Ariel Tweto — Voices from the GoPro Mountain Games, Episode 2

Voices from the GoPro Mountain Games: Episode 2 

Ariel Tweto

Ariel Tweto is passionate about taking chances and trying new things in the outdoors—and sharing her experiences with others. Ariel’s an Inupiaq Eskimo born and raised in Unalakleet, Alaska. She’s a pilot, a TV personality, and the founder of the nonprofit Popping Bubbles. 

Ariel’s first time at the Mountain Games gave her the opportunity to compete in her very first e-bike race. That’s one of the cool things about the Mountain Games: people of all experience levels compete together for the sake of community and having fun out there. She and Gabaccia Moreno met up at the Mountain Games to talk about how it went, the new friends she’s made in Vail, and her best advice for listeners looking to embrace nature in their lives.

About the series:

Travel with She Explores for a weekend of adventure, art, music, and community at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. Through conversations with four women outdoorists and through the ears of first-time Mountain Games attendee Gabaccia Moreno, listeners have the opportunity to experience the games from afar and contemplate adventure in their own lives. 

This special She Explores miniseries is made in collaboration with the Vail Valley Foundation with support from LifeStraw.

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Featured in this episode: Ariel Tweto

Hosted by Gale Straub & Gabaccia Moreno

A Production of Ravel Media

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Featured in this episode:

Ariel Tweto

Gabaccia Moreno met up with Ariel at the Mountain Games for this episode

Photo by Pat Brady


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TRANSCRIPT

Note: This transcript was lightly edited and created using a transcription service. As such it may contain spelling errors.

Gale Straub – Narration:

This special 4-part series is made possible by LifeStraw. LifeStraw makes water safe to drink through their intentionally designed products for outdoor adventures, travel, and home. With every filter and purifier they sell, a child in need receives safe water for an entire school year. GoPro Mountain Games is proud to partner with LifeStraw to help make a weekend of adventure and community possible. Learn more at Lifestraw.com.

Gabaccia Moreno:

We are back.

Ariel Tweto:

We are live.

Gabaccia Moreno:

We are back live from Vail, Colorado.

Ariel Tweto:

With the birds.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Yeah.

Ariel Tweto:

With the ants.

Gabaccia Moreno:

No, this is a good spot to get bird sounds by the river is impossible.

Gale Straub – Narration:

You’re listening to Voices from the GoPro Mountain Games, a She Explores podcast miniseries made in collaboration with the Vail Valley Foundation with support from LifeStraw. I’m Gale Straub, and this episode features Ariel Tweto in conversation with Gabaccia Moreno at the Mountain Games.

Gabaccia Moreno:

The very professional lawn office that we’re on.

Ariel Tweto:

No, it’s just so much better than just being in an office. You have less boundaries when you’re out here. I feel like in an office you’re almost more constricted and everything. And now it’s like, ask me anything.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Ariel Tweto is Inupiaq Inuit, born and raised in Alaska. She’s a pilot, a TV personality, and the founder of the nonprofit Popping Bubbles. She and Gabaccia bonded right away, both as women of color who would like to see more women of color at the Mountain Games, and as people who are driven to invite more people into the outdoors:

Gabaccia Moreno:

She has this love and joy about life and about adventure and about sharing that and inspiring others. And so that’s like, that’s her mission. And that’s, you can tell that that’s underlining everything she does.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Ariel is passionate about taking chances and trying new things — and sharing her experiences with others. Ariel’s first time at the Mountain Games is proof of that: it gave her the opportunity to compete in her very first e-bike race. Here’s Gabaccia:

Gabaccia Moreno:

What I appreciate the most about Ariel Tweto is that she really goes and tries whatever it is if she hasn’t tried it. And she’s a little curious, she’ll do it. Why not just try it? And in our conversation, she talked about enjoying sucking at something just because you’re good to see yourself grow. And I think that is so important. So overlooked, we’re not taught that sucking at things is a good thing. So to have someone like Ariel say that and be open about that, I think is super valuable, you know, for our culture, because we need to start shifting those ways of thinking and start embracing that effort and slow growth is as valuable as being organically talented at something.

Gale Straub – Narration:

One of the really awesome things about the Mountain Games is the fact that people of all experience levels compete together.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Often when we think about competition, we’re trained to understand competition as certain ranking, right? So, I mean, I think from my personal experience, like, oh, you and I used to play tennis and, you know, your, the, your, a, your B, your C, and like, you’re always just competing with your group. And I think that seeing something like this weekend where you have everyone from any levels of experience participating in the same competition, it just makes it really cool because also the communities they’re cheering equally for, for everyone. And so it’s really the excitement of we’re here kayaking. And doesn’t matter if this is your first time or your second time, I think it was also Ariel Twitter who told me she had never really a fly fished before, but she entered the Flycasting tournament because why not? And she just learned and did it right. And so that’s kind of really cool and refreshing to know that if someone is walking by and they see, oh, that’s cool, there’s a race. I don’t run, but why am I not going to sign up? Right. And to know that other people have the same background and that just want to have fun and being community and be outside and move their bodies want to participate. So I thought that was really, really cool.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Ariel and Gabaccia grabbed a coffee and sat down in a park in Vail to chat.

Ariel Tweto:

My name’s Ariel tweet out, or I’ll say my full name, Ariel Eva Tuadraq-Atauchaq. And then those are my two Eskimo names. So they sort of funny because my first one is Tuadraq, and that’s on my birth certificate. And then my mom showed my grandma when she brought the birth certificate, she was like, why do you name her Tuadraq? And then my mom was like, isn’t that your name? And she was like, no, it’s Atauchaq, but it’s funny. Cause everyone at home calls me. I’m not everyone, but a lot of the elders call me Tuadraq, which is sort of like my messed up name, but I’m always messing up every day. And so it’s so much more fitting. And so, yeah, so it’s Ariel Eva Tuadraq-Atauchaq so I’m a runner, I’m a mountain biker. I’m a wander adventurous nature-lover, sister, daughter, pilot,

Gabaccia Moreno:

What kind of pilot?

Ariel Tweto:

I just airplanes, I private pilot. So I got my license in on April 21st, 2012. And yeah, I grew up in a family, everyone, a pilot. So in the village I grew up in an Alaska. The only way in and out is by airplane. And so for me, I’ve always wanted to explore and see the world. And so I’m like, okay, I want to get out of here. I better get my license. And so what brings you to the GoPro mountain games this year? This year? I was so sorry, lucky to be invited. My background’s in TV and film, and now I’m doing a lot of stuff on like Instagram and everything. And so they reached out to me for that. But I mean, I’m one of the biggest, I guess I’d met your things I’m known for is running. But then the past three years I really got into mountain biking and it completely changed my life.

Ariel Tweto:

I am obsessed with mountain biking and I, the only event I have competed in so far here is the e-bike mountain biking that was yesterday and it was so fun. And so I’ve just been doing a lot of just like Instagramming the events and then I’m mountain biking. Cool. How was the, yeah, I saw you at the, at the, I actually, I heard someone saying aerial and I was like, wait, and then I saw you. I was like, oh cool. That, that I caught that I caught that fun and I did a lot better than I, I had no expectations going in because this is my first time I’ve been racing, but I got in first for, um, the girls. And so I was like, oh yeah. And then, um, yeah. And so I definitely did better than I thought. And I felt strong and I was just like, yes, I can’t wait for the next one.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Cool. How’s the e-bike experience different from a regular mountain bike?

Ariel Tweto:

They/re completely different sports. I love both, but with e-bikes I could go so much further and I love going fast. Like you could go so much faster, but in Alaska you could, you’d get to the Ridge lines that just weren’t possible with my normal bike. I don’t know. You just, you could go so far so fast and still have enough energy to go do other stuff like before, like mountain biking, you sort of like beat yourself up so hard. And then you’re just sort of drained and III biking has been so fun. Is there less pushing the bike up? Yeah, there’s a lot less, but then you still get into kill it workout. Like I, I’m almost getting a bigger upper body workout when I’m on my eBay. Cause the bike’s heavier and you’re sort of flipping it around all the time.

Ariel Tweto:

And so you’re getting like a core and you’re like lats and every like you’re, you’re definitely getting it more of an upper body workout and it’s so great. I recommend it to everyone. And for older people that don’t want to do those hard, gnarly uphills, it’s there for them to hop on your bike and still go outside and have a good time. Oh, wonderful. I love that. Are you doing another race? No, not on this trip. It was just this race. And then I was going to do some of the running ones. I grew up running and I competed in college and I’m sort of burnt out from competing. I love running. Like I haven’t missed a day of running since August, 2001.

Gabaccia Moreno:

What?

Ariel Tweto:

So 21 years of never, I haven’t missed a day. And so running is like my sanity. I like wake up in the, and then brush my teeth and run.

Ariel Tweto:

And so like if I’m filming a movie or something and our call times at 5:00 AM, it was like, get up and run at three and you better do it. Otherwise I’m not patient. I’m a, I think I’m a lot less approachable. And I like myself so much more after I run. I love that. That’s what we all need to have. Right. The thing that we like ourselves better after we did that, there’s never been a time where I’ve run and felt worse after like, you always feel better, even if it’s like negative 40 or 50 and you’re freezing and you’re like, huh, but you’re done. You’re like, oh my God, I’m so strong. And I just did this and I accomplished something today, go me.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Have you tried any other new activities?

Ariel Tweto:

This weekend is the biggest thing, which is connecting with people and meeting these new, amazing friends that are working with these all different types of companies.

Ariel Tweto:

And so the newest thing is, I guess, would just be, be meeting people in this adventure world. And I’m just like, how, how, there’s not enough time in the day here to try everything that you want. I know. How was it competing for the fly costing thing? Oh my God, it was so fun. I was just like, what am I doing? I had no idea what I was doing. Um, but oh my God. I was like, can I just catch the guy I’m competing? He gets nice. How do you, how do you fly fly fish before nobody was, it was really fun. And I could see now how it’s addictive because you do it. And you’re like, oh my God, I want to get better. And then you do it. And I’m like, I know I could do better. And then it just, it was so fun. So that was actually a blast. So going back to the other questions, I guess I didn’t do something for the first time.

Gabaccia Moreno:

There you go.

Ariel Tweto:

There we are. Well, we already talked about your go-to outdoor activities, but are there any other outdoor activities that you are excited to try in the future or that you haven’t gone into yet? I really want to do the stand up paddling next year will be so exciting. I just got into surfing this year. I Love the ocean,

Ariel Tweto:

But then now I’m just loved being in any type of water. So I would love to try that I was watching some of it today and they just looked like a blast. And then more stuff of the dogs. I want a dog so bad about my lifestyle. I can’t, I can’t even have a plant on the road, but one day I really want a dog. And to do some of the dog competitions would be really fun.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Nice. I love that. What word would you use to describe the energy of this weekend?

Ariel Tweto:

Positive everyone. Stoked.

Ariel Tweto:

Like everyone was so encouraging, so positive, so happy and joyful. And it’s like hugging each other. It’s yeah, that’s kind of like, whatever, but I think the other words that I’ve gotten is electric enthusiasm. Yeah. You know, like it’s yeah. It’s all around this positivity and this just joy of being back together with people. So good. Oh, so, so good.

Gabaccia Moreno:

So when you reflect on this weekend so far, are there any conversations or interactions that you feel particularly great?

Ariel Tweto:

Well, for God, so many, I just met so many fun people. I have like two best friends from Laguna that are here with me and just being able to like, be with them and play and like be outside and bike pat and Richie. And like, just to have like build our friendship has been really cool. I met this awesome lady from Australia during the bike ride and her son actually paced me the whole time.

Ariel Tweto:

And he was like 10, but he was so fast. And so connecting with them after the race. And like, he probably would have beat me, but his motor died oh far from the end. But then after the race, it came up and he was like, you on my tail the whole time, he kept me going fast and I’m like, you got me. That’s fair. And so that was cool just to have this little like grom kid, just awesome. And I’m just like, wow. And he was so positive and so kind, but his mom and dad were really cool just meeting new friends and just meeting like the guys that organized this whole event. Have they been so awesome and yeah, I think that would be like, the biggest thing is just the relationships.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Cool. How does it feel to be surrounded by people who share your love for nature and adventure?

Ariel Tweto:

Oh, you just get so much energy from everybody. Cause everyone’s so pumped about everything, about their coffee. They’re drinking about this. Like sitting by the water about flipping clouds about like the music. Like I feel like the mountains attract a certain type of person and it attracted like such good people this weekend. And so, yeah. I just like every moment has been so great.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Nice. How do you stay connected with nature during the pandemic?

Ariel Tweto:

Oh, running this, getting up and running. Like I spent the first part of the pandemic, like the lockdown with my parents and both are super active. So my dad hikes all the time. My mom runs every day. And so it was always like morning run with mom and then afternoon hike with dad and then some, some other activity I just can’t, I can’t be inside for more than like an hour without being like, oh, I need to get out.

Ariel Tweto:

And so there’s a lot of just walking. I was trying to learn. So it’s not a habit yet, but just trying to learn to meditate and like do breathing work. And I do it for like a couple of days and then I’ll stop. And then I’m just like, ah, it feels so much better when I do it and I just can’t make it a habit yet. So that’s one of my goals though, is to just make it a consistent part of my routine. I mean, I’ve had that too where I, and I realized too that, you know, I like to meditate, but I cannot do like a full, what I would consider a full on meditation every day. But I tried to do at least one mindful breath per day, whereas just like stopping for a moment, you know, to like talk to them, my Uber driver the other day.

Ariel Tweto:

And she is like meditation, enthusiastic, I guess. But she’s like, I’m trying to make my day of meditation. Whereas just like just constantly be present. Don’t worry about your past. Don’t stress about your future. Just like right now, it’s just me and you and nothing else matters. And just like when you’re connecting with people just be there. And I think that’s such a big gift that you could give to other people as your time and your presence. And I was like, oh my God, that was so wise. Yeah. And that was just a couple of days ago. And I thought about it every day. It’s like, wherever I’m at, I want to be with those people. Or if I’m by myself, I just want to be by me. So enjoy that and just enjoy being. Yeah. Yeah. I saw all this. It sounds like fluff, but um, I’m just trying like to enjoy me. I just like, I like me. All right. I want to like, and just trying to learn more about what you like, what you don’t like, what makes you happy? What makes you frustrated? And it’s just like, it’s just trying to be in the moment all the time. Cool. I know it’s a good challenge to have. Yeah. So hard, so hard.

Gabaccia Moreno:

When you look ahead to summer, what are you looking forward to?

Ariel Tweto:

I’m really Excited to go home and see my family. I miss my mom and dad and my sister so much. So it’d be able to just go and hike with them just to go to our mountain bike park in Alaska. I’m so excited and I love my cousins and all of us are so competitive, but we have so much fun. I’m bringing some of my friends from Laguna beach to my village. And our whole goal is to get the kids from the village exposed to biking and surfing. Our village is right on the water. So we have like the Bering Strait, the Bering sea. And then we also have this awesome hill behind her village. And so I thought like if professional mountain bikers in a surfer came to my village, when I was at young, it would have changed my life and it maybe would have saved some of my friend’s life because it would have gained these opportunities and like thoughts that they could possibly maybe one day they would be a professional biker or, or even they would just get them excited to wake up in the morning.

Ariel Tweto:

And so my goal is to take them there, to like, let them see what’s out there. And then hopefully next year I could start like this. I wanted to do this whole summer experience where we bring different types of people to the village, to teach kids about all the opportunities that are out there in the world. And so that’s the goal. And so, um, that’s like my summer highlight, you think we’ll just be bringing my buddies to where I grew up and to show them like, Hey, like let’s get these. So these kids so pumped on life, that there wouldn’t even be an option to like not wake up in the morning. And that’s like the goal.

Gabaccia Moreno:

That’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing that. So what advice do you have for those listening to embrace adventure in their life?

Ariel Tweto:

I see the opportunities that people give you. And even though some of them, it may be scary or you think that it could be out of your wheelhouse, take a chance because even if you screw up or you fail or you crash or you like don’t do well, those are where all your stories and memories come from. And then you’ll be able to reflect and laugh and like life should be humorous and it should be funny and you shouldn’t mess up and you shouldn’t screw up all the time because that’s when you learn and that’s how you grow. So I would just say, say yes to opportunities that people throw at you and just go for it. And don’t be afraid because we all mess up every day, but then messing up could be beautiful and you could learn and you can meet new people and you could get new scars that will just remind you of the adventures that you took And so, yeah, just get out there.

Gabaccia Moreno:

That’s so cool. You, I mean, you’re a person that tries a lot of new things. Has there been a new thing that you’ve tried? That was the most impactful?

Ariel Tweto:

Well surfing. I like, I just got into surfing this year and there’s nothing like being on the wave, like catching it. Yeah. And he was like, and then he crashed. So I love it so much. I want to get good. Like I, right now I’ve been going out pretty much every day in Laguna and it’s been so much fun and it’s, it’s honestly fun sucking at something and watching yourself grow and cause then you feel better about it. And you’re like, oh my God, I am capable of doing hard things. And I can do things that I thought I couldn’t do. And you just feel like you feel strong and I like feeling strong. Yeah. And surf will test your strength. It makes you feel so small and it doesn’t judge you based on your color, based on your gender based on anything. It’s like, Nope, I will pummel you in this barrel. Or I will like just beat you down. And then within Manny, once you’re connected with it, there’s nothing like it.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Oh, I agree.

Gabaccia Moreno:

Well, thank you so much. We’ve definitely covered all on a little bit more. Do you have anything else that you want to add?

Ariel Tweto:

Um, yeah. Get outside again. I think it’s so important for kids to get outside because if they’re not in the ocean, if they’re not playing in dirt and getting dirty and muddy and climbing trees, why would they care about taking care of it? Because you don’t care about things that you’re not actually touching or that you like cannot grasp. So if you get kids playing in the ocean, they’re going to want to protect the ocean. And if you get kids playing climbing trees, they’re wanting to like, they want to plant more trees and like to take care of it. And so I just think, especially if you’re a parent or if you have younger siblings get them outside and just get them dirty. And, and also like, like I was saying, like nature, doesn’t care how you look. It doesn’t care about religion. What race, what gender, what your political views are it? Mother nature treats everyone the same. And so I just think you just learn so much from being out there. And so I just think is so important for kids to get outside.

Gale Straub – Narration:

This was episode two of our four part series, Voices from the Go Pro Mountain Games.  All four episodes are available in our feed now. Episode 3 features Emily Jackson, a professional kayaker and mother of two.

Big thank you to Ariel Tweto for taking time out of the Mountain Games to chat with Gabaccia. Follow along with Ariel on Instagram @ArielTweto.

Special thanks to our sponsors for making this 4-part series possible.

Nature Valley is a proud partner of the outdoors. From creating the first granola bar, meant to be eaten outside, to committing to make all their packaging fully recyclable by 2025, and to their sponsorship of Vail Valley Foundation, Nature Valley provides delicious fuel for our time in the outdoors. Learn more at NatureValley.com

There’s no wrong way to get Outside – take it from Go RVing. Their platform amplifies the voices of adventure campers, leisure campers, foodies, tailgaters, outdoor enthusiasts, families, digital nomads and everyone in between. Head to Go RVing dot com to find the right RV for your outdoor lifestyle – it’s time to go on a REAL VACATION.

The GoPro Mountain Games is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.

This episode was hosted and produced by me, Gale Straub. In the field interviews and on site recorders done by Gabaccia Moreno. Interview editing by Julie Hotz. Music licensed via Music Bed. Voices from the GoPro Mountain Games is a She Explores mini-series and a production of Ravel Media.

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