Alta is for Vikings

Much love in the Salt Lake City tribune for a certain viking. As for the missing horn .... it was lost ducking a rope a week earlier.




Three straight days on I95 and he thinks maybe he’s beginning to understand. There are the trucks, as constant and threatening as storm-driven waves. There are the strips of commerce at every exit, long rows of low, boxy structures appointed to the disbursement of hamburgers, gasoline, and pharmaceuticals. One afternoon, along a stretch of rural South Carolina, he spied a herd of Angus grazing in the shadow of a billboard advertising adult toys and DVDs. It seemed as fitting a metaphor as any for this strange slice of America.

Anyone who’s traveled will tell you that the interstate is not where the truth of a people is found. But doesn’t it stand to reason that the highway – and that which we find along it – is a direct reflection of what we hold most dear and demand most expediently? After all, those stores could be trading in bicycles, or books, or beef from the farm up the road. Those billboards could be advertising something other than images of willing women and discount cigarettes and 0% financing on all 2007’s.

He can’t help but wonder how his life might have been different had he been reared in one of the many small, time-savaged ranch houses that line 95. Some list sadly, as if the big trucks have buffeted them for one year too long. Like the cattle, they loll in the shadow of the billboards and only a few miles away from that peculiar breed of exit ramp commerce. What sort of lives do these people lead? He wants to know. And he doesn’t.

But for today, there is only forward motion. He’s found the Dodge’s sweet spot, where the 318 sings most efficiently, returning nearly 13 mpg. He keeps the cruise control set at 68 and stays in the middle lane, letting the trucks wash around him. One is packed with chickens in cages so low they can’t move. They can only turn their heads out of the wind and watch their feathers litter the pavement behind them.


Organics, waterproof breathables, and ex-skate superstars

At Outdoor Retailer? At SIA? Nope .... it's the PGA Merchandising show, a jam-packed trade gathering for a $195 million industry that creates 2 million jobs in the United States.

Judge Smails was there. And so was young Tad. But the biggest story in the booths wasn't kelly green and tassle loafers. It was a turning of the wind.

It wasn't everywhere, but it was tangible and clearly growing. It was happening to some of the biggest names in the sports universe, to classic brands making a clear directional shift, and to upstart brands carrying a lot more soul (and a lot more heavy hitting action sports designers on their roster than i would ever have expected.)

'Links to lounge' wear, organics and Cocona, waterproof breathables and seam welding, overt tips of the hat to outdoor designs, covert sneaks of great ideas from the greater world, and cool shirts and pants and shoes that would look just fine on the floor of ASR.

In the shuttle ride to the airport, I woke up a bit. The outdoor world is influential, for certain. But there's no reason to believe that they have cornered the market on the fruits of the aspirational outdoor lifestyle.


Thin is in

Maybe Nordic walking would help?

Do blow-up cars dream of spilled fly boxes?

From the town that brought you Kambucha comes the first news of a hyper-efficient, super speedy inflatable car.

Spun together with fuel cells, batteries, and pre-inflated airbags that can withstand driving off a 25 foot cliff, the proposed rig sounds great for anybody who doesn't ccasionally polish off a 12er of PBR before forgetting to take off their No. 22-BWO laced King Ropes baseball hat and driving home to the sound of PFFFFFFFSSSSSSTTTTTTTTT.

LINK: Triple Pundit


Scout's honor

Which of the following is NOT one of the new 2008 Boy Scouts merit badges?

a. Public relations

b. Healthy eating

c. Street luge

d. Paragliding

e. Space exploration

f. Ultimate fighting



The original slednecks

We're so old school, we blog by fax.


Coming Home

The van is pointed north, now. Yesterday they drove through a great, flat swath of central Florida, flanked by fields of sugarcane as far as the eye could see, thousands and thousands of acres. It was stunning in its expanse. The burning residue in the harvested plots filled the air with a sweet smoke. She was reading to the boys; he, listening to music on his headphones, a mix of GN Classic (Maiden, Ozzy, Metallica), GN lite (Petty, Drive-By-Truckers, Fred Eaglesmith), and GN Introspective (Radiohead). They knocked off 300-miles, the Dodge’s big V8 quaffing 25-gallons of $3 gasoline. He can’t stop thinking about the goddam gas.

He has seen another slice of America on this trip, and like so many things in this world, he’s not sure if he should respond with a long laugh, or a good cry. On the Keys, in a modest state park, they set up camp between rows of hulking motorhomes with names like “Patriot Thunder” and “Imperial” and “The Intruder.” He is not fabricating any of these; he couldn’t have even imagined they existed to fabricate them. One evening, he was returning from a short bicycle ride and happened upon an older gentleman sitting outside his RV, his chair situated cozily by the fire. The man was smoking a cigar and watching a mammoth flatscreen television that was mounted on the outside of his motorhome. Ah, camping.

What happens when a culture becomes a parody of itself? It seems to him that perhaps this is the ultimate sign of something gone rotten, when negative stereotypes aren’t merely fulfilled, but are paraded with pride that would be antagonistic, if it wasn’t rooted in ignorance.

It all sounds rather bleak, doesn’t it? But then there was that time in the Everglades, the boys having just seen a pod of dolphins and he returning from a bike ride with news of a pair of alligators in a mudhole just up the road, the sun beating down with delightful intensity. So they hoofed it back to the gators and watched, the boys wide-eyed and a little unsure, and he was reminded of what a truly insignificant thing he is.


Things to do during a January thaw after a record December snowfall

* Pay December bills.

* Put snowtires on.

* Pay November bills. Promise self to budget better in 08.

* Come up with Christmas card idea.

* Alert Christmas card list that MLK day card is coming.

* Pay October bills. Consider filing for tax extension now.

* Oh God. the chickens ...

* Check and see if September bills are paid before responding to IRS inquiry.

* Fill core shot in new fat skis with epoxy.

* Fill core shot in hardpack tele skis with ptex.

* Hot wax all skis.

* Take crappy core-shot-hot-wax jobs to Ski Sharp to have them done correctly.

* Vow to stop working on own skis.


Find the Viking: Win a Trip to Iceland

And so it begins ...

From the adventurous minds at Kelty and IcelandAir, a spring sweepstakes launches next week. Win a free trip for two to Iceland, tents full of free gear, and a few gallons of Icelandic Cod Liver Oil and Black Death ... all you have to do is find the viking (Kjelty Bakpakkurson).

At OUTDOOR RETAILER: Find the Viking and register to win airfare for two to Iceland. Tickets will be awarded in the Kelty booth (#22017) on Friday, January 25, at 5 pm. OPEN TO ALL OUTDOOR RETAILER ATTENDEES. MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN.

NATIONWIDE: Find the Viking at Kelty.com beginning on January 18, 2008.
(Hint: Having a tough time finding him? You might try MySpace)

LINK: Find the Viking, Win a Trip for Two to Iceland











What doesn't kill you makes you smarter

The Marathon des Sables is a six-day race across the Sahara Desert, is described as the 'world's toughest footrace,' and is the equivalent to running five and a half regular marathons through the desert while carrying everything on your back. In case that's not appealing enough, consider that midday temperatures heat up to 120 degrees, and about a fifth of the race takes place in the lovely footing of sand dunes.

So, yes, the race is brutal. But you also have to train.

A future MdS racer recently chose Teide, a volcano on Tenerife, Canary Islands, for a little pre-race workout. Teide is a worthy warmup, as the highest mountain in Spain and the highest mountain in any Atlantic island (12,198 ft. above sea level, and approximately 25,000 ft above the adjacent sea bed).

During his solo training session, he was caught in a torrential rainstorm, pushed to hypothermia, and deprived by nature of the majority of his gear.

You can read the first-person write-up HERE, but the advice he has for others following in his footsteps can be easily summed up.

1. Stay calm.

2. Always have an exact compass bearing.

3. Have a waterproof liner for your backpack.

4. Be in peak physical condition before you start.

5. Bring your Aquapac.

""I owe Aquapac a debt of gratitude. All of my electronics (camera, phone etc) were destroyed, except my PDA and Sat Nav which got me to safety. I was still in a pretty bad state, but I would certainly have died if my PDA/GPS had gone down. Fortunately that was in an Aquapac." -- Richard Weremiuk

LINK: What doesn't kill you makes you smarter
LINK: Aquapac

This is your brain on exercise

You've taken the long lunch break for a quick workout, you've felt better at your desk, you've wondered why more people don't do the same .... and now, maybe they will.

LINK: Spark/The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain


No acquisition, but the Denny tab looks pretty good too ...

This is CD's brain on vacation in Kauai.

Wait ... put it on the Versteegen tab

LINK: Verde PR names Kris Versteegen as new partner

Put it on the Stanwood tab

Now ...that IS news!

LINK: Carmichael Lynch Spong Acquires Stanwood & Partners

Boomers or bust?

Step 1: Eat too much ham and/or sugar cookies over the last month and a half.

Step 2: When relatives arrive, feign stomach disorder (see Step 1).

Step 3: Use frequent visits to the “library” to catch up on the stack of magazines piling up.

Step 4: Check out the Atlantic’s article on the Obama-Clinton divide.

Step 5: Test the article’s accuracy by lobbing inflammatory comments during sledding/eggnog disposal activities.

Step 6: Wonder if the boomer vs. boomer divide is also impacting a boomer dominated markeplace, like say, the outdoor industry.

Step 7: Keep wondering while working on massive core shot picked up in the trees on New Year’s Eve.