Gifts for Dad

If your Dad is the adventuring sort, chances are he already has all the stuff he needs. This makes it extremely hard to find the right gift on father’s day. If he’s not one for big gifts, here are three small ones that will show him how much you care.

On Celtic Tides Cover

  1. On Celtic Tides, by Chris Duff. Our fathers used to go on grand adventures before we were born. Give him some inspiration with this travelogue about a man who decides to paddle around Ireland over the course of three months.
  2. If your dad likes music, give him the gift of music out on the water. Speaqua waterproof speakers suction onto your paddle board or kayak, and use Bluetooth to connect to your favorite music. If singing in the shower is his thing, they also work well on tile.
  3. It is a fact of life that our dads are getting older, and sometimes those aches and pains can lead to a lack of comfort on adventures. If this is your dad, the Thermarest Lumbar Pillow is what you need. He can use it for added lower back support in his boat or lawn chair, and it’s extremely compressible for easy storage and transport.


Some Dads like big gestures. If you want a big gift to give to your father this father’s day, here are three good options to show him how much you care.

  1. Get him a boat. Something that’s comfortable to sit in, with the stability, length, and safety features to go paddle on the sound! The Wilderness Systems Tsunami is a great boat for getting him out and about, if he wants something easier to load onto the roof of the car the Eddyline Sitka’s are his jam!
  2. A paddle board! If he prefers to stand on his adventures, or if his hips give him trouble in a boat, a paddle board is a great gift for dad. You could get him one he could fish from, or take his dog out with him. Great for both relaxing at the lake, and big adventures in the Sound, a paddle board is always bound to put a smile on dads face.
  3. If you aren’t sure what your dad needs, a gift card is a good way to go! At Mountain to Sound, the gift cards never expire and he can use it on any equipment he needs!SitkaST_2489

If your dad doesn’t like gifts.

  1. If your dad doesn’t like gifts, give him the gift of your time. A tour through Alki Kayak Tours would be a great way to spend time with him on the water, while taking in the local sea life and beautiful views. Stress free trips with the joy of each other’s company, giving your dad and experience he will never forget is a great way to go on father’s day.
Gifts for Dad



By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

SOCKS – “One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. Skiers and snowboarders can never have enough socks. Whether you ski every day or you’re a once-a-month rider, socks are a necessity. Whether the pair is made by Bridgedale, Smartwool, or Wigwam, you can be sure your family will love the gift of ski socks.

FACE TUBE – Everyone needs some kind of face protection for those cold days. Why? Because chapped lips and cold noses can be no fun, and snotsicles can be painful. Face masks and neck tubes can help prevent these occurrences. Whether your loved one likes the bright patterns of Blackstrap or the subtle hues of Seirus, we have face masks for every style that will help keep you warm.

BOOKS – Every skier and boarder dreams of the slopes when they’re at home. A book provides them with a visual aid and ideas for future adventures. For those who love skiing on-piste, Powder: The Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet offers beautiful full color pictures of the most memorable ski runs around the world. For those who like to earn their turns, Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes of Washington is a wonderful gift. It showcases 80 touring trips in Washington State, with adventures from the Olympic Peninsula to the volcanoes.

EAR CHIPS – If you have a family member who loves skiing and music, you can give them the joy of riding while listening to their favorite jams. Ear chips come in both Bluetooth and corded varieties, and are designed to slide smoothly into your helmet, giving you a comfortable fit and good sound quality. Giro and Smith both offer options that are compatible with most helmets.

LONG UNDERWEAR – It’s cold outside, and layering in the Pacific Northwest is a must. Long underwear makes a great stocking stuffer that is sure to get used. Whether it’s Hot Chillys or Smartwool, zip front or boat neck, this gift is sure to keep them warm throughout this ski season and many to come.




By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

After an unseasonably warm and dry start to the season, the white flakes have begun to fall. The jet stream is set up for dump after dump. Another system will move in Tuesday, December 11th in the evening to deliver more snow, followed by another front on Thursday night, the 13th. The freezing level is predicted to drop to 3000 feet with each storm, and is predicting 5 feet to fall at the end of this week.

So put some wax on your skis and pull them out of the closet!

With 7 inches of new snow, Crystal Mountain has opened the Green Valley lift, and will be opening more terrain as snow accumulates. Stevens Pass and Mt. Baker will be opening Wednesday the 12th. Stevens Pass hopes to have four lifts running: Hogsback, Daisy, Skyline and Brooks. With 6 inches of new snow, it should be a great opening. Mt. Baker is boasting 12 inches in the past 24 hours, and hopes to have both Heather Meadows and White Salmon open by Friday the 14th. Summit West at Snoqualamie will be opening on Friday the 14th, with 11 inches in the past 48 hours.

Even with the new snow the base is shallow, so if you go beware of rocks. If you happen to core shot your skis, Mountain to Sound Outfitters does repairs. Bring your skis on by to get them ready for the next powder day.

Here are links to local ski areas so you can visit their sites for the most up to date information. If you had a great day on the mountain, come by Mountain to Sound Outfitters and let us know how your trip was or feel free to post in the comment section.

Crystal Mountain Resort
Summit at Snoqualmie
Stevens Pass
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Mission Ridge Ski Area
White Pass Ski Area
Loup Loup Ski Bowl

Make sure you check the WSDOT Pass Reports for driving conditions.


Skinny Skis on a Powder Day


By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

It happened. The weather had called for sun and blue sky, but when I arrived at Stevens Pass that morning a foot and a half of snow had fallen and it was still dumping…and I had skinny skis.

It was the first time I had taken out a pair of the Nordica Enforcer 93‘s. Hailed as being the groomer king of the Enforcer series (the 100 and 110 have routinely won ski of the year), I was excited to take it out for a day of serious carving. Nature had other plans.

We warmed up on runs that had been groomed that morning. A half a foot had fallen on top and was rapidly being turned to chop by the other skiers on the hill. The Enforcers did fantastic bouncing up and over the chop. Quick under foot, their turned up tips helped them float over the wet heavy chop.

Then nordica_enforcer_93_flat_skisthe crew headed to the backside. Snow was stacking up in the trees, and was the heavy and wet that if the norm here in the Pacific Northwest. We dropped in, and I was expecting to flounder and swim. The way the ski handled surprised me. While I didn’t float, I didn’t sink to the bottom. The tips cut well through the snow, and while I wasn’t exactly fast or graceful,  I was able to link long flowing turns through the trees, and keep all my friends on fat skis in sight.

I was extremely impressed. I was able to ski powder and trees as it dumped all day and never once felt bogged down. Its a mark of a good ski when it does well even in a situation that it is not meant for. The Enforcer 93’s were lively through the chop, and graceful and easy to use in the powder. While I would still highly recommend Nordicas wider skis for those true dump days, the 93’s are a wonderful choice if you are a big groomer skier who occasionally gets socked in.

Skinny Skis on a Powder Day

Rubber Ducky, a Book Review

By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters

What do great white whales and bath toys have in common? More than you might think. When Donovan Hohn hears the story of 28,800 bath toys that were lost at sea, he found himself on anMoby Duck Cover epic adventure searching for the infamous toys. In Moby-Duck, he recounts his search from the factories of China all the way to the shores of Greenland to find the elusive specimens, and finds that the search for these toys effects far more than just the bottom lines of the companies who made them and the beach combers who search for them.

Moby-Duck starts with the feeling of a travelogue. A new father goes off on a grand adventure to reconcile the notion that plastic toys are safe and the idea that plastics are harmful to the planet that he is leaving his son. Hohn’s witty humor drives an adventurous narrative and makes bad news a little harder to swallow all while delivering an extremely hopeful message. He boards bush planes in Alaska and cargo ships crossing the Pacific Ocean, all in search of his own white whale, the innocent rubber ducky.

Along the way, he interviews everyone he can find who has had a connection to the bath toys. He searches high tide lines with beach combers and uses what they find to predict ocean currents with oceanographers.  He also meets with scientist to discuss how plastics effect our planet, and what we can do about it.moby duck

Witty, informative, and extremely heartfelt, Moby-Duck is a fantastic book about how we interact with the world, from when we are small children imagining rubber ducky’s in the wide ocean of the bathtub to adults searching for our very own white whale. Whether you live next to the ocean and witness plastic pollution, or are a land lubber whose kids play with the infamous bath toy, Hohn’s book is a fantastic read that offers a deeper look into one of the most cherished and mundane toys of our childhood.

This book is available for purchase at Mountain to Sound Outfitters.

Rubber Ducky, a Book Review

Ravenous Raccoons of the San Juan Islands

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats… Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.” -Wind in the Willows

By Taylor Parsons


Whether you’re out braving tempests in the open sea, out for a cruise through the bay or floating down a local river, there’s something special about being able to simply mess about in boats. I’d like to take a minute to talk about one boat in particular, and how great it was to mess about in the San Juan Islands over Labor Day weekend 2018. I had the privilege of taking the Tempest 170 out for a three-day tour this year and I only have good things to say about it.

I have never been to the San Juan Islands before. Though I’ve messed about in boats for my whole life, on trips ranging from 1 to 28 days, I’m always excited to experience something new. Being able to grab your kayak, head to a water body of your choosing, and just be “out there” is such a freeing way to be. So when a friend invited me on my first overnight sea kayak trip I couldn’t turn down the offer.

Now, my girlfriend and I may have what some people would call “a problem.” Between the two of us there are a total of 9 boats hanging out at our home, but none of them are sea kayaks. Of course, our problem is not the large number of kayaks, rafts and canoes we use almost every weekend, but the lack of sea kayak in our floating quiver. Enter the Tempest 170: a boat that has been the winner of the Sea Kayaker Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for “Best Day and Weekend Touring Kayak,” and named “Best Beginners Sea Kayak” by OutsideOnline. Our local paddle shop, Mountain to Sound Outfitters, along with Alki Kayak Tours, let me take it for a spin over my three-day tour.

Our small crew packed our things and rolled our boats out behind the cars and bicycles headed to Friday Harbor. My first impression of the boat was how much gear it can store. Between the two hatches in the stern and single hatch in the bow, there is no shortage of space for all of your overnight essentials. As we reached the harbor and started packing the last of the gear, I found myself asking my friends if they had any gear or food they wanted me to carry. I grabbed some extra food, shoved some extra water into the easily-accessible hatch behind my seat, and still had room for more. With that, we were off. As motor boats streamed in and out of the harbor and two float planes landed within 100 feet of our route I was also glad the three hatches in the boat led to separate compartments. These compartments are separated by bulkheads that, if something happened and a hatch started to fill with water, would still allow me to float.

Ferry Image

Our journey involved paddling north from the harbor, stopping at a couple islands along the way, and camping for the night in the wind- and human- power only camp sites found on Jones Island. We found a fantastic camp that you can only use if you own a sail boat or kayak. Best of all, even with the three-day weekend, my friends and I got first pick of our site. Once again, the Tempest showed it’s worth as a great touring kayak, as I found all of my gear was still dry.

I spent the night sleeping under the stars and waking up to the tamest raccoons I’ve ever met trying to get into our food. Note for next time: bring a bear can or figure out a better way to seal hatches. These guys can pry open even the hard-to-open hatch covers on this boat. After waking up to over half a dozen eyes staring at me with apples and crackers in hand, I had to get creative. Strapping a paddle tightly across the hatch pretty much did the trick. Lesson learned. Luckily, if you own your own boat you can buy hard plastic hatch covers that go over or replace your watertight neoprene ones.

boats on shore

The next day, we tooled around the islands some more as we headed south to Blind Island, another wind- and human- power only camp. With motor boats out en force, the Tempest braved all the wakes and wind thrown at it. When the larger wakes passed by at the right angle, I found myself paddling hard and catching longer and longer surfs on these waves. I’ve been sea kayaking before in more expensive boats and never felt more comfortable surfing than in the Tempest.

After another great night spent sleeping under the stars, we made the journey back to Friday Harbor without a hitch. The biggest open-water crossing of the trip was no match for this boat. Back on shore, we stripped off our wet gear, grabbed some ice cream, and waited for the ferry to start loading; a fitting end to a great trip off “roughing it” without frozen treats. Though I’m sure you could keep things frozen in this boat with a good flexible cooler and some ice…


Bottom line: If you’re looking for a fantastic touring kayak to weather any storm and take you to your next big adventure, the Tempest may just be the boat for you. It handles well, surfs waves easily, tracks well with the skeg engaged, and stores all the gear you’ll need. I hope to take it out again on my next flat water adventure!

san juan map

The Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 is available at Mountain to Sound Outfitters for $1319.00. Charts, maps, books, paddles, PFD’s, and safety equipment also required for this trip can also be purchased at Mountain to Sound Outfitters.

Ravenous Raccoons of the San Juan Islands

Growing Up With A Park Ranger


by Tyler Goodwin

Most people growing up in Alaska have great stories with their parents from their childhood that greatly influenced how they interact with the outdoors nowadays. I am no different. My father was a park ranger in the Alaska State parks for the majority of my life and as a family we went on countless adventures. The earliest and most impactful experience in the outdoors that I can remember is floating the Sheenjek River in our family raft with my dad on the oars. We saw a wolverine at the top of a tree and dealt with the biggest mosquitoes known to planet earth. We were on the river for what seemed like weeks which was challenging for me, being so young, but I took away a lot from it. I learned that no matter what adversity one encounters, one can overcome almost any challenges in the outdoors. From that trip my confidence being outside made a significant leap which has followed me on every trip I’ve done. The fact that my dad never coddled me as a child and threw me head first into every trip was a great way to grow up in Alaska and develop my skills in the outdoors.

My father was also a huge influence in introducing me to skiing. The first memory I have is from when I could barely walk; we went on a family trip to Thompson Pass in Alaska. I was put on skis while we were watching the snowboarders roaring past. Skiing has developed into one of my greatest passions as an adult and some of the greatest times in my life have been skiing at Alyeska as well as several trips we made to Lake Tahoe and the Alta Ski Area in Utah, all with my dad. Without my father’s positive influence on me in the outdoors I wouldn’t have had all of the fantastic trip experiences I did and wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Love you Dad

Growing Up With A Park Ranger