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Daron Rahlves I Mammoth I Winter Brews I Event Calendar

Dec 2015/Jan 2016 Issue #88

pm U a k e o r o Hith your dsort

w ski re operation surf

healing vets one wave at a time

Y A D I L HO G N I V I GIFT G GUIDE a look at your lid

cycling & snowsports helmets

the magic of night riding grinduro: enduro-style gravel grinding

mattole restoration council thinking like a watershed

Winter Training Tips


transitioning from gym to real rock

Open Up

To new stories with old friends

Please enjoy responsibly www.seguraviudas.com @SeguraViudasUSA

Š2015 Freixenet USA, Inc., Sonoma, CA Segura Viudas is a registered trademark.

Based on availability not valid with any other offers. Not valid for groups. Expires 1.28.16. Some blackout dates do apply.

Photo: Called To Creation

Table of Contents


6 7 9 12

Editor’s NotE

The Paris Effect

EAr to thE GrouNd

News & notes from the outdoor industry

Photo: Ira Amerson

CAliforNiA BrEwiNG

Photo: Jordan Haggard

Winter brews


The Mattole Restoration Council

Photo: Unity Minto


14 19 20

AthlEtE ProfilEs Daron Rahlves


Mammoth Lakes

GEAr wE lovE

Goodies for your active life

4 ASJ — Dec 2015 / Jan 2016

10 14 16

Gift GiviNG GuidE

Outdoor holiday gift ideas

oPErAtioN surf

Healing vets one wave at a time


Taking it outside

20 24 25

Photo: Grant Barta / Sugar Bowl to Barker Pass


26 28

A look At Your lid

Cycling and snowboard helmets

GriNduro! Enduro-style gravel grinding

Meet your dream ski resort

Cover Photo

10 trAiNiNG tiPs

Cruising the groomers. Another beautiful day at Dodge Ridge

Fitness ideas for winter

After Hours

PHOTO by Rob Bossi

The magic of night riding

DON’T MISS AN ISSUE – Subscribe to Adventure Sports Journal Mail a check for $20 to PO Box 35, Santa Cruz, CA 95063 along with subscriber name and address, or order online at adventuresportsjournal.com/subscribe.

asj contributors what’s your dream winter adventure?


My dream winter adventure involves backcountry skiing, a cozy hut, hot springs and whiskey. Or else surfing, board shorts, freshly caught fish and a hammock.

laurengregg Heli-snowboarding in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, and staying in a log cabin deep in the wilderness with my friends. I’ve seen photos and heard tales, and it sounds absolutely epic!

megganwenbourne I would go to mainland Mexico on a climbing trip with a group of my closest friends. Tacos, sunshine and perfect stone would make me the happiest. I’m not the best in the cold ...

daverobinson Back to New Zealand to surf Ragland, windsurf Taranaki, and mountain bike Rotorua and Queenstown. Come to think of it, we’ve got all that here in Santa Cruz so why travel?!

kurtgensheimer Riding mountain bikes in New Zealand during their summer. (Photo: Jordan Haggard)

mattdeyoung Hopping hemispheres and riding bikes in New Zealand ...

PUBLISHING + EDITORIAL PUBLISHER Cathy Claesson cathy@adventuresportsjournal.com EDITORIAL/MARKETING Matt Niswonger matt@adventuresportsjournal.com EDITORIAL/LAYOUT Michele Lamelin michele@adventuresportsjournal.com INTERN Avery Robins avery@adventuresportsjournal.com

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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Colleen Conner Pace, Matthew De Young, Kurt Gensheimer, Lauren Gregg, Dave Robinson, Jennifer Rothman, Beth Ruffman, Leonie Sherman, Meggan Wenbourne CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ira Amerson, Grant Barta, Dani Beckerman, Dusty Bermshot, Flora Brain, Bo Bridges, Dave Clock Photography, Rebecca Garrett, Jordan Haggard, Kiwi Kamera, Lynne Krizik, Nikolas Martinelli, Josh Sawyer, Caleb Smith, Spike Thiesmeyer, Dain Zaffke

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COVER DESIGN Brooklyn Taylor brook@adventuresportsjournal.com DESIGN ASSISTANT Lindsey Johnson ADVERTISING SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Cathy Claesson I 831.234.0351 cathy@adventuresportsjournal.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Geoff James I 415.828.8322 geoff@adventuresportsjournal.com EVENTS & DISTRIBUTION Steve Shaw steve@adventuresportsjournal.com

jenniferrothman I left the cold New York winters for the warmth of the desert, so I’m living my dream in Las Vegas, hiking and kayaking regularly with my boyfriend, kids and dogs in a t-shirt year ‘round.

colleenconnerspace Waking up to a blue bird day after a good old fashioned snow storm and venturing right out our back door with Joe and Anabel up to the Pacific Crest for an early morning ski tour.

All content © Adventure Sports Journal 2015. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the editors. ADVENTURE SPORTS JOURNAL PO BOX 35 Santa Cruz, CA 95063 Phone 831.457.9453 asjstaff@adventuresportsjournal.com


www. advent ur espor t sjour nal. com



The Paris Effect Why peace is more important than ever


fter my last editor’s note about communication an ASJ reader sent me a link to an interview that Oprah Winfrey did with Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn. They were discussing what he calls compassionate listening. Feeling moved, I really got for the first time in my life that listening could be a form of healing that passes from one person to another. Watching Thich Nhat Hahn provided a key insight. Like many people, I often wrestle with a vague sense that something is wrong. Even while running or mountain biking or surfing— activities that generally make me feel peaceful—I sometimes catch myself thinking about the past or the future through the lens of “something is wrong.” As a result I am often not able to engage in compassionate listening with the important people in my life because I am preoccupied with an internal dialogue.

Sled, Ski, Board & S’more

So what exactly is wrong? Why am I distracted and not 100% present for the people and the fun in my life? Recently I realized that through meditation— which for me means running, climbing, surfing, and mountain biking—I can distinguish my experience that something in my life is “wrong” and choose to be free by just letting go of the notion that something is wrong. What always follows is a sense of peace that allows me to come back to the present moment. Right now it seems hard to let go of the feeling that something is wrong. After the attacks in Paris I have been feeling that the world is heading down a dark path.

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Inspiring connections

One way to practice peace is to go outside and appreciate what a fine winter this is shaping up to be. With a series of cold winter storms rolling through California the table is set for the form of meditation that we have not enjoyed recently: copious powder to remind us of why we love skiing and snowboarding so much.

In the practice of peace sometimes we have to let go of the idea that something is wrong even if there really is something wrong. It will be important to pursue ISIS and bring them to justice, but it will be more important to spread the values of compassion and peace throughout the world as we head into the holiday season. The practice of peace is just that: a practice that requires rigor and commitment. This is what I understand from the work of Thich Nhat Hahn. There has to be people who work hard for peace because war almost seems like the default human condition. One way to practice peace is to go outside and appreciate what a fine winter this is shaping up to be. With a series of cold winter storms rolling through California the table is set for the form of meditation that we have not enjoyed recently: copious powder to remind us of why we love skiing and snowboarding so much. Having emerged from a couple of tough winters California’s ski resorts have successfully made it through the lean times with a commitment to providing the absolute best experience possible for skiers and riders. In our ski resorts “speed dating” feature we break down all the particulars to help you plan the absolute best snow experience possible depending on which resort is right for you. Do you agree that outdoor sports can be a form of meditation? Can we give up that something is wrong and be 100% present for the people in our lives without feeling distracted? I hope so. Otherwise the terrorists have won and the cause of peace has lost. Feel free to drop me line at matt@ adventuresportsjournal.com. Thanks for reading!

— Matt Niswonger

Photo: Ted Ketai

Superpro Racing announces 2016 schedule; hosts UCI Masters CX Worlds

Photo “Look ma! First snow!” A backcountry skier takes advantage of early snow dumps, with plenty more forecast to come. (Photo courtesy Bear Valley Ski Resort).

Californians optimistic for a white winter

With a good start to snow season and more storms in the forecast, Californians are hopeful for a wet winter ahead. The latest forecasts call for well above average precipitation throughout California this winter. Dynamical models suggest a large-scale atmospheric pressure pattern that is remarkably like California’s wettest winters including

the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 El Niño events. Due to an unusually super-warm North Pacific, there’s potential to add even more moisture to the atmosphere this winter. That, along with an increase in storm frequency due to El Niño, makes the case for a very active winter ahead. That all said, even a very wet winter is unlikely to put an end to California’s multi-year drought.

Hot on the heels of Superpro Racing’s confirmation that they will now be pulling the levers behind the scenes in managing the Bay Area Super Prestige (BASP) series effective 2016, they’ve also announced, in conjunction with USA Cycling, that they will be hosting the UCI Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships at Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose for 2016 and 2017. The 2016 event, taking place January 21-24, will be the fourth time in just over two years that cyclo-cross racers will take to this venue. SuperPro Racing also recently released its 2016 schedule pending permits. Its popular gravel grinder series, the California Gravel Gauntlet, brings back all four of last season’s popular events, and adds two new ones. Also on the 2016 line up for California are the Spring Classic, Mendo 100 and Mendocino MTB Madness, Reno to Mendo and finishing up the year with CX.

Superpro founder and event director Murphy Mack is looking forward to a busy and exciting 2016 event schedule. “We’ve got a jam-packed calendar this year and it’s overflowing with awesome,” he says. “We’ve kept all of our favorite events and even added a couple more because they are just too good to not bring to folks. Our gravel series offers a vibe that’s second to none in the U.S. and our Spring Classic is one of the best rolling parties in northern California. The Mendocino 100 mile / 100k MTB race is amazing and now that the Mendo MTB Madness event sells out, we’re looking to make it bigger and better than ever.” Learn more at superproracing.com.

Photo: Super Sessions II

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region


Super Sessions launches Kickstarter for female big wave surf comp

Super Sessions is a multi-media project that gives the world’s most talented female big wave surfers the resources to record their most epic moments. In 2016, they will chase huge swells across

www. advent ur espor t sjour nal. com


EAR TO THE GROUND Photo: Super Sessions II

Mavericks 2016 gears up

the globe and share their experiences through first person video recounts on a weekly basis throughout the session. Last year’s historic event was a huge success, culminating on December 20th, the biggest day at Maverick’s in five years. The group is aiming to raise $150,000 to make another year of Super Sessions possible. Donations will go directly to the incredibly talented women chasing the biggest waves, bringing their experiences back through videos shared directly with their fans. The more money raised, the more surf missions these world class athletes can be sent out on. Super Sessions II launches on January 1, 2016. The surfers will ride and shoot big waves, producing short videos for fans to follow online. The challenges will unfold with a number of secret twists, creating a unique and exciting dynamic for the project. With the 2016 season already being dubbed the “Godzilla El Nino,” a weather pattern that often brings huge and frequent swells, there are high hopes for a truly spectacular Super Sessions II. Learn how you can help by searching Super Sessions on kickstarter.com.

Titans of Mavericks is the most coveted event in big wave surfing. Each winter season, the nation turns its focus on the quiet, historic coastal town of Half Moon Bay, as sports fans and thrill seekers watch the world’s best big wave surfers as they vie to win this prestigious competition. Being touted as one of the most hazardous events in the world, Titans of Mavericks gives its 24 competitors (plus five alternates and two wild cards) the chance to showcase their fearless character and endless passion. Each athlete that has been part of the history of Mavericks has shaped this event in one way or another and has given us a unique perspective on how we look at this phenomenon. Learn more at titansofmavericks.com.

Eco-friendly Alder Creek Adventure Center makes debut

The Alder Creek Adventure Center – home to Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area – opened its new facility featuring an eco-friendly design and expanded services. Ski enthusiasts will be treated to luxury with new rental racking systems, expanded wax rooms, ski tuning services and upgraded locker rooms. Visitors will also enjoy spacious seating, large windows overlooking Hawks Peak, a grand fireplace and the Alder Creek Cafe, complete with a bar and televisions. The new retail shop even has one of the largest selections of Nordic attire and accessories available in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe region.

A Tribute to Johnny Strange By Beth Ruffman John Robert “Johnny” Strange (December 26, 1991- October 1, 2015) was a three-time world record holding adventurer and a professional wingsuit BASE jumper; a supremely beloved son, brother and friend. Johnny died this past fall in a BASE jumping accident, devastating family, friends and admirers. Over 700 people turned out in Malibu to honor this amazing young man and the paddle out for Johnny was caught in a photograph forming a giant heart, reflecting how much love Johnny embodied and shared with others. “I know some people think what I do is irresponsible because of the risk,” Johnny has said. “But the day I let my fear deter my ability to follow my dreams, I have already died.” Johnny truly embraced the moment and his way of connecting with life was unique, pristine and precious ... truly his own Shambala or Valhalla. He was gifted with the ability to be in the present where presence resides, and would say, “I will die someday, but on this day, I was more alive than I had ever been before.” Johnny knew from a young age that he wanted to fly. And fly he did. He was born into the right family to make that dream come true. Brian and Dianette are avid athletes, from mountaineering to marathons, covering the globe in their quest for adventure. Johnny is the second of their three children, born between his older sister, Brianna, and the younger, Mackenna.

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Michael Reitzell appointed President of CSIA The California Ski Industry Association (CSIA) Board of Directors announced this summer that Michael Reitzell, an attorney representing the ski and outdoor recreation industries, has been selected as the new President of CSIA. In his role, Reitzell will be responsible for leading the well established organization into a new era, providing leadership and oversight of the organization’s strategy, operations and finances. “I am honored to have been selected as the new President of the California Ski Industry Association, and to be able to represent its member resorts,” said Reitzell. “As an avid skier who is passionate about the ski industry, this truly is a dream job.” The CSIA is a non-profit trade association representing 29 snow sports areas in California and Nevada. The association’s role is to support California and Nevada resots by coordinating state and national legislative activities, risk management and technical training on behalf of the ski industry.

New campground to open in Nevada City

The Outside Inn, a popular Nevada City motel, is preparing for the summer 2016 opening of the Inn Town Campground, the region’s first year-round campground within walking distance to the historic Nevada City downtown area. Featuring a variety of camping options that include traditional tent sites, RV sites and rustic canvas tents boasting plush amenities such as beds with luxury linens, the campground will offer experiences designed to suit different camping styles and preferences. “We bring a personalized approach to guest service, and hope to raise the bar with regard to what outdoor enthusiasts expect from a traditional camping experience,” says owner Erin Thiem. Cathy Whittlesey of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce adds, “The Chamber is thrilled to welcome the Inn Town Campground to Nevada City. Visitors inquire often about camping opportunities in the region, and it will be wonderful to direct them to a campground that is adjacent to the downtown area where they will be close to our museums, restaurants and specialty shops.”

or many beer lovers, winter is the best time of the year. It’s when breweries release some of their most complex, rich, and flavorful brews. Winter beers are usually brewed with dark malts and seasonal spices like ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Across the country breweries release special winter beers, and California breweries played a major role in jump starting this modern day tradition. Ironically, early California winter beers were hop monsters in their day, quite unlike most of today’s winter beers. Anchor Brewing first brewed a crisp hoppy IPA in the summer of 1975 to celebrate America’s upcoming Bicentennial called “Liberty Ale”, which remained in their line-up through the year, which they renamed “Our Special Ale” for the winter. Due to its popularity, Anchor brewed for subsequent winters thereafter. Likewise, Sierra Nevada released Celebration as a winter beer in 1981 full of fresh hop flavors, another one of the earliest IPA’s in America’s craft brewing revolution. In 1983, Anchor radically reformulated the recipe of “Our Special Ale” with the roasted malts and spice additions the beer is known for today. (Anchor returned the original version into their line-up under its old name “Liberty Ale”.) Each year, Anchor changes the recipe slightly providing each version its own unique character. Over time, most brewers took the same flavor direction as Anchor did, most likely since the rich, roasty flavors and spices fit with seasonal tastes and pairs well with holiday food. There are plenty of great winter beers worth earning and it’s a good bet you can find one from your local brewer. Here are three of my favorites found in California: Fireside Chat, 21st Amendment Brewing Fireside Chat is always changing, with 21st Amendment Brewmaster Shaun O’ Sullivan tweaking the recipe with different malt and spice additions each year. “I don’t like to use too much nutmeg. It can easily overpower the beer,” explains O’ Sullivan of the process. “One thing we use every year is Ghanaian cocoa nibs from San Francisco’s Tcho Chocolate.” The dark roasted malts and spice combine to give the brew a savory character, with a noticeable bitter chocolate finish from the Ghanaian cocoa nibs. Celebration, Sierra Nevada Brewing The hops remain front and center with Celebration, where Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops create intense citrus and pine flavors and aromas. It attained a cult following so strong that in the late 90’s one loyal Celebration fan on the East Coast used frequent flyer miles to fly all the way to San Francisco and back on the same day just so he could pick up a case of Celebration for the holidays. Anchor Winter Wheat, Anchor Brewing Anchor released their Winter Wheat beer last year, a lighter alternative to heavier, stronger winter beers, but it still packs plenty of flavor. Anchor Winter Wheat is made with a unique blend of malted barley and five wheats from Belgium, Germany, the Midwest, and a family farm just 75 miles away from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco where they get their soft red winter wheat. “Anchor Winter Wheat was brewed to help everyone enjoy the winter season,” explains Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing. “Its deep color, complex malty flavor, and higher alcohol content make it a true winter warmer. The result is a smooth, delicious beer with nutty, bread-like flavors that’s surprisingly light given its deep color.” www. advent ur espor t sjour nal. com


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EPiC: Environmental Partnership Campaign

Thinking like a watershed The Mattole Restoration Council: restoring the land from ridgeline to river By Leonie Sherman


eep in the forests of southern Humboldt lie the sprawling remains of the biggest madrone on the planet. Locals call it the Council Madrone. Indigenous people gathered beneath its branches for centuries. In 1983 an unlikely band of back-to-the-landers, ranchers and loggers sat in its shade and vowed to put aside their differences and work together to take care of the place they call home. They realized that if they wanted to see healthy salmon runs they would need to replant hillsides barren after decades of abuse. They would need to stabilize riverbanks that had been scoured by catastrophic slides. If they wanted to avoid raging wildfire they would need to manage fuel reduction. They would need to think like a watershed. The Mattole River begins in northern Mendocino County and flows north through Humboldt County before veering west and joining the ocean a few miles from Petrolia. One of the longest undammed, unaltered waterways in California, the Mattole drains about three hundred square miles of mixed forest, oak woodland and coastal prairie. That band of Mattolians sitting under the Council Madrone formed the Mattole Restoration Council (MRC), one of the nation’s oldest community-led watershed groups. “We’ve found that the more we invest in putting plants and hillsides back in place, the more opportunity there is – for salmon, for forests, for employment,” says Executive Director Cassie Pinnell. “It’s a positive feedback loop.” “Almost three quarters of the land in our watershed is privately owned,” Pinnell explains. “We’ve been building trust with landowners for decades, so we’re able to do comprehensive work across the watershed, wherever we identify a need. We’re building a bridge between public and private land owners.” Sometimes they build actual bridges. Through their Good Roads, Clear Creeks program they’ve replaced culverts with fish-friendly crossings and removed hundreds of miles of unstable road bed. “In our early tree-planting days, we noticed seemingly endless old

“We’ve found that the more we invest in putting plants and hillsides back in place, the more opportunity there is – for salmon, for forests, for employment.” 12 ASJ ASJ—April/May — Dec 20152013 / Jan 2016

logging roads scarring our watershed,” explains Pinnell. “In a storm, water runs along poorly-engineered roads and creates a gully that transfers mud and silt straight into the river.” “Everybody needs a working road to get to their property,” Pinnell continues. “Landowners let us put some roads on their property to rest in exchange for removing ruts and fixing holes on their access roads.” In the first eight years of the program, they kept 58,000 dump truck loads of sediment out of the river. “Ask any watershed manager in California their biggest challenge and they’ll say water and fire,” says Ali Freedlund, Working Lands and Human Communities Program Coordinator. “Young trees suck a lot of water out of a system and create dense stands that are prone to fire. We offer projects that remove these younger fuels as well as a new timber harvest process known as the Mattole Program Timber Environmental Impact Report (PTEIR).” A PTEIR stream-lines the process for timber harvest in exchange for adherence to stricter environmental regulations, like stream setbacks and a ban on cutting trees that were present before 1850. Because MRC does the heavy lifting of preparing the report, the application process is cheaper and quicker and loggers don’t need to remove as many trees to realize a profit. Some of the young water-sucking trees encroach on rolling grasslands. “A native prairie can help combat fire,” Pinnell points out. “It’s an excellent sponge, storing water, which is really useful in times of drought.” So MRC removes trees and shrubs and replants grazedover ranch land with native grasses. “We collect and process seed and grow 30-50,000 plants a year,” explains Native Plant Nursery Manager, Monica Scholey. “Some of the bunch grasses we work

with can live for a thousand years, so it’s kind of like old growth at our feet. We’ve transformed sites into complex perennial habitat with just sweat and hand tools!” Scholey came to the MRC as an Americorps volunteer, fell in love with the land and decided to stay. Inspiring people to love their home is an integral part of watershed restoration. “We’re not just cultivating wild lands,” says Pinnell. “We’re cultivating the next generation of land stewards.” In 2012 eight students from Humboldt State’s

PHOTOS Main image: Interns taking a well deserved lunch break at Prosper Prairie (MRC). Middle: MRC founding member, Richard Gienger, teaching MRC Mattole Field Institute students in 2015 (Flora Brain/MRC). Circle: Hiking with hoedads and trees on their backs to replant logged areas throughout the watershed (MRC). Bottom: MRC founding member, Freeman House, under the Council Madrone tree (MRC).


Adventure Sports Journal’s

EnvironmEntAl PArtnErShiP CAmPAign PHOTOS Top: Sunset over the mouth of the Mattole from Prosper Prairie (Unity Minton). Middle: Staff and volunteers working hard to protect the Mattole from invasive species (Unity Minton/MRC). Left: The Mattole River in the spring (Unity Minton).

Thinking Like a Salmon Last winter the Mattole Salmon Group counted less than 2000 Chinook and only 14 Coho adult salmon between the mouth of the Mattole River and its headwaters, sixty miles away. “Lots of us believe that the salmon might be gone without our hatchbox program,” says Sungnome Madrone, Executive Director of the Mattole Salmon Group.

Environmental Science and Management Program stayed for a week. “They went back and raved about the importance of getting their hands in the dirt,” explains Mattole Field Institute Coordinator Flora Brain. “That led to a new partnership with Humboldt State’s Environment and Community Social Sciences Masters Program.” In August, MRC’s Field Institute hosted their first group of 11 graduate students. “We visited with cattle ranchers and land owners with big forest parcels. We talked about the social challenges in a remote rural watershed – timber harvest, marijuana cultivation and minimal opportunities for teens,” Brain says. “It really blew their minds. It also helped community members to articulate those issues and figure out how to move forward so we can preserve what we love.” Nine years ago, Native Ecosystems Restoration Program Director Hugh McGee accepted a temporary position with MRC. He’d worked on projects all over the west, but the Mattole inspired him to stay. “Here, you design and implement a program, and when you go out to assess it, you realize you’re home.” Brain hopes visitors will be inspired to take some of these lessons back to their own homes. “Really, the question we all need to be asking ourselves is: What can I do to give back to the places I love?”

In the late 1970s, David Simpson and other Mattolians conceived an ambitious plan to bring back declining salmon numbers. They captured adult returning salmon, harvested their eggs and milt, and incubated the fertilized eggs in hatchboxes. These simple structures provided a secure place for eggs to develop and allowed young fish to escape back to the river; the egg-to-fry survival rate jumped from 15% to 80%. “At first it was a big struggle to just convince agencies to let ordinary citizens handle fish,” explains Sungnome. “But now the National Marine Fisheries are supportive of our rearing programs and recent scientific studies show that the Mattole could have one of the highest possible success rates with a supplementation program.” Federal protection of the Coho under the Endangered Species Act put a hold on any handling of the fish. “Now we focus on creating better habitat in the river and it’s tributaries,” Sungnome explains. “Mostly we do that by adding large wood to streams.” Water pours off the wood and scours out pools while also creating cover for fish to hide from predators. Sungnome thinks that if salmon are to thrive, in the Mattole and elsewhere, we’ll need a massive cultural and economic shift. “Restoration is a legitimate industry and people ought to get paid to do it,” he says. “Isn’t it bizarre that you get paid a whole lot to destroy the environment, but the people who help clean up the mess are supposed to volunteer?”

ASJ’s EPiC program is designed to bring awareness to non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting stewardship and access for the adventure sports community throughout California. Our mission is to provide inspiring coverage of California’s epic terrain, and to help the outdoor sports community preserve and maintain access for future generations. We encourage outdoor non-profit organizations based in California to contact us for the chance to be featured in our publication and receive FREE display and web advertising space. Doing great work in California? We want to help you reach your highest potential! For more information, email michele@adventuresportsjournal.com Photo: Ansel Adams Wilderness by James Bradley

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Operation Surf Healing veterans one wave at a time By Leonie Sherman


wo and a half years after an honorable discharge from the Marines, life was a daily struggle for Bobby Lane. “I couldn’t sleep because I had to relive things I’d seen and done every time I closed my eyes,” he explains. “So I decided to kill myself.” There was just one thing he wanted to do before dying: ride a wave. “I heard about this program called Operation Surf, where vets go to California and learn to surf for free. I fully intended to come to Op Surf, cross that off my bucket list, go home and kill myself.” “But when I caught that first wave, it just kind of washed everything away,” Bobby recalls with a soft grin. “After that first session, I slept better than I had in years.” Bobby takes a slow breath as he tries to articulate what surfing has come to mean in his life. “The ocean is so gentle and so fierce, it brings me peace. It brings me into the moment. All I can think about is that next wave. I can sit there and think about nothing at all.” Stories like Bobby’s are Operation Surf founder Van Curaza’s favorite part of the week-long surf camp. “I hear from amputees who got inspired to get out of their wheelchair, when before they thought they would just sit and rot for the rest of their lives. We use surfing to heal people.” Curaza is a local legend for daring stunts on the big

14 ASJ ASJ—June/July — Dec 20152012 / Jan 2016

waves of California’s central coast. “But I was a homeless addict, only trying to get loaded,” he explains. “After my last arrest I realized that I couldn’t surf in jail, and unless I made some serious changes, I’d end up there, or dead.” He shakes his head. “Surfing saved my life.” Curaza got clean and sober in 2002. Five years later he embraced service work as the most positive aspect of his new life. Now he runs three recreational rehabilitative surf camps every year. At the intersection of adventure and service, Operation Surf teaches people with chronic diseases, traumatic brain injuries, missing limbs and acute PTSD to surf. They develop a love for the ocean, conquer fears and form lifelong friendships. Volunteers come from as far away as Wyoming. Unpaid instructors take time off work, fly across oceans and postpone surgery to participate. With only two paid staff and no government support, Operation Surf has touched hundreds of lives. The Operation Surf adventure starts with a motorcade of vintage cars to retrieve vets from the airport and bring them to one of San Luis Obispo’s finest hotels, where they’ll enjoy luxury accommodation, hot tubs and sumptuous meals for the next week. After a welcome ceremony crowded with police, government officials, and community members, participants are hustled to a conference room for lunch and introductions. This year there are eleven instructors, one for each pair of veterans. Basic surf instruction follows. Seated in a circle, participants watch while instructors demonstrate proper positioning for paddling out and popping up and explain trajectories and safety zones. Excitement and anxiety mingle in the warm room. Some limitations are obvious; guys in wheel chairs, or with missing limbs. Others are more subtle but no less devastating. Mark Dawson doesn’t return after the first break. “I have really serious PTSD,” he explains in a wavering voice. “Normally I use a service animal to help me cope, but I couldn’t bring my dog here. And I take photos, it helps me calm down. But my camera lens broke the day I arrived.” He’s shaking as he waits for two volunteers to arrange for early entry to his hotel room. “I’m terrified of the ocean. I know there’s sharks in there. Yesterday I couldn’t even get my feet wet, I was so scared.” The next morning, the beach at the San Luis pier is a hive of activity as people mill about drinking coffee,

moving boards and pushing beach PHOTOS wheelchairs. On-shore Main image: Memorial paddle volunteers sport pale out to honor our fallen (Ira blue t-shirts, water safety Amerson). Above middle: Van assistants wear white rash teaching dry land training (Ira guards, instructors red, Amerson). Above bottom: and participants neon Getting a feel for the waves green, so the beach is a (Annette Stemper). Below top: flurry of color. Each shirt Finding balance (Lynne Krizik). features a bold silhouette Below bottom: Progressing of a military vehicle (Ira Amerson). Opposite page, top: Instructors Laird and hauling surfboards. Van supporting Martin (Ira Brent Edwards, a burly Amerson). Opposite page, marine from Santa Cruz, bottom: Van teaching dry is Mark’s instructor. He’ll land training at the welcome also be working with David orientation (Spike Thiesmeyer). Rhoney, a 260-pound Scotsman who likes to pop wheelies in his wheelchair. Brent gives Mark a brief on-shore tutorial and sends him into the gunmetal green sea accompanied by a water safety volunteer. Then Brent turns his attention to his bulkier student. He manages to get David from a wheelchair to a surfboard with help from two other volunteers. He then steers his passenger through a mess of whitewater, keeping David on the right side of the board over pounding waves, until they’re in the line up.

“When I caught that first wave, it just kind of washed everything away ... after that first session, I slept better than I had in years.” To their right, Mark paddles with determination, pops up and catches a modest wave. He sails into shore, the first veteran of the day to stand up and surf. As the wave loses momentum, he jumps off into knee deep water, grins, and paddles back out without even pausing. Meanwhile, Brent is guiding David into his first wave. He can’t stand, so he catches on his belly, cruises seventy feet into shore, and gets tumbled off the board as his fins scrape sand. Volunteers flock to help. He sits up, struggling to keep his head above the swirling water, a grin splitting his face. “That was amazing!” He shouts to anyone who can hear. “On a scale of one to ten that was like a 400!” Conversation at dinner is a mild roar as two dozen participants and eleven instructors exchange tales of transformation and triumph. “Surfing helped me find who I am,” explains Martin Pollock, a one-limbed surfer from the UK, who’s taking part in his sixth Operation Surf. “It’s increased my confidence and helped me grow emotionally, like, now I feel comfortable crying, Thinking about surfing while I work out on my hand-bike actually drops my heart rate. Even just looking at waves helps stabilize my moods.” “I’ve gotten to travel and surf from the UK to Hawaii,” Martin continues. “Last year I met Laird Hamilton. He got a guy to make a special board just for me, so I guess there’s been material rewards as well,” he chuckles. As the evening wears on, conversation turns to daily challenges that they all share. Men and women who return from military duty often find themselves adrift in a world of civilians who can’t begin to understand what they’ve seen and experienced. At Operation Surf, participants find themselves surrounded by people who can relate to what they’ve been through. “My favorite thing about this event is watching the relationships people form out in the water,” confesses Heather Miller, recreational therapist from the

Center for the Intrepid, a rehabilitation facility for burn victims and amputees next to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas. She’s been brining folks out to surf on the central coast since 2006. “I mean, watching people conquer their fears and learn to surf is incredible, and the setting is beautiful,” she pauses. “But I love hearing the stories of new friends they’ve made, plans to visit new places. This experience brings folks a newfound purpose in their lives.” That sense of purpose isn’t just for the veterans. “Surfing can be a really selfish experience,” explains instructor Blaine Johnson, who took a week off from teaching sixth grade in Santa Maria to join Operation Surf. “It’s a big deal to even just give a wave away. Teaching these guys to surf is the first time in my life I’ve gotten that feeling of gratitude to give something away that’s so dear to you.” The second day of training dawns bleak and raw. Waves are veined with white and looming overhead. Instructors cartwheel over the falls and Martin can’t even paddle out. Blaine surveys the wreckage on the beach. “Here’s an activity people can share that’s just as intense as some of the experiences these folks have faced in combat.” As high tide approaches, the break keeps building. Vets get rolled and dumped in the pounding waves. A medic runs around tending scrapes and muscle cramps. Warriors emerge from the thrashing with clenched jaws and thousand yard stares, grimacing, complaining, searching for someone to blame. Instructors sit with traumatized students. Anger, depression and anxiety that have been pushed down for years pop to the surface like an empty board after an epic wipe out. And then the most amazing things happens. One by one, these warriors in transition stand up and find their boards. They square their shoulders and paddle back out into the scary looming surf, surrounded by loved ones, ready to face their demons and catch the ride of their lives.

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PHOTOS Left: Pacific Edge Climbing Gym in Santa Cruz. Above: Author Meggan Wenbourne checks her gear at Shuteye Ridge (Nikolas Martinelli). Circle: 8-year old Zachary “Z” Beckerman practices crack climbing at Puppy Dome (Dani Beckerman).

Taking it Outside How to transition from the gym to real rock By Meggan Wenbourne


more than just a climbing gym

Yoga drop-ins welcome Climbing Weight Room Cardio Deck go online or come by to check out this fantastic gym

o you’ve been a gym climber for a while and you’re ready to try climbing outside. You have gained some confidence in knowing what your body is capable of and you are ready to take it a step further. However, the transition from climbing indoors to outdoors seems daunting and often times, climbers have no idea how to start the process. What is the best way to proceed? Before climbing gyms and climbing schools, there were not as many options for learning how to climb. Sure, before climbing gyms, a person could work through a progression of grades, but there wasn’t much of a safety net in place and a “sink or swim” mentality prevailed. With the advent of climbing gyms, there are better options open to people of all ages, styles and abilities that were not available in years past. Climbing gyms and climbing schools have made an impact by offering an environment where climbers can practice and learn under the supervision of trained instructors. You want to learn to belay? Easy, there are classes for that. You want to learn how to lead climb? Great, there are classes for that too. There are classes to teach you just about anything you want to know about climbing: anchor building, protection placing, rappelling, and even the art of falling. Climbing schools offer a setting that can help any climber hone their skills

Other Ways to Prepare • •


104 Bronson St. #12 Santa Cruz

www.pacificedgeclimbinggym.com 16 ASJ ASJ—Aug/Sept — Dec 20152011 / Jan 2016

with other climbers of similar ability. This method of learning helps an aspiring climber gain confidence. Walk into any gym or search online for the nearest climbing school location and you are sure to find plenty of class options and opportunities to gear up for the great outdoors. Above all don’t go climbing outside with random strangers you meet online. A lot of people worry that classes will cost them an arm and a leg, when in reality, this is probably one of the least expensive investments in safety you will ever make. When you do go climbing outside with a partner you trust, make sure to be very honest about your experience level. Good climbing partnerships take time to develop so plan on testing the waters with a few different people before you do anything committing with a single partner. Again the group setting that is provided by your local gym or climbing school is a tool that can prove indispensable. When you do decide to take that next step, remember to ask questions and keep the communication between you and your partner(s) going as much as possible. This is a new learning experience, so be patient with yourself and your partners, for you never stop learning in the vertical world. Check out Meggan Wenbourne’s Mountain Monday weekly blog on our website at adventuresportsjournal.com.

• • • •

Know your basic safety equipment: belay devices, helmets and personal anchors. All should be included in your kit. Make sure you can tie in to a rope without help. If you’re not confident tying a figure eight follow through knot then don’t climb outdoors – you are not ready. Familiarize yourself with anchors and the concepts behind S.E.R.E.N.E. Learn about the place you are planning on going climbing and remember that outdoor grades vary quite a bit. Ensure your partner is attentive and reliable every time you start up a route. Visit supertopo.com for route information, beta and lively climber’s forum.

Gear We Love Goodies for your active lifestyle 1






1. Camelbak K.U.D.U. The K.U.D.U. enduro mountain bike pack was created for aggressive riding on tough terrain. Camelbak tasked a team of discerning mountain bikers to design a superior pack that would provide protection, cargo capacity and hydration all in one. The K.U.D.U. delivers it all, and remarkably very comfortably. Designed for extreme conditions where crashes are inevitable, the Impact Protector® back panel absorbs 94% of crash impact, keeping the rider safe and confident. The lightweight and flexible material sits comfortably inside a sleeve near the hydration reservoir, close to the rider’s body. K.U.D.U.’s design allows for plenty of cargo, and yet feels light and balanced, no matter how much gear you stuff into it. The innovative design includes a helmet hook, tool roll-up, armor carry straps and just the right number of compartments (i.e. not too many!). This pack is offered in a variety of colors, so you’re certain to find the perfect combo for your kit. MSRP $200.00 • camelbak.com

3. Eagle Nest Outfitters Spark Topquilt for Hammocks ENO hammock cold weather accessories prove once and for all that the hammock lifestyle is not limited to the summer. The Spark is a warm and cozy high tech blanket made to cover your hammock and serves as a counterpart to the Ember2 Under Quilt. A Velcro controlled convertible footbox makes for quick entry and exit, while the nylon taffeta lining is soft against the skin. Safe in the knowledge this sub-$100 quilt’s DWR (durable water repellent) finish repels moisture and keeps stains at bay, there are no more excuses when it comes to cool weather. MSRP $99.95 • eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com

5. Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites Pistachio Chewy Bites were created with one simple concept in mind: make an all-natural snack that is both delicious and provides the nutritional fuel you need each day. By combining over 50% of California grown, nutrient rich pistachios with moist antioxidant cranberries, you get the energy and nutrients you need in one bite sized snack. Plus, they are vegan, Kosher, gluten & GMO free. Each bite is individually wrapped, keeping them fresh and making them convenient while on the go. Grab a bite on the way to the gym, toss one in your kid’s lunchbox, satisfy a craving or munch as a guilt-free midnight snack. You can bring Pistachio Chewy Bites everywhere and feel confident that you’re making a healthy choice. MSRP $6 • pistachiochewybites.com

2. Pearl iZumi Launch Capri (Women’s) Whether out for a road spin or singletrack shred, the Pearl iZumi women’s Launch Capri is the perfect choice for California winter riding. Pair it with your favorite liner for ultimate comfort on two wheels, or wear it without a liner for just about any other activity. The capri features stretch fabric (96% polyester 4% spandex), a shank buttonfront closure with zip fly and back waist adjustment, belt loops, and two zippered hand pockets. It comes in black ins sizes XS-XXL.

4. Primal Wear Rhapsody Zipped Hoodie (Women’s) The Primal Zip Hoodie for women is the ideal mix of casual and performance wear, and is sure to be your go-to jacket for a wide range of activities. The soft Melange outer fabric looks and feels great while the sublimated mesh liner allows the garment to breathe and wick sweat away. The reflective accents on the arm and hood provide additional safety features for riding or running on the roads. Longer lengths on the body and arms make this the perfect layer for cycling. This hoodie also features a full Length exposed YKK zipper, front hand pockes, a stowaway bicep zip pocket, detachable leather sleeve detail, and flatlock stitching.

6. The North Face Thermoball Jacket (Men’s) For men who like to use a minimum of jackets, The North Face Thermoball is a perfect utility jacket for chilly days or comfortable under layer for really cold days on the slopes. This jacket weighs practically nothing and is comfortable enough to go running in when conditions get ugly. While not thick or substantial, the Thermoball does cut the wind better than most bulky jackets. Developed in partnership with Primaloft, Inc., independent testing by Kansas State University has shown that the ThermoBall has warmth that is equivalent to 600 fill goose down. As a result, ThermoBall can offer the lightweight warmth and compressibility of down with the wetweather insulating performance of synthetic insulation.

MSRP $75.00 • pearlizumi.com

MSRP $100.00 • primalwear.com

MSRP $199.99 • thenorthface.com

A Beer Worth Earning Sierra Nevada’s Flipside Red IPA Heading into the fall months, brewers traditionally gravitate towards brewing beers such as amber, brown, or red ales brewed with toasted malts and low levels of hops. Sierra Nevada bucks this tradition with their latest fall release Flipside Red IPA. They start with a traditional red ale brewed with caramelized malts. Then they add plenty of hops into the mix using their hop torpedo, a gadget they designed themselves to impart hop flavors and aromas, but not the bitterness, into the brew. Whole cone Citra, Simcoe, and Centennial hops bring flavors of orange and tropical fruit and a warm resin-like finish to the brew. The result is a tasty and unique IPA from a brewery with a long history of putting its own hop driven stamp on brewing traditions for over thirty years. — Derrick Peterman

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Mammoth Lakes Explore the spectacular east side of the Sierra By Lauren Gregg


ordered to the north by the eastern entrance to Yosemite and surrounded by the vast Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness, Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding eastern Sierra is the perfect destination for both an adventure-filled vacation as well as a peaceful and serene getaway. Visitors are enchanted by the strangely beautiful landscape created by the region’s geologic history. Mammoth Mountain and the surrounding eastern Sierra was sculpted by volcanic eruptions, now quiet for 50,000 years. The area boasts unique geologically active features that give it an other-worldly feel; steam rises from the ground and hot springs bubble from the earth as reminders of the ancient volcanoes that formed the landscape. Mammoth has a fascinating history ... the wildness of which can be felt to this day. In 1857, after rumors that gold had been discovered in the area, a Mammoth Mining Company camp rapidly grew into the town “Mammoth City.” Poor yields and severe winters closed the mining operations, but the rugged and dramatic beauty of the area left a mark on people’s hearts and imaginations. The roots of Mammoth as an outdoor playground began as automobiles became popular. Travelers started crossing the high desert for the two-and-a-half day journey from Los Angeles to enjoy the fishing, hunting, and camping in the area. Mammoth was for only the adventurous, especially in the winter when supplies were delivered by dog-sled. The construction of Highway 395 in 1937 was the birth of modern Mammoth, bringing summer visitors as well as hardcore alpine skiers who used portable tows powered by Model A Ford Motors. In 1945, one of those skiers, Dave McCoy, sold his Harley motorcycle for $85 to buy supplies to install a permanent rope tow on Mammoth Mountain. Within ten years there was a lodge and the mountain’s first chairlift and the town grew around what is now one of the premier ski resorts in North America. Sitting at an elevation of almost 8,000 ft, Mammoth

18 ASJ ASJ—Aug/Sept — Dec 20152011 / Jan 2016

Lakes is a great central location to set up basecamp. The eastern Sierra is an outdoor junkie’s paradise. The region’s world-famous fly fishing and renowned natural hot springs can be experienced year-round, and horseback riding can be enjoyed much of the year as well. In the summer, the Mammoth area boasts hiking, camping, climbing, kayaking, one of North America’s best mountain bike parks and some of the finest fishing on the west coast. In fall, autumn displays of golden aspens in the rugged canyons offer some of the best fall color viewing anywhere. And then there is the glorious winter – full of perfect snow, epic downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

Climbing Before the snow arrives is an excellent time to climb, and the area just south of Mammoth boasts some of the best climbing in the country. The opportunities are very diverse with climbs for beginners as well as crags to challenge the most advanced climbers. The Gorge is one of the favorite spots, nine miles north of Bishop. As the season progresses, climbers can take it to the ice. The Mammoth area showcases two of California’s premier ice climbing locales: June Lake and Lee Vining Canyon. June Lake is an ideal place to learn and build skills due to the variety of terrain and favorable climbing conditions. For more advanced ice climbing, Lee Vining offers icicles and pillars that range in steepness from 70 degrees to vertical. Sierra Mountain Center offers a variety of ice climbing courses and programs to suit all skill levels and objectives, and they provide the necessary equipment as well.

Snowsports The skiing and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain is truly world class. Boasting 3,500 acres, 28 lifts and 150 trails and legendary high Sierra snow, Mammoth is one of the largest ski/snowboard areas in North America. Cross country skiing is also popular. Tamarack Cross Country Center has 19 miles of groomed tracks around the stunning Lakes Basin. During winter full moons, try out their full moon ski and snowshoe tours. Inyo National

Forest offers excellent PHOTOS terrain for ski touring and Main image: Cross country telemark skiing, with trails skiing at Minaret Vista clearly marked with blue (Rebecca Garrett). Above: diamonds on the trees. downhill skiing at Mammoth Popular destinations in Mountain (Mammoth the forest include the Inyo Mountain). Below left: Rock climbing at Crystal Crag Craters and Obsidian Dome. (Rebecca Garrett). Below Snowmobiling is another right: Hiking with Mammoth popular winter activity. Mountain in the background Explore the 80 miles of (Rebecca Garrett). Opposite groomed tracks in the page, top: Fat biking in the area. At DJ’s Snowmobile snow (SEMBA). Opposite Adventures, located page, bottom: Guided fly between June Lake and fishing (Sierra Drifters Guide Mammoth, rides depart Service). daily from Smokey Bear Flat Snowmobile Park on Highway 395. Snow biking is another fun way to enjoy the Mammoth snow as advocates are hard at work opening more single track trails. At this time, biking is not allowed on groomed trails due to a decades-old forest order that states “no wheeled vehicles on groomed trails.” This is keeping riders from accessing countless miles of prime trails. Sierra Eastside Mountain Bike Association (SEMBA, formerly Fat Bike Mammoth) is an IMBA chapter actively working to get the forest order amended to allow fat bikes with tires 3.8” and wider, and in the meantime packs authorized single track with snowshoes, keeping a number of trails accessible pretty much all winter. SEMBA also preps and maintains loops in the meadows by Snowcreek and Camp High Sierra, and has an agreement with Sierra Star Golf Course to host special group rides and events throughout the season as well. In addition to these single track options, there are plenty of unmaintained roads that get packed down by snowmobiles and offer good snow riding as well. Visit fatbikemammoth.com for more information. Fat bikes can be rented at Eastside Wide and The Bike Maven is open throughout winter for parts, service, etc. for all bikes.

Sample Mammoth Itinerary Get a little taste of everything this winter wonderland has to offer DAY 1 Winter Guided Fly Fishing After pre-booking your winter trip with Sierra Drifters Guide Service, meet your friendly and knowledgeable guide. Spend the day fly fishing on the beautiful Owens River, arguably one of the best trout fisheries in the Eastern Sierra. After a full day of fishing, head back into town for dinner and beers at Mammoth Brewing Company. They’ve been brewing award-winning beers since 1995 and serve up delicious food as well. DAY 2 Fat Biking Rent a fat bike from Eastside Wide and take its beefy tires to the snow for a fun shred on the popular Uptown/ Downtown loop. This 3.8 mile “short” loop goes up to the Earthquake Fault Junction and is minimally technical with moderate climbing and fast descents. Park at the Village Parking Lot on Minaret Rd/Highway 20, ride up to the trailhead at the intersection of Minaret and Forest Trail. For a longer ride, if you have a Mammoth Mountain park ticket, you can take on the full loop (see bike park map). Another option is to cross Highway 203 at the Earthquake Fault Junction and continue climbing up Mountain View Trail (a great out and back that is also free to the public without need for a bike park ticket), and then connect back with Downtown. Can’t get enough snow riding? Check out fatbikemammoth.com for additional recommended routes. After your morning ride, stop by Stellar Brew & Natural Cafe for a hot beverage or soup made from scratch to warm you back up. Stellar Brew also offers breakfast burritos, sandwiches, wraps, salads and more – all made with organic, unique ingredients. From lunch, head out for a soak in one of the area’s numerous hot springs. Although many are inaccessible once the snow falls, there are still many

to explore. Pick up Hot Springs of the Eastern Sierra by George Williams as a guide to the popular as well as hidden springs in the area. DAY 3 Snowmobiling Head north on Highway 395 to the Smokey Bear Flat Snowmobile Park between Mammoth and June Mountain. DJ’s Snowmobile Adventures will get you set up on a snowmobile for a self-guided tour following marked trails through the beautiful area. Head out on the Lookout Mountain trail that encircles the mountain, with views that extend to the south peaks of Yosemite. Bring a pack lunch to eat at the top of the trail. Vista Point is breathtaking and has been the site of many marriage proposals. When dinnertime rolls around, check out Slocums, one of Mammoth’s finest haunts, for delicious comfort food. Choose from an extensive list of craft beers, wines by the glass, and artisanal cheese boards. Be sure not to miss their legendary macaroni and cheese. DAY 4 Cross Country Skiing Head to The Tamarack Lodge and rent a pair of Nordic skis or snowshoes. Enjoy a guided tour through the beauty of alpine lakes and ancient forest on over 19 miles of world-class groomed trails. After a lovely day in the snow, stick around the historic Tamarack Lodge and eat dinner in their charming dining room with a beautiful view of Twin Lakes. Their menu changes seasonally and features fresh, locally-sourced selections. DAY 5 Ski/Board Start your morning off early with a delicious breakfast at The Stove, a Mammoth tradition for over 40 years. The classic country favorites are their speciality, but they now also offer lighter fare like Greek yogurt and gluten-free granola. From breakfast, head to the Main Lodge at the base of Mammoth’s famous gondola, snap a quick photo in front of the giant Mammoth statue, and take off up the mountain for a fabulous day skiing /boarding the epic and vast mountain. With 3,500 acres of rideable terrain, you could spend days never riding the same run twice! End your day at the Village in the Clocktower Cellar at the Alpehof Lodge to recount the day’s adventures over a beer or a warm drink. —LG

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Guide Stories

Meet OARS rafting guide Jon Abrams Davidson. Photo: Justin Bailie

California guides lead people from all walks of life on adventures across our great state’s epic terrain. Experience stories of adventure, defeat and heroism. Some are humorous and others, well, not so much. Click on the community tab on our website and share your story! Readers will not only learn about you and your company, but also valuable tips for the next time they go into the great outdoors.

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Donner Ski Ranch Norden

s Physique: 550 ac / 7861' / 1 terrain park / 53 trails / 8 lifts s Cheap date: Everyday low prices + Old School Days Tues/Wed/Thurs s Strictly monogamous s Down-to-earth & loves kids Find us at donnerskiranch.com

h c t a M w o n S

Heavenly Mountain Resort South Lake Tahoe

Photo: Diamond Peak

Hook up with the California snowsports resort of your dreams


ith winter off to a great start, we know you’re stoked to hit the slopes that will deliver the most fun for your personal style. Love to ride park or are trails your thing? Need kid care or lessons? Do you like to party? Enjoy variety? Check out these short ‘n sweet profiles of California’s premier resorts to discover the perfect match for you.

Bear Valley Ski Resort Bear Valley

Physique = Physical characteristics (acreage, elevation, trails, lifts, terrain parks)* Cheap date = mid-week, senior, child, military and other specials Strictly monogamous = pass good at that resort only

Non-monogamous = passes good at other resorts Loves kids = especially familyfriendly Life of the Party = more adultoriented

Sophisticated = luxury vibe Metropolitan = close proximity to urban areas Size matters = Notable depth of average annual snowfall

Down-to-earth = casual vibe

Boreal Mountain Resort Soda Springs

Diamond Peak Ski Resort Incline Village

s Physique: 1680 ac / 6600-8500' / 3 terrain parks / 75 trails / 9 lifts s Cheap date (military specials) s Strictly monogamous s Metropolitan (close to Bay Area) s Size matters (359" avg annual snowfall)

s Physique: 480 ac / 7200' / 7 terrain parks / 34 trails / 6 lifts s Cheap date ($15 Fridays for college students & active military) s Strictly monogamous s Metropolitan (close to Sacramento)

s Physique: 655 ac / 8540' / 2 terrain parks / 30 trails / 7 lifts s Cheap date (midweek, senior, college specials & more) s Non-monogamous (multi-resort) s Loves kids: 6 & under ski free

Find us at bearvalley.com

Find us at rideboreal.com

Find us at diamondpeak.com

China Peak Mountain Resort

Dodge Ridge

Big Bear Lake

s Physique: 198-550 ac / 8805' / 80% park / 37 trails / 12 lifts s Cheap date (child, senior, midweek specials) s Non-monogomous (Dual Mountain Anytime, Cali4nia Pass) s Life of the party (check out The Scene) s Supportive (progession park) Find us at bearmountain.com 20 ASJ ASJ—April/May — Dec 20152013 / Jan 2016

Homewood Mountain Resort Homewood

s Physique: 2010 ac / 6230' / 6 terrain parks / 64 trails / 8 lifts s Cheap date (various specials) s Non-monogomous (passes good at other resorts) s Hot date: Peak to Shore Experience Find us at skihomewood.com



Bear Mountain

s Physique: 4800 ac / 10067' / 3 terrain parks / 97 trails / 28 lifts s Cheap date (Tahoe Value Pass) s Non-monogomous (Epic Pass) s LIfe of the party s Extroverted, high energy s Well groomed

June Mountain

s Physique: 1500+ ac / 8709’ / 3 terrain parks / 45+ trails / 10 lifts s Cheap date ($99 3-Day Learn to Ski/ Ride Package, College Season Pass) s Non-monogomous (Powder Alliance) s Size matters (over 300' avg annual snowfall) s Retro & unique

s Physique: 862 ac / 8200' / 3 terrain parks / 67 trails / 12 lifts s Cheap date (select stores offer $10 off) s Strictly monogamous s Metropolitan: Close to Bay Area & Central Valley s Loves kids s Down-to-earth & versitile

Find us at skichinapeak.com

Find us at dodgeridge.com

June Lake

s Physique: 1500 ac / 2590' / 1 terrain park / 35 trails / 7 lifts s Loves kids 12 & under free s Non-monogomous (passes good at other resorts) s Introverted (uncrowded, no lift lines) Find us at junemountain.com

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Kirkwood

Sierra at Tahoe Resort Twin Bridges

s Physique: 2300 ac / 9800' / 3 terrain parks / 86 trails / 15 lifts s Cheap date (Tahoe Value Pass) s Non-monogomous (Epic Pass) s Loves to teach (Discovery Series+) s Size matters; big mountain experience

s Stats: 2000 ac / 8852' / 7 terrain parks / 46 trails / 14 lifts s Cheap date (online beginner special) s Non-monogomous (Powder Alliance) s Loves to teach, supportive s Down-to-earth, enjoys beer

Find us at kirkwood.com

Find us at sierraattahoe.com

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Snow Summit Big Bear Lake

Mammoth Lakes s Physique: 3500 ac / 11053' / 11 terrain parks / 150 trails / 28 lifts s Cheap date (child/sr/midweek specials) s Non-monogomous (Cali4nia pass) s Size matters (400' av annual snowfall); big mountain experience Find us at mammothmountain.com

s Stats: 240 acres / 8200' / multiple terrain parks / 31 trails /14 lifts s Cheap date (child/sr/midweek specials) s Non-monogomous (Dual Mountain Anytime, Cali4nia Pass) s Special talent? Snow tubing Find us at snowsummit.com

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe, NV

www.bearvalley.com | fun@bearvalley.com | 209.753.2301 Bear Valley Mountain operates under special use permit on the Stanislaus National Forest.

s Stats: 6000 ac / 9050' Squaw, 8637' Alpine / 270+ trails / 6 parks / 42 lifts s Non-monogomous (2 mtns on 1 ticket) s Loves to teach s Enjoys shopping, fine dining, après ski & entertainment Find us at squawalpine.com

s Physique: 1200 ac / 9700 / 3 terrain parks / 60+ trails / 8 lifts s Life of the Party: Ladies Thursday & Two Fer Tuesdays s Metropolitan (close to Reno) s Tall (Tahoe’s highest base elevation & some of longest continuous vertical in NA) Find us at skirose.com

Northstar California Resort Truckee

Sugar Bowl Resort Norden

s Physique: 3170 ac / 8610 / 7 terrain parks / 100 trails / 20 lifts s Cheap date (Tahoe Value Pass) s Non-monogomous (Epic Pass) s Loves kids s Sophisticated & enjoys fine dining

s Physique: 1650 ac / 8383 / 2 terrain parks / 103 trails / 13 lifts s Cheap date (midweek specials) s Non-monogomous (Royal Gorge) s Metropolitan (close to Sac/Bay Area) s Down-to-earth, unpretentious

Find us at northstarcalifornia.com

Find us at sugarbowl.com

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Daron Rahlves A Q&A with America’s most decorated male skier By Jennifer Rothman


s the most decorated male American Downhill and Super-G skier in history, Daron Rahlves has certainly lived up to his motto to “make it happen.” Along with making the US Olympic Ski Team four times, his trophy shelf overflows with, to name a few, 12 world cup wins, seven US National Titles, a 2001 World Champion in Super-G (super giant slalom – an alpine speed event, which made its World Cup debut in 1983 and Olympics debut in 1988), and first place wins at the legendary Hahnenkamm Downhill in 2003 and Super-G in 2004. Raised in Northern California, Daron became a true athlete, excelling at both snow skiing and watersports. Although retired from professional ski racing, Daron continues to be a strong presence in the world of skiing with his Banzai tour, making appearances around the country, and following his passion for mentoring and inspiring young athletes. Daron is not your typical retired celebrated ski racer with a huge ego. Quite the opposite, he is reluctant to talk about himself, and instead tends to keep the spotlight on his passion for keeping skiing alive, working with the kids at the Sugar Bowl Academy, being an ambassador for the High Fives Foundation, and promoting local Tahoe business. He is a regular guy who just happens to have won the world cup a couple of time. Oh, and he is a great dad. We caught up with Daron recently to see how things are going.

ASJ Do you miss competing, and if so, what about it

do you miss the most, or the least for that matter?


I do and I don’t. What I miss is getting in the start gate and having the chance to see what I’m made of. It was an amazing feeling to compete at the elite level where I had the confidence to face the most challenging

“Going fast down the mountain with buddies and calling out ‘last one down is a rotten egg’ started it all. That’s the purest form of racing. ” 16 ASJ 22 ASJ—June/July — Dec 20152012 / Jan 2016

World Cup Downhills like Beaver Creek, Bormio, Wengen and Kitzbuhel. What I don’t miss, hmm, I enjoyed the whole journey. Probably the days on the road when I was traveling and missing flights. It was my choice to stop racing after one of my best seasons and walk away with a great feeling so I can live with that.


The Streif on Hahnenkamm in Austria is considered to be one of the most difficult and dangerous downhill courses. In 2003, you won at Hahnenkamm, the first American to do so in many decades. You’ve appeared in several films, but tell us how you got involved as a narrator and contributor on the awardwinning documentary, STREIF – One Hell of a Ride.


Having status as a ski racer helped me land that role as narrator and the fact that I’m a Red Bull athlete, and that the ones who came up with the idea and produced the movie are friends of mine. I know the right people! Ha.


To give the readers a little insight, if you had to describe the Streif in only three words, what would those be?


The film title says it all, but in five words: One Hell of a Ride. Three words: Legendary, Fear, Glory.

ASJ In 2011, you created the Rahlves’ Banzai Tour, a

Lake Tahoe ski and snowboard racing event over natural terrain on a wide course. Please share the history of how it all began.


The history is that’s the way I grew up. Going fast down the mountain with buddies and calling out “last one down is a rotten egg” started it all. That’s the purest form of racing. From there it was seeing some old films from Austria called The ski race “Der Weisse Rausch” (“The White Flush”). Then Red Bull had an event in Krippenstein, Austria called The White Rush. It was a top to bottom race with a few control gates and eight skiers. I wanted to compete in it, but it ended the year I retired from World Cup racing. So I decided to pitch it to my home resort, Sugar Bowl (Lake Tahoe) and we had a one off event in 2009 and 2010. It was so much fun, rowdy and unique that I

wanted to make it bigger and that founded the RBT in 2011. It is the purest form of racing, head to head four at a time, and each course is unique with terrain. Fun to do and awesome to watch. When I look at a mountain and see the most fun flowing line at speed over the most terrain, a Banzai course is created. It’s all about the natural terrain and Tahoe has plenty of that.


How have the drought/poor snow conditions affected Banzai? What are your expectations for this season and your thoughts on El Nino? Will you continue to compete in the Banzai Super Final?

PHOTOS Top left: Daron in Sugar Bowl’s backcountry, December 2014 (Grant Barta). Top right: Daron sending it at Sugar Bowl’s Rock Garden (Grant Barta). Middle: Rahlves’ Banzai Tour Silver Belt Banzai Super Final at Sugar Bowl Resort – Daron Rahlves, Kyle Coxon, Shawn McGee, Ben Paciotti, Corey Zila (Kiwi Kamera). Bottom: Daron skiing Sugar Bowl’s backcountry (Grant Barta). Opposite page, top: Bormio, Italy 2005 DH World Championships (Atomic). Circle: Daron Rahlves, World Championships 2005 Silver DH & Bronze GS medalist (Atomic).

their product. I do my best to represent them in all I do and it’s cool to hang with other Red Bull athletes who are all amazing. I have been on a tear with speaking engagements and one was for Red Bull’s Western Region Distribution and Brand event in Arizona. I love to share my experiences and process of success. Sports or business, it all happens with the same attitude, approach and execution. Make it happen!


You’ve been involved with High Fives Foundation, which raises injury prevention awareness for mountain action sports and provides resources and support to those who have suffered injuries. Tell us about your involvement.

DR Less snow equals more terrain. It’s been a

challenge and forcing us to add alternate routes down the mountain, but that’s what’s cool about skiing. The mountain and mother nature give us a fun playground no matter what type of snow season. The biggest difference is snow surface. Hard or soft, mellow or abrupt terrain – it’s fun either way. Tactics play a huge role in skiing and especially attacking a Banzai course similar to a ski race. It’s my way to blend all the aspects of skiing into one event. Bring on El Nino! We can use a powder Banzai. Yes, I will continue to compete. I love it.


Tell us about your current role with Red Bull and your speaking engagements around the country. How does that tie in with your philosophy on life?


I’m an athlete and ambassador for Red Bull and very proud to be. I was the first Alpine Ski racer to be sponsored by Red Bull in 2004 and that year they came on as the title sponsor of the Hahnenkamm. When they commit to do something they go all out. That is my philosophy. The energy drink has helped and continues to add to my performance. The company has helped me succeed as a skier and I believe in



You and your wife, Michelle, have 8 year old twins. Are they skiers? Do they have any aspirations of following in dad’s footsteps to become professional athletes?


Our kids have already had so many opportunities to explore their athletic abilities. They are into skiing, but all I want for them is to have the experience Michelle and I can pass down to them. Then they can pick their own path. This season they will try racing in Tahoe League and we will see. Our kids have the talent for success, but that only takes you so far. Passion, hard work and perseverance brings success.


I’ve know the founder Roy Tuscany since the day he suffered a life altering accident while skiing. The High Five Foundation’s goal is to help others who have been struck down with a life altering injury when doing something they love. I support their comeback and the efforts Roy and his team take to help others relive their lives and participate in the outdoor world after one of these injuries. Plus now they’ve added their BASICS program which helps spread the word on safety and prevention throughout our winter community and beyond. I’m a friend and ambassador of the foundation. High Fiving people is cool, too.

What other ways do you stay involved and give back to the snow sports community?


I work with the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Ski Academy staff and athletes, there as a mentor for Travis Ganong on the US Ski Team to help him any way. I can, create better products with the brands I represent and do my best to inspire anyone I come in contact with.


One final question I like to ask athletes: what soundtrack/theme music goes through your head as you’re ripping the slopes?

DR Bro Hymn by Pennywise.

H I G H-A L P I N E ADVENTURE Explore Sugar Bowl Resort and North America’s largest XC across 7,500 acres of terrain atop scenic Donner Summit, all conveniently closest to Sacramento and the Bay Area. Save time and money, buy tickets at SugarBowl.com CALIFORNIA OWNED & OPERATED



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Training our aerobic energy system will help build fitness, stamina, endurance and teach us to be better fat burners.

Nutrition Remember 80% of body 8) composition is what we eat; that leaves 20% from exercise. Think about

Work Out in the Morning 4) Working out in the morning may mean getting up earlier, so plan on going

Top 10 Training Tips Fitness ideas for adapting to winter By Colleen Conners-Pace


s fall turns to winter scheduling a good workout becomes a challenge. This transition can be tough for many of us, whether we are athletes training for races or just people who love being active for fitness and health. What can we do to overcome this challenge and keep ourselves from falling prey to the winter blues, from losing the fitness we gained the past few months and gaining back that unwanted winter fat layer? Here are ten tips to keep you fit this winter.

Embrace the Season Accept


and adapt to the season for what it brings. Instead of avoiding the cold, embrace it and make the best of it. Going outside in the winter makes you tough and builds character.

Dress for It You can go out 2) in anything if you are properly dressed for the weather. It will be a

much more rewarding experience if you are prepared: there’s nothing worse

than being miserable because you are freezing. Dress in layers, and never wear cotton. Wearing a hat saves 70% of your body heat.

Try New Winter Activities 3) Take up a new winter sport every year. Some suggestions are: XC

skiing, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, winter running, and fat bike riding. There are even multisport triathlon events to sign up for.

to bed at a decent hour. Motivation is the key to early morning winter workouts. Visualize getting up, getting dressed and feeling great. This will help motivate you to get out of bed.

Set Goals Sign up for an event. 5) Paying money for an actual event brings a new level of commitment to

Dynamic Stretching “Dynamic” 9) means you are moving through the stretch, instead of holding the stretch. This activates the muscle you will be using during your workout. Moving as you stretch improves range of motion, enhances muscular performance, and challenges your balance and coordination.

Sprint Increase your energy, 10) improve athletic performance and minimize effects of aging by

your training.

Join a Class With a scheduled 6) class time you can’t procrastinate. Put the class in your calendar and stick

promoting the release of testosterone and human growth hormones with sprinting. Begin with 6x50 meter sprints (8-20 seconds each) at 75% effort. Be sure to keep effort below 100% for several weeks. Be fully warmed up prior to sprinting.

to it like you would any other important appointment.

Cardio Activity This season 7) is a good time to work on your aerobic base. Decrease the intensity

that. If your exercise drops in the winter months then balance it out with your diet – you might save yourself the agony of losing that unwanted winter fat! (Hint, reduce those carbs!)

and concentrate on keeping your heart rate down in your aerobic zone. Use Phil Maffetone’s 180 Formula to calculate at what heart rate you should keep your heart under to develop a strong aerobic base (basically 180 minus your age but see his website to personally dial it in).

Colleen Conners-Pace is the owner of Tahoe Peak Endurance and the race director of the Auburn Triathlon, aka “The World’s Toughest Half.” Colleen has a masters in exercise physiology and is a certified USAT Level 1 Coach and Race Director.


24 ASJ — Dec 2015 / Jan 2016

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After Hours The magic of night riding By Matthew De Young


ith the recent time change, mountain bikers are lamenting the lack of daylight. Shorter days and cooler temperatures keep many riders off the trails. Many of us who are burdened with a 9 to 5 job will eschew our usual after work rides and only get out on our bikes on the weekends. The irony of all this is that this time of year is the best time of year to ride. We are in the grace period when there has been enough rain to tamp the dust of summer down and firm up the trails, but not enough to turn them into a muddy no-ride zone. Enthusiasts will be heard extolling the “hero dirt.” This is dirt so tacky that it gives riders the sensation of having superhuman powers, allowing them to rip turns faster and harder than if the trail were dusty or muddy. These few months are the best time to be a mountain biker. So how can mountain bikers take full advantage of this wonderful time of year? Unless your boss is a supremely understanding character and willing to sign off on a sabbatical to allow you to fulfill your life’s purpose – to achieve maximum radness on your bicycle – there aren’t too many options. But, there is indeed a way to scratch your riding itch during these dark times. Night riding. Mountain bikers are increasingly hitting the trails after the sun goes down. With the popularity of 24 hour races and recreational night riding, there has been a surge in the number of companies producing lights bright enough to allow bikers to safely ride at night.

Pedaling out on a ride after dark leaves one feeling as if getting away with some supreme mischief; like you’re fifteen again, sneaking out of your parents’ house in the wee hours, when you felt untouchable. After dark most folks stick to the confines of their well-lit domiciles, while you are heading out to get wild in the woods. Keep in mind, night riding may or may not be legal at your local riding spot, best check before heading out into the darkness. Riding at night is like a distilled version of your usual mountain bike ride. It is just you, your bike, and a beam of light. There isn’t much scenery to distract you, which is good because full concentration is required. Trails that seem easy during the daytime suddenly require your full attention. Every root and rut takes on a whole new challenge as your perception as a rider is totally altered. Sloppy technique is quickly punished. As your peripheral vision is limited to the scope that is illuminated by your

light, you will find yourself with PHOTO your head on a swivel, looking A rider rests under a through your turns and looking blanket of stars (David out ahead, good techniques for Clock Photography). cornering and dealing with trail obstacles. As there is reduced visual input, you are driven to ride by feel, using muscle memory to corner properly and hop over roots and logs. Second guessing yourself will get you hung up and thus following through and committing to moves will keep you rolling. If you need a break from the non-stop intensity of your night ride, pull off the trail, turn your light off and enjoy the tranquility of being outside at night. Listen to the wind blow, check out the stars, breathe in the cool crispness of the night air. When you are sufficiently zen’d out, fire your light back up and drop the hammer all the way home.

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A Look at Your Lid Get to know your most important piece of crash protection gear for snowsports and cycling By Dave Robinson


n an age when custom skis are approaching $2,000 and mountain bikes can cost over $10,000, it can be easy to forget the value of your helmet. But if you take a moment to think about it, this $50 investment in your kit could save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, not to mention your life. The bottom line is that you can’t enjoy your gear in the great outdoors if you’re broken. To encourage you to protect yourself we have put together this primer to help you find the right helmet for your needs. If we can move beyond how the color works with our kit for a moment we can discuss the real reason we wear a helmet – to protect our dome. To ensure that the helmet you choose is going to actually protect you the Consumer Product Safety Council (CPSC) has minimum standards that all helmet manufacturers must meet. The big players in the helmet industry all not only conform to the minimum standards but are regularly exceeding the standards in an effort to enhance your safety. The most basic and understandable of the standards is coverage, which defines how low on your head the helmet was designed to experience impacts. Road and mountain biking helmets cover the top of the head and a bit lower towards your ears, coverage on snow helmets is a bit better, extending lower on your head, while downhill mountain biking helmets provide the most complete coverage. All certified ski, snowboard, and bike helmets are required to deform and fail at or below 300 g’s of impact.

Snow or Bike The standards for snow and bike helmets are very similar so the primary difference you’ll notice is ventilation. Bike helmets channel air into the helmet to cool the perspiring rider while snow helmets are more focused on keeping you warm. Some snow helmets feature adjustable ventilation for those warmer spring days. In 2015 the National Ski Area Association reported that 65% of skiers and snowboarders in the US wore helmets. If you’re looking for a helmet manufacturer that is producing a variety of cross-over helmets for both cycling and snowsports check out the Bern range.

Road/MTN As a cyclist, you may be wondering which style helmet you should purchase if you’ve not already made that decision. Despite having to conform to the same CPSC standard you’ll notice road helmets are geared towards lighter weight and good ventilation while half shell helmets for mountain biking are very focused on coverage. This is demonstrated by the “enduro style” helmets which have extended coverage at the back of the head. Freeride legend Richey Schley collaborated with iXS to develop their Trail RS helmet with the goal to provide excellent back of head coverage while remaining lightweight (330 g) and cool (22 vents).

Full Face If you are riding chairlifts for the brown pow, you are probably riding a longer travel bike and are travelling at higher speeds which should make you consider the additional protection provided by a full face helmet. The primary visible difference from other helmets is the chin guard that extends below the nose to protect against impacts and abrasions to the face. Helmets marketed as downhill need to meet additional criteria specified by the ASTM for deflection of impacts by the chinbar. Full face use isn’t limited to the bike park, but you may notice reduced visibility, less ventilation, and perhaps even diminished hearing capabilities when wearing full face helmet on the trails. Not a bad trade-off if you’re pushing your limits and want to ride another day. Kids dig ’em too! The Bell Super 2R is perhaps the most popular helmet with a removable chin bar currently on the market. It offers the protection of a chin bar without the significant weight normally associated with a full face helmet. Though it might not offer the elevated level of protection

of true downhill helmet, it will perhaps encourage more riders to climb with their helmet on rather than strapped to their pack or hanging on their bars. Collisions between an unprotected climbing rider and a speeding descender are far more common than you might expect.


PHOTOS Top: Full face territory (Caleb Smith/Bell). Bottom: Road riding helmets are light and offer plenty of ventilation (Bo Bridges/Bell). Circle: Snow helmets are designed to keep your head warm (Heavenly). Below left: Kids love their helmets (Josh Sawyer/ Bell). Below right: Pro boarder Alex “Chumpy” Pullin (Bolle). Opposite page: Freestyle mountain bike pro Tyler McCaul (Fox Racing).

This is one of the more important elements of the helmet you choose. Visit your local bike shop and try on a couple of different styles and manufacturers helmets and you’ll notice that some helmets are designed around a rounder head and some a more oval dome. Discover which you are and which helmet fits best because we all want you to love this puppy and wear it all the time. You’ll also notice there are multiple fitting systems available, these range from basic sliders at the back of the helmet to fancy dials. Choose the one that you prefer but remember it probably won’t require much additional adjustment once fitted to your head. A quick note on fitting the retention straps of the helmet to your head. Start on the left side and move the slider so it nearly touches the bottom of your ear then adjust the length of the straps emerging from the helmet so they are tensioned equally. Now move to the right side and do the same. Snug the buckle that connects the right and left straps beneath your chin tight enough so the helmet can’t shift on impact.


26 ASJ ASJ—June/July — Dec 20152012 / Jan 2016

In an age of acronyms, we’ve got another one for you, Multi-direction Impact Protection System. MIPS was developed as a result of extensive research into brain trauma and the discovery that twisting the brain inside the skull can be really bad (understatement). Essentially, the system is designed to reduce rotational forces

Be Louder. Be SEEN. Rechargeable Bontrager Flare R Tail Light! High visibility keeps you safe day & night.

slide up into armpit when caused byyour angled impacts to you yourslide skull. outThis in a iscorner. Consider a fulla shin and done by integrating slip layer knee combo the padshell if you’re dialing in your between and liner which will flat allow pedalthe technique. beto your helmet toLastly, slide don’t relative puthead off byonthe cost ofMIPS protective gear. If impact. is a stand-alone youcompany calculatewhich your insurance and licenses itsco-pay patented concept to helmet factor in potential lostmanufacturers wages from missed resulting in one about $20-40 work then it’s of athe very premium best cycling on most designs. investments you canYou’ll make.notice more manufacturers and models are adopting Pick a design shovel the up MIPS and and/or this has already started bringing the price down. Attend a meeting “It isn’t my thing. I don’t have the time. Eyewear/Visors It’s another clique that I’m not a part Most riders appreciate the additional of.”sun Wrong. If mountain biking is your and protection that a visor provides thing, then contributing two hours to you’ll find visors on nearly all designs discussing the jump issuesshells. is theYou least youalso except dirt may canwant do totosupport it.the How many hours consider type of eyewear a month do you ride anyways? Are you you’re using and check the compatibility willing to admit to notyour being part of before purchasing next helmet. theMost cliquegoggle because you’re not willing compatible designs have to put in some to develop and a channel oreffort recessed area wrapping aroundlegal the singletrack? back of the helmet to secure maintain Add your thetogoggle when it ismountain on your face. Some voice the your local biking helmets even allow the goggle to be advocacy organization, and pitch in to off the face andlocal tucked below helpmoved build/maintain your trails. Visitthe thevisor. International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) website at imba.com Camera/Accessory mounts to find a club nearknow you. that video doesn’t Go-Pro heros look nearly as cool if you don’t have a Donate solid mount on your helmet. Fortunately Membership IMBA and/or your local some of theinhelmet manufacturers are trailintegrating organization is about thirty bucks break-away mounts for your andfavorite funds advocacy while growing POV cameras and lights. membership rolls prove public support When to Replace It for more trail. Whining about a dearth Helmet manufacturers of local singletrack is weak,recommend donating that you replace your helmet every dollars is powerful so demonstratethree your years or after any significant impact. commitment to the effort. Trails aren’t Significant impact can mean different free and your dollars support advocacy things to different people but consider andobvious paid professional planning compression from a which crash that is results in better public perception. visible on the shell as significant.


If they don’t dig your helmet-head hairstyle, they probably won’t be bedside for you in the emergency room after you ring your bell. High speed video tests have shown minute cracks of the foam liners that demonstrate a compromised helmet PHOTOS Do you wanna be even without telltale markings on the remembered? Top:full Pitching exterior shell.Trust Tossing your faceininto me, theyour backStrava of the truck willbuild giveandit maintain a bitchin demonstrates KOM is going down patina but will also maketrails it difficult to excellence this week,ifbut discern thatyour compression markinis from mountain biking name that on lastthe treesign contact or from getting (Bogdan Marian). board overbetween that pinched the cooler and your Bottom: Using bike incredible singletrack handlebar. Give your helmet the love it bells helps mitigate you fundedand willitbe deserves will loveuser youconflict back. on praised every dayWear by the trails in Santa When to It appreciative riders. Barbara (SBMTV). Always! We want you to live long and That’s a KOM that prosper in the outdoors and that won’t will stand ifthe ofopen your nut. happen youtest bust time. Your head doesn’t know the difference

between a tree at speed on your DH Ride bike and a curb when you’re returning Turn the office. on Turn a friend onIf that fromoff the brewery your cruiser. topotentially the trail. Appreciate public lands. significant other doesn’t dig Recharge your batteries. Takethey yourprobably time. your helmet-head hairstyle We will all benefit from you being the wouldn’t be bedside for you in the person that you want toyou be. ring Bikesyour canbell. be emergency room after the answer. Save your cocktail cash and put it into the rightRobinson lid! Dave works for The Ride Guides, a local mountain bike guiding and coaching Dave Robinson works for The Ride Guides, a service based in Santa Cruz. He is a staunch local mountain bike guiding and coaching service advocate for the environment and is based in Santa Cruz. He is a staunch advocate for passionate about developing inspired the environment and is passionate about developing stewards via outdoor recreation. inspired stewards via outdoor recreation.


eDr. a trail superhero, brush up on your first aid and take a Wilderness Aidafter course. Chris Leatt started developing neck braces for motorcyclists back First in 2001 Excellence on the trail can take many forms and caring for a fallen rider places you witnessing a death the weekend after his son started riding moto. The neck brace dissipates amongst best.impacts One of into the the greatest about mountain is howbequickly we can manythe helmet chestthings and shoulders by designbiking and should a serious travelconsideration into the wilderness far from civilization. It also creates hugeachallenge – what Some do for all aggressive riders and competitors whoa wear full face helmet. you do when gets seriously injuredmore out there? do you stabilize someone with argue thatsomeone this redistribution may create injuriesHow but personally if I have the choice a debilitating injury and transport them out of the woods before things get really bad? The between a broken collarbone and a broken neck I’ll take the collarbone, thank you much. prepared mountain carries theworks tools well to repair their bike with but what tools do you chosen, need to Make sure thatbiker the neck brace in conjunction the helmet you’ve save they a life? These aremovement the thingsby that you’llbut learn in a dedicated Wilderness Aid Course. will restrict design it shouldn’t be so restrictive asFirst to prevent you Backcountry Medical Guides offersAussie mountain bike specific Wilderness First2010 Aiddownhill Courses in from wearing the two together. mountain biker Sam Hill won the Santaworld Cruzchampionshionships in conjunction withwearing The Ride Guides: backcountrymedicalguides.org. REI a Leatt DBX ushering in the application in mountain offers training at many of their the country: rei.com, and Baymountain Area retailer biking. Currently there are atstores least aaround half dozen manufacturers producing bike Sports Basement also provides training: sportsbasement.com. specific neck braces.

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www. w w w.advent a d v e nur t uespor r e s p otrsjour t s j o unal. r n a com l . c o m 272 5

Grinduro! Enduro-style gravel grinding in the Lost Sierra By Kurt Gensheimer


rinduro! It’s what happens when you mash up a gravel grinder with an enduro. And judging by the hundreds of smiles on October 10, 2015 in Quincy, California, the inaugural Grinduro was a smashing success. Grinduro was a true test of fitness and skill thanks to a 60 mile course with 8,000 feet of climbing amongst some of the most gorgeous terrain the Lost Sierra has to offer. And because Grinduro featured four enduro-style timed segments, riders could exercise their competitive urges while taking it easy and riding with friends in between. Picking the right bike and tire setup for Grinduro was crucial. Too skinny of a tire and you risked flatting, as several dozen riders did on the final 3.5-mile timed singletrack segment down Mount Hough Trail. Too much tire and you risked getting dropped on the third segment, a six-mile section of rolling pavement where drafting is completely legal. Further complicating the bike decision-making process were segments one and two; the first a one-mile fire road climb where a light and fast bike was best, and the second, a six-mile dirt road descent with speeds approaching 50 miles-an-hour. Although there were plenty of mountain bikes on course, the fastest times of the day were consistently clocked by riders on cyclocross bikes with a wide gear range, hydraulic disc brakes and tubeless 40c tires. Grinduro allows any type of bike (non-electric assist of course), and seeing the cross-section of rigs toeing the line was part of what made Grinduro so much fun.

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This event format blurs the lines between roadies and mountain bikers, with both types of riders coming together in a fun and laid-back atmosphere. And because Grinduro had four timed segments over 60 miles, it was an adventure ride and race all wrapped into one. Aside from the incredible trails and backcountry terrain surrounding Quincy, this small logging town of 5,000 folks offered the perfect event venue for Grinduro thanks to the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. Each year the fairgrounds plays host to the popular High Sierra Music Festival, offering outstanding camping and RV parking with full electric and water hookups. And thankfully Mother Nature was just as stoked about Grinduro, blessing the event with clear skies and high temperatures in the low 80s all weekend. Because a world-class event isn’t complete without world-class music, art and food, Grinduro featured a full evening of live music headlined by Mike Watt + Missingmen, handmade frame builders and artistry with the Meet Your Maker Tour and catered breakfast, lunch and dinner by renown chef Chris DiMinno. The lunch was a particular highlight, relaxing under the shade of giant pine trees in the idyllic hamlet of Taylorsville, a hidden gem of riding tucked far away in the Lost Sierra. What started as a crazy idea two years ago by published author and former pro racer Joe Parkin has come to life thanks to Dain Zaffke and the folks at Giro Sport Design. And of course, the event couldn’t have been pulled off without the know-how of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, the organization responsible for both the Downieville Classic and the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder. Proceeds from Grinduro go back to the Stewardship, helping fund more trail

PHOTOS Main image: An evening cruise down Mount Hough Trail (Dain Zaffke). Top three: Good vibes on and off the bike (Jordan Haggard). Above bottom: Catered lunch stop in Taylorsville (Dusty Bermshot). Bottom left: A big climb out of Quincy to start the day (Jordan Haggard).

projects in the Quincy region. Despite boasting 50 miles of new singletrack thanks in part to the Plumas National Forest – Mount Hough District, the Quincy area is still undiscovered by most. But the recently completed Mount Hough Trail is a world-class must-ride experience, descending 3,800 vertical feet over 11 miles. And unlike the rocky rowdiness of nearby Downieville, the Quincy region is approachable for all skill levels. Grinduro will open a new chapter in bike events, bringing together a wider cross-section of enthusiasts looking for a perfect balance of competition, fun and adventure. It’s most definitely an event to put on your must-do list for 2016. Learn more at grinduro.com.

Adventure Events Calendar


Biking December 5 — Sacramento Cyclocross, Miller Park, #7, SacCycloCross.com 6 — CCCP CycloCross, Coyote Point, BayAreaCX.com 6 — Season End & Raffle, Coyote Point, Bay Area Super Prestige, BayAreaCX.com 13 — Sacramento Cyclocross, SacCycloCross.com

Discover the best of Santa Cruz’s year round mountain biking with our premier guiding and coaching service.

19 — CCCX Central Coast, Fort Ord, #7, CCCXcycling.com


3 — CCCX Central Coast, Toro Park, #8, Series Finale, CCCXcycling.com

831.818.6112 We’ll Show You The Way

19 --- Series Awards, Yolo Brewing Company, SacCycloCross.com


17 — CCCX Central Coast, Fort Ord, Series Finale, CCCXcycling.com

Run/Walk December 3 c Bah Humbug, San Ramon. 5K info @ onyourmarkevents.com 5 — Death Valley Trail Marathon and Half Marathon, Titus Canyon, EnviroSports.com 5-6 — The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships, San Francisco thenorthface.com/en_US/ endurance-challenge 6 — California International Marathon, Folsom. runcim.org 6 — Jingle Bell Rock, Santa Cruz.. 5k walk/run benefit for Toys for Tots. FinishLineProduction.com 12 — Hark the Herald Angels 12k & 25k™, Angel Island. EnviroSports.com

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12 — PCTR Rodeo Beach, Sausalito. 8 Km, 20 Km, 30 Km, & 50 Km, Enjoy vistas of the Pacific Coast as you climb Coastal trails.PCTrailRuns.com 13 — Santa to the Sea, Oxnard. Half, 2 person relay and 5K fun run. SantaToTheSea.com 27 — PCTR Woodside Trail Run, Redwood City. 10 Km, 19 Km, 37 Km, & 50 Km, Run the beautiful trails inHuddart & Wunderlich Parks. PCTrailRuns.com

arrows to moccasins. adventureout.com (800)509-3954 Outdoor Rock Climbing Learning to climb for the first time? Transitioning to the outdoors from the gym? Take your climbing to the next level with Adventure Out’s Rock Climbing School. Classes in the Bay Area on technique, anchoring & more! adventureout.com (800)509-3954

Paddling Baja Kayak Season Oct.–May Kayaking Tours begin just south of Loreto. Come explore the remote coast most tourists never see. 800-398-6200, TourBaja.com Stand Up Paddling, Santa Cruz or Elkhorn Slough.For first timers of folks looking to increase their SUP skills. KayakConnection.com

Snow Yes, you CAN give ski & snowboard skills! Endless Slope gift certificates make happy, confident skiers & boarders. Private, accelerated lessons for all ages. Expert instruction in a fun, safe environment. Adventurous.com. (415) 397-7678

December 25 — Christmas Day Pancake Breakfast with Santa Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area, Eat breakfast with Santa and ski with Santa too. Tahoedonner.com Dec 31 — Torchlight Parade on New Years Eve, Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area. Ski in a parade at night by torchlights. http://www.tahoedonner.com/ cross-country/events/

January 18 — Fun Race Fundraiser – Sierra Skogsloppet, Tahoe Donner Cross Country. 15 km / 10 km / 5 km / 2 km races for all ages and abilities. Lunch and raffle included in entry. This is an annual fundraiser for the Truckee schools Nordic ski teams. 10 am start. 530-587-9484, tahoedonner.com/cross-country 10 — Winter Trail Days, Bear Valley Cross Country and Tahoe Donner Cross Country. A national celebration of winter fun that offers those new to snowsports the chance to try cross country skiing and snowshoeing for free. Contact Bear Valley Cross Country or Tahoe Donner Cross Country for more information.

23 — First Ever Winter Palooza, Tahoe Donner Snowplay, This all-day event includes tube racing, snowman building, relay races, a snowstrider course and Wilderness Survival Classes Come learn the ancient arts of native wilderness more. Tahoedonner.com survival; build shelters, start fire-by24 — First Ever Winter Festival, Tahoe friction, find food and water in the woods. Donner Cross Country Ski Area, First ever Basic survival classes and advanced skills Winter Festival. Discounted trail passes at workshops on everthign from bows and $10 each and $15 rentals will be available, including free lessons, tours and ski


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equipment demonstrations. Festival-goers will also enjoy live music and delicious BBQ. tahoedonner.com/cross-country

Looking Ahead Feb 7 — The Tainthammer Los Banos, 10 miles of the amazingly worst California Central Valley roads we could find. Horrible pavement, compressed sand, gravel, washboard, potholes, headwinds and a whopping 350 feet of climbing, total. Tainthammer: it’s more than just a clever name. superproracing.com Feb 21 — Tahoe Donner Challenge, Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, A tour or a race – you choose your fastest way to Drifter Hut, Hawks Peak, Euer Valley Cookhouse and return. Lunch and raffle included in entry. 10 a.m. start. tahoedonner.com/cross-country Feb 20 – 22 — Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz, Ignite your passion for adventure! The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate you with amazing big-screen stories. Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters and climb the highest peaks. ucscrecreation. com Feb 21 — Menso’s SLO Ride to Hell San Luis Obispo, Pro racer Menso de Jong takes you a journey of self-discovery and introspection.* A 75-mile route with massive views, screaming descents, and twists and turns on backcountry mountain tops that will leave you dizzy. Bring the camera for this one as the scenery promises to be spectacular. superproracing.com March 7 — Rumble in the Ranchlands Mariposa, A 82-mile rolling route through the Sierra foothills not far from Yosemite Valley. Guitars and Cadillacs, hillbilly music for sure. We’ll sling you up and down scenic dirt roads and double tracks, in and out of steep river valleys. You may have to yield to cows.superproracing.com March 20 — Oakland Running Festival Oakland, Marathon, Half Marathon, 4-Person Relay, 5k, & Kids Fun Run. nationally recognized as the Bay Area race to run by Competitor Magazine. oaklandmarathon.com May 15 — 14th Annual Auburn Triathlon consists of the World’s Toughest Half; International (USAT SW Regional Championships); Mini; and LC Aquabike. Each event offers calm water, canyon scenery, mild temperatures, and a low-key race environment. You’ll enjoy a grass roots feel with a focus on delivering the best possible experience to each and every athlete. www.auburntriathlon.com

View & list events for free on our website at AdventureSports Journal.com

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Profile for Adventure Sports Journal

Adventure Sports Journal // Dec 2015 / Jan 2016 // Issue #88  

ASJ's winter issue features our annual Gift Giving Guide as well as a ski resort primer. Other articles include a Q & A with Daron Rahlves,...

Adventure Sports Journal // Dec 2015 / Jan 2016 // Issue #88  

ASJ's winter issue features our annual Gift Giving Guide as well as a ski resort primer. Other articles include a Q & A with Daron Rahlves,...