Guiding tours through mountains, climbing, van living, skiing, and general adventuring – those are just few favorite activities of the newest NO&YO Ambassadors Tova and Zack. These guys are serious about relocating and they travel wherever the adventure lives; however they will settle in Colorado for few months this winter for some ice climbing and backcountry. Get to know this amazing couple in our small welcome post below.
In few sentences (or in many) – who are Tova and Zack?
Tova grew up in The Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, exposed to the mountains from her first days by parents that chased them their selves, she started skiing at the age of one and everything else fell into place shortly there after.
Zack grew up in Jerusalem in a family whose idea of an outing was meeting at a restaurant but found himself drawn to hiking in the deep relief of the Judean desert as a teenager and discovered rock climbing by his senior year of high school which has since become one of his primary pursuits in life.
Their pursuits of the outdoors brought them together through a series of serendipitous events that would make this way too long of an interview, but today they spend most of their time together, chasing mountains through the medium of the season, be it rock, ice or snow.
What “adventure” means to you?
We both have strong background in things that many people consider either extreme or involved, both of us feeling pretty comfortable in what are sometimes high risk environments. Adventure is part of a progression, constantly pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones one small step at a time. Because we both come from different technical backgrounds, this allows us to learn from one another and balance each other on our adventures. Ironically, sometimes the biggest “adventures” for us are learning how to deal with all the non outdoor related day to day chatter that is life in the real world.
What’s your favorite adventure to-date?
The Princess Bride was the first answer that made its way from Zack’s mouth, as this was a movie that Tova had only watched for the first time two months ago, and seems to make its way into our adventures no matter where they may be.
What’s your largest accomplishment (by your standards) in adventure/exploration?
Zack told his family that he was going to study Spanish a few years ago so he built a touring bike and bought a plane ticket to Cancun. 5 months pedaling through Central America and Colombia, and 6,000 km later he now he speaks Spanish pretty well enough to make a fool of himself.
About 2 years ago Tova called up her parents and said “I’m moving to Asia”. And about 3 weeks later she moved to Hong Kong to live with water buffalo’s and not so successfully learn Cantonese while working at an outdoor education company on Lantau Island. During her time there she rediscovered her passion for paddling through joining a Dragon Boat and Outrigger canoe team and participated in racing both on water and by foot.
What do you want to explore/pursue/try in the future? Any plans?
Tova has always been and will continue to be a dreamer. She is looking forward to dialing in and learning more about ski mountaineering to build on her present skill set and push herself farther into the mountains. Once Zack is certified to guide internationally she would like to move somewhere in Europe (probably Chamonix) to ski and climb in the mountains while re-learning French which they could both use some work at.
Zack is currently working as a Mountain Guide for Timberline Mountain Guides and actively pursuing international certification as such through the American Mountain Guides Association. This has been a major motivator to get out as many days as possible and sharpen his mountain skillset. So basically, ski and climb as much as possible and maybe work on learning something totally different when he gets some down time. Tova still has ambitions to teach him how to dance.
How do you like to explore? What’s your adventure style?
We like to make plans on the fly, based on current conditions and often find ourselves roaming around with enough gear to cover more bases than Abbot and Costello in “Who’s on first?”
Why did you want to become NO&YO ambassador?
We both really liked that NO&YO is a tiny company run by passionate individuals that are devoted to making simple and great products. As people that live much of their lives out of a car or a pack, we value having one high quality shirt on our backs over ten junky pieces of clothing.
Freedom comes from the ability to be able to do what you want to be doing. Luckily for both of us this comes in being in the outdoors together. Being with someone that not only pushes you but supports you in your own pursuits allows us to both feel the freedom from the “daily grind” of life.