A Carbon Neutral Detour in BC – Tamo Campos

Words By Tamo Campos

Our trip has taken quite the detour. We decided to come back through Vancouver instead of taking the ferry to Prince Rupert. The decision was mostly to save our diminished funds and secondly because one of the kids in Alert Bay brought up the point that driving on veggie oil is more sustainable than taking diesel ferries. We agree. So, on the road we go.

On the road again.

On the road again.

The detour ended up being a blessing in disguise. On our road up to Squamish we met Dylan. He’s a ripper and runs his Toyota Landcruiser on veggie oil. Not only that he uses a system (made completely from thrift shop purchases) that gives him 20% better mileage. The magic consists of two salad prongs, electrical wire, baking soda and a thermos. He uses the excess electricity from the alternator to flow into the salad prongs, which sit in backing soda and water. The reaction creates hydrogen and oxygen (out of water), and then sends it into the air intake. He told us combustible engines only get 30% of the energy within the fuel that is burnt. The rest goes out your tail pipe!! Insane no. We’ve been looking up these systems and it looks really easy. (Soon as we find a good thrift shop Boris the bus will be getting some better millage!)

John approving of the system!

John approving of the system!

From Squamish, we cruised the Duffy lake into Quesnel. Just outside of Lilloet, we ran into our friend Sam driving the other direction..  He’s a 23 year old surfer that we met in Tofino some years back. He’s been living in Prince Rupert the past couple years with his daughter Hannah.

John taking about 30 seconds to convince Sam to turn the other way and join us on the trip.

John taking about 30 seconds to convince Sam to turn the other way and join us on the trip.

Sam’s been working in Grande Prairie the last couple months on a fracking rig! He originally got into the industry because of the money while not knowing much about it. Listening to his insight in the industry is heavy.

His stories of how ruthless the oil and gas industries are incredible. They’ve hit me hard and I’m beginning to realize how important it is to regulate this industry. I’ve had trouble sleeping after hearing stories of entire lakes and rivers being sucked dry in Northern BC and Alberta. One story struck especially hard. He told us how in every camp he’s worked at every single tap says “DO NOT DRINK WATER!”  He told us how everyone on the lease is forced to drink bottled water. This is the same industry that advertises as being cleaner burning and not affecting ground water.

That is simply not the case. It’s time we start doing what other countries are doing and ban Fracking until more studies can be done on the consequences on water. (Quebec has already put a moratorium in place)

After loading up grease from DQ, Mike’s Lounge and a Japanesse restaurant, we’ve finally made it Smithers. Everyone in the town is so progressive. Even the local snowboard shop has solar panels to get them off the grid. We chatted with the owner for a while and he explained that business owners would love to go green but they need help from consumers. “You buy sustainable products, we bring in more sustainable products.”

Off grid Shred shop?

Off grid Shred shop?

After checking out the shop, we set up a presentation at Smithers Secondary School. We didn’t have a clue how many kids would be there. It’s a school of over 800 and definitely had us nervous before chatting.  We presented on the risks of Fracking, pipelines and plastics while bringing up solutions we can all take part in.

Jasper and a jug of veggie grease presenting.

Jasper and a jug of veggie grease presenting.

The presentations went amazing! Kids we’re stoked and we later received an email from a teacher saying that their kids we’re pumped. It’s great to hear and at the same time we’re equally as moved by the work the kids are doing. Next week the kids have plans to get together to write letters to Stephen Harper about Northern Gateway!

We were pumped to finally make it to John’s Driftwood off the grid farm. We found it online before coming to town and the farm did not disappoint. The farm is off the grid through a combination of biomass, solar panels and waste veggie oil. As we rolled into the farm, we passed goats, chickens and Icelandic horses. Side by side with solar panels that is!

Sam and Jazzy enjoying the farm.

Sam and Jazzy enjoying the farm.

As John gave us the tour he took us inside to see his pride and joy, a biomass generator that creates biogas and heats the water lines with the exhaust. This is done if by composting wood chips!

As the afternoon rolled on, we were invited inside to eat renewable energy created Bretzels and goats milk. Our time at the farm was great. It’s easy to get drowned out in the downfall of our biggest energy companies (oil and gas) but what we realized at the farm is how exciting it is to be on the cutting edge of changing the way we see energy. It’s empowering to know what we can accomplish with forethought, planning and research. John, originally from Germany, moved to Smithers when his bus broke down in the area and he fell in love with the land. He told us about Canada’s energy policies in comparison to Europe or Scandinavia. Our model is one where business’s that do not profit within the first years are inefficient. Unlike Scandinavia where businesses are run based on 5 and 10 year profit margins. You can imagine the short cuts a business is willing to take when they need to make profits within the year.

Bretzls made with renewable energy.

Bretzls made with renewable energy.

Cruising out of the farm we finally caught a storm. We spend an entire day up the backcountry around Smithers! Split-boarding up and shredding down, with sustainable pretzels in the pocked of course.

Was great to get back on the split boards. It’s such a beautiful experience climbing mountains on your own two feet. It gives you time to appreciate your surroundings. Most importantly it reminds us, with its beauty, why the natural world is worth fighting for.

Beautiful BC

Beautiful BC

What you can do after reading this.

1. Write a letter. Letters can have huge impacts!

We recently wrote letters about Site C from our bus while stealing Wifi in Vanderhoof. We can all do it so let’s let our elected officials know how we feel about Canada’s energy policies.

2. Diesel? Gasoline? Doesn’t matter! Install a hydrogen kit in your car.

3. Take five minutes of your day to goggle Kristianstad. It’s a modern city in Sweden that is on target to be fossil fuel free. It’s rad and gives us hope that there is another path we can take.

All the best.

Till the next time,

Jazzy ripping down a line.

Jazzy ripping down a line.

Beyond Boarding is an organization dedicated to spreading interest in humanitarian and environmental work within the snowboarding and surf community

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B4BC for Megs – A Fundraiser for Pro Snowboarder Megan Pischke

A Fundraising Benefit for Megan Pischke
April 17, 2013

3PM –  6PM après  |  7PM – 2:00AM event
Merlin’s Bar & Grill in Whistler Blackcomb, BC

Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC) seeks your support in honoring and raising funds for one of our own, pro snowboarder and B4BC ambassador Megan Pischke. Megan, who has been leading B4BC’s Survivor ReTreats for the past 5 years, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is in need of support for her ongoing treatment and integrated health care.

Spark R&D has donated a custom pair of Blaze LTs for the silent auction. Please attend this event if you can, or consider donating if you cannot make it in person. Please stand in solidarity with Megan and her family, rally your friends and all you know, and give a little towards someone who gives so much to all of us!

More info on the event here: http://www.stayclassy.org/whistler-bc-canada/events/b4bc-4-megs-fundraiser-for-b4bcs-friend-pro-snowboarder-megan-pischke/e23910


This is a friendly reminder that our webstore is currently shut off, our phone goes straight to voicemail, and there are tumbleweeds blowing through the Spark office.

It’s tradeshow season and the WHOLE Spark family is on the road from Jan 28-Feb 8. We will be at SIA in Denver first, then ISPO in Munich! We pride ourselves on quick customer service and apologize for this temporary inconvenience, but we have an AMAZING band of Spark dealers worldwide that can help you out during this time with all of your Spark split needs. A list of our dealers can be found here. We will be intermittently checking emails during this time, but if you need something ASAP our friendly Spark dealers will be your fastest and best option. Our webstore will be back up and running when we’re back in the office on February 8th.

Check up on our facebook page to follow us while we’re on the road. See you after the shows!

-Will, Becca, Jason, Kory, Ryan, and the rest of the Spark team.

A Timeline Of Tahoe Pow Dayz

A Guest Post and Photo Essay by Seth Lightcap, fellow splitter and friend of Spark R&D.

The joy ride fired up on October 22nd. That was the first pow day of the winter in Lake Tahoe this season. For the 100 days since then, the Northern Sierra have been firing day in, day out. We’ve had our fair share of storm days but it’s been the cold, sunny days in between the fronts that’s made the season really shine. The stable stretches have opened the window for incredible backcountry adventures. From multi-day deep peaks to roadside attractions, conditions have been prime to lay fresh tracks just about anywhere your legs and splitboard can take you in Tahoe.

In celebration of the season and in hopes of many more stormy days to come, here’s a taste of 12/13 Tahoe pow featuring the crew getting after it strapped into their Spark R&D’s:

Moss Holladay rips into a Donner Summit chute on October 24th – two days after it started snowing in Tahoe

Without a splitboard you were hosed on the first three weeks of the season. The first lifts didn’t spin in Tahoe until mid-November. Ryland Bell and Chris Galvin started their seasons in October on the splits.

To make matters perfect, the first two feet of snow in October came in thick. The second two feet (which came two days later) came in blower. We were blasting through bushes but not hitting rocks. Matt Clark kindly avoided crushing the flowers with this boost.

No doubt you’re gonna see some epic early Tahoe days in the season POV edits this year.

Mid-November brought another round of storms. Chris Galvin cashed in on the insane early season powder cycle touring around Donner Summit.

The mid- and late-December storms were a terrain game changer. Lines opened up on all sides of the lake. Toe side slasher staring at Tahoe for Brian.

With the new year came a new storm. Though this round was followed by a short rush of east wind that made pow hunting a bit trickier. Curtis Woodman searched for the stashes on his Arbor Abacus splitboard.

Sunny days and killer snow mean it’s time to send some lines. Curtis Woodman throws down a technical track under the eye of the RC heli cam.

By Tahoe standards this is ancient powder. Woodman rips into a twelve-day old virgin pow panel mid-January.

And the good times show no sign of stopping. Ryland Bell slashes pow in an untracked alpine line on January 21st – two weeks since it last snowed in Tahoe.

Thanks Seth, for sharing this with us and all of the Spark fans! Hope it makes everyone hungry for pow, and ready to get after it this weekend :)

Your One Week Warning!

Get your goods before we’re gone for good … well, not for good, but for a couple weeks anyway.

As most of you know, Spark is a small family owned and operated business. So when it’s tradeshow season, the whole Spark family hits the road. Literally – the WHOLE Spark family. Which means, there won’t be anyone back at the homefront to answer the phone, respond quickly to emails, or take your web orders. In fact, we will be shutting off our webstore on Jan 26th at 12am. We pride ourselves on customer service, being the resident experts on all things split, and getting stuff out the door quickly. But from Jan 28-Feb 8 2013, we will be out of the office and spreading the Spark good cheer (oh, and showcasing our 13/14 lineup, which is epic by the way).

Soooooooo …. what does that mean for you? This is your one week warning to get those tailclips you wanted, replace your toe adjusters, buy a second set of LT Brackets, or get that Spark hoody you asked Santa for but never got. And if you need anything between Jan 28th and Feb 8th, feel free to email or call (though our voice mailbox might be full at that point) and just know that it will take longer than usual to get back with you.

Or even better….please contact your local dealer during this time for all of your Spark split needs. We have an incredible, knowledgeable, band of Spark dealers worldwide who can help you out with most anything. Please give them a ring and see if they can help you out. CLICK HERE for Spark Dealer link.

As always, THANK YOU for your support and energy. We’ll see you after the shows!

                                                             -Team Spark

Vote for Spark, Win a Snowboard!

Evo is hosting the Boarder’s Choice Awards to find out who is killin’ it right now as decided by the people that live to ride these brands. This is your chance to show your support for Spark R&D and potentially win a brand new deck for the season!

You can only vote once, in 5 categories (note: we are only listed in best backcountry and most innovative)  – so make it count: CLICK HERE!

Spread the word, and vote for Spark!