Venture Vermont: Wanderlust Festival

Location

Stratton Mountain Resort. 5 Village Lodge Road, Stratton, VT 05155.

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What to expect

Wanderlust is a yoga, music and food celebration that brings together the world’s most renowned yogis, teachers, inspirational speakers and artists for four unforgettable days. This being my first ever Wanderlust Festival, I can attest to how amazing it is. I practice basic yoga once a week for the health benefits and was not really sure what to expect while entering a class titled “Magical Elements: Black Light.” However, Wanderlust is all about trying new things. And the best part about it is that it doesn’t matter what your ability level is, everyone can join in and practice together.

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Throughout the four days, you can choose from a variety of different types of classes such as:

  • Stand up paddle board yoga
  • Meditation
  • Acro-yoga: using hammocks for an acrobatic experience
  • Black light: yoga in a dark room with blacklights to make your white clothing glow. Wanderlusters walk around and paint your arms and legs with tribal markings that glow, as well.
  • Yoga at the summit of Stratton
  • Small classes of 20 & large classes of 100+ yogis
  • Body specific: focusing on handstands, working your core, or focusing on breathing.
  • Classes to the tune of live music. The closing festival class included the lively sounds of High & Mighty Brass Band and an upbeat DJ.
Wanderlust acrobatic performers.
Wanderlust acrobatic performers. How the heck do they do that?!

Expect to make new friends, forget all your troubles and dance like no one’s watching. During the closing class of the festival, I hugged at least 5 strangers, danced in a conga line, and relaxed for savasana with 100 people around me.

Photo credit: Ali Kaukas
Photo credit: Ali Kaukas

Expect to experience a wide variety of musical acts. High & Mighty Brass Band returned to Stratton with their unique sound that you can’t help but dance to. Trevor Hall rocked the stage with his acoustic jams and had everyone clapping to the beat. The Barr Brothers amazed the crowd with their skills on the harp and MC Yogi brought the house sound to the Wanderlust stage Saturday night.

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Expect to sample healthy protein bars and shakes and try new meals from local Vermont farms and restaurants. My personal favorites were the chia bars from Health Warriors & the farm fresh salad from Earth Sky Time. There are also plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. :-)

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Photo credit: Ali Kaukas

What to pack

  • Yoga Mat
  • Nalgene or other refillable water bottle – there are water stations throughout the village to re-fill. It can get hot during the day, and doing all the activities available, you’ll want to hydrate as much as possible.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sweater/sweatshirt/warm clothes- Although it may be in the high 70’s or warmer during the day, Vermont nights get chilly.
  • Rain gear – just in case.
  • Cash – many vendors accept cash only, and you’re going to want to shop around, trust me. :-)
  • Comfortable clothing – after all, it is a yoga festival – bring whatever you would normally wear to yoga or to work out.
  • Bathing suit – if you plan on taking a SUP yoga class or exploring local swimming holes or Stratton pools.
  • A positive attitude and willingness to try new things. 
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Age Range

The festival as a whole is suitable for the whole family. The artists, live music and dancers will amaze all ages and the food to sample will have your taste buds wanting more. Yoga classes are geared towards adults, however, you do not have to be a seasoned yogi to participate. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s a yoga class for you.

Photo credit: Ali Kaukas
Photo credit: Ali Kaukas

What we learned

Book your classes as early as possible. The more popular classes, such as the Acro-yoga and SUP yoga classes fill up quickly. If a class you really want to take is full, go anyway. You will be put on a waiting list and more often than not, they will make space for you.

Learn more about wanderlust Festivals by clicking here. We really hope to see you here next year. Did you attend this festival? Share your photos on Instagram with the hashtags #WanderlustFestival  #Stratton and #VentureVermont. If you would like to share your amazing experience to be featured on this blog, please contact Cassie at crusso@intrawest.com.

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Photo credit: Courtney DiFiore

About the Author:
11400974_10153466996973689_6866650049873347312_nCassie Russo
| Cassie’s family clicked her boots into skis at the age of 2, and she couldn’t be more grateful. Growing up in Central Massachusetts, Cassie ventured to the snowy mountains of Vermont almost every weekend until her late teens, where she worked at a ski shop as she studied for a degree in journalism. She switched to snowboarding at age 10 & her passion for the sport grew every time she touched snow. You can now find Cassie living her dream of residing in Vermont, pursuing a writing career and strapping a snowboard to her feet almost every day. When the snow melts, you can find her on her paddle board, on the tennis courts and trying to find the next adventure.

Wanderlust re-dux

By Guinevere Hilton

I walked into my first workshop at Wanderlust at Stratton Mountain with an abundance of body image issues, and a well developed arsenal of was to deal with them. I was ready. I knew that I could find lots of reasons to hate on myself, to compare and despair, to judge, belittle and then hop on the self-improvement train (which for me usually means immediately becoming vegan and ending the day curled up in a ball with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one hand and a pork chop in another). Not this time. No way. I am 40 now! I’ve got this covered. I have spent the last year making it my mission to accept my body and create a place for others’ to love, celebrate and accept theirs. I figured that the chances of this issue rearing up and dominating my experience were slim to none. I was actually excited to show off how far I’d come.

I may have jumped the gun a wee bit. I walked in to the tent and all around me I saw what I wasn’t: thin, beautiful, born with innate fashion sense and a stylist. I was immediately thrown back to being 20 again: living in New York City, trying to be an actress when the flavor of the times was cookie cutter skinny. I wanted to hide. I actually started to cry on my mat. I was sitting there, about to take a workshop with two of my most favorite teachers, Elena Brower and David Harshada Wagner, and I felt so gross, less-than and ashamed that I was considering walking out. I went to the corner and filmed a little video expressing my dismay and concern. My idea was to turn this experience into content for My Real Yoga Body. Then I watched the video, was horrified by how old I looked and promptly deleted it and went back to my mat to continue weeping.

Class began. David started to lead us through a meditation. He opened with the reminder to move away from “self-improvement” and towards being our best selves. Thank you. I softened a little … which just made me cry more. He kept reminding us that “You deserve the best of life, and life deserves the best of you”.   Elena led us through a powerful asana practice; they tag-teamed taught our group in the most loving, authentic and no-nonsense way. I began to move away, at least a little, from my analyzing, self-improvement mind, and towards a part of me that at least was open to the idea that maybe it doesn’t matter so much that I am not a Lululemon model. Yet. Just kidding. Maybe.

There is a reason I started the My Real Yoga Body project, and it is not because I embrace and exemplify body-positivity. It is because my relationship to my body is my embarrassing Achilles heel. I hate that my body, my desire to be what I am not, is one of my biggest challenges. It is an old and familiar nemesis. And I am ready to, as they say in Buddhism, invite it to tea. And then, as I say in Guinevere-ism, smash it over the head with a scone.

At the end of the workshop, David gave us some tips on enjoying Wanderlust and getting the most out of it. The one that stuck with me was about conserving your energetic budget and being careful what you laid your eyes upon. He noted that there was so much exciting activity, interesting people, and neat stuff to buy that the experience could be exhausting and depleting. This helped me SO much through my time at Wanderlust. I reminded myself again and again to choose wisely. To spend a little time window-shopping, and more time looking at trees, mountains and sky. To spend less time sizing people up and wondering where they got those pants and more time making eye contact, laughing, and listening.

I had an amazing time. In the end, body stories did not dominate my experience. They were tempered and calmed by the yoga, the teachers, and the warm, friendly people I met. They became smaller and joy became larger. And again, I am left grateful for the mystery school that is yoga.

 

About the Author:

g hiltonGuinevere Hilton lives on a big lake in New Hampshire with her two beautiful boys. She is the founder of My Real Yoga Body (myrealyogabody.com, https://www.facebook.com/myrealyogabody, and on Twitter and FB #myrealyogabody.), a home for embracing all the various shapes and flavors that make up real yoga bodies. She is eternally grateful to her yoga practice, love that keeps buoying her up and the constantly surprising nature of life. Xoxo!!

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Insider’s Guide: A Co-Founder’s Tips for Wanderlust Stratton

By Jeff Krasno, Co-Founder of Wanderlust Festival

Our Insider’s Guide series offers new ‘lusters a peek into our festivals and introduces veterans to fresh adventures. In this installment, festival co-founder Jeff Krasno provides his tips & musings for a memorable Wanderlust Stratton. Be sure to check out our first post in this series: 25 Experiences You Don’t Want to Miss (Wanderlust Festival Summer 2014)

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One of the aspects I love about Wanderlust is how each festival takes on the essence of its natural and cultural surroundings. This is particularly true at Stratton Mountain.

The beauty of the Vermont landscape is hushed. The mountains roll, the grass is lush, the sky often heavy. The colors blur like a watercolor and the energy is peaceful, old. If our Tahoe festival is Wagnerian with its high, jagged mountains thrusting into the thin air, then Vermont is more Debussy, impressionistic and dreamy.

Sunset at Stratton Mountain, Vermont

photo by Ashley Daige

Driving around Vermont, it is hard to find a town without a green market. Vermont didn’t so much rediscover the local food movement as it has served as an example for local-based economy. From maple syrup to cheeses to micro-brews, Vermont is the national capital of the cottage and craft industry. Even scaling brands like Cabot continue to work closely with local farmers.

On your way to the festival I highly suggest stopping at the Grafton Cheese Factory, on Route 30, on your drive just out of Brattleboro. See the inner workings of the factory and stock up on some cheese for the trip. A little further down the road, just before you get to Newfane, you can pull off at Dutton’s Farm Stand. Strawberries are perfectly in season during festival time. You can pick your own for CHEAP!

Even as Wanderlust Stratton continues to grow (and this year is going to be the biggest yet), the festival has retained a tight-knit, community feel. Snug in the shadow of the mountain and surrounded by dense summer forest, Stratton gives us a unique opportunity to create an intentional community. As you make the final turns up the access road – local victuals in tow – you’ll see what I mean. Stratton really becomes a little Wanderlust village, with yogis blissfully relaxing on the central lawn and strolling down the cobblestone walkways.

Read the rest of Krasno’s Insider’s Guide at Wanderlust.com

Golf, Yoga or both?

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By Myra Foster

Nancy McMahon stopped me this morning to say she had just played her best round of golf. Ever. “I should take yoga before every game.”

We had been in a yoga flow class together at The Living Room on Tuesday. She packed up her mat and was off to meet friends for a little lunch at Tenderloins and their 1:47 tee time.

I don’t know what the scorecard read but her smile told the story.   “I was so relaxed.”  Shoulders, back, hamstrings stretched.  “There was more power in my swing.”

Golf and Yoga. Now there’s a program at Stratton Golf School with a workshop for women August 9-11 and one for all on August 23-24. Now you can take advantage of Stratton’s proven instructional programs – with a twist.

Renowned since 1969 for individualized golf programs and a teaching facility designed specifically for instruction, Stratton Golf School now adds V1 video analysis to the powerful teaching tools. You’ll go home with a swing analysis reminder along with your pro’s comments and even a comparison to tour players.

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Along with the technical aspects of the game, Golf and Yoga builds flexibility, focus, core strength.  Be Centered. Balanced.  And remember to Breathe.

I’ve been reminded to slow down my backswing. To relax. “You’ve got a powerful swing, we just need to harness that power,” I’ve been told. So I’m thinking this Golf and Yoga might just be my gateway to a better game.  Then maybe Nancy might just let me join her for a round.

Learn More about the Golf & Yoga at Stratton.com

Wanderlust Recap!

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By Courtney DiFiore

The much anticipated Wanderlust weekend has finally come and gone. More than four thousand people filled the resort for this multi-day yoga and music event. With so many eager to master the art of yoga, or if you’re like me (a newbie) explore the world of yoga, Wanderlust was able to cater to all. Classes ranged from yoga, hikes/run and meditation to hoop/slackline, lectures and dance. There was even yoga on horses! Yes. You read right. Yoga. On. Horses. That and yoga on paddleboards may have been some of the most popular classes in fact.

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Let’s not forget the music however!  Integrated everywhere, music plays a huge roll within Wanderlust. DJ Drez threw down beats on some yoga classes during the day, and by night, he was rocking ‘The Greatest Place’ tent. Additional performances included, Quixotic, Caravan Palace, Sarah NeuFeld, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, and a long list of others.

Aside from the many classes around the mountain, the Village was also the place to be. There were so many great vendors with awesome products. There were body scrubs and oils (all organic of course), Henna, yoga swag (known by many as clothing), dairy/soy/lactose free samples (which I particularly enjoyed, being sensitive to all three) and so much more! To sit here and list them all could very well take the day because there’s so much to say about each (all good too!), but I’ll leave you with that and add one more thing. To everyone who was a part of this year’s Wanderlust at Stratton, THANK YOU! I hope everyone found their true north.

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWIrBW2Geoo]

Welcome to Wanderlust 2013 – Day 1

By Courtney DiFiore

The sun rose on Stratton, illuminating the mountain in all its glory, giving light to thousands of yogis. Greeting the sunrise, yoga enthusiasts, like camels, carry their life on their backs. Armed with water and a yoga mat (or two!), crowds form and a calming, zen energy coats the mountain. This is Wanderlust.

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Day 1: The morning began with a slew of classes: meditative hikes, mindful yoga, slack lining and hooping. Those who weren’t partaking in workshops were seen wandering the village. Lined with vendors, the cobblestone path plays host to a variety of tents, free samples of yummy (and healthy!) treats, handmade goods, water stations, henna and more. As the day progressed, more and more people showed up to join in on this celebration of music and yoga. When the sun

finally did begin to set on the first night of this four day event, the mountain was then lit by only sparklers and fire from the quixotic dancers at the opening ceremony. The pond reflected a mirror image of the crowd as it gazed upon the dancers, drummer and violinist.  The fire dimmed to a light glow and the sparklers died, signaling a change of venue to The Greatest Place (our main tent in the base area). There, the celebration continued into the late hours of the night with a concert full of spectacular music, hooping, yoga and dance.

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Wanderlust began in Squaw Valley, California back in 2009 and came to Stratton Mountain, Vermont in 2011. Additional locations that this amazing festival travels includes Copper Mountain in Colorado, North Shore in Ohio, Whistler in British Colombia, CAN, Tremblant in Quebec, CAN and Chillan, Chile. The hope is that, this festival continues to spread far and wide. There’s talk of sharing this special event with all the Kiwis and Aussies in New Zealand and Australia within the next few years.

Though 2009 marks the first Wanderlust and 2008 is credited for being the year the idea manifested, “the germ of the idea was before then,” says Wanderlust Co-founder, Sean Hoess. Jeff Krasno, another founder of Wanderlust (the ‘O’ in Co-founder you could say), has been running a music company with Hoess for the last ten years; meanwhile, his wife, Schuyler Grant has made a name for herself as a well-known yoga instructor. Grant brought Hoess and Krasno into the world of yoga and all that it entails as she took them from yoga retreat to yoga retreat.

Hoess describes his experiences within the world of yogis by saying, “This is a passionate community. People really care about their bodies and their health and living a sustainable life, but they also really have a great time. They want to go out and dance and have a good time and drink a bunch of wine, you know, like anyone else. So we (Hoess and Krasno) started to think, you know, God this could be a festival actually.”

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And so it began. Hoess and Krasno had all the skills needed to manage the music, event and PR side of things and lucky for them; Grant had an extensive history with yoga, leading this trio to create the largest multi-day music and yoga festival in the world. Day one is in the books, giving everyone a taste of Wanderlust as we look to continue enjoying the great music, fun yoga and good vibes.

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