Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Outside Winter Buyer's Guide now online

Outside Magazine just posted their Winter 11 Buyer's Guide online. According the managing editor Ali Carr Troxell, "[Y]ou can now sift through upwards of 275 tried-and-true winter products including our Gear of the Year-winners, the innovative items from our Radical Design Awards section, and 95 Killer Deals for under $150." And don't forget, my seven picks for best backpacks for the winter.

There's also a collection of funny videos by Sam Moulton, executive editor, and Intern Dave called Man vs Gear. My favourite is the Motorola Titanium Smartphone test.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Look for me inside Outside's Winter Buyer's Guide

Not me literally. But my byline appears twice in this year's Outside Magazine Winter Buyer's Guide, now available. I tested and wrote the winter packs review and wrote about K2's Rescue Shovel Plus, a snow thrower that will help you schlep an injured buddy out of the backcountry.

I personally tested the packs in the backcountry on Vancouver Island, the Coast Range and Canadian Rockies, heli-skiing, touring, bagging couloirs and riding the lifts. Plus I enlisted the help of friends and family, snowboarders, ice climbers and mountain guides across the west.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ESPN.com work

My work continues to appear on espn.go.com/action/freeskiing/ ESPN's skiing arm. Last week an article on Recon Instruments MOD Live went up. I used the Vancouver company's GPS enabled goggles last year and they changed the way I skied. Being able to see my speed on a little screen inside my goggles pushed me to ski faster all the time. It was fun.

This year the company is upping their game by adding Bluetooth connectivity. Plus, you'll be able to stick them in goggles from three different companies. Read the article here.

Shell game: jackets are my gig

My basement is filling up with dozens of jackets, the fodder for my contribution to Outside's Spring 2012 Buyer's Guide (http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/summer-buyers-guide). Like in 2010 I'm reviewing shells for the biannual buyers guide.

I ship shells across the west to avid outdoors friends, mountain guides, sea kayakers and on testing trips. Plus, I try and abuse every shell personally. It's hard work and I love it.

Whitehorse mountain biking

Typical riding in Whitehorse. Ryan Creary photo.
If you think it's getting dark where you live imagine what it's like in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory in Canada, where they have about six hours of daylight right now. But don't feel too sorry for these hearty folk they need to rest up from summer.

As one mountain biker told me on my recent visit to the north, "There's enough light after work that we'll go for a ride before dinner and again after."

I would too if their trail network was in my backyard and I had 20 hours of daylight, like they do in June. There's more than 10 kilometres of buff singletrack for every resident of the sprawling city of 26,000. Add in double track, paved paths and old mining roads and there's about 700 kilometres of trails to explore all within the city limits. And it's not just quantity.

During a four day visit in September with photographer Ryan Creary I rode some of the best trails of my life. The shot above is his from our first ride above the Yukon River. It's an out take, he's got hundreds more.  I am about to write an article for Canadian Cycling about the trip and I'm looking for an excuse to go back.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Writing for Restless Josie TV show

Restless Josie with climber Sonnie Trotter.
Watch CHEK TV Thursday at 8:30 and you'll hear my work. For the last few months I've been writing voice overs and monologues, helping with research and organizing logistics for a new TV show called Restless Josie. My name appears as chief researcher on the credits.

The show combines adventure travel with adventure sports. The first episode included a surf contest in Canada's beach capital Tofino and travel to the west coast rainforest. Next up is Crankworx Whistler, the world's biggest bike festival, and all the other fun to be found in the resort playground. Other episodes include a beach party in Kelowna, New York City for fashion week and the richest surf contest ever, the Calgary Stampede and climbing in Squamish.

It was fun combining my writing skills with my contacts and knowledge in the adventure sports world.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of my work on the little screen throughout the fall.

Yeah, I finished the BC Bike Race

Feeling the pain after stage one in Cumberland
It was by far the hardest physical accomplishment of my life: 7 days, 30,000 feet of climbing, 350 kilometres. The BC Bike Race is an annual seven day mountain bike race that jumps from community to community in southwestern British Columbia. Dubbed the "ultimate singletrack experience" each stage traverses the best of the local trails.

My buddy Paul LaPerriere and I entered last winter and trained hard all spring. We both have families and almost full time jobs, which made getting in shape for 50 kilometres of riding a day a logistical struggle every week. But in July we did it, finishing 22nd in teams of two, around the middle of the pack in the 470 person race.

I wrote about what I learned during the race for one of my favourite websites, TheGearJunkie.com. I have a few other articles planned.

It was one of the best weeks of my life full of amazing trails, tiring uphills and flowing descents. My favourite stage was on the Sunshine Coast from Sechelt to Langdale - 40 kilometres of fun singletrack ending with a 10 kilometre descent. Sick.

The Squamish stage was another epic and the week finished on a high with a long, exciting final plunge down Whistler's Comfortably Numb and into the Lost Lake Lake trails.

Would I do it again? I could probably be talked into it. I'm definitely looking for another race like it somewhere else.