February 13, 2014

The mysterious BASE jumper's suspected accomplice.     Photo: Youtube

The Hunt for a Criminal BASE Jumper

Jumped from Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler, B.C.

Canadian police are searching for a man who made an illegal BASE jump from the Peak 2 Peak Gondoloda in Whistler, British Columbia, then posted the video to YouTube. The video, shot from a helmet cam, was posted on Tuesday and shows the man prying open the doors of the gondola and leaping away.

After seeing the video, police and mountain patrollers went to search the area but have yet to locate the man. "Whistler Blackcomb takes tampering a lift system very seriously and is working with the RCMP to press charges and recoup damages to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola," said a Whistler Blackcomb representative in a statement.

It is believed that the video stunt, titled "McConkey Reborn," is a tribute to extreme skier Shane McConkey, who successfully attempted the same stunt in 2008 but was killed in 2009 during a cliff jumping accident.

The woman in the video was apprehended and questioned by authorities but claimed she did not know the mysterious BASE jumper. It seems clear from the video, though, that she's in on the stunt and can even be seen holding one of the cameras. She faces charges of mischief and obstruction.

 

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"Hello, up there!"     Photo: GettyImages

Studying Whales from Space

Satellites help researchers count populations

The old way to track whales: Stand on the bridge of a ship and count. The new way: Use a satellite to count them from space.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, Peter Fretwell of the British Antarctic Survey argues that tracking the right whale from space is a more efficient alternative to the old way.

"Satellite imagery provides much more accurate and wider coverage," Fretwell told the Los Angeles Times. "If this works, we can take it out to many other species as well."

So far, one satellite has spotted 55 right whales chillin' in the ocean off the coast of Argentina, Smithsonian.com reports.

A satellite image is not just a snapshot—the technology allows scientists to see as far as 50 feet below the ocean's surface. Researchers were able to see 55 probable whales and 22 possible whales. They also saw 13 whale shapes underwater, according to the L.A. Times.

Even though researchers admit that sometimes what might look like a whale is actually a big rock, they hope advancements in satellite technology will improve the way whale populations and other species are counted.

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Working out can increase your pain tolerance, and better pain tolerance can improve your workout, because science.     Photo: Phil and Pam/FLickr

Get Fit to Get Tough, New Study Says

Workouts improves pain tolerance

An Australian study soon to be published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds that aerobic training can yield significant increases in how much pain you can take.

"Exercise training may facilitate the development of brain function that increases tolerance of these signals and associated sensations, and this increase in tolerance may contribute to improved endurance performance," researchers wrote.

The study from the American College of Sports Medicine found that people who exercise occasionally—in this case, 30 minutes of moderate cycling on an exercise bike three times a week—saw a 20 percent increase in pain tolerance.

Different from the pain threshold, pain tolerance is the level where pain becomes unbearable. The pain threshold, on the other hand, is the level where pain first becomes noticeable.

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Honnold's friend Cedar Wright provided some amazing camera angles throughout the climb.     Photo: Camp4 Collective/YouTube

Insane Alex Honnold Footage

Vomit-inducing free solo

On January 16, we covered Alex Honnold’s historic free solo of El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico. The unfazed Honnold ascended nearly 2,500 feet in just over three hours, adding to his already jaw-dropping resume. Yesterday, the North Face and Camp4 Collective released a short film about the project that will leave you short of breath.

Honnold's route up El Sendero Luminoso.   Photo: Renan Ozturk / Camp 4 Collective Collection

Thanks to Honnold’s close friend Cedar Wright, who shadowed the climber up the entire route, we're given a front-row seat to a groundbreaking big-wall achievement. The high-caliber edit, which we’ve come to expect from Camp4, transports viewers into the moment with the click of a mouse.

Honnold said shortly after the climb, “It felt pretty straightforward. Once I started up, I was like, this is awesome. I didn’t blow a single foot—like a ballerina.”

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If climate change continues, how long will we be able to enjoy winter sports?     Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Olympians Sign Climate Change Petition

Want to protect winter sports for future generations

Prompted by mild temperatures in Sochi, Winter Olympians have signed a petition pushing global leaders to fight climate change, USA Today reports. So far, 105 athletes from 10 countries, including 85 Americans, have pledged their support.

The petition's bottom line is simple: Unchecked climate change could eventually eliminate winter sports and the Winter Olympics.

The athletes have provided more than vague words of criticism. The petition includes specific fixes to the problem, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions, embracing clean energy technologies, and preparing a successful agreement at the United Nations' 2015 climate convention in Paris.

"Olympians from around the world, from every winter discipline, have signed this letter, a sign of solidarity against climate change and a clear signal to world leaders that, as representatives of the 65 million-member snow sports community, we need them to step up with real progress," the petition reads.

The athletes joined with Protect Our Winters, a climate advocacy group founded in 2007 by snowboarder Jeremy Jones, to publish the petition, titled Olympic Athletes Against Climate Change.

"I want my kids and their kids to be able to enjoy the outdoors the same way I did," says U.S. snowboarder Alex Deibold, who claimed that the Vermont training camps he frequented as a teenager have become warmer and lack adequate snow.

Temperatures in Sochi have cracked 60 degrees, leading to safety complaints by some athletes.

A January study by Canada's University of Waterloo found that only 11 of the previous 19 Winter Olympic host cities will still be cold enough to host the games in 2050. Only six will be viable at the turn of the next century.

The warming trend for Winter Olympic host cities isn't new. From 1920 to 1959, February daytime temperatures in host cities averaged 33 degrees, versus 38 degrees in the latter portion of the 20th century, and 46 degrees since 2000.

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Men's ski slopestyle gold medalist Joss Christensen (center), on the podium with his U.S. teammates, silver medalist Gus Kenworthy (left) and Nicholas Goepper (right), who took bronze.     Photo: Gero Breloer/Associated Press

U.S. Sweeps Olympic Slopestyle Skiing

Men dominate brand-new event

The U.S. men swept the podium Thursday in the first-ever Olympic slopestyle skiing competition. It’s only the third time in history Americans have nabbed all three medals in the same event at the Winter Games.

Joss Christensen took gold after his 98.8-point run. Teammate Gus Kenworthy won silver with a score of 93.6, while Nick Goepper—the reigning X Games slopestyle champion—earned bronze.

The last time the United States swept a podium at the Winter Olympics was in 2002 with the stellar men’s halfpipe snowboard team. In 1956, the United States won all three medals in men’s singles figure skating.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Skogen Sprang, the U.S. freeskiing slopestyle coach, told the New York Times. “I’m still kind of in shock.”

The U.S. medal count surged after the slopestyle skiing victory. With 12 medals, the United States is tied with the Netherlands for second and trailing the leader, Norway, by just one award.

Think you have what it takes to become a slopestyle champion? Check out our guide to the best places to learn.

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