Thursday, October 29, 2009

NOC Encourages Use of Alternative I-40 Detour With Promise of Scenery and Special Discount

WESSER, NC (October 29, 2009)— Hoping to entice rerouted I-40 traffic onto western North Carolina’s scenic byways, Nantahala Outdoor Center is publicizing a “Detour Discount” that offers a 10% savings to thru-travelers staying in NOC’s lodging. The discount—which is good through the rest of the year and may be extended until the damaged section of I-40 is reopened to traffic—encourages travelers to use the “Southern Detour” as an alternative to NCDOT’s proposed detour.

NOC’s pitch to travelers focuses on the southern route’s scenic splendor, as the route winds through the Nantahala Scenic Byway and the Ocoee Scenic Byway—both designated by the US Department of Transportation as National Scenic Byways. “For travelers able to circumvent the Knoxville area completely on their way to and from Asheville and Nashville, the southern detour provides a less-traveled and more scenic option than the interstate” says Charles Conner, NOC’s Marketing Director.

The southern detour is actually 17 miles shorter than the NCDOT’s recommended route, which requires travelers to take I-81 to Johnson City and I-26 back to Asheville, though the southern alternative does take longer due to two-lane roads in the river gorges. Starting from Asheville, the southern route goes West on I-40, exiting onto US 74 in Waynesville. From Waynesville travelers stay on the same highway all the way to Cleveland, TN (though US 74 becomes TN 64 upon crossing the state line). From Cleveland travelers take I-75 30 miles to Chattanooga, and then take I-24 to Nashville. Other than two-lane sections through the Ocoee and Nantahala River gorges, the entire route is four lanes.

“Why not take the detour?” says Conner. “It’s fall and it’s magnificent out here. Being forced to divert through this beautiful area is more reward than consequence.” Conner hopes to see thru-travelers book lodging in a time of year that is typically NOC’s off-season. Travelers will be able to use the discount on both NOC’s cabins and motel rooms, situated in the middle of the Nantahala River Gorge.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

National Geographic Adventure Chooses NOC for One of "25 Best New Trips"

National Geographic ADVENTURE’s November issue touts Nantahala Outdoor Center’s (NOC) 2010 Bolivia expedition as one of the “25 Best New Trips for 2010.” The August expedition—a joint effort with nonprofit Medicforce—aims to bring first aid training and medical attention to remote riverside communities only accessible by running seven days of class IV-V whitewater on the Tuichi River.

The list includes extraordinary adventures across the globe such as biking through Pacific jungles, trekking into the Arctic Circle and snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga. According to the list’s introduction, “travelers want their dollars to do more—for others, for the planet, for themselves… [h]ere are 25 brand-new adventures, all of them just right for right now.” NGA labeled the expedition a “difference maker” trip, noting its objectives: delivering medical supplies, conducting basic physical exams and relaying information about common health threats.

Jono Bryant, director of Adventure Travel and Wilderness Medicine at NOC commented, “I’m elated that National Geographic ADVENTURE recognized this trip. It is sure to be challenging, but the rewards will be significant. This is a proper expedition that will have positive outcomes for people who live out of reach of traditional medical care. The trip is a totally new concept that has huge potential worldwide. I’m thankful that NOC continues to push the boundaries of whitewater by providing these new and exciting opportunities.”

About NOC’s Boaters without Border Expedition to Bolivia
The Bolivia expedition is the first trip for Boaters Without Borders (BWB)—a new series of unique, expedition-based trips conceived by NOC in association with medical relief charity MedicForce, combining NOC's whitewater expertise with volunteerism in remote riverside communities. Teams of kayakers, medical professionals and expert raft guides will travel to areas of remote jungle only accessible by rivers, training locals to treat basic medical conditions and recognize more serious ones. These individuals are then provided with a comprehensive first-aid kit and interpretative material.

The initial expedition to Bolivia explores the rarely visited whitewater of the Rio Tuichi, in northern Bolivia. This river flows through Madidi National Park, part of one of the largest tracts of protected land in the world. The 21-day adventure begins in La Paz and travels through the upper Amazon basin, with stops in remote villages to deliver medical relief in the form of supplies and sustainable education.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NOC Honors Dagger, Immersion Research with 2009 Paddlesports Manufacturer Awards

Nantahala Outdoor Center announces the first-annual selections for Paddlesports Manufacturers of the Year. With 37 years as a leader in the paddlesports industry, NOC has selected two companies to receive top honors in two categories: Dagger Kayaks was named Kayak Manufacturer of the Year, and Immersion Research was recognized for excellence in paddling accessories.

Sutton Bacon, President and CEO of NOC, said of the awards “We are proud to present these honors to two highly motivated manufacturers who have been great partners in our industry.” NOC works with hundreds of top-quality brands, and selecting top companies in particular was a challenge. Bacon explained, “We resisted offering this award in the past, as there are many quality companies out there, but we felt the time was right to begin recognizing the companies who go above and beyond in our industry.”

Dagger is a well-established leader in the paddlesports industry. In 2009, Dagger made concerted efforts to engage paddlers in online programs such as Paddle it Forward and Dagger Community. Their dedicated sales force, highlighted by Rep. Adam Motes, accompanied by a team of accomplished athletes promoted kayaking in a way that strengthened the popularity of paddling across the board. In 2009, these Dagger ambassadors were seen around NOC more than any other company, promoting a quality product and a general love for paddling.

While only a handful of kayak manufacturers exist in the market, companies that make paddling accessories are almost limitless. NOC honored Immersion Research (IR) in recognition for innovation and customer engagement. From drysuits, tops and pants, spray skirts and decks, hip apparel, layering options and accessories like pogies and creek bags, IR makes products that are functional and prized by paddlers everywhere. IR is one of the most active paddling companies in the social media space, and has utilized their website to highlight user comments and reviews. Sales Rep. Spencer Cooke has been integral in customer engagement, and a quick scan of their site shows their dedication to talking to their customers not just listening.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Prime Time for Nantahala Anglers

We're just a week away from NOC's first-ever Nantahala One-Fly Fishing Competition. With the water now turned off by Duke Power, it's a great time to practice those casts on the Nantahala River.

The competition begins early Saturday morning, October 17, when anglers register for the weekend's event. Saturday features several casting-based qualifyer competitions, including "Hoop There it Is", "High Roller", "Quick Fish" and "Handy Angler". In addition to these competitions, NOC Fishing will offer 40% off all gear in the Wesser General Store & Fly Shop. A gear swap is free and open to the public.

Bluegrass group "The Tuckaseegee Playboys" take the stage at The Pourover beginning at 7pm. With members from The Freighthoppers, The Bluegrass Lumber Company and Queen Anne's Revenge, the Playboys are like a WNC supergroup converging at NOC.

Sunday features the actual One-Fly Tournament, where anglers will go head to head in four hours of fishing with a single fly for a cash prize. For a complete list of competition rules, click here.

Grab your gear, practice those casts and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery here on the Nantahala River. You might even win some cold cash!

Friday, October 2, 2009

SOLO Southeast's Jono Bryant visits SOLO HQ in New Hampshire

Jono Bryant, head of NOC's Adventure Travel and SOLO Southeast Wilderness Medicine recently returned from a field trip to New Hampshire, where he visited the SOLO headquarters for an instructor enrichment weekend. He brought back these pictures:

Frank Hubbel and his wife, Lee Frizzell are the founders of Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities, the pioneer school of wilderness medicine certification and training. They are still active in the organization, currently working to develop SOLO schools abroad, with major projects in South America and Africa. NOC opened SOLO Southeast back in 2007 as a destintion for SOLO training in western NC.

The famous Stonehearth for which SOLO is named has been updated for more energy efficiency. SOLO has more than 100 instructors on the road, teaching courses in the field. This weekend instructors were invited back to New Hampshire to receive training updates and instruction enrichment. Instructors were also able to catch up on new procedures and guidelines to ensure the highest level of training in SOLO courses.

Here, a new splinting technique utilizing two splints is demonstrated by Josh McMillan, assistant education director at SOLO. This technique is being introduced into the curriculum. All new technique methods are assessed by the top brass at SOLO before being added to the rigorous curriculum.

Here, Jono coordinates a rescue scenario with other instructors. The scenario is a simulated 'deer kick' to the chest.

NOC is proud to be the home of SOLO Southeast, where this winter, you can enroll in a Wilderness EMT intensive course. This 4-week course covers the EMT basic certification, with a 5-day Wilderness Module completing the course. Click here for more information on the WEMT program at NOC's SOLO Southeast.