The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Mar 2012

Skier Wendy Fisher's Tips for Families at the Terrain Park

Stay-at-home-mom (sort of): Wendy at work on the steeps of CB [courtesy Wendy Fisher]

Officially it’s spring, but here at Rippers, we’re determined to squeeze every last drop out of winter. In honor of fresh snow in the Northwest, epic powder onslaughts in the Sierra, and a good foot right up the road, I checked in with extreme skier Wendy Fisher for tips on living the life as a ski family and getting your little shredders off the groomers and into the terrain park—safely.

Fisher spent eight years on the U.S. Ski Team, dominated the extreme skiing circuit in the 90s, won two world titles, and ripped crazy lines on camera in dozens of ski movies. These days she lives with her husband and two sons, Aksel, 6, and Devin, 4, in Crested Butte, where she works as an ambassador for the ski resort and offers private coaching. Not that she has settled down, exactly: Fisher logs more days on the slopes now than she did when she was competing—in part because she’s chasing her kids all over the mountain but also because she’s smarter about carving out ski time just for her. Fisher took a break from riding chairlifts to talk about overcoming tragedy and moving past fear—even pro skiers get freaked when their four-year-old goes big—and spills her secrets for bringing up kids who can bring it in the park. 

Meet-wendy-photo-familyLiving the dream: Wendy and her ski family in Crested Butte, CO [photo courtesy of Wendy Fisher] 

How has parenthood affected your skiing?
I feel like I’m a stronger skier now than I was back then. Now that I’m home a lot, I have a lot more skiing hours and I ski all these hard lines in Crested Butte, and in that way I’ve gained more confidence and am a better skier.

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Should the Grand Canyon Have a Tram?

Grand_canyon_development_prop_NPSGrand Canyon   Photo: Grand Canyon NPS

The East Rim of the Grand Canyon, where the Little Colorado River meets the Colorado River, is a remote, quiet area, especially compared to the crowded Southern Rim. But it might not remain that way.

The 27,000 square-mile Navajo reservation is adjacent to the National Park and Navajo President Ben Shelly in late February signed a memorandum of agreement with a development company Confluence Partners, LLC, that could turn the area around the East Rim into a tourist attraction, reports the Associated Press. The plans include a resort hotel, spa, and RV park. There's also a proposal to build an aerial tram that would bring visitors from the rim of the canyon all the way down to the riverside, where they could get a meal at a new restaurant.

Unsurprisingly, the National Park Service as well as environmental groups are raising red flags.

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Activist Tim DeChristopher Gets In and Out of Isolated Confinement

Activist Tim Christopher, Courtesy of 350orgActivist Tim DeChristopher outside of a Salt Lake City courtroom, courtesy of on Flickr

Last October, soon after Outside published a profile I wrote of Tim DeChristopher, the incarcerated climate activist who disrupted a December 2008 Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction, I received a worried note via the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ e-mail system. DeChristopher was concerned about the phrasing of a sentence toward the end of my story, which had quoted him referring to a Nevada prison he had stayed in briefly following his sentencing as a “shithole.” He wrote:

To be clear, the shithole was a private prison in Pahrump near Las Vegas, not Reno, and I was only there for two weeks.  The place I'm currently in, Herlong, is near Reno, and is very comfortable.  I just want to make sure that people don't think I'm still in a shithole.  I also don't want the BOP to think I'm trashing Herlong in the media, which could have some extremely negative consequences for me, like the loss of outside communication or transfer to a worse facility. 

This was DeChristopher’s only gripe with my piece, which I found surprising. (Profile subjects often take issue with a writer’s characterizations or reporting; most people don’t like to read too much about themselves.) I thought it was a nitpicky point, but Outside printed a correction and I didn’t hear from DeChristopher again. It turns out that his paranoia about the Bureau of Prisons was well-founded. On Friday, March 9, he was moved from Herlong’s minimum security satellite camp to “isolated confinement” in the prison’s special housing unit, where his e-mail was cut off and his phone, visitation, and exercise privileges were severely restricted. According to his supporters with the non-profit Peaceful Uprising, he was only let out of his cell four times during his stay in isolation. Contrary to some tweets and reports, DeChristopher was not in solitary confinement. He had a cellmate, an overly talkative non-violent tax offender.

The reason for the stay in isolation, according to DeChristopher’s lawyer, former BLM director Pat Shea: this e-mail, which DeChristopher sent to a fellow member of Peaceful Uprising on March 5. In the e-mail, DeChristopher instructed a friend to look into the business practices of an unnamed corporation that donated to his legal defense, and that DeChristopher thought was “exporting all their U.S. manufacturing jobs.” DeChristopher wrote that he planned to send a letter to the corporation that would “include a threat to wage a campaign against them if they don’t reverse course and keep the plants open.”

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2012 Bikes: Five Hot Road Products

With the Sea Otter Classic just around the corner, the flood of new products is on. A few of the most compelling things we've heard about are Shimano's interesting new Alfine Di2 electric internal-hub shifting system and rumors of a gran fondo-style bike from BMC that wil bring the quality of their TeamMachine SLR01, the bike Cadel won the Tour on last year, to the recreational rider. Even as we gear up for all the announcements and launches, we've been testing 2012 product that you can get your hands on now—or should be able to soon. Here are a few highlights.
--Aaron Gulley

Rapha-Giro_GrandTourShoesRapha Grand Tour Shoes ($450) The self-appointed kings of cycling cool have partnered with Giro and Ecco for these retro-style, lush leather road cleats, and they've really outdone themselves. They are built around the same Easton EC90 unidirectional carbon sole as used on the Giro ProLight SLX, which I absolutely love for its combination of unflinching rigidity and very thin stack height. The Grand Tour feels different from the Prolights, though, as the Yak leather upper is creamy soft and totally forgiving and there's much more volume in the toe box. Insoles are cork versions of Giro's Supernatural interchangeable arch support system (my favorites), and the beefy, sculpted buckles are brushed metal. Many will gasp at the price, but the Grand Tour is in line with most top-end shoes, and, as one of the most fundamental pieces of equipment that determine comfort, high-quality, great fitting cleats are well worth the cost. And the hyper-soft leather means there's no break-in time: I took these straight from the box out on a six-hour ride and had zero foot pain or discomfort.

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