The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2011

Tree Well Immersion

Last week, massive storms pummeled the mountains with snow. Unfortunately, in a 48-hour span, four more cases of tree well accidents were reported. On December 28, a snowboarder went out of bounds from a Tahoe resort and was found in a deat in tree well two days later. On December 27, a snowboarder was missing and found in dead in a tree well the next day. On December 29, a snowboarder on a guided backcountry tour in Canada died. Also last wednesday, an inbounds skier at a Montana resort was found in critical condition in a tree well. For the beta on safety, read my post from December 21 or this journal paper.

--Christopher Van Tilburg

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Team VeloSport: The 2011 Scoop

Besides running a successful design firm, Damion Hickman also runs one of the biggest club teams in Southern Califorina, Team Velo Sport. The 700 members blanket the sport of cycling, with riders from numerous disciplines: mountain biking, time trials, cyclocross, and road. Don't be intimidated by the big number, racing is not a requirement to join Team Velo Sport. We checked in with Hickman on how you can join, what inspired his team, and what's up for 2011.
--Heidi Volpe

New kits look great! Are there any new features to the design this year? Fabric or cut?
Thanks! No big changes other than some redesigned back pockets. We've stuck with what works. Squadra has been a great vendor and apparel partner for us. They've jumped thru hoops to get us the massive size order we place every year.

Did you design the kits?
Yes I did. The toughest part is making the sponsor logos look good next to all of the other logos.

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The Top 10 Ways to Not Look Like a Tourist

Chile's Rio Baker, Photo by Michael Hanson
Cruise ships are for tourists. Real travel is for wanderers who don’t want to just see, but experience something different. Packing and planning take a back seat to learning how to simply be in this game. So leave your guidebook at home, snip the Canadian flag patch off your pack, strip down bare, and walk into the world. You’ll come home different from how you left.
--Porter Fox, editor of the travel writing journal Nowhere

10. Lose the Technical Travel Wear
It is no more essential to wear waterproof microfiber pants that turn into shorts in a foreign city than it is in your local grocery store. Dress well when you travel. Nice clothes like button down shirts tend to blend in better than blue jeans or T-shirts. Spend the money you make selling your technical travel pants and waterproof fanny pack to buy a few local garments. Shop at an open market or a thrift store and try to avoid boutiques that sell to tourists trying to not look like tourists.

Pentax w90 9. Sell Your SLR
You aren’t shooting photos for a magazine. You’ll probably look at your travel photos less than five times in this lifetime. So get off your knees and put your ridiculously advanced camera away. A camera lens is a barrier between you and the place you are. Live in the actual place instead and reflect on the memories for the rest of your life. If you must, get a 10 megapixel point-and-shoot that’ll make your blog, Facebook or Flickr page pop, and keep it in your pocket where no one can see it.

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Skier Greg Hill Hits 2 Million Feet

Greg Hill                                     Greg Hill (Tommy Chandler/

After 266 days of climbing and skiing, and climbing and skiing, and climbing and skiing, Greg Hill hit his goal. His watch registered 2 million vertical feet on Rogers Pass, near his hometown of Revelstoke, British Columbia, on December 30th.

“The incredible feeling of no longer having this immense goal looming over my days is amazing. So much has gone into this tiny number on my watch – so much dedication, perseverance and passion,” said the 35-year-old athlete. “We all have dreams. I’ve realized that the fact is you have to work hard to achieve them and if you work hard enough it is possible to accomplish them.”

How did Hill do climb and ski 2 million feet in less than a year? Here's a quick by the numbers on his quest.

Greg Hill 4 Countries he skied in—Argentina, Chile, the United States, and Canada

4 Pairs of skis used during his quest

7,570 Average feet per day skied by Hill

238,000 Feet skied by Hill during his biggest month, December

77 Days that Hill logged more than 10,000 feet

71 Peaks climbed during the quest

69 Times climbing and skiing Everest, which is the equivalent of climbing and skiing 2 million vertical feet

40 Lbs. of gear strapped to his back on average during each session

163 Lbs. The weight of Hill at the start and end of his quest.

6,000 Calories Hill consumed in an average day to keep that weight.

1 Wedding ring lost. As much of the weight from Hill's body moved to his thighs, everywhere else, including his fingers, lost heft. "Midway through this quest I lost my wedding ring since my fingers were a little skinnier than usual," says Hill. "But luckily I combed the beach for a few hours and found it."

1:30 pm on December 30, the time at which Hill's watch registered 2 million vertical feet, leaving him with more than 1 full day to rest before his official deadline.

--Joe Spring

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