My Name Is Karl Oscar Mittelstadt. My Uncle Les Wells built our ski cabin in Girdwood, Alaska back in 1965. My parents had me on skis at age 2. I have worked for Alyeska for 27 years now, 10 of those were spent running the tram in some pretty ugly weather back in the late 90’s.
In the summers, I worked lift maintenance and trail crew for the mountain bike trails. I am very proud to have worked three summers on the North Face hiking route and happy to have been among the men and women who hand laid all the rock for the Winner Creek extension trail out to Verbia Road.
Now that you know my energy level, I had a cousin who was left a paraplegic from a car accident back in the 90’s. When he wanted to try the adaptive ski program, I tagged along to film it. In doing so, I witnessed first hand the true blessing of speed and freedom it allowed my cousin Andy Wells to have on the snow!
In 2012 I found a start up page on the internet for a Stand Up Paddle Board company based out of Colorado who had some crazy new ideas that I just loved (thinking outside the box). I sent Peter Hall of Hala Gear one of my paychecks to help him start his company and that put things in motion for me to be able to place wheelchairs on very wide, very stable, river specific SUP board. I had bugged the winter crew for 3 years on my idea to take out Special needs kids & adults on paddle boards but I think they thought I was crazy … My cousin Andy Wells sadly passed away from complications so when I started my paddle board company, Alaska Paddle Board Guru L.L.C., back in 2013, I put a little reminder in my business plan to somehow give back. I decided the best way was through Challenge Alaska. I made it my goal to donate time and equipment to them within the first 6 years.
So here I am, 4 years into my business & challenge, finally invited to Chall Spring Splash! I hand built all the things I thought I would need the day before the event, including ramp & tire blocking squares & two handful’s of short raft straps for tying down the wheels on the board. Only Hala boards provide these lash points and they are incredible! On June 24th, 2017 five ladies were the first ones in Alaska to wheel onto a paddle board in there own personal chairs to realize they were now free from the confines of land ! I have 4 certifications for teaching SUP & was the first to complete the
I have 4 certifications for teaching SUP & was the first to complete the 84-mile paddle down the Kenai River from lake to ocean in May of 2016 carrying 60 lbs of gear. I dont surf the Bore tide but have used the tidal flow out in Turnagain Arm for the past 5 years to travel up & down the Arm to Hope & 20 mile from Girdwood. I still have a few firsts left in me, so keep an eye out in the paper & keep the fin side down. I will end this with the wording I have printed on the back doors of my business van. “WATER …..It’s just SNOW on Vacation!”