January 7, 2014

Near Oymyakon in Yakutia, Russia.     Photo: Maarten Takens/Flickr

The Coldest Marathon Ever

Siberian runs in 36-below temps.

The San Francisco 49ers thought they were pretty cool when they beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in temperatures as low as negative 14 degrees. But that game was practically balmy compared to the marathon completed by Boris Fyodorov on New Year's Day. The Siberian jeweler ran his first 26.2-miler in minus-36 degrees.

Fyodorov completed a solo, out-and-back run from Oymyakon, the coldest settlement on the planet. Nicknamed "Pole of Cold," a weather station in the remote Russian town recorded the temperature being minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit in February 1933, which is considered the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.

SEE ALSO: "The Nine Toughest Ultramarathons"

"I had [sic] about other marathons around the globe, naming themselves 'the coldest', like the most recent North Pole marathon with runners going at -28C," Fyodorov told Siberian Times. "I thought surely this cannot be right. Our Oymyakon is the coldest inhabited place in the Northern Hemisphere. Why don't we arrange a marathon here?"

After completing the race in 5:08, the man sipped some champagne and ran indoors.

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Avalanche danger has been 'considerable' in Vail the last few weeks.     Photo: boggy22/Thinkstock

Slide Kills Vail Founder’s Grandson

Second avalanche in three weeks

Tony Siebert, 24, the grandson of Vail Founder Peter Siebert, died in an avalanche today while skiing the East Vail Chutes. The area is a popular and well-known out-of-bounds backcountry destination, accessible via a short hike from Vail’s Mongolia Bowl T-bar. Siebert was with three others when the avalanche occurred. The others all survived with minor injuries.

Vail received roughly 19 inches of fresh snow in the last week. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has listed avalanche conditions above treeline as “considerable.”

On December 22, in the same area, skier Davis LaMair captured footage of a dramatic avalanche on his GoPro. He then skied off a series of cliffs to rescue his brother, Edwin, who had been caught and buried in the slide. The East Vail area, with its convenient access from the resort, is the frequent site of skier-triggered avalanches.

Statement from Chris Jarnot, SVP and COO of Vail Mountain:

This is a shocking and terrible tragedy. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Tony’s entire family. I want to acknowledge how integral the Seibert family is to the fabric of our community; their contributions to Vail date back to Vail founder Pete Seibert, Tony’s grandfather. This is an incomprehensible loss and we will support the Seibert family and our community through this difficult time. Tony had recently starred in, “Climb to Glory,” a documentary that will forever be a tribute not only to the famed 10th Mountain Division and his family’s legacy but to a wonderful albeit tragically too short life.

Video: GoPro footage of the Dec. 22, 2013 East Vail Avalanche.

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Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World Cup title in 2008.     Photo: Gregwig Loffelholz/Wikimedia

Vonn Out of Sochi Olympics

Champ ends season due to 'no ACL'

This morning, via Facebook, ski racer Lindsey Vonn announced that she won't be competing in the Sochi Olympics. Vonn, of course, suffered a devastating knee injury in February of last year, tearing the ACL and MCL in her right knee, and also fracturing the lateral plateau in her tibia. She made a valiant effort to return to competition this year, but in November, crashed during a training run at Copper Mountain, Colorado, re-tearing her ACL. She continued to try to race, but in her statement says that, "my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level."

It's absolutely the right call. With 59 World Cup wins, Vonn is just four victories shy of surpassing Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Proll's record of 62 career wins, which would establish her as the most decorated female ski racer of all time. Continuing to race on a bum knee would have put her career in jeopardy. Now, she has time to rehab properly and continue to chase Moser-Proll's record next season.

But make no mistake: Skipping the Olympics isn't just devastating for Vonn—it's a crushing blow to the US Ski Team, Vonn's many sponsors, and, perhaps especially, NBC, the Olympic broadcaster.

Vonn is one of only two A-list celebrities who were to compete in Russia (Shaun White being the other), and her loss means the loss of lots of Olympic story lines. There's no longer a rise-from-the-ashes comeback tale to tell. Vonn's pretty face won't light up any television screens. And there won't be any Tiger watch. All of that likely means that far fewer people will tune into the Games.

If they do, most will be watching skiers they've never heard of before. And though the US Ski Team will miss Vonn's medal potential, her absence will give the organization a chance to shift focus to some of their lesser-known (but incredibly talented) athletes.

Mikaela Shiffrin, just 18 years old, is the favorite to win the women's slalom event, and she could also medal in the giant slalom. Julia Mancuso has also had a knack for nabbing Olympic medals, no matter her form going into the games. She took home gold in 2006 in the GS, and silvered twice, in the downhill and combined, in Vancouver in 2010.

On the men's side, Ted Ligety, one of the greatest giant slalom skiers in history, has a chance to duplicate his performance from last season's World Championship, where he won three gold medals. If he were able to do that in Sochi, it would be the first time an alpine ski racer accomplished that feat since Jean-Claude Killy in 1968. And Bode Miller, who's 36 and skipped last season, is back this year and proving that he can still compete, taking second to Ligety in the Giant Slalom at Beaver Creek in December.

And Vonn will be back. She's far too competitive, too strong, and too determined to stay on the sidelines. And she'll likely surpass Moser-Proll's record. But without her presence in Russia, will anybody remember the Sochi Olympics?

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Two snowboarders who chased a moose down Whitefish Mountain Resort last month now face a $225 fine.     Photo: Steven Tulissi/Thinkstock

Snowboarders Chase Moose

Fined for animal harassment

A pair of snowboarders who chased a moose down Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana must pay $225 for harassing wildlife.

Hunter Lamoureux and Charlie Rush stumbled across the moose last month, and with cries of “Oh my God,” pursued the animal down a run. The chase ended suddenly when the moose stopped, turned around, and charged Lamoureux, who was holding the camera. After the filmmaker wiped out, the four-legged creature took off into the forest.      

Lamoureux posted the video of the escapade two weeks ago on Facebook with the caption, “Just chasing a moose while snowboarding … no big deal.”             

The Flathead National Forest Service apparently disagreed and fined Rush $225.

“We do have regulations about harassing wildlife, and what they did fell under that,” a Forest Service representative told CNN.  

What do you think — do the snowboarders deserve the $225 fine? 

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    Photo: Courtesy of Jesus Gomez

Conjoined Whales Found in Mexico

First documented case of conjoined grays

Scientists working in Mexico's Laguna Ojo de Liebre made a startling discovery on Sunday: a pair of conjoined gray whales floating in the surf.

Researchers believe that the conjoined twins probably did not survive birth and were likely miscarried by their mother. The whales are noticeably underdeveloped, measuring only seven feet as opposed to 12 to 16 feet, which is the normal size for newborn gray whales. Although the mother has yet to be located, the twins have been collected for further study.

There have been documented cases of conjoined twins in other species such as minke whales, but this may be the first such documented case among gray whales.

See footage of the twins here:

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    Photo: Getty Images

Green Space Improves Mental Health

For At Least Three Years.

Want to be healthier? Move to a place that has a large park nearby. A new study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology found that by moving closer to green space, mental health immediately improves and sustains over long periods of time.

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School used data from more than 1,000 participants over a five-year period—some who moved to greener spaces and others who relocated to more urban nvironments.

They found that those who moved to greener areas experienced improvements in mental health immediately and sustained this improvement for at least three years. Those who ended up in a more urban environment during the study experienced mental health decline.

The study also considered other factors that might alter mental health: income, education, and employment, for example. “These findings are important for urban planners thinking about introducing new green spaces to our towns and cities, suggesting they could provide long term and sustained benefits for local communities," said lead researcher Ian Alcock.

If you're looking for a great place to go green, consider one of Outside’s Best Towns.

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The image Dyer released of his latest Bigfoot.     Photo: Rick Dyer/Facebook

Hunter Kills Bigfoot

‘Bigfoot is not a tooth fairy—Bigfoot is real”

Rick Dyer, a self-proclaimed professional Bigfoot hunter, has killed a real Bigfoot. Or so he says. Dyer, who claims to have killed the creature last year near San Antonio, plans on taking it on tour around North America, charging a small fee for people to see it.

Dyer was reportedly able to kill the Bigfoot with classic hunting techniques. After hearing word of a hairy beast in the woods, Dyer bought ribs from a local Walmart and nailed them to a tree. According to Dyer, the Bigfoot was lured in, and he was able to chase and kill the creature.

"I shot it, and now I'm proving it to the world," Dyer said in a video interview.

In 2008, Dyer and another Bigfoot hunter announced similar claims of having a Bigfoot body. Shortly after, it was determined that what they really had was a rubber ape costume.

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