Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ice Cream Ball Gains Air Time on "Shopping with Chefs"

Not quite as many views as the "leave Brittany alone" guy, but this tv spotlight should give the ice cream ball a little added notoriety.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sharon Osbourne Takes a Celebrity Lap with a Helmet HERO

This one is priceless. It's really Sharon Osbourne wearing a Helmet HERO, with hubby Ozzy, taking some kind of victory lap on the Chris Moyles show. The purpose of her jog is a mystery, but the outcome is pretty funny. The only thing funnier than the video itself may be the comments on YouTube: "She runs good for a 55 year old woman", "Ozzy, Sharon & Chris Moyles.....all wankers." "She runs like an old bat, she is so d--n fat.", and "That Helmet HERO is da bomb! Every wanker needs one!" Alright, the last one is fake, but the rest are legit. Now we have to wait for the GoPro footage to appear on YouTube.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rab Latok Alpine Gets Four Stars From Alpinist

Rab's Latok Alpine Shell certainly impressed the testers at Alpinist. It looks like it only had some points deducted because of its British design quirks - mainly the reversed euro-style zipper. Here's what they had to say:

"When I picked up Rab's Latok Alpine jacket for the first time I was skeptical. The Latok was lighter than any of the performance hard shells I'd worn previously, and the bright orange eVent label on the sleeve made me wary. Adding to my incredulity, I had never heard of Rab...

"Raised in Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American Revolution, initially I'm wary of anything British, but this jacket makes me want to dredge the harbor, find the bags and share a cup of tea with Rab designers. And, I'm sold on eVent..."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Steph Davis Explains Why She Climbs and BASE Jumps

Telluride Mountainfilm's blog has a guest blogger series, with a new post every Friday. Steph Davis was the guest blogger from this past Friday. She is a climber, author and BASE Jumper.

To a lot of people, she would simply be considered an adrenaline junkie. I disagree. I'd call her an incredible athlete with a phenomenal amount of courage. I believe that most athletes who pursue feats that the rest of world deems 'crazy' are actually very calculated and deliberate. Besides, for those who like to push the envelope -the envelope actually gets bigger with experience.

Steph's post is a very cool explanation of why she does what she does. If you can't see details in the pictures, blow them up. She's soloing most of the climbs shown. And tune in every Friday to Mountainfilm's guest series. These people are truly inspiring.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund - Are You In?

In the nearly 20 years since the Alliance’s inception, the Conservation Alliance has donated $6.2 million to preserving wildplaces, including their most recent win, protecting 1200 acres in the Wapack Wilderness in New Hampshire. Also, 100-percent of their membership dues go directly back to their conservation efforts, and the Alliance hopes to donate $900K in 2008.

At the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show, The Conservation Alliance made a big announcement about their new endowment initiative. The North Face, Patagonia Kelty, REI, Merrell, Camelbak and Montrail founder Menno Van Wyk, and many others, are teaming up with the Conservation Alliance to launch a new initiative to secure the permanence and growth of the Alliance.

This new initiative, called The Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund, is helping to fund the operational expenses of the Alliance to enable them to continue their efforts in preserving wildlands.

Not only does this mean that the Alliance can outlive us all, but it also means that thousands of more acres will be preserved for future generations of recreationalists. The Alliance can focus more heavily on its efforts and additional contributions to go right back into their conservation projects, since they won’t have to concern themselves with covering their operational expenses.

The NorthFace and REI are some of the biggest contributors so far; NorthFace donated the largest amount of $1million!

Check out this podcast about the Legacy Fund on SNEWS.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team Expands, Poised for World Running Supremacy

La Sportiva is adding 13 new members to the ranks of its Mountain Running® team, thus supplying strength and fresh legs to its arsenal of ultrarunners. Building on a banner year of top finishes in 2007, the team will look to further its efforts in 2008 with record-setting race performance. The expanded Mountain Running® team will also be better equipped to battle copyright infringement of its team name, and continue its domination of the sport in general.

With new members the likes of USA Track & Field Ultrarunner of the Year for 2006 Karl Meltzer, Anna Pichrtova, who is likely the most recognized female mountain runner ever, and Leadville 100 phenom Tony Krupicka, the new team is truly poised for running rule. Read more about the new Mountain Running® team members, or at La Sportiva's team website.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chamonix-based Climber Jeff Mercier Wins The Ouray Ice Festival

Rab-sponsored athlete, Jeff Mercier, looked on at an intimidating four-foot dry tool dyno on a 42-degree overhang affectionately named ‘The Diving Board,’ took to the air and planted his right axe firmly on the final hold to win the 2008 Ouray Ice Festival that took place in late January.

Mercier was the only climber to complete the testing mixed route, which incorporated every type of climbing move possible using ice tools, progressing competitors across five challenging sections as reported on

“An easy ice slab led competitors to the first challenge, a 60-foot section of overhanging rock, drytooling up solid flakes and traversing on horizontal seams,” said Mercier. “Those who made it to the third section, a crescent-shaped ice chunk, quickly entered the final man-made sections. These involved balancing across two ‘tuna rolls,’ wooden cylinders hanging from chains, and powering through the ‘diving board,’ a plywood plank with increasingly sparse climbing holds, overhanging by 42 degrees.”

After the first round the fifty strong field was whittled down and 12 men and five women. The finalists included the men’s and women’s world ice-climbing champions Evgeny Kryvosheytsev (Ukraine) and Ines Papert (Germany). Still, Chamonix-based climber Jeff Mercier was the sole competitor to make it to the top.

Not one for resting on his laurels, three days later Mercier made the first spur-less ascent of one of the world hardest mixed routes, Jedi Mind Tricks, near Lake City, Colo., a route that Mercier confirmed to be rated M14.

Mercier is keeping busy by competing in the forthcoming Nissan Outdoor Games in Chamonix, and the Ice Climbing World Championship in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Sportiva Stacks its Deck with New Climbing Aces

La Sportiva is expanding its current climbing team with new athletes from all the ascent-oriented disciplines; from alpine, to sport, to boulder. While their respective segments of climbing may differ, all the team members have one thing in common, they go up, and do so in style. Demonstrating excellence in their sport, in the form of comp wins or remarkable ascents, allowed each member a coveted spot on La Sportiva's North American team. Among these notable feats was new team member Alex Honnold's repeat of Peter Croft's famous single-day solo of Astroman and the North Face of Rostrum in the Yosemite Valley. Suffice to say that the team members bring to the table a laundry list of competitive successes and noteworthy climbing experience that will strengthen Sportiva's existing team. For more info on La Sportiva's new climbing team click here, or check out the company's team website.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

SIA: Actual Photos Have Been Withheld to Protect the Guilty.

For years I've felt like I was swimming upstream against the tide of the rabid Hunter S. Thompson fans. I choked my way through "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", feeling decidedly uncool, because I simply found no redeeming traits in Thompson and his attorney. It's difficult to make it through a novel when you could give a ... well, you know ... about the protagonists. Now, I have to ask, was it Thompson who made Vegas what it is? Or was it Vegas that made Thompson who he was?

Maybe it's the fact that the bastion of excess flat-out shouldn't exist in the middle of a desert. Living in such an unnatural environment for a week encourages an irrational, if-you-can't-beat-them-join-them mentality. Luckily, all of your compadres are in the same boat, and the situation boils over into one hell of a good time.

The recent week at SIA in Las Vegas reaffirms that the ski/snowboard industry is still vibrant and that Vegas is still dirrrty. Things were a little fuzzy after the open bar of the Transworld Snowboarding Riders' Poll Awards and the impromptu Wu Tang Clan concert, but I awoke neither newly married nor tatooed. So all was well with the world.

It was tough to leave two feet of fresh snow to go to the desert and talk about skiing. That is, until I arrived. For me, walking into SIA was like when Homer Simpson inherited the ice cream truck - pure bliss. I was there working for Hot Chillys, 66 North and White Sierra. All three are showing really great lines for fall 2008 and their booths were steady with traffic for three days.

Hot Chillys has pretty much revamped its entire collection for fall. It's current, relevant and damn good-looking. As they move ahead with their environmental inititiatives and sustainable fabric collection, they refuse to compromise performance or the incredibly soft feel they're known for.

White Sierra's line has a youthful, snowboarding vibe to it. They nail the fashionable snowboarding look without alienating the core skiers. You're not going to find such high quality fabrics from any other outerwear company at that price point. White Sierra appeals to the recreational enthusiast, the dedicated athlete and now the fashionista on the slopes.

66˚North ventured into its first SIA. They were over in the Euro-chic section - which is appropriate for the heritage. But the garments have such a wider appeal. Incredibly high quality blends with sleek lines and immaculate fit. I'm confident that they're line has a piece in it that will appeal to just about every sector of the snowsports world.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ruminations on OR

OR is all about big change. I like the show for that reason. It's refreshing to see an industry that is heavy on innovation rather than subtle changes to existing technology. It's also a good time and good place to see industry friends. So, what were the most exciting and/or memorable things about OR this year? There were certainly a few for Verde. Approaching the top of the list was our press conference in which eVent Fabrics® and REI announced their collaboration for REI Gear and Apparel, the house brand. Also memorable was Osprey receiving an REI Vendor Partner of the Year award during the show. Speaking of awards, Rab too was the recipient of one, and that was Backpacker's Editors' Choice for their Latok Alpine jacket. Lastly, was probably Michael Franti.