The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Feb 2012

Best of the Super Bowl Commercials: "The Next Ones"

I admit it: It’s a little hypocritical for a blog about raising adventurous, outdoor kids to be reviewing TV commercials, but I can’t resist reposting this ad, “The Next Ones,” which aired on the sly during the Super Bowl post-game show yesterday. The commercial, for NBC Sports Network, pays tribute to up-and-coming backyard athletes, aka “the scrappers,” who are busy doing the real work of childhood: playing hard outside. It’s a goosebumpy, 60-second ride through kid land as it used to be, and should be still: pushing go-carts up ridiculously steep hills, running fast through the neighborhood, and playing pick-up pond hockey on perfect black ice. 

So here’s to “the unknown phenoms, the enforcers, the feared, the ones you didn’t see coming”—role models, we hope, for an increasingly sedentary, screen-bound generation of kids. Gotta love their spirit.


—Katie Arnold

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Multicultural Backcountry Eating with the GSI Outdoor Kung Foon

KungfoonIf you know someone who thinks eating backcountry ramen with a fork seems culturally inauthentic, yet does not have the patience to finesse campsite mac and cheese from a bowl to mouth with chopsticks, GSI has the ultimate utensil for them. The titanium Kung Foon combines the elegance of chopsticks with the practicality of a spork.

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Galleries We Like: Facial Landscapes by Cory Richards

Facial Landscapes, By Cory RichardsFacial Landscapes, By Cory Richards

By now, you've heard all about Cory Richards and his film Cold, which won big awards at Banff Mountain Film, Telluride Mountainfilm, and a handful of other festivals. What you may not have heard is that Cory Richards got his start in fashion photography, and that he used what he learned shooting models to shoot a personal project on the people of Nepal and Tibet. He calls it his "Facial Landscapes" project. We asked him about his portrait series in the interview below. Click here to see a gallery
--Amy Silverman

Since you’ve talked about Cold a lot we’re going to skip that and go directly to your other work.
Yeah. I am so happy about that. You have no idea.

I love your facial landscapes project.  How did those images come about?
It’s funny because all that comes from, believe it or not, a commercial fashion background. I worked in commercial fashion on these shoots that were super scripted and organized. You come out, you go into a motor home in the morning, you talk to the models, you talk to the photographer (back then I was the assistant), and then you go and execute the shoot—trying to sort of play off people’s insecurities. To me the whole project stems from the idea that there’s so much more inherent beauty that we don’t really look at all the time, and one of the places you often see that is in the elderly. They have this massive amount of life experience and in our modern culture we remove all the wrinkles and don’t like looking at them. For me, having looked at so many faces that were kind of polished with make up and all this shit, I was like, there’s something more real about this beauty. That’s where it came from. I went to Nepal and Tibet and just started looking for the people who had worked the hardest, who had lived the most, and then I just applied very simple commercial fashion lighting to the shoots and it turned out beautifully. I’m like, “Oh god, I can like count his whiskers,” which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can get into it with the person. The other thing about the project is that I kind of wanted to celebrate the people who climbing success was built on—sherpas and the local people that support and provide the infrastructure.

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Strip Mine Near Bryce Canyon NP Drawing Heat

The Bureau of Land Management is getting an earful over its tentative approval of a lease to Alton Coal Development LLC, a group of Florida investors that want to expand an existing coal mining operation into public lands close to Bryce Canyon National Park.

The existing mine, on private land, is about 10 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park, is already disrupting the peace at park, says the National Park Service.  The expansion would bring the noise, dust and light created by the mining activity even closer, degrading the park and hurting tourism.

Joining the NPS in its objection to the expansion is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency, which says the expansion would harm, or even wipe out, the southern populations of the greater sage grouse, a bird that has already found itself in the midst of a long battle between conservationists, ranchers, and energy developers in other parts of the West.

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Family Adventure Travel Deals of the Week: Nicaragua & Jackson Hole

Pic_sanjuan_1Beach bliss, off the beaten path: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua [photo: Pelican Eyes]

It's about this time each winter that I start fantasizing about getting out of town. The holidays are long gone, spring break is still six weeks out, and The New York Times travel section is plastered with agonizing pictures of empty white-sand beaches and untracked powder. Good news is, there are deals out there if you know where to look.

Namely, Nicaragua. After violence and unrest in the eighties, the Central American country just north of Costa Rica has cleaned up its act to attract adventure tourists and retirees scouting second homes. Anecdotally speaking at least, the strategy seems to be working: Friends of mine honeymooned at Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge and raved about it, and my intrepid pal Steph Pearson recently reported a story about the country's revamped image in the November 2011 issue of Outside. But you know we're having a full-blown Nicaragua Moment when Groupon gets in on the action!

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