Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebrate Fourth of July at NOC

Include at stop at NOC in your holiday plans this weekend, because we're celebrating Independence Day in style!

Our Sizzling Fourth of July Sales Days kick off on Friday, when NOC's Outfitter's Store opens a sidewalk sale in addition to the big deal: Anyone who purchases a new boat gets a $200 NOC gift certificate!

Friday night, get ready to stomp your feet as Brushfire Stankgrass plays The Pourover. This Asheville band takes Southern music to the next level! Check out their MySpace page here. The Pourover is a great place to hang out after a day on the river, with more than 20 cold beers to choose from and a sweet view of the Nantahala.

For the first time ever, NOC is opening up the Ropes Challenge Course for climbing sessions this weekend! Featuring 20' and 40' circuits, NOC's Ropes Challenge Course includes obstacles like the playpen, Burma bridge, balance beam and fidget ladder. The course concludes in the 35' breathtaker swing or a gentle climb down the rat trip. The Alpine Tower will also be open for climbing sessions. NOC's Alpine Tower is over 50 feet tall and has 26 different routes to the platform at the top. Here's the schedule for this weekend's climbing sessions:

Friday, July 3 Alpine Tower Sampler
Saturday, July 4 Ropes Course Sessions
9am—noon and 1pm—5pm

Alpine Tower Sampler
Sunday, July 5 Alpine Tower Sampler
10am—noon and 1pm—3pm

Full details are available on the Sizzling Fourth of July's official page.

Here are some photos from last year's Sizzling Fourth of July Sales Days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pourover Grand Opening Re-Cap

Hey Party People!

If you missed the Grand Opening Celebration of NOC's Pourover, you missed an awesome time! Just as the sun began to set over the Nanty Gorge, our friends from Highland Brewing, French Broad Brewery and Star Hill Brewery set up on the brand-new riverside deck, offering ample samples of their best brews.

A few hundred people turned out to enjoy the event on the shore of the Nantahala River. When the sun went down, the crowd was treated to some rockin' music by Asheville's own, The Trainwreks. The new deck at the Pourover proved big enough to accommodate those enjoying a beer as well as a nice-sized dancing floor, which we of course put to good use.

Personally, I'm super psyched that the Pourover is now open. It's a perfect fit here at NOC, a great way to end an active day, and perhaps the best open-air bar west of Asheville. You can check out all the photos from the event by clicking here.

Want to visit? The Pourover opens at 5pm every Wednesday through Saturday for the remainder of the summer. As part of the Sizzling 4th of July Sales Days, the Pourover will host musical act Brushfire Stankgrass of Asheville on Friday, July 3. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Pourover's Grand Opening Celebration Saturday Night

So, here's the scoop. There's a beer tasting starting at 6pm featuring French Broad Brewing Company, Highland Brewing Company and Starr Hill Brewery. Not only will you get to sample some cool beers (my favorites from each: Altbier, St. Terese's Pale Ale, Jomo Lager), but there's probably going to be a bunch of schwag too.

Also, the Outfitter's Store is offering shoppers a free NOC pint glass with any $25 purchase between 6-8pm on Saturday, so you can even go shop for some sandals or a backpack while you're here and get a souvenir.

Then at 8pm is the main event, The Trainwreks, WNC's favorite Alt/Country band. This won't be background music; it's going to be a hard-driving, hoop-and-holler kind of thing, so leave your sport jackets and bow ties at home. You can check out The Trainwreks' sound here.

If you're tired of hot, stuffy summer shows, this one will be right beside the Nantahala. The deck is covered, so don't worry about weather, but otherwise open.

See you there!

NOC's Alpine Tower

Before I worked for NOC I was a guest, and for years I thought NOC was mostly just the Outfitter's Store, Slow Joe's Cafe and River's End Restaurant. Of course I saw the NOC flotilla on the river, but as a kayaker I mainly tried to avoid getting run over by rafts.

I couldn't have been more mistaken. NOC has so many offerings that one of our biggest challenges in the marketing department is trying to present our full line of activities in a sense-making way, and the Alpine Tower is one of those offerings that sometimes gets buried in our mountains of programming.

What is it? Located at our Nantahala River campus, the Alpine Tower is a 50-foot-tall climbing structure with over 26 different routes to the top through obstacles with names like the floating logs, the diabolical seesaw and the corporate ladder. Though the Alpine Tower is usually just open to groups of 10 to 24 guests, our summer Alpine Tower sampler is open to the public Wednesday and Friday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30, so anyone can do it. Because a description still can't help most folks imagine what it's like, I've included a video below. Make sure you see the helmet cam view of the swing; it's pretty sweet.

(The video is widescreen, hence the squashed look. Click on the video to see a full-size version on You Tube.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Freight Hoppers Tear it Up at The Pourover

In an impromptu gathering at The Pourover, Western North Carolina's Freight Hoppers brought some down home bluegrass to the Nantahala Gorge. On Saturday June 13th, the band wowed a crowd of over a hundred who were on hand at the NOC.

The Band consists of David Bass - fiddle/footwork, Frank Lee - banjos/steel guitar/vocals, Isaac Deal - guitars/vocals, Bradley Adams - stringbass. They are based in Bryson City, NC and entertain visitors to the Nantahala Gorge daily as they make their way onto the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.

The Pourover is NOC's new late night gathering place on the river. It is THE place in the Nantahala Gorge to get hand crafted brews and listen to great local bands. This coming weekend, be sure to check out the official Grand Opening with music by The Trainwreks from Asheville, NC.

For pictures of the band playing at The Pourover click here:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Outdoor Photographer Richard Bernabe at NOC Tonight

Renowned outdoor photographer Richard Bernabe will be at Nantahala Outdoor Center's Pourover Pub this evening showing a slideshow of his best work in the Southeast, titled Capturing the Nature of Southern Landscapes.  This is a free show and will take place at 7:30pm.

This presentation will be the third in the "NOC Adventure Travel Presents" series which features presentations from NOC Adventure Travel veterans. The first presentation, "The Kanekatok Return: Fishing for Salmon and Rainbows in Southwest Alaska" by JEB Hall, author of Western North Carolina Fly Guide was held last Saturday, and we will hold a series of 19 presentations over the Summer. There are four more presentations this month, please go to for our full scheudle.

June 2009
6/12 Capturing the Nature of Southern Landscapes
Photography Presentation, with Richard Bernabee

6/18 Nantahala Know How
The Merits of Fly Fishing the Land of the Noonday Sun, with J.E.B. Hall

6/24 Costa Rica
Adventures in Eco-tourism, with Chris Port

6/27 Extreme Kayaking in Panama with Rob Barham

Monday, June 8, 2009

NOC/Dagger Freestyle Shootout Features $10,000 in Prizes

The second annual NOC/Dagger Freestyle Shootout is set for August 1-2 this summer, and it'll be twice as big as our very-successful 2008 event. Proof? The purse is twice as big, there're twice as many sponsors and, instead of fumbling around with an ipod, we're gonna have a DJ spinning on the bridge during the event. Sweet. Combine live music Saturday night at the venue-bordering Pourover (our new riverside pub), some brewery reps handing out schwag and our spectator-friendly campus, and you've got all the ingredients for the best freestyle paddling festival in the East.

Also, we've changed the scoring system to make the action more spectator friendly. Into cartwheels? We are too, but only so many. Therefore, in addition to the standard technical and variety judges we've added a "Personal Style" judge who will evaluate contestants on "ride presentation and crowd involvement". You'll have to throw some big moves, or at least try them, to win.

For those of you wondering what the heck a kayaking freestyle competition is, well, it's similar to a half-pipe freestyle event in skateboarding. Kayakers compete at a single feature, in this case a stationary breaking wave, and perform tricks like cartwheels, loops (full flips) , blunts (really fast, near vertical turns that spew a curtain of water) and even dynamic airborne manuevers that require the paddler to spin while totally out of the water. Think X-Games for whitewater, right here in western North Carolina on the Nantahala River.

For a casual spectator it's a really cool event. Hang out by the river, enjoy the scene, watch some stellar athletes, do your own water activities, come back and enjoy the festivities at night. I recommend bringing a lawn chair and plopping down in the shade. Below are some photos of the 2008 event, so you can get a feel for the scene (courtesy of Pat McDonnell).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Renowned Outdoor Photographer to Speak at NOC

Richard Bernabe, one of the nation’s preeminent outdoor photographers and author of South Carolina Wonder and Light and the upcoming The Ultimate Guide to Digital Nature Photography will host a slideshow presentation Friday, June 12 at 7:30. His free two-hour show will take place at The Pourover, Nantahala Outdoor Center’s (NOC’s) new pub beside the Nantahala River, and will feature some of his best Southeastern photographs.

Additionally, Mr. Bernabe will teach a beginner’s digital photography workshop at NOC September 18-20th, which will take advantage of NOC’s location on the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Mr. Bernabe serves as editor-in-chief for Nature Photographers Online Magazine and as a managing partner of Mountain Trail Press. Canon USA’s 2009 corporate calendar, Portraits of Wind, features 13 of Mr. Bernabes photographs.

This presentation will be the third in the "NOC Adventure Travel Presents" series which features presentations from NOC Adventure Travel veterans. The first presentation, "The Kanekatok Return: Fishing for Salmon and Rainbows in Southwest Alaska" by JEB Hall, author of Western North Carolina Fly Guide, is scheduled for Saturday at The Pourover.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mountain Biking Flint Ridge at NOC

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Here's a video starring yours truly riding on Flint Ridge. I'm not pretending to be a good rider, but since the trail is just up the hill from where I work (above Relia's Garden at the Nantahala campus), I get up there almost everyday. It's an awesome trail, rolling, beautiful and fast, and it isn't very used either probably because the nine switchbacks at the start are something of a gate-keeping mechanism.

If you want to try it yourself, and you don't ride often, park at our recycling center. It'll save you from a miserably long uphill, and what's left is still pretty challenging. There's also a shorter loop if you're pressed on time. While it's no Tsali trail, it's a great way to bookend a day at NOC, and I guess you can always do a short/long combo to make it a bit longer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nantahala Outdoor Center Forging Ahead with Major Growth Plans

There’s no time to expand like the worst recession in decades. That’s the motto of Sutton Bacon, the 29-year-old CEO of the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The employee-owned company, best known as the operator of one of the country’s foremost whitewater paddling schools and commercial rafting outfits, is forging ahead with a major retail expansion.
"A downturn is a terrible thing to waste," said Bacon. "If ever there is a more import time to push forward with product development, this is it. We are creating more, new relevant experiences and are expecting revenue this year to increase 20 percent in the face of everyone cutting costs and marketing."
Bacon is so confident of NOC’s growth prospects that he testified about them May 20 to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NOC at Mountain Sports Festival

This past weekend, the marketing team from Nantahala Outdoor Center attended the Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville, NC. NOC was in full force next to the VIP tent and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine giving away a $400.00 gift card  and the lucky winner was Steve Nordt of Hendersonville, NC. Congratulations Steve!

The festival was huge success.  After what seems like months of rain, (which keeps the water levels high) the sun came out all weekend.  The festival hosted competitions throughout the weekend beginning with Rock-2-Rock Trail Run in Black Mountain and the Disc Golf Variety Show at Festival Village showcasing some of the best disc golf tricks and shots.  Things heated up on Saturday with a full schedule of high-energy competitions and clinics highlighted by the Mountain Disc Golf Experience, the Wheel Ride for Food Metric and Century Rides, Whitewater Clinics, Mission Hospital’s Sunset Stampede and Kid’s Stampede, Climbing Clinics, Land Rover Driving School Demonstrations, Dodgeball Tournament and the ClimbMax MSF Climbing Competition.  

And by Sunday, the events were still in high gear with day two of the Mountain Disc Golf Experience, Competition, and the Ultimate Frisbee Clinic.

The Festival Village was going solid, beginning Friday night with Jazz the RipperSilas Durocher and Everybody Knows and lastly The Bridge.  Saturday showed us The CheekstersIf You WannasShane Pruitt,HeypennyNerd Parade. On Sunday the bands were WilsinVertigo Jazz Project, and Austrailia’s Geoff Achison.

Thanks to everyone who came out and support the festival and the NOC!