The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2013

Thousands Flee Water After Shark Sighted Near Popular Australian Beach

This is what reducing chance looks like on the Australian coast: thousands of beachgoers scurrying to the water's edge of Bondi Beach in New South Wales after a siren warns of a shark sighting. The alarm was sounded on New Year's Day after lifeguards said they spotted a roughly six-foot-long shark swimming nearby. After a 20-minute helicopter patrol and the all clear, beachgoers were free to return to the water. Most preceded gingerly, preferring not to venture too far out into the deep, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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A Site Where Female Action Sports Athletes Can Show Off

Female action sports athletes looking for exposure have a new outlet.

Rachael Burks started as a site for women to show off their feats after a sponsor pulled funding she needed for a video shoot. “It’s turned into something a lot bigger than I thought it would be,” she told Powder. “People from all over the world are sending submissions in.”

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Between the Lines, January 2013

"I was raised Catholic, which might explain my masochistic streak," says contributor Christopher Solomon, who wrote "The Agony and the Heresy" about training for a marathon by following CrossFit Endurance founder Brian MacKenzie's punishing routine. "That was the hardest thing I've ever done for a story," says Solomon, 42, who lives in Seattle. While he admits that he's in the best shape of his life, he acknowledges that the program isn't for everyone—unless, he says, "running wind sprints until you puke sounds like an ideal way to spend a Tuesday night."

Rinella-cabinRinella's chateau.

Contributor Steven Rinella loves his cabin on the edge of the Alaskan wilderness ("Dream Acres"). His wife, Katie, is less enthusiastic about the place:

"When we first met, he talked about that cabin like it was an Alaskan chateau. When I saw it, I was like, 'It's a shack in the woods.' But he loves it so much that I'll go. And I'm not a martyr. I will enjoy myself."

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Falcon's Interactive Guides to Hiking, Climbing, and Cooking

FalconGuides just announced the first 12 titles in a new line of interactive outdoor guides the company developed in partnership with Inkling, a platform for interactive learning.

For the price of the download, readers get expert content optimized for iPhone, iPad, and Web, with features that bridge the gap between apps and ebooks: slideshows with high-res images not found in the print editions, guided visual tours, hyperlinks, and smart search that makes it quick and easy to get to the information you need, from a list of dog-friendly hikes to a river name. Hiking guide users can give tips to other readers and share trail notes on washed out bridges, best photo ops, bees nests to watch out for, or anything else. An animal tracks feature lets you click through a series of questions that narrows down which animal tracks you’ve spotted based on pattern, shape, and size. Rock climbing instructional guides have stop-motion animation illustrating specific techniques.

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Snow Sports Recycling Program Gives New Life to Old Gear

SKI6247Boards bound for new life. Photo: Snow Sports Recycling Program

Way back in October of 2009 we wrote a story about a nascent ski and snowboard recycling program that the trade group Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) had launched. Since then, the program has made slow but steady progress and has set up collection sites at more than 65 retail locations in Colorado and Utah and is looking to expand to six other nearby states. So far, 700,000 pounds of used gear have been collected—diverting it from landfills and turning it into usable, valuable products—but the program expects it will soon be diverting at least one million pounds of gear from landfills each year.

We spoke with the Snow Sports Recycling Program (SSRP) director Greg Schneider to get a full update on where the program is headed.

"Everyone thinks recycling is free," says Schneider. It is anything but—especially in the earliest stages of setting up a recycling infrastructure. But in January of 2011, the SIA, along with a recycling company called Waste-Not Recycling, based in Johnstown, Colorado, received an important economic boost through a $425,000 grant that was used to purchase the type of machines needed to put skis and snowboards through a six-step progression during which the materials (plastics and metals, mostly) are separated and processed.

However, the grant only takes the program so far. Schneider needed to find a way to make it sustainable. This meant setting up a logistical framework that would connect the used gear—resting in the dusty corners of closets and long-ignored garage rafters—with the recycling center. His objectives were not just to find a way to do that cheaply, but also in a manner that would not do more harm than good.

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