Long Reads

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He’s not only one of the fastest cyclists in the country—he’s also one of the sport’s most outspoken champions for diversity. But his mission has morphed into the greatest moon shot of all: to bring bike racing to the American masses.

Joshua Skenes ran one of the most expensive restaurants in San Francisco, with industry accolades and three Michelin stars. Still, he felt unfulfilled. Enter a top ­secret new venture where, if you’re lucky, you can have the best meal of your life for free.

Investigators, family, and friends are still trying to close the case of Paul Fugate, a naturalist at Arizona’s Chiricahua National Monument who vanished without a trace in 1980. What keeps them motivated to stick with a mystery that may be unsolvable?

What I learned about love, loss, and landscape over two decades of living in a 1961 Artcraft mobile home in the Utah desert

In her quest to master a quintessential cool-kid trick, Outside contributor Kim Cross found the sweet spot at the crossroads of work and play

Vaccines are rolling out with increasing speed, but we’ll also need effective treatments, because new coronavirus cases will be a worldwide reality for years to come. Enter Jacob Glanville, a maverick San Francisco immunologist who believes he’s found an unparalleled path to healing.

In 1967, Marlon Brando bought a tiny atoll near Tahiti with the aim of preserving it as a tropical paradise. That effort continues, supported by a resort where Beyoncé, Obama, and other big shots chill next to a stunning private lagoon. Hampton Sides went there to meet with scientists and splash around an eco-fantasy island.

From the outside, things seemed perfect for the former world extreme skiing champion: he had a family, a successful guiding business, and unending adventure out his front door in Valdez, Alaska. But something dark festered beneath the surface.

The company sponsors some of the best athletes in the world, from Emily Harrington to Alex Honnold, all of whom are vying for a slice of the brand’s annual budget to support their expeditions. The process can be as competitive as getting into an Ivy League university—except, if approved, the athletes are often taking on death-defying adventures.

Why Apple’s CEO wants to make health and wellness the company’s greatest legacy

Ten years ago, heli-ski guide Erin Tierney survived a helicopter crash and began a relentless journey of healing and recovery. Battling injuries invisible to the naked eye, she fought to reframe and regain her hold on the life she loved.

Researcher Ken Balcomb has spent more than half his life studying the iconic killer whales of Washington’s San Juan Islands and raising awareness about their struggle for survival. Now he may have run out of time.

High school didn't serve up much adventure, so Devin Murphy signed up to do grunt work on expedition ships that sailed to Alaska, Iceland, Antarctica, and other far-flung places. Turned out to be a pretty great idea.

The brand's ethos signals a departure from an apparel industry that has been dominated by giant shoe companies. But can it stay true to the soul of the sport?

Since 1973, a groundbreaking organization has gathered thousands of Black snow-sports enthusiasts for a week of on-mountain revelry. But the event has always had a more serious mission, too: changing perceptions about who belongs on the slopes.

For nearly half a century, legends of a giant cave in the Andes—holding artifacts that could rewrite human history—have beckoned adventurers and tantalized fans of the occult. Now the daughter of a legendary explorer is on a new kind of quest: to tell the truth about the cave in order to save it.

Nearly 700 people on bikes have been killed by drivers this year. This is who we lost.

Last winter, when the robotics firm Roam released its latest version of Elevate, a revolutionary exoskeleton promising to boost skiing performance, our writer knew he had to give it a test drive. His analysis: the company's debut product is fun yet flawed—but its vision of a tech-assisted sports future will still blow your mind.

What do you do after surviving a near-death experience? Visit a dying natural wonder, of course. After his husband suffers a stroke at the age of 40, our writer plans the trip of a lifetime to the Great Barrier Reef—and discovers new meaning in the term "last-chance tourism."

Your holiday reading list, recommended by our editors

More than 17 years ago, a successful Michigan attorney took his life on a cherished trout stream, devastating close friends and family. Haunted by what happened, his nephew investigated and discovered tragic truths that were in plain sight all along.

The decade-long hunt captured the world's attention, but when it finally ended in June, everyone still wanted to know: Who had solved the mystery? This week, as legal proceedings threaten his anonymity, a 32-year-old medical student is ready to go on the record.

Across the West, fire season lasts longer and has become more intense than any time in history—tens of thousands of structures burn every year, and dozens of people die. But new research is highlighting a different problem: those who survive are never the same.

Food scientists and marketers are creating healthy, plant-based, imitation tuna, crab, and shrimp that look and taste like the real thing. Better yet, switching to faux seafood will help curb our reliance on an international fishing industry that has become an environmental and human-rights disaster.

BASE-jumping pioneer Jeb Corliss is one of the original madmen, a fiend for the extreme who has miraculously survived multiple crash landings in a sport that rarely allows second chances. Now, at 44, with a self-diagnosed psychological disorder, he's embarking on his most fraught journey yet: into the depths of his own mind.

Both the world-weary and stoked-on-life congregate at these wild outposts—all seeking the same euphoric joy, communality, and escapism

During her college break, the author went all in on solitude—living alone on a Down East island and working for one of the area’s few female skippers. Luna Soley reflects on a time of loneliness, hard work, and natural beauty.

Wilderness pros are trained to deal with physical injuries, but what about the psychological trauma that can result while on an expedition, from fear and stress, or from watching someone die in a fall, an avalanche, or whitewater? Australian psychologist and mountaineer Kate Baecher created a training program to equip guides and athletes with a tool kit to handle the worst mental distress we encounter when we're far from help.

How young is too young for risk? During an Idaho river adventure that included her seven-year-old, Tracy Ross faced this question in the most harrowing way imaginable.

Even in traditionally conservative states like Montana and Wyoming, no single issue unites centrist voters in 2020 more than public-lands protection. That's one reason Montana Republican senator Steve Daines has spent the past 18 months trying to convince voters he's a reliable conservationist. Critics say it's mere "greenwashing," but his success may decide the balance of power in Washington.

Carbon offsets are confusing, and many people wonder how—or if—they even work. Hoping to find a more guilt-free way to travel, frequent flier Tim Neville heads to the ranchlands of Montana to see what an offset looks like on the ground. Hint: it involves cows.

At 59 years old and with a preexisting condition, Paralympic rower Angela Madsen had plenty to worry about as the coronavirus spread across the country. So she dipped the oars of her small rowboat in the Pacific and pointed the bow toward Hawaii. She never returned.

According to Chris Watson, the man behind your favorite wildlife soundtracks, we're just becoming better listeners

Wim Hof's teachings about breath work and the health benefits of cold plunges have attracted millions of followers who swear it has cured everything from depression to diabetes and makes them happier and stronger. Our writer traveled to Iceland (naturally) for a deep dive with the man and his methods.

The craft beer revolution turned the tall cousin of cannabis into a breakout ingredient, infusing your brew with flavors and aromas that range from stone fruit to barrel oak. Christopher Solomon hits the road to understand why hop madness isn’t over yet—and why brewers and plant breeders are always on the prowl for the next big thing.

In a new era of menacing blazes, there are lessons to be learned from the people who stay and defend their properties

Southern Civil War symbols have been a flash point in towns and cities for years, but at places like the Gettysburg battlefield and Arlington National Cemetery—which are run by the Park Service and the Pentagon—there's a new, escalating conflict over monuments that honor the Lost Cause

Two years ago, Latria Graham wrote an essay about the challenges of being Black in the outdoors. Countless readers reached out to her, asking for advice on how to stay safe in places where nonwhite people aren’t always welcome. She didn't write back, because she had no idea what to say. In the aftermath of a revolutionary spring and summer, she responds.

Coronavirus hasn't stopped Italian heartthrob and two-wheeled avenger Vittorio Brumotti from righting society's wrongs. The cyclist has delighted audiences with his TV news segment "100% Brumotti," shaming people for parking in handicapped spaces and taking on no less than the Mafia. We ride along with Italy's favorite bike hero.

With stormchasing tours more popular than ever, our writer set out to discover why this risky pastime is once again taking off

A new school of social-media influencers are giving hunting a fresh and decidedly female face. Our writer joins two rising stars of “huntstagram” in the Arizona backcountry to chase mule deer for her first time—and see if she can stomach what it takes to be an omnivore.

For more than three decades, Paul Knapp Jr. has taken travelers out into the Caribbean Sea to hear humpback whales. Now seismic blasts threaten to silence their songs.

Two documentaries, 'Big Fur' and 'Stuffed,' set out to show that this sticky-fingered branch of natural history is full of beauty and wonder. Do they succeed? Our reviewer, who knows a lot more about the subject than he ought to, says yes.

For the past decade, American climber Mike Dobie has been developing world-class routes outside the remote village of Liming. As the coronavirus triggers anti-Chinese sentiment worldwide, his mission is more important than ever.

For a book project about 16th-century polar explorer William Barents, Andrea Pitzer needed to reach the remote Arctic island where he and his men came to grief. She booked passage on an expeditionary boat out of Murmansk, then headed north on a trip marked by unforgettable scenery, unexpected loss, and wild magic that changed her life.

The Colorado-based maker of bike racks and locks is a case study in the uncertainty that small outdoor businesses are navigating right now. With the right combination of luck and creative thinking, their future may not be all gloomy.

There are myriad arguments for and against eating roadkill. Can they all be true at the same time?

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, travel for many is still a faraway dream. But Ian Frazier reminds us that there’s no more promising feeling than hitting the road, windows down, hair blowing, full speed ahead.

Two bold men, one reckless plan: to watch the sun go dark atop a huge snow-covered peak in South America. You won't believe what happened next.

Are social media and selfie culture killing the outdoors? Nah... but as a visit to some overshared spots reveals, they’re challenging our notions about whether there’s a right way to appreciate nature—and who gets to do it.

From iconic brands like Patagonia to that indispensable camping store in your hometown, the adventure economy has taken an unprecedented hit. The good news: the people who created these businesses are doers, and they're putting everything they've got into staying afloat and preparing for an uncertain future.

Between a global pandemic, protests against police brutality, and unprecedented environmental rollbacks, a lifelong asthmatic reflects on how 2020 is the year we must come to terms with the tenuous nature of this simple act—and why ensuring our fragile future begins with protecting our air

Sperm whales are extra­ordinarily intelligent animals with deep family traditions and the ability to communicate across oceans with sonic clicks. But when Rowan Jacobsen had a close encounter with one in the Caribbean, he saw a creature far stranger than he'd ever imagined.

John Ackerman has spent millions procuring a majority of the known caves in Minnesota, which add up to dozens of miles of underground passageways and likely make him the largest cave owner in the U.S. He collects and charts them in the name of preservation, but his controversial methods have created many opponents.

Our writer has a man crush on a Utah cook-stove inventor named Steve Despain, and it’s easy to see why. Using creative design, smart marketing, and YouTube star turns, he’s brought glamour to the humblest little workhorse in the outdoors.

Our writer was looking to find solace on the congested slopes of Snowdon in Wales when COVID-19 shut it down. He soon realized that a mountain devoid of humans isn't the vision he thought it would be.

Nestled in Chattahoochee Hills southwest of Atlanta, the Serenbe community is designed to deliver everybody's favorite buzzword: wellness. You can't argue with the gourmet wine dinners, leafy walking trails, and goat yoga, but be aware that Paradise doesn't come cheap.

My dad is struggling with cancer in North Carolina, and COVID-19 cruelly cut him off from his family. But in Maine, where I live, the pandemic has forced 'Brady Bunch' togetherness that's been challenging, strangely fun, and full of lessons worth carrying forward.

Pythons are devouring native animal life in the unique ecosystem of South Florida. To help solve the problem, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials have turned to amateur and professional hunters to round up the reptiles in a wild competition called the Python Bowl.

On trail running, trespassing, and what your neighbors do or don't owe you

Could the company's latest play to own the experience economy transport me virtually around the world? I made sangria with drag queens in Portugal, meditated with sleepy sheep in Scotland, and visited stray dogs in Ukraine to find out just how far Zoom-powered travel could take me.

Rugged, high-clearance, all-wheel-drive vehicles are great for getting out there—but at what cost to cyclists and pedestrians?

I was biking home when you barreled into me with your car and left me to die

One day, Michael Shattuck started to run. He liked it, so he ran longer, sometimes for as many as 65 hours each week. He never wanted to stop. What was he running from?

In an era dominated by online shopping, dubious influencer endorsements, and trendy, direct-to-consumer gear, it’s harder than ever to know who to trust. Jenny Gyllander, the mind behind the product-review Instagram account @thingtesting, is here to cut through the noise.

The military's toughest training challenges have a lot in common with outdoor sufferfests like the Barkley Marathons and the Leadville Trail 100: you have to be fit and motivated to make the starting line, but your mind and spirit are what carry you to the end. A Ranger graduate breaks down an ordeal that shapes some of the nation's finest soldiers.

Last December, around 100 tourists set out for New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, where an active volcano has attracted hundreds of thousands of vacationers since the early 1990s. It was supposed to be a routine six-hour tour, including the highlight: a quick hike into the island's otherworldly caldera. Then the volcano exploded. What happened next reveals troubling questions about the risks we're willing to take when lives hang in the balance.

Don and Steve Friedman decided to bond with a trek in the Cascades. Worked great! Except for some minor disagreements about work. And money. And hope. And the meaning of life. And …

Nick Giacomini went from being a Bay Area burnout to a yoga celebrity. His career is also a window into long-standing debates about yoga and cultural appropriation in the U.S.

As we confront the reality of COVID-19, the idea of living self-sufficiently in the woods, far from crowds and grocery stores, doesn't sound so bad. Lynx Vilden has been doing just that for decades, while teaching others how to live primitively, too.

Artist Eric Bealer was living the remote, rugged good life in coastal Alaska with his wife, Pam, an MS sufferer, when they made a dramatic decision: to exit this world together, leaving behind precise instructions for whoever entered their cabin first. Eva Holland investigates the mysteries and meaning of an adventurous couple who charted their own way out.

When the long-running TV game show relaunched in January, it promised a kinder, gentler version suited for the current health climate. It didn't deliver.

Men suffer higher rates of suicide and drug abuse than women. Many are anxious and lonely—and, as a result, they’re all too often angry and violent. Wilderness Collective thinks the solution lies in open spaces, UTVs, and fireside talks. But is that enough?

When the Discovery Channel invited me to audition for its popular survival-challenge reality show, I knew it was going to be rough. What followed was one of the most intense experiences of my life.

An impact fund wants to transform Saddleback Mountain, and its surrounding community in Rangeley, Maine, into a skier's paradise. The plan might be a moonshot. But it's also the kind of vision the greater ski industry needs.

Technological advances and a growing line of research have paved the way for a new class of support systems that are comfortable, look good, and fit a wide(r) variety of bodies.

Why a lifelong outdoor adventurer couldn't resist the siren song of fairways and greens

On Labor Day weekend 2019, the 'Conception' left Santa Barbara, California, for a diving trip to the Channel Islands. Six months later, authorities are still trying to determine how what should have been a routine excursion became one of the deadliest maritime disasters in U.S. history.

A week of running rivers around Voss, Norway, with French kayaking sensation Nouria Newman and her buddies