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CONTENTS Kai Lenny Walks on Water
The seven-time SUP world champion, outrigger canoeist, skimboarder, freediver, and kite-, big-wave, wind-, and bodysurfer hasn’t met an ocean sport he doesn’t rule. And he’s only 24. BY SUSAN CASEY
O U T S I D E M AG A Z I N E 03.17
017 Less Is More
Turn off that smartphone and pull out those earbuds. Now pause and take stock of what works in your life and what’s weighing you down. Streamlining your meals, your fitness routine, your habits, and—most of all—your colossal piles of stuff creates more room for fun and adventure. It’s purge time.
70 Keep Your Hands on the Wheel and Don’t Look Down
Colorado’s infamous Highway 550 snakes up 11,000-foot Red Mountain Pass, menacing travelers with blizzards and slides. The snowplow drivers who keep it clear day and night are some of the nerviest guys on earth. BY LEATH TONINO
7 Our Lady of Strays
In the Territorio de Zaguates dog sanctuary, 700 slobbering mutts run free. Or is it 800—or maybe nine? Their savior, Lya Battle, isn’t counting, but her Costa Rican farm has become an Internet sensation. To dog lover BOB SHACOCHIS, it might just be heaven on earth.
The Kikkan Effect
No one has done more to put U.S. cross-country skiing on the map than Kikkan Randall—a.k.a. the Kikkanimal. With her trademark pink hair and burly tolerance for pain, the new mother is skiing faster than ever. BY GORDY MEGROZ
“In the spring, the ski guides have easy access to hundreds of unnamed 3 000 that stretch in .
4 Exposure 10 Between the Lines 100 Parting Shot
—CHRISTOPHER KEYES, PAGE 42
First Look: The performance fabric of the future is wool—and American sheep ranchers are reaping the benefits. Big Idea: For the sake of our public lands, it’s time to pay to play. Sport: Homegrown sufferfests are inspiring athletes all over the West. Icon: Wingsuiter, BASE jumper, and
action figure Jeb Corliss has redefined human flight. Media: Jim Shepard unleashes natural mayhem in The World to Come. Gear: Crowdfunded T-shirts, hiking boots, and more. Style: Darker sunglasses for when you’re feeling shady.
Warm-Weather Escapes: Midwinter
survival requires a short hop to sunnier climes, whether you’re kayaking Cuba’s wild side or counting frigatebirds on a lonely Barbados beach. Go List: Adventure concierges, photo envy, and the perfect packable tote. Base Camp: Merging heli-skiing,
salmon fishing, and high style in Iceland’s rugged north.
Cars and Trucks: From Jeep’s rugged Trailhawk to BMW’s hybrid 330e, the best adventure rides of 2017 will surprise you with
their ingenuity and oomph. Plus: rooftop tents, hydrogen power, and how to win at #vanlife.
In the Lead: Two new books take aim at sugar. Fuel: Your body on
sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Performance Enhancer: How backcountry skier Aaron Rice skinned up 2.5 million vertical feet. Fitness: The world’s first cannabis gym is opening in San Francisco.
ON THE COVER: PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF LIPSKY. STYLING BY KASEY BLUE HODGE. GROOMING BY DAVID COX FOR ART DEPARTMENT LA. JACKET BY TIMBERLAND, SWEATER BY SATURDAYS NYC, SHIRT BY THEORY, PANTS BY LEVI’S.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY OF ELEVEN EXPERIENCE; HANNAH MCCAUGHEY; ALEPH ALIGHIERI/ALFADOG; INGA HENDRICKSON
THE GIFTS OF THE OCEAN COME WITH A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THEM. Mark Healey, world-class waterman and ambassador of a life surrounded by the sea, takes from the ocean with grateful respect. Whether stalking pelagic prey at a depth of 80 feet on a single breath, or paddling into 60 foot Pe‘ahi, his days are marked by a taste for adventure and a balance with the natural world. Kaua‘i – Hawai‘i
Neumann first saw Iceland’s Godafoss (which means “waterfall of the gods”), on the Skálfandafljót River, during a 2013 trip and dreamed of returning to shoot it. “All I was missing was a red kayak and a skilled pilot,” says the German photographer. In February 2016, he got his wish in the form of German paddler Matze Brustmann. Approaching the waterfall, the river was almost completely frozen— except for one eddy, around 60 yards from the 35-foot drop, where Brustmann put in. He cleared the falls, then fought a strong current that was pushing him toward a cave. Brustmann’s timing proved crucial—two hours later water levels rose, causing chunks of ice hanging over the cave’s mouth to crumble.“Running this line was good for the picture but not easy for the paddler,” Neumann says. THE TOOLS: Nikon D4, 80–400mm f/4.5–5.6 lens, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/800 second
Ismael Ibañez Ruiz
When it comes to action shots, Ruiz has a passion for the unexpected. “I’m always browsing the Internet and Google Earth to find treasures,” the Spanish photographer says. That’s how he discovered this building in a Basque Country office park, some three hours from his home in Burgos. Ruiz came up with a plan: he’d have a friend, cyclist David Cachon, bunny-hop along the edge of the roof. “The challenge was finding a time when nobody would be there,” says Ruiz, 38. “The area is full of people from Monday through Saturday.” So early one Sunday last fall, Cachon took a tentative first run, then perfected his form while Ruiz captured the moment. THE TOOLS: Nikon D810, 70–200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 1,000, f/5.6, 1/800 second
Meyer and skier Sam Schwartz had spent many winters exploring the Jackson, Wyoming, backcountry together, but neither noticed this cave until a sunny day in February 2016. The 20-year-old photographer was rappelling down Gothic Couloir, a 200-foot-long chute in No Name Canyon, when he discovered the opening just below the lip. Realizing that it was the perfect vantage point, Meyer wriggled in to catch Schwartz, 21, as he cleared the 30-foot drop. “In that canyon, you don’t really have the option to circle around and try again,” says Meyer. “It was our one-shot wonder.” THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 11–16mm lens, ISO 1,000, f/9, 1/1,600 second
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A Looming Land Grab?
The summer of my sophomore year in college, I signed up to work on a trail-maintenance crew for a project in the Frank Church Wilderness Area. On our drive from Oregon to the Idaho work site, we pulled over at a seemingly random spot off a dirt road in the Umatilla National Forest. It was dark, and there was nothing but a bare patch of ground amid the ponderosas, but our crew leader told us to start pitching our tents. I’d camped dozens of times with my family growing up, but nearly always in established national park campsites or KOAs in nearby towns. What we were doing that night was a revelation to me. America owns 640 million acres of land, and on the vast majority of it, my crew leader explained, we were free to camp wherever we wished. It’s hard to believe, but this quintessential American right is now under assault. In the past ten years, the idea that we should transfer federal lands to the states, where government management will theoretically be more responsive to the needs of local citizens, has been gaining momentum. We saw Ammon Bundy and his acolytes attempt to put this idea into practice in 2016 with the armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Bundy represents the radical fringe, but his group’s
wishes are becoming frighteningly mainstream. As I write this, the incoming Congress has just passed a provision that changes the long-standing budget rules governing federal-land transfers. It lowers the bar for approval by no longer requiring such handovers to factor in the potential revenue of the lands in question. In short, Congress can now give away federal land for free. Local control might sound good on paper, but only if you ignore financial realities. Public land requires an enormous amount of money to manage. Consider, for example, wildfires. By 2025, the Forest Service alone expects to spend nearly $1.8 billion a year fighting blazes. At a time when many western states are facing revenue shortfalls, it’s only logical that as legislatures face tough budget decisions, much of the public land being targeted for transfer will soon become private land sold to the highest bidder. Fortunately, opposition to public-land transfer is one of those rare issues that still transcends partisan politics. Losing our right to recreate in national forests and BLM parcels is something that affects everyone from stereotypical granola-munching hikers to gun-packing ATV riders. President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the interior, Republican congressman Ryan Zinke, is on record opposing such deals. And last December, Congress passed the REC Act, which requires the U.S. government to account for the estimated $646 billion contribution of the recreation industry—including hunting, fishing, and hiking—when weighing budget decisions. These events demonstrate a bipartisan acknowledgement that public lands are an enormous benefit to the economy beyond their potential for resource extraction, but they hardly put the issue to rest. Even Zinke voted for the controversial rules changes. If you care about access to public land, it’s time to make your voice heard. —CHRISTOPHER KEYES (
DEATH ON THE FRONT LINE
In December’s “The Most Dangerous Place on Earth to Be an Environmentalist,” Joshua Hammer investigated the killings of renowned Honduran activist Berta Cáceres and her colleagues who fought to stop illegal logging and destructive hydroelectric projects. But some wondered if highlighting the dangers they faced might actually be counterproductive. As vice president of Foundation Cuero y Salado, Honduras’s oldest environmental NGO, I take issue with the article about our country. The author could have analyzed the reasons behind the tragedy of Berta Cáceres’s death— the extreme positions taken by both sides of the conflict. These positions do not benefit anyone. Categorizing Honduras as “the most dangerous
place on earth to be an environmentalist” does irreparable damage to Honduran conservation. International funding for bona fide environmental NGOs is already very limited. The article will scare off the few tourists we get and decimate the well-being of our protected areas, small hotels, and tour guides and their families. PEPE HERRERO
La Ceiba, Honduras
It was supposed to be an easy gig for contributing editor Bob Shacochis, whose Outside stories have taken him as far afield as Mozambique and Kathmandu. He’d head to laid-back Costa Rica with his wife to write about a dog sanctuary where hundreds of canines run free (“Our Lady of Strays,” page 76). But simply tracking down its founder, Lya Battle, proved to be a massive logistical challenge. “She never answers her phone and rarely responds to e-mail,” he says. After finally setting a date for the interview, Shacochis arrived only to learn that she was at an animal-welfare festival at a mall somewhere in the capital city of San José. “My tech-savvy wife found the mall,” says Shacochis. “Lya couldn’t believe it when we showed up, but then it was like love at first sight.”
Facebook Comment of the Month: Jeremy O’Wheel I’m surprised luxury submarines aren’t a thing yet.* Like Reply Dec 5, 2016 at 10:48pm *Actually, Jeremy, they are. Our favorite is the Deep Flight Super Falcon ($1.7 million).
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: GRAYSON SCHAFFER; EDEL RODRIGUEZ; COURTESY OF BOB SHACOCHIS
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As a longtime nonathletic subscriber, I never thought I would be in an issue of my favorite magazine. Imagine my surprise when I saw my face in the crowd at the track and field Olympic Trials (“Scandals! Liars! Cheaters! PRs!”). Made my dreams come true! GINNY WILLIAMS
Leesburg, Florida SOUND BITE
Thank you for the incredible Science of Survival series on the Outside Podcast. Each piece has been fascinating. I was particularly moved by “The Devil’s Highway.” It should be mandatory listening for anyone wanting to enter a discussion of border issues. PEYTON PORTERFIELD
GOING FOR BROKE
Loved the November issue. What really stuck with
me, though, g was the unmistakable irony of the juxtaposition between the cover verbiage “Play More, Buy Less” and the Style section, where a man wears almost $2,000 worth of clothes. The jacket alone ran $1,300. Buy less indeed. CHASE KVISTAD
Maple Grove, Minnesota COVER STORY
Is this Outside Men’s Magazine? A woman hasn’t graced the cover since the March 2015 issue. There was the perfect opportunity in the October 2016 issue (“Train Like a Girl”), but instead the seven women who “will crush you” were featured in a sexualized photo essay. There are plenty of badass outdoors women deserving of cover stories; Outside just has to be willing to feature them. MEGAN MAROLF
Go With Us
Leave the cheap tequila and sunburn to the college kids. This spring break, Outside GO wants to take you to Africa. Choose from a seven-day safari through Botswana’s national parks, 12 days perched on the side of a Tanzanian volcano with trips to the Serengeti and Zanzibar, or—if you’re still craving beach time—a six-day stay at Miavana, a new luxury lodge right on the crystal waters and white-sand beaches of Madagascar’s Nosy Ankao island. Learn more at outsidego.com.
“Picturing his wife asleep in their house at the bottom of the pass, her belly round and pregnant, he gripped the wheel and . 0
This month in Outside history: 1985—how we rolled.
crumpled around his body with a sickening . 70
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: TIME+TIDE/MIAVANA; ASILIA AFRICA’S THE HIGHLANDS; DANIEL CRONIN
Working (Out) for a Living
Writing for Outside may sound like a dream job, but it’s rarely easy. Just ask correspondent Gordy Megroz, whose profile of world-champion cross-country skier Kikkan Randall (“The Kikkan Effect,” page 86) had him suffering through her brutal training regimen. “Being able to report on athletes like Kikkan forces me to be diligent with my own workouts,” he says. Then again, a close examination of the numbers reveals that Megroz still burned most of his calories on this assignment in front of a computer. Cross-country skiing (120 MINUTES) 1,286 calories Fat biking (90 MINUTES) 857 calories Gym workout (40 MINUTES) 441 calories Research, writing, and editing (40 HOURS) 5,160 calories
What We’re Watching
7,744 calories (approximately 16 In-N-Out cheeseburgers)
Will Write for Honey Packets With many stories, reporting expenses can take up a big chunk of the budget. Think flights to Kilimanjaro, Russian translators, boat charters. Leath Tonino’s piece about snowplow drivers on Colorado’s treacherous Red Mountain Pass (“Keep Your Hands on
the Wheel and Don’t Look Down,” page 70) was somewhat less resource intensive. When articles editor Jonah Ogles got the Vermont writer’s invoice, he laughed out loud—then forwarded it to his colleagues to brag that he’d found the thriftiest freelancer in America. He wasn’t exaggerating. Consider Tonino’s food and drink bill.
>Cheese quesadillas (2): $18.52 >Loaf of white bread and peanut butter: $9.24 >Gas-station honey packets: free >Hotel-room chamomile tea: free >Hotel breakfasts: free >Hard-boiled egg snagged from breakfast and stuffed into a jacket pocket for a snack: free Total: $27.76
“I purged like I was at a peyote ceremony,” writes Outside editor Christopher Keyes in our Simplify 2017 package (“Less Is More,” page 56) about his efforts to declutter his house. If only his office got that treatment. Since 2015, it’s been home to a massive, unused rowing machine. “It’s standing upright in a corner,” says deputy editor Mary Turner, who assigned him the story. “It’s more a piece of art now.”
What do you do if a jaguar chases you up a tree? What happens when a man takes up BASE jumping after a paragliding accident left him quadriplegic? Find out in all-new episodes of our acclaimed Science of Survival series. At outsideonline.com/podcast and wherever podcasts are available.
We’re celebrating OutsideÕs 40th anniversary with monthly Top 40 lists on everything from the greatest athletes of all time to the most beloved feature stories from the magazine’s archives. Up this month: the world’s most influential gear.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: COURTESY OF OUTSIDE TELEVISION; COURTESY OF LEATH TONINO; JOSÉ MANDOJANA
Good news for adventure-film lovers: our namesake TV channel has partnered with Amazon to launch Outside Television Features, a video-on-demand service available to Amazon Prime members for $5 a month. Now if only there was somewhere to order popcorn online. Learn more at try.outsidetv.com
THE THRILLS In Dubai
don’t end at the city limits
DONÕT JUST VISIT, LIVE IT. From dune bashing to skydiving over The Palm Islands, every kind of adventure awaits you in Dubai. Book your flight today at emirates.com/us
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F I R S T LOOK
Warm Fuzzies CAN OUTDOOR-APPAREL MANUFACTURERS SAVE THE AMERICAN WOOL FARMER?
by Will Grant
NEWS F R O M
T H E
Fred Roberts and his flock in southwestern Wyoming
DISPATCHES Duckworth’s Field Master sweater, made from Montana wool
BY THE NUMBERS
What a Lot of Fluff
QUANTIFYING THE GROWTH OF HIGH-GRADE WOOL IN THE U.S.
Dave Petri, vice president of marketing for Farm to Feet. “But when they heard about what we Average weight, were trying to do with a in pounds, of a domestically manufacsingle fleece from tured product, there was an American sheep. a lot of interest.” Other manufacturers saw an opportunity to tout their goods as American made. ConsumPounds of fine wool ers responded. Last year, sold in 2012, accordfor example, Farm to ing to the USDA. Feet produced more than 320,000 pairs of socks, a 63 percent increase over 2014. And Duckworth doubled its sales from 2014 to 2015. Pounds sold in 2015. As demand has grown, ranchers like Roberts have taken steps to breed their sheep to produce even better wool. That, in turn, brings a higher price from performance-apparel makers than, say, the coarse wool used in things like carpet and mattress pads. For Roberts and other producers, the new market comes with another key change: they can now point to a brand or
“Six years ago, we didn’t know much about where our wool went. All we knew was that a lot of it was exported to China,” Roberts says. PETA posted a video of its South American suppliers skinning live lambs, has revamped its supply chain and is now sourcing American wool for many of its socks. This is a major change from a decade ago. In 2007, the American Sheep Industry Association reported that 71 percent of U.S. wool was exported. Today only half is. The shift has come about for a few reasons. First, U.S. wool used to be sent overseas to factories that made it washable via a process called shrink treating, in which the surface scales on the fibers are removed to prevent felting. But in 2010, a plant opened in South Carolina that can do that work, allowing manufacturers to keep their wool on U.S. soil throughout production. Second, outdoor companies bet on a strong market for domestically produced goods. And third, those brands started paying more for high-grade, American-made wool. “When people first saw us at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in 2013, their initial reaction was, ‘Not another sock company,’ ” says
product line and rest assured that it contains wool from the sheep they raise. “Six years ago, we didn’t know much about where our wool went. All we knew was that a lot of it was exported to China,” Roberts says. “Now, if the quality is high enough, it has a good chance of staying here.” After attending Outdoor Retailer for the past several years as a member of the American Wool Council, a Colorado trade group, Roberts changed his outlook on his family operation. Previously, he figured he might be the last Roberts to run the third-generation ranch. His son, Kyle, had left for school in Salt Lake City rather than stay and go bankrupt running sheep. But with wool markets looking better than they have in years, there’s money in it again. Last fall, Kyle returned home to help run the family business. “Buying and using a domestic product has become a lot more important to people,” Roberts says. “And that’s a huge boon to wool producers. It’s supply and demand—if that’s what they want, that’s what we’ll deliver.” O
PREVIOUS PAGES: COURTESY OF JORDAN BRANNOCK/FARM TO FEET (2)
sheep lead cold, hard lives. The herd of some 500 RambouilletColumbia ewes spend the winter on the prairies of southwestern Wyoming, where the wind can strip the paint off a Ford pickup. In the spring, they walk 300 miles north to their summer range in the mountains near Jackson, which can see snowfall just about any day of the year. But there’s an upside to the harsh American West: the sunny, arid climate spurs the animals to produce small-diameter wool fibers that can make a merino-grade garment. “American wool is loftier,” says Rita Samuelson, marketing director of the American Wool Council. “It tends to be spongy, due to a combination of genetics, nutrition, and environmental conditions.” Recently, outdoor brands have started paying top dollar to include American wool in their goods, revitalizing what was once a dying industry. Farm to Feet uses U.S. wool in its socks, which you can find in nearly 800 stores, including Cabela’s and REI. So does Bozeman, Montana, apparel maker Duckworth, which owns a flock of more than 10,000 sheep and controls every stage of its U.S.-based manufacturing process. Voormi, a Colorado company, combines wool produced in the Rocky Mountains with synthetics to engineer fabrics that the company says perform better than wool alone. And Patagonia, which took a PR hit last year when
DISPATCHES BI G I DEA
Put Your Money Where Your Fun Is LOVE PLAYING ON OUR PUBLIC LANDS? IT’S TIME .
by Frederick Reimers that our public lands are in trouble. The Forest Service has had its budget cut, for everything but firefighting, by 36 percent since 1995, and the Park Service is teetering atop a $12 billion maintenance backlog. Oregon is selling a popular state forest full of old growth to make ends meet, and a Colorado nonprofit estimates that it’ll take $24 million to repair trails on the state’s fourteeners alone. In light of diminishing resources, it’s time for hikers, bikers, and paddlers to become more like gun owners and take care of our outdoor spaces. Every time someone buys a rifle or ammunition in the U.S., they pay an 11 percent tax (10 percent for handguns) that helps fund the states’ conservation efforts. In 2014 alone, those taxes pumped $760 million into wildlife management, property purchases, and other essential endeavors. Without that revenue, and additional funding from a similar tax on fishing gear, our nation’s wildlife would be in trouble, says Whit Fosburgh, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a Washington, D.C., hunting and angling group. The taxes, along with licenses, make up 80 percent of the funding for state fish and wildlife services. Fosburgh believes that other groups should be contributing as well. “It’s time for the general recreation community to ramp up their commitment to public lands,” says Fosburgh. He’s right. Just like hunters and fishermen are required to, we should have to ante up for the sake of our forests, deserts, and mountains whenever we buy new gear. The easiest way to do that is probably to create excise taxes on items like skis, tents, and snowboards. Some have proposed that mountain bikers be required to buy a sticker that funds trail maintenance, just as dirt bikers and ATV enthusiasts are in many states. However we do it, our public lands need financial support from the people buying everything from RVs and teardrop trailers to boots and trekking poles. It’s time to pay to play. No one wants more taxes. And the Outdoor Industry Association believes the companies it represents are overpaying already. The trade group was formed in 1989, in part to fight the “backpack tax” championed by then secretary of the interior Bruce Babbitt and others. The OIA argues that gear companies are already paying more than their share in import taxes, since their overseas-made goods are
IT’S NO SECRET
subject to a rate between 14 and 35 percent, while other industries—cars and electronics, for example—pay anywhere from 8 percent to nothing at all. (The outdoor industry got a late start lobbying against 1930s-era tariffs.) Those taxes add as much as $45 to the price of a light waterproof hiker. “At a time when we are trying to encourage people to get outside, we don’t want additional cost barriers,” says OIA executive director Amy Roberts. Furthermore, how do you differentiate between a pack used for hiking and one for carrying textbooks? Or a rain shell worn on the Appalachian Trail versus one used to stay dry in Seattle? That sort of distinction isn’t made for gun sales. The firearms tax is nearly the same whether you’re buying a .44 Magnum or a deer rifle; Dirty Harry supports wildlife studies to almost the same degree as Ted Nugent. If the OIA doesn’t want additional taxes, it should throw its political weight behind an effort to earmark its existing import tariffs for public lands rather than the federal Gen-
eral Fund, which can be used to pay for everything from military drones to border walls. Of course, the biggest hurdle is the Republican-controlled Congress, which is looking to slash taxes across the board. This means that the best solution for states is to follow the lead of Minnesota, where, in 2008, voters approved a 0.375 percent general sales tax for conservation, recreation, and the arts. It has already contributed $1.8 billion to help fund projects like the 85-mile interconnected mountain-bike trail system in Duluth. “The Duluth system is a tourist draw,” says Luther Propst, an International Mountain Bicycling Association board member. “States that fund their natural resources are gaining a competitive advantage.” If Minnesota can successfully enact a general tax to support enjoyment of public lands, surely other states can pass laws that specifically target recreation groups. The hard truth is, we need all the means we can muster to preserve our outdoor playgrounds. Sportsmen can’t be the only ones carrying the load.
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DISPATCHES S P O RT
How to Throw a Backcountry Boondoggle
THE DAYS MAY BE GETTING LONGER, BUT WEEKENDS ARE FEW, AND THERE ARE MANY ADVENTURES TO CRAM IN. SO FOLLOW THE LEAD OF AMBITIOUS MOUNTAIN TOWNERS ACROSS THE WEST AND PUT IT ALL TOGETHER INTO A MULTISPORT SUFFERFEST.
THE FIRST Ironman
was the product of some good-natured bullshitting. At a 1977 awards banquet for a Hawaiian swim club, members argued over whether runners, swimmers, or cyclists were the fittest, finally deciding to hold a race to find out. Ironman competitions are now big business, of course, with fulltime professionals and $900 entry fees. But that same spirit has been animating mountain towns, where multisport backcountry sufferfests are all the rage. There are two ways of going about it: hold a mass-start race, like a traditional triathlon, or establish a new route and a fastest known time. Sounds fun, right? Here’s our three-step guide to throwing one of your own.
1. Choose a Bordering-OnCrazy Course
“I was on top of the Grand Teton after climbing it in a day,” says photographer David Gonzales. “When I looked down at Jenny Lake, something clicked.” That something was the idea to ride his bike 23 miles from Jackson, swim across Jenny Lake,
climb the Grand, then do it all in reverse back to town. He called it the Picnic. Since his first Picnic in 2012, Gonzales has pioneered similar multisport routes in mountain ranges across the country, including the Cascades and the Rockies. His advice is to pick a route that seems just short of impossible, then do it anyway. Here are a couple rules of thumb.
>The more vert the better. The Longs Peak Triathlon, a biking, climbing, and running route that begins in Boulder, Colorado, has 11,500 feet of elevation gain. >Lots of sports means lots of fun. Two is mandatory. Five, like the runbike-kayak-hikeski combo of the Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon in New Hampshire, is better.
2. Get the Masochists Excited
“When I moved to Santa Fe, it was immediately clear to me that there should be a race like this,” says Madeleine Carey, 24, a conservationist who organizes the late-spring Plaza-
2Peak bike, run, and ski event in New Mexico. She wasn’t sure any of the handful of locals she initially e-mailed about the scheme would respond. But word spread, and on the starting line that first year were a dozen people, including a few strangers. “I was surprised by how many people did it and said, ‘That was awful. I’m coming back next year,’ ” says Carey.
>Put it in writing. Word of mouth is great, but it’s much easier to forward a group e-mail or
Facebook event. >Throw a postgame tailgate. You can get extravagant with a full-on barbecue, but even beer and music go a long way after a few thousand feet of climbing.
3. Avoid Lawsuits
While insurance and a permit aren’t necessary for an outing among friends, it gets dicey when participation is in the hundreds. Fred Abramowitz, an attorney in Fort Collins, Colorado, who also organizes the Run Rabbit Run
50- and 100-mile races in Steamboat Springs, gave us some advice to help avoid running afoul of the law.
>Keep it small. Check local regulations for how big a noncommercial event can get, suggests Abramowitz. “With the Forest Service, for example, the magic number is 75 people, including spectators,” he says. Any larger than that and you’ll need to file some paperwork. >Money talks. On public land, says Abramowitz,
“if it’s a commercial operation—anything that charges a fee, even if it isn’t for profit—you need a permit.” The same goes for insurance: “Once an organizer starts benefiting in some way, you’re obligated to provide some level of safety.” >Don’t ruin it for everyone else. “Here in Fort Collins, an unpermitted race through the state forest irritated a lot of locals, and a legitimate permitted race was canceled by the state agency because people were pissed off.”
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DAVID SILVER (2); STEPHANIE LATIMER; PAUL NELSON; FREDRIK MARMSATER; TRISTAN GRESZKO; CHRIS COHEN
by Chris Cohen
Corliss in Los Angeles last year
Jeb Corliss FOR OUTSIDE’
11 . .
by Matt Higgins WITH A GENIUS for heart-pounding specta-
him how to pull off backflips and twisting cle in breathtaking locations, California dare- somersaults while plunging from buildings devil Jeb Corliss, 40, has plummeted from and cliffs. The result: Corliss pioneered prothe Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, and fessionalism in BASE. Angel Falls in Venezuela. Last year he darted When wingsuits came on the scene in the in his wingsuit through a target suspended 2000s, coinciding with smaller POV cameras above the Great Wall of China. Beyond the and YouTube, Corliss envisioned fresh posstunts, Corliss—with his allsibilities. In 2011, buzzing just black wardrobe, blunt sound feet from a Swiss mountainside, OUTSIDE’S bites, and attitude seemingly he narrowly avoided colliding TH calculated to provoke (he stuck with a friend clutching a group out his tongue at news photogof balloons as a prop. An online raphers after he was arrested for edit of the hair-raising footage, attempting to parachute from called “Grinding the Crack,” the Empire State Building in has been viewed more than 31 ANNIVERSARY 2006)—has forged an image as million times. Months later he an action figure in the most danflew through an arch in the side gerous sport ever devised. of a mountain in China as tens of Twenty years ago, when Cormillions of people watched the liss began jumping, BASE was clandestine. multimillion-dollar production on television But he learned that he could make a name for Just as any high-adrenaline sport takes its himself by filming his jumps and selling the toll, BASE jumping—particularly with wingfootage to TV producers. He set new stan- suits—has seen mounting fatalities, including dards for midair acrobatics, enrolling in div- nearly 40 in 2016. A leading cause is the kind ing classes with a coach at USC who taught of close-call proximity flying, popularized by
Corliss, that has killed many of the sport’s most accomplished practitioners. But Corliss remains undeterred. Crashes and broken bones have simply become part of his highlight reel. In 2012, for example, while filming for HBO on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, Corliss clipped a ledge, nearly killing himself and breaking both ankles, his feet, and a leg. Asked by a reporter if he had a death wish, Corliss replied: “If you wanted to die doing the shit I do, you’d die right away.” His wish, he explained, is to live and pursue his abiding childhood dream of flying. Fear of death doesn’t stand in his way.
Watch an in-depth profile of Jeb Corliss on Outlook, which debuts March 19 on Outside Television.
Welcome to the Forever Glades.
It would take an eternity to explore every corner of the Florida Everglades. But it’s worth a try. This 1.5 million acre ecosystem is home to everything from crocodiles and manatees to wading birds and the elusive Florida Panther. And it’s all just a few paddle strokes from Key Largo. fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088
M E DIA
On the Brink of Disaster
JIM SHEPARD’S LATEST COLLECTION TAKES A HARD LOOK AT CHARACTERS CONFRONTING EXTRAORDINARY—AND OFTEN CATACLYSMIC— ENVIRONMENTAL SITUATIONS
by Jonah Ogles more present than death in Jim Shepard’s latest book of short stories. Given the subject matter of the ten pieces in The World to Come ($26, Alfred A. Knopf), that’s no surprise. The collection features characters confronted with the extremes of the natural world—volcanic eruptions, once-in-a-millennium cyclones, and doomed Arctic expeditions. It may sound depressing, but this is Shepard, a perennially undersung writer of seven novels and four previous collections whose subjects stretch from the Holocaust to the trials of middle school. There’s no topic he can’t handle, and each story in The World to Come is its own sort of joy to read, despite the often gloomy subject matter. Primarily that’s because no one is better at inhabiting a voice than Shepard. The narrators here run the gamut from a gunner’s mate on a World War II submarine to the inventor of the hot-air balloon in 18th-century France to a fundraiser for a small college, each one distinct yet authentic. When a homesteading housewife on a 19th-century farm in upstate New York says about her morning, “Prepared the pea sticks for the first crop of peas and drowned the barn cat’s kittens,” you believe she did precisely that. If “HMS Terror,” about Sir John Franklin’s 1845 search for the Northwest Passage, didn’t appear in a book of short stories, I might have mistaken it for someone’s journal. “The
ALSO ON OUR NIGHTSTAND
Two More Must-Reads Out This Month The Stranger in the Woods BY MICHAEL FINKEL ($26, Alfred A. Knopf) A vivid portrait of Christopher Thomas Knight, the man better known as the North Pond Hermit, and his nearly three decades of living off the land—and vacationers’ temporarily uninhabited cabins—deep in the Maine woods. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes BY DAN EGAN ($28, W. W. Norton) An award-winning journalist examines the ecological disaster facing America’s largest source of fresh water.
CORBIS VIA GETTY
metal plates have sheared off fore and aft,” he writes in the guise of lieutenant Edward Little, who was one of the real officers on board the Terror. “The crew report leaks on every level. The ship is under such audible distress from the ice that when speaking with me the officer of the watch is obliged to put his mouth to my ear.” Which brings us to another great pleasure of Shepard’s writing: things happen. In many of today’s short stories, a pot boils and there ends the plot. In “Cretan Love Song,” one character witnesses the largest volcanic eruption ever to occur on this planet, for chrissake, and is momentarily frozen with awe. “Long before the blast column has reached the upper atmosphere, the shock wave coalesces in a grim line that radiates from the outer edge of your field of vision all the way to your little inlet,” Shepard writes. The stories here are nearly flawless. The main difficulty in reading them is wanting to flip ahead a few pages to see if the stranded British Royal Navy submarine in “Telemachus” ever gets to fire its torpedoes, or if disaster comes to the people working in remote stations in Queensland, Australia, in “Intimacy,” the final story. Of course, by that point in the book you expect that it does.
antioxidants. Goodbye free radicals. The power of pomegranates and the polyphenol antioxidants that fight free radicals. SUPER FRUIT WITH SUPER POWER. We’ve all heard about antioxidants and how important they are to include in our diet through whole, natural foods. Here we take a deeper look at what makes antioxidants in pomegranates so unique.
Pomegranates, and of course POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant known to combat unstable molecules that can cause damage to your cells and DNA over time. These harmful molecules are called free radicals. And they’re POM’s nemesis. Though the human body does a good job of handling normal levels of unstable molecules, things like smoking, stress and other environmental pollutants can contribute to the generation of even more free radicals. Which means, unless you live in a bubble, everyone can benefit from the antioxidant power of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. POM & POLYPHENOLS: THE INSIDE SCOOP. Every pomegranate has a variety of polyphenol antioxidants. The deep red arils have anthocyanins, while the rind and
white pith surrounding the arils have ellagitannins. POM Juice is the perfect way to get the fighting power of both. To maximize the polyphenol level, POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is made by pressing the entire pomegranate, so that each 16oz bottle contains the juice from 4 whole-pressed pomegranates. That means there’s antioxidant goodness in every bottle.
An in vitro study at UCLA found that pomegranate juice has, on average, more antioxidant capacity than red wine, grape juice, or green tea. In fact, each serving of POM has 4x the antioxidants, on average, of green tea. ANTIOXIDANT Potency Index 100
Contains 4x the antioxidants, on average, of green tea. DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH. It’s easy to drink in the amazing health benefits of pomegranates every day. Enjoy POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice with breakfast or simply add it to your favorite smoothie. Or mix POM with seltzer for an afternoon pick-me-up or for an evening mock-tail. So drink up! Your body and mind will thank you. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, the Antioxidant Superpower, can be found in the produce section of your supermarket. It’s also available through Amazon.
The crowdfunded Maritime shirt jacket from Taylor Stitch
GE A R
Making Your Dreams Come True
ADVENTURE-WEAR BRANDS ARE TRYING SOMETHING NEW: LETTING CUSTOMERS DECIDE WHAT GOES TO MARKET
by Kelly Bastone “PEOPLE DON’T know what they want until
you show it to them,” declared Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in 1998. Jobs, famous for eschewing market research, dictated tech trends from his glossy Cupertino, California, headquarters. But while that approach may work for new gizmos, outdoor-apparel brands including Gustin, Taylor Stitch, Timberland, and Western Rise are asking customers to
choose, and in some cases even design, the stuff they sell. It’s crowdfunding on a product-by-product basis. Say you want a T-shirt. The brand presents you with an array of designs on its website. Pick one, preorder it, and hope that enough customers share your taste to also pony up the cash in advance. The options that don’t attract enough orders don’t make it into production. The ones that do ship six to ten weeks after initial orders are placed. “This is a new and innovative approach for us, and it’s a great way to get ahead of trends,” says Jay Steere, Timberland’s senior director of innovation, who spearheaded a crowdfunding project to design a new line of hiking boots last spring. Fashion brands like Catwalk Genius and FashionStake first started experimenting with the model about six years ago, soliciting votes and funding from their most commit-
ted customers. Over the past year, about a half-dozen outdoor companies followed suit. In the end, you get the exact item you want, and the manufacturer saves money by making only what customers have already placed an order for. What’s more, that savings gets passed on: Gustin is able to charge just $74 for its denim instead of $269, the price when it hewed to a traditional retail model. So far the approach is popular mostly with nimble new brands trying to engage young buyers, but it poses a challenge: earning customer trust. One way to do that is to sell ready-made items alongside crowdfunded designs. That’s how it works at Western Rise, a lifestyle-apparel company in Telluride, Colorado. “This model lets us offer a variety of styles and fabrics that we might not otherwise be willing to gamble on,” says cofounder Kelly Watters. “Crowdfunding is in its early stages, but we’ll see it evolve. It’s here to stay.” Inga Hendrickson
Alt Farva by VonZipper ($140)
ST Y L E
B-Class by Dragon ($120)
La Mar by Costa Del Mar ($149)
Scrambler by Electric ($120)
STYLING BY BLAIR ANDERSON
Holbrook by Oakley ($180)
Comstock by Smith ($169)
Koko Head by Maui Jim ($229)
Shady Characters DARKER LOOKS FOR THE SUNNY DAYS AHEAD Vibe by Bolle ($90)
January Is the New July
IT HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER TO BEAT THE MIDWINTER DOLDRUMS THAN WITH THESE EIGHT WARM - WEATHER ESCAPES
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Subaru and Impreza are registered trademarks. *EPA-estimated hwy fuel economy for 2017 Subaru Impreza CVT non-Sport sedan models. 2017 Subaru Impreza CVT Sport 5-door shown is rated at 35 mpg hwy. Actual mileage may vary. †Activation with subscription required. Includes one-year trial subscription to Safety Plus connected service. See your retailer for details. **ALG is the industry benchmark for residual values and depreciation data, www.alg.com. ††MSRP excludes destination and delivery charges, tax, title, and registration fees. Retailer sets actual price. Certain equipment may be required in specific states, which can modify your MSRP. See your retailer for details. 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport 5-door shown has an MSRP of $22,495.
DESTI N AT IO N S
F L O RIDA I DA
1. Fill ill the Swamp mp
3. A Surfer’s Oasis b
a–b. Floating the Everglades c. Great white egret, Big Cypress National Preserve d–e. Barbuda Belle f. Flora’s Field Kitchen in Baja California g. VidaSoul beach
BA R B U DA
2. Solitude, Anyone?
Take advantage of low fuel prices. These airlines now offer nonstop flights to the Caribbean. —S.P.
Miami (from $150 round-trip) and Charlotte, North Carolina (from $330 round-trip), to Havana
Boston to Montego Bay, Jamaica (from $60 round-trip)
Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba (from $160 one-way) Fort Lauderdale to Bridgetown, Barbados (from $45 one-way)
Houston to Aruba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Belize (from $110 one-way) Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, Bahamas (from $60 one-way) Baltimore to Aruba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic (from $195 one-way)
The number of tropical frigatebirds far exceeds Barbuda’s 1,625 residents. The news gets even better: Barbuda Belle, a minimal-impact hideaway on the island’s otherwise uninhabited northwestern tip, is set on a deserted 17-mile stretch of pink sand and consists of six bungalows and a tiny locavore restaurant helmed by a French chef. Reaching the remote retreat isn’t easy, but after a puddle-jumper flight from Antigua and a 15-minute motorboat ride, you’ll spend your days kayaking through the island’s bird sanctuary, exploring a petroglyph-lined limestone cave, and accompanying the chef to catch your lobster dinner. From $1,190; barbudabelle.com —JEN MURPHY
Before hotels like the Four Seasons—coming in 2018—bring a wave of new travelers, you can still have Baja’s East Cape to yourself. Whalewatchers, surfers, and kayakers are landing at VidaSoul, a 16-room, solar-powered hotel 50 miles east of Cabo San Lucas. It’s a stone’s throw from Punta Perfecta, one of the best surf breaks in Baja, and steps south of Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo, 27 square miles of beach and reef habitat. Offshore, the sanctuary shelters all manner of thriving sea life—whale sharks, gray whales, jellyfish. Fuel up on wood-oven-roasted pork at Flora’s Field Kitchen, a local organic restaurant, then rent a board, kayak, or cruiser bike from the hotel and explore. From $139; vida soul.com —S.P. I S L A N D E AT S
With a name derived from charki, the Quechuan word for “dried meat,” jerk is a 300-year-old flavoring technique handed down by the Jamaican Maroons. Some of the best jerk chicken on earth can be found at Smurf’s Café, in the Treasure Beach area of Jamaica, where owner Dawn Moxam makes her own sauce from ginger, thyme, scallions, fiery scotch bonnet peppers, and pimento spice.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY OF EVERGLADES ADVENTURE TOURS; PAUL MARCELLINI/TANDEM; ALEPH ALIGHIERI/ALFADOG; COURTESY OF FLORA FARMS; COURTESY OF BARBUDA BELLE (2); VINCE M. CAMIOLO/TANDEM
Jack Shealy, whose roots go back five generations in the Everglades, started Everglades Adventure Tours in 2005. His property is a 35-acre campground in Big Cypress National Preserve, where you can rent a safaristyle tent or try out a chickee—an elevated, screened-in, thatchroofed hut built by a local Miccosukee Indian. Shealy will happily share the region’s best spots for freshwater bass or catfish and rent you a Jackson kayak, so you can paddle the cypress swamps and mangrove tunnels of the nearby Turner River, where egrets, anhingas, and herons feed. He also offers the only poleboat tours of the backwaters, and his other guided trips will get you paddling among dolphins and manatees and eating fresh seasonal fish under the stars. From $79; evergladesadventure tours.net —STEPHANIE
MART ART I N I Q U E
4. The Anti-Cruise ti-Cruise
Sailing S l ng Collective founder Dayyan Armstrong wants to give a taste of the seafaring life to those of us who can’t afford a yacht, with a hip, Brooklyn-based crew intent on erasing the stigma of corded sweaters and boat shoes. On the company’s newest voyage, which takes you into the Windward Islands, Armstrong captains the Lagoon, a four-cabin, 45-foot catamaran ideal for tucking into Martinique’s abundant coves and black-sand beaches or for accessing canyoneering sites in Dominica’s river valleys. You’ll recap each day’s exploits over dark and stormies and a family-style supper featuring the local catch. From $2,400; sailing collective.com —J.M.
I S L A N D E AT S
It’s not hard to explain the popularity of “mannish water,” served in Jamaica on special occasions. Folk songs describe the savory soup—made from goat organ meat simmered with onions, peppers, garlic, celery, thyme, and cloves—as a source of natural male enhancement.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: JODI NASSER; ANDREW CHAD; ELLIOT WILKINSON-REY; ANDREW CHAD; WILL FREIHOFER; NATE LESSNICK; JODI NASSER; CLARA GONZALEZ
5. Ride a Rainforest
There’s no better way to explore a magical volcano-ringed region than by mountain bike. Be prepared for everything on the eight-day Ruta de Maya trip with Sacred Rides. The itinerary includes a tough 3,000-vertical-foot grind on narrow singletrack and grueling forays through farmland and jungles. Off the saddle, you can cliff-jump and kayak in Lake Atitlán, or head to Café No Sé, an out-of-the-way mezcal bar in Antigua. You’ll stay at La Casa del Mundo, a lodge with casitas notched into the side of a cliff overlooking Atitlán A with a view of volcanoes volca oes in the distance. $2,395; $2, —S sacredrides.com —S.P.
A R I ZO NA A
6. Haute te Rolling g
I S L A N D E AT S
Small rolled pionono pastries are available from countless beachside vendors throughout the Caribbean. Our favorite take, popular in Puerto Rico, is made with sweet plantains instead of bread dough and stuffed with ground meat seasoned with cumin and oregano.
There are b Th better tter ways to fuel a quad-busting training camp than rice and beans. With the Cyclist’s Menu, a company that pairs intense rides with great food, you’ll spend each day covering 45 to 75 miles through Arizona wine country with cofounder and mountain biker Heidi Rentz. As the sun sets, collapse on the massage table in your swank private cabin near Tucson. Cofounder Zander Ault will prepare menu options like grass-fed skirt steak with crispy
a–b. Exploring Martinique with Sailing Collective c. Guatemala singletrack d. Cyclist’s Menu outing e. Zander Ault and Heidi Rentz f–g. Pedal hard, eat well
potatoes and arugula served with sweet and spicy chimichurri and roasted chipotle sauce. A mixed-terrain camp in Mendocino, California, is also available, and in May a road-riding camp is launching in Majorca. From $1,950; ridebike seatfood.com —S.P. 03.17
DESTI N AT IO N S
I S L A N D E AT S
Forget the Flat White
CA L I F ORNIA
7. Advanced 7 dvanced Retreat
Southern California oasis the Caravan Outpost, in Ojai, is where musicians and movie stars like Chloë Moretz (of Hugo fame) go to unwind. It’s not just for the meticulously curated selection of 11 Airstreams—from a vintage fifties trailer to a sleek, 30-foot 2015 Classic—set in a botanical garden. The camp’s owners, including snowboarding legend Brad Steward, know how to make guests feel at home:
expect campfire jams, meals by farm-to-table caterer Le Picnic, and free access to a Public Dutch step-through bike that’s perfect for riding into town. Meanwhile, wineries and hiking trails are a short drive away. Airstreams from $200 per night; caravan outpost.com —S.P.
a–c. Lounging and exploring Ojai d. Afternoon SoCal surf outing e. Cliffside snorkeling f. Cuba Unbound’s kayaking trip
No one encapsulates the new spirit of entrepreneurship in Cuba better than Che Guevara’s youngest son. Ernesto Guevara, founder of La Poderosa Tours, is leading weeklong Harley-Davidson jaunts across the island, giving visitors a new way to explore Cuba’s revolutionary history. Tours range from 600 to 800 miles and hit towns like Santa Clara, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad, stopping at historical landmarks (your tour of Havana includes Che’s headquarters) and natural wonders like the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. From $3,250 for seven days; lapoderosatours.com —MIMI DWYER
C U BA A
8. Paddle ddle the Unknown In November 2015, Cuba Unbound rolled out the first kayaking tour of the island’s eastern half with an 11-day trip that provides a glimpse of Cuba’s wild side, like Cayo Saetía Island’s camels and zebras and the waterfalls of Pinares
de Mayarí. The company, which emphasizes cultural and educational exchanges with local artists and conservationists, has added bike tours and a summit hike on Cuba’s highest mountain, Pico Turquino. Kayak trips from $3,400; bike trips from $3,890; cuba unbound.com —J.M.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: MATT ALBERTS; CHAD KENNEDY; MC KENNEDY/GALLERY STOCK; CHAD CASE; MATT ALBERTS (3)
Coffee has been growing in Cuba since the 18th century, but the café Cubano craze took off 150 years later when Italy exported the first espresso maker. Cubans add raw demerara sugar to the brewing process, which makes for a sweet and viscous brew.
GO LIST BUSINESS TRAVEL, MEET BUCKET LIST
Westin Hotels wants to take you surfing. And hiking. And skiing. Building on the success of RunWestin, which pairs local runners with guests looking to put in a few miles while away from home, the upscale hotel chain has begun offering an adventure concierge service, connecting you with gear and seasoned staff members who know the area’s best hills, breaks, trails, and peaks. With several more locations joining soon, even the quickest trip will have room for a little extra fun. —GRAHAM AVERILL >LAX
Los Angeles Surf the South Bay from nearby Manhattan Beach.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ALINA TSVOR; AMANDA VILLAROSA; TAYLOR COLE; COURTESY OF PATAGONIA; EMMA MCALARY
Atlanta Tune up at the hotel’s repair station, then tour historic neighborhoods on two wheels.
Victoria, British Columbia Hike to the summit of Mount Finlayson, with panoramas of Victoria and Vancouver Island.
Scottsdale, Arizona Take a four-mile guided ramble through the Sonoran Desert.
P Photo Ops s In 2014, Colombian-American rican Katalina Mayorga took on the modern-day y explorer’s p rer’s social-media dilemma: how ho to disconnect and still ll have envy-inducing photos to show for it. So she founded El Camino Travel, a company that sends a professional photographer on its outfitted trips in Central America. Don’t expect a week on the beach. Itineraries in Colombia, Nicaragua, and Trinidad and Tobago are loaded with adventure (like rappelling from waterfalls) and culture (cooking and dance lessons). Every night the photographer sends 30 photos to each guest. Not that you’ll necessarily want to share your epic Tarzan flop into a jungle lake. From $2,050; elcamino.travel —JEN MURPHY
Strapped for Space
Stashing a day pack in your carry-on takes up precious cubic inches. That’s why we love this 22-liter lightweight convertible travel bag from Patagonia: it carries like a tote or a rucksack, depending on how you configure the clever straps, and it folds down smaller than a pair of jeans. $79 —CHRIS COHEN
DESTI N AT IO N S
Iceland’s Great White North
SKI ENDLESS UNTOUCHED POWDER FROM AN ARTFUL LODGE ON THE ISLAND’S REMOTE UPPER COAST “IT’S HARD to get to?” When searching for a downside to Deplar Farm, the newest heliskiing and fishing lodge from the Crested Butte, Colorado, luxury brand Eleven, that’s the best I can do. The lodge sits on an old sheep farm tucked into Iceland’s rugged Troll Peninsula, but once inside you’re surrounded by unexpected features intended to inspire rec-
reational indulgence, not rural drudgery: two bars (wipe away the jet lag with a shot of Brennivín, the country’s signature spirit), a massive game room with pool and Ping-Pong, locally sourced three-course meals made by a live-in chef, a 3,700-squarefoot glass-walled spa with an indoor-outdoor pool and water piped in from a nearby hot spring,
and 13 rooms worthy of Architectural Digest. But you’re here for the skiing and fishing. In the spring, Deplar Farm’s ski guides, who have been scouting the area for several years, have easy access to the hundreds of unnamed, 3,000-foot peaks that stretch in every direction. On clear days, they choose your lines by following the sun, accessing precipi-
tous landing sites for the six-seat chopper and finding mellow, wideopen pitches slathered in perfectly baked corn. On our last day, we skied nearly 40,000 vertical feet. In summer and fall, the property converts to a full-time fishing operation, with exclusive heli access to legendary Atlantic salmon runs on the Hölkná River. —CHRISTOPHER KEYES
Access: Air Iceland flies from Reykjavíc to Akureyri, where Deplar will pick you up in a strapping Sprinter van with leather seats. Flights from $70 one-way Temps: April and May are your best bets for skiing, when cold fronts still bring the possibility of fresh snow and warm days mean perfect corn. Detour: Chopper grounded? Visit the Herring Era Museum in nearby Siglufjördhur. Don’t scoff—the surprisingly fascinating exhibits helped it earn a prestigious European Museum Award in 2004. Indulge: No trip to Iceland is complete without trying the traditional dish kaestur hákarl—fermented shark that smells and tastes like ammonia. Wash it down with a Czech-style lager like Kaldi Dark.
COURTESY OF ELEVEN EXPERIENCE (5)
I believe in helping every pet parent find the right formula for their dogs, just like I did for my Riley. — JENNIFER FREEMAN, Natural Balance® Registered Veterinary Technician and her
© Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.
German Shorthaired Pointer, Riley
That’s why Jennifer and her team are here to help you find the perfect option for your pet’s unique needs. Chat live with our Veterinary Technicians on NaturalBalanceInc.com
adventure tools, tested & reviewed
CA R S A N D T R U C KS
Jaguar F-Pace THE TEST: After throttling Jaguar’s first ever SUV across frozen lakes in Scandinavia and over 11,000-foot passes in the Colorado Rockies, our opinion of the 340-horsepower V-6 F-Pace boiled down to this: it’s a riot. The 18inch wheels rolled over uneven terrain with verve. Our confidence was further boosted by an on-demand allwheel-drive system that sends power to the rear by default, engaging AWD only when needed. Interior space is enough for two mountain bikes with the seats folded down. All that and this cat can still ferry four adults around. WHAT’S MISSING: Despite the F-Pace’s ample thrust, it’s a heavy, thirsty beast. THE VERDICT: If you’re a skier, biker, or dog lover looking for a rig with sex appeal, this is your new ride. $41,985; 18 mpg city/23 hwy
On (and Off) the Road Again WHETHER YOU SPEND MOST OF YOUR DRIVE TIME NAVIGATING URBAN STREETS OR POWERING THROUGH RUGGED DIRT, 2017’S STANDOUT RIDES ARE ALL-ACCESS PASSES TO WILD ADVENTURE
by Grant Davis and Michael Frank
SKETCHY FOREST ROADS
Porsche Cayenne THE TEST: The rap on the Cayenne is that it’s the most capable SUV that almost none of its owners take beyond the pavement. Back when it debuted in North America in 2003, we drove one through nearly hooddeep standing water and what felt like bottomless mudholes— even up steep, rootstrewn rocky slopes. And it only got better in 2011, when Porsche added center differential locks, which makes all the wheels turn at once, useful for getting unstuck. Although the Cayenne defaults to rear-wheel drive on tarmac, it can send nearly all its power to either axle, depending on which tire has the most grip. Switching to off-road mode lifts the chassis to 10.7 inches, besting the ground clearance of some otherwise hardier pickup trucks. What truly continues to distinguish a Cayenne from, say, a Jeep Grand Cherokee is that it handles like a sports sedan during regular driving, with some of the
friendly 4x4 hero. $43,700; 18 mpg city/23 hwy
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk best brakes of any car on the road and cornering grip even at supercar speeds. WHAT’S MISSING: Not much. But this summer, Porsche will retool the Cayenne, which could cost the SUV some of its notorious capability. THE VERDICT: A tank that handles like a sports car. $60,650; 19 mpg city/24 hwy
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro THE TEST: This Taco is built to do one thing—thrive in the rough. As we learned over 120 miles of tooling around town, the truck’s ride is unapologetically stiff, and the 3.5-liter V-6, while plenty powerful, is geared for dirty duty
rather than interstate cruising. But once we ventured into the rough, the Tacoma’s burly Fox shocks, wide stance, and 9.4-inch ground clearance gave us every excuse to explore. And for novices, the Pro model’s six-speed automatic transmission affords superpowers in the form of its Crawl Control feature. Basically cruise control for off-roading, it propels the truck up and over the gnarliest terrain, automatically modulating braking and power between all four wheels. The driver only has to steer. WHAT’S MISSING: The Tacoma can take you almost anywhere, but good luck seeing the vistas out of the squat windshield. THE VERDICT: An unabashed, user-
THE TEST: With the Trailhawk, Jeep moves away from its traditional center of burly SUV-cumcomfort stud and invests heavily in the rough and tumble game. Its signature feature is Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II air suspension, which jacks up the ground clearance from 8.2 to 10.8 inches with the push of a button. Rumbling on 20 miles of washboard Forest Service roads along Colorado’s Front Range, it turned an otherwise teethchattering 40 minutes of miserable driving into something tolerable. In addition to fourwheel drive and its terrain-select system, the Trailhawk comes with an armored underside, as well as red hooks up front for pulling lesser vehicles
WHAT’S MISSING: A bare-bones version with all the confidence, fewer tech flourishes, and none of the luxury. THE VERDICT: That same sweet Grand Cherokee ride but with hardcore cred. $44,090; 18 mpg city/25 hwy
out of a jam. Jeep also includes massive Goodyear All-Terrain Adventure tires, and they conquer almost everything. Even with plenty of trail moxie, the interior is plush— almost too nice for the dusty, muddy, sloppy conditions the Trailhawk is made for.
OUR FAVORITE NEW AUTOMOTIVE ADD-ON? ROOFTOP DIGS. —M.F. BEST FOR: GOING LIGHT
Yakima’s first roof shelter fits on sedans and wagons without risking cave-ins. Its two- and three-person models origami into a smaller footprint when closed, reducing noise and drag while driving. $999 BEST FOR: MULTISPORTING
Tepui White Lightning Hard Shell
This clamshell design can itself be outfitted with a roof rack to keep your gear stowed even while you doze inside. It’ll accommodate only about 60 pounds of stuff with the tent occupied, so heavier items will need to come down until morning. $3,800 BEST FOR: ROUGHING IT
CVT Mt. Thielsen Standard Automatic
Supreme durability makes CVT tents big in the overlanding world. We dig this model because it doesn’t cantilever out over the edge of your rig; it springs skyward and folds back down via a simple crank. $1,395
adventure tools, tested & reviewed
Cadillac XT5 AWD Luxury THE TEST: Whether meandering through San Francisco’s tight, traffic-clogged streets or coasting along open stretches of Highway 1 south to Santa Cruz, this new Cadillac is, in a word, easy. Easy to maneuver, easy to spend all day in, easy to get in and out of, and easy to throw stuff into and retrieve. It’s like the Goldilocks of midsize crossovers. While that doesn’t necessarily mean exciting, it’s a key selling point for a premium rig. On a cross-continent blitz, the XT5 would be a welcome cruise liner compared with the stiffer, more aggressive ride of the Jaguar F-Pace. And Cadillac
THE TEST: The 330e is the latest step toward BMW’s ambitious goal to power the bulk of its cars electrically by 2026. While it’s not a full-on EV, it can range 14 miles in pure electric mode. And unlike past BMW hybrids, it’ll truly hustle (up to 75 miles per hour) without burning a drop of gas. Then there’s Auto eDrive, where the transmission passes seamlessly between electric and gas, staying in EV mode if you’re light on the throttle. The surprising part is that the 330e has better acceleration than the gas-only 3 Series,
gave rear passengers 39.5 inches of legroom and seats that recline backward for snoozing. The 310-horsepower V-6 with all-wheel drive spends most of its time judiciously powering the front axle, shutting off half its cylinders when turning all four wheels is fuel-sucking overkill. WHAT’S MISSING: The eight-speed automatic transmission helps with fuel economy but can make passing maneuvers frustrating, as it can take a while to find the optimal gear. THE VERDICT: The luxury crossover for those who want a happy medium between a Euro sports car and an American truck. $48,790 (with AWD); 18 mpg city/ 26 mpg hwy
because it combines propulsion from a 180-horsepower, twoliter, four-cylinder engine and an 87horsepower electric motor. Handling is ultra-crisp and tactile, inspiring confidence no matter how hard you push. And yep, BMW kept trunk-tocockpit fold-down rear seats from previous versions, so there’s room aboard for everything from backpacks to bikes. WHAT’S MISSING: Greater range in electric-only mode. THE VERDICT: A (nearly) no-sacrifices sports sedan that happens to be a hybrid. $44,695; 72 MPGe, 30 mpg combined
SMOOTH CITY PAVEMENT
Nissan Pathfinder THE TEST: It may look like the same old Pathfinder, but a peek under the hood proves otherwise. Nissan boosted the engine to pump out 284 horsepower and tow up to 6,000 pounds (e.g., a 27-foot Airstream). The suspension is better, too—stiffer and more capable. On a hilly drive near Big Sur, California, the smooth continuously variable transmission (CVT) was well mated to the engine, with little of the whining drone found in other CVT set-ups. While it’s primarily built for the asphalt, the Pathfinder has adventure chops. We locked the transmission into four-wheel drive to power up a sandy lane in the mountains,
and descent control stopped us from sliding on the way down. Nissan’s Around View Monitor provides a 360-degree image of the terrain, so we could skirt around boulders and $100,000 Benzes in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. Think of the Pathfinder as a bigger Subaru Outback with a more refined on-road ride and twice as much towing capacity. WHAT’S MISSING: While three rows of seats make the Pathfinder seem capacious, there’s not enough headroom in back for an adult to sit up straight. THE VERDICT: A suburban cruiser with an activelifestyle soul hidden under sheet metal and leather. $32,920 (with 4WD); 19 mpg city/26 hwy
Toyota Prius Prime THE TEST: An edgy hybrid? With this latest iteration of the Prius, yes. Just stare at the Tron-esque rear lights and aggressive front end. A sports car it isn’t, but the Prime is a spry daily driver that lives up to the Prius enviro heritage. Toyota tweaked the handling, affording more predictable cornering, and the Prime can run entirely without gasoline for 25 miles (farther than the average office commute). Even if you floor it, the car stays in EV mode until its cells are depleted and can cruise up to 640 miles when using both the gas engine and electric motor. Getting to a distant trailhead and back is no sweat. WHAT’S MISSING: The rear hatch gives the impression of
storage space, but only that. THE VERDICT: The archetypal hybrid bares its teeth. $27,965; 133 MPGe, 55 mpg city/53 hwy
FOR DECADES, HYDROGEN HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE NEXT BIG FUEL SOURCE FOR VEHICLES. IT IS, AFTER ALL, THE MOST ABUNDANT ELEMENT IN THE UNIVERSE, AND WHEN USED IN A COMBUSTION ENGINE IT EMITS PURIFIED WATER, NOT A NOXIOUS SMOGGY STEW. IT’S TAKING TIME TO GAIN TRACTION, BUT HYDROGEN MIGHT VERY WELL BE THE FUTURE. —G.D.
Is hydrogen efficient?
Extremely. The U.S. Department of Energy points out that a gas engine converts less than 20 percent of the fuel into actual energy to power a car, whereas with hydrogen that number is as high as 60 percent.
OK, but how expensive is it?
There’s the rub. After driving a 100-mile loop in
Lake Tahoe aboard Toyota’s hydrogenpowered Mirai, we spent more than $31 to replenish the tank. Comparatively, a 28-mpg Camry would have cost merely $12 to top off after motoring the same distance.
So is anyone selling hydrogen cars?
You can lease a Hyundai Tucson or buy a Mirai. The latter went on sale in 2015. It’s pricey at $58,365 for
what’s ostensibly a slow Camry, but with tax credits and $15,000 worth of hydrogen fuel included, it becomes a more reasonable proposition.
Great, where can I get one?
California. Right now the fuelingstation infrastructure for hydrogen is mostly limited to the Golden State, where drivers can fill up their tanks using a modified gas coupling.
adventure tools, tested & reviewed
Rack It Up
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack THE TEST: As soon as we hit snaking blacktop in the shadow of Washington State’s Olympic Mountains, it was clear that the VW Alltrack was no plodding crossover. It’s lighter, it steers more sharply, and it feels sportier than any SUV-like creature in its class. A 1.8-liter engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission keeps torque right in the sweet spot when climbing steep grades in sport mode. The Alltrack has 4WD as well and comes standard with an off-road setting that allows more wheel churn before the traction control kicks in—a huge help if you’re trying to power out of mud or snow. Shift back to D on the interstate and the Alltrack defaults to lux-sedan quiet, with
STOW YOUR GEAR LIKE A PRO —M.F. Spread the Load Set a roof rack’s feet as broadly as possible, from fore to aft, says Yakima’s Joel Grabenstein, and be sure to get load bars that extend widthwise to the edge of your rig. That’s so the weight gets distributed through the frame and not to the thin rooftop sheet metal, which can dent.
superb sound deadening. The seats are plenty supportive for long hauls, and stock amenities include fog lamps and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. WHAT’S MISSING: The maximum 66.5 cubic feet of stowage doesn’t quite match a Honda CR-V. THE VERDICT: A European SUV alternative without the sticker shock. $27,770; 22 mpg city/30 hwy
MercedesBenz GLC300 4Matic Coupe THE TEST: It’s better to think of this latest crossover from Mercedes as a taller, roomier sedan than as an SUV. With 6.3 inches of ground clearance, the GLC300 Coupe rides a few inches higher than a normal about-town car, but that’s not quite enough lift for
barreling over rutted forest two-track. Still, it’s plenty capable of shuttling you and your crew to where pavement ends and trail begins. Its max 56.5 cubic feet of storage bests the Volvo V60 (opposite), its nine-speed transmission is smooth, and its center of gravity is low, so you never get that high-riding car sickness on mountain hairpins. Plus, the two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers a gutsy
273 pound-feet of torque. Inside, every surface, from vent knobs to window levers, feels tailor-made. WHAT’S MISSING: The price of fashion is function, and the GLC300 Coupe’s sexy roofline chops six cubic feet from the standard GLC’s total cargo capacity. THE VERDICT: A sedan-crossover mashup that’s fun and fairly pragmatic. $45,950; 21 mpg city/28 hwy
If It’s Long, Tie It Down According to Thule’s Chris Ritchie, at highway speeds there’s enough air pressure pushing up on a paddleboard or kayak extending over your windshield to rip a rack clean off your car (and even peel back the roof). To prevent that, tie the ends of the craft to the front and rear bumpers. Broadcast Security In addition to integrated rack locks, add the visible deterrent of a cable or U-lock to your bike. “You want to make it look difficult to steal,” says Rocky Mounts founder Bobby Noyes.
WINDING MOUNTAIN PASSES Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country THE TEST: Credit the Swedish carmaker for knowing how to handle winter. This V60 has heated everything: seats, windshield-washer nozzles, and side mirrors. Plus, there’s a transparent electrical defroster embedded in the windshield. Skiers will dig the second-row pass-through, which is wide enough for powder sticks. While the V60 isn’t massive inside (44 cubic feet with the rear seats folded), this wagon is superior to any
sedan when it comes to hauling gear, and with standard AWD and ground clearance at an impressive 7.9 inches, you’re getting reasonable wherewithal that actually bests some crossovers. Handling is nimble, if not quite as firm as the Volkswagen Alltrack, but the Volvo is quick, with 240 horsepower on tap from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. WHAT’S MISSING: The rear seats aren’t roomy enough for anyone bigger than a teenager. THE VERDICT: The ideal chariot to chase first tracks. $42,695; 22 mpg city/30 hwy
Pack ’n’ Play
DREAMING OF #VANLIFE? FOLLOW THESE LEADERS. —M.F.
Jon and Pamela Robichaud
COURTESY OF JON AND PAMELA ROBICHAUD
Marketing consultant, physical therapist Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, $42,495 UPGRADE: A giant drawer to mount their bikes on and then slide them out the rear doors. PRO TIP: “Establish roles,” Jon says. “I’ll do coffee and morning dog walks, and set up and break down camp, while Pamela does dinner preparation and packs everything in the cabin.” @roamingrobos @keeperjon
The Robichauds’ modified Sprinter
Bassmaster elite fisherman Nissan NV 3500, $33,800 UPGRADES: A rack system, with two nine-foot PVC pipes and locking end caps, to hold 80 fishing rods, plus custom tacklebox racks. PRO TIP: “My van’s a rolling garage. I’m constantly moving stuff from boat to van and back again. I can’t overemphasize how valuable it is to have a system for your gear.” @lefebre8 @davelefebre
Tasha Rivard Graphic designer Ford Transit Connect, $23,010 UPGRADE: A memory-foam mattress cut into thirds to create a six-inch-thick bed.
PRO TIP: “When hunting for a place to park and sleep, aim for a spot with either no one around or tons of people around.” @tasharivard @tasharivard
Subaru Impreza THE TEST: Once we hit 100 mph on an empty stretch of mountain highway close to the Mexican border in Southern California, we were sold on the revamped Impreza. Subaru made the hatchback roughly 1.5 inches longer and wider, not to mention stiffer. The decidedly higher fuel economy belies its sports-car handling. Credit the brand-new chassis, sport-tuned steering, all-wheel drive, and more than half an inch
less ground clearance, which affords it glue-like grip on the road. Beyond the frame, the Impreza impresses with a spacious interior. Subaru also dropped the roofline for improved aerodynamics—and easier roof-rack access. WHAT’S MISSING: Guts. The Impreza’s 152-horsepower engine and CVT transmission are geared for fuel economy, not oomph. THE VERDICT: The value-pick AWD star just became a joy to drive as well. $19,215; 28 mpg city/38 hwy
I N T H E LE AD
The Science of Sweet
TWO NEW BOOKS BREAK DOWN HOW SUGAR IS KILLING US—AND WHO IS TO BLAME
by Nick Heil FOR MORE than half a century, we’ve been led to believe that fat is the root of all dietary evil. Recently, though, increasing numbers of public-health officials and researchers are contending that sugar has been the problem all along, causing numerous chronic diseases including gout, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. ¶ The reason it has taken so long to swing popular and scientific opinion is largely because the sugar industry—composed of both trade groups and major corporations like General Mills, the Coca-Cola Company, and PepsiCo—has manipulated or subverted science, paid and pressured researchers, academics, and politicians to ignore the risks, and spent billions funding studies that support their products. ¶ Last September, a report in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that in the 1960s, two influential scientists—Mark Hegsted, administrator of human nutrition for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Fredrick Stare, chairman of Harvard’s nutrition department—had been paid $6,500 (about $50,000 today) by the Sugar Research Foundation, a trade group, to place the blame for things like heart >
disease on high-fat diets rather than highsugar ones. Hegsted and Stare, both now deceased, helped shape our fundamental understanding about food and influenced the first federal nutrition guidelines, many of which are still in place today. More recently, The New York Times revealed that a December 2016 research review in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which attacked public-health guidelines on sugar intake, was funded by Coca-Cola and Hershey, among others. As the deceit comes to light, two recent books attempt to put the final nail in sugar’s coffin: The Case Against Sugar, by science writer Gary Taubes, and Soda Politics, by New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle. Even if the nefarious nature of sugar comes as no surprise to you, these books should be required reading if only to understand the scope, power, and impact that Big Sugar has had on America’s health—or, perhaps more accurately, sickness. Both books draw apt parallels between the sugar and tobacco industries. Taubes goes as far as suggesting that the dangers of sugar may even outweigh those of smoking, given its wide use among people of all ages and its largely benign reputation. But unlike cigarettes, the evidence against sugar, while convincing, isn’t quite conclusive. While it’s easy to show smoking’s short-term carcinogenic effects at the cellular level, irrefutable evidence against sugar would require lengthy and prohibitively expensive studies, since its deleterious effects can take years or decades to manifest. Though an increasing
The dangers of sugar may even out weigh those of smoking, given its wide use among people of all ages and its largely benign reputation. number of smaller trials point to the fact that our sweets addiction is killing us, Big Sugar has relentlessly exploited the uncertainty, spending millions on marketing and pushing the idea that total calories are the issue, not where those calories come from. Taubes has already fought that battle. His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, went to great lengths to point out that easily digestible carbohydrates—and sugar in particular— affect our metabolism differently and more harmfully than calories from fat and protein. That’s because sugar can be a powerful hormone disrupter, spiking insulin and facilitating weight gain, the prelude to a host of diseases. Add to that its addictive nature—sugar boosts dopamine, giving rise to cravings—and it presents a double threat. In The Case Against Sugar, Taubes argues that the proliferation of sweeteners entering the food supply during the middle of the 20th century overwhelmed us physiologically—we simply aren’t adapted to manage the quantity we’ve been ingesting. Look closely and you will find some form of added sugar in almost
all processed foods, including “healthy” ones like yogurt and muesli. While Taubes concedes the limitations of the science, he maintains that there is “enough evidence to indict, if not ultimately convict.” Nestle aims her antisugar efforts more directly at the soda industry, primarily Coke and Pepsi. Half of our sugar calories come from sweetened beverages, and a third of those come from soda, which relies heavily on highfructose corn syrup as a sweetener. Fructose is metabolized in the liver and can make cells insulin-resistant. What’s more, sugar in beverages is absorbed into the bloodstream much more quickly than sugar in solid foods. And yet some questions remain. What, if anything, does exercise do to offset sugar’s impact? What amount is optimal for athletes? Some? None at all? (See “Strawberry Goo Forever,” opposite.) There is evidence suggesting that sugar boosts performance: a 2008 study found that cyclists drinking beverages sweetened with glucose and fructose (similar to, say, Gatorade) were 8 percent faster in a time trial than those drinking only
water. It’s also well established that athletes have improved glucose metabolism, requiring less insulin to metabolize sugar. Athlete or not, some new guidelines are emerging. Nestle is less hard-line than Taubes; she recognizes, probably rightly, that Americans are unlikely to wean themselves off sugar entirely, as Taubes urges, and should instead work at moderation. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist from the University of California at San Francisco and perhaps the most notable sugar researcher working today, suggests that individuals consume only 27 to 30 grams of added sugar per day. (The FDA sets a target of 50 grams.) That number may be flexible—some individuals are more sensitive to sugar than others—but not by much. Lustig’s research indicates that 100 grams per day is toxic for most of us. Our current average per capita daily intake ranges from 120 to 164 grams. For context, a 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew contains 77 grams, and a 15.2-ounce bottle of Minute Maid apple juice contains 49 grams. Supporters of a soda tax, like Nestle, delight in touting such figures. During the last election, five cities across the country passed soda taxes. As that momentum builds and public opinion shifts, there may come a time, not too long from now, when sugar finds a place alongside nicotine and booze as an easily abused substance with O life-threatening consequences.
F UE L
Strawberry Goo Forever Despite the dangers that sugar poses to sedentary folks, early studies suggest that it’s mostly OK for athletes who need quick, easily digested fuel. The sweetener powers your cells and is the main source of energy for your brain and muscles. But remember these two important rules: First, you need a sportsperformance product only if you’re exercising for longer than 90 minutes. Second, sugar comes in many forms, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re taking in while training and racing. —LUKE WHELAN
Don’t Fake It The whole point of consuming performance fuels is for the carbohydrates, so low-calorie options featuring sugar substitutes like aspartame, sucralose, stevia, and xylitol don’t make much sense. If there’s any time when it’s appropriate—or at least acceptable—to have real sugar, it’s during a hard workout.
Brown Rice Syrup WHAT IT IS:
Sugar extracted from starches in cooked rice.
Dried Cane Syrup WHAT IT IS:
Basically table sugar (a.k.a. sucrose) processed slightly differently. The same is true of evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, and sucrose syrup.
Sucrose breaks down into the simple sugars glucose and fructose, which are metabolized at different rates and provide you with a steady drip of energy. OUR TAKE:
A good option for endurance athletes. Like all sugars, keep your daily intake well below 10 percent of your total calories to avoid health pitfalls.
Agave Syrup WHAT IT IS:
A sweetener made from the nectar of the agave plant. RESEARCH SAYS:
It’s highly processed and contains similar fructose levels to high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose is behind most of the metabolic diseases, like diabetes and obesity, associated with sugar— particularly in sedentary people.
Though brown rice syrup breaks down primarily into glucose, it’s a more complex carbohydrate than pure glucose (which some products use), so you’ll get less of a blood-sugar spike. OUR TAKE:
It’s better than a pure fructose sweetener but not as preferable as sucrose-based ones.
Tapioca Syrup WHAT IT IS:
An extract from the starches in cassava root. RESEARCH SAYS:
There haven’t been many studies on tapioca syrup, but it’s heavily processed and manufacturers manipulate its glucose and fructose ratios. OUR TAKE:
Until there’s more information, we’d steer clear.
Maltodextrin WHAT IT IS:
A sometimes sweet, processed form of corn, wheat, tapioca, or rice starch. RESEARCH SAYS:
It’s a more complex carbohydrate than glucose or fructose but still breaks down quickly and is absorbed into the bloodstream as glucose. It also requires less water for digestion than simple sugars, meaning lower likelihood of gastrointestinal distress. OUR TAKE:
Because of its quick absorption rate, maltodextrin is good for long training sessions, races, and recovery.
FI TNE SS
A BAY AREA GYM WANTS YOU TO GET SWEATY AND STONED
by Chris Colin what inspires Jim McAlpine, a fit and exuberant 46-year-old, you must conjure an image of the American stoner. Are you picturing someone heavylidded, couch-bound, and struggling to make an animated GIF of that Big Lebowski scene without knocking his bong off the coffee table? That stereotype drives McAlpine crazy, and he’s made it his mission to change it. This spring the surfer, skier, and weed lover will open the world’s first cannabis fitness center in San Francisco. Power Plant Fitness will be a premier gym, McAlpine says, not just a hangout for potheads. Though, to be clear, there will be weed. He’s still hammering out the details, but McAlpine envisions offering cannabis performance assessments, in which trainers help
determine how the plant can help an athlete work out before guiding them through weedassisted fitness plans. In addition, McAlpine hopes, members will be free to buy and consume cannabis on site, including Power Plant’s own line of edibles, which he says are “made for pre-workout focus and postworkout recovery.” McAlpine believes that fitness will increasingly be a pillar of the ever exploding cannabis industry. “If you use it right,” he says, “cannabis takes the things you love and lets you love them more. With fitness that can help get you into the zone, into eye-of-thetiger mode.” The vision isn’t completely far-fetched. While studies dating back to the 1970s have shown that marijuana use slows reaction time
and diminishes motor skills, more recent research suggests that the chemical compounds in cannabis can help increase your pain threshold, reduce anxiety, and combat inflammation. McAlpine says he’s seen enough proof— both in his own workouts and in fellow athletes—to press ahead. He partnered with former NFL running back Ricky Williams to get seed money for the first Power Plant Fitness gym, scheduled to open in May in San Francisco’s Mission District. And plans are under way to add locations in Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, Denver, and Portland, Oregon. Now that eight states (including California) and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, hopes for an all-new approach to fitness are high.
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: LOUIS AREVALO; TYLER WILKINSON-RAY (2)
Clockwise from right: Day 337 in Utah; skinning near Bariloche, Argentina, in September; dropping into the Tres Marias Couloir, outside Bariloche, in August
P E RF ORM ANCE ENHA NCER
Backcountry Skier Aaron Rice RICE’S LOVE OF snow has grown exponentially. In 2011, the Alta, Utah, native skinned 75,000 vertical feet. In 2015, he logged 703,000. But the one-year world record was two million, set by Canadian Greg Hill in 2010. So in 2016, Rice planned to notch 2.5 million self-propelled vertical feet by skinning (and hiking, when he had to) 5,000 to 12,000 feet per day in Argentina, California, Chile, Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. There were plenty of powder days, but much of it was a slog. He spent the entire month of June trudging up dirt and scree to ski down Colorado’s diminishing veins of snow. Along the way, he learned a few things about setting an ambitious goal and staying motivated. By late October, he’d pulled even with Hill. And on December 29, just outside Alta, he notched vertical foot number 2.5 million. —RACHEL STURTZ
“Pick a little drift of snow in front of you and get there, then pick another. You need to think about anything other than how hard it is.”
of seltzer water, orange juice, and soy milk. The next morning I was a new person.”
“Between skiing, eating, and transport to and from the hill, I only had about an hour and a half of free time each day.”
“In Utah and Colorado, friends would join me for laps. In Argentina, I used social media to find partners. It’s hard to overstate the value of two people’s energy.”
“I ate Probars while I skied, but my big issue was recovery. The key was four grams of carbs to one gram of protein in my recovery drink. Every night I had a half-gallon of a homemade mix
“There were days when I liked to put on light gear, plug in a podcast, and go as fast as I could for five hours. I even managed to listen to the entire Radio Lab series all the way through.”
“When you’re out there for ten hours every day, you have so much time to stew in your thoughts that it becomes a source of anxiety. I wrote everything down on my iPhone as I skinned, and it helped me let go. I got so good at it that I could almost touch-type without looking.” “When the skiing is good, it’s easy to stay motivated and go with the flow. That motivation pulls you along. But you need stubbornness to go for a goal that takes a year.”
You’re addicted to your phone. You’re the world, and get in shape. Fortunately,
loaded down by useless stuff. And you eat like a teenager. No wonder you can’t find the time to play outside, see streamlining your life—and having more fun—is easy: just do less. Here’s how. BY JEN SCHWARTZ & THE EDITORS
(Simplify ) 2017
mourn in a house fire. Crampons that have felt summits from the Cascades to the Himalayas. My first road bike. The BOB stroller that logged hundreds of miles as I trained for ultras and jogged my two small children to sleep. A lot of this stuff hasn’t been used in years, rendered obsolete by shinier new toys or my shifting passions. It was piling up. The issue came to a head when my fiancée moved in, along with her own stockpile. But any hopes that I would realize Kondo’s magic by confronting the mountains of sentiment in the garage were extinguished within the first few pages of her book. In rigid terms, she describes a “tidying marathon,” an all in, months-long project that will fail if not completed. If I didn’t address my entire household inventory—closets, drawers, cabinets, everything—I would return to a state of unwanted clutter. The garage would have to wait. I started by moving through Kondo’s list of categories in the prescribed order: “Clothes first, then books, papers, miscellany, and lastly, mementos.” The process forced me to confront those myriad places that attract random junk. The kitchen counter always littered with mail and school announcements. Bathroom cabinets stocked with bottles and tinctures. And that damn armoire, in which I discovered an incongruous collection of candleholders, board games, place mats, two puzzles, an extension cord, a New Mexico atlas, and an ancient video camera that records on something called MiniDisc. I took on these hoarding stations armed with a garbage bag (trash it) and a box (give it away). I purged like I was at a peyote ceremony. Over several days, I made four trips to Goodwill, where the staff began to recognize me. Clothes, books, paper—those were easy. My garage came last, for it was filled with the high-end sporting gear that we adventurous types classify as mementos. It was here that my trust in Kondo’s method was tested. Her advice for deciding on whether or not to keep something: touch it, be aware of the feeling it triggers, and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” When I thought of my prized quiver of skis, bikes, and camping stoves (six of them!), I pictured Kondo asking the question and me defiantly answering “Hell yes!” to all of it. One Sunday morning, I clicked the garagedoor opener and confronted nostalgia’s grip. I started with the camping equipment. After careful consideration, stoves one, two, and three registered no spark. Neither did way too many headlamps, stuff sacks, first-aid kits, and ground pads. My first real trial was the sleeping bag I took on multiple cross-country family road trips as a kid. It was in that bag that I slept soundly in the
BY CHRISTOPHER KEYES
The first piece of furniture I ever bought kept me up at night. I was 25 years old, and the offending item was a 60-pound oak armoire the color of whiskey and the size of a standard refrigerator. It wasn’t the price or the quality of its construction that triggered the angst. It was what it represented. I now owned something that couldn’t fit in my rooftop RocketBox. I saw my adult life beginning, along with a relentless accumulation of more stuff. That armoire was the loss of my freedom. Looking around my house nearly 20 years later, my vision was prescient. I’ve collected more things than I want, and finding a place to put them all is a daily struggle. My twentysomething anxiety wasn’t unfounded, either. Research has revealed a troubling paradox: not only is clutter a cause of stress, but so is getting rid of things. For some people, the very act of shedding a possession triggers activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, the same parts of the brain that register physical pain. Which explains why millions of Americans, including me, have plunked down $10 for yet another possession: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a bestseller by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo. According to Kondo, dealing with your clutter can improve your well-being. “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective,” she writes. “It is life transforming.” I bought my copy thinking it would be a needed catalyst for the garage-cleaning project I’d been putting off for two years. Inside is my gear stash, proof of a lifetime of adventure and the only possessions I’d truly
back of our station wagon as my parents drove all night from the north rim to the south rim of the Grand Canyon to catch the sunrise. Running my hands over its greasy seams, I felt a powerful sentimental joy. I also realized that the memories it evoked were inside my head, not its weathered nylon. I put it in the giveaway box. There were three pairs of cross-country skis, each having carried me through the 40-mile Elk Mountain Grand Traverse. I’ve always liked seeing them propped against the wall, proof of my feats. But joy? It wasn’t sparked. I tried to draw the line at my first pair of telemark skis. No matter that they’re comically skinny, I thought, these babies rip. But now I was on a roll. I threw them in with the sleeping bag. I went on like this for several more weekends, pawing flat soccer balls, tired camp chairs, and outdated bike wheels. Eventually, I whittled down my treasures to my absolute favorites and began reorganizing the space according to Kondo’s strict instructions—no piles. Finally, one recent evening, preparing for my first skin up the local ski hill, I felt a little bit of the magic. The real evil of clutter, the one I’d feared at age 25, was its ability to bog you down. Do I want to go backcountry skiing at 6 A.M. when the process requires an hour of rounding up misplaced necessities? Nope. I’ll just sleep in. But that night I entered the newly overhauled space, and all the items I needed—poles, skins, helmet, gloves, skis—were in exactly the right place. I’d be lying if I said my life has been transformed. I haven’t touched my office yet. And I’ve actually noticed an increase in angst over the places that I’ve yet to tackle. But if tidying is indeed a marathon, I have faith in Kondo’s metaphor. I know how shedding weight and completing a long-distance trial brings on a curious euphoria. Kondo estimates that her tidying marathons take clients around six months, and I will keep running. But she’ll have to pry my BOB stroller from my cold, dead hands.
SIMPLE STRATEGIES OTHER WAYS TO CUT THROUGH LIFE’S CLUTTER GO FISHING. TURN OFF THE GPS. WRITE A LETTER. SMILE AT STRANGERS. MAKE A FIRE. POP POPCORN OVER THAT FIRE. STARGAZE. GIVE AWAY BOOKS. DELETE UNREAD E-MAIL.
PUT DOWN THE PHONE
“You don’t need to tweet or post during your adventure unless you’re a sponsored athlete whose livelihood . I promise you that no one . I’ve grown to love it when an expedition starts and the bars on my phone dwindle down . That’s a sure sign that I’m headed in the right . —GUIDE DAVE HAHN, WHO HAS SUMMITED MOUNT EVEREST 15 TIMES
MAKE IT A LIQUID LUNCH
SIMPLE STRATEGIES WALK YOUR DOG.
“Soup is a nutrition life-hack,” says Nicole Centeno, author of the cookbook Splendid Spoon and CEO of the soup-delivery company of the same name. “It’s efficient and nourishing and keeps you fueled for hours outside without weighing you down.” It’s also a foolproof one-pot wonder. Buy a stack of plastic pint containers for single-serving storage in the fridge or freezer, and reheat for lunch as needed. Centeno’s favorite hearty soup, kale and lentil, is loaded with fiber and protein and made with ingredients you likely already have at home.
SLOW DOWN. SAY THANK YOU— AND MEAN IT. TAKE A MIDDAY NAP. READ BOOKS. SIT ON THE FLOOR. BE UNAVAILABLE. LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE ALBUM.
Kale and Lentil Soup
Serves four 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, diced 2 large carrots, diced 1 rib celery, diced 1 large garlic clove, minced ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ pound dried red lentils, rinsed and drained ½ pound dried green lentils, rinsed and drained 2 quarts water 2 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale Sea salt to taste 1. Warm the oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook the onion, carrots, and celery, stirring frequently, for ten minutes or until tender. Stir in the garlic, pepper, curry, and cinnamon, and cook for one minute. 2. Increase the heat to high, add the lentils and water, and bring to a boil. Add the kale, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens, the lentils are tender, and the kale is wilted. 3. Stir in the salt. Serve hot.
. You have to relish your accomplishments and . . . . . . —ULTRARUNNER CLARE GALLAGHER, WHO WON THE 2016 LEADVILLE TRAIL 100 WOMEN’S DIVISION BY TWO HOURS
CHOOSE A UNIFORM
Steve Jobs wore a black turtleneck and jeans every day. Mark Zuckerberg lives in a hoodie. Yes, they’re tech geeks—but not having to think about clothing frees up all kinds of mental energy for more important tasks. So what’s a style-conscious active person supposed to wear? Consider this foundational formula from Peter Buchanan-Smith, founder of Manhattan clothing and gear company Best Made.
Chambray shirt. “Chambray is far more versatile than flannel—it can be worn with jeans or trousers. The material is timeless. Once you find the perfect shirt, buy five.”
Sweater jacket. “Best Made’s shawlcollar sweater, with super-heavy, 100 percent western wool, is my armor. I wear it fly-fishing, as a winter jacket in the city, and under a rain shell.”
High-quality belt. “I wear
Best Made’s Gfeller belt almost daily.”
Dark-wash jeans. “Levi’s 501’s. You get so much for the price, and they only get better with age. ”
Aviator sunglasses. “Randolph Engineering’s are classic. You can’t go wrong.”
Rugged boots. “I don’t think it’s overkill to have burly leather ankle boots as your daily staple, even in New York. I’d pick the Danner Rainforest. They’re like the Land Rover Defender of boots.”
Good socks. “Wool blend. Not too thick, not too thin.”
BRING IT BACK TO LIFE
In 2011, Patagonia launched its Worn Wear program, which allows customers to send in jackets and apparel to be mended. The company has since performed 170,000 repairs. Here’s a quick guide to fixing your own stuff—and taking better care of it in the first place.
SKIMP ON GYM TIME One of the pillars of the modern approach to fitness is the belief that gym-based strength training is essential, even for endurance athletes. Problem is, many of us take things too far. Two-time Olympic skier turned strength coach Eva Twardokens is part of a growing chorus of fitness professionals who argue that amateur athletes don’t need to spend more than two hours a week working out between walls. The upshot: you can spend a lot more time playing outside. “The danger for a lot of people is overexercising,” says Twardokens. She closely analyzed just how much gym work she needed to continue to perform at a high level. “I boiled it down to the essentials and created Minimum Dose, Maximum Effect,” she says. “The idea is to do the least amount of training that allows for good body composition and supports the activities in your life without wearing your joints down.” Twardokens, a National Masters Weightlifting champion, explains that her general workout philosophy is to “maintain strength and muscle mass through the basics, like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and dips. And that includes you endurance athletes!” The rest of the time? Get outside and enjoy the sports you love.
Keep it clean: Before storing technical layers at the end of the season, launder them in cold water with a revitalizing cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash and hang them to dry, says Lindsey Stone of Seattle’s Rainy Pass Repair, which fixes, updates, and renews all manner of outdoor fabrics. “Once something like Gore-Tex is dry to touch, treat it with a DWR spray to revive waterproofing,” she adds. “Then stick it in the dryer on low for 10 to 20 minutes.” SIMPLE STRATEGIES EAT VEGETABLES. WALK YOUR DOG AGAIN. BAKE FROM SCRATCH. SPLIT WOOD. GO HOME EARLY. RIDE YOUR BIKE. CALL YOUR MOM. BREATHE.
Avoid the common errors: “Wool is much more difficult to burn than synthetic fabrics, so consider a top layer of wool while you’re tending the campfire,” Stone says. Upgrade your field kit: “Tenacious Tape is just as strong as duct tape, but it doesn’t leave a sticky residue,” Stone says, “so later you can properly fix a tear without a mess.”
Save your sole: Don’t toss out those worn-down hiking boots if the upper structure is still in good shape. Legendary boot wizard Dave Page in Seattle can resole just about anything. He has repaired a pair of 1960s boots six times. Their owner is now in his eighties.
GO IT ALONE
“I always say, If I had to wait for a friend, I’d still be . . —MATT KEPNES, WHO WRITES THE BLOG NOMADIC MATT
JUST SAY NO
are, so we say yes to everything that comes . . . . â€”LEO BABAUTA, AUTHOR OF THE POWER OF LESS AND THE MINDFULNESS BLOG ZEN HABITS
SIMPLE STRATEGIES TAKE A STRETCHING BREAK. BURN OLD PAPERS. THROW A DANCE PARTY. WEAR CLOTHES WITH FEWER POCKETS. SHOWER LESS FREQUENTLY. DON’T ADD SUGAR. IGNORE TO-DO LISTS.
“The reason weekend warriors own so much gear is that it connects them with an activity without actually doing it all . —FOSTER HUNTINGTON, CELEBRATED MINIMALIST AND AUTHOR OF HOME IS WHERE YOU PARK IT
10 BUY LESS, LIVE MORE BY JONAH OGLES
There’s a joke that we tell around the office: How can you spot an Outside editor at the trailhead? They’re the one removing tags from their stuff. It hurts because it’s true. Some editors’ offices are so packed with gear that it’s tough to find a place to sit. I’m no exception. When I decided to take up mountain biking a couple of years ago, I bought two bikes: one hardtail and one full suspension, so I had the right ride for any situation. I currently own six fly rods—one for throwing dry flies on small streams, another for casting streamers on big rivers, yet another for windy days, and so on. But when I read a recent story about Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard that noted how most of his gear was made in the previous century, I began to question my excessive ways. I suffer that disease so common among middle-class Americans: overconsumption. And I’m not joking when I call it a disease. We’ve long known that buying things releases dopamine in the brain—a 2012 study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs suggested it’s even addictive. Partly to blame: the ease of the buy-now button. It’s not just a biological pull, either. Magazines, catalogs, and websites—Outside’s included—assault your inbox, mailbox, and Facebook feed with new gear. I decided to fight back: for one month I would buy nothing but food. (OK, and beer.) The first week, I felt like an alcoholic standing outside a liquor-store window. I had a strong urge to cheat, to buy something small like a book or a movie ticket. But midway through the month, the compulsive urge to consume relaxed. At home I realized that not only did I have a jacket that would get me through ski season, I actually had two, even if they didn’t breathe quite as well as I’d like. I began to look at things I previously considered at the end of their useful
life—jeans with holes, a laptop that was a few years old—as perfectly functional. I spent less time scrolling through gear blogs fantasizing about smartwatches or fishing reels, which meant that I had more time for things that really mattered: my wife, my friends, my colleagues—people, not things. Late in the month, though, I caved. My wife and I recently bought a home, and we wanted to replace the old smoke detectors. “I’m not buying everything for the house this month,” my wife said, with a certain tone in her voice, suspecting that my pledge to swear off consumerism was a ploy to bankrupt her. I immediately went online and ordered two of them. Later that day I got her flowers, just to be safe. The truth is, not buying stuff doesn’t feel as instantly good as hitting the buy-now button does, and I can’t say that I won’t purchase superfluous stuff in the future. But I realize that I don’t need it. In fact my life may be richer by not having as much of it. A few weeks after my experiment ended, I reached out to Trout Unlimited to see if it needed any packs or rods for its youth programs. I rounded up my extra winter hats, coats, and gloves to give to a local shelter. After years of being sick, I’m starting to feel better.
DON’T GET ALL EPIC BY SAM MOULTON
I’ve got a bit of Viking in me. Not the raiding and pillaging so much as the deep-seated urge to explore distant lands. For years my M.O. was: save up money, blow it on a far-flung adventure, return broke, repeat. It was fun, but I’ve since wised up. While I still try to pull off big trips whenever I can, I’ve learned that closer-to-home outings can be just as satisfying. I grew up in southeast Wisconsin and couldn’t wait to set out for the mountains and rivers of the West, eventually landing in New Mexico. But when I go back to Wisconsin now, I’m discovering everything I overlooked. Within 20 miles of my childhood home in Sheboygan, there are sand dunes to explore, waterways to paddle, waves to surf (seriously, Google it), and glacially carved trails to wander. Having kids has helped shift my perspective, too. In Santa Fe, a lifetime of family microadventures can be had right out the back door. This past fall, we spent a weekend rafting a section of the Rio Grande near town. It might not have been heroic by Instagram standards, but there were rapids, rattlesnakes, hot springs, and pictographs. The kids didn’t have to miss any school, and I swear I felt my inner Viking stir.
“I’ve tried all the organizational apps, but I much prefer putting pen to paper,” says legendary alpinist Conrad Anker, known among fellow climbers for both his skill and his preparation. “I like using Moleskine notebooks, the lined five-by-eight ones. Every night I use a nice fountain pen to jot down my to-do list for the following day. Then I prioritize it, rewrite it to reflect that order, and think about it. On Sunday I do the same routine, but for the whole week ahead.” Anker says that bulletproof organizational skills may be in his blood. “My sister is a professional organizer, with clients, so we joke that creating structure and having discipline runs in our family. I find myself flipping back though my journals and rereading them. Research shows that writing things down helps you process and remember them better, and I agree. I’ve been doing this since 1998.”
TOM SERVAIS Hydrofoil surямБng off Namotu Island, Fiji
K A I LENNY WA L K S O N WATER OR SO IT SEEMS. THE 24-YEAR-OLD FROM HAWAII IS A MULTIPLE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION OF STAND-UP PADDLING, A DOMINANT WIND- AND KITESURFER, AND ONE OF THE MOST FEARLESS BIG-WAVE RIDERS ON THE PLANET. HIS COMBINATION OF TALENTS WOULD SEEM IMPOSSIBLE IF HE DIDNâ€™T MAKE IT ALL LOOK SO EASY.
DROPS IN ON
THE AQUATIC SAVANT TO FIND OUT HOW HE PLANS TO GET EVEN BETTER.
H U R R I C A N E M A D E L I N E had just spun off
and Hurricane Lester was hard on its heels and the skies over Maui’s north shore were brooding and restless, with fierce clouds casting the ocean a surly shade of slate, but Kai Lenny thought the conditions would be “epic” for a downwind coast run on his stand-up hydrofoil board, so he drove to Maliko Gulch in his black Ford F-150 truck, towing a matched pair of jet skis behind him on a trailer. This convoy of stoke and gear rolled up the Hana Highway and hairpin-turned into the gulch, bouncing across washboard ruts and through giant mud puddles. At the edge of the launch ramp, Lenny backed up the truck and tipped the jet skis into the water. “Look, it’s already breaking up,” he said, scanning the horizon. “It’s windy though. There’ll be bumps out there for sure.” Nothing about the day looked overly appealing. I stood ankle-deep in storm debris— leaves, sticks, mud, rocks—wrestled on a wetsuit, and zipped up my flotation vest. Standing beside me, Victor Lopez, one of Lenny’s mentors (and the brother of surf legend Gerry Lopez), did the same, and then we waded into the murky gulch and climbed aboard the skis. Rain fell crankily. Lenny, however, was buoyant and cheerful. And why not? At 24, Lenny is already a seven-time stand-up-paddling world champion—three racing and four surfing with a paddle. He is one of the globe’s most accomplished watermen, a prodigy not only at paddling, but also at windsurfing, kitesurfing, and big-wave surfing—doing each of these three sports at such an elite level that, were he to give any one of them his singular attention, its world title would also be well within reach. In pursuit of his passions Lenny has surfed oceans, bays, rivers, lakes, wave parks, even swimming pools. Last April in a Paris stadium, he windsurfed off a ramp and landed a massive aerial flip, with 15,000 spectators cheering and disco lights flashing overhead. His repertoire also includes prone paddling, outrigger canoeing, freediving, skimboarding, bodysurfing, shortboard surfing—anything that involves water or waves, basically. One surf observer has quipped that Lenny could “ride a loaf of bread if you coated it with resin.” But chest puffing is not Lenny’s style. “I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere close to where I want to be,” he says. “I feel like the more you learn, the less you know.” Certainly it doesn’t hurt Lenny’s aquatic DNA that he was born and raised on Maui; that his parents, Martin and Paula, moved to the island specifically to windsurf and then built their family life entirely around watersports; that he grew up with “uncles” like Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Robby Naish,
Darrick Doerner, and the Lopez brothers. Before Lenny’s first week on earth was complete, his parents had already dipped him into the Pacific, a baptism of the highest, wildest order. At four he caught his first wave; by nine he had his first sponsor. This all seems quite fateful, even before you learn that kai is the Hawaiian word for “ocean.” Now, two decades later, watching Lenny paddle is a lesson in elegance; I’ve seen seabirds less graceful. At five-nine and 154 pounds, he is not a brawny guy. For his size he’s long-limbed, every muscle a functional tool. Lopez and I followed as Lenny set off on his 7'2" canary yellow hydrofoil board in search of the best wind and waves. Soon he was up on the foil. “He’s going nine or ten knots,” Lopez said, nodding his approval. A foil appears ungainly only when it’s not in motion. More than anything it resembles an airplane wing, connected to a board by a vertical strut. When it moves through the water, the physics kick in and the foil creates lift, allowing the rider to soar, frictionless, around two feet above the surface. Though foils have been around for years, they’ve mainly been used for tow surfing. Lenny
ON ANY AFTERNOON when the trade winds are blowing, Hookipa Beach Park, on Maui’s north shore, is a riot of kites and sails, attitude and adrenaline. In the parking lot you’ll hear German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, pidgin—a United Nations of surf. Local heavies patrol the place enforcing Darwin’s rules of etiquette. Offshore the waves can be triple overhead. In short, it’s a tough place to make an impression. Especially if you’re ten years old. Veteran pilot Don Shearer, whose yellow chopper is a familiar sight at every big swell, recalled the first time he saw Lenny at Hookipa, back in 2003. Shearer had been flying a photography crew who were shooting the scene when a tiny figure streaked into the frame: “Here comes this little kid, and he does this full loop right in front of the helicopter on his windsurfer! I’m like, ‘Who the hell is that?’ ” Robby Naish knew who it was. Naish, now 53, is a windsurfing icon, a 24-time world champ who won his first title at age 13. He also launched a board-sports company, fielding a team of talented riders. Around the same time Shearer noticed Lenny, Naish
The surf world’s list of cautionary tales is long, but it is simply impossible to imagine Lenny, say, chugging a 40 while dazed on oxycodone. At no time in his life will he be getting his neck tattooed. changed that, working with an engineer on the design, adapting it for stand-up paddling and shortboard surfing. Being able to fly under your own power was, he claimed, “life changing.” Every wave in the ocean, even crummy waves, mushy waves, misshapen waves, was suddenly a joyride. We made our way down the coast as Lenny zipped through the swells. At one point the sky darkened ominously behind us while the sun peeked out front and a full rainbow emerged, glowing with preposterous beauty. It arched over Lenny’s head, the dramatic light illuminating the Hurley logo on his boardshorts, the Tag Heuer watch on his wrist, the rich yellow of his Naish surfboard, the Red Bull logos glinting off the jet skis. Lenny’s skin shone like copper; his smile could be seen from outer space. It was an image that would make advertising executives fall to their knees in rapture, eyes rolled back in their heads. Lopez grinned. “Kai has a whole different relationship to the ocean than most people,” he said. “And he’s the nicest kid out there! The only grief I can give him is that he eats too many burritos.”
had received a letter, penned in a kid’s hand. “I will be the best team rider if you give me a chance,” it read. A résumé and list of references were attached. The letter was signed: “Your Freind [sic], Kai Waterman Lenny.” “Thank you very much for your résumé… and welcome to the team!” Naish wrote back, adding: “The number one rule is that school comes first!” He also advised Lenny to listen to his parents and to “stay modest. Nobody likes a ‘big head’ even if he’s the best in the world.” Recalling Lenny’s letter now, Naish chuckles. “It was cute. I’ve known Kai since he was born. He had so much enthusiasm, it was pretty clear he was gonna go places eventually. Unless he spun out or became a drug addict, it was almost guaranteed. Fortunately, he’s got his head on straight.” This is an understatement. As a young adult, Lenny has his act together in a way that’s rare in someone twice his age. Disciplined, organized, reliable, friendly, positive: all those adjectives apply. Lenny doesn’t drink alcohol—“I don’t like the taste,” he says—or, God forbid, smoke. He considers his time in the ocean to be a state of constant
meditation. When forced to remain on land, he reads Joseph Campbell and teaches himself filmmaking. The most deviant thing he’s been known to do is roll his dog, Bubba, upside down and spin him around a few times. “He loves it,” Lenny says. (For the record that appears to be true.) Most important, he is surrounded by Maui’s tight-knit watersports community and a family that couldn’t be more supportive. Martin Lenny, an affable man with a calming presence, juggles a real estate career with helping Kai guide his affairs. Paula Lenny is an athletic woman with tousled blond hair and kind eyes who recently retired as a physician. The two not only encouraged
“The only way to become world champion is to go to a point that somebody else isn’t willing to go,” Lenny says.
Kai and his younger brother, Ridge, in their oceanic adventures—they joined in. To put it mildly, this is not always the soil in which young surfers grow: Rates of burnout and dropout and delinquency abound. Substance abuse lurks nearby. The surf world’s list of cautionary tales is long, but it is simply impossible to imagine Lenny, say, chugging a 40 while dazed on oxycodone. At no time in his life will he be getting his neck tattooed. This is not to say, however, that Lenny is perfect. There was that incident in the cane fields, when his Polaris Rzr ATV ended up floating down an irrigation ditch and had to be sling-loaded out. Officially closed to the public, these fields hold forbidden allure for dirt bikers—or, in Lenny’s case, high-speed off-roaders who enjoy aerobatics. “If I was really in trouble and I had to make my great escape, nobody could catch me on that thing,” he says. “It goes 140 miles per hour!” And the burrito-gluttony charge is legitimate. Lenny loves Taco Bell with a level of devotion that fast-food chains don’t often inspire. The relationship is not mercenary: there is
no sponsorship here, just adoration. It takes multiple bean and cheese burritos to power an eight-hour day of training that may include surfing, paddling, foiling, kiting, windsurfing, a gym workout, and a Muay Thai boxing session thrown in for good measure. “I have a hard time keeping weight on,” Lenny says. “There’s a burning furnace in my stomach.” Finding his body’s ideal fuel has not been an easy quest. On the water he dutifully ingested gels, which he hated, and found himself bonking and fading anyway. At home a dinner of fish and salad didn’t cut it. “I was always feeling so tired, because I wasn’t getting enough fat and calories,” Lenny says. “So this year I just said screw it, I’m gonna eat whatever I want. And I feel amazing. I finally realized that the people who were telling me what to eat were all, like, 50.” IF T HER E’S A R ACE that demands the full
measure of Lenny’s determination, it’s the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, a 32-mile, notoriously feisty channel crossing between the two islands. At that distance it’s a test of pain threshold as well as paddling skills. In 2015, Lenny finished second. The year before that resulted in fourth. This wouldn’t suffice. The M2O is a crown jewel in the extreme-sports kingdom; winning it was high on Lenny’s to-do list. He changed up his equipment, modified his training, debriefed with master waterman Dave Kalama, tweaked his race tactics, and stocked the escort boat with Taco Bell. And trounced everyone at the 2016 race, setting a new world record. “The best part was nobody thought I was going to win,” Lenny tells me one day as we’re sitting in the living room of his parents’ house in Spreckelsville, a stone’s throw from some of the Pacific’s best windsurfing breaks. “I just raced against myself,” Lenny says, describing a strategy of high-intensity intervals rather than a long, grinding slog. “I would go really hard for a while, then I would really relax.” Martin and Paula are at home today, too; the only Lenny not in evidence is Ridge, who is away at college. The house has a relaxed, happy vibe, with comfy sofas, wooden carvings of sea turtles, vintage surfboards hanging from the dining room ceiling. In the run-up to the 2016 M2O, after a big-wave competition caused Lenny to miss one paddling event and illness kept him from another, a SUP blogger brayed across the Internet: The stand-up tour’s current world champion was not a contender. You would not be seeing him on the podium. Paula nods. “Everyone was asking, ‘Is Kai going to retire from racing?’ ” “People are funny,” Lenny says with a smirk.
“When they don’t see you, they assume that you’re done. And I’m like, ‘You guys do realize I’m only 24, right?’ ” Enjoying this pressure-free, underdog status might have been easier had a 60 Minutes Sports crew not been following Lenny, hoping to capture footage of a big showy victory. “It’s such a mental game, that race,” he says. “It hurts so bad. You’re pounding as hard as you can for four hours.” But the effort was worth it: “The only way to become world champion is to go to a point that somebody else isn’t willing to go.” The other day on the water, Lopez had weighed in: “I think that record’s going to stand for a long time. And when it’s broken, it’ll be him breaking it.” EL N I ÑO W I N T ER is hard luck for many marine creatures, but one group thrives on it: big-wave surfers. And no big wave draws more of their attention than Peahi, otherwise known as Jaws. Located on Maui five miles east of Maliko Gulch and a half-mile offshore, Jaws is an irresistible fever dream for anyone whose idea of a good time involves surfing a wave as daunting as Mount Everest. Its faces can top 80 feet. Lenny has been riding Jaws since he was 16, and he was fantasizing about it long before that. He began tow-surfing it under the tutelage of Kalama and Hamilton, the wave’s undisputed kings. “Kai’s been watching us ride Peahi since he was a baby,” Hamilton says. “For him, riding these giant waves is the norm: ‘Oh, that’s what you do.’ ” Despite a memorable wipeout the first time he was towed in, Lenny was instantly sold; now he’s there whenever the wave breaks in good conditions. Most years that’s three, four, maybe five times. Then the weather gods brought winter 2015–16: Lenny surfed Jaws 24 times. His performance on the biggest days earned him a spot on the World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour. “I think a huge transformation came from being a part of my best big-wave season ever,” Lenny says. “From the start of it, my thought process was, ‘Well, I hope I don’t die. If I can make it to May, I’m gonna be so happy.’ ” Not that he was any less scared by the end, he stresses. Big-wave riders tend to think of Peahi as a ferocious female presence—Hamilton has called her “the Grand Empress”—who commands total respect. “I feel like she’s my other mother, in a way,” Lenny says. “And that’s spiritually speaking, because every time I go out, I do feel like I’m being taught a lesson.” “He has that sense of how to survive up there,” Kalama notes. “And not every bigwave surfer does. A lot of them just have giant nuts and will go on anything—and all they’re really doing continued on page 90 >
Dack Klein and his Mack plow in Ouray
Red Mountain Pass has 16 treacherous switchbacks, most without safety rails.
It’s an exceedingly excee g white hite January afternoon on A America’s e cas s sketchiest etch est road—white ﬂurries rushing g the th h windshield d and swirling in the mirrors, whit white hit ridges idg id and d cirques ci es disappearing among torn tor white hi clouds. l ds ds. H Heck, k even en the road is white, th though gh iit won’t remain r so for long. g. Dack Dac Klein K e iss behind be d the t e wheel w ee of o hiss 188 ton Mack plow truck, laughing p ghing his big g laugh, g navigating yet another lethal curve with all the casual confidence of a man who has done do e this some 7,000 times before. Or maybe it’s 8,000 times. An equipment operator with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Klein has worked the 15 miles of U.S. Highway 550 that climb from Ouray to the top of 11,018-foot Red Mountain Pass since 2003. He has worked them at dawn and midnight, on Halloween and Easter and Cinco de Mayo. He has worked them in every imaginable type of blizzard—from the fierce to the downright savage, from the protracted to the never-ending. Forty-two years old, with a black buzz cut, a stout build, and a probably-should-havedied crash under his belt, Klein is familiar with every inch of Red Mountain Pass. A typical shift for one of the four full-time employees stationed at Ouray lasts eight hours but will stretch to 12 or 18 when the weather insists. Weekends are more of a theoretical possibility, monthlong runs of consecutive days to be expected. Between late September and early June, Klein spends half as much time with his wife and three kids as he does with his Mack, doing the job, which he calls “pushing.” Milepost 90, passing below an avalanche path named Ruby Walls: “You’ve got to appreciate the dangers when you’re pushing. Last winter we had a chunk of rock the size of a football field detach right here.” Milepost 87, entering Ironton Park, the road’s only flattish section: “There have been nights I could barely see past the wipers when I was pushing. It can take 20 minutes to manage this one nasty mile if it’s blowing.” Milepost 81, beneath Blue Point: “The saying goes that Blue Point will run if you sneeze. Usually it’s a bank slip, but occasionally it’s a giant, and then you’ve got to do some serious pushing.” Milepost 80.28, at the summit: “Jackknifed 18-wheelers, four feet of fresh powder in eight hours—pushing on Red gets crazy.
But that’s what makes it special, B pecial, right?” The San Juan Mountains ns average 349 inches of snow annually, i y, and much of it falls twice: first from the sky, then from the f crests and headwalls where here it tries, and fails, to cling. cl g Seventy y named med avalanche paths intersect Highway Hg y 550 0 in the 23 miles between Ouray and Silverton, Silve on, the town on the south side of the pass that serves as a base for another of CDOT’s 200 patrols across the state. The infamous East Riverside slide can dump 50 feet of concrete-thick debris and has taken the lives of three plowmen—in 1970, 1978, and 1992—as well as a preacher and his two daughters in 1963, and two men and most of their team of mules in 1883. Since 1935, when the first attempts to keep the road open through winter were made, dozens of people have perished trying to get across, though an exact number is impossible to tally. The threats are numerous: soaring cliffs, towers of brittle ice, 8 percent grades, unexpected doglegs. I spoke with Klein over the phone, and he explained that the lower portion of the road is literally chiseled into the vertical rock of the Uncompahgre Gorge—a narrow geologic throat 1,000 feet deep in places. The upper portion, beyond Ironton Park, traverses subalpine slopes largely scoured of trees. We talked for 15 minutes and he used the word respect often enough that I lost count. He also exuded a kind of pure, almost childlike enthusiasm for the elemental power of the range, the clarity of purpose his job engenders, and what he called his “Tonka truck.” By the end of the conversation, an invitation was on the table: come ride. SO HERE WE are—inside Klein’s shiny orange
4x4 Mack, a crucial player in a fleet that also includes a grader, a blower, a pair of loaders, and two other plows. It’s mid-January 2016. A three-day storm kept the Ouray patrol pushing straight through Christmas, and a fresh one is gathering. Our 12-foot rubbercoated carbide blade is lowered, our ten-foot wing extended on its hydraulic arms, jutting
from behind the passenger-side door, forcing snow farther off the road. The rig is 13 feet tall, costs $200,000, gets two and a half miles to the gallon, and fills the lane like a football player in a too-small suit. Three hundred and twenty-five horses snort beneath the broad hood. The cab is richly perfumed with diesel fuel, warm and snug. “Less spacious than your Toyota Tercel,” Klein says with a grin after I mention the make and model of my car. “Little for comfort, but a blast to drive.” Spacewise, the cab is indeed reminiscent of a compact—and thus concludes the vehicular similarities. We’re lording over F-350’s, enthroned seven feet off the ground, a sandsalt mix spraying from a massive hopper
mounted to the truck’s rear. Electronics abound: ground thermometers, GPS tracking systems, so many screens and gauges one thinks of an airplane cockpit. A toolbox at my feet contains emergency supplies— MREs, rope, a space blanket, a Maglite, a wrench—and at my elbow, Klein has wedged in an additional backpack loaded with enough food, water, and clothing to last at least two days. Avalanche beacons strapped to our chests blink, their batteries fresh. Having tagged the top of the pass 3,200 feet above Ouray and pulled a U-turn, Klein and I are now descending Upper Switchbacks, a set of precarious zigzags balanced on the mountain’s steep face. Pressing my nose to the window, what I notice is an
absence. Despite the narrow shoulder and stomach-tightening exposure, there are no guardrails in sight. (A few exist along the route, but they are rare.) The reason, I’m told, is simple: plow drivers have to put all that snow somewhere. On Highway 550, that somewhere is over the edge. “We’ve got nicknames for everything,” Klein says. “Paul’s Plunge, Scary Larry’s Rock, Upper Switchbacks, Dack’s Dilemma.” The dilemma occurred in 2007 on a typical Red Mountain night: temperatures in the single digits, bad gusts, snow flying in every direction. Visibility was a few notches below poor, and a terrified kid in a sedan was hogging both lanes, approaching Klein head-on. Given the conditions, this member of the
“traveling public,” as Klein affectionately calls such drivers, probably should have been at home playing video games or making out with his girlfriend. Klein slowed his rig—he was only doing about ten miles per hour to begin with—and eased to the side of the road. A bit too far, it turned out. “It was this slow-motion tilting,” he says, recalling what happened next. “I kind of reached for my seat belt, reached for the door, thinking maybe I could jump out, but there wasn’t enough time.” Picturing his wife asleep in their house at the bottom of the pass, her belly round and pregnant, he gripped the wheel and “went for the ride.” Klein dropped 60 feet before the truck’s cab crumpled around his body with a
he emphasized that Red Mountain Pass morphs into a “different creature” with the fading of dusk’s alpenglow. The guys rotate shifts—two months of days, two months of swings, two months of graves—to share the burden. That order comes apart under the weight of heavy weather, though, everybody pushing together to make the road safe regardless of whose shift it is. And even when the snow finally quits, there are rocks to clear, vehicles to fix, a whole series of tasks to prepare for the next big dump. “The storms usually come after dark,” Klein says. “Clifford’s on graves, but he’s been puking with some kind of flu, so I don’t think you want to seal yourself into a truck with him for eight hours. We’ve got to make sure you ride with Michael on swing.” Michael Harrison is a 52-year-old from Chicago’s South Side who moved to the San Juans after college and still retains the accent of his childhood. (He stopped working on the patrol before the 2016–17 season.) Compared with the ebullient Klein, he is a monk of the road, focused and intense. “It’s fucking spooky up there,” he says. “Really fucking spooky. You sure you want to do this?” The weather that’s been growing on the pass is finally peaking, snow falling at three inches per hour. Harrison just finished his first run, and already his efforts are close to erased. There’s no time to waste. Clean gunk-ice from the lights, load the hopper with sand, and go. Rule number one of plowing: push with the storm. As we drive, the temperature dives to two degrees in the gorge, visibility tightens to 25 feet, and the wind makes a menagerie’s worth of animal sounds. Harrison says nothing, his right hand working the three joysticks that adjust the angle of the plow and wing, while his left hand stays steady on the wheel. We’re low-beaming it, squinting, billions of snowflakes flashing in our yellow and blue strobes. What by day felt like an airplane cockpit presently feels like a spaceship. Town is gone for good, a distant planet, a false memory of security and laughter and cheery neon lights in tavern windows. The 1,000-foot abyss yawns invisibly to our right. Milepost 90, passing Ruby Walls: “In sideways weather, I’ve got to be able to get out of the truck, take three steps, and touch the mountain. If I can touch the mountain, I’m safe. If I can’t, that means the mountain might drop out from under my tires.” Milepost 87, entering Ironton Park: “Sometimes I catch myself saying, ‘Where’s the road?’ I’ll be humming to myself: ‘Where’s the road? Where’s the road?’ ” Milepost 81, beneath Blue Point: “This is definitely the let’s-get-the-fuck-out-of-
here section. You see these sloughs spilling across our lane? They came down in the last hour. That’s bad. We call those indicator slides. They mean trouble.” Milepost 80.28: “It’s life and death up here, no doubt. People think you can just
way to being buried. Below the engraved image of a plow truck almost identical to the one idling behind us, I read three names and dates: ROBERT MILLER (MARCH 2, 1970), TERRY KISHBAUGH (FEBRUARY 10, 1978), EDDIE IMEL (MARCH 5, 1992) .
Klein stands by as workers trigger avalanches above the road.
drop a plow and go p g for it, but you y can’t. That’s why y so many y CDOT drivers don’t want anything any g to do with Red Mountain n Pass. If you yo make a mistake, it will probably be your last. last You’ve got g to be on n it. You’ve got to be in tune. tun You’ve got to be in the game, totally in the game. g me.” Minutes later, creeping back down toward Ouray, Harrison downshifts as we approach milepost 88. “I’m going to pull over for a second,” he says. “I want you to see the Monument.” We adjust our safety helmets over our wool hats, open the doors, and exit into kneedeep powder. Inside the truck, the weather is something to fear and respect. Outside it simply is—equal parts motion and stillness, chaos and calm, violence and peace. Harrison trudges into a drift, pulls a Maglite from his pocket, and shines it over a polished slab of granite that is fast on its
h “These dudes gave their lives to keep the road d open,” Harrison says. “East Riverside took them all. Different events, but the same slide.” We stand there for a minute, maybe less, the names on the stone disappearing beneath so many weightless flakes. Soon enough the engraved plow will be resting on its own white road. “The mountain’s got a lot of different moods,” Harrison says finally, without turning toward me. “In its own sick little way, it can be kind of magical.” He switches off the Maglite and tilts his face to the sky. “I guess we’d better get back to pushing. It’s really coming down now, isn’t it?” O LEATH TONINO WROTE ABOUT SOUNDSCAPE ECOLOGIST BERNIE KRAUSE IN THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 ISSUE.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST DOG SANCTUARY IS ON A SMALL FARM IN COSTA RICA, WHERE HUNDREDS OF CANINES RUN WILD OVER THE LAND-– EATING HUGE PILES OF FOOD AND SLOBBERING HAPPILY ON LYA BATTLE AND HER SMALL BAND OF DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS. WE SENT DOG-LOVERIN-CHIEF BOB SHACOCHIS INTO THE FUR-COVERED THICK OF IT.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LUCAS FOGLIA
Lya Battle at Territorio de Zaguates, on her family farm outside Alajuela, Costa Rica
The compound has the feel of a crowded open-air bus terminal where all the passengers are dogs.
Alvaro Saumet, above, and Misael Calderon Santeno, left, on the daily dog walk
and goodness, who became one of the first pharmacists in Costa Rica. He married Lya’s famously pretty grandmother, who everybody said looked like a movie star, yet she shared a more problematic trait with the other Barrantes women—a cold, closed heart. Lya’s grandfather loved German shepherds, but his wife, who hated them, would poison her husband’s dogs. Together, Lya thinks, they must have screwed up her own beautiful mother’s brain. Lya’s mother, Maria Barrantes, was an exceptional student, and her father sent her to the University of Toronto, where she met Matthew Battle Murphy, Lya’s father, whose family had immigrated to Canada from England after World War II. Matthew was a biologist, Maria an educator. When Lya was five, her homesick mother decided to return to Costa Rica. Lya and her younger brother, Steven, grew up in an old, affluent neighborhood in San José, in a house with a father who always looked at life positively and a mother who only saw the dark side of everyone and everything. Her overprotective parents would not allow Lya to have a boyfriend until she turned 15. Nor were they role models of any healthy exchange of affection. Lya, meanwhile, had inherited her father’s fascination and tenderness toward the nonhuman world. “Who isn’t loved? Snakes?” she says. “Then I love snakes. Who isn’t loved? Toads? Then I love toads. These are the things that keep you going. I’m the kind of person who says it hurts to see cattle or pigs or chickens in trucks. All I knew about animals is how much I loved them.” Seriously afflicted with attention deficit
sold it on the black market. He told her he couldn’t guarantee her the life of a princess, but they moved in together and he went legit, opening the first Touché lingerie franchise in Costa Rica, then two more. Lya spent her days working as a tutor, helping high school kids with their college applications, which she still does. At the same time, however, Lya’s younger brother decided to become an operator in Costa Rica’s booming travel industry, packaging cruise tours, and lured the family into the mess he eventually created. As his project slid into bankruptcy, Lya and Alvaro’s business began a slow tumble, and Steven’s foibles inflamed their parents’ already volatile relationship. What happened next, as Lya tells it: And one day there comes a time when a kind man has finally had enough— Dad just shot her. This is a man who couldn’t squash a fly. They were arguing about Steven. My dad always carried a pistol in his car, because every week he had to drive into the mountains to pay the workers at the farm in cash. So this day he picked my mother up after her exercise class in the city and told her he wanted to drive up to the farm to get a weed whacker, and they started arguing, and he stopped at a vacant lot and shot her, dragged her body out into the lot in full view of people in the area, and drove on to the farm, where he cleaned off the seat, picked up the weed whacker, drove home, and acted like nothing happened.
From the moment we park,
we are a magnet for dozens of barking dogs, half-suspicious, half-
delighted, A S U B G R O U P B E S T C AT E G O R I Z E D A S “Who’s There!?” disorder, Lya struggled through school. She studied preschool education in college, then allowed herself to be prematurely talked into marriage with a perfect gentleman from one of San José’s best families. She was 22 when they divorced. Then she met Alvaro, who, though younger than Lya, was more mature than the society bons vivants she’d been dating. Alvaro was an entrepreneur with an eyebrow-raising profession—he smuggled high-end women’s underwear from Colombia to Costa Rica and
That was in 2000, and her father went to jail the next year, where he remains today, at age 83. After the murder, her brother tried to seize the farm; after eight years in court, Lya and her father got it back. By this time, Alvaro and Lya were facing a radical restructuring. “We were going to make our life simple,” says Lya, which in retrospect sounds like a cosmic joke. Unable to afford their suburban home in the hills, they moved into a smaller place in town. Previously, Lya had kept a dog, abandoned
by a construction worker, and a pet pig. The new place, however, had a backyard, and that’s how her dog love took over. “We started picking up strays, taking them to vets,” Lya remembers. “I started thinking, What happens to the dogs you rescue but can’t keep? So I started keeping them.” A year passed, and then another, and Lya had about 30 dogs. At first it wasn’t really a problem—there were no neighbors—but then someone built on the lot behind them. By this time, Alvaro’s shrugging tolerance for Lya’s passion had transformed into his own big-hearted love for the dogs, yet the situation quickly became untenable. They married on 8/8/2008 (the only date Lya was certain she would not forget), the farm emerged from litigation, and Alvaro suggested that they move the dogs there. The idea was to hire a family to take care of them, but that never worked out. So Lya and Alvaro commute 45 minutes to the farm most days. By 2009, they had about 120 dogs. Then one day they heard that a large shelter in the capital was closing and had decided to euthanize its 80 dogs, so Lya and Alvaro took them, and two years later simply stole the same shelter’s dogs when, infuriated, she learned it had never actually closed. “We kind of did know that we were crazy,” she says, “and now we had 300 dogs, but still nobody knew about us. And we couldn’t afford to buy another grain of kibble.” T H E F I R ST guardian angel to appear on Lya’s doorstep was a young woman named Marcella Castro Wedel, pushing a doll carriage with Puppy inside, a diminutive pit bull with paralyzed hindquarters. A solitary go-it-alone dog rescuer, Marcella started coming over to photograph Lya’s dogs to post on Facebook. “We were enjoying the dogs and not really worried about what was going on outside,” Lya says, “but Marcella changed that.” She convinced Lya that the farm needed its own Facebook page. As the Territorio’s profile began to blossom on social media, one of Costa Rica’s biggest advertising agencies, Garnier BBDO, decided to launch a public-service campaign aimed at animal welfare; to Lya’s astonishment, it chose the Territorio as its centerpiece. The agency created a brilliant, joyful video celebrating what it promoted as the unique, one-of-a-kind breed of every individual mutt—the Bernese mountain corgi, for instance, or the golden doodle terrier and the German Staffordshire retriever. Highway billboards advertised the mutts, television stations broadcast features, and Lya and her dogs began to garner media attention around the world. Then Superperro, Costa Rica’s biggest dog-food manufacturer, stepped in
Employee Johnny Larkin Ruiz amid the adoring scrum
to the campaign, donating kibble for every Facebook like. “We never wanted to grow,” says Lya. “It happened because it happened, and now people from all over the place were dumping dogs at our gate. We just wanted the dogs to have a better life and for people to get that shit out of their heads about mutts.” Generally, in Central and South America, strays
it down, 84,000 followers just disappeared, and we had to start over from scratch.” Some organizations were angry about Lya’s loud criticisms of shelters and their shabbiness. Others still feel the Territorio is overpopulated. “My personal opinion is that they have too many animals,” Lilian Schnog, manager of the Animal Shelter Costa Rica, told Outside in an e-mail. “I never visited
No matter how badly the dogs have been treated, they still want to be around people.
are accepted as an unappreciated part of the landscape by everyone except private rescue agencies and compassionate individuals. Now people were showing off their mutts and competing for the most eclectic “breeds” as status symbols. “But the campaign caused more problems,” says Lya. A popular Costa Rican joke describes a man selling lobsters from two baskets, one basket labeled imported, with a lid on it, and the other basket lidless, labeled local. When asked about the difference, he explains that you don’t need to put a lid on the Costa Rican lobsters, because if one tries to crawl out, the others will drag it back in. “This is very true of our society, people pulling down anybody who tries to rise above the bottom,” she says. “I don’t mind having a shitty car, living in a little house—my happiness is with the dogs.” Four years ago, she alleges, “there was this former volunteer who managed to hack our Facebook page and shut
them, but we get a lot of last year’s vet students at our shelter; they were in tears and said all the animals have ehrlichiosis. I do not believe that a shelter can run properly without a vet present.” To this Lya replies that the tick-borne disease is indeed a problem in Costa Rica, but a veterinarian from the National Animal Health Service (Senasa) does visit the Territorio monthly to certify that the animals are in decent health. The ongoing battles with neighbors are particularly disheartening. The boundaries of the Territorio are porous, and occasionally a dog will wander downhill into town and end up poisoned. Vandals have smashed irrigation pipes to deprive the dogs of water. Recently, Alvaro and his crew noticed vultures circling above one of the high meadows and hiked up to find five of the farm’s eight horses had been butchered by poachers to sell the meat to illegal sausage makers. Inevitably, there are the issues with waste
and sanitation. (Not to change the subject: after our first visit, my wife retrieved her cell phone from her handbag to discover, inexplicably, a mysterious dollop of poop on its screen.) Disposal is a Sisyphean chore usually handled by the Nicaraguan laborers, who shovel the excrement into empty dogfood bags. The bags are hauled to the municipal dump, and Lya is given a receipt to verify the transaction. The neighbors, she says, claim “we contaminate the land with our shit, the underground water supply with our urine. Oh, I say, do your cows not piss in the fields? But now I had to get legal proof. It costs thousands of dollars to get scientific proof to satisfy Senasa. And here, you’re guilty until proven otherwise. But we always find angels in the darkest moments.” One day an elderly woman who followed the Territorio’s Facebook page contacted Lya, offering the free services of her daughter, an environmental engineer. The daughter was able to certify that the mountain’s aquifer was clean. “There’s nothing our neighbors can do,” says Lya. “They’ve tried everything. And now it’s traffic—they say we’re damaging the road.” True or not, the narrow road through the neighborhood leading to the farm becomes impassable on days when the Territorio opens its gates to the public. “When people say, ‘Why do you go through all this shit?’ I say because what we’re doing is right, and conventional shelters are not the solution.” Indisputably, there’s an overload of sadness and pathos and loneliness out there in Shelterland. Cue the lugubrious ASPCA commercials back in the States, the wretched images and bereaved voice-over so depressing you want to shoot yourself. In the Territorio, though, you’re always smiling. WE’RE HIKING UP the mountain with the dogs, through pastures and bush and canopy, hoping the afternoon rains hold off for another hour. My wife is ahead with Alvaro and Daniel, one of the local employees, while Lya and I dawdle behind with the main pack, scores of mavericks spread out on our flanks, a river of raucous fur flowing euphorically up the slope, a sight every bit as marvelous, even in its reduced magnitude, as the wildebeests on the Serengeti plains. Unless, of course, you don’t like dogs. “If you can hold on to your problems while you hold on to a dog,” Lya believes, “you have bigger problems than you think. We have to go through hell with our dogs, but it’s how we grow. If you can’t connect with a dog, then there’s something really wrong with you.” From Lya’s perspective, nobody’s more dangerous than someone who would hurt
kik The women’s U.S. cross-country ski team has always been second-tier, but that’s changing
thanks largely to Alaskan nordic star Kikkan Randall, a pink-haired skate-skiing powerhouse who trains harder than anyone on the planet—and has everybody else following her lead.
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Randall training near her home in Anchorage
november in anchorage is bleak. The sun doesn’t come up until around nine, and it sets before you’ve had your second cup of coffee. Today there’s black ice on the roads and a damp chill in the air. Ashen fog covers the city’s front range, and the sky spits freezing rain. None of this seems to bother Kikkan Randall, a cross-country ski racer who grew up here. The 34-year-old pulls into the parking lot at Hilltop Ski Area—a small mountain on the city’s outskirts, with just one chairlift—and hops out, smiling and cloaked in fabric joy. Her vest, watch, and ski poles are all bright pink. Even her blond hair is streaked with the color. “As a kid I hated pink,” she says. “But then I thought, Man, people think cross-country skiing is boring. I want to show the fun side of the sport, and pink is fun.” There’s a reason Randall is so cheery: she’s the best cross-country skier America has ever produced. Since 2007, she has reached the podium 28 times on the World Cup tour, winning 13 races. She has been particularly dominant in skate sprints—short, highintensity races that typically cover a kilometer and a half. Randall might have a point about people’s perceptions of cross-country skiing, but skate-skiing is actually fun to watch, thanks to its roller-derby-like nature. Instead of the classic nordic technique—sliding one foot in front of the other—athletes push their skis side to side like ice skates while throwing elbows and jockeying for position over a long, winding course. Randall has won three overall titles in this discipline. She has also nabbed silver in the individual sprint at the 2009 World Championships and, with teammate Jessie Diggins, claimed the first nordic gold ever won by an American squad, in the team sprint at the 2013 World Championships. Randall takes equal pride in her role as a booster for American cross-country skiing. For nearly three decades, starting in the mid-1980s, Team USA was bad—Cleveland Browns bad. “It bothered me,” Randall says as we click into our skis. “I ran cross-country in high school and loved the way it felt to win as a team.” Starting in 2006, she stepped up as a sort of player-coach, passing along valuable lessons to her teammates—everything from how to train more effectively to race strategy to technical tweaks. And it’s been working: since 2013, six women have landed on the podium in World Cup races a total of
adversity, and thousands of hours of workouts. Her determination showed up early. At five she told her father, Ronn, a former parks and rec employee, and her mother, Deborah, a lawyer, that she was going to the Olympics—as an alpine ski racer. “I wanted to be 34 times. In doing so, they’ve earned a place the next Picabo Street,” says Randall. “We didn’t doubt her,” says Deborah. alongside the powerhouse Scandinavian teams to rank among the best in the world. “She’s tenacious. When she wants some(Randall’s energy has rubbed off on the thing, she goes for it.” Her grit earned her a men, too, who’ve scored several top tens.) nickname: Kikkanimal. But Randall’s destiny was in crossMatt Whitcomb, the head coach of the U.S. women’s nordic program, puts it succinctly: country skiing. Her mother’s brother and built this team.” ssister had both been Olympians y p ns in the sport. “She essentially bu Last year, befo before the season started,, IIn 1999, at 15, she q qualified for the Junior pregnant. She National Championships p p in McCall, Idaho. Randall found out she was p g racing She’d only S y started tarted racing took a break from ra g and in years earlier ttwo y er but finished April gave birth to a boy y named over the fourth in the 5K skate. “That’s Breck. But as we glide gl Randall d ll when I thought w ght I’d go to the icy cross-country ttrails,, there’s h is the time off cost Olympics O y p as a cross-country no sign that the ti sskier,,” she says. y her any speed. At five-footb cross-best Her epiphany pp y happened at five, 135 pounds, she’s comty country powerful—a loaded perfect time.. Skate sprint ap pact and powerfu woman—and she races were about to debut in spring of a woma A skier America tthe 2001 World d Championgets massive thrust out of each h everr has plant of sships, p , and a new ew coach had push from her legs and p ccome to town. Jim Galanes, a her poles. . through Vermont native, V e, had raced on A long tour th g the 007 start for today. the U.S. Ski Team in the late woods is only the sta y This afternoon sh she’ll g go on a h has h she sseventies and early eighties, tthe last time it was any good. two-hour run. Twice a week h d the h reached He’d skied with Bill Koch, who H she heads to the gym, gy , where remarkable 300 won America’s only Olympic w she squats a rema pullmedal ((a silver in 1976), and m pounds and does ssets of p h times on the 45-pound weight iin three Olympics, y pics, where he ups with a 45-pou g C World Cup waist,, buildccollected a couple ple of respectdangling from her w quads and lats.. aable eighth-place g place finishes. ing sprinter-like qu training His theory H y was that American It’s a heavy traini g load,, for 3 13 . sski racing g had lost its edge. sure, but Randall is motivated. she’ll race at “There were talented athIn late February, sh Championships lletes but not enough nough focused the World Champ p in Next winter she’ll compete ccoaching, g,” Galanes says. y Lahti, Finland. Nex p in Pyeongchang, So South Korea,, for an OlymRandall joined Galanes’s Alaska Pacific j y pic medal, the one piece of hardware that has University (APU) team when she was 16. (The team is attached to the college, but it’s eluded her. “You want to run with me later?” she asks a club group that anybody can join.) Galanes as we complete a lap. I decline. Cross-country put her through hell. Before, Randall’s trainskiing is brutally taxing—someone at Ran- ing had consisted of hourlong runs. Under dall’s level burns roughly 960 calories per Galanes, she was grinding out three-hour hour. She’s been taking it easy on me for runs, lifting weights consistently for the about 90 minutes, but my triceps are burn- first time, and, in the off-season, spending ing and my feet are cramping, so I leave her several hours a week on roller skis (short cross-country planks on wheels), propelling to ski on her own. “Let me know if you change your mind!” herself up hills and over the hot pavement she shouts, heading off. I watch her vanish using only her arms. “I’d fall asleep at seven into the woods, at a pace that would cause o’clock on Fridays, even though I wanted to most mortals to collapse in a puddle of lactic go out,” she recalls. “But I was getting stronger and having fun.” acid. Damned if she isn’t smiling. She was also developing an amazing pain THERE’S A FORMULA for building a tranthreshold. One day I watched her sprint up scendent athlete like Kikkan Randall—a a dirt trail at nearly full pace for three minspecial brew of genetics, heroic bouts with utes. “She enjoys the pain cave,” said Mike
Clockwise from top left: Randall with son Breck; training with teammate Rosie Brennan on Turnagain Arm Trail; weight work at Alaska Pacific University
Matteson, one of her coaches, as we looked on. “You have to in this sport, but her resilience is exceptional.” Randall puts it another way: “It’s a game. When you win, it’s the most exhilarating feeling.”
THE OTHER KEY to Randall’s progression
was simple: more skiing. Sounds obvious, but it meant finding snow in summer. That required flying to Eagle Glacier, about 20 minutes by ski plane from Anchorage, in the Chugach Mountains. In the mideighties, the U.S. Biathlon team built a small training facility there, a no-frills construction perched on a 5,000-foot cliff. Randall would make the trip several times per summer, roughing it with her teammates. “We have pretty good running water,” Randall says of glacier living. “But it depends on runoff, and sometimes we end up having to take sponge baths.” The team skis five hours a day, which can be challenging. Clouds tend to sit on the glacier, creating a vertiginous sea of white, but
Randall embraces it. “When the conditions aren’t perfect, when you have to fight for your balance and be mentally tough and just grind through it, that’s what helps the most,” she says. “And you know somebody else is out there working just as hard if not harder.” The training paid off. In 2000, when Randall was 17, she was named to the U.S. Ski Team. Two years later, she competed in her first Olympics in Salt Lake City. By 2006, with new APU head coach Erik Flora in place, she increased her training load even more. “By 35 percent,” says Flora. “That put her on par with the Scandinavians.” In 2008, Flora dialed things up again. “The year of intensity,” Randall calls it. “You hadn’t trained hard enough if you hadn’t started crying.” Randall also had to deal with something no amount of training could overcome. Historically, cross-country skiing has been a dirty sport in terms of performance-drug use, nearly on par with cycling. Six Austrian skiers were busted at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. And in 2014, a dozen Russian cross-country skiers were accused of being part of Russia’s state-sponsored doping program while competing in the Sochi Olym-
pics. This fall, Norwegian star Therese Johaug tested positive for clostebol, a synthetic steroid, which she claims was in a doctor-prescribed lip cream she was using. (“I know her,” says Randall. “I’ve seen her lips and they’re always terrible. So to me, it’s believable that it was a mistake.”) Randall, who is tested around ten times each year, says she’s petrified of making a misstep like that. “I triple-check everything I take,” she says. And she contends that nordic skiing’s testing protocol and crackdown on cheaters has been effective. “I think the sport is a lot cleaner than it was,” she says, noting that a more level playing field has been important to her success. “I won’t go as far as to say it’s totally clean, but I believe it’s pretty clean.” As it happens, cheating has been the least of Randall’s worries. In March and April of 2008, she suffered through three health episodes brought on by a blood clot in her leg. The clot was caused by a combination of two rare genetic disorders and her use of the NuvaRing birth-control device. (NuvaRing’s manufacturer, Organon, now owned by Merck, has since been accused of concealing health risks associated with the device, including the risk of blood clots.) The third time Randall was admitted to the hospital, she thought her career was over. “The doctors didn’t know why the clot had come back so quickly,” she says. “They were afraid they’d need to put in a stent, which would have caused swelling that could have made it hard to walk, let alone train.” Fortunately, Randall responded to blood thinners and was able to start skiing again a few weeks later. In 2014, she entered the Olympics in Sochi as the favorite in the sprint. But she had strained her lower back a month earlier and was bounced in the quarterfinal heat. As a result, her 2015 season was a bust. “I felt like I wanted to go out and prove to myself that I could still be world champion,” she says. “So I overtrained.” She was left off the World Championship team-sprint squad and was unable to defend her title. Her response to setbacks is typical. “You have to stay positive,” she says. Then she switches the focus from herself to her teammates. “They continued on page 92 >
EVEN AT HOME, Lenny runs a tight ship. His
happens to compete professionally in at least four different sports. And he is constantly traveling, schlepping equipment all over the planet and then back home to Maui. He would surely be forgiven a bit of chaos: a tangle of leashes, a pile of wetsuits on the floor. Yet when he shows me a room where about 60 of his hundreds of boards are stored, the rows are so neat it’s as though they’ve been filed in alphabetical order. Today is a rest day, a concept Lenny does not love but is learning to tolerate. The Herculean work ethic that drives him physically, however, also holds sway over his interior life, so Lenny’s idea of taking a break includes designing new foil shapes on his computer, or watching technical videos of canoe paddling, or analyzing the data from his heartrate monitor, or writing in his journal, or reading David Mamet on Directing Film, the book that’s lying on his desk. The one thing the day probably won’t include is actual, indolent rest. “If I’m not on the move—I’m all about adventure around the next corner, otherwise I get really bored,” Lenny emphasizes. “I need constant stimulation.” Whatever Lenny is doing to engage himself, it’s working. And whatever success he’s already achieved, it’s clear he’s just getting started. Which goals are up next? I ask for specifics, and Lenny muses for a moment, then says he would have to break it down by sport. Even talking about waves revs him up, and the words tumble out in a rush. “For windsurfi ng, I want to be doing gravitydefying moves in the air when I jump. I want to do double rotations and feel like I lose the sensation of time. And then kitesurfing, I’m really into doing maneuvers you couldn’t do on a surfboard, that need the assistance of the kite. Connecting the dots so it just looks unbelievable. Shortboard surfing, it’s about tricks, learning all the intricacies of tricks. Big-wave surfing is about performance. I want to ride really big waves, and I want to surf them like they’re small waves. That’s my goal. And then foiling, I want to figure out how to be a fighter pilot. Being as efficient as flying, but doing radical turns. Defying most people’s idea of physics. Doing stuff where they think, That’s not possible. I love that. That’s so cool. And then standup-paddle racing, I just want to be an absolute animal. Feel like there’s no other athlete who can push as hard as me or go as fast as I can. And the only way to do that is by training and stuff. What else is there? That kind O of covers all the basics.”
apartment above his parents’ garage brings to mind a well-ordered yacht: zero clutter, all items tidily stowed. “I like to keep everything as clean as I can,” he explains, an admirable philosophy for anyone, especially anyone who
SUSAN CASEY ( @SUSANLCASEY) IS THE AUTHOR OF VOICES IN THE OCEAN: A JOURNEY INTO THE WILD AND HAUNTING WORLD OF DOLPHINS.
LENNY continued from page 69
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is taking off into oblivion. Kai’s extremely talented in maneuvering and positioning and judging how to make the wave. And yet, at the same time, he’s totally down to take a beating. Which is really impressive in my book.” “I’ve always been really lucky with injuries,” Lenny says, allowing only that the worst one he’s gotten at Jaws—his right foot nearly sliced in half—was “irritating.” He’d fallen on a wave and taken some 30-footers on the head, and somewhere in the maelstrom his board’s fin filleted him between his toes. Lenny popped up, gasped for air, reached down, and felt two pieces of foot where there would normally be one. That bad situation would have been worse if not for Don Shearer’s improvisational medevac skills. “Yeah, I pulled him out of the water,” Shearer says. “I saw the whole thing happen, and it didn’t look good.” To transport Lenny from the lineup to shore to a car to the hospital would have taken too long— obvious from the scarlet froth in the whitewater. With Shearer hovering low and Lopez maneuvering the jet ski, Lenny grabbed the helicopter’s left skid and hauled himself into the backseat. Judging from the photos, this is not something you should try at home. “By the time I got to the airport, he had bled all over the whole helicopter,” Shearer recalls. “The inside, the outside, the seats, the ceiling. And we had the doors off, you know— it’s a hurricane in the backseat. We’re going 120 knots, and you get side winds.” After Lenny was safely in the ER, Shearer surveyed his chopper, which now looked like the site of an ax murder. “I called Kai and left a message: ‘If I didn’t love you so much, I would come over there and kick your ass! I’d make you come over here and clean up this shit! I have to wash the whole damned helicopter!’ ” Shearer laughs. “He owes me a wash job! Tell him I haven’t forgotten.”
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KIKKANIMAL continued from page 89
probably get sick of my anecdotes,” she says. “But it’s lessons they can learn to make them stronger. Make them better.” ON ANOTHER DRAB morning, I’m watching
Randall dole out lessons. Flora had gathered the APU team on the trails near Hilltop for a sprint workout. “Take a lap and then I’ll pair you off,” Flora shouts to the group. “How about today we pick our own partners?” Randall shouts back. Flora concedes and Randall chooses one of the younger members of the APU team, passing over Rosie Brennan, a World Cup skier who’d likely have pushed her harder during the workout. On the first lap, the difference between the two skiers is obvious. Randall’s technique is more refined and efficient, and she easily wins the short sprint by a body length. But toward the final lap, she has clearly influenced the young skier, who’s skating more like Randall—and getting faster. “That’s Kikkan,” says Flora as we watch the women whip by. “She’s always doing things like that to help bring the other women up to her level.” Brennan echoes that sentiment and credits Randall for helping her ascend to the World Cup podium. (She scored a bronze in 2015.) “At first I was like, I can’t even train with Kikkan,” she says. “But then I’d be able to keep up with her in this workout. Then this workout. Now I can train with her, and that makes a huge difference.” Brennan pauses, then repeats herself. “A huge difference.” The team also benefits from Randall’s star power. One day, while the APU team worked out in their basement gym, I mentioned to Randall how nice the equipment is. “It didn’t used to be,” she says. “Then I said something, and the next thing you know everything is new. It’s nice to have that power of suggestion. As long as you don’t let it go to your head.” Ironically, the team Randall built might prevent her from ever reaching an Olympic podium. A few of her teammates have beaten her already. “She probably knew she was going to develop athletes who could eventually beat her,” says Matt Whitcomb. “But the
idea of building a legacy is important to her. If one of these other women win an Olympic medal, that would still make her happy.” In fact, at the Sochi Games, after she’d been eliminated, Randall’s first instinct was to run to Sophie Caldwell, an American skier who’d also made the quarterfinals, to tell her about the nuances of the course—where she could pick up speed and what to watch for. “There was nothing more I could do,” says Randall, “but she still had a chance. At the end of the day, I want to see our team succeed.” Caldwell ended up skiing into the final heat, where she placed sixth, the best result ever by an American woman in the Olympics. But Randall’s Olympic disappointment still stings. I asked her about it as she was getting her hair re-pinked—a monthly process—and for once I see a crack in her happy demeanor. “It was frustrating,” she says, wiping a tear from her cheek. “I’ll have one more shot in Korea in 2018. Then I’ll retire.” ON ONE OF MY last nights in Alaska, Ran-
dall invites me over for dinner. I arrive to find Breck strapped to her chest in a carrier—her stirring a pot of chili, him drooling on the shoulder of her pink shirt. She and Jeff Ellis, a former skier for Canada, were married in 2008 and live in a modest three-bedroom home in Anchorage. The garage is cluttered with skis and bikes; the living room is a shrine to Randall’s achievements. World Championship medals hang on a small shelf along with two of her three World Cup crystal globes, the award given to overall discipline winners. The third is in Freeport, Maine, in the flagship store of L.L.Bean, one of her sponsors. Randall’s contracts with L.L.Bean, Subway, and Fischer skis, to name a few, are incentive laden, and she makes a respectable living, earning as much as $200,000 a year. But that’s nothing compared with her Scandinavian counterparts. In much of Europe, cross-country skiing is as big as baseball is in America, and Randall is a celebrity. “People plan their days around watching the races on TV,” she says. “Three of my friends from the tour have built houses over the past couple of years, and they’re mansions. They’ll finish skiing and be set for life.” Randall knows that, in the U.S., her sport will always be niche. “When I’m done,” she says, “I’ll need to find another source of income.” Randall fills a bowl and sets Breck on the floor to play. Having a baby will make life on the tour interesting. Luckily, Ellis works for the International Ski Federation, the sport’s governing body, as a media specialist, so the pair travel together. During various times over the four months of competition, they’re flying their parents to Europe, where almost all
the races are held. And they’ll stay in separate lodging, away from the rest of team, so that Breck doesn’t disturb Randall’s teammates. “Last night he only woke up once,” says Randall as she sips a glass of red wine. “Actually, he woke up three times,” says Ellis. “Well, I only woke up once,” Randall chuckles. “I sleep so much better since having him. That must be a special mom power.” Randall is hoping that being a mom will help her be a better athlete, and there might be something to it. During pregnancy women create more oxygen-carrying red blood cells, and their hearts are able to hold a larger volume of blood. Nia Ali, who gave birth to a son in 2015, won silver in the 100-meter hurdles in Rio after not qualifying for the Olympics in 2012. And Kristin Armstrong dominated women’s cycling after her pregnancy. If there’s an advantage, it may be psychological. Many moms will tell you that incredibly hard workouts, the kind that make it feel as though every muscle in your body is giving birth, simply don’t hurt as much after you’ve actually given birth. A scary thought, considering that Randall is already basically impervious to pain. This much is certain: Randall is ready to race. After a set of running intervals the next day, she flips open her laptop to compare her times from previous workouts. All of her training is meticulously logged on a spreadsheet. How she felt that day, the grade of the climb, the weather. One entry reads, “Had some moose issues on #1, #2, and #3.” She scrolls down to the interval workout she’d completed and compares it with her time from the fall of 2014. During that period she was firing, trying to make up for her Olympic bust. “I hadn’t yet reached the point of overtraining,” she says. “I was strong.” But on this overcast day, one of her last before shipping off to Europe, she’s nearly 20 seconds faster on each lap. “And I did one more lap today,” she says. Then she looks up, closes O her laptop, and smiles. OUTSIDE CORRESPONDENT GORDY MEGROZ ( @GORDYMEGROZ) WRITES FREQUENTLY ABOUT SKIING, FITNESS, AND NUTRITION. Volume XLII, Number 2 OUTSIDE (ISSN 0278-1433) is published monthly by Mariah Media Network LLC, 400 Market St., Santa Fe, NM 87501. Periodical postage paid at Santa Fe, NM, and additional mailing offices. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration No. R126291723. Canada Post International Publications Mail Sales Agreement No. 40015979. Subscription rates: U.S. and possessions, $24; Canada, $35 (includes GST); foreign, $45. Washington residents add sales tax. POSTMASTER: Send U.S. and international address changes to OUTSIDE, P.O. Box 6228, Harlan, IA 51593-1728. Send Canadian address changes to OUTSIDE, P.O. Box 877 Stn Main, Markham, ON L3P-9Z9.
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