Sunday, March 20th was one of the nicest weather days of the year so far; the temperatures hit 15 degrees Celsius and the sun was shining brightly in a perfectly blue sky. Patios were open across Calgary and it would have been the perfect day to be out hiking in a t-shirt or paddling one of the newly open mountain lakes. On any other day like this, you would find me outside. But last weekend I had a pretty awesome reason to spend the day inside: The Outdoor Adventure Show was in town!
As an outdoor professional and a passionate adventurer, I am a bit of a gear junky and travel nerd. I have a list of places I want to go, trails I want to hike and things I want to try, but I am also always on the hunt for new ideas and inspirations. Thanks to the OAS, I have a whole bunch of new places in mind!
Walking into the show is a bit overwhelming at first, at least for someone who spends most of their time outside in relatively quiet places. All of the booths were brightly colored, and tempted people in with flashy slogans, gorgeous adventure photos and bowls of treats or swag to give away.
With displays that included African Safaris, Eco tours in South America and some closer-to-home booths from Parks Canada and Jasper Tourism, there was something for everyone. Whether you were looking for an elaborate and lavish getaway in a foreign country, or a weekend road trip close to home, there really was something for everyone.
In the summer, I spend as much time as possible on the water in a canoe or kayak, and last year I took up Stand Up Paddle Boarding. I am in the market for a new boat (either a flat water kayak or a solo canoe, I cant decide yet) so walking into the show and seeing rack upon rack of gorgeous watercraft was amazing! One of the big highlights of the show for many people is the big pool set up in the middle of the hall. There was always something happening on the water; everything from paddling beautifully crafted canoes, to SUP yoga and even a lesson on how to roll a kayak. I found myself constantly circling back to the pool to see what was new.
^This is my favourite photo from the show 😉
Watching the folks from Tofino Paddle Surf doing yoga on SUPs was by far one of my favorite parts of the show! I am pretty new to the world of SUPing. My first attempt was about 3 years ago with an instructor on Lake Superior. Lake Superior is a massive lake that behaves a lot like the ocean, so trying to balance on what is essentially an oversized surfboard in giant rolling waves proved to be more than I could handle. I was pretty disheartened at how badly I did that first time, but last summer, with the help of a good friend who is a SUP instructor, I decided to give it another go and I fell in love. As much as I love SUPs and yoga, combining the two is definitely way above my current level for balancing. But give me time, I’ll get there!
After hanging around the pool for probably waaaaay too long, it was time for the Abandoned Alberta Photography Seminar. Scott Dimond and Robert Scott had an incredible portfolio of photographs that they shared with their audience. The photography seminar booth was full, with people crammed in the back and sitting on the floor, all to hear these guys talk about their search for the perfect abandoned buildings (and boats!). They shared their individual stories, and then talked about how they had met and come together. Nowadays they teach workshops here in Alberta on photographing abandoned structures. Each year they pick a new location for the multi-day workshop and spaces fill fast! Their three workshops for this year are already booked solid, but they have started a waiting list and if there are enough people they will plan another one. Both Dimond and Scott have travelled extensively, with some of their most stunning photos coming out of Iceland and Germany. This seminar was well worth the time, and I will definitely look at signing up for an Abandoned Alberta workshop next year.
All in all, the Outdoor Adventure Show was a lot of fun and gave me lots of great ideas for future trips. Its so nice to actually be able to talk to experts from different companies and locations, one on one and ask all those questions that you can’t necessarily just Google. These people know what they are talking about and they have lived these experiences, and at the Outdoor Adventure Show you get to meet them all in one place.
I am excited for the trips I have planned this year, to which I have added some new stops since visiting the show and I can’t wait to visit the show again next year!