August 26, 2014

"Sir! Who are you wearing?" "Pearl Izumi."     Photo: moodboard/ThinkStock

"Mad Men" Producer Bikes to Emmys

While wearing Rapha, riding Specialized

Mad Men writer-producer Tom Smuts might not have won an Emmy last night, but he certainly won Best Emmy Commute. Wearing a helmet and cycling-ready suit designed by Rapha and straddling a silver Specialized, Smuts led a 15-person peloton approximately 16 miles from his Santa Monica home to Emmy festivities at the Nokia Theater. The trip took about 90 minutes and ended with the nominee and five others cycling up the red carpet.

"It's about as long as it would take to drive," Smuts told the Los Angeles Times.

Many media outlets are treating Smuts' commute as an ingenious way to avoid rush-hour traffic—the awards show was held on a weekday for the first time in 40 years—but Smuts says that wasn't his top priority. Primarily, Smuts wanted to promote cycling as a healthy, safe, and sustainable transportation alternative. But as he told the Hollywood Reporter, his commute was also meant to be "playful activism" on behalf of bike commuters, who he feels are verbally and physically targeted by drivers.

"A group of people dressed appropriately riding to the Emmys sends a message about the kind of people who commute on bikes," Smuts, who commutes by bike to his producing job for Amazon's drama series Bosch, told THR. "It might make drivers more aware that we're not hooligans trying to lengthen their commutes."

Plenty of people became aware of Smuts' stunt throughout the ride; it was promoted vigorously on social media platforms Twitter and Smuts' Instagram account, created specifically for the occasion. Overall, Smuts was successful in getting out the message of cycling as a safe mode of transport—he managed to get the Mayor's Office, the TV Academy, and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition on board in designing a safe route to the Emmys. Smuts plans to organize rides to next year's show with other high-profile stars.

"I just wish it was bigger and we had Matthew McConaughey," he said. 

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With enough rain, the fine dust of Black Rock Desert turns to what a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper referred to as "mucky mud."     Photo: Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr

Burning Man Is a Muddy Mess

Rain blocks crowds on opening day

When you're heading to a gigantic weeklong art festival in the Nevada desert, you're probably prepared for the unexpected. When you've paid as much as $1,000 to attend said festival, however, you probably won't be happy when a rainstorm shuts the whole thing down for opening day. Burning Man, set to begin Monday, turned away thousands of attendees after rain and standing water made roads unsafe for driving, according to event planners.

"We waited in line for 24 and a half hours, and probably covered 10 miles in that time," Nick Kelley, Outside Online photo editor and Burning Man correspondent, says. "The playa turned to sludge and they stopped everyone from going anywhere. Thousands of people should have gotten in before it even rained."

Katrina Raenell, a reporter with the Reno Gazette-Journal who made it to the grounds before the gates closed, said the storm rolled in at 6 a.m. and lasted for several hours, creating a mucky situation when combined with the fine dirt of Black Rock Desert. "The playa is mud, making it impossible to bike in and very difficult to walk in," she said.

Hundreds of would-be revelers in RVs and vans ended up parked in the lot of a Reno Walmart on Monday night. Due to Burning Man's terms and conditions, nobody will get a refund for their missed day. Still, many just went with the flow. "You're going to the desert, and you know there's weather to deal with," Mark Vanlerberghe, a "Burner" who overnighted at the Walmart, told the Associated Press. "I guess that's part of being a Burning Man. Don't get stressed about it."

Today is a new day: The ill-fated Burners will head back into the desert as the gates reopen and the lake bed dries up, likely by the afternoon.

Luckily, the rest of the week's forecast for the nearest city to Burning Man is almost all sunshine—with temperatures reaching the mid-90s. Whether or not you're envious of the soon-to-be very dusty and muddy festivalgoers, brush up on your history of the desert's biggest party with our 2012 oral history of Burning Man.

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Granite Canyon has been heralded as some of the best and most beautiful ski terrain in the world.     Photo: Snowbrains/Google CC

Jackson Hole to Open Teton Ski Lift

Easier access to Granite Canyon backcountry

Jackson Hole is planning construction of a new ski lift that will completely change the way people ski the Grand Tetons as of the 2015-2016 winter season.

The Teton Lift, spanning 1,600 vertical feet, will provide easier access to Granite Canyon on the northern boundary of the national park and add more inbound advanced and intermediate terrain. “It’s going to be a whole new area for our skiers to enjoy,” said Anna Cole, communications manager at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “The terrain is very steep, and it’s easy to get cliffed out in an avalanche, but it’s a nice area for advanced skiers who now won’t have to hike to get there.”

Cole said that the upcoming season will be unaffected by the Teton Lift plans. Two new trails have been constructed so that all areas will be accessible. “Nothing will be changing for this season,” she said. “People can still hike the head rail area to Granite, and we are planning summer construction so nothing will be interrupted for skiers.” 

Upon completion, the lift will drop skiers off along the Sheridan Ridge in a vertical, rocky zone 3,000 vertical feet above the base of Teton Village. The area was barred from 1965 to the 1999-2000 season. During those years, adventurous skiers risked their passes to go down the ridge. After the area was opened, people flocked to the area. Now, ski flow will be increased even more with the lift’s increased accessibility. “It’s so crowded out there already, it's crazy,” skier Jason Tattersall told Powder. “Feed the monkey!”

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Athletes smile through snowy runs during WME's Squaw Valley segment.     Photo: Squaw Valley/Flickr

Trailer Released for New Warren Miller Film

"No Turning Back" tour begins October 18

Warren Miller Entertainment, arguably the most established ski and snowboarding filmmaking house in the world, has released the official trailer its new film, No Turning BackAccording to its description, the film pays homage "to the 65 years of mountain culture and adventure filmmaking that has lead WME to every end of the winter world" and features the twists and turns of superstars such as Tyler Ceccanti and Josh Bibby as they tackle slopes from Alaska to Japan.

The film premieres October 18 at Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall. Presale tickets for the national film tour will be available September 8 through REI.

Can't wait for October? Watch these ski-heavy films or WME's most recent feature film release, Ticket to Ride. Or start training for your own shredding adventures.

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