As the west gets pounded by storms in what has been a best winter season opening in years, hopefully everyone has been out powder farming the light, dry, deep crystalline snow. When tracking up my local backcountry stash this weekend, I spied giant tree wells, big as black holes. Be careful of this lesser known mountain hazard: fall in a tree well or deep snow, and you can suffocate. Called Non-Avalanche Snow Immersion Death, or NARSID, it is better described Snow Immersion Suffocation.
The key is avoidance and quick partner rescue if you fall into a tree well. To avoid: ski and ride within your skills, use the proper tool (big pow mean big sticks), and employing a buddy system—stay in voice and visual contact, which you should be doing anyway. If you get sucked in: try to tuck, roll, and land upright, grab the tree trunk or a branch, and yell to alert your partner. If buried upside down, stay calm and create an air pocket, which is probably of paramount importance. Avalanche safety gear may speed rescue if your location is unknown. But know that you can suffocate as quickly as you can drown in water.
Laura Dekker, the 15-year-old Dutch girl attempting to break the world record for youngest solo circumnavigation of the globe, reached St. Maarten island in the Caribbean recently, successfully completing her first leg of the journey.
Dekker, who was repeatedly delayed by Dutch authorities finally got permission to sail early this year, spent two months in the Canary Islands preparing her 38-foot monohull, Guppy. She made it to the Caribbean in 17 days.
Dekker is next on a growing list of teens attempting serious adventure feats. Check out our profile of Jordan Romero, "Into Teen Air" for a closer look at teenagers (like Abby Sunderland) pushing themselves to new heights and lengths.
Musician Ry Cuming grew up surfing Australian waves, so it’s no wonder that his music has a chillax, beachy vibe. Lately, the 26-year old has been touring with Maroon 5 and One Republic, far from his native swells. But he surfs every chance he gets—mostly in Los Angeles—and will never forget his favorite breaks.
“I think the beauty of surfing is that it’s something removed from a physical want,” says Cuming. “When you’re touring, there’s so much going on. Surfing’s a very pure thing—as close to meditation and spirituality as you can get.”
Want to zen out down under? Check out Cuming’s top three Australian surf spots:
3. Byron Bay “There’s a range of different waves in Byron Bay. My dad lives in a little kind-of tree house stuck on the side of a hill and you can look out and see the waves across this reserve of trees. Surfing in the mornings with my dad is a real special thing.”
To say that ski mountaineer Chris Davenport stayed busy in 2010, would be an understatement. He came out with a new book (Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America), guided in Indonesia, and flew off on expeditions to dream ski destinations in places like Chile and Antarctica—all while tweeting the entire time (@steepskiing). Greg Fitzsimmons checks in with the Red Bull sponsored athlete on the highlights of this year and what's next for 2011.
Yo, Dav. How are things going? Hey, Greg. I am on cloud nine right now; things are great. I just got back from a month of skiing in Chile to my favorite time of year in Aspen. I already have some skiing under my belt, I’ve been on my bike, my kids are back in school, and so we have a good routine.
Good to hear. First, how was last season for you? Wow, I had a really busy year of travel. I think I was on the road 170 days.
What were some highlights? It started out in the late fall when I did a trip to Indonesia to guide a climb on Carstensz Pyramid, which is one of the seven summits. I had never been to Indonesia before. I came back from [Indo], packed up and left for Antarctica. The Antarctica trip was one I had been working on for almost a year. When we finally flew down to Ushuaia, Argentina and walked up on the dock to see the sailboat we were going to be on for the next month I just rubbed my hands together and was like, “Okay, this is going to be cool.” We had 18 days of skiing on the Antarctic Peninsula. I had been there before, but it is by far one of the world’s most beautiful and inspiring skiing destinations. I could go into the ski season like: “Alright I’ve done these amazing things already” and it was nice to have something in the can like that. After spending time with my family, taking my kids to ski races, enjoying the amazing skiing we have here in Aspen in late December and January, I crammed the SIA show, X Games, and Powder Awards into a week period. With the SIA Show, we were launching my new Kastle ski, the Chris Davenport FX-94, and so I was working a lot with media to blow that ski up.
Then, right after that, I flew up to Whistler in the first week of February for the Olympics. I was up there for the entire month working as the host alpine ski-racing announcer. I think I did 15 races or something like that. I had two weeks home in March after the Olympics and then I went up to Alaska with Warren Miller Films, Chugach Powder Guides, and my partner Stian Hagen.
From AK, I was home for two days and then flew out to California to meet up with another partner of mine, photographer Christian Pondella. Our goal was to continue a project I started the year before skiing all of California’s fourteeners. I showed up in California and we just started sending, going up and down, up and down up these mountains.
First off, you'll need to rid yourself of the stereotype that naps are the routine of lazy people. In just about every possible way, an afternoon doze has been shown to boost performance and health. The majority of the population in the U.S. could use a power nap. In 2001, the National Sleep Foundation found that 63% of adults got less than eight hours of sleep a day and roughly 40% had trouble staying awake. A lack of sleep can lead to increased stress and leave your immune system compromised —allowing sickness to take hold. A good nap can reduce stress, lead to quicker reaction times, and improve overall fitness.
To reap the rewards of a nap, you'll want to start off the right way. I learned by failing. Here's everything you need to know to take a nap at work, starting with getting permission.
Asking Your Boss It bears repeating, naps are good for health and work performance. Taking 20 minutes out for sleep can allow you to pack loads of work into an otherwise waisted, drowsy afternoon. The first thing you'll want to do before going to El Jefe is to learn the benefits. A 2008 study found that people who took naps performed better on motor skill tasks and memory tests than those that swallowed the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee. A February study the same year reinforced the findings on memory for nappers versus non-nappers. And the benefits extend on—a 2007 study showed that nappers performed better on memory tests the day after. A 2010 study showed that nappers increased their ability to take in new material—siestas help clear storage space in the brain. And then there's this, people who took naps were 40% less likely to die from heart disease than those who didn't. Still worried about what your boss might come back with? Read this debate about the benefit of naps in The New York Times. Consider all the of the situations below so your ready to handle any retort.