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News

Adventure Writing Workshop

Stay Wild

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Do you love writing & adventure? Duh! Of course you do. That's why you're reading these words. If you're ready to get serious about adventure writing you'll need a guide. We don't know of any better guides then Charlotte Austin. She's a regular contributor to Stay Wild and an actual mountain guide.

Charlotte is traveling around Oregon teaching writing workshops this month and you should really go! Check your calendork and make time for this, then pick up tickets before they run out over here >>>

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Life After Shred

Stay Wild

Burton Goes Beyond the Board

Story By Brooke Jackson // @wandering_trails

 Photo of Danny Davis by Gabe L’Heureux

Photo of Danny Davis by Gabe L’Heureux

Once the raging party of youth fades away, we look into the horizon for what’s next. Our lives roll through various cycles or stages until inevitably, the end hits. What happens after death? Although the answer to human existence isn’t totally clear, Burton has begun to resolve this next phase of life for their snowboards. 

Upcycling is the end of a snowboard’s life, or the beginning of a new one, depending on which angle you choose to look at. To understand the whole story, we must go back to the beginning of how the board came to life and follow along its youthful journeys. For about half of Burton’s snowboards, the adventure begins in Austria. For over 30 years Keil, the snowboard-producing factory, has been striving for sustainability in its operations. Functioning like a real-life Santa’s workshop, the Austrian factory runs on 100% renewable energy with most materials being sourced within a 250-mile radius. Additionally, the factory has a closed-loop process in which water used in production is recycled, resulting in a 50% reduction in water usage. The icing on this too-good-to-be-true cookie? The Austrian factory collects snowboard core scraps and uses these to heat the factory and all the presses while also recycling sidewall and base scrap materials. And that’s just the beginning.

A Burton board is no ordinary plank of wood. In fact, nowadays all the boards produced by Burton have 100% FSC™ Certified wood cores. What does FSC Certified mean? FSC Certified wood has been sourced from responsibly managed forests and is verified to “not be harvested: illegally; in violation of traditional and civil rights; in forests where high conservation values are threatened; in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use; and in forests where genetically modified trees are planted.”

In addition to having a solid source for the boards’ cores, Burton has been producing their entire line-up with Super Sap® Epoxy, a board resin using bio-based materials that reduces the carbon footprint by 50%. Burton has a goal of a 20% total carbon footprint reduction for all of their hard goods by 2020. 

 Photos of The Thinker being made by Jesse Dawson

Photos of The Thinker being made by Jesse Dawson

Burton’s Spirit Animal & Professional Rider, Danny Davis, explains that “Burton is learning every year how to make a board that will have as minimal of an impact as possible.” When shredding on a Burton snowboard, you can almost feel Mother Nature giving you a high-five.

Legendary skater & urban folk artist, Mark Gonzales created art for these new boards called The Thinkers. Danny worked with Mark on the Thinkers Series. The Free Thinker is “for that softer twin tipped park feel” and the Deep Thinker is “for the freeride, turning, carving, pow-riding approach.” They’re awesome, and since it’s more fun to ride all sorts of shapes it’s a good call to have both in your quiver.

 Photos of The Thinker being made by Jesse Dawson

Photos of The Thinker being made by Jesse Dawson

What makes Burton care so deeply about its sustainable board practices? “It’s really a moral imperative to take action” says CEO Donna Carpenter. “Burton’s on a mission to become a sustainable company because that’s really who we are and what we believe in.” According to Donna, Burton considers sustainability in three categories; their people, their playground, and their products. The company has been aiming high and achieving goals quickly over the last few years. In 2011, Burton partnered with Bluesign, the leading environmental standard for textiles that guarantees approved products use only safe chemicals and materials. 85% of Burton’s outerwear, 50% of base layer, and 38% of Burton’s bags are currently Bluesign approved. Burton is committed to 100% by 2020.

“The lifestyle we work so hard for is dependent on cooperation with Mother Nature. That’s why it’s so important for us to hold up our end of the bargain and reduce our footprint so that people can enjoy the mountains for generations to come.” Which brings back the topic of when one life ends, another begins. Burton has a lifetime warranty on a large portion of their softgoods and a 3-year warranty on all of their snowboards. Burton offers repair services to keep their products going for as long as possible.  Last year, Burton repaired 19% of all warranty claims and has a goal to double that in three years. Burton also has a recycling program in place that converts all unusable snowboards into various other creative options, from sample holders for local breweries, to shelving units, coasters, and employee name tags. Last year alone, the company saved 60-85% of every board from reaching the landfill. So while every rider mourns the end of a board’s life, find peace knowing that there is life after shred.

 Photo of Donna Carpenter by Winnie Au

Photo of Donna Carpenter by Winnie Au

Learn more at Burton

Doomsday Camping

Stay Wild

Alvord Desert, Oregon

Story by Clea Partridge // @CleaPartridge

Photos by Niles Armstrong // @WornPathStore

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It’s a surprisingly quick evolution from the grid of the city, to dense and dark fir forests, to sun-dappled pine forests, to wide open high desert when you travel from northwestern to southeastern Oregon. Reaching the Alvord Desert felt like shedding the dead skin of civilization. It was meaningful to forge ahead into a never-ending expanse of open sagebrush bound by distant mountains. It felt like embarking on a journey based only on trust. Trust that the car wouldn’t break down. Trust that we had enough water. Trust that the desert was dry enough to drive on and that we wouldn’t get stuck in mud.

Our trust paid off. The absence of amenities (aside from the milkshakes at Fields Station), made the world feel bigger — like our consciousness could extend out further than normal, unhindered by obstructions or distractions. 

The trip was only a few days but we packed it in: We soaked in hot springs, we watched the full moon rise over the iris and bluebell colored desert, we took photos of ourselves jumping-poised in midair over the hard, flat earth of the playa, we trekked up the Steens Mountains where a creek created a fragrant and lush oasis, we watched hawks and vultures circle overhead, we brewed coffee with hot water begged from gas stations, and we chatted with novel-like characters. In the car, we listened to Slowdive, Derrick Harriott, Kendrick Lamar, and Elizabeth Cotton. We flipped off a drone. We ate ice cream from a town with a population of less than 50.

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The drive was long and pleasant. Open stretches allow the mind to wander. What happens in the high desert where no one trespasses? Are there places where the ground squirrels and rattlesnakes have never had to hide from a human? But even on the most remote stretches of the road, there were signs of the carelessness and irreverence of man. After driving without seeing another car for an eternity, we pulled over to stretch our legs. There, caught in the gnarled branches of a sage bush, was a Lays chip bag. Half buried in the sandy ground, a dark beer bottle sat forgotten.

These signs of ingratitude beg some deeper questioning about selfishness. The person who tosses the bottle out of the window is acting selfishly: “I’m done with this and I don’t want it near me anymore.” And further: “I don’t care to consider what happens to this item after it passes from my hand.” An inability to see beyond one’s body and one’s moment is a sad and pervasive trend amongst humans.

Stewarding the land is something we should act on more. I take inspiration from the memory of a gray-haired man off highway 30 — no car, driveway, or bus stop in sight, ripping invasive ivy off of a hillside to make space for native ferns and sedum. Such a simple idea, a selfless act, an ongoing movement. 

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