3X3 14 Hours on Seoraksan

 

3x3 14 hours on seoraksan

We were living abroad in Seoul, South Korea when we went on this adventure in middle October. Our trip began just before midnight in Seoul where we boarded a bus with dozens of other excited hikers. Our trip was arranged for non-native folks and consisted of mostly foreign teachers living and working in the city. 4 hours later, we arrived at our destination, Seoraksan The third tallest mountain located north-east of Seoul and just west of Sokcho and the East Sea. We started our hike just after 2 am and unsurprisingly there were already dozens of other buses dropping off hundreds of other Korean hikers, well prepared with the latest hiking boots, poles, packs, and lights. Rolling up in shorts, hoodies, and a bunch of granola bars stuffed in our bags, we felt a little ill-equipped but we pushed on. What followed was a steady climb to the peak and a descent of about 12 hours through a twisting canyon filled with beautiful fall colors. There was a hostile too and another whole story there but the part that remains with me was how kind and generous the Korean people were along this hike. Numerous times we were offered freshly cut fruits and veggies, Makgeolli and soju and Jeju chocolates.

While trying to find some provisions near a mountaintop shop, I was invited to join a group of Korean hikers at their table to enjoy some homemade kimbap. My Korean is very poor but one of the hikers did speak some English and asked about our hike. After a while of struggling through conversation about how beautiful this all was, we all got back on the trail.

3x3 14 hours on seoraksan

Moments like these, and these are not the only moments of incredible kindness we experienced while living abroad that we come back to in my everyday. Trips and places will always be memorable but the people and those interactions are what made the trip.

3x3 14 hours on seoraksan

Caught Off Guard:

We knew it would be a long hike but none of our crew realized it would be 14 hours. Still worth it! Still recommend!

 

Calories:

Dr. You granola bars, Kimbap, Makgeolli, Soju, kimbap triangles, Some real tasty bbq at the hostile!

 

20:20 Hindsight:

We really lucked out with very good weather. Another teacher had completed the hike the week before and reached the top in a snow storm so def check the weather prior and  B E   P R E P A R E D.


Whistler Adventure Mountains Downhill skiing Veital Designs.

3X3: Whistler, Eh?

Whistler Adventure Mountains Downhill skiing Veital Designs.

 

5:20am Fly to Seattle drive Whistler: the trip is ago. Did anyone else know that Boeing has it’s own runway? Thinking again, it makes sense that they do. What a funny concept: ‘build a commercial jet airliner and when it’s complete you FLY it to its new destination.’
Once we were past Vancouver, we headed up the Sea to Sky highway. I’ve done quite a bit of driving in my 27 laps around the sun, but I have to say this was my favorite to date. Cascading mountains that fall into the ocean are quite the site to see.
During the trip, the 1 st three days were filled with 8 dudes in a two-bedroom condo. Accommodations were tight, but we made the best of it. One of the 8 was battling the flu. Thankfully, he was back to skiing shape by day two. Perfect, rolling 8 dudes deep.

 

Veital Designs 3x3 Adventure journal Whistler Group

All of us skiers (and snowboarders) were of the same skill level. This made everything we did a challenge. Each guy wanted to show each other up. Competition is funny like that, it brought out the best of all our abilities.
One of the best moments of trip was a cornice we found lookers right of the Symphony Express. The Symphony Amphitheater faced east. This meant that any winds from the west would blow over the ridge line. Somehow, we found some untouched parts of this ridge and made the best of it. Lunch afterwards.

Veital Designs 3x3 Adventure journal Bird in the Hand

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any fresh snow on the trip; which was a total bummer. We took the next best thing: Blue Bird Days. I’ve said it once and will continue to say it. Pictures do not do a justice.

 

Veital Designs 3x3 Adventure journal USA vs Canada

Does pleather breath? Not sure, ask @Ecarpenter

Caught Off Guard:

Beer ain’t cheap in Canada.
Not sure if you can buy in the US and transport over, but it may be worth it if you’re ballin’ on a budget. Then again, Kokanee is pretty good.

 

Calories:

(Post Mountain) Village Sushi. Make your reservations 6 weeks in advance. Who knows, maybe you’ll even see Mark Abren and Michelle Parker (Pro skiers)

 

20:20 Hindsight:

We flew into Seattle and drove north to Canada. This added 5 hours (+a border crossing) both ways. I’m all about direct flights. I’d fly into Vancouver next time.


Veital Designs Jackson Hole 3x3 downhill skiing

3X3: I'm Goin' to Jackson

Veital Designs Jackson Hole 3x3 downhill skiing

Jackson Hole. The birth place of the Galande Quaff. Cowboy Country. And Rad Skiing. All things that
make it top of the bucket list for skiing. College kids I knew from my alma mater  were on a trip there and I decided to tag along for some cheap skiing fun. It was my first time to Jackson, and I was stoked to be going.
As most flat-landers are accustomed to, ski-trip dates out west are set in stone weeks in advance. Because
of this, we get what we get when it comes to weather. Unfortunately, on this trip, Jackson received 17
inches on Sunday and Monday. By the time I arrived on the slopes Wednesday, the mountain was skied
out. Total bummer, but that’s what you get. Regardless of the snow conditions, there was much to
check out. We skied hard all 3 days and developed a great understanding of the resort.

Veital Designs Jackson Hole 3x3 downhill skiing Corbets from Tram

For anyone who hasn’t been atop Corbets, it’s the real deal. Whomever makes that leap deserves a
round of applause. We all see pictures online, but until you’re peaking over the edge, it’s hard to
stomach how gnarly it is.

Veital Designs Jackson Hole 3x3 downhill skiing Matt Skiing

The mountain is made up of many small, medium, and hella large cliffs blended with trees throughout.
These trees have a great spacing about them. Not too clumped together. Perfect for making fast
bounding turns in deep snow. Jackson is gnarly. Not for the faint of heart. I see why this place is so
magical on a powder day.
As a Midwest skier that grew up skiing Summit County, I’ve never really experienced an inversion. My
last day at Jackson was just that. Crazy cool. I took the Tram up from cloudy dull weather, into the
clouds, then above.

Warmer air traps cooler air in the valley below and you get this.

Veital Designs Jackson Hole 3x3 downhill skiing Inversion Pic

The town of Jackson is special (different from the Teton Village). It reminds me of a cowboy outpost that
has grown into a small town. Sure, it’s supported by tourists and the resorts around it, but is has
character unlike any other ski town I’ve been to. It feels like a real place where real people make a living
rather than a bunch of restaurants and t-shirt shops at the base of a mountain. Be sure to stop at the
Cowboy Bar, if you’re in the area.

 

 

Caught Off Guard:

Jackson Hole Mountain resort is about 25 minutes from the town of Jackson, WY.
Most people commute back to Jackson after skiing. The town is awesome. Be sure to stop at the Cowboy Bar, if you’re in the area.

 

Calories:

The Mangy Moose. By far the best Après Ski environment I’ve ever been apart of. They’re at
the base of Jackson (Skier’s Right of the Tram). Great beers, great food, and live music every evening.
Prices aren’t bad either.

 

20:20 Hindsight:

When you see flights for $280 round trip out of Milwaukee to Jackson, book them. I
waited a few extra days after my plans changed a bit and I ended up paying $330 for a one way into
Jackson. If I see prices like that again, I’m pulling the trigger.

 

 

 


Veital Travels in Australia

Mo-Town In Australia

August 2017

I was terrified leading up to the trip where I would travel 9,000 miles across the world to spend 3 weeks with people I had never met before. Little did I know, I would experience some of the best days of my life in this short span of time.

Traveling to Australia, I found myself going through 2 different states (Queensland and New South Wales) 7 different cities (Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island, Magnetic Island, Townsville, Mission Beach, Cairns, and Sydney), while using 8 planes, 5 ferries, and lots of cars. Each place that I visited was completely different from the last, but altogether unlike anything I could have experience in the U.S.

Started my trip out in Brisbane, the city reminded me of a mix between London and Nashville, minus the British or country accents. It had old and historically crafted buildings spanning the area of 6,110 square miles, London came to mind, but I could not overlook how hipster and trendy everything had become, just like Nashville. The people there would flood the local markets or outdoor restaurants every day and night to look over the river or reside in the “quay.” Pronounced like “key,” the word “quay” was written on everything in Brisbane, meaning that it was a city along the river.

In North Stradbroke Island, I started to feel culture shock and really get immersed within the culture of Australia. Upon our arrival with 70-degree weather, considering it is winter down under, the first activity we participated in was surfing right in the ocean at Cylinder Beach. Surfing on the waves was something I will never forget, as well as all the peculiar animals which resided on the island. Considering I got bit by a leech and pooped on by a koala, I would say the kangaroos were probably my favorite (and don’t worry, I washed my Veital after sharing my water). “Straddie,” as the locals like to call the island, consisted of many incredible sights. Due to the absence of the big city lights or huge tourist attractions, the milky way was clearly visible at night and created a view unlike any other.

Even though I could have lived forever on Straddie, we moved for the third time to reach Magnetic Island. Our group had the pleasure to work with Reef Ecologic, a reef conservation company, where we got to swim in the Great Barrier Reef and take samples of seaweed right off the coral, where it would later be turned into fertilizer to promote an eco-friendly environment. By working with Dr. Adam Smith, I got to learn and hear all about the initiatives and strategies Australia takes in attempt to preserve the environment. It was incredibly inspiring and pushed me to reevaluate all the actions I take in my life to be more respectful of the world I live in.

Townsville, the next stop, was just as inspiring too. Since most of the staff were volunteers and due to the fact that it was a non-profit organization, each person at Reef HQ genuinely cared for their program and wanted to spread that care to everyone who visited.

 

Sleeping arrangements eventually became an exciting part to figure out, and the treehouse we stayed in at Mission Beach contributed to that excitement. While in Mission Beach we got to visit Mungulla Station, home of the Nywaigi Aboriginal people. Learning how to throw a boomerang and the culture of the people was life-changing. Those kinds of moments of pure joy did not stop there.

Next on the list of places was Cairns, which is where we would settle a bit for 3 days. Having a port in the city, there were many more people than the past few destinations. Cairns was the spot in which tourists came to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef. We took a two-hour boat ride with sickening waves and although I had to take multiple Dramamine and go through every phase of questioning whether I was going to be sick multiple times, it was worth it. All of the things that I saw, including a sea turtle, 3-foot long and bright blue fish which swam right in front of my face, countless species of colorful coral, and lots of ginormous sea cucumbers, account to the fact that I the Great Barrier Reef is definitely not dead. That day I had on July 25th, 2017, was one of the best days of my life and I loved every second of it.

Throughout rainforests, gorge walks, waterfalls, city streets and the thousands of steps I took, Australia was an incredible experience. The people, the food, the animals, and the sights were all mind-blowing. All I could say as we departed was, “I’ll be back for you Australia.”

 

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Morgan “Mo-town” Batson

VIVA Team Member


Veital Designs Replacement Water Bottle Lid Nalgene replacement lid Hydroflask replacement lid

Sawtooth Relay - Can Matt Run the Distance?

6/8/17-6/12/2017

The next adventure, ‘twas a great one. I got a text from my buddy a few weeks ago saying: “So where’s the adventure this weekend?” 1. I was flattered that he asked me that and 2. What a way to live life! Life is an adventure. It’s easier than people make it, just get off your butt and make some plans. Netflix can wait. So, Blane, if you ever read this, thanks for the inspiring text. It will keep me motivated to continuously find what’s next.

May 10th: A good friend asked if I wanted to come visit her in Idaho. I said sure. My reward miles were in abundance, and heck, an opportunity to get out West? Absolutely. I had to jump on it. As I was booking the tickets, she informed me of what we would be doing that weekend. Running a 60-mile relay race through the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Whoa, Matthew is not a runner, and a flat-lander. Queue a fast track training program to get ready.

Fast forward to June 9th, I was sitting at Flying M Coffee House in Boise, www.flyingmcoffee.com , wrapping up the week. The place was pretty hip. Like the hip kinda place where no two chairs are alike. I was a little out of my element, but pressed on. Our schedule for the weekend was set. Cruise up to Stanley, find a place to camp, and be at the starting line by 7am Saturday morning.

With a few hours to kill, I wanted to check out some local shops. I gravitated to the outdoor stores, and with that, landed on a gold mine. ‘Outfitters R US’ is a co-sign shop. For the flat-landers reading this, it’s a Goodwill for outdoor gear. The stop to peruse quickly turned into over an hour long shopping scavenger hunt. There was so much to investigate, what deals could be found? I ended up buying a pair of mountain biking shoes, 3 kits for riding, and a rock climbing helmet. Something I know couldn’t be done at any store in the Midwest. All things I needed, bought at a fraction of the cost. Stoked was a word that came to mind.

Now that my inner shop-a-haulic was quenched (jk I don’t shop), it was time to head to the mountains. I picked Bailey up and we were on our way north, in search of hot springs and a good campsite to break in her new engineering feat: The Tramper. We took highway 21 which followed the Payette river.

With spring conditions, most of the hot springs were washed out. We did find a spot that got the job done. It’s amazing sitting in a pool of hot water just feet away from a class 4 river. Humbling, to say the least. Many mental pictures were taken, but sadly, none of the digital variety.

Stanley, where our exploit began, is a little town of 63 nestled in the Sawtooth Mountain range. As we were almost in town, Bailey spotted a sign that said Lake Stanley, turn right. Both sharing a love for water, we had to check it out. Coincidently, some camping spots were available. It was a no brainer site to break in her new set-up

Dinner was delicious. Bailey @baileykrstic knocked it out of the park with beef stew, rice and beans. A perfect combination complex carbs to fuel is for tomorrows race.

You know how weathermen are always right? Well, let’s just say they were not calling for snow. This was our view at 5:30 am. Snow. I was set to start the 1st leg of the race at 7am. It was going to be an interesting morning. Did I mention it was June 10th?

Sidebar: Sawtooth Relay - The race is broken up into 10 legs all ranging from 5-6 miles per leg. The starting point was in Stanley, elevation 5,600 ft and ending in Ketchum, elevation 5,200. The race is relatively flat, with the exception of legs 5 and 6; a climb and downhill at the Galena summit. Up 1,500, down 1,500. Start times ranged from 2 am Saturday morning all the way to 10 am.

With snow falling, the starting bell rang as we started the race. I was nervous and excited. How was the Midwest boy going to handle a distance race, in the mountains? Thankfully, I ended up doing just fine. I think I owe a majority of that to my team: ‘The Team 4mally Known as Prince.’ A real rag-tag group of people thrown together at the last minute. It was awesome. We all came from different backgrounds and stepped up to race because the team needed people. As each runner set off on their leg, we used Bailey’s truck as the rally car. We’d drive by hooting and hollering, roll ahead to the next pull-off, get out of the car, and do it all again. It was an awesome way to pass the time, and fuel our runners!

In just under 8 hours, our team finished in Ketchum, Idaho. Ketchum is home to Sun Valley. It was great to see the town during the summer. Vastly different in the winter.  Greeted with food and beer tickets, it was a great way to end the day. The mountains are crazy. 7 am, 30 degrees and snowy to 65 degrees, sunny, and beautiful.

Sunday was a  rude awakening. My legs were quite sore and needed to get shaken out. We tried to find more hot springs, but were unsuccessful. To get the blood flowing, trying to break up some latic acid, we did a small hike in the foothills of Ketchum. Idaho is stunning.

Cheers to conquering another adventure with a great group, in a beautiful pocket of our country! Never stop pushing yourself to the limits, you might be surprised what you find when you get there.

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them."

- M. Scott Peck, Author 'The Road Less Traveled'

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Matthew "Matty-K" Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.


Veital Designs, Veital, Hiking, Travel, Adventure, Argentina

The Ginger Goes to Agentina

The best part of traveling is being thrown into a totally new environment and feeling so uncomfortable those first couple hours you almost feel sick. Now that I think about it, that sickness feeling could have been from the 14 hours of traveling, three flights and less than stellar airplane food. Argentina was my destination for the next two weeks as I studied international entrepreneurship. More specifically, I was headed to the city of Mendoza which is on the eastern half of the country (very close to Santiago, Chile). Right away I had to get used to being stared at at almost every place I went. I can’t say I expected this, but being a 6’1 white ginger doesn’t exactly help you “fit in”.

 

 

As part of the class I was taking we had the opportunity to meet with many different types of local business owners in the city. Out of the six companies we met with, one called “Energe” really stood out to me. Energe is a solar energy provider that started in 2007 by three locals. One of the owners spoke to us about the challenges of starting a company saying, “When I was at my job in the oil industry, mentally I was constantly thinking about my startup”. Here at Veital, each of us understands that we might not be doing what we love at every second of everyday, but building this company little by little helps Adam, Matt and myself with the balance of work and play. The other comment he made during his presentation was about money saying, “You get so many unbelievable experiences and opportunities when it comes to starting a business. It’s not all about making money. Money is secondary”. Through the process of starting Veital Designs, the three of us learn more and more each day that your mindset can’t just be about trying to make a profit. It has to also be about building relationships and providing a product that will actually help people. Veital has been around for a little over a year now and in that short amount of time we have been able to build incredible relationships with many different companies and people. Like Matty-K has mentioned in previous blog posts, Veital is all about developing a community of rad people who love to be outside, but understand that to get outside you have to work your butt off during the week.

During the two weeks that I was in Argentina I had opportunities to see incredible views that come with being surrounded by the Andes mountains. One of those experiences came in the form of hot springs in the foothills. We drove from the city of Mendoza to a spa called “Termas Cacheuta”. Along with the springs sitting in the hills of the Andes, the Mendoza river ran right by the spa, which made for incredible views. The first thing the manager told us when we arrived at the spa was “Please do not go in the river”. But like the little rebel I am, I had to jump down and capture some shots.

 

 

On one of our last days in Mendoza we drove into the Andes to a lake called Potrerillos, which sits at around 1300 meters (4,265 feet) above sea level. Along with the crystal-clear water, the lake was surrounded by gorgeous views of the snowy mountains. While we were taking in the gorgeous views of our surroundings, some kite surfers showed up to shred this incredible lake.  This obviously wasn’t their first rodeo with some of the tricks they were doing. It was unreal to watch these guys surf with such an amazing backdrop. We sat around this lake the entire day, grilling burgers, drinking adult beverages and just enjoying each other's company. It was one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been to in my life. At the end of the day, I was extremely grateful to be able to witness a view as spectacular as that one.

 

 

Out of every experience I had during the trip, nothing compared to the lifelong friends I made. I can honestly say that I met some of the most genuine people while in Mendoza. This is why Matthew, Adam and myself enjoy traveling so much. We love to get out of our comfort zone, meet new people and explore the surroundings. The three of us at Veital Designs are  pumped for the future of the company. If you’re like us and love to travel consider signing up to be a Veital ambassador. We’re calling it Viva Veital. It’s simple: sign up, go through our grueling interview process (just kidding), and we will hook you up with some Veital Designs gear. From there, all we ask you to do is product test, and grab some still frames of rad trips across the world.  Who knows, maybe we’ll give you the reins on our Instagram stories from the official Veital Designs account! To sign up, go to our website under the “Team Viva” tab.

#embracethebalance #vivaveital

-Thomas “Tommy-T” Schreiber

Marketing Associate, Veital Designs, LLC.


Veital Designs, Veital, Hiking, Travel, Adventure, Embrace the Balance, Camp multitool, adventure gear, Indiana, Brown County State Park, Cycling, Bikes, Biking, Road Bikes

Man Powered Weekend- Road Vs Mountain

 

4/21/2017 - 4/23/2017

There was a time and a place when I used to blog, circa spring 2013 was my last composer to the world wide web. With the founding of Veital Designs,  Adam and I are looking to get in touch with our English side. This may be tough for two engineers. If anything, it will help us with future writings. We can only hope that in the current state, some type of entertainment comes from this post.

Sidebar: There are many different avenues in which we can steer this blog.  With so much going on it’s not fair to focus on one topic. So, as we get better at this, be on the lookout for different underlying topics. What’s new at Vetial?, Where have we been lately? Are there any insights to rad places we’ve been, that you may want to check out? And finally, a look inside Veital.

Adam and I decided that we need to have another workshop weekend. I have been looking to get into road biking. Lo and behold, Adam had a second rockship that fits me. It was an opportunity to add some more gear to my arsenal and work on the vision we want for Vetial.

 

Saturday morning, after nursing the after effects of adult sodas, we were in route to Brown County State Park, an absolutely beautiful park smack dab in the middle of the ever-flat Indiana. On today’s docket: ride to Bloomington to watch a few laps of the Little 500. While setting up camp, we both commented on the cool April spring weather, grateful that the rain had held off. Getting in the saddle for 4+ hours was not going to be fun whilst soaking wet-and cold.

With camp set up, we embarked on our journey East for my first time visit of Indiana University.  I was excited, and a little nervous for my first road ride. A road bike's frame has a different center of gravity when compared to my mountain bike. This led to a sink or swim attitude. Either get used to it, or get blown off the front by Adam, the seasoned cyclist. With the wind at our backs, we cruised into town. During our consistent cadence up and down the rolling hills we discussed what Veital means to us. A Ted talk recently resurfaced and resonated with me by Simon Sinek called: “Why great leaders inspire action.”  Upon first listening to it back in the days of coolege, I couldn’t gain an appreciation. Having listened to it a few weeks ago, that lack of appreciation about-faced. People buy because of why companies do what they do. This is exactly what we’re trying to do; be a company that’s on a mission and just so happens to sell some stuff. It’s this mindset that I believe will take us to great heights.

Based on this Ted talk, and communicating several iterations both on and off the bikes, we were able to come up with the following:

“Veital is creating a united community of rad people passionate about the outdoors. Midwest-founded, mountain-minded, we are making the most of our time outside work. To be Veital is to embrace the work-life balance: we’ve sore legs, dirty hands and sweat in our eyes. We invite you to join is.”

Simple enough? We sure hope so.

Bloomington was hopping. The rain in the forecast was false and sun peaked out as we pulled up to the race. Interestingly, IU doesn’t like you watching the race unless you pay to get in. We watched a few laps from afar and decided it was best to head out. But before we did, we wanted to stop by a local outdoor shop called JL Waters (http://www.jlwaters.com/). They have been in business since the 70s and are the epitome of an outdoor shop. We love going into stores like this because you know you’ll be getting direct knowledge from the guys and gals who have tested the products themselves. It’s an awesome opportunity for us to ask for feedback. With some good direction documented we got back in the saddle and departed for our campsite.

Ever eat a stromboli from Nick’s English Pub (https://www.nicksenglishhut.com/), sit around for a few hours, then try to bike 25 miles home? Yeah, that was me on the way back. The ride was gorgeous, only caveat was my body’s unwillingness to ride fast. Adam was a real trooper. 50+ miles for the first time on the road bike was tough for me. I did stick with it and never had to put a foot down, even as we climbed the final hills in Brown County State Park. Talk about a mental workout. Man, those hills were crushing.

With legs fried, we made dinner and discussed the agenda for tomorrow. Next on the docket: marketing material and mountain bikes. We put our best ‘Blue Steel’ faces on and took a series of awesome shots. All critical to our brand consistency. Marketing is such an interesting world. A world I never appreciated until we started Vietal Designs.

The trails at Brown County (http://www.browncountymountainbiking.com/index.html) are best in the state. It was fun and challenging ripping through the blues and blacks. Some stretches, however, proved to be right at our limits. Most of the trail called Bobcat was crazy technical switchbacks. We certainly learned by doing.

All in all it was a productive, healthy, weekend. What more could a guy like me ask for. We’re stoked for what’s next. Good things take time. Until then, we’ll keep chipping away.

We’d also like to shout out BGI (Bicycle Garage, Inc.) of Bloomington (http://bikegarage.com/) with hooking Adam up in a time of need. Right as we rolled into Bloomington, the spokes of his rear up pulled through. (not a good thing). Thankfully, the guys at BGI had a spare wheel that got us home, or we may have been stuck in a sticky situation.

PS if you’re ever in the town of Nashville, Indiana, and are looking for a cold drink and good food, check out Quaff ON Brewery (http://quaffon.com/).

PPS if you like to drink beer and consider yourself an athlete, you should check out Gelande Quaffing. No relation to the Quaff On Brewery, but man, would it be cool if they were.

https://gearjunkie.com/gelande-quaffing-championships-jackson

 

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

-Matt 'Matty K' Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.


Veital Designs, Veital, Adventure, Winter Park Colorado, Colorado, Skiiing, Mountains, My Tiny Atlas, Travel Young

Anvil does Winter Park, CO

3/16/2017 - 3/21/2017

Although we are only a few months in I have filled, for what in years past would be, an entire year's quota for travel. I wrapped up 2016, and subsequently brought in 2017, with a trip to Tazania to visit my sister, Madi (IG: @coolbeanmadi), who has been studying and working in East Africa for just under a year. A few weeks after getting home from that trip, I hopped on a plane for a quick three day trip to Naples, FL for some late Winter sunshine therapy. While there, we stayed with a friends grandma, and although we may have brought the average age down significantly - the old folks brought the party.

That leads me to the next trip which, was very shortly thereafter the trip to Florida. The plan was to regroup with seven of my college amigos for another long weekend of skiing, snowboarding and general mountain Tom-Foolery. Unfortunately, we were not able to reunite the entire band, but we were able to find a group of four to tackle the Rockies.

The crew was rendezvousing from all over the country. We had John (IG: @theronjoberts) coming from Houston, Andrew (IG: @aschuch6) lugging camera gear all the way from Pheonix, Nathan (IG: @n8_schwenk) flying in from Knoxville, and myself from Indianapolis. The four of us had met at Purdue, all graduating between 2014-2015, and were trying our best to make a habit of this yearly trip. We had a group of eight last year in Park City, and if this participation trend continues, losing half the team each year, this is going to be a short lived tradition. Despite the decline in numbers, there was absolutely no decline in stoke for the getaway.

After having grown my hair out quite nicely over the six to eight months prior to the trip, I wanted to make a little noise upon my arrival in CO. The plan: a mullet. Flying out on a Thursday around lunch, I worked the first part of the day from home. This led perfectly into me getting the cut just before heading out to the airport, which is exactly what I did. Desean, at my local Great Clips, cut the quaff to perfection (after I pulled up several pictures to illustrate what a mullet actually was), and I left the joint feeling unstoppable. I immediately maxed the speakers in the car playing the Top Gun soundtrack and jet off to the airport. I caught my Southwest flight (because who else lets you fly a snowboard bag for free), and was on my way to Denver.

I was set to arrive a few hours before the other guys, and had scheduled a van into the mountains. The host of the Airbnb, suggested Home James (www.homejamestransportation.com) for our transportation needs, which certainly did not let us down. I sat outside the terminal on the sidewalk waiting for my ride in 75 degree weather... This was certainly not what I expected for a ski trip.

I get to the Airbnb, which I did not realize until I arrived, was in the Founder's Pointe Resort. The accommodations were very nice, we had a hot tub (which is absolutely essential) and were a short walk to the lifts. After settling dropping my gear off in the room, a bit famished, I set off into town to find food and a cold one. I hopped on the resort shuttle that met just outside of the Mountain Lodge at Fraser's Point, aka right across the road.

The shuttle driver recommended The Peak, and really did not give me much choice as he dropped me off at the front door. Feeling a bit defiant, and adventurous, I did not head his recommendation and walked to the next closest place - Randi's Irish Pub (https://randiswinterpark.com/). I was greeted by a friendly bar tender as I bellied up to the bar solo, still waiting on the amigos to arrive. I got myself a green brew, this was the day before St. Patty's, and a stew. The beer, stew and company that I was in, were superb. As I was eating I started chatting with the absolutely RAD, Maria (IG:_mfgv). Home girl had just gotten off the Appalachian Trail and was gearing up for the PCT in a month. Keep up with her and her travels via Instagram. When the dudes finally arrived, an hour or so later, we greeted each other with the typical bro hugs and catch-up pleasantries. We caught a couple more brews and ventured back to the condo... we had a couple big days ahead of us.

As I mentioned before, the weather in Winter Park was especially warm. We were seeing 50+ on the mountain, which made for very comfortable temperatures, but relatively sticky snow. That being said, the first day on the mountain was the coldest and had the best snow. They had opened the bowl at the top of the Panoramic Express lift up for the first time in over a week so, per the advice of a local, that is where we headed. We were all knocking off the rust of not having ridden in a bit and took our time hitting things too hard, at least the other guys were. I on the other hand bombed a couple runs, sent it down Forget-Me-Not into the trees, overcooked a corner, and went down hard on my left wrist. Mind you, this was before lunch, on DAY 1, I am such an idiot. The rest of the day went on as planned, sort of. I spent lunch with ski patrol, who told me definitely don’t continue to snowboard, got a wire mesh brace from them, and immediately returned to do what they said not to.

That afternoon we took the same shuttle back into Fraser to the Safeway to get groceries for dinner. We whipped up an unbelievable amount of spaghetti, wolfed it down, and then, since it was St. Patty’s, returned to our local watering hole, Randi’s. We soaked in some live music, green beer and a bit of Jameson and ventured home exhausted from the day.

Day 2 was pretty well a repeat of day 1, minus anyone getting injured. Since we had groceries we were able to pack our lunch, and with the weather being as nice as it was - caught some sun as we ate outside at Lunch Rock, mid way up the mountain.

Day 3 was more of the same, with the introduction of a lot more drone flying from Schuch. The last few years the dude has slapped together awesome recap videos for us. I typically find myself binge watching the 3:30 minute video for a decent time after each trip. Link for this year’s video is below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ztLlzfe2Ec

Day 4 meant traveling back to real life. I caught lunch and a few beers at the airport before my flight left, direct to Indy (bless up). I strategically sat myself next to the cutest girl I saw with an open seat next to her, thanks Southwest, for the flight. Maddie, from IU, was heading home from Salt Lake after some absolutely bad assery of mountain biking and skiing. Biggest mistake of the trip - not getting her number. So if there is any chance she is reading this, or anyone knows who she is GIVE HER MY NUMBER (317) 997-5157.

Overall the trip was, of course, awesome. Stoked for next year!

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Adam "Anvil" Taylor

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.


yellowwood, Veital Designs, Veital, Adventure, hiking, travel, everyday carry, Step Outside, Wander, minimalist gear,

It's Pronounced Vital (/ˈvīdl/)

3/27/2017

Both fresh out of school, Matt and I were adjusting to the real world and the unfamiliarity that came with living in a new city. We hadn't know each other before moving to Milwaukee, where we hired onto the same development program. The whole process of how we came to live together felt very 'college.' HR sent a generic email introducing us and I immediately took to social media to find out about this guy. First impressions were good. He seemed active and appeared to be a good water skier. I dug deeper and found the proof that we'd work living together. There the dude was, probably shirtless, holding his jumpers in one hand and a can of Busch Light, 'Blue Smoothies' as I later learned them to be named, in the other. It takes a special individual to imbibe in such a beer, and I can get onboard with a dude like that.

After getting into the swing of things at our first ‘real-life’ jobs, we found that it was easy to let work begin to takeover our lives. Both Matt and I stressed very heavily the work-life balance, ensuring we kept time for ourselves and our countless hobbies. Whether Matt was fitting in a morning ski set before work, or I was fitting in a sunset-lit long ride after leaving, we did not restrict our hobbies to the weekend. To be clear, we worked very hard, and continue to, but we never let the work all-consume us. Not only did we milk our evenings during the week, we got the absolute most out of our weekends. By Monday at lunch, you could bet, we're already scheming about what lied ahead come Friday. As this trend continued, riding the weekend high as long as we could then to re-up on the good stuff come Friday, it began to wear on us. There had to be another way to for this real life stuff to work.

Taking matters into our own hands, Matt and I started Veital Designs late in 2016. Our goal: to facilitate the balance between work and play through our multi-functional products. We believe that gear should be just as at home in the office as in the forest. We understand that without the outdoors to escape to, we have no reason for business. Because of this, we are committed to ensuring our products are manufactured using sustainable practices. We source all our raw materials from the Midwest. This not only cuts down on the environmental impact of long transit, but it also helps to enrich our local communities.

The company name Veital Designs, comes from the lifestyle that Matt and I live. To be Veital is to be “full of life and vigor.”. We bring this vitality to everything we do, work, sport, our families. We are stoked at your interest in our mission, and invite you to join us. Viva Veital!

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Adam "Anvil" Taylor

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.