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On and off the Slopes at Ten Top Ski Areas

As a teenage Jack London fan, I fantasized about mushing a dogsled. Grown-up city life derailed my Iditarod dreams until I came across a photograph of someone skijoring: two large, smiling malamutes towing a cross-country skier down a forested trail at breakneck speed. It appeared I could live out my…

We stopped at a boulder below the saddle of 10,229-foot Heyburn Mountain as early-May sunshine broke past the ridge and washed over us: three backcountry skiers on a mission to schuss the wild peaks of central Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and me, a snowshoe loafer in search of serenity. As my…

There’s something immensely appealing about lacing up a pair of skates with long, thin blades and soaring so fast on ice that your snot freezes. I’m not alone in my feelings; participation in distance skating is growing, across open ponds and lakes and on manicured 400-meter outdoor ovals. The two…

I plan on doing some winter backpacking in New Hampshire's White Mountains for the first time. I need some help with sleeping bags—there are so many to choose from! Should I go for down or synthetic? What's a good temperature rating for this kind of trip? Mark Boston, Massachusetts

In Outside‘s October 2003 cover story, “The O Files,” we explore the creepy side of adventure: murder, shocking disappearances, haunting riddles, and inexplicable creatures. But this isn’t the first time we’ve delved into nature’s dark enigmas—Outside has a history of delivering eerie tales of the outdoors. Below, we present some…

Winding a thousand miles from India to China, the Burma Road was built to defend China in World War II, but the atomic bomb made it irrelevant and the jungle reclaimed it. Mark Jenkins vowed to do what no one had done for nearly 60 years—travel the entire Burma Road—and discovered the madness of present-day Myanmar.

Radical Chic PR Lesson #127: Put a bunch of VIPs in a raft. Send them down the Futaleufú. Stop a dam. Sounds fun—and is!

The author's father traveled the world, shipped out on the last commercial sailing voyage around Cape Horn, and handed down a legacy of adventure. But his risk-taking spirit had a dark side—and its shadow fell across a final winter rendezvous in Aspen.

Now that the venerable Patagonia Ice Nine ski bibs have been discontinued, what do you recommend in their place? I want something similar: waterproof-breathable, light but durable, great features. However, I've read not very complimentary things about The North Face's Gore-Tex XCR bibs. Richard Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Which do you think would be better for a backcountry winter camping trip in Yosemite: snowshoes or a ski like the Karhu Morph (which looks like L.L. Bean's Boreal and features a built-in climbing skin)? Tom Marina del Rey, California

On a recent spring trip to snowy Mount Whitney, I took a gble and wore my comfy Sundowners along with a pair of Wild Country gaiters, instead of plastic boots. But, the front part of the gaiters kept slipping up and my boots quickly got soaked with all the postholing. Do you think a regular boot and gaiter combo can replace plastics (too heavy and uncomfortable) for snow travel? I'm talking multi-day trips in the California Sierras here. Jake Irvine, California

I need something to go over snow terrain in the most efficient way possible for a winter approach/ascent of Split Mountain in the Sierras. Instead of clunky snowshoes, what do you think about the Yupi Skishoes? Or the Salomon Meta Skis? Between the two for rough, snowy terrain, which would you recommend? By the way, I'm a VERY novice skier, so something easy to learn is important. Jake Kim Irvine, California

Can you recommend a good cross-country skiing package that's suitable for both groomed trails and backcountry use? John Duluth, Minnesota

I have Scarpa T1 boots and have noticed that my ski edges are going to massacre my boots if I don't protect them. A solution I have heard of is to wear "supergaiters" with either Kevlar or other sturdy material on the instep to protect the inside of the boots. Unfortunately Black Diond (she on them) no longer makes a supergaiter and the Outdoor Research X-Gaiter is overkill in that it is expensive and so insulated that it will cook my feet. Any advise? Bill Hirshberg New York, New York

Gear Guy, dress me for kayaking in the marshes of the lower Connecticut River this winter. It's prime roosting territory for Bald Eagles through late February. David Hadd, Connecticut

My family of five—myself, wife, and three decent-sized kids—plus the dog would like to go snow camping, and I think I've got everything covered except the tent. As for cost, we'd prefer to be comfortable and broke over rich, frozen, and miserable. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a suitable five-person tent—MSR's StormKing comes close, but only allows 12 square feet per person. I have concerns about splitting the family into two tents in potentially nasty weather. Do you have any advice? Nathaniel Nevada City, California

I have been told that Sierra Designs & MSR's new range of four-season tents (in particular SD's Tiros AST and Stretch Dome AST) have floors that are not suitably waterproof for Australia's wet and windy winters. Is this true? Can a waterproofing agent be applied? Also, do MSR's continuous pole sleeves allow adequate ventilation between canopy and fly? What's the verdict on these tents? Justin Trevorrow Darwin, Australia

I'm an Australian looking to travel in North America from December to February. Can you recommend a good trekking tent for the season that will house two to three people and their gear? I would like to use the tent year-round and for it to be fairly roomy. Rod Sydney, Australia

I need to find a tent for winter camping and mountaineering. Living in Oregon I intend to stay within the Cascades. I have narrowed my search to the Fusion 2 and the Fury 2, both made by MSR. They fall into the same weight/price/size category. The Fusion is a convertible tent while the fury appears to be a four-season tent. Given the conditions I'm expecting to face, which tent would be the ideal choice for me? Is the Fury too much tent, is the Fusion too little? Is there another tent that you would recommend? Kevin Portland, Oregon

OK, this is a serious question. You seem like the kind of guy who does a fair amount of biking in cold, windy places. I've recently started to use my bike to commute to work and have noticed a "small" change in a very personal area. The wind goes right through my pants, and when I arrive at my location my little guy is tucked away like a scared turtle. This isn't a real huge problem, just inconvenient and uncomfortable. Do you know of any underwear or pants that could help fight this problem? Karl Rostock, Germany

I would like some advice on a permanent or removable roof rack, mainly for carrying several pairs of skis on my Isuzu Trooper. Isuzu sells a rack for around $350, but I'm sure I can find something better for the se money or even less. John Boise, Idaho

Can three-season tents be used in the snow? Is it necessary to have a "mountain" tent for snow camping? With a full cover fly, what is wrong with using a three-season tent for occasional snow camping? Lyn Greenhill Roseville, California

What tools do I need, and how do I build a good snow cave for winter camping in the Colorado Rockies? Daniel Denver, Colorado

What gear do I need to climb K2? Just kidding! With winter fast approaching, I'm thinking about backcountry skiing again. I take avalanche safety VERY seriously and therefore take every necessary precaution. That said, accidents do happen, so I'm looking to buy an avalanche beacon just in case. I'm interested in the Tracker DTS, but how does digital technology fare in cold environments? I've also heard that earlier Tracker DTS beacons had problems with the unit switching to "receive" mode if the wearer's body pushed up against the toggle switch. Is the Ortovox F1 Focus a better, more reliable choice? Michael Vancouver, British Columbia

What are the best winter socks for snow skiing? When I ski, I rent boots and skis, but I find my feet always get cold. What socks should I get to make sure my feet stay warm? Should I use sock liners in addition to high quality wool socks? Brad Chapel Hill, North Carolina

What's a good, moderately priced tire for mountain biking in the snow? I'm not looking to spend a fortune for a studded snow tire, just something with better traction that I can use in the spring as well. Paul Patterson, New York

What's your take on the soft-shell craze if the activities are both ascent and descent in nature? In other words, I very interested in the breathability for aerobic activities, but concerned about warmth for activities like downhill skiing. Question is, can I have my cake and eat it too? Second, if I can have it both ways, what is your first choice and why? Brad Peacock Medina, Ohio

I want to buy some new cross-country skis that I can use for both touring and downhill, maybe something along the lines of the Karhu Catounts. While these seem to work well for touring on ungroomed trails, would these also suit for telemarking on blue-square trails? Rusty Cresco, Pennsylvania

Gear Guru, what eye gear do you recommend for cross-country skiing when it's windy and snowy? Every pair of goggles I own fog up when I cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Would glacier glasses solve this problem? Craig Portland, Oregon

I would like to buy shaped skis. I currently ski on straight 160s and 5-foot, 2-inches tall. I've gotten so many different opinions on how long my shaped skis should be. Help! Jacklyn Meriden, Connecticut

Are there poles that could do double duty for downhill skiing and trekking? Or is that too much to ask from a set of poles for around $100? Dan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I'm staring down the barrel of a long, cold, wet winter, which will put a crimp on my outdoor bicycling. Now, I can't afford a house big enough to install a velodrome, so I'll need to purchase either a trainer or rollers to ride my bike inside. Should I fear the rollers? Will I need to put fo padding all around them? Will true believers mock me if I buy a trainer instead? Glen Novato, California

I just bought new ski boots and I love them. Next on my list is buying new skis. I a solid level-nine skier and can ski anything on the mountain (New England or Rockies), although not always as gracefully as I would like. I love moguls but don't want a ski that submarines in powder. I was looking at the Salomon X-scres but heard that their tails were too stiff and therefore a lot of work in the bumps. Do you have any recommendations for top-of-the-line skis? Will New York, New York

What's the best tent for winter camping? I'm interested in a two- to three-person tent that's lightweight, packable, and available at a low price. I will be spending time in northern Massachusetts and the White Mountains this winter. I've been looking into single-pole shelters like the Black Diond Betid ($98), and while comfortable with not having a sealed floor, I worry about water seeping in. Do these tarps really work? Are they reliable? Is it possible to find a reliable four-season tent under $200? Boaz Sender Boston, Massachusetts

I'm a road and occasional trail runner. Given the current season, I'm looking for a pair of shoes with a waterproof component to keep my dogs dry when I'm "on the run." However, everything I've looked at so far seems to lean toward trail running in design. This is fine since I'll be traversing ice, snow, slush, and road crud, but the treads on these shoes seem too aggressive for the road. Any suggestions for a good compromise? Ben Marlborough, Massachusetts

I interested in buying a quality set of boots and skis, primarily for Vermont and New England skiing. Problem is, I wear a two-centimeter orthotic insert in my right shoe that corrects a leg length problem and heavy over-pronation. Can I get this custom built into ski boots? Any other options? Also, what's your opinion on the softer boots like the Atomic Beta Ride 10.50? Are they worth the $600? What is the best ski for varying New England snow conditions (i.e. one day powder, next day ice)? Walt McMann Hden, Connecticut

I have been happily skiing and snowboarding in my Patagonia Nitro II pants for the past few years. However, having recently signed up for a mountaineering course, I was told they aren't designed for mountaineering because of their two-ply, mesh-lined material. I'm confused as to why pants perfectly fine in a skiing environment can't work for mountaineering. I don't want to shell out $300 on another pair of pants! Ken Toronto, Ontario

I often ski and snowshoe in the Adirondacks backcountry, but my back always gets soaked under my pack whenever I'm going uphill. I have tried different layers to avoid the wetness, all to no avail. What do you recommend to keep my back comfortable? Ian Lake Placid, New York

I'm looking for an ultra-lightweight three- to four-season ski touring tent for spring in the Sierra, though it'd be nice if it could handle some winter weather also. I HATE carrying a lot of weight ski touring. Any ideas? David Hunn Long Beach, California

I looking for a cold weather running jacket that is extremely breathable and wind-resistant (waterproofness is not a necessity). I've been using Lowe Alpine's Adrenaline jacket, which is great for hiking but stes up quickly when I running hard. I usually buy The North Face and Patagonia products but I not sure that they make the best stuff for running. What do you think? Nick Kogevinas Washington, D.C.

Hailing from sunny California, this is my first year in college in Boston. Here's my situation: New England weather is windy, chilly, and often wet. I need a jacket that will get me through the winter but also look good around town. However, once I buy this jacket, I'll still need money to eat. What can you recommend that won't break the bank, i.e. as close to $100 as possible? Kyle Boston, Massachusetts

Today's topic: We rank the Top 40 schools where you can hit the books AND the backcountry. Your assignment: Rappel off that ivory tower and take our cram course on America's most adrenaline-friendly colleges. You'll come for your B.A. (Bachelor of Adventure) and want to stay for life.

A modern speed demon breathes new life into an ancient Hawaiian sport

"He died doing what he loved best," they always say. But when climbers meet their end on the high peaks, the ordeal is just beginning for their wives, husbands, children, parents, and friends. An exclusive excerpt from Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow

Experience is the key to mountaineering prowess, but high-altitude fitness makes all the difference on summit day

Cut your alpinism chops on North America's best routes.

Get a fresh perspective on the Old Country: pedal, paddle, skate, and hike in these eight ruggedly charming European outposts

Five adventure bonanzas in the Yukon's summertime wilds

In 24-hour mountain-bike races, riders bond over singletrack and sleep deprivation. What's not to like?

Lodges at base camp? Tourists on oxygen? Everyone seems to have a vision for the next 50 years on the world's highest mountain.

Noted ski mountaineer Andrew McLean, named one of the planet’s finest athletes by Outside in December 2001, departed his home in Salt Lake City with an ambitious goal in his sites: to be the first to complete a continuous ski descent of Alaska’s 14,573-foot Mt. Hunter. With first descents already…

Who says you can't take your children mountaineering? The trick is to choose the right summit—then watch as they amaze themselves by scaling it. These five peaks, in order from easiest to hardest, are handpicked to bring out your kid's inner Messner.

During two deadly weeks this winter, avalanches swept away 14 lives in the heart of British Columbia's remote backcountry. Were these simply unpredictable, unstoppable acts of nature with a brutal cost? Or did somebody make crucial mistakes? An exclusive report details what really happened—and unfolds the agony of a grieving guide who led his clients to th

On assignment in the Himalayas

Sean Glaccum discusses fast water and first descents in the Himalayas

Three Generations of Great Climbing Sherpas

The year's most intriguing guided adventures

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing's historic first Everest summit, we're opening the vaults to bring you the best stories ever written about the planet's tallest mountain. From Jon Krakauer's groundbreaking article, "Into Thin Air," to Brad Wetzler's account of sex, death and bad behavior at Base Camp, a collection of Outside's

In Bhutan's pristine alpine sanctuary, even a heathen climber can see the light

Thirty years after losing his brother on a Himalayan peak, Reinhold Messner battles ugly accusations that he abandoned him at the top.

The latest news from the world's highest mountain

The process is the point. But just try telling that to your younger, untutored, world-conquering self.

Hoping to snag high-rolling adventurers, Nepal green-lights its first full-time heli-skiing operation

Need a daily powder fix? Chase epic snow through the calendar with our guide to the best places to ski and snowboard each month.

One score and five years ago, this magazine burst onto the scene with a bold idea and a mission. The idea was that, against all odds, adventure is alive and well—and a force to reckon with and celebrate. The mission was to find new heroes, phenomenal athletes and explorers, the…

A generation ago, mounting an expedition meant drafting a herd of porters, slogging loads of gear to a rocky base camp, and laying siege to a Himalayan peak. These days, light, fast, and self-supported expeditions are in, and multisport explorers like Mike Libecki, Mark Synnott, and Brad Ludden are showing us how to do it. Here, our preview of the hottest adven

Majoring in steeps at New Mexico’s Taos Q: I’m getting older and I’d like to learn to ski better. Even if you’ve never been to my home state of Illinois, you probably know there aren’t many ski slopes nearby. I’d like to spend a week to ten…

From technical clothes for sport to chic outfits for dinner, here's how to dress like a local

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more photos and an audio interview with Andrew McLean, CLICK HERE EXPEDITION: ARCS OVER THE ARCTIC TEAM: ANDREW MCLEAN, BRAD BARLAGE LOCATION: BAFFIN ISLAND, NUNAVUT, CANADA OBJECTIVE: TO EXPLORE FJORDS AND VALLEYS BY KITE IN SEARCH OF…

After its triumphant coming-out party in Salt Lake City, American snowboarding faces a bright future. Is that a good thing?

A vetern journalist argues that the ski industry has sold its soul to Wall Street, turning too many mountain towns into overbuilt Disneyfied retail hubs. But don't despair: All over snow country, a back-to-basics counterrevolution is under way.

One of climbing’s most famous survival sagas began on the night of July 13, 1977, after British mountaineers CHRISTIAN BONINGTON and Doug Scott completed the first ascent of Pakistan’s 23,900-foot Baintha Brakk—a beastly massif known as The Ogre. During his rappel down, Scott swung wildly across the face and broke…

Set loose in the land that invented terrorism ten centuries ago, Tim Cahill finds crumbling castles, legends of hash-smoking hit men, and Iranians who won't stop being nice. You call this the axis of evil?

Dreams of Bengal tigers and visions of imminent extinction led Peter Matthiessen to a predator's last stronghold in the jungles of India. It was a place, the author discovered, where not seeing is believing.

A quarter-century after he changed everything by summiting Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, Reinhold Messner is looking fit, feeling adventurous, and acting about as mellow as a snapping turtle. Ah, well: Great men aren't always sweethearts—and Messner is still the best there ever was.

TALL LATTE BEFORE WORK, double espresso in the afternoon, short cappuccino after dinner—it's the only way to tolerate Seattle's gray days. But when the clouds break and the Cascades, the Olympics, and Puget Sound appear, you know where you need to be. Grab a quadruple shot and get going.

DOWN TO EARTH MUSIC: IT'S A HIGH, LONESOME WORLD COMPILED FOR the International Year of the Mountains, the ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF THE ALPS, together with companion CDs from the Himalayas and the Appalachians (World Music Network, each), are the first to finally unite Krishna Das…