The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Aug 2013

WATCH: Strings Concert at 14K Feet

A University of Northern Colorado cello professor and a graduate violinist from Colorado University took their music to new heights on July 22—14,000 feet, to be specific. Professor Gal Faganel and Jenny Shea hiked their instruments up to the top of of Colorado's Longs Peak and played a 45-minute concert including pieces of music by Bach. Before the pair could even begin to play, they had to climb 15 miles to the top of Longs with their instruments on their backs.

If you weren't lucky enough to be on top of the peak for the performance, you can watch video of the pair below. Next up, Faganel is considering bringing an orchestra of students to the top.

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Heat Wave Batters China

The worst heat wave in 140 years is baking parts of China, leaving dozens dead and pushing the mercury above 104 degrees in at least 40 cities. Temperatures are so hot that people have been grilling shrimp on manhole covers. A highway billboard has also mysteriously caught fire and eggs are hatching without incubators.

The extreme heat began in early July and is expected to grip much of China through August. Shanghai set its record high temperature of 105 degrees on July 26 and Thursday marked the city's 28th day above 95 degrees. At least 10 people have died from heat stroke in the last month.

Tuesday, the director of China Meteorological Administration declared a level 2 emergency, requiring around-the-clock staffing and the establishment of an emergency command center.

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Organizers Break Away from USA Cycling

The U.S. Cup, which organizes many of the top domestic mountain bike events, has broken away from USA Cycling. The organization announced tuesday that it will no longer sanction events through USA Cycling.

The move comes in response to USA Cycling's decision earlier this year to enforce a rule barring athletes from competing in independent events like the GoPro Mountain Games. While the rule was put on hold after public outcry, organizers of the cup said USA Cycling's ambiguous stance on the rule led them to cease sanctioning events through the body.

"We would rather concentrate our investment and our partners' sponsorship dollars on the event itself without the burden of USAC priorities or needs, which quite often have nothing to do with the paying customer ... the riders and their families," R. Scott Tedro, owner of Sho-Air International and The U.S. Cup announced.

The U.S. Cup has promoted or subsidized upwards of 110 mountain biking events over the last year, more than any other U.S.-based promoter. It remains unclear if other event promoters will follow the organizer's lead.

For more on the future of mountain biking in the U.S.

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NYC Removes Surfing "Death Sticks" at Rockaway

City crews in New York are removing the "death sticks" of Rockaway beach, the barnacle-covered wooden stumps originally placed to prevent beach erosion. According to the New York Times, the beach is closed to surfing for the estimated six weeks that the removal will take, though many surfers have been visiting the area anyway.

The "death sticks" earned their name by seriously injuring a number of surfers, killing at least one. In 2010, 28-year-old Charles DeVoe died after his leash got tangled around the sticks, trapping him underwater for several minutes.

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Kayak

Folding kayaks have traditionally been unwieldy and heavy, mainly because of the rib systems that are used to create the integrity of the boat. Which is why we’ve been eagerly watching the Oru, an elegant new portable kayak, come to life for the past year or so. Ever since we saw it, we were struck by its beauty and simplicity and light weight (it weighs just 25 pounds). It’s made completely out of one continuous piece of corrugated plastic.

The design cuts out the need for ribs out all together. A rigid floorboard (which doubles as the lid of the case) reinforces the structure of the cockpit, and the Oru fits standard spray skirts. Its “skin” has the creases permanently molded in, which allows you to quickly fold it down to the size of a large portfolio, like origami, so it can easily be stored behind a couch in a studio apartment or thrown into the trunk of a car.

The big question was always performance: Sure it looks and sounds cool, but how does it paddle? Well, we finally got to paddle it here at the show and … we were impressed. The boat is sturdy and rigid, and cuts cleanly through the water.

Available now

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