January 26, 2015

Bright Angel Lodge is one of the lodges whose name Xanterra would like to trademark.     Photo: Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr

Xanterra Aims to Trademark Grand Canyon Lodges

Would make iconic names company property

Xanterra Parks & Resorts, a concessionaire that has operated in the Grand Canyon for more than a century, applied for a trademark on the names of about 20 popular Grand Canyon properties. If granted, Xanterra could charge any future park contractors for use of the names or walk away with them altogether.

The company applied for the trademark just before its contract to manage South Rim hotels, restaurants, and mule rides expired in December, according to the AP. Xanterra won a temporary contract and can bid on a new one later this year.

National Park Service spokesman Jeff Olson told the AP that he only knows of two national parks where companies have registered for trademarks for names: Yosemite and Hot Springs. “This is a new issue for us,” Olson said. The Park Service has yet to determine how it will respond with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It will, however, include language in future contracts that lays out how names and logos associated with the Grand Canyon can be used by concessionaires.

Xanterra operates Bright Angel Lodge, Phantom Ranch, and El Tovar, among others. Experts see the move as a way to stifle competition and earn money on name recognition of the properties. “They’re just playing a card,” Kristelia Garcia, associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School, told the AP.

If Xanterra is granted the trademark and chooses not to renew its contract at the Grand Canyon, it could charge future companies to use the iconic lodge names. Alternatively, new concessionaires could change the names of the hotels and not pay Xanterra. “If the next concessionaire decides, ‘I don’t want to pay that intellectual property,’ and they want a new name, that’s fine,” Derrick Crandall, National Park Hospitality Association counsel, told the AP. “It’s legitimate to say there’s some kind of payment due.”


Vonn broke the record for the most World Cup victories by a woman on January 18, with 63 wins.     Photo: Erich Spiess/ASP/Red Bull

Lindsey Vonn Skis to 64th World Cup Victory

Captures title in the super-G at St. Moritz

Lindsey Vonn’s comeback season shows no signs of slowing: The pro skier captured her 64th world cup victory in the super-G at St. Moritz on Sunday, breaking her own recently-set record for career victories, the AP reports. Only one other competitor came within a second of her time.

After knee injuries and surgeries kept her out of the Sochi Olympics and threatened her career—one that makes her the greatest woman in ski racing’s history—the 30-year-old American seems to be back in top form.

Vonn now leads the world cup super-G standings. She also overtook 19-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin in the overall standings, moving up to third place.

Vonn will hit the slopes again at next week’s World Championships, held this year in her hometown of Vail, Colorado.


Chloe Kim on the podium after competing in the Snowboard SuperPipe Final during X Games Aspen 2015.     Photo: Kaitlyn Egan/ESPN Images

Chloe Kim Is Youngest Gold Medalist in X Games History

14-year-old wins Women's Snowboard SuperPipe

Chloe Kim, who stood atop the podium on Saturday at the Winter X Games, is the youngest gold medalist in the history of the competition, ABC News reports. The 14-year-old beat out Kelly Clark at the Women's Snowboard SuperPipe, fearlessly executing a switch-backside 720 into a McTwist then into a frontside 900 at the arena in Aspen, Colorado.

“I just can’t believe it,” she told the crowd after being given her medal. “It’s amazing.”

The win was not the first time Kim had broken an age barrier. As Outside wrote last month, the La Palma, California, native became the youngest World Snowboard Tour overall champion ever in 2014. She was also the youngest medal-winner ever at the 2014 X Games, finishing just 0.67 points behind four-time defending champion Kelly Clark to win a silver medal at the Buttermilk Mountain SuperPipe.

“Chloe has a great attitude and a pretty strong mental game. She's a great competitor," coach Benjamin Wisner, who trains with Kim in Mammoth, California, told ABC News. “She can relax even in nervous situations.”

Kim, who first got on a snowboard at age four, suffered a minor crash during a pre-competition practice, and sported a small mark and bandage on her face when she accepted her medal.

“Chloe showed tremendous resiliency after a hard fall in practice, coming back with the focus and determination to put down a gold medal run,” X Games vice president Tim Reed told ABC News. “Quite an accomplishment for a 14-year-old—and anyone for that matter.”


The 2015 Tour of California will pass through 13 host cities.     Photo: James Bahn/Flickr

Tour of California Releases 2015 Lineup

Adds new women’s race

Tour of California organizers released the lineup for the 10th annual race, scheduled to launch May 10, on Friday. It is America’s largest and most prestigious stage cycling race.

The eight-day, 700-mile race will host 18 international and domestic cycling teams, including Tinkoff-Saxo, featuring star sprinter Peter Sagan; Team Giant-Alpecin, featuring sprinter Marcel Kittel; California-based BMC Racing Team; and Trek Factory Racing, which finished in the top five last year.

This year’s Tour of California will also host an inaugural professional women’s cycling race from May 8-10 in South Lake Tahoe, and a May 15 women’s invitational time trial at Big Bear Lake.

“I have had some of my best results at the Amgen Tour of California, and I want to return every year because it just gets better and better,” said returning champion Peter Sagan of Tinkoff-Saxo. “The Sprint competition will be tougher than ever because of all the talent this year, but I’m hoping to wear green again in the golden state.”

The event is a Tour de France-style road race in which the world’s top professional cycling teams compete each year along California’s most famous highways. This year the race will pass through 13 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, downtown Los Angeles, and Pasadena.

“Over the past 10 years, this race has developed into the most well regarded cycling event in the nation, and beyond that, something really special that resonates with fans around the world,” said Tour executive director Kristin Bachochin Klein.


Loxsom broke the record set by Erik Sowinski in 2013 by 0.3 seconds.     Photo: PhotoRun

Cas Loxsom Breaks 600-Meter U.S. Record

Mark set at college meet in Albuquerque

On Saturday, Casimir Loxsom narrowly beat the indoor 600-meter American record in Albuquerque. His 1:15.58 broke the previous record of 1:15.61 set by Erik Sowinski in 2013.

“I love running the event,” Loxsom told Outside during a phone call from his team training base in Albuquerque. “It was still a low-key-college-meet, season-opener mentality—we certainly weren’t treating it as any more than that.”

Loxsom, 23, is a former standout at Penn State and a runner-up in the 800 meters at the World Junior Championships, NCAA, and USATF. In his final year of collegiate eligibility, he ran 1:15.42 over 600 meters at the 2013 Big 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships. It was an all-time, all-conditions best by both an American and a collegian, as well as the third-fastest time ever run in the event indoors worldwide. However, due to the oversized 300-meter track, the time was ineligible for record purposes.

“Technically, I don’t even have to [run faster than I ever have before] to set the record,” Loxsom said of his thoughts going into the race. At the Lobo Collegiate Invite, the time was run on a regulation 200-meter banked track.

Loxsom’s record is the first for the fledgling Brooks Beasts Track Club, which formed in 2013 in Seattle. The 600-meter distance will be contested at the 2015 USATF Indoor Championships, which will take place in Boston from February 27 to March 1. 


Polar bears along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Obama Moves to Protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Proposed wilderness designation angers pro-drilling bloc

The Department of the Interior announced Sunday a revised plan to better manage and sustain the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and designate 12 million acres of the refuge as wilderness.

The proposal would quash the possibility of drilling for oil in the region’s much-contested Coastal Plain. Only Congress can approve the designation but until then the area will be covered under the new protections.

The proposed protected areas include 1.52 million acres of Coastal Plain, 5.85 million acres of the Brooks mountain range and 4.92 million acres of the Porcupine Plateau, according to the Washington Post. The wilderness designation would bar motorized access and development, including development of new roads.

“Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible place—pristine, undisturbed. It supports caribou and polar bears, all manner of marine life, countless species of birds and fish, and for centuries it supported many Alaska Native communities,” President Obama said in a White House video. “But it’s very fragile.”

Opponents of the move consider it another example of regulatory excess. Much of Alaska’s untapped petroleum reserves are in protected federal areas, a fight that has been ongoing for decades. “What’s coming is a stunning attack on our sovereignty and our ability to develop a strong economy that allows us, our children and our grandchildren to thrive,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), according to the Washington Post. “It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory. …But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal.”