November 07, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Grace Aey
It’s once again Meet the Team Tuesday, and this week, we’re highlighting autumn warehouse team member, Grace! Grace arrived in Seward in mid-October and will be lending us a helping hand until Black Friday – can you believe that’s less than one month away?!
Grace is in Seward for the autumn between her summer season as a Park Ranger in Yellowstone National Park where she’s worked with the Youth Conservation Corps for the past three years, and her winters in Colorado as a ski instructor. Not a bad life, right? We’re happy to have her for her middle season!
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that Grace is a big lover of all things outdoors, including hiking, camping, watching wildlife, hammocking, and enjoying the beauty of nature. She’s also recently found an interest in landscape and wildlife photography and looks forward to integrating more of it into her travels moving forward.
When it comes to FTT, Grace’s favorite brands that we carry are Osprey and Sea to Summit. Grace loves the reliability of Osprey packs, whether you’re looking for a day pack or a backpacking pack, the quality is excellent. She’s also a big fan of Sea to Summit products for overnight trips, especially their Aeros UltraLight Camp Pillow – she says it’s the best one she’s tried.
One fun fact about Grace is that she studied Parks and Resource Management at college, so National Parks are really her jam! She loves to travel to different National Parks and experience all that they have to offer – she’s been to 23 parks so far and can’t wait to see the rest.
If you’re planning to stop by FTT between now and Thanksgiving, be sure to welcome Grace to town!
October 19, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Deborah Faust
For this week’s Meet the Team Tuesday, we’re highlighting year-round retail team member, Deborah! Deb hails from Ohio but has called Seward home for the past forty years. Deb is a shining example of the community here in Seward – she knows everyone and everyone knows her! We’ve been lucky to call her a member of the FTT Team for the past five years.
Deborah originally came to Alaska with a couple of friends, one of whom ended up becoming her sister-in-law, and hasn’t looked back! In her time in the Last Frontier, Deb has worked a number of jobs in a number of fields – from fitness instructor teaching kickboxing and aerobics to medical records clerk for the Seward Community Health Center.
At FTT, Deb’s favorite brand that we carry is Patagonia, and she owns countless fleeces and jackets from the brand. Deb loves the quality of the products, and that they stand behind their lifetime warranty, making it a great investment for outdoors enthusiasts.
Outside of work, Deborah loves spending time outside, yes, even in our Alaskan winters! Some of her favorite outdoor activities include hiking, biking, and hosting bonfires for friends and family. Deb and her husband Ben are also keen on home improvement, and are working on building the home of their dreams! Next time you’re in, ask Deb to see the progress pictures, they’re amazing!
October 03, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Mary Coster
Today we’re shining the spotlight on behind-the-scenes powerhouse, Mary Coster! Mary is the Admin Manager here at FTT and has been in Seward for the past two years, along with her Sheltie, Denali.
Before she called Seward home, Mary traveled all around the United States, living and working around various National Parks, including Grand Teton and Glacier Bay. Mary says that moving to a new place, even if it’s for just a season, is the best way to get to know new areas. We’ll definitely take her word for it because Mary has been to 48 out of 50 US states and nearly half of all US National Parks! Most people might guess that the two states Mary hasn’t visited would maybe be Alaska and Hawaii, but it’s actually South Carolina and Arkansas – both of which are on her bucket list.
When she’s not traveling the country, Mary enjoys taking Denali on walks, which she thinks is an especially good way to start the day. Mary is also a talented photographer and loves to capture the beauty of the landscape around her. She takes every opportunity to hop on a nature boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park through Kenai Fjord Tours, and always takes her camera along too. When she’s back on land, Mary loves reading and crafting.
At Forests, Tides & Treasures, Mary’s favorite spot is the gallery, and she’s especially fond of the artwork of Marisa Phasomsap (Flower and Roots) and Meg Smith. Their artwork really speaks to Mary, and she notes that any of their artwork would make the perfect addition to a home or office – and we’re inclined to agree!
September 16, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Kassidy Arredondo
Today’s Meet the Team Tuesday blog is all about Retail Lead, Kassidy Arredondo! Kassidy is originally from Visalia, California, and has been enjoying the sights and sounds of Seward for the past six months. This time last year, Kassidy decided that it was time to leave her hometown and try out seasonal work, especially in and around National Parks. Since then, she has worked in Olympic National Park, Yosemite National Park, and now around Kenai Fjords National Park. When her time at FTT comes to a close in October, she will be heading to Big Bend National Park in Texas for the winter.
It probably comes as no surprise that Kassidy loves being in the great outdoors in her free time, and she especially loves hiking. During her time in Seward, Kassidy has hiked Mount Marathon and Mount Alice and has loved taking in the views from above. Another one of Kassidy’s outdoor hobbies is soccer – both playing and watching – she can even juggle a soccer ball with her foot over 100 times in a row!
Kassidy’s favorite products that we offer at FTT are the incredible photography shots from Todd Salat, the Aurora Hunter. When asked why Todd’s photos are her favorite, Kassidy said, “He takes such beautiful pictures and allows people to enjoy the aurora even if they don’t get a chance to experience it for themselves” – we love that answer! Kassidy’s favorite of Todd’s photos is entitled Seward Candelabra and was captured from Miller’s Landing on Lowell Point looking back towards the town of Seward.
When she’s not exploring the beauty of her surroundings, Kassidy loves to curl up with her Nintendo Switch playing Zelda, especially on Seward’s rainier days. She also loves meeting people from all over, both customers in the store, and other seasonal employees, it’s part of why she loves seasonal work so much.
September 05, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Miah Davis
This week we’re shining the spotlight on our very own Georgia peach, Miah Davis! Miah hails from Kennesaw, Georgia – northeast of Atlanta – and has been part of the FTT Fam since early May. When Miah arrived in Seward, she had just graduated with her associate's degree in medical lab technology, which supplements her existing bachelor’s degree in chemistry – she’s a real science whizz!
After her graduation from Kennesaw State, Miah hopped on the plane and came straight to Alaska, this summer is actually her first time ever living away from home and she is loving every minute of the adventure. With the freedom of being done with school and living on her own for the first time, this summer has been extra special. After this summer season, Miah will be heading to Colorado where she’ll work as a ski instructor through the winter, and we wish her all the best!
Before she heads back to the Lower 48, Miah has been soaking in everything Seward has to offer, from hiking Mt. Marathon to landing on a glacier in an airplane. Some of Miah’s other favorite memories so far have been kayaking in Resurrection Bay, a fishing charter where she caught salmon and rockfish, and getting to witness the breathtaking bubble-net feeding activity of the humpback whales in and around Resurrection Bay.
At work, Miah splits her time between the retail and warehouse teams, helping out wherever she’s needed day-to-day. Her favorite brand that we carry at FTT is Cotopaxi, and she particularly loves the Del Dia range, where every product is unique. The bright colors and fun patterns speak to Miah, but she especially loves their focus on environmental consciousness. This summer, Miah picked up a Cielo Rain Jacket, and it’s been essential living in the coastal temperate rainforest of Alaska.
Outside of work, Miah is a keen reader and has recently started reading the Game of Thrones series… after all, winter is coming. She’s also a fan of watching anime, and has recently been enjoying Kaguya-sama: Love is War. This summer, Miah also spent a lot of time crocheting and even took part in our September First Friday Art Walk where she was a featured artist sharing her crochet creations.
We’ve loved having Miah as a member of the FTT Fam this summer, and we’re excited that she’s sticking around until the end of the month!
August 21, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Jennifer Schroeder
For this week’s Meet the Team Tuesday, we’re getting to know retail team member, Jennifer Schroeder! This is Jennifer’s first season in Alaska, and she says Seward is “pretty different” from life back in Berlin, Wisconsin where she is originally from – no mountains or oceans in Wisconsin!
Jennifer decided to spend her summer in Alaska after seeing a TikTok video created by another seasonal worker who was sharing how great her experiences had been. Jennifer is a keen traveler and seasonal work had always appealed to her, so she’s glad she took the leap and came to Seward!
When she’s not working in Seward, Jennifer attends the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she is studying animal science intending to become a veterinarian – two years of school down, six to go! Jennifer hasn’t decided which track of veterinary medicine she would like to focus on, as she loves all animals and how diverse different species can be.
In her free time, Jennifer loves getting outside and seeing all of the natural beauty that nearby Kenai Fjords National Park has to offer. She especially loves water-based activities, such as kayaking and boat tours, and has taken every opportunity possible to hop on a boat.
Speaking of the beauty of Alaska, Jennifer’s favorite products that we sell in-store here at Forests, Tides & Treasures are the Alaska-inspired artworks of Seward local, Marissa Phasomsap of AK Salty Salmon Studio. When asked about whether she herself is an artist, Jennifer said, “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but, if I did, I’d want my artwork to look like Marissa’s!”
‘Dear reader,’ we asked Jennifer to ‘speak now’ and wrap up her feature in ‘style’ with a fun fact – next year, Jennifer and her college roommate will be living their ‘wildest dreams’ of seeing Taylor Swift in concert! It may only be ‘august,’ but the duo is already planning to ‘mastermind’ their trip to Toronto. Jennifer has never been to Canada OR seen Taylor Swift live before, so this trip ‘hits different.’ Anyway, ‘it’s time to go,’ and we’re wishing Jennifer nothing but ‘happiness!’
August 08, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Brinley Olsen
Today we’re getting to know part-time retail team member, Brinley Olsen! This is Brinley’s first summer at FTT, but her second in Seward, and she’s loving every minute of her time in town! When she’s not working with us, you can likely find her on a Major Marine Tours boat where she works as a deckhand.
Brinley hails from Utah, where she’s currently attending Utah State University, studying Fisheries & Aquatics – what a cool degree! In the future, Brinley hopes to become a marine biologist and a captain and is even getting ready to spend next summer in Australia doing marine research. It’s safe to say that Brinley is a huge fan of wildlife, especially marine life.
In her free time, Brinley loves getting outside, and the beauty of Alaska really appeals to her. She spends time hiking, fishing, tide pooling, collecting sea shells, kayaking, camping, and running. Brinley even recently took place in a mountain race, she can do it all!
When it comes to the products that we sell here at FTT, Brinley’s favorite brands are Salmon Sisters and Salomon, both of which offer top-tier products. For Salmon Sisters, Brinley loves all of the varied and cute designs, as well as the fact that the materials are durable and comfortable to wear. For Salomon, Brinley finds that they tend to be her favorite hiking and trail running shoes because of the support and grip they offer.
We know it’s unfair, but, for her fun fact, we asked Brinley to pick a favorite marine animal, and her response was quick – the orca! Brinley is a really talented photographer and uses her time on boats to hone her skills. Next time you stop by, be sure to ask to see some of Brinley’s incredible orca shots!
July 24, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Lilly W.
World, meet Lilly W., a summertime staple here at FTT! Lilly is a high school student who spends each summer in Seward, we’re so pleased that she chooses to spend her summer vacation with us!
During the school year, Lilly heads back home to Talkeetna where she’s an avid volleyball player and hobby photographer. Lilly loves taking photos so much that her dream is to convert a van into a mobile photography studio and take her passion on the road. We can’t wait to see the cool locations Lilly gets to travel to and photograph in the future, and we’re all rooting for her!
Lilly’s favorite brand that we carry here at FTT is Patagonia, and she’s especially fond of the fleece Synchilla Pullovers. She recently purchased a third for her collection, as she loves how comfortable they are and all of the fun and unique patterns, too.
Outside of work, Lilly can often be found with her camera, capturing the beauty of Alaska. When she’s not taking photos, she also enjoys art such as jewelry making and painting. Her other passion is volleyball, and she’s especially proud to say that, at only 5’3, she’s able to get a hold palm block when playing front row.
Lilly’s fun fact is that she just celebrated her sweet sixteen! She was able to return to Talkeetna to celebrate with her friends and even got a new camera as a gift. Now that Lilly is back in Seward to finish out her summer season, be sure to say hi when you’re in the store next!
July 11, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Luis Martinez
For today’s edition of Meet the Team Tuesday, we’re getting to know Luis Martinez, a part-time member of the retail team! Luis has an infectious attitude, and is always ready with an icebreaker question: what’s your dream travel destination? Let Luis know in the comments!
Luis is a San Francisco native who has been in Seward for three months now and is loving it! When he’s not here at FTT, you can find him also working at Major Marine Tours, spending time in Resurrection Bay on his kayaking, hiking & exploring the beautiful landscape, or volunteering at the Seward Animal Shelter.
When it comes to products that we sell here at FTT, Luis is a huge fan of Cotopaxi, both their products and their branding. He loves the fun, unique color patterns that make the brand so recognizable, as well as the llama logo, as Luis says, “Not many companies could pull off that logo!”
The Cotopaxi products that Luis likes best are the Allpa Travel Packs, which come in a range of sizes. Luis loves their design and color options, as well as the durable rain cover that keeps his belongings safe and dry during rainy days in Seward.
In Luis’s free time, he loves to travel, and it’s one of his life’s ambitions to make it to all seven continents – he only has three more to go! Luis loves to adventure, and his travels have taken him to some truly incredible places. Next time you stop by FTT, ask to see his pictures of his recent trip to the Amazon River, you won’t regret it!
Finally, we asked Luis for a fun fact that people might not know about him – turns out he’s a really talented juggler! Not only that, he loves to teach people how to juggle too. If you happen to stop by and we’re all trying (and probably failing) to juggle, just know it’s Luis’s doing!
July 01, 2023
Get to know the Mount Marathon race
Every 4th of July, people from near and far flock to our town of Seward, Alaska for the famous Mount Marathon race, one of the oldest of its kind in America. Often referred to as “the toughest 5k on the planet,” the Mount Marathon race sees competitors start in downtown Seward, race 2,974 feet up Mount Marathon, and return to town. The average uphill speed for competitors is 2mph, while the average downhill speed is a whopping 12mph. This is an event that shouldn’t be missed!
The origin story of the Mount Marathon race says that it started as a bet made in a bar between two “sourdoughs” – people who have spent several winters in Alaska, making them long-term residents – about whether it was possible to make it up Mount Marathon and back down again in under an hour. One sourdough said it would be possible, the other bet against him, and so the Mount Marathon race was born! In case you’re wondering how that bet played out, the optimistic sourdough lost, with a there-and-back time of 1 hour and 2 minutes.
It’s unclear what year that original bet took place, but the race became officially recognized back in 1915 and has been held nearly every year since then, only being missed in years with groundbreaking or catastrophic events, such as the construction of the Alaska Railroad, WW2, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the years, the race itself has grown and changed – the race now has a clearly defined course; men, women, and juniors all have their own races held throughout the day; and that 1 hour and 2-minute original time has been blown out of the water. The current overall course record was set in 2016 by Anchorage-based competitor, David Norris, with a time of 41 minutes and 26 seconds.
The original bet may have been between just two men, but today’s race sees up to 350 competitors in both the men's and women’s races, and up to 300 juniors (split between boys and girls). Qualifying for the Mount Marathon race is a feat in itself, with more people wanting to run the race each year than there are spots available. As a result, an entry mechanic had to be devised specifically for the race and includes a combination of qualifying times, sponsored spots, lottery winners, and even a raffle.
This year marks the 95th Mount Marathon race, and it’s bound to be another one for the books, with a record number of first-time racers and lottery winners – we can’t wait to see how it’s going to play out!
June 27, 2023
Meet the Team Tuesday: Jessica Fry
Meet the Team Tuesday is back, and today we’re telling you all about Seward’s own Jessica Fry! Jessica is a born-and-raised Alaskan who has lived in Seward since moving from Anchorage twenty years ago.
Jessica is currently enrolled in the dental hygiene college at the University of Alaska Anchorage, which is a highly competitive program, so we’re incredibly happy to call her part of the FTT Family when school is out of session. This summer, Jessica is splitting her time between the sales floor and online classes to get ahead at school – she’s a real powerhouse!
Jessica is Alaskan Native Yupik on her mom’s side, so giving back to local communities is something that she holds close to her heart. Once she graduates, Jess plans to work as a dental hygienist in Seward at her local native clinic, and we’re all rooting for her!
Jessica has a number of favorite brands that we carry in-store, but her overall fave is Patagonia – especially the Nano Puff jacket and the Synchilla fleece. Jessica likes how versatile and environmentally conscious Patagonia is as a brand, and has a number of different products in her wardrobe that come in handy for life in Alaska.
Jessica’s other favorite brand that we carry is Ruff Wear – the perfect gear for your furry friend! Jessica has a seven-year-old English Shepherd called Ruby, and Ruff Wear is their go-to from front-range harnesses to frisbee toys. They love going on outdoor adventures together, so pet gear is a must-have for Jessica.
Outside of work, Jessica has a number of hobbies including horseback riding, snowboarding, hiking, spending time at the beach, reading, art, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family.
To round off our blog, we asked Jessica for a fun fact, and she said, “Ruby and I have the same birthday (October 23rd)! Proving she’s the perfect dog for me/I was destined to have her! A lot of my family pets have shared birthdays and anniversaries with my various family members,” how cool is that?!
June 12, 2023
Today is Tuesday and that calls for another round of Meet the Team! Today we’re introducing you to the warehouse team’s firecracker, Maddie!
Maddie is our resident shoe expert, as well as a member of the warehouse dream team where she helps with restocking and shipping out your online orders. She may be small, but she has a mighty presence behind-the-scenes here at FTT.
Maddie moved to Seward in April of this year, and is loving it so far! She is originally from Southern California, but spent last summer living and working in Seldovia, Alaska where she realized how much she loves the freedom Alaska affords. As Maddie put it, being in Alaska was “her destiny,” and she’s not planning on leaving anytime soon.
When asked about her favorite products that we offer in-store, Maddie chose the Antler Dream Catchers by local artist, Vicky Johnson. Each dream catcher is handmade in Alaska, one-of-a-kind, and made from shed caribou antlers. These products really capture the spirit of Alaska, while also (hopefully) bringing some sweet dreams.
Maddie is also passionate about brands that keep sustainability at their heart, such as Rumpl. Maddie says, “I will always recommend the Rumpl blankets because they are lightweight and super warm. They are also made from recycled water bottles and ethically sourced down.”
When she’s not at work, Maddie loves getting outside and exploring the beauty of the landscape around her. You can often find her exploring new waterfalls and hiking trails in her time off, as well as researching the plants and animals of Alaska.
Growing up in Southern California, Maddie is a big fan of the beach, so living in Seward allows her the opportunity to get out on the water, which she loves. She’s also a keen surfer and hopes to one day surf the Bore Tide in Turnagain Arm.
Finally, we asked Maddie for a fun fact that may surprise people, and we learned that she can do a backflip – pretty cool if you ask us!