Story by Alex Embry |

March 30, 2020 |

Video Transcription:

Good morning everybody. We drove in last night. Got a little camping spot. Then met up with Gretchen and Lance this morning, a couple of kick ass Wayfarians.

And we wanted to see the cool things that they did with their Wayfair van during a weekend. So we wanted to tag along. And this morning we’re going to be doing a little ski tour.

So … honestly they are some seasoned veterans and I am just going to try to keep up. So, tag along and we’ll get to know Gretchen and Lance.

Alright, we’re here with Gretchen and Lance. I need to try to keep up with you guys. I’m feeling fresh. Alright, well let’s get going. It’s a beautiful day. Right on.

We’re here with Gretchen and Lance and we just did a great ski tour. They dragged me along. Hardly.

Yeah. Oh man! You guys kicked my butt. That last one was pretty tough.

It was steeper than it looked. Yes.
So, how often do you guys … do you guys do this pretty quick or pretty often? Like almost every weekend?

Every weekend.

Maybe some midweek stuff too?

A couple of times a month we try to schedule some midweek time to get out and it’s not so crowded. But since we’ve had the van, it’s been every week.

Yeah, we can go for an extra day … Friday or Monday on either end of the week.

It’s like finding a whole day! Leaving Friday after work. Getting in late on Sunday.

Yeah. It is. You really do gain. It’s almost like a three-day weekend. Yes

So Gretchen, what do you do?

I have a couple different gigs. I work at a social enterprise used gear business in Colorado Springs. And I’m also the operations manager for Pikes Peak Alpine School.

What does Pikes Peak Alpine School do?

We do rock, ice and snow. So backcountry skiing, rock climbing, winter mountaineering, we offer a variety of public courses and we can do anything as a private. And we have permits all over Colorado, Nevada and the North Cascades up in Washington State.

Oh, Nevada! Really?

Yes, we do Red Rock in the Fall.

Oh okay. So you go down to Vegas?

Yeah, just outside of Vegas is some world-class climbing. And the seasonality is perfect for us. And then we will typically run early spring, early summer trips to the North Cascades for people who want to experience glacier travel and skiing and climbing volcanoes.

You’ve been doing this for a couple of years now? Like this is what you love to do in the winter time.

Absolutely. Winter has become our favorite season. So we try to do it from first snow flake all the way until June, July.

So, November to July? Yes.

How many days do you get in?

Sixty two or something. Yeah.

Okay. Wow, and half of that is backcountry, half of that is resort?


Well, kudos to you guys for Winter being your primary camping season. Because a lot of folks … are like ‘Alright! Let’s turn the van in! We’re done!’ Right?

But you have to Wave 3 Heater and you stay pretty warm in here.

We’ve kind of had … just with the insulation. You get it warm. You go to bed. You turn the heater off. And it’s still 20 degrees warmer inside than outside. That’s huge.

And just a good layering system inside. With your bedding.

And less amount of dry clothes to change into at the end of the day. That’s not something you have when you’re camping.

Getting dry clothes on is a challenge in winter camping. You can come back and have a whole bag of stuff to put on.

And you guys. You’re veterans at Winter camping. Like camping, like tough camping.

Yeah. Yeah. We love it.

That’s kind of what the van is for. Is for the times when you really … you’re on the edge of going camping so you can just at least drive to the trailhead.

You can still get up and get in and have a big day. And come back to some place warm and dry.

Yeah, we were talking about that … earlier. It’s like, if you’re tent camping and you get out there and you check the weather and if you’re on the lip of the cup you’re like ‘Ah, maybe let’s just call it.’ But with a van, you’re like ‘Ah, let’s just go, we never really know what’s gonna be like today.’ I mean, we were expecting snow … 90% chance of snow … and we had great weather today.

We did! It’s a plan B! You have other kit in here. If the camping trip doesn’t work out … just do some day skiing. You’ll still have a great time.

And you were telling me, too, that – you know – the van wasn’t like kind of a … ‘yes, it’s comfortable’ but it wasn’t like ‘oh we’re getting kind of weak’  It’s more like ‘no, we’re going to use it to venture even further off into the backcountry.’

Where, again, you have a nice, warm, dry place. But then that’s your launching point for your Winter camping and it just gets you out even further.

Awesome! Thank you! That was a great trip. And we’ll see you the next time we go on some adventure with all of our cool Wayfarians. They’re doing some awesome things and we’ll do more of these videos. Stay tuned.