Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

Paragliding Adventure in Salt Lake- Our First GoPro Video

Post by:  Jake

Veronica and I just got back from the Summer Outdoor Retailer sporting goods show in Salt Lake City.  We’ve interviewed dozens of companies about their newest innovations and products and will be uploading photos and videos and a thorough show review over the next several weeks (lots of video editing to do).  We were pretty impressed at the new product innovations we saw and can’t wait to share them with you.

On our first day in Salt Lake, Veronica and I drove out to Point of the Mountain, just south of Salt Lake, for a paragliding adventure.  We purchased some 1/2 price vouchers off PlanetGear.com to go paragliding with Cloud 9 Toys but we both agreed after the adventure, it would easily be worth full price.

Before arriving we checked out some “not so great” youtube videos, and still didn’t have a great idea what to expect.  We showed up at 7:15 a.m. with eager smiles on our face.  We were greeted by several excited Cloud 9 guides, and quickly filled out lots of we-will-not-sue paperwork.  (That always inspires a lot of confidence right?)  Paperwork signed, we walked out to the edge of the launch area, a flat topped plateau with a steep grassy slope dipping to the south.   Several other paragliders were spread out along the edge of the slope.  Some were launching, some were setting up, some were simply waiting for wind conditions to pick up to extend their loft time.  Watching the pilots walk off the plateaus edge and start gliding effortlessly quickly calmed any nerves we had.  It appeared simple, graceful, and almost elegant.

Our turn came and our tandem pilots quickly, yet thoroughly, explained all the gear and the whole process from take off to landing.  It sounded simple enough,  ”just walk off the edge, sit back, and relax.”  Sure enough,  it was that simple,  yet a completely exhilarating experience.   The wind conditions weren’t perfect and we quickly lost elevation, landing in about 3-minutes following the easy take-off.  Our guides said it was too quick and wanted to take us up again,  we didn’t argue.  By the time we got back up to the top (shuttle truck), conditions were near perfect.  Veronica’s pilot needed to take one more client out that day, so they only spent about 10-minutes in the air during the second flight  My pilot was done for the day and wanted to spend a full 1/2 hour up.   We ended up riding the thermals efficiently and landed in the exact same spot as we took off.

A perfect new experience, and outstanding adventure.  We HIGHLY recommend paragliding if you’ve never done it.  We can’t speak for all companies and locations, but in our experience, it wasn’t “scary” in the least bit.  We always felt completely safe, yet had a huge adrenaline high during the entire flight.   If you’re looking for something new, give it a shot!  Check out the video,  this is our first video upload so if you’re having issues with it, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2l6gut6VkM

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Paragliding Adventure!!

Post by:  Jake

Last night, Veronica and I took advantage of a deal on PlanetGear.com and booked two paragliding packages down near Salt Lake.  We’ll be down there for the Outdoor Retailer show in a couple weeks so we thought, “Why Not?”  Jumping off a HUGE cliff with an already open parachute?  Sounds a lot safer than jumping out of a perfectly good airplane thousands of feet off the ground and hoping that your chute was packed properly!  I’m thrilled for the new adventure, while Veronica says she’ll need A LOT of convincing.  Going tandem with an instructor sounds like about all the “convincing” she’ll need as she probably won’t have much choice once the instructor starts running toward the cliff!

Has anyone else ever been Paragliding?  What’s it like?  I’d LOVE to hear anything you have to say about the experience as this will be our first time jumping off anything higher than a small bridge.

PlanetGear.com is a new site, similar to TheClymb,  they offer huge discounts for a short period of time on a very limited amount of stuff, then a few days later the inventory changes up a bit and the sales start again.  Just like TheClymb, they offer a $10 referral credit once your friends makes their first purchase, but in addition to you getting $10, your friend also gets $10 off their first purchase.  Not too bad.  In addition to gear and apparel, PlanetGear often has deals on vacation packages and adventures (like the paragliding thing Veronica and I just signed up for).

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Moon Guide Books — UTAH

Post by:  Guest Author Pete S.

From time to time we like to have friends and local experts contribute their writings and experiences.  This piece is from our friend and local Utah expert Pete Stoughton.  If you are interested in contributing a guest article please let us know here.

Guest Contributor Background:
A transplant to Utah, Pete Stoughton has forever dreamed of being a modern day Indiana Jones.  Due to circumstances beyond his control, he has been relegated to exploring the riches within a more reasonable proximity of his regular day job. Whether it be running Ultra distances on God Forsaken trails, finding urban treasures or delving into the landscapes of the mind, Pete is an adventurer through and through. Pete currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT with his beautiful wife and little girl. During the few hours he is not at work as a school administrator or at home with his family, he can be found trail running, mtn. biking, skiing, or vacationing to find the next jewel. Each year, rather then investing in savings, retirement or other productive financial strategies, he and his family travel throughout Utah and the rest of the West, almost monthly.

Authors: Mike Matson
Cost: $17.95
Rating: GREAT!
Purchase it Here!

Mike Matson, along with Moon Travel Guides, have created a must own guide for any outdoor enthusiast living, or visiting Utah. Utah Camping provides exquisite details and information for anyone planning on traveling in an economical way and in planning and finding your camping locations. The book will adequately prepare you for the necessary challenges and opportunities at your site. The book is divided into practical geographic sections, which will assist you in making a reasonable approximation of campsite locations. Each site is thoroughly described including facilities, number of campsites, pertinent fees or required reservations, directions and contact information. It should be noted that Matt, as a writer, gives the reader a vibrant picture through his writing of each campsite and its notable features. In addition, each site is rated and a brief ‘at-a-glance’ icon bar is provided to determine quick assessing for needs. I especially appreciate this quick handy tool when scanning for options within a close proximity, such as the many campsites in the Moab area.
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who regularly travels in Utah and plans on camping.

Pros: Almost everything about it!
Cons: The rating system is not perfect; Does not include primitive camping

Authors: W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell
Cost: $19.95
Rating: Good!
Purchase it Here!

How do you begin deciphering what to do on a vacation? On numerous occasions, we have seen, and been, in a Barnes and Nobles watching people of all ages perusing guidebook after guidebook from the travel sections just trying to find the perfect itinerary for their vacations.  Starry eyed and somewhat perplexing, these can be more exhausting then the vacation itself.  Moon Travel Guides provides a concise, and yet thorough, guidebook for anyone planning on traveling to the state of Utah.

As a resident of Utah, I tend to be very critical and cautious of guidebooks for the state. Many often do not venture beyond the top five or ten geographic hotspots in the state. Rarely, if ever do they deliver, as the book by Moon does, a helpful resource for those willing to venture beyond the typical destinations. While not certainly an off the beaten path resource, the book provides adequate information for those interested in going to places such as Boulder, Fremont Indian State Park or the Henry Mountains. On the other hand, the book is helpful in making travel itineraries quick and easy for those who want to hit the ‘main’ attractions, whether it be Salt Lake City, Arches NP, Moab or Zion NP.

One aspect you will especially appreciate about this guidebook is the excellent and personal writing of the authors. As you peruse the sections and places of interest, you begin to ask yourself if the authors actually visited every location in the book. Whether this is accurate or not, the guide book is an excellent resource for anyone planning a first, or maybe even second, trip to Utah.
I would certainly recommend this handbook for anyone needing an introductory synopsis of what Utah has to offer and how to experience it all.

Pros: Concise on the larger areas, yet thorough on the small towns and hidden gems; Excellently written; Great Introduction and itineraries; Wonderful Resources
Cons: Not Exhaustive; Lacking colorful and inviting pictures


Utah “The Greatest Snow On Earth”

Post By: Jake

Utah, “The Greatest Snow On Earth.”  I’ve grown up hearing about how awesome the skiing is in Utah, but never had the opportunity to verify the rumors until this year.  I’m not sure I experienced “the greatest snow on earth,” but I did experience some of the greatest skiing on earth!  A couple weeks ago Veronica and I drove to Salt Lake for the Outdoor Retailer show and had the opportunity to spend 3 days up on the slopes.

Wednesday, Day 1 of skiing… Solitude Ski Resort up Big Cottonwood Canyon.  We woke up super early, got on the computer and learned Solitude was getting hammered and that Big Cottonwood Canyon was closed to all vehicles without chains or 4-wheel drive (which we happen to have!).  A mere 15 or 20 minutes from our hotel in South Jordan, we were at the ticket window chompin at the bit to hit the 10-inches of fresh powder.  With our “Outdoor Retailer” event pass, we got discounted lift tickets, but were limited to the Eagle Express lift.  It took us to roughly a third of the mountain, which was enough for us that day.  Run after run of fresh powder!  We skied till noon, then hopped on a shuttle bound for Solitudes Nordic Center.  At the nordic center we got to demo some new Atomic cross country skis.  The trails were nice and very scenic.  We ended the day with a few more runs up the eagle express, and had smiles from ear to ear.  It seemed life couldn’t get any better than this!


Friday, Day 2 of skiing…. SnowBasin Resort towering above Ogden.  A bit further than the resorts up Cottonwood Canyon, Snow Basin is still just a quick 45 minutes (up great roads) from Salt Lake City.  I’ve skied all over Montana, and a few places in Colorado and Washington, and SnowBasin is by far the best place I’ve ever skied. Although ticket prices are comparable to ski resorts up either Cottonwood Canyons, and much less than those found around Park City, the value is by far MUCH better at SnowBasin. Three Gondolas jet you to any part of the mountain in total comfort.  The crowds are non-existent. The 3,000+ acres of skiable terrain varies, and there is PLENTY of acreage for any skill level including a massive amount of expert only terrain. Even though the last storm to hit SnowBasin was 2 days prior to our arrival, we found loads of fresh powder stashes tucked in the perfect glades.  I simply can’t say enough good things about SnowBasin, and after speaking with several people that frequent Utah ski areas, I think I’ve determined that SnowBasin is an untapped gem!  If you’ve never been and you ever get the opportunity to ski Utah, put SnowBasin at the top of your list.

Saturday, Day 3 of skiing…. Deer Valley Resort next to Park City and The Canyons Resort.  About a half hour out of Salt Lake City is the metropolis vacation destination of Park City.  Thousands of multimillion dollar condos and vacation homes pack the landscape.  Deer Valley ski resort is limited to skiers only.  Terrain is mostly blue and green groomers, although there is some advanced terrain among the 2,000+ skiable acres.  To be fair, we arrived on a Saturday during the crowded Sundance Film Festival, so we were expecting a lot of people.  Lift lines were very short as there was plenty of high speed lifts, however nearly every run seemed crowded with skiers as we dodged back and forth across the slopes.  Deer Valley received a few inches of fresh powder overnight before we arrived, however by the time we got our tickets and got up the mountains, we couldn’t find anything untracked.  I did very much appreciate being able to ski Deer Valley, although I would recommend if you have the opportunity, ski it during the week days instead of a weekend.

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