The Outbound’s Pursuit Series: Snowbasin, Utah 2019
The Outbound’s Pursuit Series: Snowbasin, Utah. June 27-30, 2019
Life is an adventure, which is why we always are seeking out unique, new experiences.
Festy GoNuts was created around music festivals, for sure, but we quickly realized how much more is involved in music festivals than just music! It didn’t take long for us to begin to appreciate the other elements of a music festival, which we boiled down to the music, culture, and adventure. (Read more about the elements of music festivals)
As Festy GoNuts has grown to cover more diverse events, we have gained a greater appreciation for the other elements of the festival beyond the music, and have sought out the culture and adventure in greater proportions.
With this outlook on festivals, we were thrilled to be invited to The Outbound’s Pursuit Series at Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah.
The Outbound Collective exists to “make the outdoors more accessible to everyone.” Outbound bills their Pursuit Series as an “outdoor adventure camp for grown-ups.” Think, “Summer camp for adults,” but without the pesky camp counselors making wallets and lanyards. Instead, Outbound provides expert guides and pro athletes who support you every step of the way as you learn new skills, take on new challenges, and grow your abilities in a number of outdoor activities. Meals, happy hours, fire pits (S’Mores!), open bars, and live music (there it is!) are all included. All the equipment and gear needed for each activity is provided – attendees simply show up and start having fun!
We attended the 2019 Outbound Pursuit at Snowbasin Resort in Utah. We were most excited to see how this event, which seemed quite a bit different than our usual festival, would embody the essential elements of a festival. It turned out to represent all three – music, culture, adventure – perfectly. The only difference perhaps was the order of emphasis we placed on each.
So, for the 2019 Snowbasin Resort Outbound Pursuit, we explored the Culture, the Adventure, and the Music:
Outbound Pursuit: The Culture
The Outbound Pursuit promises to “increase your confidence in the outdoors, deepen your relationship with nature, and grow your network of adventure buddies.” These goals are hopefully achieved by getting attendees to challenge themselves, learn something new, and “have a lot of fun.” It is these goals that permeate the culture of Outbound Pursuit.
We spent a night in Salt Lake City, UT prior to Pursuit, so we only had a short and picturesque drive to the nearby Snowbasin Resort. The views were spectacular as we approached the mountaintop.
We arrived at check-in and were immediately greeted with open arms. “The Laws are here!” Ok, truth be told, everyone may not receive such fanfare, but we had enjoyed several months of email communications with members of the Outbound team, and we were all excited to actually meet each other in person.
After getting our credentials and some important information, we were shown to the camping area.
Camping for Pursuit is in a field just a stone’s throw from the main ‘village’ area that served as a hub for activities. While the actual campground is a rustic field, the facilities were convenient and clean. Port-a-pots in the campground are available 24/7, with ample indoor toilets accessible throughout the day and evening. The most outstanding facility is the shower trailer! Coming from a team that normally focuses on camping music festivals, a free, clean, nearby shower is an extreme luxury. With hot water, too! All showers were stocked with natural, sweet-smelling soaps and shampoos, adding an extra bit of ooh-la-la to the whole experience.
If camping isn’t your thing, no worries! There are luxury Glamping tents available on-site, or book a hotel in nearby Hunstville, UT.
Once we were situated, we immediately began to get to know our neighbors and fellow Pursuit-ers for the weekend. This was easy to do, as the Pursuit seemed to draw an outgoing, easy to talk to crowd from many different walks of life.
I will freely admit that, since this is not my normal type of event, I was worried about connecting with others on this trip. I had my fears about a bunch of outdoor junkies and gear heads with whom I may have little in common. This could not have been further from the reality.
By providing a platform for people to branch outside of their comfort zone and experience activities they’ve never tried, Outbound fosters a culture of togetherness. Sure, you might be hanging with an expert mountain biker, but when you’re both learning to cast a fly rod for the first time, well, you’re all in the same boat (pun possibly intended?).
Attendees all seemed excited to share in their experiences. Group tables at meals are a perfect place for recounting some of the day’s adventures, and perhaps learning about new ones you might want to undertake. There is never a lack of conversational topics with strangers. Boring small talk is hard to find, as everyone in attendance has either just had a completely new experience they’d love to share or is eager to learn about yours. This all furthers the ‘togetherness’ of Pursuit.
One thing that struck me was how often I witnessed the staff and founders of Pursuit joining in activities alongside the guests. Of course, these were busy folks, but their passion for this event is clear when you see them using their downtime to participate with the rest of us.
Outbound Pursuit is truly a shared culture of learning, experiencing, challenging, and having fun.
Outbound Pursuit: The Adventure
It’s pretty easy to find the adventure in Outbound Pursuit, since the entire event is an adventure.
Attendees travel from all over the country to convene in a beautiful outdoor setting, and many use this opportunity for further exploration before and after the event. It’s hard not to, when your destination is somewhere like the breathtaking Wasatch Range of Northern Utah. Many people came solo, which is about as adventurous as it gets. Jumping head first into the unknown by yourself is a first-class adventure in itself!
Regardless of how you arrived, Pursuit is chock-full of adventure from the get-go.
Prior to the event, via a scheduling app, attendees begin to plan their individual adventures. Juggling a plethora of available classes, demonstrations, courses, and activities can seem daunting at first, but it quickly all falls into place as you begin to schedule your weekend.
A world of never-explored experiences is at your fingertips: start your day with hammock yoga, then take a tie-dyeing course before sitting in on a camp-cooking class. After lunch and an afternoon hike, take an introductory slacklining course followed by an intermediate mountain biking lesson. Rest up a bit if you’d like, then finish your day with a twilight kayaking trip. Adventure abounds!
During your downtime, you are free to roam the Pursuit Village. Relax in a hammock, or pop in one of the many sponsor tents that surround the heart of the Pursuit. The brand partners on hand were all eager to share their products and knowledge, and there was plenty to be gained by talking to each of them.
Personally, I took advantage of the opportunities to learn the basics of fly fishing and came away with a much greater understanding of this complicated sport, and the confidence to get out and give it a go on my own. And that’s what Pursuit is all about!
I also participated in informative courses on hiking, cooking, slacklining, photography basics, and more.
The adventure is what you make it. Whether you arrived in a group or flew solo, brushed up on previous skills or undertook completely new ventures, Outbound Pursuit is all about adventure.
Regardless of your previous knowledge or skill level, you have still never experienced anything quite like Outbound Pursuit.
Outbound Pursuit: The Music
Of course, Festy GoNuts is not going anywhere without some music!
Luckily, each day of Outbound Pursuit concludes with a night of live music.
It really doesn’t get much better – after a day of adventure, exercise, excursions, and activities, the attendees all convene on the central village, where campfires are surrounded by hay bales and comfortable camping chairs.
Energized from a fulfilling day, we join others around a fire to cook up delicious S’mores while recounting the day’s activities. As we all connect in our experiences, we are serenaded with the sweet acoustic music of Hannah Jern-Miller.
Night time at Pursuit is spectacular. At a music festival, we almost take the music for granted – after all, it’s the reason most people are there. At Pursuit, it is a bonus, but a lovely, much welcomed bonus. A well-deserved beer or glass of wine (or Kombucha!) helps to kick in the relaxation as everyone enjoys the tunes that help bring the day’s adventures to a close.
Friday night we were treated to the bluegrass stylings of The Umbrella Brothers (and sister) who got folks dancing along while playing corn hole and giant Jenga, or chilling with a toasted marshmallow.
Saturday night is when the party really kicks in, as Pursuit veterans Left On Tenth take the stage. This young group from Bozeman, MT truly energizes the Pursuit crowd. After a weekend of adventurous bonding, the dancing easily kicks in. As the saxophonist weaves through the crowd, a limbo stick is brought out and everyone truly gets down.
The culmination of an invigorating weekend leaves smiles on every face.
After the third (fourth? fifth?) audience-demanded encore, the band delivered an incredible cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing in the Name Of, with the whole crowd singing along to the anti-establishment chorus. The band then finally called it quits, but not for long! Several members still had some tunes left in the tank and kept the party going with an unplugged performance outside of the Moosejaw trailer.
The Outbound Pursuit offers a half-day of activities on Sunday, and most folks pack up and hit the road at some point. For those of us lucky enough to stick around, there was more music to be enjoyed!
Snowbasin Resort hosts a weekly summer concert series, the Sunday Blues, Brews and BBQ series. On Sunday of Pursuit, we were treated to tunes from our friends from Boulder, The Drunken Hearts, followed by Baltimore’s Cris Jacobs Band.
We spread out our blanket on the grassy hill overlooking the stage, enjoyed some well-deserved bbq, and kicked back to some jams to complete this fun-filled weekend playing in the great outdoors.
Coming from a background covering music festivals, the Outbound Pursuit was a different adventure altogether, but still held similar themes. The music, culture, and adventure were all there, sure, but there was more.
After a music festival, I am usually left with a particular feeling. I’ve been surrounded by friends for a weekend, forgetting my cares and worries, dancing, smiling, and experiencing more elation than many know is possible. I take that feeling into the world with me for quite some time after the festival, feeling those residual good vibes for days, weeks even.
Outbound Pursuit in Snowbasin had this effect.
Sure, some of the dancing was replaced with other activities, although there was dancing to be had. But along with it, hiking, biking, fishing, yoga and much, much more! I was surrounded by new friends and like-minded souls, and I forgot about the ‘real world’ as my face hurt from smiling at times!
The effect was what I seek out of any festival. I left Outbound Pursuit a better me. I am still feeling the residuals as I sit here and write about it, and I am definitely taking that feeling out into the world with me.
Thank you, Outbound Pursuit!
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