November 5, 2013

Elmar Weisser, beard champion 2005 freestyle, poses during the International German Beard and Moustache Championships in Hesel, northern Germany, on Saturday, April 29, 2006.     Photo: Kai-Uwe Knoth/AP

USA Wins at World Beard Champs

Team Beard USA takes nine trophies

In the world of competitive whisker growing, American sports a better English Moustache than the English.

Team Beard USA took home nine trophies this weekend at the World Beard and Moustache Championships including five first-place finishes in Freestyle Moustache, Full Beard Natural, Full Beard Styled Moustache, and English Moustache. The annual event was held in Leinfelden-Echterdigen, Germany, and drew 300 competitors from 20 countries this year.

See also: Five-Week Shadow: A Guide to Your Best Beard

39-year-old Jeff Langum and his 17-inch beard won top honors in Full Beard Natural, the blue-ribbon event. While not as long as many of his competitor's beards, Langum's edge is his beard's natural roundness, described as a "scraggly rising sun." These auburn whiskers also won him Best in Show at the National Beard Championships in September.

"Most beards grow long and not as much on the sides, but his sides stay pretty puffy," Onana Langum, his wife, told WSUA9.

 

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Big-mountain skiing     Photo: Tourisme Grand Tourmalet/Flickr

Tragic Accidents Shake the Ski Community

Two pro skiers die in unrelated incidents

The ski community is in mourning following the deaths of pro skiers Tom Warnick and Magnus Kastengren in unrelated accidents. With the ski season not yet in full force, the death of these top professional skiers comes as a shock.

Tom Warnick, a 22 year-old Boulder-based skier and star of Stept Productions, was found dead in his Boulder home Sunday night. The cause of death has yet to be determined. The Boulder police blotter offered little information: Police responded to an Unattended Death in the 2900 block of E. Aurora Ave. at 22:52. A 22-year-old male was found deceased in his home. Police and the Boulder County Coroner’s Office are investigating.

In response to the news of his death, Powder recognized Warnick for his wild energy and breathtaking style, which elevated him to the top of the underground ski world.

On the other side of the world, Magnus Kastengren, a 32-year-old Swedish skier, fell to his death on New Zealand's highest mountain on Sunday. Kastengren and his partner, Andreas Fransson, were climbing Mount Cook when Kastengren slipped and fell 600 meters to his death, according to The New Zealand Herald"One minute his partner was skiing behind him, and next minute he's looked back and he's gone," said a local authority. "Basically he slipped off and we don't know why." The two athletes were extremely accomplished high-altitude skiers and became the first to complete a ski descent of Mount Cook's east face early last week.

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A polar bear statue, Churchill, Canada.     Photo: Ian Stewart/Wikimedia

Polar Bear Attacks on the Rise

Scientists warn that a melting Arctic means more encounters

Scientists warn that a polar bear attack in Churchill, Canada, last week could be the harbinger for more dangerous encounters between humans and polar bears as Arctic ice melts.

On November 1, a young polar bear attacked a group walking home from a party in the pre-dawn hours. Two people were injured with lacerations to the head, ears, and arms.

"We got about 10 steps out the door when it happened. I turned around, and it was already right there trotting after us," Nikki Pilek, who was in the group, told The Guardian.

The injuries might have been more severe if 69-year-old Bill Ayotte hadn't distracted the bear by beating it with a shovel and chasing it away.

Churchill calls itself the "polar bear capital of the world," as hundreds of polar bears converge there every fall to cross the frozen Hudson Bay in search of seals. The bears are so prolific here that conservation group Explore.org installed a series of live video cameras around Churchill and along the shores of the bay for citizen-scientists to monitor the bears. You can watch the live-streaming video here.

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Former Australian Athlete of the Year Nathan Baggaley     Photo: MARK J. TERRILL/Thinkstock

Olympic Kayaker Charged with Drug Production

Nathan Baggaley accused of large-scale amphetamine distribution

Former world champion kayaker Nathan Baggaley appeared in court Monday to plead not guilty to allegations that he manufactured and sold amphetamines as part of a three-person syndicate.

Baggaley, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, was arrested alongside his alleged syndicate partners on Friday. They face six charges, including manufacturing a prohibited drug, supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, and conspiring to import drugs, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The 37-year-old former Australian Athlete of the Year, who represented Australia in kayaking from 1997 to 2005, has a history in the drug world. In 2009 he was sentenced to nine years in jail for manufacturing and supplying ecstasy pills, though he was released after four years. Last July, Baggaley was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence for possessing 84 ecstasy pills and a pill press.

"I have to try and win people's trust back," Baggaley told News Corp Australia last year. "I know it will be a slow process and I know I will cop a lot of flak."

Court reports say Baggaley turned to drugs after he was suspended from the Australian Canoe Federation in 2005 for testing positive to steroids.

The Monday case was adjourned until December 17, with Baggaley remanded in custody.

 

 

"I've made some poor choices and paid the price. I'm just happy to come home and try to get on with my life,'' he said. - See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/olympic-kayaker-nathan-baggeley-faces-more-drug-production-charges/story-e6frg6n6-1226752042072#sthash.uZ2dxkjs.dpuf
"I've made some poor choices and paid the price. I'm just happy to come home and try to get on with my life,'' he said. - See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/olympic-kayaker-nathan-baggeley-faces-more-drug-production-charges/story-e6frg6n6-1226752042072#sthash.uZ2dxkjs.dpuf
"I've made some poor choices and paid the price. I'm just happy to come home and try to get on with my life,'' he said. - See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/olympic-kayaker-nathan-baggeley-faces-more-drug-production-charges/story-e6frg6n6-1226752042072#sthash.uZ2dxkjs.dpuf
"I've made some poor choices and paid the price. I'm just happy to come home and try to get on with my life,'' he said. - See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/olympic-kayaker-nathan-baggeley-faces-more-drug-production-charges/story-e6frg6n6-1226752042072#sthash.uZ2dxkjs.dpuf

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Bigfoot crossing.     Photo: Angie Chauvin / Shutterstock.com

Bigfoot Hunt Goes Bad

Man shoots friend in the back

Oklahoma is not known for Bigfoot sightings, but that didn’t stop 21-year-old Omar Pineda from searching for Sasquatch on Saturday night.

Startled by a "barking noise," Pineda took a pot shot at what he assumed was the monster. Instead, he shot his friend in the back.

According to Fox News, Pineda’s father-in-law and convicted felon, Perry Don James, then threw Pineda's gun in a pond. Pineda was arrested and charged with reckless conduct with a firearm and obstruction; James was booked for possessing a firearm and destruction of evidence.

To further complicate the situation, Pineda’s wife lied to police about the shooting.

As Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton told KFOR-TV: “Any story that starts out that someone is on a hunt for Sasquatch, we probably have problems with you from the get go.”

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Canadian Rockies in Banff, Canada     Photo: Nick Kelley

What We Learned From Banff

Inspiring stories and Norwegians are awesome

The 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival wrapped up on Sunday night after nine days of energizing events and films. This year's festival left me with the sense that our adventure world is growing in size and insanity—and that Norwegians are simply a bit tougher and more adventurous than us all.

North of the Sun, a Norwegian film by Inge Wegge and Jorn Ranum, was the unanimous favorite, taking home the Dolby Audio Prize, People's Choice Award, and the coveted Grand Prize. This cold-weather surfing film, like many of the other 80 Banff finalists, forced me to seriously consider running out of the theater and departing on an adventure of my own.

The quality of adventure films continues to improve, with the likes of Sweetgrass Productions and Sender Films consistently pushing the cinematic boundaries. Explorers like Silvia Vidal, a climber who spent 32 days suspended alone on a remote Patagonian wall, and Tim Cope, whose grand prize-winning book on his horse-powered journey from Mongolia to Hungary, are redefining what an adventure really is.

I was also reminded that a great story trumps all. The Last Ice Merchant, a film on the last Ecuadorian glacial ice farmer, connects us with a man who let the modern world pass him by. The best short film award winner, 35, laid down a challenge to push yourself and end each day with "that was awesome!"

If you're interested in checking out some great adventure filmmaking, the festival now leaves the comforts of home in Alberta, Canada, and sets off on its annual world tour.

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