Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rafting and Music

Recently, we were reviewed by internet marketers as a prime example of blogging and marketing. The California whitewater rafting blog is really old. Started as a journal on our original website on Geocities as a way to get our passion for rafting and whitewater out to the public, we are now part of Blogger, a division of Google.

We have various tags or labels for each post since we seem to blog about everything including our rafting trips. But here's what's happened to this blog: it's become a lifestyle blog for our rafting company and has become bigger than just outdoor recreation. The young bloggers who blog about college life, extreme sports and the adversity of young adulthood are also, heavily into the music scene.

All of us listen to music on the way to river trips or traveling and working to the mundane chores of life. Music, like recreation is a way of life. Our young bloggers want to let you know about the coolest music that they love and they want to share it with you, our paddling and rafting friends. We welcome WhiteLite to the team, an artist, a musician and a passionate advocate for music. Here is his first post...

All right dudes check it out! Two new really awesome albums that are out on Paw-Tracks Records are Eric Copeland’s “Hermaphrodite” and Animal Collective’s “Strawberry Jam”, the hit “Peace Bone” on Strawberry Jam is particularly awesome, even my mother likes it. The music video that you can find on YouTube is disgustingly magical.

Another magnificent release to check out on Paw-Tracks is the latest Black Dice album "Load Blown." I saw these guys live with the band f*ckwolf (note from W.E.T. River Trips; sorry parents, but some bands like to shock with just their name) a couple weekends ago at San Francisco’s 12 Galaxies, and they really know how to put on a show. Their music is mesmerizing.

Another very respectable artist to pay attention to is
Ariel Pink who is currently touring the East Coast. His music is a classic pop song washed out in a mess of psychedelic effects.

Last month, I went to Big Sur to see him play at the Folk Ya Music Festival. The festival ended up being a piece of sh*t and made me want to barf after seeing so many terrible bands. Ariel Pink was good as usual, and he even artistically shaved his legs on stage while singing. The only other entertaining act to play that festival out of the 20 terrible bands was Lucky Dragons. This two-piece band from LA was whimsical and original .

If you live in Sacramento, about 45 minutes from the American River whitewater, or happened to catch Hella’s last tour, you probably witnessed co-touring band Who’s Your Favorite Son God an awesome band featuring some of Sacramento’s best musicians.

The drummer Zach Nelson also has three other equally as rad projects including his collaboration with Kinseth from the band
Pinback called “Prints”. The project Prints is out on Temporary Residence records. Zach Nelson’s other projects include Chant’os with Sacramento local pianist Carson McWhirter from Hella, and his solo project Fahlouah.

Last, but not least, I also found myself dancing to Cornelius. He is labeled the “Japanese Beck”, and for good reasons. His evaluation of a pop song is the closest thing to perfect. Check out his hit "Smoke" off his album Point.

Check out our Second Life rafting avatar myspace site, too. She's gotta lot of music friends...

Post by WhiteLite... more to come!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

America Outdoors Confluence 2007

Last Wednesday, I took the drive over the then snow-barren Sierra to Reno to attend the annual International conference (Confluence '07) for America Outdoors. The Confluence is an annual 3-day conference that invites over 400 outfitters and whitewater equipment vendors from the United States, Canada, Europe, China, Thailand, Korea, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. The "Confluence" provides a venue for industry in-service opportunities, marketing, sales, operations, government/regulatory changes, equipment innovation, and networking.

To stay current in marketing, I attended a session on Internet Marketing Tips. The session was interesting, validating, and featured (surprise) the W.E.T. River Trips California Whitewater Rafting Blog site! We were the premier example of Blog use! We've been blogging for years as a way to stay in touch, to vent, and refresh our information. It was way cool to see our website blown up to a 20' projection screen in front of an audience comprised of over 400 of our industry peers. I think we'll keep blogging!

The most controversial topic of the conference dealt with the Forest Service's proposal to completely change the Nation-wide permitting system. (W.E.T. River Trips operates on the California Salmon, Scott, and Klamath River under USDA/Forest Service permits). The Forest Service is the largest regulatory system in the United States for the whitewater rafting industry and sweeping changes to the system are a truly hot topic. When all was said and done, our industry has adopted a policy of: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" The system truly isn't "broken" and problems in the system seem to be limited to very small regions of the Forest Service's over-view (ergo: the Six Rivers National Forest where we operate is just fine, Thank You!). The discussion isn't over and the debate will continue with very strong opinions coming from outfitters in Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and beyond.

The highlight of the Confluence is always the Banquet/Party/Auction that was held Thursday night. Thanks to Zach and Steve, the party was complete with a "mineshaft theme"... think headlamps, helmets, and glow-sticks...?! The food was great, the auction brought in some serious cash, and the beer wasn't bad (at least, I was told so...I had to drive).

After 30 years in the business, I've run into an amazing collection of folks. It was awesome to re-connect with so many of them: Donna, Marty, Roger, Nate, Bill M, Dick, Scott, Dr. Bert, Jason from Hyside, George from Maravia, Bill McG, Lorraine, Zach, and my first employers in the industry John and Sharon. There were many others old and new... One of the truly great things about our industry are the people involved in it. Although we compete for clients, jockey for user days and permits, and generally mess with each other... we all know that if we ever need help or advice, there will always be a welcome hand extended and a sympathetic ear from someone in our industry of whitewater outfitters.

After the party, we drove back over the Sierra with chain controls on Interstate 80 from Truckee to Alta! The entire Sierra was completely blanketed with fresh snow and some results collected over 18 inches of snow and the valley received over two inches of rain. The whitewater season starts in less than four months (although we all know that W.E.T. guides will be out there in just weeks... Smith River in February? South on New Year's day?). Bring it! In the meantime, let's snowboard, ski, ice climb, mountain bike, and ride motorcycles! ...Happy ChrismaKahAnza!

Posted by Big Poppa!

Note from the young blogging staff: Thanks Big Poppa 4 not yelling at us for missing the 8:30am meeting on Thurs morning; we partied too hard on Wed night!