• Bringing People Together - Josh Dirksen
 
This year, we’re shining a light on those around us who share our mission to create community – the people, organizations and places that bring individuals together to create a vibrant culture and community around our sports and lifestyle.
 
 

Josh Dirksen Kicks Off the Season

The mastermind behind snowboarding's most loved event. Words by Megan Michelson.


The twisted turns of the banked slalom disappear into the snow-drenched trees at Mount Bachelor, Oregon, an open invitation for everyone from pro snowboarders to sitskiers. Welcome to the Dirsken Derby, an event established in 2007 to raise money for snowboarder Tyler Eklund, who was paralyzed in a crash. Now in its 10th edition this December, the event also includes a photo and video contest, art show, and derby dinners — no wonder TransWorld Snowboarding once called it “snowboarding’s family reunion."

The visionary behind the whole thing? Veteran pro snowboarder Josh Dirksen, who’s helped raise $170,000 to cover Eklund’s medical expenses over the last decade. Dirksen is clear about his intentions. “I’m not doing this event for the pros. I’m doing it for everybody and I’m doing it for Tyler,” Dirksen says. “The pros come and have fun, but it’s tangible for all. Everyone can say they’re riding the same course.” This year the Dirksen Derby is  happening December 15-17th, 2017.

Dirksen doesn’t actually compete in the event, but he made a name for himself in snowboarding through competitions and film parts. He’s had top results at the Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom and standout video parts with Mack Dawg, Kingpin, Robot Food, and TGR. Now 40, he put out an all-splitboard, all-Oregon part in last fall’s film “Insight,” from TransWorld.

For Dirksen, the derby is way more than just a competition. “I enjoy getting people together. It’s something everyone looks forward to,” he says. This year, funds from the event will also support organizations like Oregon Adaptive Sports, Protect Our Winters, and the Central Oregon Avalanche Association. “We’ll always be raising money,” Dirksen says. “If there’s someone in the community who needs it, we want to be there for them.”
 
 
 
 

 

From the smooth, winding curves of the derby's banked slalom course, to the surfy, wind-sculpted waves of Mt. Bachelor's backcountry, to down days spent brewery hopping in Bend; having the right gear makes it easy to weather the storm and make the most of the mountain lifestyle. These hand-selected collections aim to help you gear up and get out to cultivate memories of your own both on and off the hill.
 
 
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Christy Pelland

The creator of an outdoor skills camp for young girls. Words by Megan Michelson.

An avid skier, Christy Pelland wanted her two daughters, ages 7 and 10, to learn the skills they needed to safely explore the mountains — navigation, shelter building, first aid, leave no trace. But instead of just teaching her kids, she thought, ‘What if we could teach all young girls these skills?’

She was already a volunteer at SheJumps, the non-profit that aims to get more women into the outdoors, so she drafted a program for SheJumps called Wild Skills, a one-day camp to teach girls ages 6 to 12 the tools they need to become adventurers. “Wild Skills is about getting girls outside, putting these skills in their hands,” Pelland says.
 
The pilot program launched in Seattle in 2015 with 51 participants. Since then, it’s expanded to seven regions nationwide. The program is free for participants and funded entirely through donations and grants. “Being in proximity to nature and challenging themselves has a strong impact on these girls. They’re looking to their peers, they’re feeding off each other,” Pelland says. “This just wasn’t something that was being offered for girls in this age range.”
 
 

Sarah Kautz

Helping kids heal through art in her spare time. Words by Megan Michelson.

Sarah Kautz is surrounded by four-year-olds. They’re making faces out of construction paper, popsicle sticks, and glitter. This isn’t your standard pre-school art project. “These are feeling masks,” Kautz explains to the kids. “Feelings can be a hard thing to grasp. We can feel scared or excited, happy or nervous. Express how you’re feeling in any way that feels right for you.”

Kautz is evo’s Design Manager, but two years ago, she started volunteering at Art With Heart, a Seattle non-profit that helps kids work through trauma with creative expression. “We’ll come into schools and use art to help kids deal with adversity or grief,” Kautz says.      
   
She leads two classes a month at a Seattle preschool, spending a few hours in the middle of her work day with children who need help. (evo encourages employees to volunteer, providing 40 hours of volunteer paid time off a year for charitable work.) “I feel like I can have a real impact,” Kautz says. “I go back week after week with the same kids and watch them grow.”