From April 21-24 we were lucky enough to attend a Black Diamond Equipment and Gore-Tex Dealer Camp at the Three Sisters Backcountry Yurt outside of Bend, Oregon. Located in a proud stand of old-growth Hemlocks at the base of the Tam McArthur Rim, the area boasts some of central Oregon’s best backcountry volcano skiing. The goal of the trip was to test the Winter 2012-13 skis, packs, skins and poles from Black Diamond, meet like-minded members of our outdoor industry clan, and enjoy some amazing scenery….all while skiing velvety Oregon corn. A massive bonus to the trip was a full-on Gore-Tex seminar, it’s history, and the role it plays in the outdoor industry. It was a wonderful adventure with some amazing people, and we can’t thank Black Diamond enough for inviting us.
The Three Sisters Backcountry Yurts are run by Jonas Tarlen and Shane Fox, both AIRE Level III certified guides. Jonas and Shane are professional-grade backcountry guides that can do it all – from skiing the steeps to cooking the best yurt food you’ll ever eat. Most importantly, they are just flat out great people. If you are looking for a BC hut experience, we can’t recommend them enough. You will have a blast!
After the group was fitted for boots, skis, and packs, we were motored into the yurt by snowmobile. As the approaches in Oregon are long and flat due to road closures, this was a much welcomed aid. The first day consisted of settling in and skiing amazing spring corn around the close proximity of the yurt. The laps were broken up by getting-to-know-one-another chat and was very pleasurable.
Folks from some of the finest mountain shops around were at hand for amazing discussions – Alpine Experiences, Backcountry Essentials, Alltrec, Idaho Mountain Touring, and more – the lifeblood small shops of the outdoor industry. The evenings consisted great, stimulating conversation centered around industry talk, powder days, people’s past and families, expeditions, and naturally, gear. These conversations took place in the comfortable confines of the yurts themselves, beautifully crafted structures that both Jonas and Shane built with their own two hands. Both yurts and a sauna were at our disposal, and as Jonas and Shane are artistically-inclined, all were visually pleasing and extremely well-constructed.
The second two days were a full-on corn slaying fest. With Broken Top and the gorgeous Three Sisters as a backdrop, the entire group had lap after lap of great spring snow. The groups started early and worked hard throughout the day to earn wonderful laps in the Tam McArthur Rim. Amidst breaks for fuel and conversation, Jonas even surprised us with a keg from the Deschutes Brewery! Between laps, the brew was extremely enjoyable!
All in all, the three days were an amazing experience. Great people, skiing, and equipment all added up for a spring trip for the history books. A big shout out to Black Diamond heroes Mike Kurlich and Roger Strong, as well as Jonas, Shane, and Annie from the Three Sisters Backcountry Yurt. We were able to test the 185 BD Justice, new carbon-fibre flicklock poles, Anarchist pack (w/ ErgoActive suspension), and skins. Stay tuned in the fall for reviews of all items! In short, they rocked.