Sleep In The Dirt

Q & A with Big Agnes Ambassador, Justin Reiter

Essays From the Field

For the first time, we have chosen five official Ambassadors to represent not only the Big Agnes brand, but also what it means to embody the Big Agnes lifestyle. Our third Ambassador debut features Pro Snowboarder and Adventurer, Justin Reiter. We caught up with Justin to ask him a few questions about how he’s preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics, which continent he prefers, and what epic camping storm is his favorite tale to tell. Here’s what Justin shared with us:

BA: What does it mean to you to be one of five first official Big Agnes Ambassadors?

Justin: To be one of Big Agnes’s first ambassadors is a huge honor and responsibility. There are so many people in the world doing amazing things; it is humbling to be on this team. I often cannot believe I was lucky enough to be chosen. It keeps me motivated to spend more nights under the stars. It is also really fun to have the company in the same town and be able to swing in and see all the new tech, get stoked from the team for future projects, and just hang with the crew.

BA: What and who inspire you to live the lifestyle you do?

Justin: I find so much inspiration from people who are out there just pushing their threshold. You have people like Renan Ozturk and Mike Horn who are changing the world and the definitions of adventure and human limits. On the flipside you have the everyday person who makes time to have backyard adventures that challenge them in different ways.  Whether a person is crossing the world or crossing a small creek I am inspired by people who seek to do something out of their comfort zones.

BA: 2018 Olympics in Korea are right around the corner. Are you preparing differently than for previous Olympics?

Justin: In preparation for the coming 2018 Winter Olympics I am sticking close to home and spending a lot of time in the gym and in the saddle of my bike. It is a bummer to spend less time out in the backcountry, but being a professional athlete requires sacrifice. This season I am sacrificing some of my passions in exchange for the opportunity to bring home a medal, which has been a childhood dream. I am still making an effort to explore my hometown mountains and make micro adventures. Hopefully this can help to motivate others to explore their hometowns.

BA: What is your favorite country/area to travel to and why?

Justin: I am asked where my favorite place to travel to and ride often–the truth is everywhere. I love finding intimacy in wherever I travel. Connecting with locals, finding spots that are unique and getting to high ridgelines make EVRYWHERE special. But a list of the top spots: Japan, Chile, and New Zealand.

BA: What current world issues are most important for you to raise awareness about and why?

Justin: I am very concerned with the current US administrations attitude towards public lands, specifically national monuments and national parks. It is my belief that the planet is NOT a profit center. While I realize we need food and goods to survive, I feel that we as a human race have lost touch with living sustainably. Due to an ever-growing population we operate on fear surrounding scarcity and greed. Generations passed saw the value in preserving lands for future generations: I DO NOT agree with sacrificing them in hopes of a four-year bull market.

BA: What do you enjoy most about sleeping in the dirt?

Justin: My favorite part about sleeping in the dirt is the rhythm and immersion in nature. You wake with the sun. You sleep when darkness settles in. You actually get to feel our planet. All too often we are insulated from our environment. It is a beauty to harmonize with it. I think the name “Wilderness” is a fault. By placing the word “wild” it almost creates an adversary. Nature is not wild, it is balance in its purest form.

BA: What is your favorite piece of Big Agnes gear that you never adventure without?

Justin: PAD!  It is amazing, and beyond essential.

BA: Where is your favorite place you’ve camped?

Justin: Sorry, it’s a secret.

BA: Do you have a favorite, must-cook campfire dinner?

Justin: It’s not lite but worth it– marinated pork tenderloin, over a bed of sautéed spinach. Desert: Grilled peaches with honey goat cheese and berries.

BA: Any epic or memorable camp stories?

Justin: I have too many camp stories to list. But, three fourth’s of July in a row I have been stuck on a ridgeline camping and captured in an epic storm. Surrounded by lightening so close your hair stands up, completely exposed, getting slapped by the walls of the tent due to insane winds, or getting soaked because we thought it was a good idea to leave the tent at home (not so much). Each night was brutal, but very rarely do we remember the perfect days, as bad decisions make the best memories.

Make sure to follow Justin on his road to Korea this winter.


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