The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Jun 2012

Taylor Steele's Surf Movies Continue to Evolve With 'Here and Now'

Filmmaker Taylor Steele continues to push the bounds of what a surf flick can be. The man behind and The Drifter has been voted one of the 25 most powerful people in surfing by Surfer magazine. His newest film, Here and Now, will take the viewer through one day in the life of more than a dozen surfers from around the world—from Kelly Slater to Stephanie Gilmore to Albee Layer to Gabriel Villaran. It will premiere on June 20, International Surfing Day. Steele is also working on a movie that will debut in September. This Time Tomorrow follows a swell from Tahiti to Alaska over the course of eight days.

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Radioshack's Season Rolls to a Halt ... Or Does It?

Tour2011PodiumWith Andy Schleck (right) out of the Tour, there will be no repeat podium in 2012. Photo: HTO3/Flickr

Last fall, when two of the biggest teams in pro cycling, Leopard-Trek and Radioshack, announced their merger, expectations were high that the new super team, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek, would steamroll the peloton and put one of the Schleck brothers, likely Andy, on the top step of the Tour de France podium at last.

Fast forward nine months, and the team has failed to live up to expectations. In fact, with only three notable wins to its credit so far in 2012—Fabian Cancellara won the Strade Bianchi and stage 7 at Tirreno-Adriatico in March before breaking his collar bone at Paris-Roubaix, and Jakob Fulgsang took the overall at the Tour of Luxembourg earlier this month—it's no overstatement to say that the merger has thus far been a flop. Team director Johan Bruyneel acknowledged the grim situation in recent weeks, calling the team's performance "far below expectations" and "unacceptable."

And as the springtime failures have amassed (the team came up empty at the Ardennes classics, Frank Schleck pulled out of the Giro citing injury), rumors of strife between Bruyneel and the Luxembourger brothers have amplified. Late last month, Bruyneel even implied that neither of the Luxembourgers were guaranteed a spot at the Tour if they didn't shape up.

Now it looks like Bruyneel's veiled threat is coming half true.

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Lance Armstrong Denies USADA's Charges of Doping

Early on Wednesday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced it is set to bring formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong, which could cost him his seven Tour de France titles, and has already cost him the chance to compete in Ironmans—at least for the time being. That is the simplest take on what's at stake. There are several people, corporations, and organizations who could be affected by the charges. Here's how some of the parties involved have responded, including Armstrong.

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Hackers to Consumers: You Have the Power to Get Greener Gear


This past Sunday I forewent a gorgeous afternoon in the sun, opting for the headquarters of frog, a global innovation firm (they design/re-design products and experiences for major companies). Frog and LRN, a consultancy, were hosting a weekend "hackathon." Unless you're a computer programmer or a geek of some other stripe, you might not immediately recognize this term, but hackathons are basically brainstorming sessions. People with similar interests and talents come together to re-imagine a product or service—or sometimes something broader—by hacking and rebuilding existing products or services.

This hackathon was, indeed, something much broader. The participants—designers, coders, business leaders, students, filmmakers, and many other thinkers—were handed this task: reinvent business. No big deal. Also, they had just 30 hours to do it.

I arrived just in time to hear about the products and services that the 20 teams at the hackathon came up with. Each team had three minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that two of these ideas are tied in an important way to the outdoor/adventure sports gear market.

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A Love Story on Midway Island

Midway Atoll is a 2.4-square-mile atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with three islands covering 1,549 acres. It's small, remote, and an essential landing strip for giant seabirds. More than three million of them plop down on the islands every year, which means it's crowded, especially when the birds decide to lay their eggs. Virtually every square foot has a nest.

Three species of albatross, of which the most prominent is the Laysan albatross—with 450,000 nesting pairs, take up space on the island every winter. Laysans are big birds, with roughly six-foot wingspans. They stay, more or less, for nine months. They are monogamous, for the most part, and can live for up to 40 years. After the pairs land in October or November, they spend some time dancing and clicking and deciding on a nest before laying an egg. The male and female take turns incubating the egg for about two months, fly off on a series of epic journeys to find food for their young over the course of four or five months, and then leave the youngsters alone so they can fledge in June or July.

Photographer and filmmaker Chris Jordan stepped into this scene—carefully, of course—and stayed for a couple weeks. It affected him in a profound way. That's because, as you've probably heard and seen, a lot of the chicks die with large amounts of plastic in their stomachs. Their parents inadvertently scoop up the debris while feeding on squid and other fish at the top of the Pacific Ocean, and regurgitate the plastic into the youngsters' mouths. Eventually, Jordan decided to make a movie called Midway, and he wants to go back. He's hoping to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter to finish his project. We checked in with him to find out a little bit more about his motivation.

Laysan albatross and chick. Photo: Chris Jordan

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