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Jamming with Hannah Teter A Girl’s Guide to Dog Sledding Prepping Winter Greens

Editor’s Choice:

105 Ski, Snowshoe, Board, and Breathe

Chasing Spirits

A Headless Ghost Joins Ladies’ Night Out

Winter Product Picks

1st Ladies of Adventure Seven Record Holders Share Their Secrets THRIVE IN THE WILD™

$4.99 US $6.99 CAN V8N4


WINTER 2010/11 Display Until Feburary 28

Jumping out of your comfort zone, Sweater Season Training, Travel and Chow, Shark Encounters, The Truth about Flakes, Running in Eastern Europe, Jolly Joints, Igloo Overnights, Snow Slang, and more!


My Best Day. It doesn’t matter. I can ski greens, blues or black diamonds. I can glide at the resort, in the side country or backcountry. I can hang out with my friends in the lodge, on the lift or at the summit. My best day is every day I’m outside. Athlete: Julia Briggs Location: Jackson Hole, WY Photographer: Gabe Rogel Technology: Thermal R Eco™ powered by ThermoºCool™ Fibers; 100% recycled hollow core fibers designed to insulate, transport moisture, maximize comfort, minimize weight and simply look great.


P E O P L E / P R O D U C T / P L A N E T™


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Winter Editor’s Choice Awards

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. With this 105-product round-up of the best in downhill, Nordic, snowboard, and snowshoe gear, you’ll be able to hit the powdery white stuff all day—no matter your preferred speed (or piste) of exploration. From baselayers to boots, helmets to hand wear, and snowshoes to skate-skis, we have in-depth reviews for eight snow-specific categories of gear. If you’d rather spend a day inside, we also have you covered: This issue we tested the best in yoga apparel and accessories to help you make the most of your mat-top sweat sessions, too. Edited by Kristy Holland


Chasing Spirits

Ted Mahon; cover image by PatitucciPhoto

As it turns out, women make better ghosthunters than men. But, when four girls set out to find a headless ghost that haunts an abandoned Colorado ski resort, will tips from a paranormal expert, a ghost meter, and a box of wine be enough to track down the spirit of a dead man? By Megan Michelson


First Ladies of Adventure

When new frontiers are few and far between and climbing Mount Everest has—in some circles—become passé, what does it take to pioneer an adventure? We asked seven women who have tried and triumphed over the unknown. What’s the secret to front-of-the-pack success? Planning? Strength? Balance? Or determination that puts a mule to shame? Find out. By Jamie Lynn Miller

OWINTER’2010” Departments 08.


People, Places, and Things from Our Outdoor World

Travel: Art Nouveau’s backyard; winter-worthy island escapes; choosing a country by cuisine; over-nighting in an igloo; a sporting spotlight on Sun Valley, Idaho; and exploring trails in Phoenix, Arizona Inspiration and Information: Jumping to join forces with active women, snow’s infinite appeal; beefing up research on muscle loss; meet an underwater model and dive instructor; lessons from a sliding avalanche; making over a winter runner (and her dog); and an Olympian’s soulful playlist Fun Stuff: Three reads that may keep you inside until spring; snow science fun for kids; vocab from the slopes; and hit the ground running in Eastern Europe




Just Part of the Posse

When a posse of ski buddies weighs in on, scares off, and absorbs every potential partner you take to the hill, should you listen to their advice, or do a few runs on your own?




Take it Outside

Braving extreme temps—and an extreme loss of motivation— are two of the challenges of winter. What’s the secret to staying active and getting outside? An Alaskan ski coach shares her tips.




Tide, Feather, Snow

Writer Miranda Weiss shares excerpts of her recent memoir about changing seasons in the Land of the Midnight Sun. The only thing more beautiful than the northern lights? Discovering joy in a world of ice.


Dog Sledding

Harnessing the power of a dog team makes for a wild ride, and it’s easier to master than you might think. PLUS: Tips for handling the sled, the dogs, and yourself.

Join Forces for Healthy Joints

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Don’t let joint and ligament injuries keep you from a full season of fun on the slopes.

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Editor’s Choice:


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Lovely, Leafy Greens

Healthy and cold resistant greens that’ll keep you going strong all winter.

Chasing Spirits

A Headless Ghost Joins Ladies’ Night Out

p. 58

wiNTeR pRODucT pickS

1st Ladies of Adventure Seven Record Holders Share Their Secrets THRIVE IN THE WILD™


$4.99 US $6.99 CAN V8N4

p. 62

A Need for Speed


WINTER 2010/11 Display Until Feburary 28 .


p. 16

Old age hasn’t killed this adrenaline junkie’s fun on the slopes.

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66. Musings

67. Marketplace

68. Editorial

Contributors Jamie Lynn Miller

What’s your idea of a winter escape?

EDITORIAL Hiking through the desert

Editor in Chief Art Director

Cycling Editor/Web Director Bermuda


Watching Holiday Inn and eating leftovers with my sisters

Rebecca Finkel Susan Hayse

Copy Editors

Mira Perrizo, Michael Bragg

Contributing Editors

Jayme Otto, Michelle Theall

Assistant Editor Contributing Writers A cozy fire after crosscountry skiing Editorial Interns Contributing Photographers Nordic skiing to a cabin with good friends, food, and wine

Jennifer Olson

Crosscountry skiing with the dogs

Berne Broudy, Taylor Chase, Melissa Gaskill, Chelsey Gribbon, Heather Hansman, Kim Kircher, Molly Loomis, Megan Michelson, Molly Rettig, MacKenzie Ryan, Abigail Sussman, Gina DeMillo Wagner, Jamie Miller, Whitney Medved, Kaley Westhusing Glen Allison, Kay Beaton, Kaj Bune, Duncan Brake, Pat Canova, Krisan Christensen, Chris Figenshau, Ben Fullerton, Charlotte Geary, Tamas Hamor, John Lloyd, Ted Mahon, Adam Moran, Earl Nottingham, Greg O’Neil, Onedition, Dan Patitucci, Susan Robinson, Helen Thayer, Erin Zell

SUBMISSIONS For contributor’s guidelines, visit Editorial queries or submissions should be sent to Photo queries should be sent to Women’s Adventure is always looking for new and innovative products for women. For consideration, please send non-returnable samples to 3360 Mitchell Lane, Suite E, Boulder, CO 80301

PUBLISHING Snowboarding on a weekday when everyone else is at work


suE sheerin

Key Accounts

Sue Sheerin 303 931 6057

Marketplace/Active Travel Sales Rep

Lisa Sinclair 970 556 3279

Snowball fights, skiing, a log cabin, and a fireplace with good friends and family

Marketing Intern Long hot tub sessions after riding the back-bowls

Director of Events

Anne Blichfeld Joanna Laubsher

If you would like to carry Women’s Adventure or explore a distribution partnership, please e-mail us at

Copyright © 2010 by Big Earth Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is expressly prohibited. Outdoor activities are inherently risky and participation can cause injury or loss of life. Please consult your doctor prior to beginning any workout program or sports activity, and seek out a qualified instructor. Big Earth Publishing will not be held responsible for your decision to thrive in the wild. Have fun!

Aspen-based freelancer Jamie Lynn Miller hails from Davis, California, and spent more than 15 years as a radio DJ before redirecting toward a career as a music journalist and live music aficionado. She’s also a dedicated rock climber, life-long skier, frequent flier, and endless road-tripper. Convertible season finds her chasing music festivals, planning climbing trips, and loving the open road—top down, heat up. She’s maneuvered a moped in the Greek Isles, she spent her birthday biking across the international dateline in Fiji, and she shot her first gun at a can of PBR just outside of Lander, Wyoming. As of press time, she has yet to successfully shotgun a can of PBR in any location. Her work has appeared in Climbing, Rock and Ice, Mousike Magazine, Aspen Peak, 303 Magazine, Men’s Health, i.d.e.a.l. Magazine and the Snowmass Sun, as well as online at and

Jennifer Olson Jennifer Olson earned degrees in English and print journalism from the University of New Mexico before setting out to find new adventures—in a new town, with a new job, in a new house, exploring new trails. As the newest addition to Women’s Adventure, her hard work as assistant editor has touched nearly every page of this issue, but you’ll only see her byline a handful of times—she feels like a natural when it comes to gear reviewing. Playing with magnetic poetry on her refrigerator helped Jennifer develop a philosophy by which she still lives: “If you publish a cliché, go explore real inspiration.” Her work has appeared in New Mexico Magazine, in the “2010 New Mexico Vacation Guide,” and on, but she also served as editor in chief of her alma mater’s art and literary publication, Conceptions Southwest.

Molly Rettig Between gigs writing for Skiing and the newspaper in her new hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, Molly Rettig had a short stint as a staffer at Women’s Adventure. It was a perfect match, but when Alaska called last summer, she heeded. Her contributions continue, however, and with the addition of Molly’s “Take it Outside” (page 28) in this issue, she’s proven she’ll stay on the adventure-writing radar for a long time. Molly maximizes her time outdoors—during work and play—and she’s excited to spend her first long, dark winter up north. Despite the cold, she’s planning to venture onto ski slopes and cross-country trails all winter, and spend some quality time in her new Arctic quilted Carhartts, too. She’s also eager to check out the Iditarod, see ice fog sublimation (when snow turns directly to vapor), and drink lots of hot chocolate. Molly’s originally from Hershey, Pennsylvania, so all but one of these will be firsts for her. WAM OWINTER’2010” 





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Editor’s Letter

In case you couldn’t tell from the photo: Sometimes I’m scared. Terrified, actually. But, I’m one of the lucky ones because fear—or more precisely, getting past my fear—is a huge motivator for me. Did my pulse quicken before I launched my sled down a snowy backcountry hill? You bet. Did I tremble a little on my first real belay? Like a leaf. Do I speak a lick of Chinese? Nope. But baby trees, towering heights, and the unfamiliar customs of another culture haven’t held me back from navigating those scary realities. And I’m better off for the joyous discoveries I made by overcoming fear and uncertainty. I’m an enthusiast when it comes to calculated discomfort. Some of my proudest moments have come immediately after staring fear in the face, giving it a wink, and swearing at it en route to the bottom of a hill or the top of a mountain. And for me, the unmatched satisfaction of getting past my fear is a compelling reason to seek out scary activities on a semi-regular basis. Health, wealth, money, and fame: There are hundreds of other motivating factors at work for the amazing women we’ve featured in this issue of Women’s Adventure—and the 30 or so others who’ve had a hand in putting it together. From our newest round of interns, to the volunteer director of a nonprofit for inspiring women athletes (page 16), to the first woman who solo circumnavigated the North Pole (page 62), to those of you who struggle to get outside for a half-hour run, we’re all on missions that require impressive shows of dedication. No matter what the motivators: they’re real and they’re compelling.

Greg O’Neil

As you read this issue, you’ll see that the scale of adventure and accomplishment for the women we feature isn’t what they have in common. Their commonality lies in their ability to focus on their goal, rally to get started, and stay motivated throughout the long process of achieving something. In most of their cases, it’s something grandiose and Guinness-record worthy. Are they scared, too? Definitely. But their attitudes about success, about failure, and about their own competence help them look fear in the face and skirt it gingerly en route to something exceptional. While my own scale of grandiose adventure is small—sledding into a baby tree hardly registers by comparison—continuing to overcome my fear is one of my goals for the New Year. Will I end up better off than I was before? You’d better believe it. Yours,

Kristy Holland





Web, Contests, Etc.

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See a slideshow of more images from the trip to Norway that earned photographer Krisan Christensen a spot in this issue’s “Far Flung” (pg. 8).

Outfitting your adventure? Check out our growing catalog of gear reviews: real advice, real feedback, and the real scoop before you buy.

Download the playlist that helps Olympic snowboarding champ Hannah Teter throw big air, relax at home, and help others.

Flip through a digital issue of Women’s Adventure and subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay in touch with us between issues.

Find events to help you stay motivated through the cold, dark days of winter—our calendar includes updated clinics, competitions, and good-time events that will make you love snow.

Check out our Cycling Toolbox for tips on safe winter riding, how to update your commuter wardrobe, and gear that will help you stay safe and dry.

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6  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Photographer John Lloyd ( captured this image of his friend Eve Byrnes during a day of backcountry boarding on Pacific Peak in Colorado’s Tenmile Range last winter. “We built a jump, it was Eve’s birthday, and the views were amazing,” he says by way of explaining the beer and Eve’s enthusiastic grin.

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Alesund, Norway

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Krisan Christensen

This powder-dusted view of Alesund from the top of Mount Aksla shows the sinuous streetscape and Venice-like intimacy with the Norwegian Sea that give the fishing port its charm. But the fame of this island municipality comes from a 1904 re-build that included floral-inspired motifs and curving lines—hard to see from this distance—which made it an Art Nouveau capital. Its boast-worthy backyard is yet another reason to visit; nearby trails crisscross the mile-high relief of the Sunnmore Alps and the Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage fjord nearby, is a haven for kayakers. Watch a slideshow of Krisan's trip to Norway here.








Island Escapes Islands aren’t just summer destinations; wind-swept coastlines and escapist attitudes make them energizing winter getaways, too. Cooler temperatures, smaller crowds, and fewer insects are just a some of the benefits of an off-season water-bound escape. These three southern isles offer plenty of budget winter fun. —Melissa Gaskill

Mustang Island, Texas Twenty miles of wide, flat beach beckon and winter daytime temps hover in the 60s. Access to this barrier island is via a causeway from Corpus Christi, or by a short ferry ride into the laid-back town of Port Aransas, which anchors the island’s north side. Mustang Island State Park caps the dune-covered island’s south end, and there are rustic or romantic options that should appeal to all.

Things to do: 1

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Pitch a tent at a primitive beachside site (or a developed one), wake up to lapping waves, and spend the day building sand castles. Rent bikes in Port Aransas and cruise restaurants and shops in the compact town. From the jetties, watch dolphins surf the bow-waves of ships charging toward the Intracoastal Waterway. Explore the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trails. Four loops ranging from 1.25 to 6.8 miles wind through mangroves and sea grass toward the historic Lydia Ann Lighthouse. Island hop to neighboring North Padre and four-wheel the National Seashore’s 60 miles of undeveloped beach.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

St. George Island, Florida This Florida panhandle island’s 28 miles of white sand is perennially ranked on best-of beach lists—the island also boasts some of the Gulf Coast’s most expensive homes. But nine miles of the island’s east side fall within Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, and the island’s small, quaint town has plenty of rental cottages and winter rooms at bargain rates. stgeorgeisland 10  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Things to do: 1 2

3 4


Visit the pony paddock, seven miles north of the village, for a glimpse of Spanish mustang descendants. Slip on a wetsuit, grab a board, and hit the surf— which locals say stays good through winter. Check out Ride the Wind Surf Shop for rentals. Hike Hammock Hills Nature Trail through marsh, dunes, and pines to a view of Pamlico Sound. Paddle the creeks of Springer’s Point Nature Reserve— put in at the village or national park. Take out on the reserve’s sound-side beach for a little solitude. Look for shells—whelks, scotch bonnets, and lettered olives—on the mostly deserted beach.

Things to do: 1 2




Hike the state park’s trails and watch for eagles and osprey from observation platforms. Kayak Apalachicola Bay on the island’s back side, or join Journeys of St. George outfitters for a tour of nearby wild islands. Bike the five-mile paved trail from town and stop at the Cape St. George Lighthouse, reconstructed after the original collapsed in the surf. Slide one in: Sample Apalachicola Bay oysters at Eddy Teach’s Raw Bar or the Blue Parrot Oceanfront Café. Visit the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve’s new visitor center, just off the bridge to the island, to learn about this biodiversity hotspot.

EARL NOTTINGHAM; Courtesy of NPS/ Cape Hatteras Natl Seashore; Pat Canova

Reaching this historic island (think pirate hideouts and Civil War battles) on the Outer Banks, about five hours from Raleigh, requires a ferry ride. Ocracoke Village on the south end has shops, restaurants, affordable lodging, and an old lighthouse. Cape Hatteras National Seashore covers the rest of the island, and a road runs alongside 16 miles of pristine beach with a National Park Service campground.

Kilimanjaro [ URBAN ESCAPE ]

Half Marathon & 5K

Phoenix, Arizona “Winter” is a loose concept in Phoenix—The Valley of the Sun—where the average February temperature is 70 degrees. Maybe that’s why the city has swelled into the nation’s fifth largest. Despite the population boom, the sprawling metropolis includes the world’s largest municipal park and has a population density more on par with Portland, Maine, than Manhattan. That’s all the more reason to get outdoors, and there are plenty of options within a short drive of downtown.

Feb. 17 - Mar. 1, 2011 BASIC TOUR INCLUDES:

13 Days / 10 Nights • Game Safari in Tanzania including famous Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara • Deluxe Camping Safari Accomodations • Most meals, Run Fee, Pasta and Festive Farewell Dinner, Optional Balloon Safari From $5480.00 (based on double occupancy on Delta Airlines from Minneapolis (other US cities available) plus air tax Optional 6-day trekking extension to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Great Wall Half Marathon & 10K Flanking the city’s south side is South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the world (17,000 acres). More than 58 miles of hiking and biking trails range from easy one-milers to white-knuckle downhills. Short, steep, and scenic, the Javelina Canyon Trail starts at the Beverly Canyon parking lot at 46th Street, south of Baseline Road. Local mountain bikers also love the Desert Classic Trail that starts at the Pima Canyon Trailhead and affords some of the best Sonoran Desert views within the city limits. The intermediate-level 18-mile out-and-back is packed with rolling singletrack, some short climbs and rocky sections, and a few sandy washes. If you want to up the ante, link up with the Mormon/National Trail for some nailbiting downhills and dropoffs. East of the city, the Superstition Mountains offer hiking, camping, and rock climbing. Climbs range from short, bolted sport routes to multi-pitch spires. The trad routes require route finding skills and the ability to scout adequate protection in soft rock, but those challenges are what attract climbers here. Note: There’s a bolting ban within the wilderness boundaries, but some routes have fixed anchors from the 1960s. Tempe Town Lake is a 2-mile-long reservoir of the Salt River squeezed between Arizona State University’s campus and the 2,000acre Papago Park, just north of downtown. Kayaks, sailboats, and competitive rowers are all welcome, and the lake is also stocked with rainbow trout monthly between November and February. Pick up a boating permit and inquire about rentals at the marina just south of the 202 Freeway at College Avenue. —Gina DeMillo Wagner

May 15 - 23, 2011 • Beijing BASIC TOUR INCLUDES:

Air Fare from San Francisco or Chicago Stay in 1st Class Capital Hotel in Beijing Run Site Inspection Day Registration Fee for the OFFICIAL Run Optional 2Day Xian Extension Tour Optional 2Day Xian/3Day Shanghai Extension Optional 2Day Xian/3Day Tibet/ 3Day Shanghai Extension From: $2740 (double occupancy) on American Airlines from Chicago

Galapagos Marathon/Half & visit to Machu Picchu, May 2011-ask for details PLEASE CONTACT:

Kathy Loper Events 619-298-7400 CST# 2080745-40







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Sun Valley, ID

Main Street

Population: 4,678 Elevation: 5,750 feet Town Motto: Small town. Big life. Access: 150 miles east of Boise


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Anchored by the easygoing city of Ketchum and nestled 4 among jagged peaks of the Sawtooth Range, Sun Valley is where resort skiing was born—the ski lift was invented here. During ski season and on powder days, plenty of A-listers and Olympic-caliber locals busy the streets and 1 3 A Baldy Mountain’s ski runs, but a relaxed, downd home atmosphere even allows newbies to blend v with the masses. —Whitney Medved 75 3 . Ice Skating: Atkinson Park Rink When temps drop, the 2.5-acre outdoor ice rink in Ketchum’s 5 1. Nordic: Atkinson Park plays host to Galena Lodge pick-up hockey and broomball Galena Lodge offers basegames, and tiny tots practicing camp access to 33 miles of big-air jumps. The city’s park groomed trails in the Sawtooth department sets out a box of National Forest’s North Valley skates, sticks, and helmets 4 . Grub: Grumpy’s Trail System. Steaming lunches, for skaters to borrow Housed in an old cabin with hot coffee, and cozy spots next for free. no phone, credit card machine, to a roaring fire make it a or menus (the master menu perfect day-trip destination. is posted on the back wall), Grumpy’s is Sun Valley’s token hole-in-the-wall eatery and 2 . Downhill: a locals’ favorite. Order the Baldy Mountain Fowl Burger (chicken teriMore than 3,000 vertical feet yaki), thin fries, and a 32 oz. of skiable slopes drape the “schooner” of beer. ski area’s signature hill, st




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5 . Yurts: Sun Valley Trekking Sun Valley Trekking operates six backcountry yurts, pre-supplied with beds, kitchen equipment, wood stoves, and a sauna or hot tub. Day trip for a romantic lunch and some twilight turns, or spend a week traversing hut to hut. Ski mellow glades near Boulder or Fishhook yurts, or steep chutes and couloirs near Pioneer yurt or the Bench hut.

Erin ZelL; Glen Allison

Baldy Mountain. Warm up on Upper and Lower College’s smooth groomers and burn out your quads with 1,500 feet of black diamond steeps in Lookout Bowl.










Epicurean Adventures

Pairing gourmet food and wine with outdoor adventure renders travelers satisfied. 1 Hiking + Haute Cuisine Traverse fields of lavender, wander though centuries-old grape vines, and trek the craggy limestone mountains of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, knowing a meal of authentic old European cuisine awaits. From oysters to suckling pig, and from thyme-infused olive oil to Plavac Mali, a dense red wine, each dinner features the best of that village or island’s gastronomy.


t used to be that there were culinary tours, and there were adventure tours, and “nary the two shall meet.” But as the adventure travel niche starts to mature, hybrids are popping up all over the globe.

Take ROW Adventures, an Idahobased company that’s been planning and guiding adventure travel since 1979. This fall, owner Peter Grubb rolled out his first international foodfocused trip, combining local gourmet with hiking, making stops along Croatia’s Adriatic coast by yacht. Grubb decided to include Croatian cuisine when he realized how excited the yacht crew was about the relationships they’d developed with local growers and fishermen. “I started thinking we should do more with this on our trips,” Grubb says. “Tourists drawn to outdoor adventure want a more authentic cultural experience when they travel. They want to really get out there, to get into a place. Immersion in local food and wine is just one more way to provide that. Besides,” Grubb adds, “who doesn’t love extraordinary food?” —Jayme Otto

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2 Fly Fishing + Vineyard Hopping Spend a weekend exploring southwest Idaho’s high mountain lakes and streams, or lowland desert reservoirs, and you’ll find trophy cutthroat trout, browns, and brookies, as well as a tight-knit community of wine makers and grape growers. Taste pinot gris, malbecs, syrahs, chardonnays, cabernets, merlots, and tempranillos, all while dining with the vintner. 3 Sea Kayaking + Island Cooking Camp in safari-style tents on islands in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and kayak one of the best whale-watching destinations in North America at the Loreto Bay National Marine Park. After a day on the water, relax, snorkel, or take a yoga class on the beach before your one-hour session with a chef who shows you tricks for Baja-style tapas and tropical martinis. 4 Whitewater Rafting + Mountain Brews Raft rapids ranging from mild to wild on Oregon’s Rogue River, set in a forested canyon with plenty of warm-water pools for floating, rock jumping, and swimming. Each evening, brewers from the Double Mountain Brewery turn the campsite into a taproom, pairing craft beer with fresh, organic food. double-mountain

Make Like an Eskimo The Inuit of northern Canada were onto something when they invented the igloo. Sturdy and windproof, the snow-packed walls trap air and provide insulation, which makes igloos a toasty winter camping option. Body heat alone can warm one to T-shirt temps, and, from the inside, even a raging blizzard isn’t a threat. Not excited about the chilly legwork required to build an igloo of your own? Josh Butson, owner of Telluride Alpinism, can help. Butson has been fashioning igloos above Telluride, Colorado, for six years. After a day of backcountry skiing or snowshoeing in the San Juan Mountains, you can cozy up in one of his comfy circular abodes as part of his company’s High Mountain Luxury Adventure. Butson and his crew cut hard-packed blocks from high-mountain snow and lever them into a spiral that narrows to a domed ceiling. Each igloo, with three-foot-thick walls and diameters ranging from 7–15 feet, takes up to a week to build. In Butson’s igloos, beds are a tower of foam pads topped with inflatable mattresses that make for a cushy night’s sleep—and prevent body heat from melting the snow. Prices start at $300 per person (for groups of three or more) and include a guide, snowshoes or skis, gear transport, sleeping gear, three gourmet meals per day, and the igloo. —Jayme Otto

© 2010 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. GORE-TEX®, GORE®, GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates All other trademarks and designs are property of their respective owners.


Experience more You’re a hiker. The question isn’t if you’re going to hike in unpredictable weather, it’s how. Whether it’s through gusty winds, sleet or snow, GORE-TEX ® products keep you drier and warmer for longer. Comfort and protection—that’s why the best outdoor brands use GORE-TEX ® product technology. DURABLY WATERPROOF, WINDPROOF, BREATHABLE—GUARANTEED. WAM OWINTER’2010” 






[ ROAR ]

events in five states, says 25-yearold Claire Smallwood, SheJumps’ executive director since 2007. For elite athletes, such as Lynsey Dyer and ski-jumping phenom Lindsey Van, SheJumps’ website is a place to connect with other athletes in a highly individualized athletic arena, and to be positive role models for girls seeking alternatives to flavor-of-theweek pop princesses. “I want to take Hannah Montana skiing,” says Lynsey. “I want to take Paris Hilton camping and show her that she can do more than she thinks she can.”

Jumping for Joy

An elite team of lady athletes is building a program that’ll have you leaping out of your comfort zone.


ig mountain skiers Lynsey Dyer and Vanessa Pierce stood high on a platform working up the nerve to jump off. In the summer of 2005, the founders of SheJumps spent the off-season learning to backflip, and, rather than hazard learning on hard-packed snow, they were about to feel the give of a liquid landing. “I’ll do it if you will,” said Lyndsey. “Let’s go. On three.” From that very literal jump spawned SheJumps, a website where professional skiers, role-models, and friends posted motivational success stories and trip reports. The ladies—along with a growing posse of professional and professional-level women skiers, athletes, and coaches— have been encouraging more women to jump out of their outdoor adventure comfort zones ever since. In 2008 SheJumps gained official non-profit status, and channeled its

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online-mentoring momentum into women’s-specific programs funded by donors and grants but run exclusively by volunteers. From day-long adult clinics to camps for inner-city teens, SheJumps aims to inspire women to reach their highest potential through increasing participation in the outdoors—on ski slopes, in avalanche-prone backcountry, and in Utah’s red-rock canyons. “Jumpers” this year are planning movie premiers, clinics, and networking

Trying new things—especially scary new things—is a specialty of many of the women involved in SheJumps. Lynsey has hucked huge cliffs in Warren Miller and Teton Gravity Research ski films and she’s never lost a big-mountain ski competition. Claire is managing SheJumps from afar while trekking around Argentina as this article goes to print. Vanessa splits ski patrolling with a career as a writer, and the rest of the 46-woman line up of “Jumpers” on the SheJumps website reads like a who’s who of outdoor adventure role models. While their drops, jumps, and careers are more extreme than most, they all agree with the idea behind SheJumps’ mission: that overcoming a healthy dose of fear helps us all push a little further, overcome obstacles to enjoying the outdoors, and build confidence in our ability to try and succeed at new things. Through day-long and weekend clinics, SheJumps teaches women skiers backcountry safety and big-mountain ski technique, and introduces “never ever” skiers, including a group of high-school-aged kids from Salt Lake City last year, to the sport. “I am always amazed to recount how SheJumps has unfolded and see where it is today, realizing how many people believe in what we are doing,” Claire says. Lynsey adds, “You certainly don’t have to scale Everest to impress us.” —Whitney Medved




Let it Snow


ChoosEs ThE

The potential variety in shape of stellars—a type of snowflake with an ornate lattice of 6 delicate arms.

Principal types of snow crystal defined by the International Commission on Snow and Ice: plates, stellar, columns, spatial dendrites, needles, capped columns, and irregular forms.

gorE-TEx® BrAND

Move Over,

Muscle Loss

10,000,000 Potential number of individual snowflakes in a single cubic foot of snow.


trillion Snowflakes created by a light storm in a small city.

0.68 The average speed (in MPH) of descent for star-shaped snowflakes. Needles may fall faster.


Temperature of the space in the Earth’s upper atmosphere where snow begins forming.



Greatest diameter for most snowflakes.

Inches in diameter of the largest reported snowflakes. More common “large flakes” measure 3–4 inches, but still air and and low temperatures promote larger flakes.

With old age comes wisdom. No wait, muscle loss? “Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle and strength that leads to a weakening of the human body,” says Andrew Dudley, editor of an online journal specializing in the condition—a greaterthan-average degree of the gradual muscle loss that begins from the very onset of maturity in most people. Muscle loss accelerates around the age of 40, but when you can’t get out of a chair without using your hands to help, that could be sarcopenia. Doctors are working to make the condition (pronounced sarko-peen-ya) diagnosable so medical solutions and treatments can be developed to fight it. Nutrition giants and pharmaceutical companies are already researching treatment options in the form of drug therapies and tasty nutritional plans. Women, on average, lose about 20 percent more muscle mass than men, but is it worth bulking up preemptively with protein shakes and Ensure? Not necessarily. “Be careful with diet programs,” warns Dudley. “People without proper nutrition may lose muscle mass but gain excess fat.” While a protein-rich diet and specific nutritional plans can be part of the equation, the most effective way to restore and maintain muscle mass is exercise. “Resistance strength training can reverse muscle erosion,” Dudley says. Regular resistance training even benefits people already struggling with decreased strength. —Jennifer Olson

The North Face® Mountain guide Jacket gorE-TEx® Performance shell

Mountains are no place for compromise. And The North Face® knows it. That’s why they trust GORE-TEX ® fabrics to ensure their garments are waterproof, windproof and breathable. In GORE-TEX ® gear, you stay comfortable so you can stay out longer. Anything less is just a compromise. WATErProoF, WINDProoF, BrEAThABLE CoMForT AND ProTECTIoN

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WAM OWINTER’2010”  TNF_MGuide_WomensAdventure_v2.indd 1



10/6/10 11:27 AM




[ DREAM JOB ] Filming a lemon shark at Tiger Beach, Bahamas

Age: 28 Stomping Ground: Miami, Florida, and the Bahamas Job: Executive Director of OceanicAllstars, professional Shark Diver, underwater photographer

Meet Jillian Morris Thanks to movies like Jaws, most people dread the thought of a shark encounter. Jillian Morris can think of no better way to spend the day. She’s turned a love of the ocean and a fascination with sharks into a career in marine biology, education, and conservation. She took a moment from her daily blend of science, outreach, and diving to tell us more.

What’s a typical day on the job like for you? On a shark dive day, the first challenge is to get them to come around. It’s a lot harder than people think. We use a baiting technique to put a scent into the water and lure them in. It’s funny because sharks are pretty particular, so we have to use different types of dead fish for different sharks. If we’re using a cage 18  WAM OWINTER’2010”


for the divers, we get that set up, and we prep them on how to keep themselves safe, and how to keep the animals safe. Once I’ve got everyone in the water, then it’s about trying to keep the sharks interested. They’re not used to being around people with scuba tanks blowing bubbles, so they are cautious about sticking around. But once they settle in, it’s like you’re in your own personal aquarium.

“Some of my earliest memories are of being dragged out of the water by my mom because I was turning blue.”

What inspires you about your work? Just knowing how important sharks are to the ocean. They are at the top of the food chain, so to lose them has devastating effects. Without sharks, the ocean would die. It means something to me, personally and in the greater scheme of ocean preservation, to do my part to expose people to sharks, to educate people, to create video footage and photos of sharks that reach far beyond Florida. What is the most surprising thing for you about your career? Every day is completely different. As much as you think you know how a day is going to unfold, working with animals, there is always something unanticipated. That adrenaline, that charge, that energy, really keeps you motivated. Even if you’re getting up at 4:00 a.m. to head out for an early dive, you have such an energy charge that you don’t need coffee.

Duncan Brake

What sparked your interest in diving? In sharks? I grew up on a lake in Maine so I’ve always been in the water—I swam before I walked. I don’t remember ever not loving the water and the ocean; it was always a part of me, so diving was a natural progression. I got certified [in SCUBA] in college while pursuing a degree in behavioral biology with a marine focus. My first internship was with Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida doing shark research—diving with them, tagging them, researching them. I got to handle them and see them up close. I knew right away I wanted to work with them long-term. There are so many stereotypes about sharks, and none of them are true. They are not man-eaters, for example. Most shark attacks are cases of mistaken identity. To see them swim and move, and if you get to make eye contact with one, it’s beautiful. My favorite place to be in the world is in the water with them.


Avalanche Control

KOA 84

Parallels of an emotional slide


hey call it avalanche “control,” but it’s more like mitigation. Ski patrollers use explosives to start avalanches because it’s safer to release pent-up energy with intention: to initiate moderate releases rather than letting skiers get caught off guard by catastrophic ones.

Imagine how, if no one attempted to control the slope, a skier would drop in, tantalized by cold face shots and an exhilarating run. Her heart would knock against her eardrums as she completed her first turn—and it would gain pace as slope beneath her unfolded, the stiff slab breaking apart. The slide would overwhelm her, much like a flood of emotion. If she had overestimated the strength of the snow’s façade, she would be helpless. Avalanche potential hides beneath dusted layers of snow, like the layers we develop to hide our own weaknesses. Sometimes it takes the action of a patroller—a friend, a sibling, a lover— to expose our faults and protect us from the strong façade we build upon our own angled faces. Sometimes the bomb they drop feels more destructive than it feels mitigating. But, ultimately, knowing where your weaknesses are frees you to drop into life more prepared, lay down perfect turns, and let cold powder spray your face in a place that’s safer than where you started.

Finally, a ski for the expert woman who’s looking for a Watea built for her. Carbon fiber I-Beam construction, vertical sidewalls, and an all poplar core for less weight and the perfect flex. If you are looking for a ski that rips in any snow condition, look no further than the KOA 84.


Fighting Breast Cancer One Snowshoe Step at a Time!

3k or 5k Snowshoe Walk or 3k Snowshoe Race New Jersey • January 22, 2011 MOUNTAIN CREEK RESORT

Vermont • January 29, 2011 STRATTON MTN RESORT

Utah • February 5, 2011 SALT LAKE CITY

Washington • February 12, 2011 STEVENS PASS NORDIC CENTER

Oregon • February 26, 2011 MT HOOD

Colorado • March 5, 2011 FRISCO NORDIC CENTER ——— P R E S E N T E D B Y ———

————— N A T I O N A L S P O N S O R S —————

—Kim Kircher 2010 Romp WomensAdv thrdpg.indd 1

9/29/10 12:26 PM








10-minute Sports Makeover

Runner Stella Peterson balances motherhood, a home office, and rescuing her favorite breed—meet 4-year-old Ollie, a German short-haired pointer and the newest addition to her family. She’s also training through the winter for her first triathlon. “I’ll be running a lot,” she says, “German short-haireds have a ton of energy.” The Petersons adopted Ollie through Great Plains Pointer, an organization that teams with Pilots and Paws to fly rescued dogs to just the right family. Stella’s goal: to keep herself and her new dog healthy—and fashionable. With the help of REI and the Boulder Running Company in Boulder, Colorado, we found gear to keep them warm, dry, and safe this season.

Afraid for your safety? You should be. Don’t expect that bright colors, help your visibility without reflective details

A rotating cap light helps you see—and be seen. LED settings flash bright or dim.

Pearl Izumi’s Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket is windproof, water resistant, and transitions from mild to moderate with zip-off bolero-style sleeves.

Saucony’s DryLete Stortop is midweight, moisture-wicking and has 360-degree reflective detailing—including a street-side clip-on blinking light.

Cotton clothes are without moisturewicking properties and insulation—they absorb water and get cold fast.

A hands-free leash helps maintain balance and form, and the bungee gives enough to prevent tripping up runners and dogs.

Running with a leash in-hand throws balance and can lead to injury, especially when surfaces are slick with ice and snow.

Winter-ready tights have moisturewicking panels, reflective hits, zippered ankles, and a stashpocket big enough for a phone.

Reflective detailing is key for low-profile runners, too. Ruff Wear’s K-9 Overcoat is fleece lined and protective up front.

A thin coat (of fur) isn’t enough to stay warm during cold days.

Bare paws are sensitive to low temps, but fresh snow can also freeze and build-up between the pads of a dog’s feet.

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Cotton socks don’t wick moisture and get cold with the first hint of wetness; the open-weave of this upper will let moisture in.

Brooks Nightlife arm and leg bands increase visibility and keep mud from building up on flared pant legs.

YakTrax ensure spike-assisted stability and confidence for slip-free running on the ice.

Rubber soles on Ruff Wear’s Grip Trex dog booties prevent snow and ice buildup on furry feet.

ben fullerton

Smartwool socks wick, cushion, and stay warm when wet.


Soul on Snow

During every medal-winning ride—Torino in 2006, Vancouver last winter, and likely the X-Games or Dew Tour later this season—snowboarder Hannah Teter has been plugged into her tunes. “I can’t imagine competing without music,” says the 23-year-old who’s as well known for throwing front-side 900s— that’s two and a half rotations—above the rim of a half-pipe as she is for her philanthropic streak. Since 2006, Hannah’s donated upwards of $200K in prize winnings to a non-profit that she started to bring clean-water infrastructure to a Kenyan village. And this year, she and fellow Burton boarder Gabi Viteri launched a line of “panties with a purpose” called Sweet Cheeks that donates 40 percent of net profits to Children International. “You need variety to keep the fire fueled,” she says about her riding and philanthropy, but the same could be said for this upbeat mix that she hopes you’ll take to the snow.


92 bpm

Audience Behave Yourself - EP, Cold War Kids

“It’s not a super pump-up song, but it has a groove that gets


Take an extra

((( alternative ))) me fired up to throw down.”


84 bpm

((( alternative )))


78 bpm

((( alternative )))


126 bpm


((( alternative )))


110 bpm

((( alternative )))

Farewell Ride Guero, Beck

“Perfect for the chairlift, it’s chill but it has a cool beat that puts me in the moment.”

Tightrope Dark Was the Night, Yeasayer

“While I’m hiking the pipe, this one is good.”

Janglin Up From Below, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros “It’s so funky, I love the unordinary style.”

Art Isn’t Real (City of Sin) War Elephant, Deer Tick

“This is a new song for me, but it’s uplifting and I’ve been rocking out to a lot of Deer Tick lately.” Download these songs and five more of Hannah’s playlist favorites at: Use keycode WINTER to receive discount See website for more information. Not valid with any other offer. Some exclusions apply. Offer expires 3/15/11






Fun Stuff


River House: A Memoir By Sarahlee Lawrence

When author Sarahlee is running Class V rapids, her vulnerability is part of what makes her happy. But if her river adventures—from the Futaleufu (in Patagonia) to the Grand Canyon—are a series of casual flings, then her family’s ranch in Central Oregon represents a deeper connection, a “grandmotherly” love. In River House, Sarahlee recounts building a log house with the help of her father, a paradox of surfer-farmer who’s also a dedicated pot smoker. Ultimately, they both must seek a balance between the ranch and water: for her dad, the sea; for her, the river. Sarahlee’s honesty and flawless storytelling make for a compelling memoir that is both entertaining and heartbreaking. Tin House Books, 2010; $17

Food Heroes:

16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition By Georgia Pellegrini

Juicy tomatoes. Olive oil on warm, crusty bread. The darkest milk chocolate bar on Earth. 94 proof whiskey. Author Georgia Pellegrini, who left Wall Street for culinary school, takes readers on a gastronomic world tour in search of modern “food heroes,” whose centuries-old traditions are threatened by mass-produced products. There’s the 93-year-old woman who follows the Japanese art of massaging dried persimmons by hand; the English grandmother who creates poetry while she churns butter; and the Kentucky farmer who grows beans from seed strains passed down through generations. With portraits of people passionate for flavor, custom, and community, Pellegrini proves that we can reclaim a lost connection with foods we love. Bonus: each chapter’s recipes are sure to leave foodies satiated! Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010; $25

Becoming Odyssa:

Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail By Jennifer Pharr Davis

Jennifer Pharr Davis has hiked more than 8,500 miles of U.S. national scenic trails and is the women’s speed record holder for the Appalachian Trail. Still, she considers her first AT thru-hike the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually challenging. Infused with a likable innocence, this travelogue tells of her first solo trek on the 2,175-mile footpath from Springer Mountain (Georgia) to Mount Katahdin (Maine). As she battles blizzards and bugs, learns the importance of dry socks, and enjoys a bit of “trail magic” (generosity from strangers along the AT), “Odyssa” becomes more than a trail name; it’s a new identity that marks Jennifer’s “journey between naiveté and experience.” Beaufort Books, 2010; $25 —Tara Kusumoto

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Warm up to Snow Loving the snow—and how it helps us thrive all year


or many kids, winter means bundling layers, finding lost gloves, cold feet, and being stuck inside. Even lobbing snowballs and building snowmen can result in cold, wet complaints. Though they might wish for more snow days off from school, children don’t appreciate the connection between the water falling in winter and their drinking water each spring; and that snow eventually nourishes plants and animals in their backyard jungles and wild hideouts. Hands-on activities that put an educational bent on the fluffy white stuff—and the principles behind how it flows downhill—help kids understand snow’s importance in healthy ecosystems. Watching Frosty melt won’t ever be sad again.

Watershed in Your Hand Snow falling in the mountains eventually works its way downhill, feeding everything from alpine flowers to alligator swamps on its way. To understand how a watershed works, crumple a piece of plain paper and unfold it into a loose ball in your hand. Imagine the high spots are mountain peaks and the creases are valleys. Can you find the “Continental Divide” on your paper? Use a blue marker to draw rivers and lakes in the folds of your “watershed” and mist the paper with a spray bottle to simulate melting snow. Is water running down the rivers to gather in lakes? “Wet Snow” and “Dry Snow” There’s no such thing as dry snow. But dense snow has more water by volume and will ultimately lead to more water flowing from the mountains—nourishing plants, animals, and even cities—in the spring. Scientists measure snow density to make water predictions, and so can you. Collect a full bucket of light, fluffy snow, let it melt, and measure the amount of water. Then collect a full bucket of wet snow, or snow from near the ground where it’s gotten

pressed down. Did the two types of snow have the same amount of water? Which bucket would better feed an entire ecosystem? The Beauty of Snowflakes The number of star-shaped combinations made possible by the molecules in a snowflake is mindboggling, but studying their shapes can be tough. No sooner do you scoop one up than it turns to liquid in your hand. Here are two tricks to make snowflake study easier: Freeze a black piece of construction paper and use it as a tray to catch flakes. The paper’s low temp keeps flakes viable for longer than your hand. For permanent impressions of snowflake shapes, freeze a pane of glass and cool a can of hairspray or artist’s fixative. Spray the cold glass with the cold hair spray and take it outside. Let some flakes settle on it. When you bring the glass inside and the flakes melt (let the hairspray dry for 20 minutes), you’ll have tiny impressions they left behind. —Environmental educator and mother Christina Allen runs a Boulderbased after-school science adventure program for K-5th graders.


Looking good and fitness all in one.

You love getting out for exercise, and you love looking your best. Now, skiing in style is made possible by Fischer’s Desire My Style Ski that combines fashion with precision function on the trail. My Style boots offer excellent comfort and warmth with our unique Ladies Fit Concept, ensuring that female feet have a perfect fit, and the lightweight My Style pole completes the package. Desire My Style is perfect for women excited to ski in style this winter! SKI: Desire My Style, BOOT: XC Touring My Style, POLE: Sport My Style

WAM OWINTER’2010”  ad_women-fashion_2,25x9,7_en.indd 1



30.09.10 08:20






Snow Jargon

Watermelon ('wä-t r-me-l n) 1. noun. the widely cultivated, tropical African trailing vine (Citrullus lanatus). 2. noun. the large, roundish or elongated fruit of that vine, having a hard, green rind and a sweet, juicy, usually pink or red pulp. 3. noun. a condition in which snow is tinted pink by the presence of red algae (common on temperate glaciers and perennial snow). e

Crust ('kr st) 1. noun. the hardened exterior surface part of bread. 2. noun. the pastry shell and covering of a pie. 3. noun. a hard snow surface lying upon a softer layer; may be formed by sun, rain, or wind, and is described as breakable or unbreakable depending upon whether it will withstand the weight of a turning skier. e

Creep ('krēp) 1. noun. an obnoxious or unpleasant person. 2. noun. a distressing sensation like that caused by insects crawling over one’s flesh; especially: a feeling of apprehension or horror—usually used in plural with the <that gives me the creeps> 3. noun. tensile stress caused by the slow deformation of sloping snow-cover due to gravity, particularly over convex features.


Creep │ Whiteout

Whiteout ('hwit-au't, 'wit-) 1. noun. An Antarctica-based Hollywood thriller starring Kate Beckinsale. 2. noun. correction fluid applied to mask errors in text on paper. 3. noun. a condition in which daylight is diffused by a snow surface and an overcast sky; contrasts vanish, and the observer is unable to distinguish the horizon or any snow surface feature.

Hoar ('ho'r) 1. adj. gray or white with, or as if with, age. 2. adj. extremely old. 3. noun. Ice crystals formed when water vapor from the atmosphere condenses directly into the solid phase onto a very cold surface, usually something of small diameter and freely exposed to air, such as branches, wires, or blades of grass. ă pat/ā

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On The Run Running around the (Eastern) Bloc


ll you need is a pair of running shoes and a road. That’s why Boris Prokopiev, editor-in-chief of Russia’s premiere running magazine, says, “Running is the most democratic sport.” While democracy is still relatively new to Eastern Europe, the sport’s openness lends itself well to women there, who are increasingly lacing up their trainers and hitting the streets. This trend is surprising in a region not recognized for its female fitness culture. Even during the Communist era, when mantras of gender equality rocked the Republics and brawny Soviet superwomen dominated Olympic sport, traditional gender roles restricted women’s full involvement in a broad range of athletic arenas. Yet following the fall of the Soviet Union, women’s social status began to change. Tough economic times combined with a large-scale influx of Western culture and revolutionized the responsibilities of women in the Eastern Bloc. Increasing numbers of women took on the role of family breadwinner and head of household. Women, especially younger women, hit the ground running, literally and by pursuing careers in business and finance, traveling overseas, and embracing more westernized culture.

We stand for wildlife, thriving pines, hiking, fishing, boating, biking, climbing and camping out. We think that educating people is the key to land protection, and believe that when people know how to take care of their lands, they will forge the path to protect them. Because when it comes to healthy lands, we’re all in this together.

Proof of running’s growing popularity in Eastern Europe is quantifiable: Women-only running competitions have increased in the region. In the last fifteen years, Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czech Republic; and Tallinn, Estonia, have started annually hosting such events, drawing bigname sponsors like Nike, Adidas, and SEB Maijooks. The races are key training grounds for hopeful girls and launch pads for successful female athletes. On the international running stage, Eastern Europe’s competitive female runners have dominated. Lithuania’s Zivile Balciunaite won the women’s marathon in the 2010 European Championships, while Russia’s Nailya Yulamanova came in second. Of the top fifteen women marathoners at the 2009 IAAF World Championships, three were Russian. Admittedly, running is far from the most popular sport in Eastern Europe—hockey and soccer are more likely candidates for that title. But some predict the modest increases in running’s popularity are just a start. And it only takes a few women runners to inspire a generation. —Taylor Chase









Just Part of the Posse The challenge: find a ski partner with life-partner potential By Abigail Sussman


t’s another deep powder morning and Jason calls me as planned. He’s on his way to the mountains and will be here to pick me up in a half hour. “I’m not wasting time coming in to get you,” he says over the usual cacophony from the backseat of his car—a jam band and the other guys arguing over where to lay first tracks. “If you’re not out at the road when I get there, I’m not stopping.” “Jerk,” I say hanging up the phone, smiling, and putting on my boots and backpack. I grab my skis and walk five minutes down the driveway to wait on the side of the road. I banter with the other neighborhood hitchhikers until Jason pulls up. The Rocketbox on top of the car is already crowded with three snowboards and a pair of fatties. The boys let me struggle to add my skis to the mix. “Hurry up, Sussman,” Jon says, laughing because he’s tall enough to easily access the roof-top cargo box.

26  WAM OWINTER’2010”


I’m stubborn enough to resist his help, so I’m balancing in my tele boots on the edge of the backseat, my bindings catching on poles as I lower them into the rack. In the car sits my Sarcastic Guy Posse. I am their buddy, their little sister, the token female who will be ditched as soon as I start to slow down. If I had a dollar for every time one of them said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I see you as one of the guys,” I would be able to buy another pair of Icelantic skis. I am friends with their wives and girlfriends, but I don’t know how to knit or make jewelry, so I’m allowed to try to keep up when they’re charging hard. When the other girls come to the hill, the guys slow down. They’re suddenly patient and encouraging; they buy pitchers of micro-brew instead of PBR. The guys I ride with now are just another iteration of the boys I built forts with

as a kid, or the trail crew that I bonded with while working in Alaska. Most of my closest friends are other women, so it’s not as if I’m a guy-only gal pal, but I seem to end up being the girl friend more often than the Girlfriend. Admittedly, some of these friendships began as crushes, with the object of my flirtation eventually falling for a crafty goddess, or a gal whose wardrobe was more diverse than my pile of Carhartts and hoodies. When I do bring a guy home or introduce him to my “brothers” on the ski hill, I have to warn him that he will be scrupulously analyzed by my faux-bros. The same guys who will wait for me at the chairlift and spend the entire ride up ridiculing me wouldn’t approve of a potential boyfriend who did the same. Whether the new guy passes inspection depends on a fine line of good humor and chivalry, meaning that he must laugh when they poke fun at me but

have a witty comeback that restores my honor.


Of course, it’s not the approval of the brahs that really matters. If the new guy integrates too quickly I’m the one who must re-assess: Is this guy good boyfriend material, or is he destined to end up as one of the Posse?


I can’t always trust the boys; they’ve tried goading me into dating guys with lots of gear and no personality. There was Tim, the helicopter pilot with a snowmobile. He chatted me up at the coffee stand where I worked and eventually we went on a date. He was nice enough, but when I complained to the Posse about our lackluster conversations, they urged me to “Take one for the team!” Meanwhile, they were calculating the number of snowboards that could fit into his chopper or the snowmobile miles we’d need to hit the golden pot of untracked snow past the end of the logging roads. Then there was Shane, who tended bar and slipped me free drinks. “Get on that,” said Jason. “If you guys get married, I’ll have free beer for the rest of my life.” Another beau, James, was almost an instant addition to the Posse. He dropped steep lines on deep powder days, listened to the same music as the faux-bros, and brewed darn good beer in his garage. “Nice job,” Jon winked at me, as he quaffed yet another pint of home brew. James was socially inept, but for years the Posse would ask, “Hey, what happened to that shredder we liked?” While helicopters and home brew add to any guy’s appeal, I’m waiting for one who is patient on powder days, gently reminds me to bend my knees in my tele turns, teases me about wiping snot on my gloves, and who can take as much as he can dish out. If the faux-bros and I agree about his potential, I’ll know he’s not only the person I want to ski with but also the person I want to be with. Ultimately, whether I’m skiing with the Posse or riding alone, I know that it doesn’t matter who you ride with, but who you are when you ride. ■ later

by outdoor DIVAS


by outdoor DIVAS










Take it Outside Winter motivational tips from athletes up north By Molly Rettig ment. These athletes don’t just tolerate winter; they have chased it down to its most extreme, most unforgiving state. Even if your winter isn’t extreme, sometimes forcing yourself into the elements takes strategy. What can we learn from these Alaskans who train and research during deep, dark winters? Read on for their secrets—both psychological and biological—to conquering the cold.


torrential downpour pounded Whistler during the women’s 30-kilometer cross-country ski race last winter, not exactly the conditions that Olympic dreams are made of.

cially after a full day of work, school, or chores. But letting activity levels slump can lead to stress, lethargy, poor body image, moodiness, and other negatives. “It’s been shown that people who are more active can combat depression “The tracks were totally blown out better,” says Dr. Abel Bult-Ito, Ph.D. and because the snow was so saturated with professor of neuroscience at the Univerwater,” said Holly Brooks, an Anchorsity of Alaska Fairbanks. While that may age-based ski racer and coach who be, finding the motivation to be active competed on last winter’s U.S. team. is touchy when there’s no bluebird sky “The downhills were iffy because there kicking you out the door. were just piles of slush, and you were kind of worried about your skis. It was “I think it’s a little bit easier for women absolutely soaking wet.” Holly adds, to cop out because often they can find “Being from Alaska and having trained something to do for their families. There in those conditions before, it didn’t are a lot of ‘noble’ causes,” says Holly, bother me. I think that’s one of the who coaches a weekly women’s ski benefits of getting out the door when group through Alaska Pacific University. the conditions aren’t good.” She, along with other cross-country The cold, dark, and ice that taunt us in skiers and winter outdoor warriors, winter can make it easier to stay on the exemplifies how the love of a sport can couch than jump on the trails, espeovercome the adversity of the environ-

28  WAM OWINTER’2010”


“Twenty below is just normal training for us,” says Julia Pierson, former captain of the University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s Nordic ski team. “Dressing appropriately is huge,” she says. Julia and her team layer up, but also have gear and tricks that help them stay comfortable in their extreme climate: they carry insulated drink belts and fill hydration bottles with boiling water and Gatorade powder. Conditioning your body—and psyche—to train at extreme temperatures actually takes the bite out of warmer days, like when temps rise to, say, zero degrees. Julia says hitting the trails for cold Alaskan workouts gave her team an edge over competition from milder climates, and building that advantage helped them stay motivated to train outside. For facing up to winter conditions, good workout buddies are also key. “One thing that really helps is having a team or club,” adds Julia, who says exercising in numbers is simply more fun. “Being social is a big part [of training]. We jibber jabber all the time,” Julia says. Combining friends with fitness doubles your motivation to work out—for social and health benefits—and makes it harder to bail—who wants to be a flaky friend? Also, healthy competition with others usually adds a skip to your step or may subtract seconds from your mile time. Events and competitions are another way to make exercising social and to

Race for a Cure (to Winter)


We’ve compiled a starter list of outdoor events—fun, educational, and competitive—that could keep you revving your engine until spring:

increase your motivation by working toward a concrete goal. “For me personally, having specific goals gets me out the door, helps me find a purpose in each workout,” says Holly, the Anchorage ski coach. “Not everyone likes racing, but you could maybe pick a casual race or event that’s going to challenge you in a different way.” Competitions come in all lengths, intensities, and flavors, from three-kilometer snowshoe races to 12-hour adventure races. Pick one that will push you toward your goals but is realistic with your lifestyle. If you only have a month to train, for example, opt for a 10-kilometer run instead of a 60-mile cycling race. Following a routine is also a strategy for staying active through the winter and increasing the endurance of your motivation. “Be active at the same time every day. If you run, run at 8 a.m. or noon every day,” advises Dr. Bult-Ito. Your circadian rhythm, also called your body clock, controls your physiological and behavioral processes. If it gets out of sync, regular habits like waking up, falling asleep, and eating are thrown out of whack, and Dr. Bult-Ito warns that can make you more susceptible to disease, insomnia, and depression—all serious motivation-killers.

Kay Beaton

Holly’s team trains at 8:30 a.m. every day, no matter the weather. “Sometimes at 10-below zero, you feel like you’re skiing among diamonds,” she says. While her routine exposes her to harsh conditions, they have made her who she is—as an athlete and a person. “I tell people I coach that you can be a better wife, a better mother, a better coworker, a better friend—if you’re in a good place yourself,” says Holly. “And training, whether you’re in good weather or bad weather, is going to give you an endorphin high and you’ll be a better person because of it.” ■

December 18–April 1; Babes in the Backcountry; Various Locations

Day- and weekend-long clinics focused on building ski and backcountry skills.

January 1; Ride for Courage Polar Bear Metric Century; Winston-Salem, NC

Proceeds for this road ride (choose between a 30- or 62-miler) go toward cancer research.

January 8; Catamount Trail Association Women’s Day Clinic; Stowe, VT

For beginner cross-country skiers. Includes coaching, wine and cheese, and a ski swap.

January 14–February 1; Chicks With Picks Ice Climbing Clinics; Ouray, CO

Chill out at a world-class ice park before cozying up with a drink and some of ice climbing’s greatest gals. For all levels of climber.

January 15; Perkinstown Snowshoe Race; Medford, WI

Carry a 15-pound pack through the hilly 3-mile course in the Chequamegon National Forest to qualify as a “Mountaineer.”

January 16–17; Women’s Winter Escape; Great Glen Trails, NH

A weekend of femme-friendly fun: crosscountry skiing, yoga, massage, snowshoeing, and a functional fashion show.

January 22–March 5; Tubbs Romp to Stomp Snowshoe Series; Various Locations This snowshoe series raises money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Free beginner demos.

The only thing more important than an athlete’s performance is their safety. Runners and walkers should always exercise safely, which means wearing reflective, and carrying an I.D. and cell phone. Nathan Performance Gear™ makes this easy with products like its Reflective Sleeves, the ultimate multipurpose gear. Made of compression fabric, which is ideal for improving circulation, adding warmth, and blocking harmful UV rays, Nathan Reflective Sleeves also feature reflective detail, making it easier to stay safe and seen on the road. An added small pocket is ideal for carrying small essentials. Be Smart. Run Safe. Nathan Performance Gear is available at specialty running shops and sporting goods stores, or at

February 13; Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathalon; Albuquerque, NM

Gain 4,770 feet of elevation in a 42-mile outand-back: snowshoe, ski, run, and bike. See a calendar of winter-worthy events at:

WAM OWINTER’2010”  NathanAd_WA_Winter2010.indd 1



10/5/10 4:26 PM







pled ground, masking tangled shrubs, and bridging creeks. Along Alaska’s northern coast, shore ice makes travel between villages more direct as sinuous bays and inlets could be bypassed. Frozen rivers in the north become statemaintained highways that link remote villages. Fuel trucks, family station wagons, and state trooper vehicles travel the curving river highways that are marked with stakes and reflective tape and kept open from the incessantly drifting snow by plow trucks. A fleet of taxis—Chevy Suburbans, mostly—carry villagers into town for supplies, or ferry them to and from their ice fishing spots on the river.

Tide, Feather, Snow

In her book, Tide, Feather, Snow, Miranda Weiss, unfamiliar with the changing seasons in her newly adopted home state, marvels at the beauty of Alaska’s longest season. She begins exploring the frozen landscape that both opens up to—and shuts out—many Alaskans. By Miranda Weiss


inter’s coldest weather seemed irrational. When it came, dry slush—like some sort of lunar dust—formed on the beach at the edge of the surf. On cold, clear nights under a gibbous moon, ice crystals sparkled fantastically across the surface of the snow, as though it were illuminated from within. Cloudless nights often draped otherworldly colors across the sky—neon green, fuchsia, ghostly white—as though the aurora borealis were dropping silk handkerchiefs to Earth. Sometimes the northern lights just glowed on the horizon like a second moon readying to rise. Cold fronts occasionally slid into town and didn’t budge, depositing a gray ice fog that trapped wood smoke and car exhaust until the air around town smelled like the end of a tailpipe. In the hills behind town, frigid air sank into the creek drainages, lacquering willows with ice. In bitter weather, supple fabric became stiff and

30  WAM OWINTER’2010”


noisy, and even the snow squeaked. Our eyelashes and hair grayed when moisture from our exhalations froze onto the strands. Car doors iced shut, engines grumbled to a start more grumpily than normal—or didn’t start at all—and ice spread along the insides of windshields. The coldest days were too cold for snow and brought a dry air devoid of smells that scraped my throat. The darkness and the cold, the raging wind and persevering snowstorms, and the incessant, frigid crash of the sea would seem to shut Alaskans in their homes during the long winter. But the time of snow and ice is the time when much of Alaska is its most open. Winter makes the landscape—otherwise soggy, lake-speckled, and river-sliced in so much of the state—far more traversable than during the thawed months. Snow makes the endless rolling land quietly navigable for miles by smoothing rum-


eaving between stands of spruce, we passed the nearest neighboring home, an A-frame cabin that shared our half-mile drive. We often saw our neighbor, a young guy with curly, strawberry blond hair who was trailed by an overweight black lab, splitting wood in front of his place with a hand-rolled cigarette drooping from his lower lip. Derek made his rent by transcribing music sent to him via e-mail by composers in the Lower 48. He had moved up the previous summer with his girlfriend, a friendly woman who had left two kids with her ex-husband in California and quickly gotten work at the local bakery. By midwinter, she had gone back. She sold her skis to me before she left. The A-frame’s metal roof sloped down nearly to the ground, making the place dark and look a bit like a silo. Two other homes shared the gravel road: a wood-sided house surrounded by spruce that was built by a fisherman who came up from Colorado to fish during the summer, and a two-story round house being built—and lived in—by a young couple with a collie who walked into their place (or traveled by snowshoe in the winter) the quarter-mile from where they parked on the edge of the road. We continued westward, under a white sky which afforded the kind of muted, directionless light that made seeing subtle topography in the snow difficult. There were so many different kinds of snow for skiing. In early winter, heavy powder layered in the hills, and you sank almost to your knees. In the spring,

a clean icy crust often formed on the surface of the snow; you could careen across it at high speeds, but gaining purchase to make a turn was difficult. The best was a combination—a crust with a few inches of fresh snow for a soft, clean glide, and a bit of cushioning if you fell. But by afternoon, we would likely pierce through the crust. As the day warmed, it would cave in, but this late in the season, the snow had settled and we wouldn’t sink in far. John and I skied side by side. I loved to feel every muscle in my body strain and then stretch itself out with each stride. I could feel the backs of my thighs and upper arms, my stomach and calves all pushing to get ahead. The only sounds were of our skis gliding across the snow, the poles puncturing the crust, the squeak of our boots against their bindings and the rush of our exhalations. Sweat was forming on my forehead beneath my wool hat, under the waistband of my pants, and between my gloves

“Colors draped across the sky as though the aurora borealis were dropping silk handkerchiefs to Earth.” and the palms of my hands. I stopped to unzip my coat, remove layers, and catch my breath. Up ahead, John flew down a hill, his maroon windbreaker opening like wings under his arms. When he fell at the bottom, his skis sliding out from under him, he laughed and then lay back in the snow to take a break. I relished the sensation of fullbody exhaustion I would feel by evening, and pressed on to catch up with him.

We skied downhill through spruce and across the deep, cloven pocks left by moose. In a couple of months, moose would come into town to drop their calves. Photos of young calves born in people’s backyards would appear on the front pages of the two local newspapers. Their oversized heads, miniature horselike bodies, and spindly legs seemed illogically proportioned. By midsummer, most of the moose moved back into the hills. In the fall or winter bulls shed their antlers, which were often hidden by snow until spring. As we skied into the creek drainage, the snow broke open in places, revealing deep black seams where water ran darkly five feet below us. The sound of running water, which was normally absent in the winter landscape, was evidence that things were starting to wake up again. ■ Excerpted from Miranda Weiss’ book Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska with permission from Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Dog Sledding

A wild ride behind a pack of howling dogs? It's easier to master than you might think. By Krisan Christensen


uskies sang out with deafening eagerness as my guide pointed and barked instructions: Step here to slow down; step here and here to stop. Lean left to go right; lean right to go left. The mid-winter darkness blinded me to everything outside the scanty beam of my headlamp, but I could feel the frenzied commotion and animal confusion surrounding me. Before I knew it, we were lurching forward, my sled teetering past an icy gate. The deathgrip I had on the sled was hidden by

my gloves, and the only indicator of my body’s heightened sense of alert was a quickened release of frozen breath from beneath a mound of layered wool and goose down. Before snowmobiles and airplanes, dogs pulled people and their cargo across the Arctic’s frozen surfaces. But in recent years, dog sledding has gained recognition and traction as both a competitive and commercial sport. Heroic stories from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have increased interest in single- and multi-day adventure tourism excursions,

Getting Started:


as has the success of women sled dog drivers, or mushers. “The biggest frustration as a woman, honestly,” says mushing veteren Kirsten Frisch, “is staying warm.” But that frustration wasn’t enough to stop the likes of Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the 1,200-mile Alaskan Iditarod; Susan Butcher, four-time Iditarod winner and the top-ten female finisher; and DeeDee Jonrowe, who has fourteen top-10 Iditarod finishes and has helped carve a niche for women in the sport. My dog tour was just a few hours but after a few bounces at take-off, my sled settled down and I gained control. I eased quickly into the smooth ride, gently leaning against the curves and giving in to the power and experience of the eight-dog team out front. ■

“The most important part of mushing is dog care,” said husky trainer and long-time musher Kirsten Frisch. “They’re not equipment, and you have to be prepared to offer them what they need.” She offers up these first-timer tips but says to remember that “running the sled is the easy part.”

Sleds come in different types based on their intended purpose. Sprint race sleds are light and quick on turns, hunting sleds handle tougher terrain and haul heavier loads, and hybrid types— like Iditarod sleds—combine elements of both.

Pads near the back of the sleds runners work like brakes. Step on one to slow, both to stop, and tilt the sled backwards to tell the dogs to stay stopped.

Leaning left and right will help to steer the sled, but the shifting weight is more like a rudder than a steering wheel; expect the sled to turn the opposite direction of your lean.

32  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Endurance and speed are key qualities for successful sled dogs, who might cover as much as 90 miles in one day hauling upwards of 85 pounds each.

Dogs speak a different lingo. For mushing, “Haw” means left, “Gee” means right. “Hike” means go, and “whoa” and “easy” mean stop.

Dogs need to be properly fed, watered, harnessed, and trained. The best mushers have spent time as dog handlers first. Extending beyond the basket, the gangline connects the dogs to the sled and usually holds at least 2 and as many as 16 dogs in one or two hauling lines.

Team hierarchy is key, but a strong team requires one or two highly intelligent individual leaders. More than half of lead dogs are females.

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Join Forces for Healthy Joints

Maintaining healthy joints and ligaments will keep your powder days injury-free By Jennifer Olson


inter sports can do a number on the knees, especially on women’s knees.

A wider pelvis, bio-mechanics, and hormones make us ripe for injury. Women tend to have more pronounced femur angles, which increases side-to-side stress on the quadriceps and can cause abnormal movements of the knee joints. Hormonal fluctuations not only loosen our ligaments—great for child birthing,

but not great for gravity sports—but estrogen also inhibits the healing and recovery processes of muscles. That combination of forces combines to make women three times more susceptible than men to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Skiers beware: you’re particularly at-risk. As if biological vulnerability isn’t enough, winter sports of choice augment the danger. Snowboarders often suffer acute injuries in the spine or


wrist fractures and sprains. Recreational figure skaters compound fall-related bruises and sprains with the twisting forces that they generate during jumps or spins. Ultimately, says Chantal Donnelly, physical therapist and founder of Body Insight Inc., a website geared toward injury prevention through exercise and education, each activity carries its own risk. Chronic injuries are most easily prevented but most commonly ignored, as they often set in gradually. Ice climbers overuse flexor muscles and suffer higher-than-average numbers of elbow injuries. And wide-gaiting snowshoers feel the effects of hip flexor overuse—if they manage to stay upright and avoid twisting knees and ankles on unseen, under-snow obstacles. Skiers may suffer patellofemoral syndrome (the softening and degeneration of the cartilage under the kneecap), and women, adolescents, and young adults are at higher risk. Women who snowboard, says Donnelly, may experience lower back and sacral pain. But for most of us, the risk of injury is no reason to stay indoors. Knowing your limitations, using good judgment, and taking preventive action are effective ways to reduce your risk—and they’re well worth the trouble. Balance and strength training, coaching, and equipment fit can help prevent both chronic and acute injuries. Balance training, especially helpful for reducing the risk of accidental falls, improves proprioception (the sense of feeling you have for your limbs in space) that can prevent joint-twisting tumbles and missteps. “Working the core is also essential,” Donnelly says, explaining that movement originates in the core and improving strength there improves your body’s biomechanics all-around. She recommends Pilates and cross training to strengthen and increase flexibility in muscle groups supporting your sport’s target joints. Begin your training program at least eight weeks before hitting the snow for the first time this season.

40  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Ready to hit the slopes safely this season? Take one final tip from Donnelly: warm up. “Start your day on the smaller, easier hills before moving to advanced runs,” she says. No matter your fitness level, and whether the scale is one day or an entire season, start slowly and build up to a full range of motion, skill, and speed. It will help your joints and ligaments last in the long run. ■

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Along with regular exercise, balanced nutrition is important for avoiding snow sport injuries. The list of recommended ingredients that may improve bone and joint health fluctuates and includes everything from vitamin K to alcohol to fish oil, with Czech and Chinese herbs taking center stage right now. Low levels of vitamins C and D have been associated with knee osteoarthritis. “It is important to make sure you are getting sufficient amounts of those two vitamins in your food or supplements,” Donnelly says. Saturated fat can also cause cartilage breakdown, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis, and most research suggests that a healthy diet generally is a big boon to healthy joints. “If you eat too much you gain weight, and if you are overweight you are more susceptible to knee pain and back pain,” says Donnelly, adding this bottom line: “Extra weight puts stress on joints of the body.”

Cathy Photo:

One place to focus, suggests Donnelly, is the hamstrings. Athletes taking part in any snowy endeavor can experience muscle strains, and the hamstrings or groin are especially vulnerable. But, if the three large muscles in the back of your thigh are strong, they take stress off of the ACL during downhill maneuvers. Hip strengthening is also important for knee support and pelvic stability. Strong butt muscles will ultimately protect your joints, as they keep the pelvis stable, which keeps legs and knees in proper alignment. “Weakness in the hips and butt muscles cause the pelvis to tilt and the knee to roll inward,” Donnelly says. Solid hamstrings, quads, abs, and gluts are important, but Donnelly also stresses the importance of flexibility for muscles that work optimally both on and off the slopes.

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Lovely, Leafy Greens

Healthy and cold resistant? It’s not too much to ask from greens that’ll keep you going strong all winter. By Heather Hansman


inter is undoubtedly the hardest season for finding fresh veggies that weren’t grown in another hemisphere. But eating greens has been proven to fight cancer, stave off colds, and even boost moods. You’d hate to brave the winter without them. Cruciferous vegetables are your cold-season solution. From the cold-hardy and phytonutrient-rich Brassica family, these life-savers are a delicious way to keep fresh vegetables on hand through the year’s darkest days. Why? Because you can grow them or find them locally throughout the season. 1


Kale has a reputation as a super food, and with good reason. It’s packed with vitamin K, beta carotene, and calcium, which are all good for skin, bone, and eye health. Kale descended from wild cabbage, and is available in three main varieties: curly kale, which is dark green and has a tough stalk; ornamental kale, often purple or white; and dinosaur kale, which has larger, blue-green leaves. Kale contains high levels of Sulforaphane, a compound that has anti-cancer properties. Kale is also known to lower cholesterol and aid digestion. Kale’s closest cousin, collard greens, are very similar in taste, hardiness, and nutrient value, and can be prepared similarly.


Some of these greens, like chard, even taste sweeter after bitten by frost. And although winter greens can be intimidating for novice chefs and have even garnered a bad reputation for being healthy at the cost of good taste (here’s looking at you, Brussels sprouts), they’re amazing when done right. In fact, you’ll find a range of preparation options that are both creative and convenient. Aside from the easy-to-find green picks below, you can also check out romanesco broccoli, celeriac, kohlrabi, and other lesser-known members of the Brassica family.

Brussels Sprouts

The soggy, overcooked reputation these mini cabbage–like sprouts have garnered might have kept you from adding them to your everyday menu. Overcooking them is indeed easy, and a mushy pile of Brussels sprouts truly is unappealing, but these veggies are protein-packed and offer some unique nutritional benefits. There are strong ties between Brussels sprouts and cancer prevention because they help with the formation of healthy DNA that keeps cancer cells in check. They also contain antioxidants and a healthy serving of Vitamin C, which is particularly helpful during cold season. Try it Like This: Pan-frying Brussels sprouts brings out their sweetness. Cook them in a skillet with a little olive oil, then top with shredded cheese. For more-even cooking, look for smaller, uniformly sized sprouts.



Leafy, dark green chard is actually a type of beet, but its small root gets ignored in favor of its nutrient-packed leaves. The robust center stalk and more delicate leaves can grow almost year-round, but once harvested they’re perishable and don’t store particularly well. Chard always has green leaves, but its stalks can range in color from red to yellow to white. The colored varieties are particularly rich in vitamin A, which helps bone strength and eyesight. Chard is also heavy in vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Young chard can be eaten raw, but because it tends to be bitter, most people prefer it cooked. Try it Like This: Like many other leafy greens, chard cooks relatively quickly and is delicious steamed. Top it with lemon juice. .

Try it Like This: Having a party? Instead of serving potato chips, try kale chips. De-stem the kale, rip the leaves into chip-sized pieces, toss with olive oil and salt. Then bake in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes or until crispy.

42  WAM OWINTER’2010”





Still craving salads in the depths of winter? Peppery, slightly bitter arugula is the answer. Arugula has been a mainstay of Mediterranean cuisine for a long time, and unlike iceberg lettuce or other salad greens, arugula is high in iron, calcium, and vitamin K, all of which play a role in bone and blood health. It’s also known to be a stimulant, so eating arugula as part of a pre-workout meal could keep you going longer. Try it Like This: Because Arugula tends to be tender, it—more so than the rest of the Brassica family—can easily be eaten raw. Mix it into a salad, or add value to casual pizza dinners by throwing some on as a topping. 5

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Closely related, broccoli and cauliflower are high in fiber, folic acid, and potassium. A USDA study found that a serving of broccoli contains more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk. One measly head has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Cauliflower isn’t far behind in those nutrient tallies, and it is strongest in the vitamin C department. Both broccoli and cauliflower store well and will last a long time after harvesting, but choose bunches with firm stalks and florets that are dark green, purplish, or bluish green in color, as they contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than paler or yellowing ones. Try it Like This: Cauliflower and Broccoli both make good, creamy soups. Boil 10 ounces of either one in two parts broth and one part milk, together with tasty spices, and blend until creamy.



Long maligned as a low-calorie and low-taste diet food, cabbage is making a comeback as an easy way to add texture and flavor to salads, stir-frys, soups, and even veggie roasts. But the nutritional value of the inexpensive—and densely packed— heads is greater than you might think. Like its cruciferous kin, cabbage has cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering properties, but where it really shines is in terms of antioxidants. It’s heavy in polyphenol, an antioxidant that is said to have anti-aging benefits. Dark purple and light green heads have different proportions of vitamins and minerals, but the violet-hued red cabbages offer the most bang for your buck when it comes to health benefits. Try it Like This: Cabbage can be made into more than coleslaw and sauerkraut. Try the spicy Korean variation—Kim Chi. Slicing a head into quarters and roasting them is another tasty option. 7

Bok Choy

Bok choy is similar in nutritional value to cabbage, but has broader, more loosely formed leaves, more closely resembling its cousin the common turnip. Like both, it’s full of antioxidants and high in folic acid, which is vital for cell growth—thus why its sixto 10-inch stalks are often anecdotally connected to healthy pregnancies. Smaller and more tender, baby bok choy is highly prized in Chinese cooking. Try it Like This: Bok choy is a staple in many Asian cuisines, and it fits well with delicate flavor profiles. Try stir-frying it with tofu and other Asian vegetables, or on its own with garlic and sesame oil.









A Need for Speed Cold wind and a hunchback aren’t enough to keep this adrenaline junkie from shredding By Dawn Dennison


orothy is a small woman, bent at the waist and leaning on the arm of a much younger man as they make their way to the office of the crosscountry ski area where I work. When he’d called earlier to make an appointment for his 81-year-old mother-in-law, we wondered what kind of person would torture an old lady by bringing her out on such a day: It’s 19 degrees, and so windy that the lifts on the alpine side of the resort are closed. Because the afternoon instructor is busy with a group, I’ll be giving her a private lesson, and I’ve never had a student her age. I’m dreading the two hours she’s booked, afraid it will drag on forever, and I secretly hope the weather scares her off. It doesn’t. She enters the lodge stooped, the lump on her back a telltale sign of her deteriorating body. The humpback makes walking difficult, even on a non-windy day. She’s wearing an old down coat that is bright red under the arms and inside the collar, but has faded to rusty orange in the places that see the sun. Except for her nose, there’s not a single smooth place on her face—it’s a topographic map of the weathered hillsides and mountain ranges of old age. To look at me, she tilts her head to peer from the corner of her eye. She introduces herself and says she doesn’t really need a lesson, she’s skied all her life. My job title will be “guide,” not “instructor.” I will keep her company and take care of logistics and 44  WAM OWINTER’2010”


mechanics so that she can concentrate on the business of skiing. Dorothy lives in Chicago, but visits Colorado each winter to visit her grandkids—always with skis in tow. Bob, her son-in-law, doesn’t know how to ski, and her daughter and grandkids don’t like to. So Bob brings her to a ski area every day she’s in town and reads his book while she takes a “lesson.” I carry her ski bag outside and pull out a pair of backcountry touring skis with clunky three-pin bindings and a set of antique bamboo poles topped with big, round baskets and leather straps. Dorothy and Bob watch me from the window, and when I wave that I’m ready, he walks her outside. She puts her hands on the top of my head to balance herself while I’m on my knees, clicking her boots into her skis. The wind picks up, and I wonder how we’re going to get through these next two hours of bitter cold. We are just blobs of winter clothing with eyes, and we communicate by nodding and pointing toward our first trail. We turn our backs to the wind, and as soon as we’re moving, the joy of gliding on skis takes over. Rounding the first bend puts us into the trees, where the wind is blocked and the world quiets. “Nothing hurts now,” Dorothy says through heavy breaths as we continue up. Our goal is the top of a long hill that locals call 17th Avenue. Be-

cause she lives at sea level, and this Nordic center sits at 9,000 feet, we stop a lot. I learn that she still works part-time as a court stenographer, holds classic piano concerts in her living room, and has a thing for speed. Because she’s headed home tomorrow, she wants this to be a good day—i.e., a fast one. She can’t wait to turn around and ski downhill—she wants to stay in the track the whole way. “Track,” at Nordic centers, is set by grooming machines. It consists of two grooves, each the width of a ski, and about an inch deep. The track makes the kick and glide of classic cross-country skiing more efficient than skiing on flat snow. On a downhill, though, skiing in the track can quickly go from thrilling to scary depending on conditions and slope angle. It’s possible to pick up a fair amount of speed when your skis are pointed straight down and locked in a groove. Slowing down requires stepping out of the track onto the flat snow and working your legs into a kind of triangular brake which skiers call a snowplow.

When we finally make it to the top, she hardly stops to rest before she puts her skis into the grooves and asks if I think she can make it all the way to the bottom. Even ablebodied, I can’t stay in the track all the way down. But as I look at this crinkled woman—who spends summers in Wyoming riding pack horses, who just explained to me the nuances of Chopin, and who has never once mentioned the wind or the cold—I tell her she can. And just like that: We’re off. I remind her that if she gets going too fast, she just needs to lift one ski at a time out of the track. As she picks up speed, she yells back that her legs don’t lift like that anymore—ever since she’s had both her hips replaced.

Photo ©2009 Christina Kiffney Photography


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the country. SpeCial thankS to:

On the flat snow next to her, I can easily wedge my skis and slow down, but there’s no need. Dorothy is flying, knees bent and eyes forward, she’s completely in the moment. I am mesmerized by her face. It’s as if she’s been transported to another time. How must it feel to go so fast so effortlessly, when just walking across a room can seem to take all day? It’s not until I see the look of shock on another instructor’s face as we whiz past that I realize we’re going too fast to make it around the next turn. The only way to stop before we miss the corner and head into the trees is to fall. As a visual cue, I fall first, and cringe as her stocking-capped head jerks back when she hits the ground. I hesitate before asking if she’s okay. She smiles at me with her whole face. “We almost made it, didn’t we?” she says. We return to the lodge, and I help her out of her skis and she holds my arm as I hand her off to Bob. He tucks his book under one arm, Dorothy takes the other, and they slowly head back to the car. ■ WAM OWINTER’2010” 



46  WAM OWINTER’2010”



he difference between a winter wonderland and a harsh, frozen wasteland has everything to do with attitude—and equipment. With the right mix of gear, traversing a snowfield is tantamount to newworld exploration. Standing atop a windy ridgeline feels like taking flight, and you could spend the best day of your life skiing trees after a powder-dumping storm. With a pile of sub-par equipment, you could sit on the sidelines for half the year and miss out on a wilderness that’s increasingly within bounds for the well-prepared. New technologies, new materials, new systems, and new attitudes from your favorite outfitters are working to cradle you in warmth and create opportunities for exploration where there were only icy fingers and frozen toes before. For this issue, we tested 10 product categories—everything from handwear to helmets, skate skis to snowshoes, and boots to base layers—to help you equip for winter no matter what your speed or style of choice. We also reviewed yoga gear (apparel and mats) so if your schedule’s too intense to break away or you’re recovering from a powder day, you’ll be set to hit the mat for the intensity you crave. If the walls come down and the wind comes up, it could be the winning combination; just be prepared.

Edited by Kristy Holland Photography by Ben Fullerton WAM OWINTER’2010” 



l l i h wn


...Over the Edge

Amanda is wearing: Smith Optics Hustle Helmet ($120;; REI Double Diamond Ski Pack ($119;; Eddie Bauer First Ascent Sheba Heli Guide Jacket ($399;; Marmot Women’s Lightweight Crew L/S ($45;; Outdoor Research Alit Gloves ($150;; Columbia Women’s Back It Up Pant ($150;; Point 6 Women’s Snow Ski Light Sock ($21;; and skiing with: Goode Pure Carbon Lite 10.4 Poles ($120; www.; Dynafit Gaia TF-X Women’s Boot ($670;; Marker Baron Binding ($445; www. P O 48  WAM WINTER’2010”; Rossignol S 110 W Skis ($800;

The Essentia


Brooks-Range Mountaineering Sharktooth Compact Mini-Pro Shovel ($45; Aggressive serration on the tempered aluminum blade, a telescoping shaft, and a handy D-grip help make every stroke of this 31-ounce shovel count when you need it. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket ($179; Made of recycled ripstop and stuffed with Primaloft One, this water-resistant insulator adds warmth without weight and is the perfect packable layer when wet weather threatens— it even stuffs into its own internal pocket. Brooks-Range Mountaineering Avalanche Probe 240+ Carbon Pro ($92; This Kevlar avy probe is lightweight and flexible, but tapered segment ends make for quick deployment and the large head bores a hole big enough to prevent the shaft from freezing inside. Rossignol S 110 W Skis ($800; An all-mountian powder ski that’s as hot on deck as it is on the slopes. AmpTek rocker is forgiving and well-suited to all kinds of snow. Backcountry Access Tracker 2 ($335; Three antennae make this beacon one of the most accurate available. Easy-to-use, lightweight, and life-saving, it’s an essential for anyone venturing out-of-bounds. Point 6 Women’s Snow Ski Light Sock ($21; Lightly cushioned but with stay-put woven-in features such as a deep heel pocket, Achilles brace, and arch brace, this merino-nylonspandex blend sock is a versatile weight perfect for varied conditions all season.

Gaia TF-X Women 4.8 Dynafit ($670;

Perfect for backcountry days when a warming hut or hot chocolate are out of reach. Testers agreed that OR’s Alit is a lotta’ glove, and it delivers on its pricepoint promise with features that make it as versatile as it is tough. The waterproof shell and rubberized palm of the glove’s outer layer resist abrasion—important for high-altitude rappels or rocky hand-over-hand scrambles—and the three paneled thumb allows dexterity enough to man-handle zippers or and buckles without exposing your fingers. Snow is blocked out by the high cuff and DuoCinch closure system which includes both wrist and forearm straps. There’s even an “idiot strap” so that if you do have to slip one off, you won’t lose it. The PrimaLoft liner stays put inside the glove’s shell, and a thin, fleecy palm pairs well with the PrimaLoft insulation that wraps the back of your hand (and your thumb) without compromising grip. While it’s a little heavy for everyday resort-wear, the glove’s shell on its own serves double-duty as a spring glove, too.

Designed by female athletes, Dynafit’s Gaia boots are a jack of all trades for women who want it all. A triple binding system can be used either with tech fit, alpine, or touring bindings so you can ski the backcountry, sidecountry, or resort without breaking in—or throwing down for—a new pair. At 1,800 grams, it’s one of the lightest boots in its performance bracket, and one of the most aggressive fourbucklers on the market. The inch-plus power strap and overlapping tongue system perform in the steeps and deeps, and skiers have a choice between two cant settings (15 and 21 degrees). The hiking release is smooth and provides good range of motion. It’s also super durable, especially on the sole, so your boots can take a beating as you scramble over rocks en route to backcountry descents. The moldable liner is warm and provides interior boot space ideal for women with mid- to high-volume feet—and muscular calves. Make sure to size correctly; the fit is a bit tighter in this boot than in some of Dynafit’s other models.


Marmot Women’s Access ($130;

warm memories

Smooth and slim, this retro leather glove is the most natural-feeling and warmest glove we tried. Gore-tex inserts, Dri-Clime linings, and Thermal R insulation.


Black Diamond Guide ($160; www.blackdiamondequipment. com)

feeling the curve

A pre-shaped curve holds tight so your attention can go to your line. Even better? A snow-stopping gauntlet and near-seamless fit between liner and Gore-Tex shell.


Scott Gore 2-in-1 ($95;

surprise structure

Because conditions (and your needs) change all day, an inner divider lets you choose between added insulation for warmth or more contact with the eather palm for grip.


Kombi Charlotte ($70; www.

high fashion

Wild purple checks and knuckle bedazzles on this basic glove make it a fashion statement, but affordability, moisture resistance, and wicking performance shine through.


Downhill Boots

Research Alit 4.6 Outdoor ($150;

t etsetsetde: d Sunscreen : Gloves

Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at:


comfort queens


Tecnica Viva 100 Airshell ($660;

Feminine bling on this boot hints at its star quality. Air Shell technology allows a custom fit, and luxury liners balance control with unbelievable comfort.

Scarpa Shaka ($739;

the multi-tasker

Perfectly balanced for backcountry Betties who want something light enough for touring but stiff enough for charging; and they weigh in at just 3 lbs. 10 oz.


Garmont Hydra ($660;


Scarpa Gea ($599;

versatile soles

ultralight days

Interchangeable soles (plastic and Vibram) offer versatility. These boots offer control in variable conditions—even climbing. Best for narrow, petite feet.. One of the lightest boots on the market, the Gea is perfect for backcountry descents and skiers looking to cover distance without blowing their budgets.





...Zen Out




Heather is wearing: Inner Waves Mohala Camisole and Pono Capris ($52 and $44;; and using: prAna Revolution Natural Sticky Mat ($90; 50  WAM OWINTER’2010”


The Essentia


eLine Yoga Slackline ($90; Enhance your practice, redefine balance, and build strength with the easy-to-set-up slackline designed specifically for airborne yoga. Earth Creations Lucca Top ($67; An after-class cover up with flare, this cardigan-style shirt made with hemp and organic cotton has a flirty ruffle that flows from hem to neckline. Yoga Tune Up Self Massage Therapy Balls ($10; Just roll these lightly textured three-inch rubber orbs into aching muscles and pressure points to untie knots and melt away tension. Nuun U Natural Hydration Tablets ($24 for 3 tubes; In irresistible and earth-friendly flavors, these tablets dissolve neatly into 16 oz. of water for a tasty refresher with vitamins and electrolytes. Injinji Yoga Toesocks ($16; Toesocks help spread your digits during tough poses, but also protect feet from blistering. This bamboo-blend pair is soft, moisturewicking, anti-microbial, and features balanceenhancing rubberized tread. Manduka MatSak ($45; One zippered and breathable compartment of this cotton bag is sized perfectly for a mat, while the other is accessory small. Its cushioned strap leaves shoulders relaxed, too.

Revolution Natural Sticky Mat 5.0 prAna ($90;

Whether you are practicing poses, dancing, or running to the market, this outfit complements a wide range of bodies—and body movements—beautifully. Testers enjoyed unrestricted freedom in the Mohala’s racer-back top, but also found the built-in shelf bra supportive enough to go braless for low impact asanas. They also found that the long cut allowed for midriff modesty during back-bends and stretches. Crafted from organic cotton fibers, this top also earned marks for its satiny feel against the skin. The Pono capris feature a crossover waistline that testers found flattering across the board—the fit is slim and hugging, without being restricting. Slits at the back of the legs added a fun, stylish, and practical touch to the delicate flare. In addition to practical function, these Inner Waves separates also scored high because of their 14-color palette—plenty to mix and match for the perfect yoga, dance class, or errand-running ensemble.

A favorite among Anusara practitioners, this 30-inch-wide mat is 6.5 feet long and offers plenty of room to play. While the biodegradable rubber makes for an earthy grounding feeling underneath the body, the mat’s weight is also testimony to its sturdiness—it weighs in at a hefty 8.5 pounds. It never slips or bunches, so there is never a need to adjust mid-sequence and testers loved the confidence and strength they felt when pushing against the delicate texture of this natural rubber surface. In an effort to stand by its eco-friendly company mission, prAna also created this mat with a heat sealing system that eliminates the need for toxic glues. Co-created by Anusara founder John Friend, this mat is ideal for a heartcentered practice and is durable enough that a yogini can practice anywhere she’s inclined to haul it—indoors or out.


Manduka Black Mat Pro ($90;

($52 and $68; Modest separates featuring chafe-resistant


Harmony Professional Mat ($60;

seams, pockets, and the moisture-wicking luon fabric that made Lululemon famous.

tree posers

Be Present Micro Modal Dancer Cami and Kona Pant

($49 and $59; A combo made from a sustainably farmed


Lululemon The Mat ($68; This mat has extra stick—

beech wood-based fabric appropriate for treks across town or across the world.

sticky fingers

Beckons Organic Strength Yoga Cami and Love Hemp Capris


Barefoot Yoga Company Eco Yoga Mat ($76;


prAna Amaya Top and Lolita Pant ($46 and $75;

all around

Climbers, yoginis, and city girls agreed that these comfortable and versatile separates, inspired by classic 1940s dresses, flattered with functional fashion sense.


Lululemon Power Y Tank and Wunder Under Crop

more coverage

★★★★★ eco-exercise

★★★★★ simple style


Inner Waves Mohala Camisole and Pono Capris 4.9 ($52 and $44;


Apparel ttees stteedd: : Sunscreen

Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at:

($41 and $76; Form-fitting organic pieces that stay put through sequences and hold their own—shape, style, and comfort—on the mat, too.

the long haul

earthly love

Manduka designed this mat to last forever, and on top of the lifetime guarantee, its slip-resistant fabric-like surface was a favorite among testers. Winning features include a natural rubber surface, pocket-friendly price-point, and Jade’s commitment to the environment—one tree planted for every mat sold. that gets stickier when you sweat. Natural rubber tops the cushioned base made from scrap waste of the company’s recycled nylon spandex-blend fabric.

Solid enough for strong standing poses and sweaty Ashtanga flows, this jute and natural rubber mat is one of the eco-friendliest on the market—it’s even biodegradable.




s d r a bo

w o n S

52  WAM OWINTER’2010”


...Express Yourself

Keera is wearing: Giro Grove Helmet ($130;; The North Face Freedom LRBC Insulated Print Pant ($169;; Stoic Welder Lo Softshell Jacket ($269;; Burton Women’s Baker Mitt ($55; www.; Burton Emerald Boot ($200;; and riding on Ride DVA binding ($200;; Never Summer Infinity Snowboard ($460;

The Essentia


Burton Wheelie Board Case ($240; Getting your board from Point A to Point B sometimes means flying it there. This large-capacity luggage case fits all the gear, has internal bags help organize it, and lush padding to protect it. Ride DVA binding ($200; More pop off jumps and a better edge on a slope: you’ll feel the difference that the angled footbed this freeride binding provides. Bollé Fathom Goggles ($104; Photochromatic lenses mean these goggles transition between bright sunshine and whiteout flat light. Other perks: UV protection, a waterproof vent, and a micro-fleece lining on the triple-layer face foam. Cabela’s Cable-Knit Hat and Arm Warmers ($25; Cute accessories are part of the après-park fun. When the gloves come off, stay warm with these knit warmers that come with a matching hat. Skullcandy Riot Headphones ($20; Superior sound quality that stays put, looks good, and barely costs a thing. Camelbak Roulette ($100; An insulated back panel and thermal hose prevent this backcountry hydration pack’s contents from freezing. Featuring flashy colors and women’s-specific fit, this pack also accommodates 3 liters of liquid, a shovel pocket, and easy top-loading access.

Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at:


POC Frontal Helmet ($150;


Smith Intrigue ($120;

forest face-offs

retro royalty

★★★★★ any alpinist

★★★★★ big-air heads

This hybrid hard shell combines three ventilation systems, including a patented anti-penetration front panel, wrapped in a selection of hot tree-cruising colors. Unmatched in velvety comfort, this helmet’s fleecy liner scored as many points with testers as the 10 adjustable vents, anti-fog slits, and one-hand adjustability.

Scott Shadow III ($70;

An affordable helmet with removable ear-warmer lining, venting plugs, and a highly adjustable fit system that makes a seamless transition between snow-season extremes.

Red Hi-fi ($100;

Adjust this ASTM-certified helmet with a mini air chamber that fine-tunes fit across the helmet’s back panel. Fully compatible with Burton’s REDphone sound components.


Stylish and lightweight with a ventilation system that’s both intuitive and wellformed to direct air through the helmet in the name of temperature regulation. The Grove, one of Giro’s two new women’s-specific snow helmets, meets ASTM impact standards and includes a large back panel to protect against backward falls—the most common among intermediate snowboarders. In mold construction fuses the outer shell and impact foam in one process to save weight which testers noticed despite the addition of Giro’s beefy dial-to-fit system (adjustable for both depth and circumference) which allows this helmet fit a wide range of tester’s “medium-sized” heads. The 3-way venting system applie to 10 of the helmet’s 14 vents, and testers loved the ability to regulate air flow for low, moderate, and heavy-sweating situations via a glove-friendly switch on the helmet’s outside. Additional perks: a plush interior liner and headphone-compatible ear flaps.

Summer Industries Infinity 4.8 Never ($460;


Helmets tteesstteedd: : Sunscreen

Grove 4.8 Giro ($130;

A super-responsive ride, the Infinity is the last all-mountain board you may ever have to buy. Deserving of its cult-like following among riders in-the-know, Never Summer joined the alternative-camber revolution early on, but combined regular camber in the nose and tail with reverse camber in the center to help maintain edge control and stability at speed. Slightly stiff, the Infinity carves better than a caffeine-fueled boardercross racer and cuts through powder like it was halfmelted butter. The reverse camber between the bindings also means you won’t catch an edge—this isn’t a soft park board, but testers could still slide a box or two in the park between powder days. In 20 years of manufacturing, not a single Never Summer sidewall has broken, so you can count on a long relationship with this beauty.


Ride Promise ($400;


GNU, Mervin Company B-Pro ($430;

powder playfields

An all-mountain charger of a directional board, this new Promise is soft and responsive, impressing in packed powder, groomers, and on the half pipe, but holding its own in powder.

carving cravings

An adapting board modeled after the whims of pro-rider Barrett Christy. A patented mini serrated edge grips snow in variable conditions, mixed-camber is perfect for advanced, all-mountian rides.


Venture Snowboards Zephyr ($575; www.venturesnowboards. com) Powder whores will truly appreciate the Zephyr’s hefty feel and rocker in its tip and tail

freeride flirts


casual cruising

for a floating feel in deep snow and speedy descents on-piste, too.

Rossignol Diva Magtek ($450;

Fun and forgiving, this freeride board is relatively soft—jibing with the best of them, but slowing down bomber powder descents. Best suited for cruisers who shy away from speed.




e o h ws


...Exploring Frontiers

Anne is wearing: Sierra Designs Lunatic Hoodie ($169;; Isis Cable Hoodie and Tights ($89 and $69;; Outdoor Research ShapeShifter Balaclava ($22;; Pearl Izumi Women’s Barrier Glove ($70; www.; Sherpa Adventure Gear Kala Pathar Pant ($85;; Mountain Hardwear Women’s Ascent Stretch Air Perm Gaiter ($50;; Cabela’s Merino Ragg Wool Sock ($11;; Merrell Whiteout 8 Waterproof Boot ($130;; Louis Garneau Vector UX Zenith 722 Snowshoe ($190;; MSR Denali III Poles ($80; P 54  WAM OWINTER’2010”

The Essentia


Atlas Deluxe Snowshoe Tote ($30; Don’t toss your kit into the trunk of the car until next week—or into a closet until next winter. Keep poles, snowshoes, and accessories organized in this adjustable, reinforced tote with mesh panels for breathability. Outdoor Research ShapeShifter Balaclava ($22; A buttoned slit at the center of this nylon-poly balaclava makes it a hat, neck gaiter, and face-mask. Venting and cover-up options abound. Isis Cable Hoodie ($89; This fashion-forward base-layer is seamless—so it’s chafe-free under winter layers. But the delicate pattern and attached hood also make a seamless transition to après activities, too. Zippo Hand Warmer ($20; Generating heat-wave temps for up to 12 hours (through a catalytic burner, not an open flame), these hand-sized metal warmers are infinitely reusable and perfect for keeping toasty during a picnic pit-stop. MSR Denali III Poles ($80; These three-section aluminum poles telescope down to just 26 inches and weigh in at less than 10 ounces per pole, but are sturdy enough to keep you stable in the deep. Merrell Whiteout 8 Waterproof Boot ($130; Built for the backcountry, these mid-height boots have a gaiter-ready D-ring and a grooved upper to help hold snowshoe straps in place.

Designs Lunatic Hoody 4.8 Sierra ($169;

Testers floated over fresh snow, played on packed powder, and held firm on icy trails. These snowshoes weighed in at just under 2 pounds each and surprised testers with all-around performance and design details like their slim profile, snow-shedding Ushaped deck, and a pivot brake on the shock-absorbing crampon axle which prevents the snowshoe from flipping forward into your shin. “I didn’t even feel like I was wearing snowshoes,” said one tester after her 7-mile hike. The polymer molded deck resists cracking in temperatures down to -40 °C and the snow-shedding perfection is due to its U-shaped design. The six-tooth crampon curves like a jaw for biting traction and the V-Rail traction bar was the gnarliest we saw on any of the snowshoes we tested— it handled steep hillsides going up, down, and across Colorado’s Rocky Mountains with ease. Another high-point for testers was the glove-friendly binding: the dual strap and contoured, padded foot harness stayed tight on everything from running shoes to snow-boots without pinching or working loose.

Every feature on this full-zip Sierra Designs hoody is a nod toward simple function, but affordability and fit set the Lunatic apart from other jackets in our testing line-up. Fleecelined, stretch woven softshell performed well in terms of weatherproof breathability: The water-resistant panel of Barricade fabric spanning the jacket’s upper half (across the shoulders and in the hood) shed sleety raindrops during an aerobic snowshoe in Washington’s Olympic Mountains and plush poly softshell on the jacket’s lower half released heat during sweat sessions, but held warmth during rest stops. The hood itself is helmet-compatible, the jacket has five seam-taped water-resistant zippered pockets, and includes one internal stuff pocket—all features that could add cost, but instead add just warmth, durability, and versatility to budget friendly coat. The flattering length (25 inches on a medium) hit most testers near the hip, low enough for the elastic draw-cord hemline to engage but not slip toward the waist, and testers loved that they could use their full range of motion without revealing wrists.


MSR Women’s Lightning Ascent ($269; Lightweight and narrow, this all-around shoe has an AT-like heel lifts for steep ascents, an add-on flotation tail option, and a burly crampon surrounded by a toothy frame.


Tubbs Flex NRG ($180;

trekking traction

shocking stability


clip-on comfort


an electric slide

Shock absorption on these women’s specific shoes reduce joint stress, while the crampons and traction rails are built for backcountry bliss.

Kahtoola MTN 24 ($279; Unclip in a snap and this lightweight aluminum showshoe sheds its powder-prancing platform to become an eight-point crampon perfect for rock-and-ice exploring. Atlas Elektra 12 Series 23 ($259;

Spring-loaded suspension, an underfoot pivot point, and a streamlined profile allow for natural movement and the silicone straps make stepping-in a cinch.


Garneau Women’s Vecotr UX Zenith 722 4.8 Louis ($125;


tteesstteedd: : snowshoes Sunscreen

Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at:


Outdoor Research Alibi Jacket ($250;


Marmot Reyna Jacket ($250;

feminine function

Replace multiple winter layers with this Polartec Powershield hoody that’s warm enough to wear alone, blocks wind and rain, and has flatering feminine lines.


Rab Exodus Jacket ($160;

sweaty snowfall

Stretchy mid-weight softshell and articulated arms combine with breathability, pit zips, and a hood for a shell that works when you’re sweating hard in the snow.


Hi-Tec Misty Mountain SoftShell ($90; Windproof wearability at rock bottom prices. This jacket’s simple shape and design offer protection and transition easily between backcountry trails and city streets.

detailed divas

urban wilds

Two materials merge for maximum element protection from this jacket that includes thumb-loop cuff gaiters, an hood liner, and pack-friendly zips between pit and hem.




e t a k S

g n i i Sk

...Work it Out

Theresa is wearing: Saucony DryLete Headband ($15;; Rudy Project Swifty Glasses ($50;; Spyder Women’s Seamless X-Static Compression Top ($100;; Craft Women’s ACX Pant ($99;; Madshus Athena SKC Boots ($430;; Darn Tough Nordic Boot Cushion Sock ($ 21;; Leki Shark Thermo Glove and Cruise Carbon Pole system ($79 and $149;; Rottefella NNN NIS Skate Bindings ($100;; Salomon Equipe 9 Vitane Skis ($400; P 56  WAM OWINTER’2010”

The Essentia


Louis Garneau Enerblock Nordic Jacket ($125; Stay dry—inside and out—with this stretchy, breathable softshell. Nylon front panels resist wind and abrasion, and five pockets mean plenty of space for other essentials. Rudy Project Swifty Glasses ($50; Racing red lenses amplify contrast and protect from wind, snow, and the occasional tree branch. An adjustable nose piece helps these lightweight beauties stay-put. Darn Tough Nordic Boot Cushion Sock ($ 21; Lightly padded to protect from straps, and moisture wicking to boot. First Ascent Buff ($20; Use as a hat (shown here), a balaclava, or a sunshade; twist your First Ascent microfiber Buff into 12 different function— and fashion—pieces. Swix Wax Kit ($199; Give your skis some tender loving care; they’ll love you back by sliding smoothly over the snow. This wax kit comes complete with an iron, brush, wax scraper, table clamps, and, of course, wax. Madshus Athena SKC boots ($430; Ski like a champ in boots fit for a goddess. Highlights of this pair include a stiff full carbon cuff and breathable “MemBrain” softshell lace-cover.

Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at:

Seamless X-Static Compression L/S Top and Pant 4.6 Spyder ($100 and $80;


“Entry level” isn’t usually synonymous with high-performance, especially when it comes to a technique-intensive sport like skate skiing where clicking directly into a race-ready kit doesn’t necessarily translate to a great on-snow experience. That’s why Salomon created their Equipe 9 Vitane. This light and agile womenspecific ski has noticeably more stability than a top-of-the-line World Cup racer, but not so much it feels sluggish. It’s got energetic flex and springy rebound, and it grips well in turns thanks to a gentle, tapered shape that gives it plenty of edge contact around corners. This ski (available in 3 lengths) is best for new skiers who don’t want to start at square one, or intermediate skiers looking for an upgrade—you’ll grow into it over seasons not months. Tester after tester called it “a great all around ski at a reasonable price.” Length: 174/179/186 cm; weight: 1,250 gm (all sizes).



Sunscreen Skate Skis

Salomon Equipe 9 Vitane 4.8 (($400;

With a flourish of web-inspired styling these separates are a blend of wicking polypro, nylon, and spandex with silver-coated fibers called X-Static. X-Static is heat-reflective, anti-microbial, and static-free and testers noticed the difference: These pieces reflected more heat on cold days, and testers could wear them more days between washes. The compression fit left testers feeling pleasantly refreshed during on-snow workouts—be sure to check sizing for a sung but not constricting fit—but flat seams and a lightly brushed surface meant they hardly noticed this next-to-skin layer when they piled on insulation. In addition to the woven spider-woman motif, testers loved the internal shelf bra which provided extra support during aerobic ski sessions where these compression-fit separates scored the most points.


Helly Hansen Multi SLX Top and Pant ($70 and $60; www.


Atomic Vasa Race ($390;


Dale of Norway L/S Zip Neck Top ($79;

long-john longevity

More than 125 years of wool-weaving experience go into this Merino layer that feels dry all day, stays warm, is machine-washable, and rib-knit for under-layer comfort.


Rossignol’s X-ium WCS-2 ($660,


Smartwool NTS Midweight Zip T and Bottom ($85 and $75; www. A midweight Merino baselayer set that’s next-to-skin soft, stink-free,


Fischer RCS Carbonlite Skating Hole ($649;

carbon competition

Carbon stiffness with a fiber air core, and weight-saving tip helped add distance and speed to every kick. The perfect upgrade for race-ready skiers.


soft steppers


beginner balance

With a light and consistent feel, this ski got high marks for maneuverability, tracking, glide, edging, and rebound at a price that won’t break the bank. Lighter women loved this soft, flexi race ski that adds stability with extended base edges; a wide, flat tip; and a grooved tail that acts like a rudder.

Madshus Maiya ($250,

Soft and stable, the price point and wide base on this edgy ski helped first-timers find the sweet spot and handle conditions of all kinds.

soft sealing

next-to-skin natural


a budget base Close-fitting and soft with a wide range of temperature ideals,

the ultra-wide waistband on both pieces seals out drafts and adds chafe-free padding.

sturdy enough to last several seasons, and ethically acrdited by Zque.

REI Midweight Polartec Power Dry Zip-T and Bottoms

($37 and $33; For less than a lift ticket, baselayer separates that use two yarns to create wicking and fast-drying surfaces that are soft and stay warm.




Chasing Spirits

By Megan Michelson


t was past midnight when I spotted two lights outside the hut. I had been sleeping—or trying to sleep, anyway—in my upper bunk when I heard whispering and saw the twin spotlights. My heart rate accelerated and I could feel my stomach tighten with nerves. Who—or what—was out there, encircling our backcountry hut in the middle of the night? The lights moved in unison at first, surrounding the wooded area outside the hut, then they split off from each other and paused for an unbearably long time.

“I’m not usually the ghost-hunting type, I swear. I usually scoff at science f iction f ilms and the closest I get to the supernatural is an occasional minute-long pose in a yoga class.”

Had two strangers hiked up in the middle of the night? Were they about to burst in on the four of us girls, miles from the nearest help? Were the lights not even attached to people? I stared at the illumination for a few seconds and the orbs began to move again, coming toward the hut. I held my breath and felt myself choking on fear. Then I heard sounds—talking, shuffling of feet on the wooden deck, giggling. Giggling?

My friends Dana and Deb had gone outside to pee. They’d been too scared to go alone. And now they’d nearly frightened me to asphyxiation. All of our nerves were fried, and for good reason. We’d come to this hut—a former ski patrol shack at the top of what used to be Geneva Basin Ski Area, in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains— to search for the spirit of Edward Guanella. The one-time lift mechanic had been decapitated while installing one of the resort’s first chairlifts in the 1960s, and rumor has it he’s been making ghostly appearances ever since. I’m not usually the ghost-hunting type, I swear. I usually scoff at science fiction films, and the closest I get to the supernatural is an occasional minute-long pose in a yoga class. But something about this abandoned ski area intrigued me, so we’d come fully prepared for a ghost hunt: I purchased a ghost meter—an eight-ounce, LED-lit plastic device I got on for 20 dollars—and the book Conducting a Paranormal Investigation: A Training Guide. I’d also called a paranormal expert for tips. And we stuffed our backpacks with standard ghostconjuring supplies: a book of scary stories, candles, a video camera, a box of wine, and a flask of tequila. We needed the liquid courage. Though we were trying to summon the ghost of Headless Ed, I wasn’t sure if we’d actually have the guts to face him if he showed up.


uring the construction of the Geneva Basin Ski Area in the early 1960s, a company called Heron Engineering was hired to install the Duck Creek double chair. Edward Guanella, the son of Paul Guanella, for whom the pass was named, was helping to hang the chairlift cable when he was decapitated. The community was stunned by the tragedy, but construction continued, and in 1963 the Geneva Basin Ski Area opened about 60 miles west of Denver. The area’s popular base sat at 10,500 feet in elevation, and the Duck Creek lift chair, along with a T-bar called Sundance, was crowded with weekend skiers accessing the rolling, family-friendly terrain. During the winter of 1977–78, over a decade later, a man named Bill Halamicek was working late in the ski rental shop, setting up rental equipment for a large group that was coming in the next day. “A cold puff of wind or something made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up,” Bill says, recounting the memory. “I was annoyed, thinking it was the heating system, but then the power went out.” The ski area was run by generators, and after the first generator went out, the backup generator should have started right away. It didn’t. Bill walked to the generator building 50 yards away and the backup suddenly kicked on. “Then I distinctly heard someone walking in the

office above me. But no one was there,” Bill recalls. “The electrician I quizzed the next day said that what happened was impossible—if the backup did not kick on immediately, it never would have started up five minutes later. I never believed in ghosts, but this made me a believer.” Bill continued to have freaky encounters. One night, he was in the lodge with five other people when the wooden cafeteria doors flung wide open, as if someone was holding them. “A draft definitely did not cause it,” Bill says. “Trust me. I looked for a fishing line or something.” Another night, he heard footsteps walking toward him in the cafeteria that he knew was otherwise empty. The ski area closed briefly in the mid-1980s and budget shortfalls ultimately shut the place down for good in 1987. When a mysterious fire burned down the main lodge shortly after, some old-timers speculated that the fire was an act of Headless Ed. The cabin that remains today is maintained by an organization called GEMS, which was formed by a one-time Geneva Basin ski patroller named Hank Grote. When the U.S. Forest Service tried to tear down the hut in 1995, Grote convinced them to let it stand. “I was amazed how much effort there was to keep the cabin open,” says Grote, now 65. “People came from all over to do maintenance and repair work. They brought up shovels and saws and painted the hut and built benches.” Today, it’s free, open to the public, and doesn’t have a cumbersome reservation system like some of Colorado’s other backcountry huts. The green-painted cabin is equipped to sleep seven; stocked with an assortment of bunks, propane cook stoves, dishes, board games, and memorabilia—maps, snowshoes, and caution signs— from the ski area. But as for the ghost of Edward Guanella? It’s been a while since anyone’s seen him. “I don’t know much about that ghost story,” Grote says. “The hut used to have a bad mouse problem—people were getting woken up by scurrying mice. But that’s probably the scariest thing up there now.”


e’d find out. The first time I visited the old Geneva Basin ski patrol shack, there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground. My boyfriend and I skinned in on telemark gear, spent a night by the wood-burning stove, and skied powder down to our car in the morning. The only signs of a headless ghost were creepy stories and bump-in-the-night tales that previous overnighters taped to the wall. We did have a rodent encounter, which was enough to pique my curiosity about Ed. A few months later, I decided to go back to the hut to try to connect with him. I called the leader of a ghosthunting team called Pure Paranormal, a woman named

“Women are actually more suited for ghosthunting than men,” Masandra told me. some common questions to ask the spirit: What is your name? Are you male or female? What is your age? Avoid yes or no questions, Masandra warned.

Masandra Gray. Masandra grew up in a haunted house in the South—the kind of place, she says, where spirits would pick you up and throw you across the room. Rather than living in fear, at the age of 11 she decided to become a ghost hunter. She snapped photos of the spirits in her own house and eventually bought high-tech equipment for paranormal research. “We don’t cajole spirits,” Masandra told me. “We don’t do ouija boards or séances. We use a scientific process and equipment that can prove the presence of a spirit, equipment that can measure visual, audio, thermal, electronic recordings.” I was relieved. The idea of a tarot card–toting gypsy summoning ghosts with chants and candles seemed over the top for my taste. I’m curious, but skeptical when it comes to mysticism. Masandra’s technique—and who doesn’t believe a ghost hunter with a name like Masandra?—seemed scientific, almost plausible. I told her about my mission to return to the potentially haunted Geneva Basin hut with a few girlfriends and I asked her for advice on tracking down Headless Ed. “Women are actually more suited for ghost-hunting than men,” she told me. “We have that sensitive quality and strong instincts and intuition that we’re born with,” she assured me, “That’s why most psychics are women.” Her suggestions to find Ed included a few rules: Keep the group no bigger than four people and no dogs—you don’t want to overcrowd the space and scare off the spirits. If intending to record electronic voice phenomenon (or EVPs, as they’re known in the ghost world), plan out

60  WAM OWINTER’2010”


The paranormal investigation guide book I bought online offered a few more helpful tips: Don’t whisper (it can be hard to differentiate your whispering from paranormal interference), don’t smoke (smoke can result in false mists in photographs), don’t wear perfume (floral scents are thought to be a signal of the presence of spirits), and watch out for using camera flashes (the blinding light could cause you to miss a visual paranormal event).


eb, JT, Dana, and I got to the hut just before dusk on a Friday night, after zig-zagging a mile from the car along old ski trails. We cooked an easy dinner and drank wine by candlelight, talking about friends who have died, and recounting creepy stories from our past—like the time Deb got lost late at night in Rome, or the time JT caught a ride with some creepy men on an oil rig in the Bahamas. We quickly realized that together we had less experience with ghosts than Masandra has in her little finger. It didn’t deter us. As the night wore on, I pulled out the ghost meter—sensitive enough, says the box, to detect minute electromagnetic energy fluctuations at haunted sites. We waited anxiously, looking down at the device’s needle, which should bounce in the presence of ghostly forces. Nothing happened. We asked a few of our prepared questions into the dark, thin air and waited for some kind of sign or response. Nothing. It didn’t take long before we grew skeptical of the ghost-hunting mission, lit a fire—breaking one of our ghost hunting rules—drank some more wine, told a few more spooky stories, and eventually fell asleep without any sign from Headless Ed. ■

Five Haunted Ski-Town Destinations

Wing Hollow Ski Area; Allegany, New York: This now-defunct ski area northwest of Allegany, New York, opened in the 1950s. Throughout the next few decades, it was the site of a series of unrelated tragedies: people were killed during a chairlift accident, a young boy drowned in a nearby pond, and a janitor was shot and killed by two thieves who were never caught. Since then, people have spotted white-faced figures around the area. Not surprisingly, the ski area is no longer operating.

Hotel Jerome; Aspen, Colorado: Originally built in 1889 and the home of Aspen’s first bar, the legendary Hotel Jerome is now a trendy hotspot for Gucci-clad tourists. Over the years, ghostly stories from the historic hotel have surfaced, like the one about the 10-year-old boy who was rumored to have drowned in the hotel’s original swimming pool and then spotted many years later by a guest staying in room 310, directly above the pool.

Banff Springs Hotel; Alberta, Canada: You’ll go to Banff to ski Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. But while you’re there, you might as well stay at the 122-year-old Banff Springs Hotel, located in Banff National Park and built to look like a Scottish castle. When the original hotel was built in 1888, builders accidentally created an interior room with no windows or doors, which wasn’t discovered until the hotel burned down in 1926. Apparitions that have reportedly been spotted at the hotel include a phantom bellhop named Sam, a dead bride, and a headless bagpiper.

Timberline Lodge; Mt. Hood, Oregon: The 1980 horror film The Shining was shot on location at Mt. Hood, Oregon’s slopeside Timberline Lodge. Need we say more? Since the film’s release, many guests have claimed to have seen evil spirits like the ones who violently haunted Jack Nicholson’s character in the film. The hotel, meanwhile, is a National Historic Landmark with cozy, wood-paneled guest rooms and fine dining service featuring organic cuisine.

Hotel Monte Vista; Flagstaff, Arizona: Fewer than 10 miles south of the Arizona Snow Bowl, you’ll find Flagstaff’s Hotel Monte Vista, built in 1927 and the site of numerous ghost stories. There’s the bank robber who died from a gunshot wound in the hotel bar in 1970 and subsequent reports of missing or moving barstools and drinks. Even John Wayne, who was a guest at the hotel, is said to have spotted the ghost of a dead bellboy, who occasionally knocks on doors announcing “room service” and then disappears. Other reports mention an invisible crying baby in the basement, a transparent couple dancing in the cocktail lounge, and a rocking chair that moves by itself. WAM OWINTER’2010” 




st Ladies of Adventure By Jamie Lynn Miller

Dee Caffari


62  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Christy Mahon Women’s Adventure caught up (figuratively) with Mahon, and six other adventure heroines for a look at how, why, and why not they take on new firsts.

Ted Mahon; Onedition

n May 16, 2010, Christy Mahon became the first woman to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14ers. While the Denver-born, Aspen-based adventure athlete spent several years hammering out the time, and drumming up the means, she always found the motivation. Her unwavering commitment resembles that of other pioneering women in the adventure sports world. From skiing the North Pole to kickboarding down the Grand Canyon, free climbing El Capitan to swimming across the turbulent Atlantic Ocean, it takes a special breed of athlete, and individual, to become a First Lady of Adventure. It’s different than a time trial, and it’s nothing like a competition. The quest to succeed at something no one else has done is an excursion into the unknown, pitting personal qualities against constantly changing conditions and running the gamut of emotions up, down, and through the other side—to success.

Rebecca Rusch Age: 42 Residence:

The Inspired


Ketchum, ID

1 1 1

ow did such grand ideas come about? Higher, farther, more unfettered … What inspired these heretofore unheard-of expeditions?

Rebecca R.: For me, what’s inspiring is the unknown. Not knowing what’s around the next corner is exciting for me. Big walls, swimming the Grand Canyon, long adventure races, 24-hour solos are all similar in that you’re exposed to the elements, the physical challenge, and [you’re] alone in your head for a very long time. I’m willing to say “yes” and put myself out there a bit.

s s s s

First riverboard descent of the Grand Canyon; first 3-time female winner of 24 Hours Mountain Bike World Championships; first back-to-back female winner of the Leadville Trail 100.

Renata Chlumska Age:


Jonkoping, Sweden First woman to kayak around and bike across the continental United States

s s s s


Renata Chlumska negotiates the surf on the coast of Washington state during her Around America Adventure.

s s s s

Renata C.: My late fiancé, Goran Kropp, and I had moved to the U.S. We wanted to discover our new home and circumnavigate the lower 48 by walking—by “our own strength.” Goran was killed in a climbing accident in 2002. When he died, there was no alternative; I’d really fallen in love with the project. I decided to kayak and bike and continue on, alone.

The Tenacious


ny number of physical and mental tests present themselves on the way to an achievement of epic proportions. Emotional speed bumps and everchanging conditions demanded an exemplary set of coping skills and attitude adjustments. How did it feel at its most challenging?


Susan Robinson, Kaj Bune, Chris Figenshau, Helen Thayer

Kit D.: I won the World Free Skiing Tour for two consecutive seasons, and I absolutely love to ski and travel. Skiing the Seven Summits seemed like the best possible combination for a project. The fact that it hadn’t been done yet wasn’t my driving motivation—when I started I didn’t even know for sure it hadn’t been done. I wanted to try for a lofty objective and experience what life could show me along the way.

Helen T.: There’ve been many trials and tribulations over the years. As I skied to the [North] Pole, I was constantly threatened by polar bears, known to hunt and kill humans for food. One was only 6 feet away! I was kidnapped for a short time in the Sahara Desert, and they lined me up to shoot me. In the midst of the Gobi Desert, I was within hours of dying of thirst. I was severely stung by bees in the Amazon and had to dive into piranha-infested water to get rid of them. I survived because I [always] believe I will and I don’t give up on my goals. I believe a problem is only a problem until it’s solved.

Kit DesLauriers Age:


Teton Village, WY Residence:

First Person to Ski off the Top of the Seven Summits




1 1 1 1 Jennifer Figge Age:

Aspen, CO First Woman to swim across the Atlantic; up next: the Pacific

Dee C.: When you’re suddenly alone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 3–6 months, you learn an awful lot about yourself. One of the biggest challenges was to learn to handle the loneliness and manage my emotions. One of my biggest fears is heights, and as I ventured up the mast in the depths of the Southern Ocean, I got stuck halfway up the 26-meter mast. My climbing gear jammed and I couldn’t go up, or down. My immediate reaction was to cry; however, aware that crying wouldn’t really help, I tackled the job of getting back to deck level. Ninety minutes later, I was safe on deck and burst into tears of relief, and fear of what might have been. It was a reminder to me that, above all else, I needed to look after myself, as no one else was around to help me.

Age: 35 Residence:

s s s s

Aspen, CO First Woman to Ski All 54 Colorado 14ers

Dee Caffari Age: 37 Residence:

Hampshire, United Kingdom First Woman to sail around the world, both directions


t’s a standard job interview question: Why should we hire you? Though somewhat hesitant to elaborate, the women have a solid sense of their strengths, what it takes to be successful, and which of their beliefs helped them cross the proverbial finish line.

s s s s

Helen T.: My feet are firmly placed on the ground. I have no illusions that I’m better than anyone else; I just do what I do with enthusiasm and passion and a real zest for life. I hope to inspire others that no matter our age we can turn our dreams into goals, reach for the sky and achieve. I am blessed with the ability to fight back and not give up.


64  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Age: 72 Residence:

Snohomish, WA First Woman to walk, ski, and circumnavigate the North Pole solo

s s

Renata C.: My strength is problem solving. I’m capable of taking a few steps back and becoming resourceful, using my imagination to adapt and adjust to the environment. I was told I could never complete my trip because I’m not a full-time paddler— but I knew paddling was only one part of it. I also needed to know where to pitch my tent, get my food, who to talk to. I knew that the whole picture, not just the paddling, would determine my success. In competitive sports, it’s about performing in the right conditions; for adventure athletes, we need to perform, no matter the conditions. It’s very much a mental preparation for the unknown. I had to face my good side, and my less charming side, too. I went around the United States, but I had to go around myself, as well.

Helen Thayer

Captain Tamas Hamor, Ted Mahon, Onedition, Helen Thayer

s s s s

The Exceptional

Christy Mahon

s s s s

Christy M.: The final peak I attempted to ski was Capitol [Peak]. It was March, and we made our way up, but couldn’t ski down our chosen route, so we had to come down. The next weekend, we went back. I’d gotten a cold that turned really nasty at 12,000 feet, and again, we headed home. I was pretty sick, and [I] took two rounds of antibiotics. The weather started to get really warm; there was a dust storm, and I was feeling really worn out. I started questioning what this whole project meant to me … but then, I got better. And it started snowing again. And I realized skiing the 14ers was really important to me, after all the effort over the past six years. I wanted the closure. I wanted to just do it.



s s s s

Jennifer F.: One of the biggest challenges was what I saw along the way. I saw boats of people heading from Africa to Europe, trying to find freedom, and there I was, swimming through that same ocean for “fun.” I ran across India, from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, and saw kids eating newspaper for lunch. And for me, reaching the end of the road is challenging; it always comes too quickly. The crew sees land, gets excited and yells, “Land Ho!” But me, I say, “Oh no!” For me, the romance is in the middle. At one point, I was swimming in 30-foot waves, bobbing like a bathtub toy. [My crew] had to look for my red cap, and I had to look for the American flag on the ship. It was like a carnival ride, those waves. Feeling the pull of the ocean the first time, it’s a lot like love: it’s POWERFUL. And then other times, it just holds your head and rocks you.


s s s s

Kit D.: My approach to skiing, mountain climbing, and life in general is one of total commitment, right alongside a detachment from the outcome. I feel that if we focus too strongly on the outcome, we give up the ability to live in the moment; and since that’s all we have, it’s rare to be successful if one doesn’t live in the moment. Just practice your best and enjoy whatever results that merits.


The Enlightened

hat others see as roadblocks, they see as opportunities. With broad perspectives and open-minds, They transform potential problems into intriguing possibilities.

Susan Robinson, Helen Thayer


Rebecca R.: Stubborn determination. I have the ability to suffer and work hard for a very long time. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I seem to have a sort of mule-headed attitude that keeps me going. I also hate to quit. One memory that sticks with me is from high school cross-country. I dropped out of a race only because I wasn’t fast and wasn’t feeling great and wasn’t keeping up with the girls I normally did. I stepped off the course and quit in the middle of the race. I still remember the embarrassment when the team and the coach asked me why I quit. I didn’t have a good answer. I just gave up. I haven’t really given up since then.

Jennifer F.: I used to run across countries. I got a stress fracture in Mexico, finished the last 60 miles in a cast, and came home to Aspen to rehab. It occurred to me that I could keep doing what I was doing, by swimming. People feel like there’s only one world, but there are so many of them out there! And I was ready for a new one. These endeavors take me places I’ve never been before, always. They give me life. I asked my husband, “Should I see a psychiatrist?” He said, “Absolutely not. They’d never understand.” If I functioned on common logic, I wouldn’t be doing this.

s s s s s s s s s

Dee C.: To overcome the scary or difficult times, be it weather, problems that need fixing, or just plain fear, I tend to break everything down to achievable goals. I need to feel that I’m succeeding, heading towards my goal, and that I’ll be able to enjoy a reward after a goal has been reached. When times are good, I extend my goals—perhaps to the next great cape or line of longitude. As conditions deteriorate, I decrease my goal to smaller tasks—the reward of a cup of tea if I can get through the next four hours, or some sleep if I can get through the next weather system.

s s


Christy M.: Initially, I didn’t have the confidence that I would definitely finish my project; there were two peaks, Capitol and Pyramid, that would be a challenge. But, I knew I was going to try. I was just going to get out the door and see what I could do. Driving and skiing, putting in 12-hour days on the mountain, then heading back for work each Monday—it was exhausting; but more importantly, it was exhilarating. You’re spending 12 hours in the backcountry with your closest friends—no phone, no distractions, no TV. Just old-fashioned fun and being together. To have moments like these … there’s nothing else like it.




OWINTER’2010” Musings


The ladder of success is best climbed

by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.

66  WAM OWINTER’2010”


—Ayn Rand



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OWINTER’2010” Editorial The Road Less Traveled


’ve got twenty-four trips left,” Dale says, explaining that at his age, 68, “you have to start planning them out.” His wife, Janeann, runs a museum and loves her job; retirement doesn’t appeal to her. Dale laments, “What do you do when you have the money and time to go anywhere in the world, but no one to go with?” My partner, Amy, and I met Dale and Janeann on our first night at the Triple Creek Ranch—600 acres of luxury wilderness in Montana’s northwest corner—when they asked us to share their table. Dale’s statement, made over a pricey bottle of wine and pheasant quesadillas, stuck with me for the rest of our trip—a reminder of why Amy and I were there in the first place. After a season of watching the separations and infidelities of couples around us, we knew we needed to make time for our marriage. Had we miscalculated the factors that cement two people together for a lifetime? I considered having kids and working toward common goals signs of a strong relationship. Was I wrong? Heading into our thirteenth year together, Amy and I found ourselves existing in survival mode—getting through 24 hours of parenting and work to rest up and do it again. Conversations served to exchange information instead of building our connection. In our attempts to remain adventurous, we’d go hiking, fishing, snowboarding, or camping with other couples with similarly aged children, or we’d take turns for solo trail runs or rounds of golf. These respites offered relief, but not much in the way of romance. They weren’t helping us as a couple. For us, the only remedy to keep our relationship fresh was to experience new things together—and to do it without any kids. So, recently we left our son with his doting aunt and drove 900 miles from our home to Triple Creek, in Darby, Montana. Through Wyoming by way of Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, we took our time—15 hours with bald eagles, moose, bison, elk, deer, and thermal hot springs along the way. It felt right—the slowing down and navigating—the return to something familiar. The changing leaves, snow, and skeleton pines from a decade-old fire provided backdrop for our conversations. We opened up about our shared love of mountains and a forestfire disaster still simmering just ten miles from our home. We wondered aloud about the time it takes to heal deep scars, how something so wounded might ever recover, and how such damage could have been prevented in the first place? We arrived at the ranch and signed up for a cattle drive (my idea) and a fly-fishing float trip (her idea). Neither of us expected to enjoy the other’s activity de jour. But after day

68  WAM OWINTER’2010”


one, Amy admitted to loving the order and hard work of moving 300 grass-fed cattle through the free range. She also said she’d forgotten how easily I moved on a horse and the joy I’d gotten from it—the confidence that I showed in my body. The next day, down the West Fork River with our fly-guide and his dog, Boomer and River, I settled into the idea that I wouldn’t be catching any fish. I was content watching elk along the bank, while Amy told Boomer about learning to cast from her dad. How he could single out a leaf on the water and land the fly right on it. Before the day’s end, we caught seven fish between us, and I remembered that fishing is as much a part of Amy as her memories of her father. On the fifteen-hour drive home, we talked about everything from Adam and Eve and our views on Original Sin to what we’d do if we could have any job in the world (Amy: restoring paintings, me: writing television dramas). To have a real discussion, it turned out, we just needed enough time and road— with nothing more than an armrest between us—to remember who we were before we’d gotten caught up in parenting and a daily to-do list. I could envy Dale and Janeann, who had millions to spend. But at dinner and with his wife right beside him, Dale still longed for a true traveling partner in life. He had 24 trips to take, and he didn’t intend to go on them alone. Kids and common dreams can be indicators of a strong marriage, perhaps. Yet it’s all too easy to put long-standing relationships on cruise control when life’s busy details demand attention. Without time together exploring new things and making new memories, couples can get lost in ruts and swallowed up with boredom. Going into 2011, I’m resolving to take care of my relationship, to make time for it and fuel it. For us, this means committing to expeditions and adventures. We’re looking into a house swap vacation in New Zealand and we’re talking about starting a travel-related business together. We made the decision to go on a journey together over a decade ago. But now we’ve decided to stop drifting along as passengers; we’ll decide where we want to go and we’ll work together to get there. ■

—Michelle Theall


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Profile for Women's Adventure Magazine

Winter 2010-11 Women's Adventure Magazine  

Jumping out of your comfort zone, Sweater Season Training, Travel and Chow, Shark Encounters, The Truth about Flakes, Running in Eastern Eur...

Winter 2010-11 Women's Adventure Magazine  

Jumping out of your comfort zone, Sweater Season Training, Travel and Chow, Shark Encounters, The Truth about Flakes, Running in Eastern Eur...


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