10-30-16 | THE REDDYYETI TANSNOWMAN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Tune in this Tuesday with Panda Chief TanSnowMan, as he spills his guts in a podcast interview with ReddyYeti's Josh Salvo... Also, enter for a chance to win a pair of Panda Poles, a $200 Evo gift card, and some fresh merino socks from Point6!
Sign up for the contest today at ReddyYeti.com/blog/panda-poles, and make sure to tune in Nov. 1st for the exclusive interview!
08-14-16 | HANDCRAFTED BY FREESKIERS
Panda Poles have always been crafted with a deep sense of playfulness and authenticity. It’s not that they are just eclectic and rootsy. It’s that every person who has ever had a hand in crafting them is a passionate, die-hard skier. Their connection to skiing has been entwined into this brand at its deepest level, and our love for the mountains, air, water, animals, plants, and people is present in every pair of wands that goes out our door. We love life on planet Earth, and we celebrate skiing To it’s core…
And that, my friends, is just another reason that Panda Poles are more than just ski poles. Panda Poles are magic ski wands...
Panda Poles Bamboo Ski Poles
08-14-16 | PANDA DOJO X
Every year since we’ve been in business, Panda Chief TanSnowMan has had to work other jobs just to get through the summer and pay the bills. But this year we lined things up so he is able to spend his summer prepping poles in the Dojo.
"And let me tell you, working so hard for such little pay never felt so right!" -TanSnowMan
08-14-16 | JUMPING JUNIPERS
In the quiet hills of SE Idaho, there exists a boisterous world of bike trails, sage brush, and junipers, known only by a few brave souls. And when the snows eventually recede, the trails come alive with billows of dust, and echoes of laughter and stoke. Because if there’s no snow, at least there’s dirt.
Panda Poles… Tribe UP!
08-14-16 | HANDCRAFTED IN THE USA
The smell of sawdust wafts through the room, as the whine of an electric drill stirs the silence.
Peaceful intentions in motion like steady waves upon the ocean. With focus and attention, distracted only by perfection, two hands doth work as one.
Seeding dreams of magic and wonder into the hands of those who ski, and those who see; that the cost of making goods in China, is more than just money. The cost of making all goods in China is a potentially destructive luxury.
With corporation profit inflation, worker wage stagnation, and dismal working conditions overseas; we are but only playing a real life game of Monopoly.
The cost of only making goods in China is a decaying middle class economy. The cost is a loss of spirit; that which no one can see…
08-14-16 | PANDA DOJO IX
All’s well in the Panda Dojo! Today, TanSnowMan and Bo unload a fresh shipment of boxes. Kody rejoins the crew for the season. The build crew welcomes on a new member named Colin. Angel Collinson takes a moment out of her busy schedule to show the boys how to really hustle. And the Panda Tribe throws a little get together at Pocatello’s Museum of Clean.
Oh, and you can’t forget Kash, the shop dog!
08-14-16 | SHRED THE ROCK 2K16
For the local Panda Tribe, the opening day is the best day of the year at Panda's home mountain "The Rock"...
Join TanSnowMan as he follows Bo Ferro, Sander Hadley, Kody Kirkland, Matt Tsakrios and Lee Swassing around Pebble Creek Ski Area for "Opening The Rock"!
As the snow stacks up here in SE Idaho, the build crew takes the day off from the Dojo, to cut loose at their home mountain, "The Rock"!
It's the time of the season at Panda's home mountain--The Rock!
Tribe UP with Bo Ferro, Matt Tsakrios, Justin Dewall, Lee Swassing, and Panda Chief TanSnowMan, as they harvest some goods at the SE Idaho ski hill on January 17th...
Filmed in the infamous Dirty Lines zone of "The Rock", take a magic carpet ride with Panda Chief TanSnowMan, as he follows Justin Dewall, and Bo Ferro through the gnarled crag...
When the snow cakes 'The Rock' like it has this season, the local Panda Tribe grabs their saddles, and they Pony UP!
Better grab the reins and hold on tight!
We were there, with the snow flying and laughter echoing through the canyons and hills. Another ski season come and gone, and as the snows recede into a memory, we reflect on the previous months, and remind ourselves of the excitement which was once so strongly seated in our souls. But for now, we must do our best to hold that stoke in our hearts, and be grateful for the joy which we shared only what seems just moments ago… Here’s to what was another amazing season on the snow...
Panda Poles. Tribe UP!
08-14-16 | PANDA DOJO VIII
All’s well down at the Panda Dojo and TanSnowMan gets a wild hare to reorganize. Our buddy Wayne grabs some bamboo for a fence, and Justin Joni and Jayme Lynn swing by to help out with the sorting. Oh, and there’s Mozes! Then Bo Ferro shows up, and the rest of the gang can relax...
08-14-16 | PANDA DOJO VII: STABLE ROOTS
08-14-16 | PPSHR 2K15
After several years of below average snowfall, and last year having one of the lowest snowpacks in the history of the western U.S., it's easy to become discouraged by skiing's potentially detrimented future. And if you pay attention to the news, it's easy to feel that the whole world is falling apart.
However, there are those of us that believe that regardless of whether the first day of the season gets rained out, or it hasn’t snowed in weeks and there is dirt showing everywhere. Or even if it seems like the whole world is going crazy, the mountain is our temple, and every joyful jump and turn is an expression of our heart, and a prayer for world peace...
May we present to you, Part I of III of the Panda Poles Season Highlight Reel 2K15!
The first day of the season may have ended after only 3 runs, and it may have rained to the top of the mountain the following night... There may have only been a 36" base for most of the season, and the mountain may have closed a month early... Regardless of the conditions, a few passionate individuals managed to make the most of Pebble Creek's "worst season on record", and had an absolutely radical time with their friends and fellow Panda Tribe members at "The Rock"!
It's not the conditions that dictate the quality of the season. It's the amount of stoke one can cultivate that creates the richness of anyone's on-snow experience...
Part III of the 2015 Panda Poles Season Highlight Reel, this one's all about gratitude. There is only one “I” in gratitude, and any one person’s happiness is a direct reflection of what they are grateful for...
We at Panda Poles know that regardless of the conditions, any day of skiing is a blessing and a luxury, and for that, we are eternally grateful for this sport...
Last summer, Panda Poles co-founders Oakley White-Allen and TanSnowMan ventured east of the Mississippi with the infamous JenkStars, to help create an interactive sustainable living arts and music venue at Electric Forest Music Festival...
One of the primary objectives of the JenkStars is to educate and illuminate the public about sustainable living. Designed by Scotty Soltronic, the “Smartship” is a self contained vessel which comes complete with all the necessities for creating self reliance in an off grid system. Of these necessities are components such as Solar Energy, Water Catchment, Aquaponics, spirulina and organic micro green cultivation, composting toilets, and compost gasification. All the parts and pieces fit together to create a closed loop system, which can potentially maintain itself indefinitely. Festival goers had a chance to learn about the these systems, explore spirulina under a microscope, or watch water boil from concentrating solar rays. This simple demonstration left a lasting impression on the hundreds, if not thousands of people who ventured into the Illuminarium throughout the weekend... Oh, not to mention, there was some music and art...
Tribe UP JenkStars!
08-14-16 | PANDA SAFETY TUBE
Go behind the scenes with one of Panda's newest products!
Stay safe with a Panda Safety Tube! Whether you need to start a fire, carry some emergency fishing gear, or stash your valuables, this bamboo tube is water-tight, buoyant, and hand-crafted in the USA from our up-cycled bamboo cutoff waste!
01-18-16 | I HAVE A DREAM
To this day--over 52 years after they were spoken--the words of Martin Luther King Jr. still ring the tones of freedom and justice around the globe. But although we have made
It's often too easy to flick through the thousands of photos we see every week on social media without giving a second thought to the story behind the photo, or thinking about what it took to "get the shot"... Many times, to get the shot, there are weeks or months of preparation and patience. Sometimes it even takes years for the conditions to be just right to capture such moments. And in some cases the story behind the shot is more compelling than the actual photographic evidence. The following is the story of how Panda Chief TanSnowMan and Brent Benson Photography achieved "gettin' the shot" on an evening adventure from November 24th, 2012:
It had been a balmy afternoon, but the early season snowfalls had made for decent conditions above 8,000'. There were few clouds in the sky, and as the hour hand reached 3, the duo set out on their mission. Brent Benson had been eyeballing a feature at the top of the Wasatch Mountains for a few years, yet had not found the opportunity to shoot it since he first glimpsed its potential.
This "feature", a relic from the mining days of the Wasatch, dates back to 1875. The Silver Fork mine had been producing valuable metals for the last quarter of the 19th century, however once the mine "dried up" they moved the operations elsewhere, leaving behind an old steam powered winch, complete with a boiler and 10' tall smokestack. From when Brent first saw the smokestack, he knew that somebody would probably someday do a handplant on top of it, and he wanted to be the one to photograph it.
Brent had approached Oakley White-Allen with the concept to shoot this handplant, and Oakley quickly referred Brent to Panda Chief TanSnowMan--a guy he knew had an affinity for hand plants. After a couple days of coordinating, Brent and TanSnowMan had set a time and place to meet.
As they began their 1,600' ascent from the Alta Ski Area parking lot, the Sun was quickly dropping over the Oquihhr Mountains on the opposite side of the Salt Lake Valley. It was supposed to be a full Moon that night, and the sky was perfectly calm and clear. Brent was feeling optimistic about the conditions, but being that he had never skied with or photographed with the TanSnowMan, he was still unsure if the Panda Chief had the skills it would take to make this shoot work.
The moon had just started peeking over the ridge to their East as the two approach the old mine. With only headlamps and marginal moonlight, it was difficult to see the details of the boiler and smokestack. Regardless, TanSnowMan could already tell this was going to be a formidable project as he stared at the silhouette of the towering cast iron smokestack.
"We're gonna have to make a drop in starting over there," Brent gestures towards the rocky mountainside 30 ft uphill from the smokestack, "just make sure you don't fall into the mine. It's something like 600' deep." His gaze shifts just 20 ft. to the North, to the pitch black opening adjacent to the alleged "drop in".
Knots begin turning in TanSnowMan's stomach as he realizes the proximity of this bottomless pit to the proposed super-sketchy, rock-covered drop in. In his mind, he sees the mouth of a giant sand worm filled with gnashing teeth. "Welp (gulps)...at least the Moon will shine some light for us soon," his shaky voice, tries to maintain some positivity.
After an hour and a half of shaping a jump on top of an old spool of inch thick winch cable, and tossing snow as high up on the drop in as possible, TanSnowMan is ready to give it a try. Meanwhile, Brent is busy setting up his lighting array of 2 strobes, a yellow lamp, a red flashlight, and a yellow flashlight. "We're going to keep the shutter open for 30 seconds and pop the strobe as soon as you're on the stack. Sound good?" Brent checks with the weary Chief.
"Okee Doke! I think I've got this..." Replies TanSnowMan
The moon is high in the sky and the whole scene is illuminated by it's whitish glow. The first few jumps are test jumps, as TanSnowMan makes sure he has enough height to launch himself, partially inverted, towards the iron behemoth. A few tweaks are made to the jump and more snow is added to the drop in. With each attempt, TanSnowMan works his way--with edges eerily scraping against the jagged rock--higher and higher onto the rocky mountainside above the mineshaft, until finally he reaches a spot with enough height to get the proper speed.
"Ting! Kachink! Thud!"
"Ting! Kachink! Thud!"
"Ting! Kachink! Thud!"
The sound of clinking iron, immediately followed by the sound of a double strobe, and the thud of a body slamming the flat, snow covered ground beneath the smokestack begin to loop every 3 or 4 minutes, as TanSnowMan repeatedly hurls himself--partially inverted--toward the massive steam winch. The angle of the jump, coupled with the slow snow conditions, gnarly drop in, and low visibility creates a difficult situation for TanSnowMan to reach full extension on the handplant, causing him to come crashing down, with a massive thud, over and over. They still haven't gotten the shot, and with only so many beatings left in him, he begins to feel the agony of defeat. "Just give it one more try!" Yells Brent from his post 40 ft. away.
"Ting! Kachink! Thud!" The sound is the same, but this time the outcome is different. With just a little extra oomph, TanSnowMan manages to get himself to an almost fully extended position, giving Brent the pose he needed to make the shot come together. "I think we nailed it! Come check it out!" Brent yells.
The two review the shot together, and both agree that they got what they came for. However, TanSnowMan thinks he can get even just a little more extension, and decides to give it one more try.
"Ting! Kachink! Thud! Ahhhh!" A painful groan unfolds into the night air. The Panda Chief is sprawled out on the ground clutching his right shoulder. "Damnit! This is my good shoulder," he says as he slowly pushes the humoral head of his right arm back into it's socket. "I used to pop it in and out for fun when I was a kid, but it's never stayed out like this before", he gestures to Brent, showing him his freshly displaced limb.
"You gonna be okay to ski down?" Brent inquires while helping TanSnowMan back to his feet.
"I'll just make sure I don't fall on the way down," he replies.
The two gather Brent's gear together and ski 1600' back down the sticky, mucky snow, under the pale November moonlight, TanSnowMan timidly working his way down the slope without falling on his freshly tenderized appendage. After a 45 minute commute back down the hill, it's almost 11PM, and the two men are exhausted. Although it ended with a shoulder dislocation, Brent is confident that they got the shot he had in his mind for the last three or four years. He expresses his appreciation for TanSnowMan's tireless devotion, they say their goodbyes, and drive their separate ways down a star-filled Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The shot was eventually submitted to various U.S. publications, but was never selected by the editors. After over a year of holding the shot, Brent decided the time had come that he was willing to offer licensing rights to Panda Poles. And now, after exactly 3 years, we are releasing the photo to our fans!
Although to this day, the Panda Chief still has shoulder issues from that final crash, he and Brent managed to accomplish the goal of "Gettin' The Shot"... And let us assure you, this one's goin' above the mantle...
Tribe UP Brent Benson Photography!
08-16-15 | THE PANDA DOJO (PART VI): SUMMER SHOOTS
So what does Panda Poles do during the summer exactly?
Join Panda Chief TanSnowMan as he preps a hundred pair order for a new Japanese distributor, and speaks his mind on keeping his hands dirty in the Panda Dojo...
Panda Poles Bamboo Ski Poles
08-16-15 | PANDA POLES CAMERA WAND
Infomercial Narrator: Have you always wanted to get that perfect self portrait, but just didn’t have arms long enough to make it look cool? Does your selfie stick make you feel like you’re holding a TV antenna? Are you ready to live a more natural lifestyle? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have just the solution for you!
May we present to you the Panda Poles Camera Wand! Now your friends and family will never again miss a moment of your life with this perfectly engineered bamboo camera mount! Just imagine!
Camera Wand Available only at PandaPoles.com/collections/special-edition!
08-16-15 | TREKKING ONWARD
There is a treasure waiting to be discovered… It is not a treasure of fantastic riches and material wealth… It is but a treasure of the heart… And there is only one way to find it… In the face of uncertainty and fear, we must keep trekking onward... And onward we trek… Looking to the light for the truth… Listening to nature for the answers... And sometimes in our journey, we must stray from the path to find what is true… Balance is key, and we can only take one step at a time... Many obstacles may stand in the way… Many challenges may present themselves on the path to freedom... But onward we trek, clearing the way for our soul to soar... Confronting and working through what is in front of us… And but only for a moment do we have the opportunity to taste the water of life… And onward we trek… Planting seeds of goodness within ourselves… Creating peace within the world… And onward we trek...
Panda Poles… Tribe UP!
Panda Trekking Wands available for $85 only at PandaPoles.com/collections/special-edition!
Panda Poles Bamboo Ski Poles
08-16-15 | WANDER FORTH
The spiritual warrior is one with nature… Wandering with the land… Combatting self ignorance… Strengthening self will… Guided by spirit… Helping others through wisdom… A heroic being, with brave mind and ethical impulse… The journey to Shambala is now… Wander forth spiritual warrior...
Panda Wander Wand available only at PandaPoles.com/collection/special-edition!
Panda Poles Bamboo Ski Poles
08-16-15 | FACE THE WASTE
We at Panda Poles don't take too many things seriously. However when it comes to ecological responsibility, all joking gets put on hold...
For the past 9 months, rather than sending our waste off every week, we have been collecting and storing it at our facility, the "Panda Dojo". We felt it would be a powerful exercise for ourselves and tangible example for the population at large to create this intimate relationship and awareness around our waste stream... In doing so, we created less than 100 lbs. of actual garbage during the 2014/2015 ski season!
We hope this video serves as an inspiration to others--especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector--to create more awareness and responsibility around their own waste stream.
Panda Poles Bamboo Ski Poles