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EXPLOREWith Aims to Open Your Eyes to an Adventure You Never Dreamed Of
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Tuesday, August 17, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Want to reserve a guided fly-fishing trip? Stop by EXPLOREWith and you may find you also want to book a side-by-side trip to Boulder City or Porcupine Creek or even an outdoor survival skills camp for the kids complete with swimming holes and animal tracking.

EXPLOREWith—a new shop in Sun Valley Village—offers a one-stop shop for booking adventures in and around Sun Valley.

The shop can set locals and guests up with a variety of adventures, including paragliding, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and even cooking classes at Sun Valley Culinary Institute so would-be adventurers don’t have to plow through the phone book, google the heck out of their iPhone or run all over town visiting various outfitters.

“We can get you out of here in 20 minutes with your whole week planned,” said EXPLOREWith Manager Kelly Odell. “Until now, those with a desire to experience the outdoors have had to rely on such things as brochures and word-of-mouth recommendations, and that could be more challenging than the actual adventure. We offer a singular place to go, and we ended up handling customer relations and marketing for outfitters, too, freeing them up to do what they need to do.”

EXPLOREWith was founded by a group of outdoor enthusiasts and guide service owners as an in-person and online booking service (www.explorewith.com).

Its offerings run the gamut from introduction to shooting classes to guided wildflower and history hikes. This month, it was able to offer a women’s outdoor retreat headed up by Tara Bell that involved yoga, fishing and firearms safety for women at Idaho Basecamp. It’s eyeing a menu of experiences, such as nature foraging, wilderness medicine, self-defense classes—maybe even an all-encompassing experience on how to be self-sufficient in the backcountry with the help of such skills as being able to change a tire.

And, while the Sun Valley Culinary Institute might not be technically thought of as an outdoors adventure, people love cooking classes, said Odell.

“One of our thoughts is to organize a walk around town with stops for appetizers and other bites,” she said. “While we focus on the outdoors, we are open to customizing experiences.”

Come winter, the service will book such winter experiences as heli-skiing, alpine skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and trips to local yurts.

The Ketchum-based Stellar Media will provide EXPLOREWith guests the opportunity to have their guided adventures turned into mini-movies.

In the short time it’s been open, EXPLOREWith has booked some groups as large as 60 people for The River Company in Stanley. Directed north, guests pile into bright yellow boats to bounce through the roiling Piece of Cake rapid and the three-quarter long Narrows, and jump off a towering rock into a swimming hole near singer Carole King’s wilderness ranch.

“We have always had a good reputation in Sun Valley regarding rafting trips. EXPLOREWith recognizes that and has been great in referring people to us and also booking them onsite in Sun Valley,” said owner Heather Scheel. “Guests appreciate being able to book in-person and ask all the questions that go along with the activities they want to participate in. In addition, being able to book all their activities in one place is super convenient. We have definitely had guests book with us through EXPLOREWith who may not have found us otherwise, so we are loving the idea of their storefront at Sun Valley Resort.”

EXPLOREWith is part of the Revelry Outdoors Network of river-based outdoor experience companies that provide vacations and guided experiences throughout Idaho, Oregon and Northern California.

Some of those involved include Erik Weiseth, EXPLOREWith co-founder Head of Revelry Group’s Guided Businesses and vice president of the Idaho Guides Association, and Sun Valley Guides’ owner Zach Crist and Idaho Wilderness Outfitters’ Bryant Dunn.

“I remember driving out to Trail Creek Road and passing the helicopter at the Sun Valley Gun Club and thinking, ‘There’s heliskiing here?!’ We hope to bring everything under one umbrella to let people see what is all out there,” said EXPLOREWith’s Jeff Rose, marketing and communications executive.

Odell, who provides the face of the operation to the customers, has long been an outdoor enthusiast, learning to ski Baldy when she was 4. She’s a big fan of getting off the grid and getting outdoors.  And, with a Master’s degree in sports administration and experience working with the WNBA, she can attest how life-changing looking at the night sky over Stanley Basin can be.

“We’re talking mental wellness, self-care. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to reconnect with nature. I’m at my best when I’m taking care of myself, being outside,” she said. “Outdoor adventures are a way for families to bond. And they give kids confidence, they teach them how to troubleshoot—the outdoors provides a learning opportunity out of the classroom.”

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