Every once in a while it's important for the Exped team to get together in the same room. Skype is cool, but nothing can substitute for face-to-face discussion. 

This time, four of us from Exped USA loaded up our gear, jumped a plane and travelled to the home office in Zurich. After several days of meetings and multiple meals featuring excellent Swiss cheese we were definitely in need of some mountain air and exercise. 

So on Saturday, we joined six of our Swiss counterparts for a day of ski touring. The destination was the area near the famous ski town of Andermatt. We stopped there for a coffee on our way to Realp, just up the road. We tumbled out of the vans, slapped climbing skins on the skis, turned on transceivers and headed up. The valley was in cloud, but the forecast called for sun up high, so we were excited. The crew from Exped USA make their homes in the Seattle area, so grey days have been the norm since October. Sun is, truly, a serious motivator for us! 

Along the way, we talked gear. When ski touring, packs are a key tool. Comfort and stability are important for the up as well as the down. It's a demanding enough sport without adding to the challenge by lugging an ill-fitting pack to the top and then having it affect the turns on the downhill. Between breaths we got into the details: top loader vs. panel loader? New school minimalist (Serac 35) or a more traditional design (Mountain Pro 30)? Padded hip belt or none at all? Internal frame? On and on it goes when we cut the gear-geeks loose in the hills!

After a few hours of upward skinning, we broke into glorious sunshine. Perfection! No wind, light snow over a solid base and amazing views in all directions. Just what we ordered! And when we ripped skins and turned the skis in the downhill direction, we were rewarded with gravity-assisted smoothness. The cheese-ski equation was, once again, in balance!

Meetings around a table with the whiteboard nearby are a necessary part of any job. We admit it, but remind ourselves that meetings in The Big Office are just as important, especially for an outdoor company like Exped. We are truly users of the gear we make and that fact has a profound impact on the gear we build. 

#swissness #thrivenotsurvive #comfortanywhere