Deals on Lift Tickets exist in Colorado and on Spring Break

Anyone living in or coming to Colorado to ski this Spring can still find some great deals at some of our best resorts.  One of our favorite deals is the 2 for 1 lift tickets for buying 10 gallons of gas at participating Shell Gas Stations.  Just pump your gas, and take your receipt inside for the 2 for 1 voucher.



Colorado resorts included in the promotion include Loveland Ski, Crested Butte, Copper Mountain, Monarch Ski, Powderhorn, and Taos in New Mexico.

More information and a list of Shell stations here:

Another cool deal is offered by one of our favorite Burger joints, Smashburger.  Buy a burger and a regular drink, and get a voucher for a 2 for 1 lift ticket to Winter Park Resort.


More info can be found here:


Buy your Steamboat Ski lift tickets 7 days in advance and save 10%.  More info here:

Some great discounts at almost Colorado Ski Resort can be found here:

More lift ticket deals here:

Although lift tickets have been increasing almost annually, you can still find some great deals all season long if you are local to Colorado or if you are coming from out of town.  And we are having some of the best powder and conditions we’ve had in years.  Get out and enjoy!!

Need ski gear?  Use Coupon Code 5BUCKS for $5 off your order at


Strider Bikes – Get kids on bikes earlier than ever

Strider Bikes

At NAOS, we love cycling, road, mountain, downhill, cruising, you name it, and anyway to get the whole family involved just makes us that much more excited.  We have been doing some research on the “two wheeled balance bikes” made for younger children, and we have fallen in love with Strider.

The mission at Strider Sports International, Inc. is “to build lightweight, efficient, all-terrain bikes that develop two-wheeled balance, coordination and confidence in children.”   These bikes are made without pedals and encourage toddlers to “ride, learn, and explore” the world on just two wheels.  The bikes are made simpler than traditional bikes with training wheels and are meant to be used by a younger audience.

There are 10+ variations of the Strider Bike, some made for children as young as 18 months and some designed to grow with children up to age 10.  The creators at Strider have thought through the design, tested their product, and have really fine-tuned the product to last more than just one season.  The Strider is built to last, and designed to cruise over most terrains, including grass, gravel, dirt, and pavement.


The balance bike is not meant to replace a traditional bike when a child is at the appropriate age, but meant to teach children at a younger age how to balance and gain confidence when riding.  The Strider Bike has many benefits for its young riders.  It is safe and more economical for younger riders than a traditional bicycle with training wheels.  Tricycles and bikes with training wheels can easily tip over, causing accidents, however, with the Strider Bike, kids concentrate more on balancing than pedaling, resulting in less mishaps.  The Strider is also economical, considering it replaces a tricycle and a 12 -20 inch bike with training wheels.

The Strider also promotes outdoor play and exercise, spending time with family and a smoother transition to pedal bikes.  Strider Bikes teach balance and coordination at an early age, therefore aiding in the early development of essential motor and balance skills to even the youngest members of the cycling community.  We are passionate about not just getting more kids outdoors, but getting them started at an early age, and what better way to do that than with a Strider Bike.


If you want to find out more about getting your kids into a Strider Bike Race, find more info here:

To buy yourself a Strider Bike with free shipping, go here:


Wolf Creek Ski Area: the way a Colorado ski resort should be

photo 1

In 1938, Kelly Boyce installed a tow rope on the North side of the summit of the recently completed Wolf Creek pass, charged $1 and the mountain has never been the same since.  The forest service constructed a warming hut that same summer and the Colorado Department graded a dirt road to the new hut and tow rope, simply named, Wolf Creek Ski Area.


Much has changed since the early days at Wolf Creek, but what hasn’t changed, is the mountain’s original appeal and the mass amounts of snowfall.  Just this weekend, the snowfall totals were staggering with 10” Friday, 14” on Saturday, and 13” on Sunday.  The powder was plenty and the conditions were those dreams are made of.

photo 2

Wolf Creek is a little bit harder to get to than some of the “corporate” resorts in Colorado, just about a 4.5 hour drive from Denver, but, when you arrive, you can’t help but feel like you have traveled back in time, a time with out long lift lines, without highway traffic, and without people who care more about what they wear than where they are.  The whole mountain has an air of vintage charm, perfect for enthusiasts of all skill levels.  When you are at Wolf Creek, you feel like a local, you are treated like a valued customer, and you appreciate all that goes into a day on the mountain.

Lift tickets are still reasonably priced, $58 a day for adults, and $31 for seniors and kids.  You can still afford a candy bar and a soda at the lodge, and the parking is free.

Wolf Creek isn’t the largest ski area in Colorado, with just over 1,600 acres, 7 lifts and 77 runs, it is easy for a skilled skier to explore the whole mountain in just a few hours.  The most popular lift for experienced riders, is the Albert lift on the far left side of the mountain which services double black diamonds and blacks.  Beginners will enjoy the right side of the mountain, serviced by Raven Chair, Bonanza Chair, and the Treasure chairlift, so explore terrain that varies from green, blue and some black diamond.  Getting from one side of the mountain back to the other, can be tricky for snowboarders at times, with a somewhat flat cat track being the main means of traverse to get back to the base area.

photo 3

Wolf Creek has something for everyone, and a throwback atmosphere that makes you remember why you starting skiing or riding in the first place.  Being at Wolf Creek, surrounded by like-minded snow lovers, you can look around, and be transported to a place that lives in so many people’s hearts.


Upcoming Events:

March 15th is the Spring Fling Race.

Sunday March 23 is College Day.

For more details on these events and many other, check out the Wolf Creek Website!

For your outdoor gear needs, check us at



Review and Testing of the Igloo Realtree ATV Cooler

By Dean Miller, additions by Eric Graham

Igloo Realtree ATV Cooler

A few weeks ago my buddies and I had the good fortune to test drive Igloo’s latest edition to their Sportsman line; the Realtree ATV Cooler. At thirty inches long, fifteen inches wide and ten inches deep, this soft sided cooler was just the right size to carry enough food and drinks for 3 adults and 2 kids on a one day excursion into the great north woods of Wisconsin. Sturdy handles on either end made moving easy.  The cooler also has a handy little zippered pouch on the front for holding napkins, silver wear or whatever small items you may need to store. Four hard plastic runners spaced width wise on the bottom sat nicely onto the rear luggage rack of the Polaris Sportsman Jake, a ten year old was driving.

The size of the cooler enabled it to fit nicely on the rack, it did not stick out and did not impede the driver. The attached four straps used  to secure the cooler to rack were sufficient to keep the cooler from shifting around and they stayed tight.

This also made taking the cooler on and off a breeze. We were riding State groomed trails of sand and dirt with little to no jumping.

            There are a few things I think Igloo can improve on. While the inside was roomy like I said before, it is so big and wide open that we had our food and drinks sliding around, a lot. Most adult beverages are packaged in 12 ounce cans which became little missiles inside the cooler while bouncing down the trails.

Thankfully we did not pack long necked bottles. I think if Igloo could come up with some way to make compartments inside the cooler they could alleviate this problem. Maybe some Velcro attached panels that could be placed to fit whatever was being stored. This could also help with the other issue we had. That is, the ice did not last long. Starting out at 0830 in the morning with highs in the low to mid sixties, the ice we packed in the cooler only lasted about an hour.

The drinks and food stayed cool enough through out the day but everything was floating in water. The cooler did not leak, that was a plus. Also the cooler does not have a drain, which would be nice, but not a deal breaker for me. I think if Igloo could come up with a way to make movable compartments like I mentioned before, we could pack the cooler better to increase the cooling power. Maybe even fill the removable panels with that re-freezable material that can then be frozen and used as ice.


   We got a lot on nice compliments from other riders who liked the looks and function. I’m glad the folks at Igloo added the russet color instead of being all camo, that way we were always able to find the cooler in the woods.   Clean-up of the cooler was a snap. Nothing a garden hose, a little soft scrubbing and two days of Wisconsin trails came right off. The material looked like new again. All in all I think Igloo is on the right track, just a few tweaks, an additional tie down strap, and they will have a great new addition to an already impressive stable of coolers.

Here are the features according to Igloo:

·         Ultra thick insulation keeps ice extra long

·         Snug fit lid provides supreme cold retention

·         Ultra thick and easy to clean antimirobial liner is punture free and leak resistant.

·         Extra long webbing with quick release buckles for ATV rack attachment

·         Metal “D” rings for additional attachment options.

·         Front zip pocket and side mesh panels for additional storage (Keys, cell, etc)

·         Comfort grip side handles

·         Non-slip feet- helps keep cooler bottom free of dirt, Cool riser technology improves cooling performance

Find more Coolers from Igloo at

*Next Ascent nor its testers were compensated for this test and review, but we were allowed to keep the cooler.  Thanks Igloo


Gunnison River Valley…a paradise of recreational opportunities

By Next Ascent athletes Laurie and Alain Boscaro

The Gunnison Valley has some of the best outdoor recreational opportunities in the state and therefore, the country. The quality of the recreation is outstanding, but it is the variety that astounds me. The Gunnison Valley consists of Crested Butte to the north and the “down valley” college town of Gunnison and all of the surrounding areas, including hundreds of thousands of acres of protected public land. The list of recreational opportunities goes something like this: Hiking, backpacking, peak bagging, trail-running, camping, hang and para-gliding, motor-biking, 4 wheeling, jeeping, horseback riding, biking (mountain, road and now, lift-assisted downhill), climbing (bouldering, sport and trad), kayaking, rafting, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, fly fishing (river, creek and lake) hunting (elk, deer and bear), golfing, skateboarding (two skate parks), and more. In the winter there is also skiing (downhill, back country, and Nordic), snowmobiling, dog-sledding, snow-shoeing, sledding, ice-skating (indoor and outdoor facilities), ice-fishing and sometimes ice-climbing.

Crested Butte is well known as a destination for mountain biking and for skiing. It is not as well known for its rock climbing opportunities. As a climber, I will tell you a little about those opportunities, starting in the north end of the valley and heading south. Just outside of Crested Butte, lie the big, granite blocks that are known as the Skyland Boulders. These are world class boulders. The classic boulder problems at Skyland are as good as those anywhere. In the Colorado Bouldering guidebook by Phillip Benningfield, many of the highest rated boulder problems in the state are at Skyland. If there were more boulders this would be a huge destination area, but because it is limited,it is a very quiet area. There are enough boulders to keep someone busy for a few days and the setting itself is hard to beat. There are great views of town and the surrounding mountains from these majestic boulders. These boulders are tall and not for the beginner, there is however a great beginner bouldering area down valley called Lost Canyon. It is south of Almont and has an incredible 100 yard long traverse wall. There is also great bouldering in the Taylor Canyon and at Hartman Rocks, outside of Gunnison.

The best routes in the Gunnison Valley are found in the Taylor Canyon, between Crested Butte and Gunnison. There are a number of routes both sport and traditional, from one to three pitches long. Most climbing routes are very accessible with the greatest concentrations being right next to the road. There are quality, classic routes at all levels of difficulty. More routes can be found up neighboring Spring Creek and also down in Gunnison at Hartman Rocks. A little further away, but still worth a mention is the world-class multi-pitch destination area of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The Black Canyon is like no where else in the world and has quite the mystique in the climbing world. Known as the Yosemite of Colorado, some of its walls are over 2,000 ft. tall. The Black as it is known is serious, amazing, awe-inspiring and only about an hour and a half from Gunnison.

There is a lot to do in the Gunnison Valley if you are into outdoor recreation, not so much if you like to go to the mall. There are miles and miles of trails in every direction and there is also a lot of rock to explore. If you are looking for more information on the rock-climbing areas of the Gunnison Valley there is a fairly new guidebook out entitled:Gunnison Rock by Leo Malloy. Enjoy!

To find outdoor gear and apparel, CLICK HERE

The Taylor River…Family Fun and Fly Fishing

As a resident of Colorado since 1995, I have explored many areas of the state while recreating, either by camping, mountain biking, hiking, Hunting, skiing and especially fly fishing.  Of the many areas in my quest to find solitude, single track or trout, easily one of my favorite areas is Taylor Park, or more specifically the Taylor River flowing from the dam of Taylor Reservoir.  Located about 35 Northeast of Gunnison, the section of the Taylor River just below the dam is known in local fly fishing circles as the famed “Hog Trough” because of the size of the trout, especially the rainbows that reside in this short section of public water.

This past week, I took several members of my family and a close friend up there to camp and fly fish for a couple days.  We arrived around 11:30am at my usual spot at Cold Springs campground which is about 5 miles south of the “Trough” on county road 742.  After setting up camp it was time to get after the task at hand which is to spend some time trying to hook into a trout that can range from 15”-40” in length.  After all, the past 3 state record Rainbow Trout and the current state record Snake River Cutthroat Trout were taken from this section of the Taylor River.  The current state record Rainbow Trout measured in at 40.25”.

When we arrived at the bridge below the dam to park, we headed straight up to the boundary line below the dam.  Much to our surprise, trout were feeding and actively rising as we were in the midst of a midge and Green Drake hatch as clouds were building and moving in.  When the rain began around 1:30 the fishing really turned on.  Fishing with a dry/dropper setup was working and working often.  We hooked into several 16-18” fish on both the surface dry and the subsurface dropper which were generally a parachute Adams, Blue-Winged Olive and a succession of emerger flies.  Many fished were missed, buy many did make it to our awaiting nets.  We fished hard until nothing on us was dry from a constant rain, but no one seemed to care.  At around 6:00, we relented and headed back to camp to dry off and get some grub and cold beers.  I have always wanted to fish this section of river at night as it is well known that the big browns come out at night to feed here and at many other places.  If you haven’t tried this tactic, you need to. 

Around 10pm we headed back up to the bridge parking area and to our astonishment, there were already about 6 cars parked and many lit headlamps lining the river banks in the darkness.  After a short stint below the bridge, we headed to an open spot right above the bridge that would house 3 fishermen and 1 cameraman for the next 3.5 hours.  With our headlamps blazing a lit trail into the water, we saw more feeding trout than maybe any hatchery I ever seen.  They were hitting our dry fly presentations, the droppers, and even a few hooked on a weighted nymph rig.  It was about the most fun any of us have had after midnight in a long time.  Some of the trout were even fighting each other to get to our flies.  It was crazy good fun and 2am came in a blink of the eye.

The next morning, after lazily awaking to coffee and oatmeal, we headed back to the river for a few more fun filled hours of rising trout and bugs hatching everywhere.  I found my spot once again right above the bridge and the Pale Morning Duns (PMDs) were already coming off in great numbers, and in even great sizes.  These things must have looked like 96oz Porterhouse Steaks floating on the water to the unsuspecting trout beneath the surface.  These flies were huge and pale colored.  I promptly put on the biggest, bushiest white colored fly I had and put another on below that.  I caught more fish than I care to mention when others that were within casting distance were frantically changing their flies to find the right meal for all the trout that were now rising everywhere.  It was easily, one of the best 28 hours of fishing I had ever seen, and on a section that is known for not just for big crowds of people, but also for extremely selective trout.  Maybe we had just made the jump to real fly fishermen.

In actuality, it’s just a great time of year to head down for some great fly fishing.  Like the caddis and BWO hatch on the Arkansas River in April/May, the famed stonefly hatch on the Gunnison River in June, and the Green Drake hatch on the Roaring Fork River, you should not miss the Green Drake and Pale Morning Dun hatch on the Taylor River in late July to early August.  It’s a great place to take the family and kids to camp and hike around, but it’s even better for those of us who like to sling around a fly.  Come check it out and you won’t be sorry.   I was sorry to leave, but for a beautiful drive home and the knowledge I’d be back soon, all was well.

Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about the Taylor River, fly selection or anywhere else in Colorado.

Also CLICK HERE for great deals on outdoor gear and apparel from Next Ascent Outdoor and Sport

Igloo Coolers Yukon Series, Yukon 70

A few weeks ago the good people at Igloo Coolers donated a Yukon 70 to the Next Ascent team to demo and review, and we were tickled to do so.  We love reasons to get outdoors, and testing and reviewing gear is one of our favorites.

At first glance, this cooler is a beast in terms of size, capacity and weight.  Our initial test took us to the Arkansas River outside of Salida, CO in late April for our annual fly fishing trip over 5 days.  This beast of a cooler swallowed up all the food for myself and my brother for 5 days, and also 5 days worth of beer.  We actually had tons of food left over, but the beer was gone at the end.  When I packed up the cooler Wednesday morning before leaving for south-central Colorado, all I added was the ice from the ice-maker in our fridge at home, which is to say not much ice at all.

5 days of food and beer and not much ice

On pretty much every year we make this pilgrimage, I always end up heading into Salida to restock ice that has melted.  This year was an anomaly in that no extra trips to town were needed, and that allowed for extra time on the river and the guarantee that my food would be fresh and my beer cold.  I also made sure I left the cooler outside the truck and in full sun to test its effectiveness to the max.  Granted, temperatures rarely got to the 70’s during the day and the evenings and mornings were somewhat chilly, but the Yukon 70 did not disappoint at all.  We did not pre-chill the cooler prior to loading up which can increase ice life.  Normally, when I pull the drain plug when arriving back home, there is enough water to hydrate my entire front yard.  This year, there was barely enough for a mouthful, and most of the ice I packed 5 days previous was still almost completely intact.

Many of us have heard of Igloo’s prime competition in the premium cooler market, YETI Coolers, and I myself own a YETI Tundra cooler which I like.  I love my new Igloo Yukon!  If it’s the small things that make all the difference, then the Yukon blows the YETI out of the water, so to speak.  We have all seen the sponsored endorsements from so-called celebrity fishermen, ads in magazines and adventure films, and product placement on several TV shows.  Of course these people will extol the virtues of a YETI cooler when they’re all being paid and given free gear for life.  Who wouldn’t.  But do paid endorsements make a cooler that is better than all the rest?  Absolutely not.  Here are some features of the Yukon versus the YETI that might change your decision:

Reversible Feet

  I love the option of having reversible feet so you can quickly change from non-slip to easy-glide in a couple turns of a screwdriver.  YETI does not offer reversible feet.  This allows the cooler to easily slide out and move easier in your boat or back of your truck or camper.  The extra lift on the feet when compared to YETI allow to spray out your boat without removing the cooler first.  It also keeps your cooler lifted higher off the bottom of a hot boat keeping ice longer and cooler.

Yukon Ruler to measure your fish or anything else

I love the built in ruler on the top to measure your fish and compare against your buddies.  Not available on YETI

Fixed Rock Solid Handles

When compared to YETI’s Double Haul rope handles, there is no comparison.  The Rock Solid handles on the Yukon will never break and you won’t be fumbling around trying to grasp swinging rope handles.  Also in the photo above, don’t discount the benefit of having an attached/tethered drain plug.  I misplaced my YETI drain plug on day 1 and wasted time looking for it that should have been time spent fishing.

  Other great features that are better than YETI, steel instead of aluminum hinges, and steel corner closure that allows for better security and bear-proofness.  The other amazing feature is that the Yukon 70 is truely 70 quarts on the inside.  Did you know that the same priced YETI Tundra 65 is really only 57.2 quarts.  That’s over 12 extra quarts of interior space for the same price.  With nearly an extra 1/2 inch of insulation when compared to YETI, the Yukon does weigh a few pounds more, but 12 quarts of space and an extra half inch of insulation is well worth the weight.

  In conclusion, I absolutely love this cooler and my Yukon 70 will be attending every outdoor adventure I take from here on out.  My YETI might just be what they want it to be, an extra chair to sit on when nothing else is available or a step stool to get my mountain bike down from the rafters of my garage.  The Yukon does exactly what Igloo says it will do, and that’s keep your ice longer, 7 days and even longer if you pre-chill it ahead of time.  I lost maybe 20% of my ice over the course of 5 days of driving and fly fishing.  I am totally confident when I take my Yukon 70 to Moab, Utah this summer in the heat on a mountain biking trip, I will be the only one who doesn’t have to drive into town to refresh my ice supply.  All the features I mentioned above along with a few others make the Yukon line of Igloo coolers superior to YETI.  If you still need the blessing of a huge stable of paid endorsers from a company that is more a marketing company than it is a product company and now owned by a private equity firm in New York City, than maybe the YETI is for you.  If you just want a product that works and went the extra mile to add features we can all use in any environment, then the Yukon is for you.  I rate the Yukon 70 Cooler 4.8/5 points.  We gave bonus points for all the extra features, but we will always subtract some points for weight even though it is unavoidable at this point for all the Roto-Molded Coolers on the market.  One cool feature that the Yukon Series offers that YETI might not ever offer because they are afraid of the warranty issues that will arise and affect their bottom line, is the line of wheeled Yukon Coolers. An extra benefit of the Yukon 70, which cannot be overlooked is that the shipping box can also be used as a clubhouse for your kids which my daughter did without hesitation and guidance.  Too bad Justin Bieber wasn’t able to come and join in on her party.  Not even Igloo could pull that off :)

The free Justin Bieber playhouse my daughter made

Review prepared by product tester and Next Ascent Outdoor owner Eric Graham

See the Yukon vs. YETI Challenge RIGHT HERE

Buy Yukon Coolers HERE


Free Same-Day Delivery for Mother’s Day in Denver, CO

We are running a special promotion for everyone who has a mom or maybe the mother of their children living in the Denver, CO metro area.  We will deliver same day to the mom in your life up until Saturday, April 11 at 5:00pm EST on select products.

CLICK HERE to see all the items on the promo

Using coupon code DENVERMOM will give you free shipping on orders over $75 to be hand delivered to mom.  We will also gift wrap and include a card/note.  You can add your note to us during checkout of your order in the “Gift Notes” box.

Find brands like Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, QAK, Marmot, Redington, Miir, and several others.  Just make sure your order is at least $75 and we’ll drive it over to mom’s house in person.  If you procrastinate like we do, this could be your savior and we’d love to be a part of that for you.  Don’t forget to use coupon code DENVERMOM at checkout to get the free same day delivery service to your mom’s front door

CLICK HERE to see the products

Happy Mother’s Day from the Next Ascent Outdoor team

My daughter on KCRG’s Big Ol Fish

How to pick the right Ski size

Men’s Ski Size Chart


Height (in) 
Height (cm) 
Length (cm)    
Length (cm)
     Length (cm)   
4’6″ 137 140 135 125
4’8″ 142 145 140 130
5’0″ 152 155 145 135
5’2″ 158 165 155 145
5’6″ 168 175 165 155
5’8″ 173 180 170 160
5’10” 178 185 175 165
6’0″ 183 190 180 170
6’2″ 188 195 185 175
6’4″ 193 200 190 180

Women’s Ski Size Chart


Height (in) 
Height (cm) 
Length (cm)    
Length (cm)
     Length (cm)   
4’8″ 142 149 139 136
5’0″ 152 152 142 139
5’2″ 158 153 146 143
5’4″ 163 163 153 150
5’6″ 168 166 156 153
5’8″ 173 170 160 157
5’10” 178 173 163 160
6’0″ 183 180 170 167
How do you pick the correct ski size? 

So the truth is that there is no perfect size for one height and weight.  The general rule is to pick a ski that is going to land somewhere between your chin and the top of your head.  Pro and expert skiers may choose skis that are slightly taller than their height. Within your size range there are multiple reasons to choose a shorter or longer ski.

Reasons to size your skis shorter, closer to your chin:

  • You are a beginner or intermediate skier
  • Your weight is lighter than average for your height
  • You like to make short, quick turns

Reasons to size your skis longer, closer to the top of your head:

  • You are skiing fast and aggressively
  • You weigh more than average for your height
  • You plan to do the majority of your skiing off the trail
  • You are purchasing a ski with significant rocker in the tip
A shorter ski will be easier to turn yet not as stable as a longer ski.  A carving ski with skinnier waist and a smaller turn radius can be skied at a shorter length than an all mountain or a freeride ski with larger, longer turn radius and fatter waist width.

CLICK HERE for selection of Liberty Skis

CLICK HERE for our selection of Icelantic Ski