Opt out of Black Friday

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

Get trampled or feel alive? I know what I’ll be doing on Black Friday this year, and it won’t be shopping. Read more to find out why.

On the day after Thanksgiving last year, REI closed all 143 of its retail locations, headquarters and distribution centers on the infamous American holiday, “Black Friday.” Instead of extending its hours and offering big discounts, the outdoor retailer encouraged its employees and customers to spend their day off enjoying the outdoors. REI sparked one of the most successful outdoor movements that year with over 1.4 million people choosing to opt outside.

In response to this, the Campus Rec Outdoor Program is launching its own outdoor photo contest from Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday). The purpose is to support the Opt Outside movement and encourage people to share their favorite outdoor moments on social media using the #optoutside and tagging @psu_odp.

Plus, there’s no better place to Opt Outside than in Oregon. With hundreds of hidden gems, waterfalls and mountainous views, I wouldn’t want to spend my Black Friday any other way. If you haven’t taken a moment to go outside and breathe, are you really living?

Join the movement with us by sharing where you like to enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few places to get you started: Boardman Tree FarmRamona Falls Spencer Butte.

50 Years of Adventure

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

How do you like to spend your free time outside? I just hit the slopes of Mt.Hood Meadows with the Outdoor Program a couple months ago, which is now celebrating its 50 years of student-led adventure and services. That marks the longest enduring, university-led outdoor program nationwide!

Rumor has it that the University of Oregon was the first school to officially start an Outdoor Program. However, PSU’s Outdoor Program was established the year before in 1966 by a man named Sam McKinney and second PSU president, Branford Price Millar.

The program is rich with history and stories that have been shared from generation to generation. It has compelled students to get outside and explore, and to extend their university experience beyond campus.

Last week, I sat down with Todd Bauch, Campus Rec’s associate director of operations, and the Outdoor Program’s coordinator in 2002. Reflecting on how it has changed over the years, Todd recalls that it was once lacking in diversity. The office was primarily a “white guy’s place to hang out,” he says. Nowadays, students and community members, young and old, male and female, native-born Oregonians and international students alike share a similar passion for outdoor program activities. More structure has also been added to the program over time, ensuring a wide variety of trips, quality service and leadership opportunities such as the new WiLD program.

So, what does the “Outdoor Program” do exactly? At Campus Rec, the Outdoor Program offers guided trips throughout the Pacific Northwest, including service trips and seminars, discounted equipment rental services, free trip planning and resources, kayak roll sessions, a rock climbing center and more.

Stay up-to-date with the Outdoor Program’s 50 year celebration by visiting our microsite and following the hashtag #ODP50 on social media.

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A happy bunch celebrates victory after braving rapids on their Umpqua River trip (2000).

 

My Epic Snowboarding Experience [for Beginners]

blog1 (1)  By: Xylia Lydgate

This past weekend was my second time snowboarding and I had a blast, thanks to Campus Rec’s Ski Shuttle.

I was more than ready to make a comeback from my first snowboarding experience, which involved me not having snow pants and falling down the mountain every five feet. This time I was equipped with Gore-Tex snow pants and “ButtSaver” pads, including a tailbone protector— I felt pretty invincible.

Each year the Outdoor Program at Campus Rec has a Ski Shuttle to Mt. Hood Meadows that students and anyone in the community can ride. Jake and Scarlett were our trip leaders. They did an awesome job keeping us well informed and making sure we received our equipment and passes before hitting the slopes. Additionally, our group got to skip the long lines at the rental center and get right to picking up our gear.

boarder powder

It was a beautiful day at Meadows. The sun was out, it was snowing, and the mountain was covered in fresh powder. As I skated towards the lift, I already felt a greater sense of confidence on my board. I set a goal that day to focus on learning how to turn on both my front and back edges, and how to properly break, rather than intentionally falling every time I wanted to stop.

After a few practice runs on the Bunny and Buttercup Hills, I was ready to progress to the Daisy Hill. The hills on this run are steeper and longer. I felt a rush of exhilaration down each slope. As I began to pick up speed, adrenaline surged through my veins. But the fear of taking a hard hit stuck a pin in the back of my mind.

Suddenly, I lost control.

My momentum launched me forward, sending me into a complete 360 flip, first taking impact from my knees to chest then chucking me straight onto my back. I had of course opened my mouth in shock, inviting a chunk of snow to the back of my throat. I laid on the mountain, motionless, until I regained my senses. Once I realized that had just happened, I started laughing to myself at how incredible of a fall that was yet my body was still in one piece! I was also surprised at how little it hurt— luckily the snow was extra powdery, and the ButtSaver might have helped a bit too.

If you’re a beginner like me, falling is only part of the experience and half the fun. I hope this will serve as some motivation for you to make a trip to the mountain and to never give up when learning a new skill gets frustrating. Don’t forget that the Outdoor Program Ski Shuttle is always a great option if you’re considering your next snowboarding or ski trip.

River rafting in Estacada

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The last three weeks have been torture for me trying to get back on my feet. I am slowly moving again and creating a structure for my life. My friends, family, school advisers and work teammates are supporting me though out this tough time. Last weekend, I made no plans nor did I want to do anything.

However, a friend encouraged me to go with him on a trip. He assured me that this trip would put things into perspective and bring me back to reality. There was nothing to lose, so I took his offer. So we started packing what appeared to be camping gear and had one more thing to obtain: dry suits.

I was not aware that the Outdoor program at PSU rented out gear. Being a student, I was able to get two dry suits for $50, a bargain when they are worth up to $300 a piece. Early the next day, we were off to Estacada in gloomy and rainy weather.  We arrived to a scene of people, kayaks, rafts, dry suits, wet suits and gear along the river.

We immediately parked on the side of the road, dressed down to a T-shirt and shorts, put on our dry suits, helmet, and life vests and we were off to find his friends. Upon finding them, without hesitation we got a raft, carried down to the river, and got in to raft downstream.

My heart pumped and my senses were on full alert. All I could think of was not to fall out of the raft into the river. The water was freezing hence the dry suits we had to keep us not only warm but alive. The rapids were strong and I tried to literally bury my feet into the wedges of the raft and held on to my paddle for life.

Downstream, we hit stronger rapids, being pushed from side to side, the water pouring down on us, as we tried to maneuver through without falling out or flipping over. Everyone around me was unnerved.  I was hoping I would not fall out. After what seemed an eternity of freezing water and near heart attacks, we rafted and finished in calm and safe waters. This trip was much needed for me even if it distracted me from the world of depression that I was in and still am in.