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56 64 72
Full Throttle A motorcycle crash and some box office bombs put a few bumps in the road. But Gerard Butler is back in the saddle and charging harder than ever. By Josh Eells
2018 Winter Olympics Preview
The Redemption of Shaun White
The Last Wild Shores
The Boss Strikes Back
An all-American, figureskate-ignoring, rivalryendorsing, beer-chugging peek at the event of the year.
Snowboarding’s biggest star is back with new determination. But is it enough to win gold? By Ryan Krogh
Pristine and off the grid, these seaside retreats are hard to get to but totally worth the effort. Here are the best beaches of 2018.
Once accused of being the head of the infamous Gambino family, John A. Gotti has a new role: crime fighter. By John A. Gotti
ON THE COVER: Gerard Butler photographed for Men’s Journal by Miller Mobley on November 30, 2017, in Malibu, CA. Styling by David Thomas for the Wall Group. Grooming by Kim Verbeck for the Wall Group. Production by Nenneker Productions. Butler wears T-shirt by James Perse. Jacket by John Varvatos. Jeans by Belstaﬀ. Boots, vintage. Motorcycle provided by Indian Motorcycles.
SAVE TODAY ADVENTURE TOMORROW At GEICO, great rates and outstanding coverage doesn’t stop with your car. Whether you drive a motorcycle, boat or RV, we could help you save money on more than just car insurance. See how much you could save. Get a quote today.
1-800-947-AUTO JHLFRFRP_/RFDO2IĆFH Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2017 GEICO
Gillian Anderson on The X-Files, social media, and why she’s looking forward to the old-age home.
39 Seal of Approval 22 Food It’s time to get over your fear of rabbit. Here’s how to create the perfect braised bunny with winter spices.
24 Off Duty Cajun chef Isaac Toup’s ultimate kitchen tool and the secret to his unbeatable vinaigrette.
33 Grooming In a rush? Use dry shampoo—the key to volume and getting rid of grease.
Fred Armisen’s favorite things; plus, Jon Hamm ditches Don Draper in his latest film about love and loss.
GE AR L AB
41 Winter Camping From sleeping bags to tents, here’s the hardy gear that will help you survive in the harshest climates.
45 Carry-On Luggage Built to last, these stress-killing bags are upgrading the travel experience. MEN’S JOURNAL
51 Smart Speakers Can you hear me? These home devices sure can. Here’s how to choose the right one for you.
54 Food Dehydrators Going paleo or going on a long hike? Make mouthwatering snacks for the trek ahead.
93 Health and Fitness The ultimate circuit workout with actor Clive Standen, the benefits of mushrooms, picking the right food-delivery service, and more.
THE L AST WORD
112 Nick Nolte The actor on getting older, drinking, and selling fake IDs.
SHANA NOVAK; TRAVIS RATHBONE; COURTESY OF WHISPER RIDGE
Get up close and personal with one of nature’s deadliest predators: the raptor.
34 We’re With Her
Discover what lies beyond.
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U S E D T O H AT E t he beach. I blame the fact that I grew up near the Jersey Shore. Not the nice parts down south— I’m talking about the area best known for Snookis, airbrushedT-shirt joints, and (back in my day) a native species called Hypodermicus needleus. These feelings really didn’t change until my wife and I went searching for that much-needed break while parenting our f irst kid. Without much knowledge of the Caribbean, we took her co-worker’s advice and headed to Anguilla, an 18-month-old baby in tow. In retrospect, it was an odd choice. Big resorts, wildly expensive but average food, and the lack of a strong indigenous culture to explore are not really my thing. But the promise of your own private piece of paradise at a reasonable price was hard to pass up. And, boy, was that spot-on. Our little hotel (more motel, really) was nothing to write home about, but it was on the kind of beach that, until that point, I had seen only in Corona commercials. And we had it basically to ourselves. Every day we’d stroll a half-mile down the perfect, white sand, dipping our feet in and out of the aquamarine water, on our way to
the nearest bit of civilization: a cozy cafe where reggae tunes were always playing and our bliss was interrupted only by the check at the end of the meal. (Twentyseven dollars for a grilled cheese!?) Once you f ind that little piece of paradise, you wind up chasing it down forever. We even considered a return to that same spot recently, but some quick research revealed exactly what I’d feared: High-rise hotels and condos had sprouted along the stretch of sand on which our baby once tottered. This year, for our annual Best Beaches feature, we decided to double down on f inding those disappearing slices of heaven. We tossed things like accessibility and price out the window. You have to hike 11 miles in the hot sun to get there? No problem. Three f lights and then a boat ride? Sign us up! The term we bandied about in the office was beach porn, and the result (“The Last Wild Sands,” page 80) highlights some seriously farf lung locales that, even if you never visit them, you’ll be glad to know exist. In addition to the beach porn, there are a ridiculous number of great reads in this issue. A highlight for me is our cover story about the ultimate guy’s guy, Gerard Butler (page 56). He took contributing editor Josh Eells on his favorite motorcycle ride into the hills above Malibu for an early-evening hike followed by a kickass feast at a local dive. Our 2018 Winter Olympics preview (page 64) goes beyond the usual drama to reveal rivalries, strange slang, social media stars, and even an MJ-designed Olympics drinking game. You’ll also find features on a way to maximize morning runs; the coziest (and most stylish) sweaters; gear that will make winter camping more enjoyable; the best smart speakers; an accessible electric car; an introduction to cooking rabbit; and beer-inspired whiskeys. I think the team here can use a vacation. At least we know where to find a good one.
GREG EMMANUEL Chief Content Officer
Park City’s Thin Air Innovation Festival is part
entrepreneurial forum, part snowsports industry summit and demo day, and part spring celebration.
Anybody lucky enough to ski Park City Mountain or Deer Valley Resort in April knows that come Spring, you can ski right on the lifts wearing a T-shirt and sunglasses and enjoy immediate seating in most restaurants. And when you get your ﬁll of sunshine cruising, there’s always ﬂyﬁshing, road cycling, and a tour of the Olympic Park to entertain you. That’s the standard spring fare in the northern Wasatch—the place feels like your own private country club. The insider move this year? Schedule your trip to coincide with the Thin Air Innovation Festival this April 5–7. A mash-up of events, open dialogues, concerts and inspirational speakers, Kevin Plank, the Founder of Under Armour® keynoted the event in 2016. Thin Air was originally conceived for tech industry types, but has grown to include ‘what’s next’ innovators across all industries, plus the outdoor athletes and mountain town entrepreneurs you’d expect in a place like Park City; dubbed the best town in America by Outside Magazine. Entering its third year, Thin Air’s alchemy expands participants’ minds in the forums and then puts that knowledge to work in the ﬁeld. An exemplary session from 2017 saw Hoby Darling, former CEO of Skullcandy®, lead a talk on how to perform under pressure. The next day, Green Beret Brian Sudler took the talk outside by leading participants in a simulated high-pressure mission at Utah Olympic Park. Says Richard Bezemer, Executive Director of Thin Air: “Given Park City’s Olympic experience, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Teams being based here, and all the amazing mountain and outdoor features, this place is a great backdrop to explore and celebrate performance… and have fun while doing so.” Turns out that’s a natural ﬁt for Snowsports Industries America (SIA) the trade group of winter sports manufacturers. This spring, SIA partners with Thin Air to offer think tanks, panels, and entertainment throughout the festival. They’ll also offer a show-stopping consumer on-snow demo to get industry types and the wider public out on next year’s gear. “We’re looking to expose industry players to an array of new thinkers and discussions in hopes of inspiring greater innovation within our industry,” says SIA President Nick Sargent. “We want to make it inclusive as opposed to exclusive; to build a larger gathering.” And a gathering it will be. One of the many highlights of Thin Air 2018 is a homecoming parade for the 100-plus Utah athletes returning from the PyeongChang Winter Games. “Talk about an Olympic legacy,” says Bill Malone, President / CEO of the Park City Chamber / Bureau and founder of Thin Air, “some of these 2018 Olympians watched the 2002 Winter Olympics here in Park City while perched on their parent’s shoulders.” Proves you never know what comes out of thin air. For additional information or to register for the Innovation Festival, visit
Do it soon, as space is limited.
Letters I really enjoyed Joseph Hooper’s take on testosterone treatments [“A Cure for Middle Age?” December 2017]. Although it’s tempting to think testosterone might have antiaging effects, it isn’t clear what the benefits and risks are. There’s controversy about the potential for heart disease and stroke. What is clear is that these supplements are not an elixir of youth. —DR. BRADLEY ANAWALT UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE
ON T HIN ICE
I read about Sam Elias’ epic climb in Iceland with great interest [“Holiday on Ice,” by Ryan Krogh, December 2017]. I teach ice climbing, and it’s a risky sport with the possibility of avalanches, though the biggest risk is getting too cold. When you’re looking up at the waterfall you’re about to summit, it can be daunting, but it’s important to focus and relax. ALAN COONEY RJUKAN, NORWAY
LEAPS AND BOUNDS Jumping rope is an awesome
workout in so many ways [“On the Ropes,” by Laura Williams, December 2017]. I would suggest using cross ropes for building strength. Jumping rope also builds overall core strength. That doesn’t mean just abs—it even helps posture. It’s definitely a good high-intensity interval training workout. CECE MARIZU NEW YORK CITY
ROCK OF AGES As a geologist, I know that the impact of first seeing Uluru is memorable [“Outback Oasis,” by Ryan Krogh, December
2017]. The desolate red center makes for a stunning view, a true visual feast. It leaves an impression that will stay in your mind forever. The sights of the surrounding area are extraordinary, too—and are essential in understanding its inﬂuence on human culture. There’s a proposed ban on climbing the rock set for 2019. I believe it should be kept open for future generations to enjoy, especially given the importance of tourism to the area. MARC HENDRICKX BEROWRA HEIGHTS, AUSTRALIA
ROOT OF THE MATTER I’m a big fan of incorporating gingerroot into diets, as Marjorie Korn recommends [“Root Relief,” December 2017]. It’s soothing, it helps
your body digest nutrients, and it’s a natural remedy. Plus, it’s tasty. SASHA BERNSTEIN SAN FRANCISCO
ROLL CALL Foam rollers can certainly be used as part of a bedtime routine and may help you fall asleep more quickly, as David Reavy suggests [“Night Moves,” December 2017]. As a certified trainer, I think they are a fantastic tool and often the entry point into working on mobility. Because you are not warming up, the best approach is a relaxing 10- to 15-minute routine, focusing on smooth and slow movements. It’s important to perform a full range of motion, too. JEFF KUHLAND LYNCHBURG, VA
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Steven Tonkinson diving into the waters of the Sermilik Fjord in eastern Greenland FEBRUARY 2018
spanning hundreds of miles, photographer Chris Burkard captured passenger Steven Tonkinson diving into the arctic waters of eastern Greenland last September. Burkard cruised from Kulusuk, in the southeast part of the country, through icy waters on a Danish sailboat, photographing glacial remnants and rugged, wind-eroded landscapes. Erratic weather patterns forced the crew to adapt to changing surroundings. “A lot can go wrong,” says Burkard, “and you never know what will happen above deck.” On a day with clearer conditions, while in the Sermilik Fjord, one of the largest in Greenland, Tonkinson volunteered to take the plunge from a nearby glacier and experience the freezing temperatures unprotected. “The water will stop your heart for a second,” says Burkard. From the boat, using a Sony a7R II camera, he captured the diver during his leap into the cold unknown. Tonkinson lasted just a few moments before heading back to the vessel. Burkard embarked on the expedition to document the overlooked area and its few-and-far-between inhabitants. “It’s full of ghost towns. The people who remain survive on whale and seal and have a resilience that should be revered.” He maintains that photographing Greenland is the highlight of his decade-long career. “It’s a fragile place,” he says. “And it allowed me to tell a story that hadn’t been told.” —JOSH OCAMPO I N E DAYS I NTO A VOYAG E
photograph by CHRIS BURKARD
No Lift, No Problem Utah’s newest “resort” is a mom-and-pop cat-skiing operation on private ranchland, where the ride up the mountain is almost as much fun as carving back down on untracked powder. by TIM SOHN
back into the waiting snowcat’s heated cab, cranked up some tunes on its speaker system, passed around snacks, and rode the 10 minutes back to the top to do it all again. This was cat skiing at Whisper Ridge, one of North America’s newest and most ambitious backcountry operations, on an almost unthinkable 60,000 private acres, with a maximum of 60 skiers per day. At night, guests crash in a remote, mountaintop yurt “village” complete with fire pits, hot tubs, home-cooked meals, and regular live music—all roughly 90 miles north of the Salt Lake City airport. Whisper Ridge, now in its third season of operation, is the brainchild of 50-year-old Dan Lockwood—a former land manager, fishing and hunting guide, and biologist—and his son, Cort, a 23-year-old MBA student at Utah State. The backcountry resort’s base, in the Wasatch’s MEN’S JOURNAL
Cat skiing is like having a private chauffeur to ferry you in heated comfort to the top of the next run—all in an effort to reach the best snow on the mountain.
COURTESY OF WHISPER RIDGE
N A S N OW -covered mountain in northeastern Utah, somewhere bet ween the towns of Eden and Paradise, I stepped out of a snowcat, clicked into my skis, and soon discovered why those names might just be warranted. The first run of the day was about 1,200 vertical feet of almost impossibly perfect, fluffy, shin-deep powder, layered over an impressive variety of terrain. A small ridge led to a wide-open face, followed by some wellspaced trees, with other drainages punctuated by little facets and snow pillows on either side. By the time the eight skiers and two guides in my group reconvened at the bottom, the verdict was unanimous: Every one of us was caked in powder and smiling widely. It was going to be a good day. And then the best part: We hopped
Cache Valley, is home to a handful of historic ranches that have mostly been owned by the same families for generations. It’s used primarily as summer range for sheep and cattle. The Lockwoods, however, looked at the massive, mountainous ranchland owned by their family and their neighbors and figured there might be a way to use those hills during the winter, too. “Cort and I would go up there riding around on snowmobiles just for fun, dropping each other off to take runs,” Lockwood says. “We started talking about the future, how to protect and preserve the ranch and open it up to other people, and we eventually decided that this seemed like a good opportunity.” Cat-skiing operations are typically small and
This season, REI is helping you brave the weather, find some motivation, and increase your outdoor know-how, all in the name of turning your â€œbutsâ€? into booyahs.
THAT’S A HELI-CALIBER RUN! I’D DO THAT EVERY DAY UNTIL I DIE. remote, offering skiers a chance to escape the crowds and descend open slopes of untracked powder. In a way, it’s like heli-skiing—without the weather delays and for about half the price. (Whisper Ridge trips start at $550 to ski and $930 for the all-inclusive yurt package.) And the cat-skiing industry has been booming lately, mirroring a rise in backcountry skiing overall. Assessing other successful operations, Lockwood quickly realized he had the prerequisites in spades: lots of space; ample, highquality snow (500-plus inches annually); and access to Utah’s deep bench of backcountrysavvy guides, many of whom jump at the chance to work for Whisper Ridge. “It’s badass,” said one guide I spoke with. “We basically get to start a ski area from scratch—cut roads, name runs, open new zones—which just doesn’t happen.” When I arrived at the 1881 trading post that serves as Whisper Ridge’s base camp, snow was falling and there was a quiver of fat skis lined up along the back wall. The next morning, six inches of fresh fluff covered the ground.
CAT SKIING NORTH AMERICA
“You’re about to have the best day of your life,” said Pat, a towering, bearded New Yorker, who had been there the previous winter. As we loaded up into the cat for our first run, the guides walked us through a safety briefing. “We should have nice skiing all day,” said the lead guide, John. And he was right. The runs kept going like that first one, each in the 1,000- to 1,300-foot vertical range, and all with the same nice rhythm, changes of pitch, well-spaced trees, and variety of features. By early afternoon, the skies had cleared, and it was obvious that this was a day for the ages—so good that I soon noticed the guides getting a little restless, gently urging us to get through the loading and unloading transitions faster so we (and they) could maximize our runs.
BALDFACE LODGE, NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA This backcountry lodge, which offers every conceivable comfort, including an in-house masseuse, is reached via helicopter and sits in the middle of 32,000 acres of pristine terrain in the Selkirk Mountains. Three-day trips start at $2,000.
BURNT MOUNTAIN CAT SKIING, SUGARLOAF, MAINE This year, Sugarloaf is debuting New England’s only true cat skiing, a side-country experience on Burnt Mountain’s 1,400 feet of vertical. And there’s no need to commit to the whole day: You can book a single cat ride, at just $20 to $30 each.
At night, crash in style at Whisper Ridge’s yurt village; during the day, tear up its 60,000 acres of terrain.
“That was a heli-caliber run!” John said after one good one. “I’d do that every day until I die.” The run of the day, called Gina’s, came midafternoon. A little longer than the others, it was accessed by traversing out a ridgeline, past a few wind-sculpted cornices, until the terrain opened up in front of us, revealing a low-angle run, followed by a section of trees, before the hillside steepened and opened. Halfway down, I stopped to take photos and soon saw Pat, who emerged from most runs with his beard caked in snow like a superstoked sasquatch, basically cartwheel off a small cliff drop, crater, and pop right back up smiling and whooping. By the end of our day, we had tallied 11 runs and nearly 14,000 vertical feet. Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ was blaring through speakers in the cat, and everyone was buzzing. “That was beautiful, wasn’t it?” John said to second guide Ryan. “I don’t know if I can liken this to anything I’ve ever done,” said an East Coaster named Marta, who had been nervous about skiing backcountry powder. “It’s like a different sport.” Later, we crossed paths with Lockwood, and I mentioned Marta’s change of outlook. “That’s one of the things I’m most proud of, if we can open up cat skiing to people who were intimidated by it,” he said. “You don’t have to be a Red Bull athlete to do this.” That night, as we packed up to depart and cracked beers, that feeling of floating in deep powder still pulsed through our legs. Pat was exultant: “I’m going to spend all my days until next winter thinking about these lines.” Q
CASCADE POWDER GUIDES, STEVEN’S PASS, WASHINGTON Just 75 miles east of Seattle, this cat operation lies deep in the Cascades on nearly 2,000 acres, with the option of overnighting in its backcountry yurts. Just be sure to plan ahead: It typically operates only 20 days a year. Rates start at $465 per day.
VOODOO MOUNTAIN, UPPER PENINSULA, MICHIGAN Launched last year, Voodoo Mountain offers 700 feet of rolling vertical terrain with stunning views of Lake Superior, which helps blanket it annually with nearly 300 inches of dry, lake-effect snow. Rates start at $150 per day.
The Raptor’s Eye Getting up close and personal with one of nature’s deadliest predators. by KEVIN COOK
Some hawks can hit 120 mph during a dive. FEBRUARY 2018
with one of nature’s fiercest predators—as well as getting a taste of the ancient sport of kings and princes. “They’re predators,” Davis tells me. “Not pets.” As he speaks, I pull a heavy leather glove— a gauntlet—over my left hand. I am pleased to note that there are no puncture holes in it, maybe just a little f lop sweat from the last beginner who tried this. I raise my gauntleted hand. The bird swoops toward me from his perch about 20 yards away, low at first. Peregrine falcons can reach 200 mph in f light, while some hawks dive at 120 mph. (Falcons are smaller and quicker than their cousins the hawks, with pointy wings and a notched beak, but the sport is called falconry, either way.) Fortynine tops out at about 60 with a tailwind but looks faster, skimming the grass of a meadow before rising to land on my wrist. I expected him to weigh more. With his hollow bones, he tips the scales at just 630 grams, a little less than a pound and a half, a tenth of the
weight of a good-size house cat. His yellow talons give a squeeze I can feel through the glove. Those claws can exert up to 250 pounds per square inch, more than double what most men can muster—enough force to crush bone. But 49 is holding back. “He’s getting used to you,” Davis tells me. The bird is two years old and has been training to tolerate humans—the process is called “manning”—since shortly after he reached maturity at 10 weeks. Hawks kill by squeezing and tearing the life out of their prey; their falcon cousins kill the way cats do—say, by severing a victim’s spinal cord with a bite to the back of the neck. If a raptor catches a duck, he’ll crack its skull with his beak to get at a favorite treat, the brain. Forty-nine perches on my wrist, his black eyes deep as camera lenses. “His vision’s sharper than ours,” says Davis. “What we see, he sees five times bigger in three times more detail.” And he can detect ultraviolet light, so the urine trail of a small mammal looks to him like it’s glowing. It’s not every day you commune with such an apex predator. You wouldn’t want a tiger or a great white shark jumping onto your wrist, but, like them, 49 kills in a style people have admired for at least 3,500 years. We spent part of our history as scavengers, watching raptors nab prey. “We probably followed them and
Where master falconers teach the ancient sport of kings.
Hawks see three times more detail than humans do.
stole their kill,” Davis says. Kleptoparasitism, he calls it—with us as the parasites. Davis, 63, was the first falconer in America to be licensed to take civilians on hunts and training runs. It took the upstate New York native more than a decade of training to become a master falconer—the Jedi elite of the roughly 4,000 licensed falconers in America. He uses a Hindu word, darshan, meaning “in the presence,” to describe his time with birds like 49. “It’s a way into an experience that is ancient. And vast,” he says. Darshan can also mean “meeting a deity,” and there’s something to the word that fits. The hawk’s onyx eye is a window into whatever it was that created his species and ours. Looking at the bird on my arm, I wonder what he is thinking. Does he think at all? An animal’s mind is a black box to us. But whether 49 thinks or just acts, there’s a badass genius to him. Want proof? Try this: In addition to mice, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, snails, worms, and just about anything else with blood, raptors prey on snakes, including poisonous snakes. When he goes after a rattlesnake, the hawk lands a few feet from the rattler. He steps closer and spreads his wings, giving the snake a target three feet wide. Unless the snake is really lucky, it bites feathers. The hawk then steps on its neck, pinning it to the ground. He eats part of the rattler alive, carefully avoiding the venom sacs in the head. He f lies off with his squirming meal, the snake trailing behind him like the tail of a kite. Q
New England Falconry
The Falconry Experience
Green Mountain Falconry School
Travel Back in Time To save an ancient Chinese village, a hotelier envisioned it as upscale lodging—and moved the whole thing, along with its own forest, 500 miles away. by J.R. SULLIVAN AMANYANGYUN SHANGHAI, CHINA
COURTESY OF AMAN (2)
Shanghai, China’s most populous city, long ago embraced industrialization, retaining few traces of its agrarian roots. Beginning in the early 2000s, however, entrepreneur Ma Dadong started to change that, by relocating 50 antique homes and 10,000 indigenous camphor trees—threatened by a new dam—500 miles from the rural countryside to just outside downtown Shanghai. This January saw the culmination of his work with the opening of Amanyangyun, a luxury resort that is surrounded by the transplanted forest and incorporates elements of the 400-year-old reclaimed dwellings. The retreat’s 26 villas harken back to precolonial times with their lush courtyards and faithfully restored exteriors. But the resort isn’t stuck in the past. It boasts a 30,500-square-foot spa; locally inspired fine dining; minimal, contemporary interiors; private swimming pools; and more. You can stroll through the forest at dawn, play golf after lunch, and then finish the day with a cocktail in the cigar lounge. Who says you have to feel trapped in another century to soak in some ancient history?
CORSAIR DISTILLERY Citra Double IPA The beer-influenced Nashville distillery brews a strong double IPA with tropical, zesty Citra hops, then distills it to 92 proof. $70
HOUSE SPIRITS DISTILLERY Westward American Single Malt Oregon’s House distillery uses ale yeast from nearby Breakside Brewery to ferment this whiskey, then ages it in charred oak barrels for at least three years. $80
WIGLE WHISKEY Malty Bære This Pittsburgh whiskey gets its notes of cinnamon and tropical fruit from wild yeast captured by area brewery Draai Laag. $34
NEW HOLLAND ARTISAN SPIRITS Beer Barrel Bourbon The combo brewerydistillery first ages its corn-rich spirit in fresh oak barrels, then finishes it in casks that previously aged its caramel-rich Dragon’s Milk stout. $40 ARCANE DISTILLING Lone Wolf Interboro Whiskey Brooklyn’s Arcane vacuum-distills IPAs and sours from cultish NYC breweries like Grimm Artisanal Ales to create intensely aromatic whiskeys like this one. $65
Under the Inﬂuence The latest inspiration for a new generation of bourbons and whiskeys? Beer. by JOSHUA M. BERNSTEIN
starts its life as “distiller’s beer”—aka wash— that’s fashioned from water, grains, and yeast. That same trifecta is also beer’s foundation. The drinks diverge when the wash is distilled (instead of simply fermented), then woodaged, slowly developing its trademark notes of vanilla and oak. By adding aromatic hops like Australia’s melon-like Galaxy before distilling, as Nashville’s Corsair distillery does, or transforming a chocolaty porter into 94-proof, slow-sipping whiskey, as Oregon’s Bendistillery does, modern distilleries are creating a compelling twist on the age-old category. Westward MEN’S JOURNAL
American Single Malt, from Portland, Oregon’s House Spirits Distillery, is fermented with the same yeast strain made famous by Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. “It has a much closer relationship to beer than Scotch,” says founder Christian Krogstad. At Brooklyn’s Arcane Distilling, David Kyrejko transforms cultish New York City brews into striking, limited-edition spirits by distilling them at low temperatures. “With care,” says Kyrejko, “a beer whiskey incorporates the best that the beer has to offer and really bridges the two genres.” It also brings new meaning to the phrase “a shot and a beer.”
photograph by JOHNNY MILLER
PROP STYLING BY RANDI BROOKMAN HARRIS; LIQUID STYLING BY REBECCA JURKEVICH FOR EDGE REPS
O D E R N B R E W E R S reg ularly dabble in distilleries’ toolsheds, aging rich stouts and barley wines in onetime whiskey and bourbon barrels. Now distillers are turning the tables and producing beer-inspired whiskeys: seasoning them with citrusy hops for a subtle, fruity kick; using ale yeast to give them extra richness; and even distilling IPAs into a hoppy, fragrant liquor. The coupling is hardly crazy when you consider that whiskey and beer are basically fraternal twins. Whiskey
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Down the Rabbit Hole W
ULTIMATE INGREDIENT GARLIC Don’t be a weenie about it. My ratio is one clove for every person, plus one extra for the pot. I have a recipe for boudin that has four cups of garlic. I had to measure it for the cookbook—holy shit, that’s 100 cloves of garlic!
Cajun Education ILLUSTRATIONS BY DANILO AGUTOLI
BASIC RECIPE EVERY MAN SHOULD MASTER
They are the numb lamb with red wine, tom any anchovies, but you’ll ge you won’t be able to tell what it is.
te ound, and
VINAIGRETTE Every person should know how to make vinaigrette. My wife tells me I make the best salads, and it’s because I’m a lover of acid and vinegars—I have 30 vinegars in my pantry right now. The old-school ratio of three parts oil to one part vinegar isn’t right for me; I usually go one-to-one. I want the acid to reach up and punch me in the mouth.
PORTRAIT: DENNY CULBERT/COURTESY OF ISAAC
Before his restaurants, Toups South and Toups Meatery, became Crescent City classics, Isaac Toups—author of the new cookbook Chasing the Gator—grew up in a culinary boot camp deep in Cajun country, learning to hunt, shuck, fish, and really, really love garlic.
Â© 2017 COORS BREWING CO., GOLDEN, CO
MAKE IT YOURSELF SAUSAGE It doesn’t have to be intimidating. Any good butcher will grind the meat for you. Then find a recipe and keep it simple. Pick a couple of flavors and put a lot of each one in there. Put in a shit ton of garlic and a shit ton of peppers, add a little bit of beer, mix it up real well. You don’t even have to pipe it out. Make little sausage patties. People will be like, “I hear you make sausage,” and you’re like, “Yeah, sure I can.”
A Meaty Crunch to Satisfy His Wild Side
SNACK ON THIS
PEDEN + MUNK
PORK CRACKLINGS Sometimes after work I’ll grab a bag of Manda Hot & Spicy at the gas station, get home, drink some French rosé straight from the bottle, and watch TV. It’s kind of weird to admit, but I really like prison shows.
COCKTAIL HOUR BOURBON I always keep two kinds of bourbon on hand. Something nice for sipping, like Jefferson’s Ocean, which is cure sea, so it’s got a little bit of that terroir, a salinity th you don’t find in bourbons. I don’t want to waste good stuff, so after I’ve had something nice, I utility whiskey. Right now, I’m drinking a lot Houston. It’s fantastic and economical.
ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOL
With more of the meat and none of the grains, BLUE Wilderness Trail Treats® satisfy your dog’s wild side with the real duck, salmon or turkey he loves.
THERMOMETER Everyone should buy a really good thermometer. I use a Thermapen—it’s very fast, accurate, and waterproof. You can stick it in a large roast to make sure the meat isn’t overcooked. Same for sausage, which is great at 155 degrees but dry at 175. Little details make a big difference.
InSiDe, e’S A oLf
©2018 Blue Buffalo Co., Ltd.
o n To LoVe eAt.
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The Intelligent Earplugs might be one of the many who suffer restless nights. Bose is trying to solve that with its Noise-Masking Sleepbuds, which block rowdy neighbors and snoring partners and play soothing sounds to help you nod off. An alarm can be set so you won’t oversleep. $249; bose.com
The Racer’s Watch
A Portable Pour
Fifty years ago, Burt Munro set the under-1,000cc speed record, hitting 184 mph on an Indian motorcycle. On the anniversary, Indian and Baume & Mercier released the Clifton Club Indian Limited Edition Watch, including Munro’s lucky number, 35, in the seconds counter and Indian’s headdress logo engraved on the back. $3,750; baume-et-mercier.com
We ve seen travel-size espresso makers before, but Leverpresso eliminates the hassle of pumping a tiny piston dozens of times. Add grounds in the bottom chamber and boiling-hot water in the top, then simply raise and gently push down on the two levers to create the right amount of pressure for a perfect shot. $99; leverpresso.com
EV for the Everyman
steely momentum, upgrades its tech, lengthens its range, and lowers its price. And just as important: Its looks have been de-geeked. The high, round headlights and awkward hood bulge are gone, replaced with sharper, wider projector-beam headlights and an angular grille. See one on the street and you won’t assume its driver will emerge wearing a pocket protector.
turned on a smart cruise-control system that matched the speed of traffic ahead, braking to a complete stop in inevitable jams. Unlike some competitive setups, it stays centered in the lane with fluid, near-imperceptible steering corrections rather than slight jerks. But it wouldn’t let us nap during the drive: You have to maintain a light touch on the wheel for it to work.
both on price. Our loaded test car—the SL trim, with all-around cameras, a sweet stereo, leather-trimmed seats, and those driver assists—would cost just under 30 grand after the current $7,500 tax credit. That’s comparable to a bare-bones Bolt or Model 3 stripped. If the range gives you anxiety, wait: A more powerful Leaf with a larger battery is rumored to arrive later this year. MEN’S JOURNAL
The cockpit is quirky: Its gear selector is joysticklike, and the displays mix a digital touchscreen with an old-school speedometer. FEBRUARY 2018
Thick Is In The chunky wool sweater isnâ€™t just for hiding under a ski jacket. These refined versions will keep you warm and still look good in winterâ€™s worst.
STYLING BY PETER TRAN FOR ART DEPARTMENT
STYLE & DESIGN
Smart Look Albert Einstein’s signature jacket has been painstakingly reproduced by Levi’s Vintage Clothing. by JUSTIN FENNER
photograph by TRAVIS RATHBONE
How smart was Albert Einstein? One of the first things he purchased after coming to the United States in 1933 was an unlined brown leather jacket by Levi’s. A colleague at Princeton University once wrote that it “solved [his] coat problem for years.” Einstein wore it so often while enjoying a pipe of tobacco that when Christie’s auction house sold it in July 2016, curators noted that it still smelled like smoke. Levi’s Vintage Clothing bought the jacket, and its designers have now released a limited edition of 500 replicas. Each one comes with a bottle of fragrance by D.S. & Durga that blends the smells of pipe tobacco, papyrus manuscript, and vintage leather. Will wearing it make you think like a genius? That’s relative. (Menlo Cossack jacket, $1,200; levis.com) MEN’S JOURNAL
Cyborg Cycling Helmet 4/
Dry-Clean Only 2
ALTERNA CAVIAR SHEER DRY SHAMPOO $25
2 ORIBE DRY TEXTURIZING SPRAY $46
3 OUAI DRY SHAMPOO $24
4 R+CO BADLANDS DRY SHAMPOO PASTE $28
WE’RE WITH HER
Gillian Anderson Returning to play Agent Dana Scully in Fox’s X-Files reboot, the actress talks about what’s changed, what hasn’t, and why she’s looking forward to the old-age home. by SAR AH Z . WEXLER
You started playing Scully in 1993, when you were just 25. Does it feel different all these years later? I don’t think the role is any different—the writers are writing Scully as they always wrote Scully. But I have changed, and I think that naturally she would change, too. Women change when they get older, and so part of what this season has been about has been figuring out how to play Scully and still retain elements of her personality, even if most of the elements of her personality wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate for an adult to express. Like what? There was a lot of eye rolling. She had a very nonchalant attitude with Mulder. How do you maintain that dynamic between the two of them, while at the same time honoring the fact that she’s a full-grown woman now? How do women change as they get older? Do you think there’s a softening that happens? I think it’s the other way around. Maybe we soften when we get into our 60s and 70s, but I think at my age, a lot of women harden. You have history and pain behind you. You’ve experienced loss and anger and frustration and sadness. You’re turning 50 this year—does it feel how you thought it would? I’m not sure I ever projected forward to what it might feel like to be a 50-year-old. I definitely didn’t think the signs of aging, like wrinkling and going gray, would happen to me. But in a way, getting older and being in a care home has always been incredibly appealing to me. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say she was looking forward to an old-age home. I work, I run, and I do and I do. I like the idea of actually being in a place where you can’t do that. There’s bridge and bingo. Somebody prepares the food for you. You can read books, and it’s acceptable to do those things. I have always had a hard time 034
giving myself permission to do those things amidst my busy life. A lot of what I do is selfish. It’s just doing for the sake of being busy.
Facebook or Instagram or Twitter on my phone, because if I did, I wouldn’t be able to control myself.
Why do you stay so busy? I don’t really have any hobbies. To me, a hobby would be just allowing myself to read a novel, as opposed to a script or working in some way. When I’m not with my kids [Piper, 23; Oscar, 11; Felix, 9], there’s always lines to memorize, a script to read, or there’s material to research on a character that I’ll be playing in 2019. I have to constantly work at pulling myself back and allow myself to do an hour of yoga. There’s a part of me that’s still a child who needs to be reined in, pulled around with one of those leashes.
We know scrolling social media makes us feel bad, but we can’t stop doing it. Everything out there is going to look better than where one is. I’m posting a picture on Instagram of me smiling on set on The X-Files, but that’s not an indication of anything. That doesn’t even mean I’m happy. Who knows what’s going on at home in London: how much I’m miss-
Are there any women in your field who you think get it right? I don’t know her at all, but I love Tilda Swinton and the choices she makes—she develops relationships with filmmakers and often works with them again and again. And yet her home life is separate from the world of the industry and is full and fulfilling—it seems to me, from the outside, that she’s got a really good balance. And Frances McDormand I love. I think she chooses very, very carefully the films that she does. How do you find that balance? I try not to be away from my kids for more than three weeks. I’ll go back to London, even if it’s just for three or four nights, just so that three weeks doesn’t extend into six weeks. How do you make the most of your time when you are home? It’s about looking at how we spend our time, how we spend our money, what are the things that will fill us so much more than Instagram and Facebook—which are at our fingertips and so hard to pull away from but actually leave us feeling like our lives are empty and we have a gaping hole in our stomachs. I don’t have MEN’S JOURNAL
I DON’T HAVE FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER ON MY PHONE. IF I DID, I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO CONTROL MYSELF. ing my children, whether one of them is sick, how powerless I feel in that, or what’s happening on set. None of it is an indication of anything real. I think a lot of people feel that way about social media, but we assume that celebrities don’t, because your lives are awesome. There are some ver y, ver y unhappy wealthy people out there. You’ve been in the public eye for a long time, but what’s something most people still don’t know about you? If I get nervous during interviews, it looks like I’m not enjoying myself, like I’m very serious and grumpy. And I am those things, but most of the time I’m also really silly, really goofy, and really clumsy. I’m not one or two things—I’m 25 things. Q
photograph by NICK HADDOW
The Ride of Their Lives
Three real-life American heroes, the stars of Clint Eastwood’s new film, The 15:17 to Paris, reveal how they risked it all to prevent a terrorist attack. by J.R. SULLIVAN
GUNSHOT RANG OUT IN
contemplated what he might do if ever confronted by terrorists, and he’d committed to a plan: “I’d just get up and go beat that guy’s ass.” So when he saw the man in the back of the train, he didn’t hesitate to act: “It was either sit here and get shot or get up and try to do something.” He took off down the aisle. Until that point, the train ride from Amsterdam to Paris that August evening in 2015 had been unremarkable; in fact, Stone had been asleep until the commotion woke him. He was traveling with Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, whom he’d known since middle school back home in Sacramento,
California. At the time, Stone was stationed in Portugal with the Air Force, and Skarlatos had just completed a deployment in Afghanistan with the National Guard; together, they’d arranged to meet Sadler, a college senior, for a European vacation. Before the gunman entered the train car, the most intense experience the friends had shared was the airsoft battles they waged as kids. What they did next, though, would make international news, as well as inspire Clint Eastwood’s new film, The 15:17 to Paris, in theaters this month. Sprinting down the aisle, Stone knew full well that at any moment the gunman could
Spencer Stone (left) and Anthony Sadler chat up director Clint Eastwood on the set of The 15:17 to Paris, about the 2015 Thalys train attack.
COURTESY OF © 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC./KEITH BERNSTEIN
Skarlatos (left), Stone, and Sadler attend an awards ceremony at the Penta-
FROM TOP: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES; PARIS MATCH VIA GETTY IMAGES
gon in September 2015.
level the rifle at him, and then that would be it. Game over. But when the attacker did aim at Stone, a shot never followed. Stone slammed into the man, dropping a knee and lowering his head, just like in football. The pair crashed to the floor. “I was just, like, ‘Oh my God, I’m still alive. We have a chance,’ ” Stone says. “I was completely shocked.” The bullet was faulty, he later learned. Stone has relived the moment he bounded down the aisle many times in the two years since the attack. And now he, Sadler, and Skarlatos play themselves in the upcoming film about the incident, a bold decision by Eastwood, given they had zero acting experience. “I mean, Clint thought we could do it, so that definitely gave us the confidence to even say yes,” Skarlatos says. Eastwood even discouraged them from taking acting classes beforehand. “You don’t want to do that, because then it will look like you’re acting,” Skarlatos recalls him saying. Stone says he enjoyed the filming process but acknowledges that re-creating what happened was strange. “I’d have mini-f lashbacks because it felt so real,” he says. On the train that evening, Skarlatos and Sadler hardly had time to react before Stone took off, and they quickly followed behind him. “Right when I got there, the terrorist pulls out a handgun,” Skarlatos says. He pried the gun from the man’s hand and also grabbed the Kalashnikov. Then, Stone, continuing to struggle with the attacker, heard Skarlatos cry out: “He’s got a knife! He’s got a knife!” It was actually a box cutter, and he slashed at Stone, holding him from behind. “He was trying to slit my throat and put two long slashes on the back of my neck,” Stone says. The attacker sliced his thumb to the bone, nearly taking it off. But with all the adrenaline, Stone hardly noticed: “I was just trying to kill him. It was, Either he’s going to die, or I am.” Sadler and Skarlatos began to beat the attacker, but he broke loose from Stone. “He was trying to fight for his life because he didn’t expect anybody to get up, either,” Sadler says. The friends caught a break when the attacker dropped the blade. They slammed him against a table. “I put the handgun against his head, and I’m, like, ‘Stop resisting, stop resisting,’ ” Skarlatos says. “I pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t go off.” It was empty; the magazine had likely fallen out during the initial struggle. Stone was able to put the man in a good choke hold, however, and Skarlatos hit him until he fell unconscious. It was only then that the friends noticed a Frenchman named Mark Moogalian had been wounded in the neck a few feet away and was spewing blood across the aisle. He’d been shot when the attacker first entered the train car. A paramedic, Stone stuck his fingers in Moogalian’s neck and stopped the bleeding. But even then, with the next train stop still a
STONE KNEW FULL WELL THAT AT ANY MOMENT THE GUNMAN COULD LEVEL THE RIFLE AT HIM, AND THEN THAT WOULD BE IT. GAME OVER.
Law enforcement detained Moroccan Ayoub el-Khazzani, who later confessed to having ties to terror cells and to having received weapons training in Syria.
half-hour away, he doubted Moogalian would make it. “I asked him if he wanted to say a prayer, because he had lost so much blood,” Stone says. Moogalian did survive, however, and the friends’ heroism saved not just him but many more passengers that day. The attacker MEN’S JOURNAL
was later identified as 25-year-old Ayoub elKhazzani and was linked to a Belgian terror cell. News of their bravery catapulted the three friends from typical 20-somethings to national heroes, and now to movie stars. On his decision to make The 15:17 to Paris, Eastwood says he admired how Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos were just three regular guys who took remarkable action when confronted by evil. He was also drawn to their enthusiasm, he says, which is why he chose to cast them in the film. “We saw a number of very good actors for the job, but I kept looking at the faces of these boys, and it struck me that it could be an interesting experiment,” he says. After the film hits theaters, Stone, for one, hopes to continue acting. “It was the funnest two months of my life, so if I could do that the rest of my life, I’m cool with it,” he says. The experience has not been without difficulties, though. It’s bizarre, Stone says, knowing that, at still such a young age, he’ll likely never top what he did on the train that day. “Sometimes it kind of feels like we did the best thing that we’ll probably ever do,” he says. “Now I’m just trying to figure out ways to make sure I’m not wasting the life that we’ve been given, because we all know that these attacks happen all the time and usually not with this result.” Q FEBRUARY 2018
recovers the body of a man, dead from exposure in the August heat. When Cantú later takes a desk job, collecting and disseminating intelligence reports, he receives daily emails containing photos of dismembered corpses, men skinned alive, and a decapit ate d he ad—t he ha nd iwork of Mexican cartels. “I sort of felt like I knew what I was stepping into, but I was really naïve about how the individual interactions DESERT DISPATCHES would affect me,” he says. Woven into t he stor y are explanations of the historical factors that have made the border such a hellscape for crossers. In the 1990s, bureaucrats assumed that if the U.S. cracked down on easy crossing points in border towns, migrants wouldn’t gamble on trying to traverse the desert, given the extreme conditions. But that proved a miscalculation. Between 2000 and A truck cruises 2016, the Border Patrol recorded along the U.S.– the deaths of more than 6,000 Mexico border people trying to f lee Mexico. in the rugged “We’re weaponizing the landscrublands. scape with our current policy,” Cantú says. “There’s a humanitarian crisis that’s happening on our own soil, and we’re not really talking about it at the level we should be.” Despite the death and heartache, Cantú was struck by how routine the job became. “The training process is really set up so that these extraordinary things seem normal,” he says. In the book, the men he works with laugh about an agent who, late one night, accidentally runs over a Native American, passed out drunk in the road. Later, while on patrol, Cantú and two other agents see a group of migrants scatter in the brush. He watches as the other agents In a candid memoir, a former U.S. border agent reveals the bitter slash the water bottles and piss on the food and realities of patrolling, and crossing, the desert. by J. R . SULLIVAN clothes left behind, to discourage them from continuing once they emerge from hiding. Cantú wonders how he might one day explain what he has seen. He’d promised his mother that he wasn’t going to become someone else once he joined the Patrol, but it’s inevitable. RANCISCO CANTÚ STARTED his teeth falling out, and once of killing a boy In time, Cantú’s dreams and conscience to dream about f inding in a shoot-out. “It was kind of like my own become too much to bear. He quits the Patrol bodies in the desert. He subconscious shaking me and being like, ‘You and returns to civilian life. But the border still had joined the U.S. Borare not OK. This is not normal.’ ” haunts him. In the end, he realizes that the der Patrol in 2008, right Cantú spent three and a half abnormal issues at play in the borderlands are far more after f inishing college, to years with the Border Patrol, an experience fraught and complex than he imagined. He experience working in the scrublands of the he chronicles in his new memoir, The Line wrote his memoir to make sense of what he Southwest. He was also f luent in Spanish Becomes a River. The book follows his progressaw and explain why his time with the Patrol and the descendant of Mexican immigrants; sion from an American University student, only complicated the questions he had about he would be well-positioned, he thought, to obsessed with knowing more about the border the region. “I don’t want people to come help the men, women, and children who too after studying it in school, to an agent trying away from the book feeling like they have an often met harsh fates while crossing to the to reckon with the suffering he comes to witanswer for any of this,” he says. “So, when you U.S. But the realities of the job soon began to ness. Soon after completing his training, he hear people giving these simple solutions, or weigh on him. He detained refugees, squared realizes just how grueling the conditions are these rhetorical suggestions that somehow off against drug runners, and chased families for the migrants trying to cross. He finds a building a wall will fix this issue, or someon foot. “I felt like I was dealing with everyyoung man wailing in the desert, abandoned how this one bill is going to fix it, I hope that thing fine,” he says. Then he would dream by the smugglers he’d hired to get him to the people smell that that’s off.” Q of discovering corpses in the brush, and of U.S., and left with only a half-liter of water. He
Boundary Issues F
DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
APPAREL Every grown man should have a light jacket for working around the house or running errands. I’m partial to my green Army jacket. It’s just nice and simple. You don’t want to look like you’re slumming it or like you’re making a statement. But you also don’t want to seem too formal. An Army jacket is easy—and almost benign in a good way.
FILM I keep coming back to Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon’s Vacation as an example of what comedy should try to achieve; the jokes just hold up so well. I love the scene when John Candy, who plays a security guard, tells the Griswolds that the amusement park is closed. The way his eyebrows move and hand shoots up is so amusing and timeless.
HOME My favorite thing in my living room is a Joe Coleman print. Coleman does these detailed portraits that are all kind of dark and beautiful. And if you look really closely at them, there are words and faces painted into the image. Mine is of Harry Houdini. I’m not into magic, but it includes all these little details about his family history that I find really interesting.
PODCAST There’s a fantastic new podcast about Hüsker Dü called Dü You Remember? It interviews all three members of the band, which hasn’t been done since they broke up, in 1988. I was unaware of how hard they had to work, being from Minneapolis, to get noticed. —AS TOLD TO J.R. SULLIVAN
A MOUNTAINEER’S MEMOIR
PORTRAIT: MEREDITH JENKS/TRUNKARCHIVE.COM. FILM: COURTESY OF OBSCURED PICTURES
JON HAMM CLEANS HOUSE If you can’t take it with you, what happens to all the stuff you’ve left behind? That’s the question driving director Mark Pellington’s new film, Nostalgia. Jon Hamm plays Will, a divorced sports-memorabilia broker who earns his living by convincing bereaved family members to cash in their loved ones’ treasures. Will’s life is upended when his aging parents move to Florida, and he’s forced to clean out his childhood home. Though he makes his living appraising heirlooms, he’s unsentimental about the artifacts of his own life, unable to understand why his sister (Catherine Keener) wants to put any of them in storage. But a tragedy forces him to realize that all this clutter—old records, handwritten letters, dogeared paperbacks—actually amounts to a lot more than stuff to be sold at auction or simply thrown out. It’s heavy stuff, for sure. But Nostalgia is full of insights that hit all men of a certain age. And that’s thanks mostly to Hamm, who inhabits the role of Will as completely as he did Don Draper in Mad Men. Death is a common theme in movies, but few films address what family and friends go through after the funeral. Nostalgia helps make sense of all the mess. —J.R.S. MEN’S JOURNAL
YOUR BODY YOUR HOPE
Northern Exposure winter camping gets right to the essence of why we love the outdoors. In cold weather, the bugs and the crowds are gone, and where they do exist, a short jaunt in snowshoes can take you to a place where silence reigns. Even if you’re just car camping, there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from setting up in the snow and surviving a
WHILE IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE PUNISHMENT TO SOME,
night (or more) away from the safety of the thermostat. But to do so, you need the right clothing, plus a sleeping bag and tent that can survive severe weather and help you deal with the fewer daylight hours. Luckily, the newest gear makes it easier than ever before to stay both warm and dry. When the sun sets, you’ll be glad you packed these essentials. — JESSE WILL
photograph by JASON HATFIELD
2/ BETTER ANKLE ARMOR Once snow gets into your boot and dampens your socks, it’s hard to recover. Prevent the seemingly inevitable with REI Co-Op Alpine Gaiters, which cinch tightly around your boots and rely on a dense nylon weave to fend off snow. The tall cut prevents your pants from getting caked in ice. (And in summer you can use them to beat off thorns during a bushwhack.) $70; rei.com
1 / CONSIDER YOUR LOCATION
1 / THE POLAR PARKA Once you’ve made it into the wild, you need to stay warm when you’re not moving. The Patagonia Grade VII Down Parka is designed for peak-conquering alpinists at altitude. Its high-loft construction and 800-fill down maintain a toasty core, while a baffled hood and pockets sandwiched by insulation protect your head and extremities from subzero temps. $899; patagonia.com
2 / DRINK WATER 3/ THE GLAREKILLING SPECS
3/ WEAR GOGGLES
4/ CONSIDER A BASE CAMP 5/ A BASE LAYER BUILT TO LAST
The Vasque Coldspark Ultradry boots are purpose-built for winter adventures. Well-insulated, waterproof uppers can tackle a multiday trip, but their low price makes them a worthy pickup if you’re just planning on an occasional snow-day hike. As with snow tires, the boot’s outsoles are designed to provide traction in cold temperatures. $140; vasque.com
PREVIOUS PAGE: TANDEM STOCK
4/ THE DOGS OF WINTER
To keep you comfortable on the move and at rest, the Mountain Hardwear Kinetic Tight uses a wool layer next to the skin to wick sweat and an outer layer of synthetic material. Unlike pure-wool base layers, which tend to shrink or tear over time, the Kinetic’s construction will stand up to seasons of abuse. $130; mountainhardwear.com
6/ A SUPERFLY TENT
8/ A BRISK BUILDER Made for avalanche r the aluminum PIEPS C 660 also serves as great tool for building snow shelter or snow kitchen, thanks to its ergonomic handle an weight (1 lb, 7 oz). Th telescoping handle m it easy to pack, too. $ pieps.com
9/ THE DUALTEMP BAG Buy the add-on liner for the Kammok Thylacine Down Sleeping Bag to improve its rating to zero degrees Fahrenheit. That puts its price (and rating) on a par with arctic expedition–worthy bags, but you’ll get more mileage out of it since you can remove the liner for warm trips. From $528 for both; kammok.com
7/ THE EASY-HAULING PACK No matter how accustomed you are to strippeddown backpacking in summer, the reality is you’ll need more (and bulkier and heavier) gear on a cold-weather trip. The Osprey Aether Pro 70 hauls a load easily but doesn’t add any more weight than necessary, thanks to details like its ultralight but weather-beating ripstop fabric. $375; osprey.com
11/ THE WARMER SLEEPING PAD
10/ THE SIMPLER HEADLAMP
In summer, sleeping pads are largely a matter of comfort; in winter, they’re downright essential to prevent the frozen ground (or snowpack) from chilling you to the bone. The Therm-A-Rest NeoAir All Season SV packs small, inflates quickly, and reflects lost heat back to your body. From $160; thermarest.com MEN’S JOURNAL
The S-Line is a cross between a snowshoe and a ski. The twisted “wings” on the decking mounts act as crampons so you can climb uphill efficiently, while its long, narrow design allows you to glide along flat ground and descents. fabersnowshoes.com
Perfect for icy slopes, these shoes have a steel-blade frame and aggressive crampons for unmatched traction. A simple yet secure strap binding locks them to your boots at the perfect walking angle. msrgear.com
Model 120 Laser
This is the smallest pair we tested for running fast on snow. The aircraftgrade aluminum frame keeps weight in check, while the modular design lets you choose the bindings and cleat that fit your needs. dionsnowshoes.com
We appreciated this model’s wide deck and exceptional flotation when pushing deep into the northern Rockies with a heavy pack. Steel cleats bite into ice but don’t get clumped up in wet snow. tubbssnowshoes.com
The Spindrift’s molded-polymer decking is well-suited for long, quick treks. The 25-inch model (it comes in three lengths) kept a 200-pound tester atop the snow to the summit of Mount St. Helens. atlassnowshoes.com
JOHNATHAN A. ESPER/AURORA PHOTOS
Whether you’re trekking into a backcountry campsite or running on snow-covered trails, these lightweight frames and no-fuss bindings will help you stay afloat.
Roller Bags Built to Last Whatever your travel style, there’s a great new stress-killing carry-on for you. by JESSE WILL
Tarmac Carry-On EAGLE CREEK
No one matches Eagle Creek for its laser-sharp focus on organization. The Tarmac is no different, stuffed with easy-to-access pockets and features like a strap for your coat—which can be key on a layover or when you’re traveling between climates. eaglecreek.com
Platinum Magna 2 21" Expandable Spinner Suiter TRAVELPRO
STYLING BY PETER TRAN FOR ART DEPARTMENT
For day-in, day-out travel, this is your carry-on: It’s free of visual flash but will serve you well for years, thanks to a sturdy build, just-right size (50 liters), and straight-tracking magnetic wheels. travelpro.com
Transcend VX Wide Carry-On Expandable Spinner
We were skeptical about “smart luggage” until a recent trip found us searching for a place to charge a dead phone at baggage claim just to hail a ride. The A22 solves that via an onboard battery that holds up to five charges—two USB ports are hidden near its handle. An app lets you track the bag’s location and even check its weight. Plus, it’s a well-crafted case with caster wheels generally reserved for pricier luggage. raden.com
photograph by TRAVIS RATHBONE
BRIGGS & RILEY
A wider body means more stowage for your stuff: Fully expanded, the Transcend fits 60 liters, its handle stealing no room inside. Yet it’s still easy to fit into an international flight’s overhead bins. briggs-riley.com FEBRUARY 2018
Keen “The Slater” Waterproof Boot
Waterproof Duck Boot
Sure, you could schlep through the city in a pair of rubber-toe duck boots
bed is a bonus. keenfootwear.com
by CLINT CARTER
3 Danner Vertigo 917
4 Forsake Duck
At just over a pound each, the 917s could almost pass as gym shoes. And indeed theyâ€™re designed for guys on the
These are for guys who live on the edge of the city, where muddy scrambles and dirty snow piles impede the path to work. The outsole has flat lugs for secure footing on sidewalks and
1 A-2T Vintage BERTUCCI
With an affordable quartz movement, the A2-T isn’t likely to be worn under a tux like Bond’s Omega. But for checking the time while chopping some wood, the 1.9-ounce watch with nylon Zulu strap gets the job done. bertucciwatches.com
2 Pelagos TUDOR
The Pelagos is loaded with cool elements: “snowflake” hands, first used in 1969; luminous markers to read the whole watch in the dark; and even a helium escape valve so the crystal won’t blow out if you test its 500-meter depth rating. tudorwatch.com
3 Titanium Auto HAMILTON
Hamilton’s Khaki Field collection has a cult following: Obsessive watch collector John Mayer cites it as one of his favorites. With a blackedout PVD coating, this is the stealthiest, if not smallest, of our top titanium watches. hamiltonwatch.com
4 Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial OMEGA
Introduced in steel 60 years ago, the classic gets modern materials: Its bezel is polished ceramic, and its case and bracelet are made of a commercial-level alloy of titanium, aluminum, vanadium, and iron. omegawatches.com
5 Model 247 Ti-GMT BREMONT
Half the weight of steel, titanium resists corrosion, is hypoallergenic, and is perfect for today’s sporty watches. by CHRIS WRIGHT
Inspired by a twin-engined Boeing airliner from the ’30s, the 247 uses aviation-grade titanium alloy in its case, crown, and chronographpushers—which are spiralengraved, reminiscent of an airplane’s screw props. bremont.com
photograph by TRAVIS RATHBONE
STYLING BY PETER TRAN FOR ART DEPARTMENT
Winter’s Unsung Layer
You require more than a shell or a puffy to stay comfortable during a day on the mountain. The right midlayer can make or break a great day outdoors—and pull double duty as the only jacket you’ll need come spring. by BERNE BROUDY
Ventrix THE NORTH FACE
The Ventrix has perforations under the arms and across the upper back that dump heat when you get too hot. But even worn solo, it held up to very chilly weather. thenorthface.com
Mezzalama Polartec Alpha Jacket DYNAFIT
Even high-intensity activities are more comfortable with a layer of insulation. The Mezzalama, named after Italy’s most arduous ski-mountaineering race, uses extremely breathable insulation that, when under a shell, kept us warm but not wet or clammy. Worn solo, it stood strong against squalls and sprinkles. dynafit.com
Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody PATAGONIA
Insulation is limited to cold zones like the chest and shoulders, and an airy waffle-knit fabric helps vent everywhere else. The hood fit under our helmet and zipped high to ward off frosty winds. patagonia.com
Kita Fleece Hooded Jacket STIO
Kennicott Shirt Jacket TOAD & CO.
The original lumberjack midlayer was a bulky, itchy wool shirt. This updated version is made from a polyester blend that’s pleasant against the skin. Other updates: stylish snaps, contrasting cuff and collar lining, and streamlined chest pockets. toadandco.com
Sometimes all you want is a cozy, familiar fleece. We wore this one und a ski jacket on wind-blasted downhil days and all winter under a shell for running errands. The hard face block the wind, while the fuzzy inside felt great against bare arms on days whe it was almost T-shirt weather. Plus, t cut was perfect for all activities: not athletic but also not baggy. stio.com
Inside Rides Smarter bike trainers replicate the road-ride experience and let you work out through the off-season.
Kickr Climb just because it’s cold outside and the sun sets early. With new stationary trainers, you can ride all winter. Most models simply clamp to your rear dropouts and use a drum that rolls against your back tire to provide resistance. But newer direct-drive systems replace your rear wheel with the trainer itself for more reliable integration and a realistic road feel. Spending lots of time on one, however, can be mind-numbingly repetitive. Luckily, that’s changing, thanks to the increasing affordability of smart trainers and the popularity of computer-based training and riding apps like Zwift (zwift.com), which let you pedal virtual ON’T HANG UP THE BIKE
Mag Indoor Trainer $130
Wahoo’s indoor grade simulator pairs via Bluetooth with the Kickr (pictured, $1,200) or Snap ($600) smart trainers to raise and lower your bike to match the terrain on virtual riding platforms like Zwift. Riding out of the saddle can be awkward on a trainer, but the Climb lets you naturally change positions to improve your uphill technique. wahoofitness.com
Rock and Roll Smart Control $430
Weighing only 14 pounds, this compact system folds flat (pictured) for riders who don’t have the space for an elaborate setup. The fork-mount design allows you to leave your rear wheel on the bike, which means no skewers to swap or derailleurs to adjust. Two rollers provide increasing resistance as you pedal faster for a natural-feeling ride. feedbacksports.com MEN’S JOURNAL
This free-moving frame provides a true riding feel by allowing your bike to rock during intense intervals or sprints. Plus its Smart Control flywheel resistance unit connects to apps like Zwift and Kinetic Fit to control intensity and terrain changes during programmed workouts and rides on simulated courses. kurtkinetic.com
COURTESY OF WAHOO
New to training indoors? Start with this model, which uses a magnetic wheel to create five different levels of resistance. It’s best suited for longer, steady efforts, since you have to turn a dial below your rear tire to change the resistance. Compatible with road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes, the Mag delivers a smooth, quiet ride. cycleops.com
Speak Up A new breed of speakers is always listening for your commands. Which is best for your home?
photograph by TRAVIS RATHBONE
Deck Out Your Dog
Makes 1.5 lbs 3 lbs flank steak, as much
½ cup sesame oil 4 tsp sesame seeds 4 tsp ground black pepper 3 tsp ground ginger
1. Freeze meat for 1½ 2. Cut meat into ¼–inch-wide strips, halving the slab beforehand if necessary. 3. Mix remaining beef strips, and marinate 8 hours, turning several times to coat evenly. 4. for your dehydrator.
Food Dehydrators THE CASE FOR
Machines for making mouthwatering jerky and fruit snacks, whether you’re going on a primal diet or just hitting the trail. by JESSE WILL
E E F J E RK Y I S
HAMILTON BEACH $45
This pro-quality machine lets you control the timing and temperature in its two zones separately. Once you’ve tweaked your recipe to perfection, the RES10 can save the settings. excaliburdehydrator.com
Just dabbling? Start here. This five-tray machine has few frills but still turns out jerky with great snap: It’s not too greasy or too dry. Unlike some budget models, it features the two controls you absolutely need for good results on both fruits and meat: temperature control and a timer. Your mind will be blown by how badly homemade jerky beats the checkout-lane stuff. hamiltonbeach.com
SAM KAPLAN/TRUNK ARCHIVES
a dude-food staple: f illing, high in protein, addictive as hell. But it’s easy to go overboard when you’re popping the gas station stuff, which is often loaded with ingredients like MSG, nitrites, maltodextrin, and sodium erythorbate. Luckily, it’s easy to make a far superior version at home, thanks to a new crop of dehydrators that in one day can turn cheap cuts of meat into jerky with tasting notes that are more steakhouse, less Sunoco. There are benefits aside from better f lavor: When you make jerky at home, you can tweak its sodium and sugar content to your liking and dial in the perfect amount of “snap” by adjusting the temperature or timing of a recipe. (See our favorite basic method, above right.) Another upshot: Your house will smell deliciously great for days (sorry, Fido). Once you’ve mastered beef, you can move on to make salmon jerky, fruit leathers, and vegetable chips so good that they’re worth planning a weeklong backpacking trip to eat. Almost.
Food Dehydrator 32100
Fix It Up Inventive new tools and long-run batteries will have you looking for your next project. by MA X FISCHER
Ai 20V Drill & Driver in One WORX
Most drills have a clutch ring, embossed with a series of numbers, that works like your car’s transmission, but nobody sets it properly. So Worx reimagined the clutch as a bunch of push buttons. The Ai does the thinking for you by sensing and adjusting the torque load, so you set fasteners flush to wood without damaging your project or the screw. worx.com
18V One+One 10-Inch Cordless Miter Saw RYOBI
At a scant 34 pounds, Ryobi’s cordless miter saw is easy to set up wherever you’re working, indoors or out, and you won’t have to worry about an outlet. Slide in two battery packs for 36 volts of power, and it will cut all day long, slicing boards up to 12 inches wide for molding and decking jobs. ryobitools.com
Mobile Project Center
Brushless 18V 1-Gallon Air Compressor
Yeti 1400 Lithium Portable Power Station
Butler packed on 30 extra pounds to play Big Nick Flanagan, a corrupt cop, in the upcoming thriller Den of Thieves.
PREVIOUS SPREAD AND OPPOSITE PAGE: GERARD WEARS T-SHIRT BY JAMES PERSE. LEATHER JACKET BY JOHN VARVATOS. JEANS BY BELSTAFF. BOOTS: VINTAGE. DANIEL MCFADDEN/PHOTO COURTESY OF STX ENTERTAINMENT
The welcoming committee at Gerard Butler’s Malibu spread is a 25-pound former Bulgarian street dog with a penchant for licking. “Shushka, stop! Come here!” Butler says, standing in his doorway in a pecs-hugging gray T-shirt, jeans, and hiking boots. He found the stray a few weeks ago while filming a movie in the mountains outside Sofia and immediately fell in love, so he had her spayed, vaccinated, microchipped, and f lown to L.A. “I was worried at first—her first couple of
ayahuasca). In fact, he was journeying in the tepee just four nights ago. “It’s really therapeutic,” he says. “I couldn’t believe how much it grounded me and made me more excited about my life. It really affects you at a cellular level.” We go into his house, a gorgeous teak-and-stone number that’s built into the surrounding landscape like a California-modernist Hobbit hole. “My little cabin,” Butler calls it. He also owns a house in Los Feliz, as well as a massive loft in Manhattan. But this one’s different. “Once I come here, I’m not in L.A. anymore,” he says. On one shelf there’s a snapshot of Butler with his buddy and fellow Scotsman Rory McCann (best known as the Hound on Game of Thrones), while on a nearby coffee table are two notebooks full of hand-scribbled character ideas for his latest film, Den of Thieves, a gritty L.A. crime f lick that opens this month. We settle in the kitchen, where Butler fixes me a cappuccino, and we make a plan for this perfect Malibu afternoon. Butler has two ideas: Either we take a short stroll down to a private beach, sit on the bluffs, and have a chat—or we hop on our motorcycles, ride up the canyon, and do a longer mountain hike with sweeping views of the Pacific. The answer seems obvious; the only drawbacks to the latter plan, Butler says, are that, one, it’s already mid-afternoon, and he’s worried about having enough daylight, and, two, he suffered a gnarly, nearfatal motorcycle crash a few weeks ago and is still a little hesitant to get back in the saddle. “I’m not nervous,” he insists. “It’s just...I don’t know. Should we do it?” He debates with himself for a few minutes, going back and forth on the pros and cons of each. “Welcome to my brain,” he says, laughing. Finally he says, Screw it—if we run out of daylight, we’ll just hike in the dark. “Let’s take the bikes.” I’m riding a Triumph Scrambler, and Butler would be as well, but his is still in the shop after getting mangled in the crash. So, instead, we gear up and he hops on his brand-new Harley-Davidson Roadster, a recent gift from the company—so recent, in fact, that he’s never ridden it before. We head north on the Pacific Coast Highway. At first Butler takes it slow and careful, sticking to the speed limit or even under. But as soon as we turn onto the old Mulholland Highway and start climbing the serpentine roads up into the Santa Monica Mountains, he starts having some fun, slaloming up the straightaways and pushing it around the curves. At one point, he stops in the middle of the road and sweeps his arms across the vista surrounding him, wonderstruck. Eventually we arrive at a dirt parking lot near the trailhead. “Oh my God,” Butler says, as he pulls off his helmet. “Amazing, huh?” Butler is a big motorcycle guy. He’s taken weeks-long rides through the Himalayas (where he got violently ill after drinking river water) and the American South (where he was rescued, after getting stranded in Arkansas, by some bikers he describes as “Christian Hells Angels”). Last year, he and a friend took a rambling road trip through the national parks in Arizona and Utah (Zion, Canyonlands, Arches), and last summer, they rode through Oregon to see the solar eclipse. “You’re so fragile on a bike,” Butler says. “But it’s so fun.”
PREVIOUS PAGE: GERARD WEARS SHIRT BY JOHN VARVATOS STAR USA. JEANS BY BELSTAFF. BOOTS, VINTAGE. SCARF BY SAINT LAURENT. ©WARNER BROS./COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION. FOLLOWING PAGE: GEARD WEARS T-SHIRT BY JAMES PERSE. LEATHER JACKET BY GIORGIO BRATO. JEANS BY BELSTAFF. BOOTS: VINTAGE.
By now we’ve got about 90 minutes till sunset, so we decide to hike out for 45 minutes and then turn back. He starts down the trail, setting the pace with long, confident strides. At one point he comes across a downed tree branch blocking the way and, instead of hopping over it or around it, plows right ahead, crunching the wood under his boot. That’s the kind of outta-my-way mentality Butler inhabits in Den of Thieves, a cops-and-robbers heist movie, in which he plays “Big Nick” Flanagan, the leader of a crew of crooked L.A. detectives. (“You’re not the bad guys,” he tells a bank robber at one point. “We are.”) To prep for the role, Butler spent two months hanging out with undercover cops from the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department. He says he was most struck by “this animal they have to be to outmaneuver the bad guy—a silverback gorilla, a fuckin’ T. rex. An apex predator.” Butler gained 30 pounds to play Flanagan, a brilliant cop with voraciously bad impulse control who’s usually his own worst enemy. “I really felt the weight and the appetite,” Butler says. One night he was out at an Asian restaurant with the director, Christian Gudegast. “I’m sitting there eating sushi, talking about Big Nick, and I get this sense of power surging through me,” Butler says. “And [Gudegast] says, ‘Dude—what the fuck! That’s raw chicken!’ ” It turns out it was a Korean barbecue restaurant, and Butler was scarfing down the uncooked meat for the grill. “I’d eaten a whole plate of raw chicken not even knowing it,” he says, then laughs. “T. rex, T. rex, T. rex!”
Butler has been an envelope-pusher for most of his life. He grew up working-class with a single mom, in a small Scottish town called Paisley, but busted his ass and studied law at Glasgow University, where he became the president of the law society. Before graduating, he came to California for a slightly blurry gap year, in which he lived near the beach in Venice, drank his way around the country and, on a few occasions, got arrested. Back in Scotland, he landed a prestigious law internship in Edinburgh, only to get fired a week before it turned into a full-time job. At 25, with no real plan, he moved to London. Butler landed a few small TV and film gigs and eventually decided to move to the States to try acting for real. He replaced his boozing with a new addiction: workaholism and physical effort. For his breakout role as the shredded Leonidas in 300, he spent so many hours every day pumping iron that he nearly ripped his shoulders out of their sockets. For the 2012 surf movie Chasing Mavericks, Butler nearly died when he got demolished by a massive wave and was held underwater for nearly a minute. The injuries from that incident led to some problems with painkillers and, eventually, a short stint in rehab. “It takes its toll, you know?” Butler says of the physical side of his work. “You do these movies so you can live your life. But sometimes you go so hard when you’re working that you can’t live your life.” His knees give him particular trouble, especially when he has to pack on pounds for a role. These days, he has a whole room in his house filled with gadgets that do
“As I went through the air I literally thought, ‘If this doesn’t go the right way, I’m not gonna be here any more. It really depends on how I land.’” things like shoot electrical charges into his muscles to stimulate recovery. “I live for these things now,” Butler says. “Probably 50 percent of my day is spent doing physio and training.” All his envelope-pushing came to a head in October, when he had his crash. “It was the busiest period I’ve ever had in my life,” Butler says. “I essentially had four movies coming out, and I was prepping for another one—I was going from L.A. to New York, back to L.A., then London, then Italy, then Bulgaria, in less than a month. This spiritual guide I’d heard about came into town, and I wanted to take his course, but I was too busy—so I went over on my motorbike to talk to him instead.” The guru talked to Butler for a while and advised him to slow down, take some time off, carve out some personal space. “Then I got back on my bike,” he says, “and 15 minutes later, I was in an accident.” It happened like this: He was riding down a busy street called Motor Avenue, in West Los Angeles, when a woman parked on the right side of the road tried to do a U-turn across two lanes of traffic. Unfortunately for them both, Butler was in one of those lanes. His bike slammed into the side of her sedan, and he somersaulted high into the air. “Everything went black—I couldn’t see anything,” he recalls now. “But I knew I was in the air for an inordinate amount of time. And as I went through the air, I literally thought, ‘If this doesn’t go the right way, I’m going to die. It really depends on how I land.’” Butler hit the ground knees first, a full 30 feet from his bike. “I had five fractures in my right foot,” he says. “A torn meniscus. Road burn to the bone. And my knuckles were all cut to shit because I wasn’t wearing gloves.” All things considered, he was lucky. “If ever there was a time to feel like Leonidas would have felt after he’d made it through all those wars,” Butler says, “that was it.” The crash caused Butler to step back and evaluate what he was doing with his life. It occurred to him that he wanted to work less and spend more time doing what we’re doing right now—riding, hiking, communing with the outdoors. He tells a story about a long-ago trip to Iceland, where he, his friend the Hound, and another pal camped atop a glacier with the northern lights shimmering overhead. “When you get to the edge of the edge of the edge, that feeling is so powerful,” Butler says. “That’s the feeling you miss when you get so into work. I had a big panic this year, because I sort of felt I wasn’t leaving myself the time to do it. That’s when you go, Is it worth it? Is it worth it for that one movie—which, by the way,” he laughs, “chances are, will bomb anyway?” Back in the parking lot, we sit on our bikes and take in the scene one last time—the moon, the ocean, the dark mountains silhouetted against the sky. He says it reminds him of camping in Joshua Tree a couple of months earlier. “We were in the Hidden Valley—the only people there,” he says. “We sat
In his breakout role as the Spartan king Leonidas in the 2006 film, 300.
“When you get to the
edge of the edge of the edge, that feeling is so powerful.” on a rock as the moon came over the valley. It was so fucking powerful.” He’s quiet for a minute, just staring up at the stars. “We all need a bit of this in our lives.”
It’s starting to get chilly, so we make our way back down the PCH to a Malibu gastropub called Ollie’s Duck & Dive. In the parking lot, Butler takes off his helmet, shivering. “Now I remember why we wanted to be back before dark,” he says. “That was fucking freezing!” We get a booth in the back, and he orders a bison burger, fries, and a Diet Coke—plus some truffle fries to start. Oh, and we have to get the buffalo-sriracha cauliflower. And the roasted corn with chili and lime is amazing. And the pork belly brussels sprouts—we need the pork belly brussels sprouts! Before we know it, the entire four-top is overflowing with food, and a ravenous Butler digs in, shades of Big Nick coming out. “I think maybe my eyes were bigger than my belly,” he admits after a few minutes. “But it’s pretty fucking great, huh? Ever since the crash, Butler has been trying to refine his work-life balance. “I often find, when I finish something, no matter what it is: Let’s try the fucking opposite,” he says. “A perfect example is my line ‘This is Sparta,’ from 300. I’d done four or five takes, and they were all really quiet and very dramatic.” He drops his voice and whispers through clenched teeth: “‘This is Sparta.’ We were finished and were about to move on, and I went, ‘Wait, wait, wait. This! Is! Sparta!’” As he shouts, a few startled fellow diners turn to stare. Now he’s thinking about trying the opposite of working too hard. For the past three years, he’s been in an on-again, off-again relationship with an interior designer named Morgan Brown. They broke up for a brief time last summer but got back together again. (“It’s hard for us to stay away,” Butler says.) He’d like to spend more time with her, and he thinks he’d like kids soon; he’s nearing 50, after all. For all his jockish action hero–ness Butler is secretly kind of a dreamer, a seeker, a wanderer. He enthusiastically recommends New Agey selfimprovement books and recently went to Burning Man for the first time, where he says he “felt creatively free to discover different parts of myself... I just realized that life had a whole other dimension. Just like the ocean exists, whether we use it or not. Being on the edge of the Playa, it was literally like being on another planet.” Careerwise, he’d like to spend some time focusing on smaller and, to his mind, more interesting films—such as Den of Thieves. “I feel like I’m climbing into a different area of performance that I’m excited about,” Butler says. “A new challenge.” His last three major movies—Gods of Egypt, London Has Fallen, and last year’s environmental disaster movie Geostorm—were big-budget action flicks that were widely panned. (When I tell him I haven’t seen Geostorm, he smiles. “You’re not missing much.”) Butler would like to do fewer of those. “I don’t know if they’ll ever fully go away,” he says—after all, he knows what he’s good at. “But, for instance, in Hunter Killer”— a new submarine thriller he has coming out this year—“there’s a Navy SEAL character who everybody thought I was going to play. But I wanted to play the captain.” His reason? “I wanted to make a movie with a lot of action but not have to be involved in any of it.” In the meantime, he has at least one more franchise to get through. He will soon start shooting Angel Has Fallen, the third film in his Has Fallen trilogy, after Olympus and London. “And then, after that,” he says, “I think I’d like to chill.” MJ
THE ALL-AMERICAN, FIGURE-SKATE-IGNORING, RIVALRY-ENDORSING, BEER-CHUGGING
This month, 2,900 of the world’s best snowboarders, skiers, lugers, and more will descend on Pyeongchang, South Korea, for what is primed to be the greatest Winter Olympics ever. But with more than 100 events squeezed into just 17 days, you need serious intel to help prioritize your time. Luckily for you, Men’s Journal has compiled a foolproof guide to 2018’s top contenders, fiercest face-offs, and searing scandals you absolutely must follow.
SOUTH KOREA 2018
ONES TO WATCH
How Gus Kenworthy charmed his way to become freestyle skiing’s biggest star, and how he intends to keep it that way.
Olympic Speak, Decoded
“WONG BANGER” A freestyle skiing term for a moving pole flip. Genius name, lame trick.
“GONGSHOW” When a hockey match turns into an all-out shit show of on-ice brawls.
“BIBBO” When a ski racer starts in the pack, then pushes it hard to finish higher.
New Olympic Events, Ranked A quick-and-dirty guide to 2018’s bitterest rivalry, underdog favorite, and other must-see moments.
1/ SNOWBOARD BIG AIR
This event is every bit as rad as it sounds. Riders will chuck themselves off a 160-foot ramp; spin, oh, 1,440 degrees or so; then stick the landing in a feat of pure athleticism.
2/ ALPINE SKIING TEAM EVENT
This race takes slalom and turns it into a mixed-gender head-to-head team throw down.
3/ SPEEDSKATING MASS START
Though mass start conjures visions of roller-derby madness, this event is disappointingly tame. Racers take off at once, but it’s far from chaotic.
The Nigerian bobsled team’s driver, 31-year-old Seun Adigun
Women’s Hockey Will Be Epic
Yes—There’s a Nigerian Bobsled Team
Norway Will Utterly Dominate
4/ CURLING MIXED DOUBLES
The End of the Vonn–White Era Russian Figure Skaters Won’t Stay Home, Despite Ban
During the Sochi Games, curling enjoyed an irony-fueled resurgence among Americans. Don’t buy into it. This mixed-gender event is a snoozer, just like every other curling event.
“SOOP UP!” An Old Norse phrase for sweeping the ice in front of a curling stone.
“CHINESE DOWNHILL” A reference to 1984’s Hot Dog...The Movie, meaning a mad-dash ski race.
“BONSPIEL” An old-school Dutch word for a curling competition or tournament.
“FLUTZ” When a figure skater fails to land a lutz, a counterrotated jump. —D.O.
ONES TO WATCH
2. THE SLOPE SUPERSTAR
Sure, ski-racing prodigy Mikaela Shiffrin talks a big game. But given she’s almost certain to take gold in Korea, can you really blame her?
MIKAELA SHIFFRIN WAS EXHAUSTED.
It was 3 a.m., toward the end of a drawn-out press conference during the 2014 Sochi Games. Hours before, the 18-year-old skier from Vail, Colorado, had secured her first Olympic gold, becoming the youngest slalom champion in the history of the Games. So when a reporter asked, “Where do you go from here?” Shiffrin didn’t hesitate. “I’m dreaming of the next Olympics,” she said, and “winning five gold medals.” She conceded a nervous smile. “Sorry I just admitted that to you all,” she said. But there was no taking it back. The comment made headlines, little surprise. No skier had ever taken home more than three golds from a single Winter Olympics. At first, Shiffrin regretted her brashness. But now, on the eve of her second Olympics, she’s done apologizing. “I realized people were taken aback by that kind of ambition,” she says. “But I was serious.”
Shiffrin has every right to be confident. By all objective standards, she’s the world’s best female ski racer. She has won three overall World Cup slalom titles, and last winter, she picked up her first overall World Cup title, collecting 1,643 points while second place scored 1,325. She competes in more than 30 races a season and skis in back-to-back World Cups across her sport’s four disciplines. Many of her peers, meanwhile, focus on just one discipline and race in a third as many events. “Her work capacity exceeds that of every other athlete I’ve worked with,” Shiffrin’s coach, Jeff Lackie, says. “She’s like a mental savant for training.” Shiffrin admits that trying for another chance at gold is an all-consuming task. “I have to constantly keep pushing myself,” she says. In the run-up to P yeongchang, Shiffrin has become a media darling. The New York Times and NBC Sports closely covered her pre-Olympics races this fall. The attention is likely to get more intense. In Pyeongchang, Shiffrin is a favorite in slalom and stands to become the first skier to win back-to-back golds in the event. She’s also expected to be a top contender in giant slalom and super combined. So three golds should be within reach. As for the fourth and f ifth? She’s recently improved in super G and scored her first World Cup downhill win in November, though those races typically haven’t been her strength. Yet Shiffrin remains as ambitious as ever. “If you don’t think it’s possible to win five
ELEVEN FEMALE COMPETITORS IN 1924
50 MILES golds,” she says, “go talk to Michael Phelps.” And should Shiffrin medal in Pyeongchang, don’t expect her to endure another 3 a.m. press conference. “One thing I’ve learned from winning an Olympic medal is that it’s really exhausting,” she says. This time around, she says, she’ll celebrate a win by going to sleep as soon as possible. —Megan Michelson
Take a shot every time... It snows North Korea is mentioned An athlete weeps Mikaela Shiffrin talks smack A skier eats it A figure-skating coach looks pouty Trump angry-tweets about athletes kneeling A Nordic country takes gold NBC airs a sappy personal-interest segment Russian doping is brought up It sleets The Miracle on Ice is referenced A female athlete is called “America’s sweetheart” The U.S. medals Mike Tirico offers an inspirational platitude A Visa logo appears
ERICH SPIESS/ASP/RED BULL
The Guaranteed-to-Get-You-Loaded Winter Olympics Drinking Game
Essential stats from the Winter Games.
3 0 $560 6 $5.7 billion
THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE’S REVENUE 2013–2016
14 COUNTRIES WITH MORE THAN 100 MEDALS
SCRAP VALUE OF A GOLD MEDAL
MEDALS UP FOR GRABS
HEIGHT OF 2018 SNOWBOARD HALFPIPE
FROM OLYMPIC VENUES TO THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER
CINDY ORD/GETTY IMAGES FOR JOSE CUERVO
Follow these top athletes on Instagram for an inside look at the 2018 Games.
BSix-time ODEalpine-ski ’ S NEOlympic W GIG medalist Bode Miller discusses skiing under pressure, his new on-air gig, whether he misses racing, and more. Describe your new job. I’ll be giving firsthand insight from an athlete’s perspective, like John McEnroe does with tennis or Randy Moss with football. I skied in five Olympics, so I know more about being a competitive racer—and the feelings, emotions, and pressure—than most commentators. You’ve been known to call races, uh, honestly, to say the very least. I might seem harsh, but that’s just how I talk about the sport. Watch the world’s best skier, and you’ll still find little mistakes. That just shows the difficulty of the sport. Nobody knows how hard it is better than me; I’ve crashed more than anybody. Which skiers should we watch out for this year? There’s so much pressure at the Olympics, so having competed a few times makes a huge difference. People who’ve shown they can perform under that stress are the ones to follow—Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin. But there are always young guys, such as Travis Ganong and Jared Goldberg this year, who can pull an upset. Do you wish you were still competing? I feel good about retiring. I accomplished what I wanted to and finished in one piece.
Australian snowboarder Expect: Serious mountain shredding, earnest selfies, snapshots with model girlfriend.
Norwegian alpine skier Expect: Best-in-thegame landscape shots, pics from the lift, a lot of spandex bodysuits.
U.S. bobsledder Expect: Silly, and sizzling, selfies; jokes you probably won’t get; track-and-field pics.
U.S. luger Expect: Race-day pics, stunning snowscape shots, intense training. —Martha Upton
C’mon...you’ll miss it a little bit. I doubt it. Racing is exciting, but each time I stepped in the starting gate, I knew I was risking my life and my health. —Interview by Gordy Megroz
ONES TO WATCH
3. THE MAN AMONG BOYS WINTER OLYMPICS
SOUTH KOREA 2018
DANNY DAVIS ISN’T STRESSED. After all, the 29-year-old snowboarder says, “I’ve already blown my shot at the Olympics before.” He’s not shy about his error: In January 2010, he got drunk and drove a four-wheeler into a fence, breaking his back and effectively ruining his shot at Olympic hardware. “It was just a stupid mistake, you know?” he says. “I was a dumb kid.” Davis, who is among the oldest U.S. Olympic hopefuls this year, no longer has an appetite for such drunken antics and, perhaps consequently, is riding better than ever. He took first in superpipe in the 2014 and 2015 X Games and, barring a screwup this season, has good odds of medaling in Pyeongchang. But he tries not to dwell on the Games too much. “I think the only stress going into this year is trying to make what I have last as long as it can,” he says. “Snowboarding professionally is, like, the dream I always wanted.” Raised in Highland, Michigan, Davis started snowboarding when he was nine. He quickly showed promise, so much so that while he was in high school, his parents let him attend the Stratton Mountain School, a training center for burgeoning riders in Vermont. He soon began traveling the world to compete and now spends upwards of 300 days a year away from home—which he admits can be exhausting and wears on his relationships. In a sport increasingly dominated by teens, however, he feels a particular pressure to keep pushing himself. “I don’t ever want to be the guy that drops into the halfpipe, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Danny. Well, it’s nice that he’s still doing it,’ ” he says. “If I’m gonna do the contest, I’d like to be able to win.”
But the reality is that falls hurt more than they used to, and Davis now thinks twice before trying a new trick. As a result, he has come to appreciate style more than physical achievement; to wit, he often works old-school tricks into his runs and tends to focus less on gymnastic spins compared with other riders. “I try to make sure all the tricks I do are really good-looking,” he says. He’s competitive, sure. “Just try playing beer pong with him,” Jake Burton Carpenter, the founder of Burton Snowboards, says. But Davis, who has tried for Olympic glory three times but has yet to medal, also knows that for most athletes, the Games end in disappointment, not triumph. “The Olympics are like New Year’s Eve,” he says. “Sometimes after New Year’s, you’re like, ‘Aw, that wasn’t as rad as I hoped.’ ” But other times, with a little luck, “it’s this super-amazing night”—a night he’s still hoping to experience. Though he prefers other competitions, he admits that the Olympics have an allure that no other offers: a shot at fame. He doesn’t necessarily need an Olympic medal to consider his career a success, he says, yet he concedes that winning one would further his personal brand and help prolong his time as a pro rider. That said, he knows in all likelihood Pyeongchang will be his last Olympics, given his age. But win or lose, he doesn’t intend to let the Games spell the end of his snowboarding days. He counts professional skateboarder Mark Gonzales as a major role model. “He’s over 50, and he’s just a legend,” Davis says. “That’s what I’m shooting for with my career. I’ll snowboard till nobody wants to pay me to do it anymore.” —J.R. Sullivan
Here’s the lay of the land for the 2018 Games, as well as some top destinations to check out should you decide to make the trek to South Korea.
South Korea 6
2/ Konjiam Resort Hit this nine-slope, limited-capacity resort 45 minutes outside Seoul if you want to avoid the Olympic crowds bound to befall Pyeongchang.
3/ Olympic Indoor Events Curling, hockey, and skating events will take place in Gangneung, one of Korea’s top tourist cities, beloved for its beaches and historical sites. While Pyeongchang County is sparsely populated, with 43,700 residents, Gangneung has a bustling 219,300.
5/ High 1 Resort If you want to skip a day of spectating to shred, High 1 is one of the few top Gangwon-do Province ski resorts not being commandeered by the Olympics. To boot, it relies on far less artificial snow than other area resorts and boasts 18 different runs.
4/ Jeju Island Serious hikers need to scratch the 260-mile, 21-route Jeju Olle Trail off their bucket lists. The island enjoys comparatively warm winters, making it the perfect post-Olympics adventure.
6/ Gyeongju The Silla Kingdom reigned from 57 B.C. to A.D. 935, and, remarkably, its ancient capital remains. The eighthcentury Bulguksa Temple is a mustsee while in the country. —J.R.S
DEAN BLOTTO GRAY
1/ Olympic Mountain Events Most ski, sled, and snowboard events will be held at seven venues at or near Alpensia and Yongpyong, two of the country’s most well-regarded resorts. The sites sit within the Taebaek Mountains, known as the Korean Alps, and most lie about 50 miles from the DMZ along the North Korean border.
ONES TO WATCH
4 How’s this for confidence? After a heartbreaking loss in Sochi, U.S. women’s hockey star Hilary Knight is expecting to kick Canadian ass and reclaim gold.
Root for the Home Team MEN’S DOWNHILL Feb. 10, 8:30 p.m. Squaw Valley’s Travis Ganong intends to score his first Olympic medal in the kickoff to the alpine events. Former Olympian Bode Miller on the mic is bound to entertain.
WOMEN’S SLALOM Feb. 13, 7:45 p.m. Wunderkind Mikaela Shiffrin should defend her title and take gold handily. In fact, it’ll be a bigger story if she loses—all the more reason to tune in.
WOMEN’S SNOWBOARD CROSS Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. Lindsey Jacobellis has whiffed her last two chances at Olympic hardware but remains determined to medal.
MEN’S FREE FIGURE SKATING Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. You’re going to hear a lot about the 18-year-old prodigy Nathan Chen. If you absolutely have to watch a figureskating event, this should be the one.
MEN’S GIANT SLALOM Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety will have to fight to defend his title against the best racer of his generation, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher.
MEN’S SKI SLOPESTYLE Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. Watch for Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy to lead another U.S.A. podium sweep.
FOUR-MAN BOBSLED Feb. 24, 7 p.m. Still mourning the untimely death last May of its leader and pilot, Steven Holcomb, the underdog U.S. bobsled squad aims to medal in his honor.
MEN’S HOCKEY FINAL Feb. 25, 12:40 a.m. With the NHL sitting out the Games, don’t bank on the U.S. being in this match. Then again, people said the same 38 years ago. —D.O. NBC’s prime-time broadcasts begin Feb. 8 at 8:00 p.m. Also, for the first time, the network is broadcasting its prime-time events live in all U.S. time zones. All times above are EST.
THE REDEMPTION OF
SOUTH KOREA 2018
by RYAN KROGH
photographs by JOHANN SEBASTIAN HÃ„NEL
White at Austriaâ€™s Tauren Spa.
squeamish, does it?” This is the only warning Shaun White, two-time Olympic halfpipe champion, multimillionaire entrepreneur, and former Flying Tomato, offers me before pulling out his phone to show off a photo of his latest snowboarding injury: an ugly gash on his forehead and a cut through the whole of his upper lip, which is splayed open so severely it looks like he’s sporting some comic-book bucktoothed grin. “I just split it the fuck open,” White says. “It was awful.” The injury was so gruesome that White’s coach, former Olympic snowboarder J.J. Thomas, who was filming the training session
“ B L O O D D O E S N ’ T M A K E YO U
in the pipe, had to look away. “I’m no doctor,” Thomas says, “so I’m not used to seeing blood like that. I was rattled for sure.” It happened in October, when White was at Cardrona Alpine Resort in New Zealand, making use of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter to dial in some new runs. He was attempting a difficult combo that included a cab double cork 1440, an absurdly complex trick that involves two flips and four rotations at near-whiplash-inducing speeds. It’s a move that anyone who hopes to take home gold at this year’s Pyeongchang Olympics will likely need to land smoothly, and one that White, who is coming back for his fourth Games, usually pulls off. But this time, he misjudged his position in the air and came down over the top deck of the 22-foot halfpipe. White bounced off the top and into the pipe. While sliding down the side, his feet snagged, sending him careering face-first into the bottom. “I thought I’d knocked my teeth out or
After the Sochi disappointment, White— here at Austria’s Kitzsteinhorn Mountain gondola—took time away from snowboarding to focus on music, among other things.
White competing at Coloradoâ€™s Copper Mountain in 2013
ing in slopestyle. At the time, that was White’s preferred discipline, and when it came time for his run, his rivals, the best snowboarders in the world, gathered to watch on a monitor. “One of them said it was like watching a video game,” says Burton. “That’s how good he was riding. Everyone acknowledged that the fight was for second place.” White’s dominance continued for years. In the run-up to his first Olympics, in Torino, Italy, in 2006, White won every competition he entered and easily took home gold. In 2010, in Vancouver, White’s first run in the Olympic finals scored high enough to earn him the win, but instead of taking an easy lap to celebrate, he dropped in and attempted a trick he’d been working on for a year, the double McTwist 1260. At the time, it was the hardest trick in snowboarding and, just two weeks before, White had nearly decapitated himself at the Winter X Games trying to land it. In Vancouver, though, he nailed it. “It was the coolest victory lap ever,” says Burton. Of course, his dominance on the slopes
came with downsides, too. For one thing, White could barely walk out his front door without being recognized. In the mountaintown bubble, he could hardly leave his hotel room to grab a bite to eat—he’d be interrupted by fans until his food was cold. In part because of this, he got a reputation among other top snowboarders as arrogant and aloof, the guy who’d show up a day or two before a contest, compete, and leave right afterward. “There were rumors that I was too cool to hang,” White says. “I was like, ‘No, I can’t go out in the mountain towns; it’s not like I can casually have a drink with anyone.’ ” Behind the scenes, though, White nearly always made an impression on those he got to know. Dick Ebersol, the former chairman of NBC Sports, who ran the Olympics coverage for the network for two decades, remembers meeting White in Torino, after he won his first Olympic gold medal. It was customary at that time for any gold medal–winning American to get a chance to watch their performance before it was broadcast back home in prime time. “We talked for 20 minutes and he was utterly charming,” says Ebersol. “He reminded me of my kids.” During the conversation, White walked over to a row of family
meaning in anything right now?’ ” When the time came to decide on whether to participate in this year’s Olympics, with speculation swirling that White was too old and had too many other obligations, he took the lessons he’d learned in the wake of his burnout in Sochi. “Instead of thinking, ‘What’s going to get me stronger?’ ” says White. “It was, ‘What’s going to get my mind right?’ And that’s way harder than doing a bunch of situps.”
pictures and asked Ebersol about them. A year and a half earlier, Ebersol had lost his youngest son in a plane crash, and his son’s photo was one that White inquired about, even after Ebersol explained the tragedy. “I was just kind of blown away by this young kid showing that level of care and concern for somebody,” says Ebersol. “It was quite touching, actually.” Between Olympics, while White was dominating the Winter X games, he increasingly threw himself into other interests, like the guitar. He worked with Burton Snowboards to develop a line of products (including helmets and boots) called the White Collection, and he partnered with his older brother to design kids’ clothes for Target. He’d always had other passions beyond snowboarding, and these were a way for him to express himself. They also kept him busy, something White says he needs to stay focused. “I remember being super-depressed after the very first Olympics, because I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he says. “Everything revolves around this thing, and all of a sudden it’s fucking over, gone. You’re like, ‘What’s the
out with his trainer, Tim Hartwig, in a quiet gym in Beverly Hills. It was strength day, which mostly involved work on the sled. His girlfriend, Barthel, was with him, as was her dog, Leroy, a tiny mutt that ran free amid the weights, yoga mats, and treadmills. White has been working with Hartwig for a year, and in that time has developed into, well, an athlete with an actual athletic build. “I always considered snowboarding somewhat of a lazy man’s sport,” he says. “We’re going downhill. We’re taking the chairlift. I’m using the momentum of the mountain. It was like, as long as you’re strong enough to hold, and to twist and spin, which I was, you’re good.” Over the course of an hour, White cycled through a series of stretches, sled work, some body-weight exercises, and then more stretches. The only remarkable thing about the whole session was White’s workmanlike approach. He joked with Barthel and corralled Leroy on a few occasions, and he opened his mouth wide to show me the stitches still in his lip. But this was clearly a man with a purpose.
THESE DAYS, White is clearly in a better head
space. During our lunch in L.A., his excitement to ride was evident, even after his New Zealand crash. Those around him say he’s more focused than he’s been in years. He credits this to time away from the mountain. “Part of my secret is that I don’t live in the mountains,” says White. “I take time away from the sport, so by the time I come back, I miss it.” Post Sochi, White hired an entirely new team around him—new manager, new coach, new publicist—and began working with a physical therapist and a trainer, going to the gym for the first time in his career. “I claimed that I was hitting the gym before,” he says, “but I really wasn’t.” In L.A. before lunch, I watched him work
White in the pool at the Tauren Spa, in Austria, where he was training a month after getting 62 stitches in his face.
THE GALAPAGOS OF THE ATLANTIC
BAIA DO SANCHO //
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MICHELE FALZONE/GETTY IMAGES
Baia do Sancho, a crest of white sand tucked below onyx cliffs on the island of Fernando de Noronha, might be Brazil’s finest beach—and that’s saying something. To get there, though, is an ordeal: After snagging one of the 246 daily travel permits to the island, which heaves out of the Atlantic 200 miles off the northeast coast of Brazil, you’ll need to hire one of the island’s “boogies”—dune-buggy cars—to drop you off at a trail that descends a series of dubious-looking ladders. The reward is a remote cove in the Atlantic’s version of the Galápagos, with plant and bird species found nowhere else in the world. The first time I climbed down to the beach, there were only a few people lounging in palm shade. The water, rich with sea life, was luxuriously warm, and in 20 minutes of snorkeling, I bumped into a sea turtle and a whitetip shark. I spent the rest of the day alternating between the surf and napping in a hammock. I even wheedled my way into a game of futevôlei, a Brazilian version of volleyball played with your feet. Despite my inexperience, the Brazilians laughed and slapped me on the back and, when I was winded, handed me a fresh coconut to quench my thirst, then pushed me toward the sea. —Aaron Gulley
BEST BEACHES 2018
PRISTINE, UNDEVELOPED, AND OFF-THE-GRID SEASIDE RETREATS THAT ARE TOUGH TO GET TOâ€”AND TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT.
Isla Holbox’s Hotel Casa las Tortugas
ISLA HOLBOX MEXICO //
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over two stories tall. Hell, this island didn’t even get electricity until the late ’80s. The roads are hard-packed sand, and there are virtually no cars—transportation is either by bicycle or by golf carts that you can hail for 30 pesos a ride (about $2). Not that you have to move around a lot. Most of the island’s hotels face Playa Grande, a massive expanse of soft white-coral sand. It’s still blissfully uncrowded, and the vibe is decidedly mellow, with sea and sky stretching out in seemingly infinite horizontal planes—so much so that the simple act of lying on the beach feels more like floating. The best of the hotels is CasaSandra, an airy, Zen-like boutique experience
created by the Cuban artist Sandra Pérez, with rooms for less than the equivalent in Tulum or Cancún. Twenty minutes outside of town via a rented bike is the less-developed Playa Coco. There you can stow the bike by any palm tree and walk south down a mostly deserted stretch of beach toward Punta Ciricote, where you’ll find flamingos, egrets, and pelicans sunning themselves in a cove across a bay that’s not more than a foot and a half deep. When I described that scene to a local, I learned there had been at least one crocodile attack in those waters. “You have to remember,” he told me, “this is still a wild place.” Wild indeed. —Joseph Hooper
Sure, you can fly into Cancún and explore the now-overdone beaches of Tulum. Or you can take a two-and-a-half-hour ride up a two-lane highway through the jungle, followed by a 25-minute ferry trip across a pale-green lagoon, and find yourself on a spit of an island that feels like the last undeveloped coastline in Mexico. And to experience Isla Holbox (pronounced Holebosch) is to experience something real: There’s a village with a downtown plaza and a single basketball court, where the local boys play hoops and the girls practice soccer drills. There is a colorful profusion of restaurants, shops, and hotels, but almost none of them are
AFRICA’S UNDISCOVERED ISLANDS
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FROM TOP: CATHERINE LYOOA; MEDIACOLOR’S/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
OU’D BE FORGIVEN if you’ve never heard of Comoros. The country, a tiny group of islands off Africa’s eastern coast, between Mozambique and Madagascar, has a small population and a turbulent history. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the archipelago was a pirate haven, thanks to its remoteness and easy access to spice-trade sailing routes in the Indian Ocean. Then, following independence from France in 1975, the country gained the dubious distinction of “coup capital of the world,” with 30 such attempts in roughly
three decades. Which understandably kept tourists (and development money) away. These days, though, the islands are peaceful, blending Indian Ocean waters with warm Arab and African hospitality and a hint of French flair. The result is a relaxed culture set in an archipelago full of clear water, with empty beaches and volcanic peaks perfumed by clove, vanilla, and ylang-ylang, a tree now trendy in aromatherapy. The least-developed of Comoros’ four islands is Mohéli. At just 112 square miles, Mohéli is home to a scattering of traditional villages that fully embrace the few tourists ambitious enough to come. (You must f irst f ly to the capital, Moroni, then take a boat across a 10-mile strait.) The island’s crown jewel is its namesake national marine park, a 155-square-mile refuge, home to reef sharks, giant manta rays, dugongs (cousins of the manatee), and the legendary coelacanth, a critically endangered, 400-million-year-old fish that was thought to be extinct until it was discovered here in 1938. You can spend your days exploring the park’s beaches and rugged islands by kayak or outrigger canoe, or diving pristine reefs. On land, there’s a jungle hike to Boudouni Lake, a small, sulphurous body of water formed in an ancient volcanic crater, and bird-watchers can hunt for a glimpse of the endemic blue vanga or giant Livingstone’s fruit bat, which has a wingspan of up to four feet. You won’t find nightclubs, shopping, or all the other tourist trappings. (The best place to stay is the 15-room Mohéli Laka Lodge.) What you will find is a beach destination that’s unlike any other. —Diane Selkirk
An underwater cave
SOUTH AMERICA’S SECRET ARCHIPELAGO
ROSARIO ISLANDS //
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THE PLACE The Rosario Islands and the 46,000-square-mile national park that surrounds them are just 30 miles out of Cartagena, making the 28-island archipelago popular with daytripping Colombians. THE APPEAL The main island, Isla Grande, has wide, glorious stretches of white sand, with cabanas and umbrellas for sun seekers. But walk or kayak around and you can find your own hidden cove. You’ll also be able to see abandoned palaces dotting the islands—houses once owned by Pablo Escobar’s drug lords. THE DETAILS To get there, you’ll need to take a boat from Cartagena. Stay the night at one of the island’s boutique hotels, like Coralina Island, which has thatched-roof bungalows right on the water. You can hire a boat or canoe at sunset and make your way over to Laguna Encantada, a lagoon famous for its bioluminescent plankton. At first glance it may look unimpressive under a dark sky, but once you dive into the water, it’s like immersing yourself in the universe, with stars clinging to your skin and flickering across the water. It may be as close to the heavens as you’re going to get. —D.S.
The crowd at Lucky Bay
LUCKY BAY AUSTRALIA
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If you’re considering an easier beach getaway, you may be wondering about the Caribbean after a particularly destructive hurricane season. The message from the 12 most affected countries has been: For the islands to recover, the return of tourists is essential. With bookings down, you may also be able to find some amazing deals. Here’s where to look—and where to avoid.
BUSINESS AS USUAL The cleanup is well underway, and most hotels are back at full speed on Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. Look to these spots for deals. NEEDS TOURISTS AND TLC Only 30 or so hotels and guesthouses will be receiving guests on Anguila, but the country is safe and mostly up and running. The British
Virgin Islands is still undergoing a herculean effort on land, but the charter-boat industry is up and running. In Puerto Rico, 70 percent of hotels are open, though infrastructure still has a long way to go—so just know that you may snag a great deal on lodging, but beach lounging may be one of the few options for activities. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, where all of the three islands saw extensive
reach Cape le Grand National Park and Lucky Bay. Scientists declared this isolated spot the whitest beach in Australia, with sand so fine it squeaks beneath your feet. For now, there are only camping sites that overlook the gleaming bay (though glamping tents with private decks, kitchens, and bathrooms are being considered). In other words, you’ll be on your own for lodging, but the blindingly white beach, as well as its tranquil waters, will be all yours. —Jen Murphy
damage, St Croix’s Buccaneer hotel is accepting guests, and volunteer programs like those run by All Hands and Hearts are aiding cleanup efforts and working to reopen the national park, so you can volunteer, get away, and give back. INTENSIVE CARE REQUIRED The worst-hit island, Barbuda, will take more than a year to recover. In Dominica, volunteer programs are aiding cleanup. —D.S.
JAMES D. MORGAN/GETTY IMAGES
THE CARIBBEAN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO
AUSTRALIA HAS NO shortage of gorgeous beaches—10,685 at last count, including famous spots like Sydney’s Bondi Beach. But
few travelers venture to the country’s southwest coast, where you can road trip for days and hit a string of dazzling spots, including Chapmans Point, Blue Haven, and a protected cove called Lucky Bay, which has a colony of resident kangaroos that often venture onto the sand. To get there, fly to Perth, rent a car, and drive seven hours east to the country’s most under-the-radar beach town, Esperance, which has a Montauk-meets-Aussie vibe. From there, it’s another hour to
THE ATLANTIC’S ANTI-BEACH RETREAT
ST. HELENA //
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CENTRAL AMERICA’S DESERT ISLAND FANTASY
FROM RIGHT: COURTESY CALALA ISLAND; SIMON BENJAMIN/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
ust when you think a place has been totally discovered, some piece of paradise pops out of the blue, like Nicaragua’s Pearl Cays, an archipelago off the country’s Caribbean coast. Last February, this group of tiny islands got its first luxe base, Calala Island: just four suites on an 11-acre patch of sand. At $1,450 a night, it’s not cheap, and reaching it requires some work, too: From Managua, you board a 50-minute flight to Bluefields airport—basically a dirt runway lined with grazing goats—then take a 90-minute journey via traditional panga
boat. But a staff of 25 is waiting to take care of you (only eight guests are allowed at a time), and they welcome newcomers with songs and rum punch. Days revolve around kayak and SUP outings on calm waters along deserted beaches. Sunsets are toasted with a Toña lager. And evenings involve a seven-course tasting menu prepared by a Michelin-recognized chef. If you crave more privacy, you can paddle 10 minutes to Little Calala, a sandy spit with nothing more than an umbrella, where you can live out your desert island fantasy for a day—without being stranded. —J.M.
THE PLACE This subtropical island in the middle of the South Atlantic is famous for being the place where, in 1815, the British stashed Napoleon, sure he could never escape. In 2017, the island opened an airport, basically ending 500 years of isolation. THE APPEAL This is not your standard beach destination. In fact, one of its best beaches, complete with shells and golden sand, lies 150 feet above sea level, thanks to the island’s past volcanic activity. But what the rugged outpost (below) lacks in sand it makes up for in inthe-water experiences: warm, clear seas with just-below-thesurface historic shipwrecks; a large resident whale-shark population; and a host of endemic reef species. On land, there are numerous rugged hikes up the hills, including to the top of High Knoll Fort, a stone redoubt with a circular tower straight out of Harry Potter that looms over the island’s main town, Jamestown. THE DETAILS Flights to the island depart only from South Africa, and lodging is limited, but there is the Mantis St. Helena, which has 30 stunning rooms in the old East India Company Officers Barracks building. —D.S.
Calala Island Resort
VANCOUVER ISLAND’S CAMPING OASIS
NELS BIGHT //
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The view on the hike in to Ham Tin
HONG KONG’S HIDDEN COVE
HAM TIN // CHINA
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ILD, TROPICAL beaches aren’t exactly what springs to mind when you think of Hong Kong. But that’s exactly what’s on offer on the Chinese mainland. The closest ones are just a 40-minute cab ride north from the city’s high-rises. It does
heat, across the mile-long fan of white sand, where we shucked off our hiking boots and submerged our overheated bodies in the shallow water. Save for some local schoolkids on a hike, we were pretty much the only people on the beach. Afterward, we sank into the plastic chairs of the only restaurant there, drank oversize bottles of Tsingtao beer, and plowed through plates of curried noodles and roasted f ish. We weren’t even done when the restaurant owner saw that the one fisherman in evidence was about to take off and gave him and us the nod. So we sprinted and leaped into his twin-engined boat, which in a few seconds was crashing over the swells and zipping around islands. He let us off at a fishing village about 20 minutes away, which, unlike Ham Tin, is connected to the road system. We hailed a taxi for the ride back to the city, and that night, falling asleep in my hotel room, exhausted, with 7.3 million Hong Kongers for company, I dreamed about a perfect beach that was ours for a day. —J.H.
FROM TOP: ALASTAIR WIPER; JEREMY KORESKI
take some effort to get to the best one, Ham Tin—a remote, whitesand cove surrounded by thousand-foot peaks. The beach is at the end of a roughly 11-mile trek on MacLehose Trail, a 60-mile ribbon tying together the hills and fishing villages of the mainland New Territories, far afield of downtown but still part of the Hong Kong territory. The trail was the brainchild of a former Scottish governor of the city who, back in the 1970s, wanted to give claustrophobic residents some breathing room. When I visited last summer, a friend assured me that it was worth the trek, and so I took her up on the challenge. We got out of the cab at the Kei Ling Ha bus stop, easily found the wellmarked trailhead, and began marching toward Ham Tin, pretty much straight uphill. But the views from the top of the two peaks you cross on your way are outrageous: the green expanse of the South China Sea dotted with small islands wreathed in clouds. By the time we reached the ocean, we were shuff ling like zombies, thanks to the summer
THE PLACE Nels Bight is on the northwest tip of Vancouver Island, in Cape Scott Provincial Park, making it one of the most secluded beaches in North America. THE APPEAL It’s a wide-open, sand dollar–dotted beach with bald eagles soaring overhead, the occasional bear track on the sand, and seals frolicking in the water. The hike in is part of a network of almost 50 miles of trails, and you can day hike from Nels to the Cape Scott Lighthouse, where the friendly keepers may help you spot orcas off the coast, or wander south to the driftwood-lined Guise Bay. THE DETAILS Getting there requires an 11-mile hike through old-growth rain forest from the Cape Scott trailhead, itself a twohour drive on logging roads from the remote outpost of Port Hardy. (Nearby Nimmo Bay Resort flies its guests in via helicopter, below.) There are no lodging options, so you’ll need a tent, but there are fire pits, food caches to keep the bears away, and a rope. The days are frequently fogged in—this is the Pacific Northwest, after all—so bring a full flask and a few lighters to start a roaring fire. It’s the little luxuries that go a long way when you’re this far off the grid. —J.M.
// SRI LANKA
DIFFICULT Y 4
to diving, fishing, and whale watching—but the beaches at Trinco are still mostly empty. Sure, there are Jet Ski rentals and banana-boat rides, but you’re more likely to encounter a herd of cows or even the occasional Asian elephant coming from the forest for a bath than a parasailer. (Two elephants were rescued from the water by the Sri Lankan military early last year.) You can check out nearby Pigeon Island National Park or the colorful cliff-top Koneswaram temple, which is thought to date to 500 B.C., and the waters offshore are a kaleidoscopic dream for
snorkelers and divers, who can explore the remains of the original Hindu temple, which was pushed into the sea by the invading Portuguese in 1622. With its mix of palm trees, offshore reefs, and Hindu and colonial architecture, Trincomalee has a sort of Aladdin meets The Little Mermaid vibe, so you’ll be forgiven if you mistake it for the setting of a Disney flick. But go now: The islands around Trinco have recently been greenlighted for tourism growth, which means there are going to be a few more people who want to be part of that fantasy. —D.S.
BRUNO MORANDI/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
In a country littered with fantastic beaches, the east coast town of Trincomalee (Trinco to locals) hits the seaside sweet spot—long swaths of empty white sand scattered with just enough infrastructure to ensure you can order a margarita. The former British colony, off the south coast of India, was largely shut off from the rest of the world during a 30-year civil war that ended in the late 2000s, leaving it mostly untouched by tourist development. There are a few low-key hotels—like Amaranthé Bay and Trinco Blu by Cinnamon, both right on the beach and offering great access
STRIKES BACK MOB — BY JOHN A. GOTTI • PHOTOGRAPH BY DINA LITOVSKY
THEY MURDERED. THEY DISMEMBERED. THEY BURNED THE BODIES. THEY DEALT DRUGS,
murders and untold assaults, robberies, and drug deals. In exchange for testifying against me, many of these people were released from prison, in some cases relocated back to the old neighborhoods where they committed their initial crimes. Some have even rejoined to form new criminal groups (with the protection of their government overseers). I call it the “Witsec Mafia.” Witsec is the Federal Witness Protection Program. Founded by the Department of
John A. Gotti and his father, the so-called Teflon Don, in 1987
Justice in 1971, the program has provided protection to nearly 19,000 witnesses and their families. Witsec costs the government millions of dollars a year, but it generates results: Trials involving Witsec have an 89 percent conviction rate. The program has been called “ Team America,” but the way I see it, it’s anything but patriotic. Because while Witsec provides a much-needed service to society, it also has been a boon to a confederation of career criminals, who have magically been reborn as upstanding citizens. In some cases, they even get new identities with clean records and are allowed to keep their ill-gotten fortunes, as well as government stipends. Sometimes they are placed in new communities, where their criminal pasts are hidden, not just from neighbors but from local law enforcement. And, in too many cases, these “rehabilitated” gentlemen continue their lives of crime.
NY POST/SPLASH NEWS
robbed banks, assaulted and extorted innocent people. They were greedy, manipulative, remorseless criminals. And now one of them might be your neighbor. My name is John A. Gotti, and you’ve probably heard of me. My father, John Sr., was convicted of being the boss of the Gambino crime family, in 1992, and was sentenced to life in prison. He died there 10 years later. Afterward, the FBI accused—but never convicted—me of succeeding him as the “acting boss.” Between 1987 and 2009, I was indicted eight times on everything from assault to ordering murders, for which I could have received the death penalty. I stood trial six times, f ive between 2005 and 2009. The government exhausted over 17 assistant U.S. attorneys and more than 100 cooperating witnesses against me, many of them violent felons, who altogether took part in over 100
LOO K , I ’ M N OT B IT TE R . I was a criminal who deserved to go to prison, and in the end, I won. I’m home with my family and friends, and I run numerous businesses, while some of my former peers are serving life sentences, many for crimes they did not commit, often because rats lied about them. I often feel guilty I’m free and they’re not. And I’m not out to trash the program. I want Congress to improve it. To that end, I’m working on Witsec Mafia, a book and docuseries that will expose the program’s f laws, detailing how ruthless criminals abuse it by capitalizing on the government’s naïveté, especially that of the ambitious agents and prosecutors eager to win cases at any cost. Think about how easy it is: They offer getout-of-jail-free cards to sociopaths—who are often facing life in prison—if only they’ll throw someone else under the bus. It’s become standard operating procedure. Like in the case of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. The ex-Gambino underboss turned snitch was the star witness at my father’s 1992 trial, where he testified that he was changing his life because he didn’t want kids to follow in his footsteps. The Feds stood up for him, and he was sentenced to just five years in prison, even though he admitted to 19 murders. After spending only four years in custody, the last three in cushy witness-protection units, Gravano was relocated to Arizona. Allowed to keep his millions, he partnered with best-selling author Peter Maas to write a memoir. Gravano stated in it that when he cooperated, “for the first time” in his life he was “finally doing the right thing.” He said he was worried about his son, who he feared would follow him into the mob life. “At least, my own kids know now what the life really is,” Gravano wrote. “I hope other kids will realize it, too, from my experience.” Maas wrote that Gravano was “determined to create a new life for himself.” Within five years of his release and fewer than three after the book’s publication, Gravano was indicted, along with his wife and children, for running a drug ring with a gang of white supremacists. (His son was convicted and received nine years.) He was even recorded trying to convince murderous former Gambino soldier turned informant Dominick “Fat Dom” Borghese to join him in what he was calling “the Arizona Mafia.” That was then. Now there is John Alite. An Albanian from Queens who pleaded guilty to murders, drugs, assaults, and home invasions but was sentenced to only 120 months, in April 2011. His sentence was further reduced, in January 2012, and he was released. Yet in a 2003 deposition, one of Alite’s former associates, Michael Malatin, testified that Alite threatened to rape his wife and slit her throat. While under cross-examination at my trial in 2009, Alite himself admitted that he threatened to make Robert Lamendola— another of his former associates—watch as he raped his wife, Lorraine, who testified in 2006 that Alite also threatened to hurt their children. I retired from the streets in 1998. I took
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: MARK BONIFACIO/NY DAILY NEWS VIA GETTY IMAGES; STEVEN PURCELL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; ALLAN TANNENBAUM/THE LIFE IMAGES COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES
a plea on a case I could have beat, paid more than $2 million in fines, and went to prison for seven years on the condition the government would let me walk away after my release. Instead, they indicted me again, in 2004, and tried to convince jurors I was an active member of the Gambino family. After failing at three racketeering trials and a parole and tax trial, they indicted me again, not in New York but in Tampa, Florida, a city I had never even been to. Their bet: that a jury there would convict me on a bogus multiplemurder case created around the lies of their new star witness, John Alite. During two trials, in 2009, Alite testified that he was my hit man and a major, multimillionaire mobster—“one of the biggest drug dealers in New York City,” he said, with about 150 men working for him. Unlike Gravano, however, who was what he said he was—a high-ranking gangster—Alite is a fraud, who was exposed in lie after lie, under cross-examination, as a low-level drug dealer. The judge declared a mistrial when the jury split on my innocence or guilt. But even the jurors who voted guilty did not believe Alite’s testimony. One juror, Paul Peragine, told reporters that “almost the entire jury didn’t believe the star witness; he wasn’t credible at all.” And now? Even though he was laughed off the witness stand, in an attempt to rewrite history, Alite, 55, has hired Doug Anton, the same entertainment lawyer–agent who represents Sammy Gravano, to put them in “projects” together. Anton even stated that he knows the formula to get his clients around the Son of Sam law, which enables them to make money off their crimes, even though the law was enacted to protect their victims. Alite claims he’s a “changed man.” “The Streets are a dead end, and a waste of life,” he says on his website. “If I can change one kid’s decision to join a gang, to enter ‘the life,’ or to throw away his future, then I know everything I’ve been through hasn’t been in vain.” Alite is even marketing himself as a motivational speaker and anti-bullying expert. He claims he’s trying to help at-risk kids and has retired FBI agents vouching for him publicly, including Phil Scala, who was in charge of Gambino investigations throughout the country. Scala, who supervised my cases, in 2017 introduced Alite to speak to children at the Hackensack Police Youth Academy, saying: “The John Alite that you’re gonna see here today...what he’s doing right now is, he’s a very busy man, and he does this pro bono...because we respect each and every one of you.... You’re important to us.” Alite also claims to work as an adviser to Protocol Security Partners, a company owned by former FBI agent Dave Gentile, one of Alite’s handlers when he was a confidential informant during the 1990s. In 2015, Gentile said on television: “John has turned his life around completely, and he needs to be given kudos for what he has done. I’m trying to do whatever I can to...align him with...legitimate businesses.… I’ve got the highest regard and MEN’S JOURNAL
respect for how he’s comported himself since he’s been out of jail.” What hogwash—especially since Gentile made his comments after Emmy-winning journalist Peter Lance sent evidence to Alite’s sentencing judge, Susan C. Bucklew, that Alite had violated his supervised release by threatening a woman on the internet and consorting with other turncoat murderers. These included former Bonanno-family associate Jimmy Calandra, who admitted to his involvement in the murder of a woman in 1993, and Patsy Andriano, who committed a murder with Alite while Alite was a confidential FBI informant in 1996. But Bucklew did not send Alite back to prison. She left him free to threaten women and hang out with murderers while marketing himself as a “changed man” to at-risk kids. During our investigation of the Witsec Mafia, Chris Kasparoza, Richard Stratton (writer-producers on this project), and I have come across case after similar case. In Alite’s case, sources were developed, including members of his immediate family, who provided evidence of him laundering money while committing construction and welfare fraud. One source kept repeating, “He has to be stopped.”
as a street guy, I can see through the fraud of “changed men” like Alite. As part of my effort to give back to the society I committed crimes against, a portion of the proceeds from this endeavor are going to a team of attorneys working to explore victims’ rights. And John Alite and Sammy Gravano are merely the tip of the iceberg. For instance: After Marion Albert Pruett testified against his cellmate, in 1979, he was released into Witsec, only to go on a multistate crime spree, murdering five people. Ku Klux Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller received a five-year sentence after testifying against 14 white supremacists in 1988. Then, in 2014, he went on an anti-Semitic killing spree in Kansas. From the Russian mob, turncoat Mani Chulpayev was indicted for conspiring in the 2012 murder of an Atlanta rapper—after being given numerous passes for new crimes. This past October, The Arizona Republic published an exposé by Robert Anglen about former Lucchese soldier turned snitch Frank Gioia Jr.—who was going to testify against me in 1999—scamming millions from unsuspecting investors under his new identity, Frank Capri. Anglen wrote, “Judges have ordered Capri or his companies to pay plaintiffs $65 million in cases” from “at least 48 lawsuits...in 31 cities.” Gioia’s former brother-in-law is Colombofamily turncoat Frank Smith, who pleaded guilty to f ive murders—including one of a judge—and who appeared in Facebook pictures with Alite while Alite was on supervised release. During that time, Alite also lived with former DeCavalcante-family turncoat Sean
Richard, and, according to his relatives, ran construction scams with Richard as well as with murderous Genovese-family snitch John “Johnny Balls” Leto. After Alite got off supervised release, earlier this year, he went to Florida and posted pictures with “Big Anthony” Russo, the former Colombo-family acting captain turned snitch, who was still on supervised release and
Clockwise from top left: Government informant John Alite; former Gambino mobster Salvatore Sammy “The Bull” Gravano; John A. Gotti on his way to court, in 1999
T H A N K S TO M Y E X P E R I E N C E
who, like Alite, took part in murders and home invasions. Prosecutors also noted, when trying to get Russo out of prison early, that he once helped cut off a man’s penis. So why was Russo allowed to hang out with Alite? Well, one reason Alite gets away with it is because he is working with the Feds again, this time informing on Albanian criminals, according to his relatives, including his brother. Another reason: In their efforts to convict me, the Feds covered up the fact that Alite was a confidential informant during the 1990s, a time when he allegedly took part in a murder. If that came to light, it would have shattered Alite’s credibility as a trial witness, and it could spark a major scandal. MJ Read a longer version of this story at Witsecmafia. com. John A. Gotti is also the author of Shadow of My Father, which is the basis of the film Gotti, due in theaters in May.
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THE PLAYBOOK FOR A LONGER, STRONGER LIFE
photograph by JOHN KEALEY
MOVE OF THE MONTH
Most core exercises don’t involve a fear factor. They also don’t look this cool. by MARJORIE KORN
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Fitness Secrets in Your DNA
FIND GENES THAT FIT
at ton. nsumer ell-estabe associated cer and lactose es that genes most w your body reacts to rkouts and foods. n’s major worry is that com-
in ng up nk down want addiesults. It can analyses look at le-nucleotide polyiny fragments of DNA ted with a particular trait arily the cause of the trait. mplicating matters is that it’s have one SNP associated with a ar trait—trouble digesting starch, for ple—and another SNP that indicates the act opposite. In that case, nobody knows how the SNPs interact. Do they cancel each other out? Does one override the other? “The data is not there,” Weissman says. Given the uncertainty, it’s tempting to write off DNA tests as the latest fitness fad. In truth, the field of consumer genomics isn’t going anywhere—if anything, it’s just getting started. “The products will get better and better until they really do definitively help people with their diet and exercise needs,” says Green. “We’re only in the first microsecond of the genomic revolution.” Q MEN’S JOURNAL
Even if the science leaves you skeptical, decoding your DNA is kind of fun. Use the results to help bust through a fitness plateau or bounce back from a rut. You’ll only have yourself to thank.
The actor’s mantra for runs (and life): Just keep pounding through it.
WORKOUT OF THE MONTH
Morning Miles With Clive Standen
For the star of NBC’s Taken, a day in the life means getting tossed around a fair bit. Into glass. Across rooms. Off the fronts of cars. All that action takes some serious physical prep. by MARJORIE KORN LO N G B E FO R E he was an actor, Clive Standen had a different passion: martial arts. “From the age of 11 to 18, I did Muay Thai every day of the week,” he says. He traveled to Thailand at 16 to train. Back home in Leicestershire, U.K., he reentered the fight circuit but soon soured on it. “I was fighting guys older and heavier than me, but some of them didn’t have the technique,” he says. “What they really desired was a brawl. For me, it was still a gentleman’s sport.” Everything changed when he developed a crush on a girl in the drama program. “I didn’t
get the girl, but I got the career,” Standen says. Along the way to becoming an actor, Standen learned stage combat and sword f ighting. But in his role as the brooding former Green Beret Bryan Mills in Taken, airing Friday nights on NBC, he draws also on the contemporary dance classes he took in college. “They taught me how to bend, to fall and roll, and get back up again,” Standen says. And the 36-year-old does that a lot. In Season 1, Mills was never far from a fistfight and got hit by cars a fair bit. The stakes are higher in Season 2. Expect gun battles, explosions, and getting thrown into a mirMEN’S JOURNAL
ror. (“I feel like the writers get together and ask, ‘What else can we put Clive through?’ ”) Even as the stunts—most of which Standen does himself—get larger, he is adamant they remain realistic. “I’m not a fan of theatrics— spin kicks; running up walls,” he says. “The audience should believe everything they see.” The physicality would take its toll on a lesser man. Standen works hard to stay in remarkable shape in order to keep peeling himself off the concrete when shooting an action scene from 10 at night until four in the morning. We caught up with him on his day off in Toronto to see how he does it.
photographs by JOHN KEALEY
THE WORKOUT SIX WEEKS T O SL IM
Standen designed this 45-minute circuit with Jade Lindsay, his U.K.-based trainer. You’ll need a box or step (like a park bench), a pullup bar or monkey bars, and a flat patch of ground. Jog for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up, then jog in between circuits to keep your heart rate up and reset for the next set of moves.
STEPUP CIRCUIT Do 3 sets, with 1 to 2 minutes’ rest between sets.
Knee-Drive Stepup Facing a box or step, stand with legs shoulder-width apart. In one fluid motion, step left foot onto box and drive right knee into the air. Land on right leg first, then step down to return to start. Do 12 reps on left foot, then switch sides.
Elevated Single-Leg Squat
Stand sideways atop a box, with left foot close to edge and right leg just hanging over. Keeping torso tall, hands together and close to chest, squat on your left leg until right heel touches the ground, depending on box height. Press through left heel to return to start. Perform 8 to 12 reps on the left side, then switch sides.
Elevated Oblique Pushup Start in an inverted pushup position with feet atop a box, hands on the ground. Draw left knee toward left elbow, do a pushup, then return foot to bench. Switch sides. Perform 12 to 20 reps. MEN’S JOURNAL
MONKEY BAR/ PULLUP BAR CIRCUIT
Do 3 sets of this circuit, with 1 to 2 minutes’ rest between sets. NOTE Do either 1a or 1b, depending on level. Or start with the advanced move until fatigued, then move to intermediate.
Window Wiper (Advanced) Hang from the bar in a neutral position, then pull up until arms are at a 90-degree angle. Push hips forward and high so torso is parallel to the ground and raise your legs so your feet are pointed at the sky. Keep feet together and rotate hips left until they are parallel to ground, back to center, and right until they are parallel to ground, for one rep. Do 8 to 12 reps.
Hanging Around the World (Intermediate) WORK HA RD, PL AY HARD Hang from the bar in a neutral position. Keeping your legs together and straight, activate hips and rotate legs in one large circle, clockwise, then reverse and rotate legs counterclockwise for 1 rep. Do 8 to 12 reps.
Traveler or Grip Switch If you are on monkey bars, travel down and back, skipping rungs periodically. If you’re on a pullup bar, travel side to side, switching hand positions and grip, minimizing swinging. Travel for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on length of rig and fatigue.
Diagonal Single-Leg Long Jump MEN’S JOURNAL
On a flat stretch, stand on right leg. Jump forward diagonally on right foot only, keeping left foot off the ground; 12 reps. Turn around and jump forward diagonally on left foot only, keeping right foot off the ground, for 1 rep. Do 12 reps.
CARDIO-INTERVAL FINISHER Do each move for 30 seconds. Complete 3 sets of this circuit, with 20 seconds rest between sets.
Long-Jump Burpee Start with feet hip-width apart. Drop hips into a shallow squat and, pushing off with both feet, propel forward as far as you can, landing on both feet with knees soft. Immediately drop hands to ground in front of you, kick feet back into a plank, do a pushup, kick feet forward between and just behind hands and rise to start
Plyo Lunge Start in a lunge, right foot forward, right knee at a 90-degree angle, left leg back, with left knee hovering above ground. Activate glutes and explode up through the right heel, using the left foot for balance. Switch leg positions midair, landing with left foot forward and right foot back in a lunge. Continue exploding and switching legs.
Lateral-Tuck Jump With a Punch
How to Work Out Like a Viking Start with feet hip-width apart. Drop hips into a shallow squat and, pushing upward with both feet, jump high and to the left, tucking legs and pulling knees toward chest, punching fists out at the top of the jump. Land to the left of starting position. Then reverse, jumping to right. If you’re in wet grass and it’s slippery, jump and land in the same spot. MEN’S JOURNAL
Eat Like an Athlete (No Cooking Required) Yes, chicken breast, broccoli, and brown rice are good for you. It’s also a miserably boring diet. For those of us who don’t have a chef on the payroll, heat-and-serve meal-delivery services make it easy to consume quality calories with zero effort. by JULIA SAVACOOL
This could be your normal weeknight dinner.
The Science Geek FACTOR 75
The Veggie Lover VEESTRO
The Picky Eater EPICURED
The lowdown: This is for the swim-bike-run-save-the-whales type. Meals and menus are reviewed by nutrition experts to ensure you’re getting everything you need. And Trifecta takes its environmental footprint seriously, buying directly from farmers and experimenting with new types of packaging to reduce landfill waste. How it works: Choose among five menus: paleo, clean eating, classic, vegetarian, and vegan. Build dinners with proteins (salmon, turkey—even venison and elk), vegetables, and grains. Meals can be refrigerated for two weeks or frozen for six months. What it costs: Average meal is $11.
The lowdown: Based on research that says 75 percent of a person’s fitness gains come from what they eat, this company provides organic, GMO-free, paleo-centric meals that are dense in macronutrients and antioxidants. It was founded by a former mixed martial arts fighter and is a favorite among bodybuilders and dirt-bike riders. How it works: Choose from a rotating menu of 16 to 20 meal options that are delivered chilled. A complimentary nutritional consultation is available for those looking to optimize their meal selections. What it costs: $11–$14 per meal.
The lowdown: These guys are out to prove there’s life beyond bland tofu. Its founder is a former investment banker and fitness enthusiast who craved fast and healthy dinners after 15-hour days. The plant-based meals use organic ingredients and high-quality protein to satisfy even diehard carnivores. There are several starter plans, too, like Meatless Monday and Lunchbox. How it works: Meals are delivered frozen to the Lower 48 states. Veestro has more than 50 à la carte items, as well as complete meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What it costs: À la carte items are $11 on average.
The lowdown: Many athletes are forced to be careful about what they eat, owing to a finicky gastrointestinal tract. These easy-to-digest meals—all of which are reviewed by nutritionists—are free of ingredients known to trigger bloating, gas, and other unpleasant gastro issues. (So they go easy on the carbohydrates and sugar.) Plus, they’re all gluten-free, if that’s your thing. How it works: Delivered on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, the meals arrive chilled. Available in the greater NYC area and Los Angeles; there are plans to go nationwide this year. What it costs: Average meal is $15.
ME AL S TO TRY: Flat Iron Steak (the top seller); Adzuki, Kale & Mushroom Chili; Cremini Mushroom Frittata
ME AL S TO TRY: Grilled Steak and Sweet Potato Fries, Paleo BBQ Ribs, Salmon With Avocado Sauce
ME AL S TO TRY: Thai Chick’n Stew, Cauliflower Milanese, Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce
ME AL S TO TRY: Basil Pesto Spaghetti Squash, Tacos Especiales, Sesame-Crusted Wild Salmon.
COURTESY OF EPICURED/BEN FINK
The Fitness Fanatic TRIFECTA
BASIC MADE BE T TER
Sideways Kettlebell Swing This new (and literal) twist on the kettlebell swing strengthens your core and makes you more limber.
The Lone Survivor’s Recovery Regimen Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell reveals how he learned to let himself heal, and why he couldn’t have done it alone.
Luttrell’s heroic survival in Afghanistan inspired the film Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg. FEBRUARY 2018
Despite my size, I was determined to be a SEAL. When I joined the military, at age 22, I’d hit 6'1", but I was still light. I found out, though, that in SEAL f ield training, you have no choice but to get big. The only task is to make you a certain body type, and there are no outside inf luences to get in the way. Everything is regimented, and we never touched a weight. It was all pushups, pullups, situps, swimming, running, and climbing. On a normal day, we’d wake up at zero-four, then run a mile to breakfast and a mile back; same thing for lunch and dinner. And that’s on top of six- to eight-mile conditioning runs, two-mile swims, and several-hundred pushups per day. It’s no surprise all the guys who come out of field training are just twisted with muscle. I had a huge growth spurt, too; I shot up to 6'5" and eventually hit 262 pounds. It was crazy. The strongest I’ve ever been was the day I finished SEAL training, and I hadn’t been to a gym for almost a year. You can’t replicate that experience.
Make or Break I was f irst deployed to Iraq and then to Afghanistan, where, in 2005, three other SEALs and I were ambushed during Operation Red Wings. (That’s the operation the film
Luttrell lifts weights three days a week, but he also does pushups throughout the day as he works on his Texas ranch, a habit from his time in the SEALs.
Lone Survivor is based on.) I sustained a lot of injuries in the SEALs, and when I first got out, in 2008, I was having so many surgeries that by the time I healed from one, I was having another. My knees, back, pelvis, shoulder, and hands had all been broken or torn up. But I thought I was too strong to be stopped, so I kept pushing myself until I’d break. Literally. I had no one telling me to slow down. Fortunately, that year I started going to a physical therapy facility in Florida called Exos, which the military covered. The trainers helped get my body back to where it needed to be, and I’ve been going back once a year for at least a month ever since. When I’m there, I typically do about an hour of cardio in the morning, and in the afternoons, my workouts usually include resistance training, dumbbell bench presses, and triceps extensions, with two-minute foot drills on a Jacobs Ladder mixed in. The workouts can vary, though. My body can’t carry as much weight as it used to, so these days I do lighter weight and more reps. I have to focus on my core, too, because of how much damage I have, so that means a
E XPERT TIP
Fix Your Squat T
THE HIP-HINGE TEST
Magic Mushrooms Stop picking them off your pizza. Fungi are actually good for you.
This liquidnitrogen bath drops your skin temperature by 40 degrees.
DO YOU REALLY NEED THIS?
The Big Chill t herapy wa s de r ig ueur
KARSTEN MORAN/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX
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Triathlons Could Be Bad for Your Heart Long-distance triathlons may put your heart at risk for scarring. It happens over the thousands of miles spent training and competing, and it can lead to heart failure. German scientists scanned the hearts of 100 competitive triathletes and found that nearly all the men who competed at half-Ironman and above had evidence of myocardial fibrosis. Longer and higher-intensity training upped the odds of scarring. “We don’t yet know the exact mechanism, but it seems that men with higher exercise-induced systolic blood pressure who have completed significantly longer race distances are at greater risk,” says Jitka Starekova, M.D., at University Medical Center in Hamburg. (The reason female triathletes appear to be unafflicted is that they generally have lower systolic blood pressure at peak performance than men, so their hearts are under less strain.) There’s no need to abandon distance training, but take precautions: Request a screening during your annual exam if you have high blood pressure or if heart disease runs in the family. Keep easy workouts easy—and hard ones short. More time spent at high intensity is what appears to up your risk. “For the majority of people, triathlons are a healthy activity,” Starekova says.
FROM TOP: MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/GETTY IMAGES FOR WTS; COURTESY OF UNDER ARMOUR
DOES IT WORK?
A DR . BER
My skin is looking dry and old. Should I try a chemical peel?
A WORKOUT TO REMEMBER Adults who did highintensity interval training for 20 minutes, three days a week for six weeks, did better on memory tests, research says. Those with the greatest fitness gains improved the most on their cognitive tests, meaning a hard workout provides greater benefits. “HIIT releases the most brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which supports brain-cell growth, function, and survival,” says study author Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
HEALTHIER HOMEBODIES Men whose partnerships get better over time have both lower blood pressure and a lower BMI than those whose marriages aren’t doing so hot, finds a study from the University of Bristol in the U.K. Feeling good in a relationship encourages men to keep healthier habits, study authors hypothesize. If this isn’t you, it’s probably time to do some relationship work: Men whose happiness is on a downslide tend to gain weight and become unhealthier.
Pump Up the Jams
FACT OR FICTION?
Energy Drinks Make You Do Crazy Things FACT Energy drinks are correlated with an increase in risk-taking behavior and mental health issues, new research suggests. “They contain ingredients that act as stimulants and about which we do not have much information,” says Josiemer Mattei, an assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health. In addition to caffeine, sugar, and ginseng, you’re also getting chemicals such as L-carnitine, commonly found in workout supplements. Researchers studied collegeage students, but the findings apply to an older set, too. Mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and stress are all likely to be higher among regular energy-drink users. One possible explanation: The stimulants overload, which causes poor sleep, known as a factor in these conditions.
If you want to get in a creative mind-set, take Sam Smith off your playlist. Research from Radboud University in the Netherlands found that upbeat music leads to significantly higher scores on a task requiring out-of-the-box thinking, compared with sad, calm, or anxious tunes—or listening to nothing at all. And all it took was just 15 seconds of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons to get in the groove.
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illustration by MICHAEL HOEWELER
Nick Nolte The famed actor and author of the new autobiography Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines talks about success, drinking, and selling fake IDs.
What motivated you as a kid? Football was a passion. I ran into this kid from our rival school at a reunion. He said, “I remember you when we played football. You used to cry. Did your dad beat you?” I said, “No, I was frustrated because you guys were running the ball on the other side, so I didn’t get to tackle.” What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t be so dramatic. It’s going to be all right. How should a person handle getting older? It’s all about staying active. You can’t lie down too long—you really have to keep it going. I try not to get bored or run into too much of a pattern. What does success mean to you? It doesn’t mean anything. You’re always starting over again. It’s always a brand-new canvas. What sticks with you is failure. Failure is the lesson. Success is just a moment in your life. Still, you’ve had a lot of success. Has it made you approach life differently? With curiosity. I try to keep it a question mark. I try to avoid too much security. I also accept being wrong. I’m wrong half the time.
You’ve struggled with alcohol and drugs. What has your experience taught you? First, I learned how to drink. Then I had to learn how to stop drinking. That was enlightening. I had to help myself and enter a program. I came close, I think a couple of times [to overdosing]. The whole idea is that you change your conscience and you have to do it yourself. I didn’t take it seriously enough. 112
Your dad served in World War II. How do you think that experience affected him? For a long time, I didn’t know the man who was standing in the doorway. My father was 6'6" and weighed 250 pounds, and when he came back from the war, he was 160 pounds. He was a skeleton. He didn’t want to go to bars because you would get a pat on the back, “Way to go, yes, way to go.” That’s a weight on your shoulders. How do you prevent the physical pitfalls that come with age? I always looked young, but I began HGH and testosterone replacement in my 40s. I’m also on a paleo diet. I grow my own food and fruits. I’m 82; I’m pushing the upper limits. You want to stay a little lean as you face the winds of time. You’ve been married four times. What have you learned about love and marriage? Well, they hurt, but in a good way. I’ve been with some great women in my life and had great relationships even though I’m not with them anymore. They either MEN’S JOURNAL
moved on or moved past. Relationships are constant work. You mention in your book that early in your career, you were sexually harassed by a producer. I got this card and invitation to go to dinner with this producer. I told a bunch of guys I was working with, and they said, “Well, you should go, you should go.” They were cackling the whole time. I walked into a bee’s nest. He was polite and all that, but I did have to walk out of the place. His limousine caught up with me. What was the critical turning point in your life? When I was younger, I was charged with trying to give kids phony draft cards as fake IDs. Instead of jail time, I ended up being put on five years’ probation. It halted me in my tracks, gave me time to recollect and think about what I was doing. A lot of bad things turn into good in the end. Do you look back on your life with regrets? I’ve lived it long enough, I can let it go. Your life should be full of stories. Sometimes they’re funny, and sometimes they’re outrageous. Sometimes you can’t comprehend them, and sometimes they’re very painful. But it’s all meant to be. The more you get hit, the more fun it’s going to be. —INTERVIEW BY SEAN WOODS
MICHAEL FRIBERG/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
Who has been an influence in your career? Katharine Hepburn. She indulged me a lot. She allowed me to be a young, indecisive actor. She didn’t take kindly to my drinking, though. She would say things like, “You’ve been drunk in every gutter in this town.” And I’d say, “No, not quite all of them.”
Do you ever feel misunderstood over your choices? I’m going to die at some point, and then I can turn back and tell you how the grand experiment worked out. I’m not feeling too embarrassed letting my private life be known to a degree.
YOUâ€™RE MEETING HER DAD. AND ALL HIS WAR MEDALS. GET
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