Between the Lines

ASSEMBING THIS MONTH'S tribute to the entrepreneurs, engineers, athletes, gear gurus, brand-marketing spinners, and dreamers who created—and continue to revolutionize—the world outside was no small feat. To pull off this historic compilation, one in a series of special sections leading up to our showstopping 25th anniversary issue in October, we roped our entire editorial staff and a host of veteran business and technology writers, and then hit the trail in search of the people whose achievements define the past, present, and future of adventure sports.

"The Big Idea"—part celebration, part investigation—is the overall result. You'll meet old friends like legendary Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard; innovators like Jake Burton, the Thomas Edison of snowboarding; leading-edge upstarts like Skye Alpine tell wizard Ted Ayliffe; and a host of other Masters of the Universe busy harnessing the lucrative power of the adventure-capitalism spirit. Among those out in the front lines trying to make their passion pay are a multinational troupe of kiteboarders flogging the extreme appeal of Red Bull, the billion-dollar energy drink, whose exploits are chronicled by journalists Rob Walker ("Bull Market"); multisport phenom Will Gadd, profiled here by contributing editor Brad Wetzler ("Risk Management"); and the big-brain scientists pushing the envelope of gear design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Sports Innovation, documented by former Outside senior editor Brad Wieners ("Actually, It Is Rocket Science"). "I hung out with 19-year-old brainiacs whose dream is to create a better ski binding," says Wieners. "It was inspiring." We all agree. So be forewarned: These stories may inject some adrenaline into your own visionary scemes—and that just might change your life.
When filmmaker, lawyer, and journalist Dubin stepped off the plane in Kathmandu for the first time in 1990, 100,000 angry citizens were marching the streets demanding democracy. So Nepal's recent political turmoil hasn't fazed the seven-year resident of the capital city. "I'm probably more at risk of being the victim of a shoe bomber than of any kind of Maoist attack," she says. For her report on the Nepalese government's efforts to lure climbers and trekkers back to the country ("The Comeback Trail"), click ahead.

Ecologist Moffett narrowly escaped the fate that took the life of his fellow scientist Joseph Slowinski, the herpetologist who died from a snakebite in Burma last September. While on an expedition, Moffett mistakenly sat on a deadly fer-de-lance. "There's only one correct way to sit on a fer-de-lance and not get bit," says Moffet. "And that's directly on its head." His portrait of Slowinski ("Bit"), examines the risky intersection of science and nature.

New York-based Guardans has lived and worked in the epicenter of avant-garde design (Paris, London, and Tokyo), so we sent him off to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to photograph scientists and students at work in the fountainhead of gear design, MIT's Center for Sports Innovation. "All the high tech is in their heads," he says.

California-based illustrator Holley has worked for Rolling Stone, Time, and The New Yorker among others. This month, his mixed-media collage accompanies our Wild File column. Experienced in visually communicating complicated ideas, Holley works hard to offer a fresh perspective. "I approach my illustrations like a conversation," he says. "Instead of repeating what's on the page, I bring my own point of view to the table."

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