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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING » NEW HAMPSHIRE » The Small New Hampshire Travel Company That Thinks Big
Bariloche, Argentina
The Small New Hampshire Travel Company That Thinks Big

By Jack Pollner | December 20, 2010

In search of an exciting winter vacation and environmentally conscious too? Look no further than SASS Global Travel.

Rincon, Puerto Rico

“We stayed in bamboo tree houses that were 35 feet off the ground.   The things shook back and forth while we slept and you could hear the waves pounding about a mile away.   It's the coolest surf trip you will ever go on.” Travis Moore, Director of Sales is on the phone with a client.   He is telling them about a recent trip his company, SASS Global Travel (SGT), opened in the town of Rincon, Puerto Rico.   In his signature voice, slightly more noticeable in a crowd and much more hurried than average, he is telling the client about each and every detail of the week long trip in what seems like only minutes.

The desire to strike out and discover new lands has always been strong for New Englanders.   The first settlers to the area were adventurers themselves and while the means of travel have changed dramatically over the last 300 years, the spirit of exploring has not.   SGT, based out of North Hampton, New Hampshire seeks to fill a niche in the travel market by supplying anyone interested in a dose of adrenaline with a trip that can satisfy their needs.

The idea for South America Snow Sessions (SASS) was hatched when John Wilbur, of Guilford, Connecticut, was interning in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2003.   While taking a long weekend in the Andes, John saw the opportunity for a diehard skier or snowboarder to participate in their sport year round while experiencing another culture.   Wilbur states,

A Skier in Argentina

“I didn't see many people making the trip to Europe in the North American winter because there were so many good places to ride in the U.S.   If we added a component, such as winter during summer, and paired that with a trip to a foreign country, then I thought we could offer clients more of an experience.” Wilbur was joined 2 years later by Travis Moore and Luke Shelly, also New Englanders who shared John's enthusiasm for travel and exploring new places.

Growing from 6 clients in 2004, to over 200 in 2009, the company has since expanded to include unique trips all over the world.   SGT aims to provide another option for the adventurous traveler.   “We wanted to make traveling all over the world easy, so SGT offers experience based action adventure travel packages.” says Luke Shelly, Director of Marketing.   “The packages offer clients everything they need from food and lodging, to guide service, to a full logistics team behind each trip to make sure everything flows smoothly.”

In addition to offering trips that are a bit off the beaten path, SGT is also striving to provide travelers with a more guilt free experience than in years past.   Ryan Dunfee, a North Hampton, New Hampshire native who recently graduated from Williams College has jumped on board as Director of Sustainability for the new company.   When asked what made SGT different from other travel companies, Ryan stated,

“We're thinking about the environmental and social impact of our operations and want to make sure that people aren't getting a polluting resort experience where they never meet anyone from the native country or experience the actual country.” In addition to offering carbon offsets for flights on all trips, SGT is seeking out more environmentally sound trips as a whole.

The Surf at Rincon, Puerto Rice

Take the surf trip to Rincon for example.   The bamboo tree houses that clients stay in are fully self sustaining.   Solar hot water and electricity is supplemented by flush toilets and small cook stoves.   All the bamboo for the tree houses is grown on site in a bamboo stand that was replanted after the area had been forested of all its native species of flora.   Where it can't provide a totally zero impact trip, SGT is doing what it can.   This summer at its flagship operation in Bariloche, Argentina, the company is constructing a greenhouse out of recycled plastic bottles, replacing all the halogen light bulbs on the property with compact fluorescent bulbs, and converting the transportation over to veggie oil.   SGT hopes these efforts will minimize its impact on the land.   Ryan mentions that innovation in these efforts is key.

“Lowering the carbon emissions from a trip to the Argentine Andes will present a very different set of difficulties than a trip to the Nicaraguan jungle.”

So while Travis is on the phone again in another room, talking with another client about how much snow Argentina has already gotten this season, Ryan sums up the operation in the best way he can.

“People from New England that I've traveled with are willing to be a small part of the landscape when they're in a new place.   We know how to make a super fun day out of tough conditions, so it naturally pushes us to seek out the best possible experiences in the best possible locations.”

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