forrest joins fellow riders Ryland Bell, Josh Dirksen and Taro Tamai in the lineup. Raised as a surfer at the famed Dana Point, Forrest made the transition to snowboarding with his move to the foot of the Wasatch Range in Utah. We caught up with Forrest recently to ask him a few questions about what has been an eventful year of riding, and his plans for the upcoming season.

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    [Patagonia snowboarding ambassador Forrest Shearer surfs one of his new favorite winter breaks. Photo: Yoshiro Higai]

    TCL: You recently traveled to Japan to film for the new TGR film Further. What was the terrain like and how was it unique?

    Forrest: There was tons of good powder riding and big alpine terrain. A lot of people don't know that Japan gets so much snow – it's insane. I couldn't think of a cooler place to snowboard and experience a different culture.

    Continue reading "Riding Frozen Oceans" »

    Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger - An Excerpt from No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Muñoz

    Munoz_30_Waimea_2 Our friends on the Patagonia Books team are proud to announce a new title by Mickey Muñoz called No Bad Waves. The book was a collaboration between Mickey, who recorded the stories in a series of interviews, Jeff Divine, who culled through Mickey's extensive photo archives, John Dutton, who massaged the transcripts into shape, and Peter McBride, who combined the words and images into what we think is one of our best books to date.

    Today we're happy to give you a taste of the the book. Instead of a long narrative, No Bad Waves features a collection of short stories like this one about Mickey and the first group of West Coast surfers to ride Waimea Bay.

    Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger


    The next time I went back to Hawai‘i was in 1957 when we spent the whole winter on the North Shore and ended up surfing Waimea. That winter, I rode some big waves and came back with extreme confidence.

    The group of us over there had talked about riding Waimea and had gone by to look at it. Waimea appeared to be the last place on the North Shore that was rideable when everywhere else was closed out. A bunch of us had gathered, and we were standing on the road to check it out. I can’t remember who suggested we go out, but, “OK, let’s do it!”

    Continue reading "Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger - An Excerpt from No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Muñoz" »

    Travel Riding

    The Patagonia crew extends a hearty welcome to Josh Dirksen. Josh joins fellow snowboarders Ryland Bell, Forrest Shearer and Taro Tamai in our ambassador lineup. Josh is widely known as one of the great understated riders in the sport. With over 20 years snowboarding and a pro career spanning over a decade, Josh is one of the few athletes in the circuit who's been riding professionally longer than he can remember. We caught up with Josh recently in Europe, where he spends part of the year, the other parts being spent in the search for snow and surf. He can still be found in his long-time home base of Bend, Oregon a few months out of the year.


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    [Josh Dirksen, enjoying home-sweet-tent - his living quarters during 3 weeks of filming for Deeper in Alaska. All photos courtesy Josh Dirksen collection.]

    TCL:  You have a home in Oregon, a wife in Switzerland and travel all over the world each year. Do you have a favorite place to come back to?

    Josh: These days it does not really matter which place I head back to. It is more important who is around when I get there. I always look forward to seeing my wife, family, and friends wherever they are at.

    Continue reading "Travel Riding" »

    Backcountry Film Festival - Ready to Make You Backcountry Famous

    How many ski movies have you seen that were shot in July and August - in North America? A deep and abiding snowpack across the West (coupled with a cool, wet, and stormy June) has yielded what is, for most of us, an apocryphal anomaly, the "July ski season." Sure, the guys up in the Cascades and north of the 49th make it a habit of enjoying turns all year, but for the rest of us, winter is rapidly fading memory once the fireworks fly.

    Not this year (check the stories from Tahoe, A-Basin, and The Bird). Which is precisely why it's a great time to rally the brethren and sistren, grab your boards, and head for the hills to document this season of epic deepness. For your efforts, the Backcountry Film Festival is ready to provide a screen and an audience of thousands across the country. So whether you're getting fired up to shoot some fresh footage or ready to pull out the powder vids you shot back in the frosty months, read on to find out how to submit your work to the Festival.

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    [Photo courtesy Winter Wildlands Alliance/Backcountry Film Festival. Skier, Sam Pope - KGB Productions. Photographer: Tuck Fauntleroy]

    Continue reading "Backcountry Film Festival - Ready to Make You Backcountry Famous" »

    Interview: Snowboard Ambassador Ryland Bell

    Gen4_ambass_bell_f11 We're pleased to welcome Ryland Bell to the Patagonia Ambassador lineup. Ryland is a snowboarder who has spent all the summers of his life on boats in the Alaskan village of Elfin Cove (population 20), where his parents fish commercially. He can't think of a winter growing up when he wasn't riding on sleds, skis, inner tubes or whatever could slide downhill, preferably fast. When Ryland was first strapped into a snowboard at age 12 though, he knew he had found it. The 25-year-old rider now spends winter in Lake Tahoe's Squaw Valley and spring in Haines, Alaska. We caught up with him to find out more about what it was like growing up on a boat in Alaska - not to mention riding some of the steepest, most remote lines being ridden in North America today, some of which were featured in the film Deeper.

    TCL: What stands out the most about your life growing up in Alaska?

    Ryland: The amount of wilderness, and wildlife.

    TCL: What's your favorite and least favorite thing about life as a fisherman?

    Ryland: Favorite thing, being on the water, and the amazing views. Least favorite thing, getting up at 3 in the morning for weeks on end.

    Ryland_Bell_PowTurn
    [All photos: Abe Blair, courtesy Ryland Bell collection]

    Continue reading "Interview: Snowboard Ambassador Ryland Bell" »

    The Dirtbag Diaries: Live from 5Point Volume 2

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    Our long-held dream of creating a live performance of The Dirtbag Diaries came true this spring at the 5Point Film Festival. We interviewed filmmakers and people who were in films and let the conversation flow as though we were sitting on the truck tailgate. If you haven't listened to the previous episode, check out the stories from Baybe Champ and Frank Smethhurst. Today we present the stories of the folks behind the camera. A surf photographer who created a viral video sensation that simultaneously radiates sadness and joy. And a young filmmaker who draws a connecting line between skiing and art. The audience has settled into their seats and the mics are on. Mickey Smith and Nick Waggoner join us on stage. Welcome to the 5Point Film Festival. --Fitz Cahall, creator/host of The Dirtbag Diaries

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Live from 5Point Volume 2"
    (41:19 - right-click to download MP3)

    Now that you've heard their stories, check out the work of Mickey and Nick. [Update 6/9/11: Embedded the videos after the jump.]

    Continue reading "The Dirtbag Diaries: Live from 5Point Volume 2" »

    Skiing Patagonia, Saving Patagonia - Chile needs energy, but is damming its wildest rivers a price worth paying?

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    It was ten years ago when we first pedaled over an obscure pass alongside South America's second largest lake and caught our first glimpse of Chilean Patagonia's wild and wonderful Rio Baker (Baker River) watershed. Never before had we encountered such a vast and ecologically diverse corner of the planet - and our physical and emotional reaction to the power and beauty before us is something we will never forget. We dropped our bikes and spent the good part of an hour treating our senses to this wild place.

    Editor's note: This issue of damming rivers in Chilean Patagonia might seem like a hot new topic, but it's been on the radar for years now. Vermont photographers Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson have visited the Rio Baker Valley three times: first in 2000 on bikes, then in 2004 and 2006, on skis and foot, when they heard about a proposal to dam the Rio Baker. Today, Brian and Emily look back on those trips and their significance in light of the recent decision to proceed with the dams.

    To the west stood the towering peaks of the Northern Patagonia Ice Sheet, which hovered over the glaciers and temperate rainforests beneath them. Rain and snow melt poured into countless streams and rivers, eventually joining forces with the mighty Baker - Chile's most voluminous river - on its way to the Pacific. To the south and east were the countless high mountains and deep valleys defining the drier side of the watershed - a region characterized by the small farms of Patagon families, vast regions of unexplored high country and the high-desert environs of the Argentine border. This area is also the home of the future Patagonia National Park.

    Continue reading "Skiing Patagonia, Saving Patagonia - Chile needs energy, but is damming its wildest rivers a price worth paying?" »

    On the Road with Solitaire, Episode 4 - Low Tide

    "When you land in a freeride mecca and things are neither free, nor rideable, what’s a guy to do? It was time to make lemons into lemonade."

    The fourth in a series of posts from Nick Waggoner and the crew at Sweetgrass Productions. They're currently hard at work on their third movie, Solitaire. Cleanest Line readers are invited to join them on their journey to produce their most ambitious film to date. Part Four of this behind-the-scenes series turns an honest lens on the all-too-grim reality that a ski movie is hard to make when the weather doesn't cooperate - and all your shots are earned with lungs and legs. Look for monthly updates here on TCL shortly after they appear on the Sweetgrass website, scheduled for the 21st of each month . - Ed

    [On the Road with Solitaire Episode IV: Low Tide from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.]

    Episode IV: Low Tide: The Sweetgrass family lands in Las Lenas, Argentina, for several weeks of fending off women, beef, and various strains of the common cold in hopes of actually making some turns on snow.

    As the crew puts it, "if you actually indulged the Las Lenas lifestyle to the fullest, you’ll end up a burnt cigarette of a human being, sweating beef and begging for the days when legos were all you needed to have a good time."

    Liquid Courage and Beer Goggles: Two New Runs at Valhalla Mountain Touring

    When she's not busy making us jealous about climbing in places like Greenland and France, Patagonia Climbing Ambassador Jasmin Caton guides folks to some of British Columbia's choicest snow-covered gems with Valhalla Mountain Touring, a business she owns and runs together with her husband. Today she brings us a delightful story about some fresh turns recently made with one of the coolest ski partners a person could ask for. - Ed

    Liquid6

    The day had gone so well, maybe that was the problem. My Mum was up at Valhalla Mountain Touring to visit and ski while I worked as the lodge custodian for a self-guided group. I had had my eye on an unskied couloir for the whole season, and stability and weather were looking good, so I figured we'd ski it together since it didn't appear steep or difficult. Just a pretty rock-lined narrow powder run in a beautiful setting. As I parked us on the exposed ridge that leads into the run, my Mum started having second thoughts. "Hey Jas, I need some liquid courage" she said, laughing. I passed her a beat up brandy-filled chocolate from the bottom of my trail mix bag and she washed it down with some black tea from her small thermos (she doesn't drink water while out ski touring) and was ready to rip.

    [First run of the day - some powder turns to warm up for the goods. All photos: Jasmin Caton]

    Continue reading "Liquid Courage and Beer Goggles: Two New Runs at Valhalla Mountain Touring" »

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