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Special Section: Gift Guide



Get Outside Pro Tips and Editor Picks to Warm up to Winter


Culture Club: The Skinny on Yogurt Stay Sane and kick Seasonal Affective Disorder Jessica Sobolowskiquinn Shreds Alaska




Meet our


fighting MS and the Seven Summits, High-Alpine Huts, Austin’s Great Outdoors, Snowmobile Cowgirls, Ditch the Disney Princesses, and more! PLUS:

Winter 2009/2010 Display Until March 1

2  WAM OWINTER’2010�






Features Women 38 to Watch

One hundred Team USA women will hit the ice, the slopes, and the track in Vancouver this February. Meet five of our favorite athletes who stand out from the crowd and deserve spots on the podium. By Rachel Walker


Gifts Gone Wild


Running With Reindeer

From a wild ride across the Swedish Arctic to a cozy kota—a reindeer-hide tent—follow one writer’s tour with reindeer herder Helena Länta for a close-up look at the traditional ways of the Sámi people. Helena unveils the challenges facing her community, her herd, and her way of life. By Karen A. Holst

54 2  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Embrace Winter

How can you stay in shape through the winter? Take it from four summer athletes: Gear up, grab a pal, and get outside. These seven tips and eight products will heat up your cold-weather workouts and help you hold your own through the winter. By Courtney Johnson and Michelle Theall


Give the gift of girl power. Twenty-three activityinspired gift ideas for the ladies in your life (and for your own holiday wish list). By Karina Evertsen









People, Places, and Things from Our Outdoor World Travel: High-alpine huts, cruising Vancouver, Austin’s outdoor offerings, New Mexico’s soul city, and budget ski vacations Planet Earth: Japan’s glory girls and the great snowmobile debate Fun Stuff: Your season sense, films from adventurers, slope lingo, three ways to dodge work, and kid-friendly snow-sport alternatives Inspiration and Information: Freeskiing phenom Jessica Sobolowski-Quinn, lessons from between the trees, stats on winter, and Lori Schneider summits despite MS

22 24



If You Love Someone… Never Teach Her to Ski

Learning from a partner leads to lessons of the heart.


Big Air and New Tricks


Beat the Winter Blues


Culture Club


Hit the slopes undercover and learn the secrets to a successful 180. [ WHOLE HEALTH ]


Don’t let seasonal affective disorder get you down this winter. [ FULL ]

Get the skinny on five far-out (and increasingly common) varieties of yogurt.


p. 42





Goodbye, Princess

Editor’s Choice Awards

See the hottest in this season’s slope-worthy gear.

p. 32

Get Outside

Cinderella the snowboarder? How one dad kicked his 3-year-old’s princess habit [ GEAR ROOM ]


p. 54








Winter 2009/2010 Display Until March 1

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p. 38 p. 48


60. Playground: Holiday GIft Guide P

p. 22



64. Musings

Contributors Megan Michelson Megan Michelson used to live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she visited Taos nearly every weekend during the winters to ski steeps at Taos Ski Valley (dry powder, mixed with spring corn), drink Silver Coin margaritas (salt, on the rocks), and eat chicken enchiladas (Christmas style—with red and green chile mixed). Now, the 27-year-old northern California native lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she’s an editor at Skiing Magazine. “The breakfast burritos in Colorado simply don’t live up to those in New Mexico,” she says. “The breakfast options alone are a reason to visit Taos. Not to mention the outdoor opportunities.”

Joe Siple A recent transplant from the Midwest to Colorado, Joe Siple is a hard-hitting television sports anchor turned adventure enthusiast and writer for the likes of Silent Sports Magazine and, now, Women’s Adventure. “Covering millionaire athletes from the sidelines wasn’t enough for me. I decided I needed something more active and fun,” says Joe, “Now I get to play in the mountains, meet amazing people, and write about it.” When he’s not planning his next hike or climb, you might find him exercising with his dog near his Fort Collins home base, or hanging around with his wife and two daughters—all of whom own hiking boots.

Rachel Walker Rachel Walker has never competed in an international race, but she has complete respect for women who do. Interviewing the athletes for “Five Women to Watch” inspired the amateur athlete/ freelance writer to push a little harder on her weekly workouts and to think positively. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Rachel writes about travel, adventure, and environmental stories for a variety of newspapers and magazines. She was previously an editor at Skiing Magazine.



Editor’s Letter

This is the time of year when I try to remember everything I like about winter. I love the snow when it’s still pure and light as powdered sugar, before plows and people have muddied it up. I can spot the neighborhood fox, red coat and black-tipped tail against the white, along with deer, elk, and even black bear before they disappear to hibernate. Barren tree branches, dormant but not dead, turn into Michelin men. The quiet of snow is like the whole world has been insulated or stuffed away in a giant Ziploc baggie. The air is crisp, sharp, and shocking. When it hits my lungs, it reminds me I’m a living, breathing thing—because sometimes I forget.

Birds that will lose their songs until spring gather with puffed-up chests around my feeders, looking grateful.

I do not like running in winter. I want to like it. I try to like it. I just still think back to being a kid and being so bundled up it would take five hours to get out the door. And then once I’d get to my destination, half of those bulky clothes had to come off for me to be able to function. Just thinking about that bulk-up routine has kept me inside on more than one occasion. Last year I made the commitment to embrace this winter. I tried to get out every morning. I’d have my clothes laid out and ready to go: socks, tights, midlayer, soft-shell, gloves, and Yaktrax. No hat. My iPod with headphones. I had a few variations: down coat for brutal weather, shell for really wet conditions, waterproof pants to go over tights.

ABS1009230_Nat.BWTS_Women's_Advent_7.125x4.75".indd 1


I took the hassle out of winter. And once I was out there, I loved it. Seeing the trails and streets covered in white felt like traveling to another town. Everything looked different. So this year I’m ready. And you can be, too. We’ve assembled the best advice from elite summer-sport athletes and our staff to make sure the cold and wet won’t keep you from being your adventure-girl self (see page 54). We wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season and all the best in the New Year. Cheers,

Michelle Theall

11/6/09 11:55:32 AM

Your Adventure

Free Stuff Win this from Marmot! Women’s Brilliant Jacket This ecologically sound UpCycle jacket is designed for warmth and style. With clean, elegant lines, zip handwarmer pockets, and a Driclime lined collar, the well-insulated Brilliant makes going out on blustery days fun again.

Enter to win yours for free by going to by February 28 The winner will be announced March 15

My “adventure” can in no way compare to reaching the top of Kilimanjaro (“Your Adventure” picture, April 2008), but after reading about frozen hair and ice on eyelashes, I had to send this photo. My daily commute to work is a four-mile walk, year-round, regardless of the weather. The picture shows what a four-mile walk in minus 23 degrees looks like in Wausau, Wisconsin (January 16, 2009). Carol Schneider

To see your photos published here send images from your own adventures.

Boarding Copper’s back bowls in four feet of powder

Where did you spend your best snow day?


s y a id

ol H y p r! p d a a e n a H wY e N y p ap H from A : Wom e Adve n’s ntur Staff e

Editor in Chief/ Creative Director Art Director

Michelle Theall Krisan Christensen

Cycling Editor/Web Director

Susan Hayse

Associate Editor

Kristy Holland

Copy Editor

Melaina Juntti

Sledding in a UK football practice field, where I found a frozen cat.

Contributing Editor Contributors

At home in Boulder, launching off our front deck into a giant snow drift.

Watching a family drag their Christmas tree through Boulder, a picture perfect winter storm.

Jayme Otto Alison Gannett, Karen A. Holst, Matthew Kadey, Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, Megan Michelson, Lisa Monsen, Tatyana Safronova, Joe Siple, Shauna Stephensen, Rachel Walker

Edit Intern

Tara Kusumoto

Web Intern

Georgia Stewart

Backcountry sledding just below the Continental Divide.


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 1637 Pearl Street, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80302-5447



publisher O




















East/Midwest Ad Rep Sales Director

Rockies Sales Director Stranded in Winter Park with only beer for nourishment.

Director of Events Marketing Intern

Marketplace Sales Intern


Active Travel Intern

susan sheerin Susan Sheerin 303 931 6057 Theresa Ellbogen 303 641 5525 Joanna Laubscher Shannon Priem Lisa Sinclair Emily Wencel

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


For magazine subscriptions, change of address, or missed issues, please contact Kable Fulfillment / 800 746 3910 or visit The opinions and advice expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and are not representative of the publishing company or its members. Copyright © 2009 by Big Earth Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is expressly prohibited. Women’s Adventure makes a portion of its mailing list available from time to time to third parties. If you want to request exclusion from our promotional list, please contact us at Outdoor activities are inherently risky and participation can cause injury or loss of life. Please consult your doctor prior to beginning and 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!





Juneau, Alaska

Joshua Huber

This secluded campsite overlooks Mendenhall Glacier’s pressure ridges, 12 miles outside of Juneau, Alaska. Visible evidence of global warming, the glacier’s retreat averages 20 to 30 feet per year. Currently, the terminal glacier flows 12 miles from its source to its iceberg-calving snout and provides habitat for mountain goats, wolves, bears, and red salmon that spawn in adjacent streams.

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Joshua Huber








Winter camping can be an investment—in time, equipment, and in the commitment to cold feet. If you’re not in love with the idea of an icy-condensation wake-up call or whiteout-condition cooking, consider holing up in a backcountry hut. Typically equipped with cookware and board games to see you through a storm, most huts are not staffed, which means you share clean-up duties with your hut mates. But other than fetching water and sweeping snow off solar panels, the workload is light, and these dorm-style cabins offer some of the best backcountry views within sight of a woodstove.

Betty Bear Hut, Colorado

Topping out at 11,100 feet above sea level, just below the Continental Divide, the 6.9-mile snowshoe or ski to the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association’s Betty Bear Hut is a lung-buster. But expect more breathless moments perched in front of the south-facing picture windows as you admire the Sawatch Range. There are three private rooms in the first-floor dorm, but you may just fall asleep on the cushy benches around the wood stove. $30 per person per night.

Logistics: 1




Mail-in reservations accepted year-round; phone-in reservations open November 1. BYO everything: Cookware, supplies, and toilet paper are not part of the deal. If it’s necessary, pack it in. Weekends are busy, so try a weekday reservation for your best shot at an overnight. Explore the adjacent meadow and woods on snowshoes if you’re not equipped for backcountry skiing.

Logistics: 1




Winter reservations open April 1 for 10th Mountain Division members (membership is $25) and June 1 for nonmembers. If your skiing is iffy, consider snowshoeing: The final 1.5 miles climbs more than 1,200 feet. The kitchen is fully equipped with cookware and utensils. Save packing space for prosciutto, not pans. Consider second-night stays at nearby Skinner or Uncle Bud’s huts if multiple-night bookings are unavailable at Betty Bear.

Zealand Falls Hut, New Hampshire The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Zealand Falls Hut is a favorite for its proximity to a sparkling frozen cascade, dramatic views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, and an array of beginner-friendly hikes—including the mellow 6.6-mile cruise to get there. One of three AMC huts open for the winter, this 36-bed unit is rarely booked up during the Appalachian Trail off-season, and it’s a perfect launching point for winter excursions into the White Mountains. $33 per person per night.

Logistics: 1




Winter and shoulder seasons are ideal for first-time visits, because this popular AT destination frequently fills up during longdaylight months. Heat isn’t guaranteed. Bring down booties and comfortable layers to wear inside. This hut is self-service in the winter. Bring your own food to prepare and clean up in the well-equipped kitchenette. Be nice to the live-in caretaker, and you’ll get the best advice on backcountry exploring.

Score a reservation: Bookings for holiday and full-moon weekends can go fast, but unpleasant weather forecasts, overestimated group sizes, and unexpected changes in plans may open last-minute beds. Suggest multiple time frames for early-season reservations and check Craigslist and online forums for spontaneous opportunities in the hut systems nearest you. 12  WAM OWINTER’2010”


courtesy norwegian cruise line

A well-traveled three-mile trail north of Interstate 80 climbs 800 feet (then drops 250) to the A-frame façade of the Sierra Club’s Peter Grubb Hut. This utilitarian cabin—the focus here is on the Castle Peak ski runs nearby—has two rooms, so you can either join in the party or relax with the kids. There’s no midwinter maintenance, so come prepared with any equipment you might need for a night in the woods. $15 per person per night.

Richard Simpson; Kristy Holland; eric Pedersen

Peter Grubb Hut, California


Vancouver Bound? Try cruising the Olympics. When millions of sports fans converge on Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, hotels will be booked solid. Have no fear: You can float in the shore-lapping luxury of the Norwegian Star cruise liner for $350 per night. Aboard the docked ship, eat gourmet food (room service is complimentary), get a massage, and watch all the Olympic events you couldn’t get tickets for via live satellite. They’ll even pack you a box lunch and provide free transportation from the ship to all the major transportation hubs in Vancouver. Traveling with wealthy friends? Book the 5,000-squarefoot Garden Villa and take advantage of your own butler, concierge, and private garden.


Austin, Texas Home to cycling superstars, the Lone Star State’s biggest university, and one of the world’s largest music festivals, eclectic Austin holds true to its unofficial motto: “Keep Austin Weird.” But cowboy bars and capitol building aside, mild temperatures on the edge of Texas Hill Country make Austin’s outdoors a year-round hot spot.

Take a balmy dip in McKinney Falls State Park’s family-friendly Lower Falls or the deeper pools at the Upper Falls. It’s 13 miles from downtown to this oak- and elm-covered park that feels centuries from the city. Hike or bike the 2.8-mile Homestead Trail and scope settler ruins, or cast for bluegills in the Narrows. Save a few bucks by staying inside the state park, where no fishing license is required to catch dinner.

courtesy norwegian cruise line

Richard Simpson; Kristy Holland; eric Pedersen

Ride hilly, tight singletrack in Walnut Creek Metro Park, aka “the Nut.” Packed with 12-plus miles of intermediate and beginner-friendly fat-tire loops, the park can take you all day to explore. Watch for technical steeps approaching creek crossings, and expect the unexpected—hitting the park’s urban edges might shock you from that middle-of-nowhere feeling. Reimers Ranch has over 300 bolted sport-climbing routes (starting at 5.5), but new additions in the park’s North Shore will nearly double the fun by this time next year. Overhangs, stalactites, and action-packed 40-foot limestone faces characterize the area’s acrobatic routes. Warm up for the House of Pain—home to Texas’ only 5.14a climbing route—on more moderate pitches at Prototype or Dead Cats walls. When your arms are pumped, saddle up for 18 miles of mountain-bike trails.


Got one hour?

Redpoint a bouldering problem at your local indoor climbing gym. 1



Use to locate an indoor climbing gym in your area. No shoes? No problem. You can rent a decent pair of climbing shoes for just a couple bucks. Before you start cranking on the bouldering wall, get some route beta from the gym’s staff.










Colorado New Mexico


Population: 31,546 Elevation: 6,950 feet Town Motto: Soul of the Southwest Access: Drive 2.5 hours northeast of Albuquerque



Kit Carson Park New Mexico

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4 . Après-sport: Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery nR











You’ll come to Taos for the spicy green-chile enchiladas, Georgia O’Keeffe–style high-desert landscapes, and steep, powder-laden skiing. But you’ll stay in Taos for the slow-moving atmosphere and Western feel of this laidback artists’ community. —Megan Michelson




Taos, NM

New Mexico


Order up organic coffee, chilesmothered home-fried potatoes, or a breakfast burrito stuffed with eggs, hash browns, black beans, and chorizo at The Bean. Two locations serve the town’s north and south sides. Ask for your breakfast “Christmas style,” which combines red and green chile.

2 . Ski guide: Taos Ski Valley Taos Ski Valley began welcoming snowboarders in 2007 but otherwise hasn’t changed much since opening in 1956. Earn-your-turns hike-to steeps abound. Ride Chair 2 and boot-pack 10 minutes to the runs off the West Basin Ridge.

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3 . Claim to fame: Taos Pueblo At 1,000 years old, Taos Pueblo is the oldest occupied structure in North America and is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark. Pick up a turquoise belt buckle or handmade pot from one of the Native Americans still living in the adobe township.

5 . Snowshoe spot: Enchanted Forest Find 10 miles of groomed snowshoe-only trails (and 20 miles of cross-country ski trails) in the Carson National Forest near Red River. Rent snowshoes for the day, or sign up for a headlamprequired evening tour.

Courtesy of taos ski valley; Michael Holmuqist

1 . Local flavor: The Bean

New Mexico is known for its green chile, and Eske’s, a locals’ downtown favorite, serves up some of the state’s finest. Order Wanda’s Green Chile Stew (vegetarian or with ground turkey), and wash it down with a pint of green-chile beer.



Budget Ski Vacations Hit the slopes without breaking the bank

Here are a few of our favorite out-of-the-way budget destinations: 1 Monarch, Colorado One-day lift ticket: $54 Vertical drop: 1,162 feet Skiable terrain: 800 acres

Monarch Mountain boasts “Real Colorado Skiing.” It’s a serious, no-frills place secluded in the San Isabel National Forest. Although Monarch offers different levels of trails, it’s geared toward the dedicated skier and is perfect for experts, especially those interested in exploring untouched powder via the off-trail snowcat tours. Monarch Mountain Lodge ( is a reasonable option with an indoor pool and outdoor hot tub beneath the stars. Ski-and-stay packages start at $81 per person per night. 2 Killington, Vermont One-day lift ticket: $77 Vertical drop: 3,050 feet Skiable terrain: 1,215 acres

Courtesy of taos ski valley; Michael Holmuqist


veryone’s cutting back on unnecessary costs this year, but isn’t your winter getaway necessary? Don’t cancel—just be more creative when planning the itinerary. Instead of booking bank-breaking package vacations at big-name resorts, discover hidden gems and save money at the same time. Look for lodging specials close to ski resorts—you’ll be surprised at what you find. Try bed-and-breakfasts, often cheaper than hotels, or get a group of friends to share a condo or cabin. These alternative accommodations can cut costs significantly. ­­­­—Lisa Monsen When planning a trip, use online resources to pull it all together. Check out the discounts on these websites: • • •

Ski Coupons offers discounts on everything from dining and nightlife to conferences and weddings. Ski Vacation Planners can help you plan a trip and has hot deals for major resorts. Vacation Rentals by Owner brings you a variety of destinations cheaper than any resort.

Killington is the largest ski-and-snowboard resort in the East and has a wide variety of terrain. If you want something different at an unbeatable price, try the nearby Turn of River Lodge (, which offers private rooms and a ski dormitory, as well as an 11-person cabin. This lodge has a warm and social atmosphere in the Great Room—a common area that’s perfect for exchanging stories. Turn of River offers 25 percent discounts for ski-and-stay packages. 3 Alpine Meadows, California One day lift ticket: $64 Vertical drop: 1,802 feet Skiable terrain: 2,400 acres

If you want the glamour of Tahoe without the pretention or big bucks, Alpine Meadows, with amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains, is one of the best deals in the valley. It’s perfect for families and offers runs for all skill levels. For current ski-and-stay packages, check their website. If you like a rustic, isolated aesthetic, look to Tamarack Lodge ( which has great prices and optional kitchens to help you save more.









Should you snowmobile?

YES Snowmobiles are a blast and can take you places you may never reach on ski or foot. It’s a social sport that provides opportunities to recreate with family and friends with different physical abilities— offering a unique chance to get close to nature. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, an estimated $28 billion is spent yearly on snowmobiling in the U.S. and Canada, so it has a positive economic impact, too.

NO Snowmobiles damage the environment and are a nuisance for backcountry lovers who appreciate the reward—and silence—of hiking in. And it’s not just about noise pollution: In addition to damaging developing trees and vegetation, which leads to erosion, snowmobiles pollute the air and the snowpack that melts into streams and rivers come spring.

Got an opinion? Weigh in on the debate at the forum pages.

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Ice Dreams Grace and glory inspire Japan’s newest national passion


hen Shizuka Arakawa stepped onto the ice on Day 13 of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, her home country of Japan had not yet won a single medal. But as the “Violin Fantasy” of Puccini’s opera Turandot came to an end, the crowd gave the figure skater a standing ovation. Arakawa’s flawless performance earned her Olympic gold—and the only medal for Japan that year. “After Shizuka Arakawa won the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics, sign-ups for skating lessons in Japan boomed,” says Japan Times sports writer Jack Gallagher. Japanese women now dominate the world stage—the country boasts three of the top 10 female figure skaters—and their international success is inspiring athleticism and sportsmanship all over the nation. Gallagher estimates that women make up two-thirds of competition audiences. But in terms of recreation, figure skating still ranks behind skiing and snowboarding. Japan’s increasing notoriety for world-class powder and backcountry slopes is well deserved: There are more than twice as many ski slopes in the country as there are skating rinks. And while men outnumber women more than two to one in Japan, according to the

nation’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 5.5 percent of Japanese females over the age of 10 hit the snowy slopes of the archipelago’s northern and western reaches every season. Women’s participation in sports in general has come a long way, too, especially since education laws changed in 1989 to mandate the same physical education curriculum for boys and girls. Until then girls focused mainly on dance in physical education class, while boys learned fighting sports such as judo. These days figure skating is serious stuff in Japan, and skaters like Arakawa have become national superstars. “The fans here love to see the Japanese excelling on the world level and, like baseball, they are strong at figure skating,” Gallagher says. Miki Ando, the 22-year-old powerhouse who ranked sixth in the world at press time, is the only female skater ever to land a quadruple jump in competition. And every little girl in Japan will be watching 19-year-old Mao Asada, the 2008 world champion, skate for Olympic glory February 25. —Tatyana Safronova







[ QUIZ ]

In Which Season Do You Shine? Would you rather sweat it out in August or chill out in December? Take this quiz to find out which season brings out the best in you.



Every season you’ve honed your skills, so your friends ask for your help with:

You’re only a show-off when it involves:

a) Waxing skis before a weekend at Winter Park. b) Changing flats on the trail—your record is three minutes … flat. c) Balancing electrolytes and finding water in the desert. shut-eye, you’re most likely:

a) Tall glass of water. b) Hot chocolate steamer. c) Ice-cold lemonade.


Let’s celebrate! Your favorite kind of holiday merrymaking involves:

a) Fireworks, watermelon, and a blazing BBQ with friends. b) Animal-shaped chocolates and Hallmark-card excuses for fun. c) Giving gifts, getting gifts, and feasting with the fam.

3 For a post-ride indulgence,

which Clif Bar flavor do you crave?

a) Apricot b) Iced Gingerbread c) Spiced Pumpkin Pie


You’ve been trying for months to land a spot at the starting line of the:

a) Boston Marathon—mild temps and extreme runners. b) Badwater Ultramarathon—135 miles through Death Valley in July. c) Iceman Cometh—disc breaks don’t freeze.


The No. 1 item on your REI shopping list is a:

a) New pair of goose-down booties. b) Merino chamois. c) Beach umbrella.


When asked out to “ride,” what do you gear up for?

a) An afternoon of cruising a country-road shoulder b) An early-morning surf set rolling in from Hawaii c) All-day carving through three feet of fresh powder

a) Stretched out in a hammock near the high-tide line. b) Hunkered in a snow cave, shovel at your side. c) Strapped into a narrow bivy above El Cap’s pitch #14.

a) Moisture-wicking layers in a rainbow of colors. b) Gloves, hats, headbands, and Windstopper outerwear. c) UPF-treated, lightweight, and mostly white.

If you scored: 10-17:

Some like it hot—including you. Long days, light layers, and lots of sunscreen are the keys to your best mood. Though you may never embrace winter, take the chill off with defrost vacations to tropical latitudes and try to take midday breaks to get the most of the little bits of sun you see these days.


April showers and autumn mist. Loving the shoulder season means you’re likely carefree, easily adaptable and—lucky for you—active all year long. Looking for the best conditions? Just step outside. You’re likely to tailor your activities to suit your mood and avoid the harshest days. Too hot to trot? Take a swim. Too cool for the pool? Heat up on a hike.


Your frost-reddened cheeks are a dead giveaway that you’re a pow hog, and that you’d rather sport an alpaca sweater than a tank top any day. Take full advantage before your favorite slopes turn green, but don’t start pining for winter as soon as spring blooms. There are plenty of places to escape the summer heat— start looking high up, up north, or underwater to find them.

Add up your points: 1) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1; 2) a. 1, b. 2, c. 3; 3) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 4) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 5) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 6) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 7) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 8) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 9) a. 3, b. 1, c. 2; 10) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1.

18  WAM OWINTER’2010”


courtesy of Alison Teal Blehert-Koehn; courtesy of Jessie Beers-Altman

bagging hike, you can’t wait to get your hands on a:


Your closet is jam-packed with workout gear, which means:

8 For some mid-adventure

1 Just back from a summit-

a) Catching air in the snow park’s half-pipe and cliff-top kickers. b) Your toned arms and massive collection of tank tops. c) Blowing past the competition at a 12-hour race.


The Spirit of a Runner Alison’s Adventures: INCANtations

courtesy of Alison Teal Blehert-Koehn; courtesy of Jessie Beers-Altman

A quick look at the life of Alison Teal Blehert-Koehn is humbling. You probably haven’t heard her name, but if you’ve perused a Patagonia catalog, seen a Teva ad campaign, or picked up National Geographic, you may have seen her. Alison’s adventure-photographer parents started snapping photos of her in the hands of Indian pilgrims and beneath elephants when she was just 2 months old. Now a 24-year-old filmmaker, Teal Blehert-Koehn turns the camera around. For INCANtations—premiering at Patagonia’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival Jan. 15-17, 2010—Alison writes, directs, shoots, and narrates a trip with her parents into the Peruvian Andes. Funny cultural misunderstandings combine with a spirited sense of adventure and ironic, sometimes sarcastic interpretations of cultural differences: soccer games, yoga demos, and traditional Incan healing ceremonies. Alison’s kid-friendly voice and sense of humor lend whimsy to the 35-minute travelogue, part of a series about shamans around the world, which will have you laughing about her eccentricities and those of her parents, hosts, and guides. It’ll also inspire you to plan your own adventure.

For most people, running 3,100 miles is an unimaginable feat. But for Suprabha Beckjord, who has completed the SelfTranscendence 3100 Mile Race every year for the past 12 years, it’s more like a meditation. “My running and my meditation have always gone together,” says Beckjord. “I try to not focus on my mind’s thoughts.” In her 2009 film The Spirit of a Runner, Jessie Beers-Altman chronicles Beckjord’s 46-day run around a single, half-mile loop in Brooklyn—the 12th time she’s completed the event. The extremes of mental strength, determination, and physical discomfort that the runners experience is both jaw-dropping and inspiring, although images of gnarled feet and tortured toenails will keep you grounded. Beckjord’s dedication to the mind-numbing run is enough to call into question her sense of reason—in a way that’s familiar to ultra-athletes. There are several scenes where the followers of the Indianborn spiritual leader who founded the event lend the film a cultish feel. But, Beers-Altman’s detailed, sympathetic, and awed documentation of Beckjord’s journey is worth tracking down if you’re interested in the art of meditation. For a peek at the trailers and previews, check out: womensadventuremagazine .com


© 2008 Tundra Comics








Snowsport Jargon Bomb │ Switch

Bomb (‘bäm) 1. noun. an explosive device. 2. verb. to defeat decisively. 3. verb. to travel downhill very fast. Gaper (‘gā-p r) 1. noun. one who gapes. 2. noun. any of several large burrowing clams. 3. noun. an inexperienced skier or boarder who inadvertently injures others while attempting to ski or ride terrain beyond his or her ability level.


Mogul (‘mō-g l) 1. noun. a descendent of one of several conquering groups of Mongol, Turkish, or Persian origin. 2. noun. a rich or powerful person. 3. noun. a mound of snow on an ungroomed ski run. e

Pow (‘pau ) 1. noun. the sound of an explosion. 2. noun. an acronym for prisoner of war. 3. noun. slang for fresh powder, often repeated: pow pow. e

Switch (‘swich) 1. noun. a device for breaking the connections of an electrical circuit. 2. verb. to make a shift or change. 3. adjective. riding or skiing with the back of the board or skis in front.

—Actress Virginia Madsen (Sideways) on producing Fighting Gravity, a documentary about women ski jumpers and their struggle to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics.


Need a little time off? We’ve got you covered. One hour: Stopped for a flu shot. Half day: Vacation vaccination spree. All day: Surprise visit from former exchange student.

ă pat/ā pay/âr care/ä father/b bib/ ch church/d deed/ĕ pet/ē be/f fife/g gag/ hat/

20  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Kicker (‘ki-k r) 1. noun. one who kicks something. 2. noun. an unexpected remark, revelation, or circumstance. 3. noun. a hand-built, off-resort jump with an abrupt lip.

To think that in 2009, in a celebrated, international event like the Olympics, women are still dealing with discrimination is pretty shocking. We knew instantly we wanted to throw our support behind this project and get the word out there.

Jason Merritt


Hit (‘hit) 1. verb. to strike something with an object. 2. verb. to deal another card (as in blackjack). 3. noun. a manmade feature or jump in a snow park.



Winter Holiday Gift Ideas

the Slopes

Oakley Stokholm


f you don’t consider freezing fingers, $10 hot chocolates, and getting stuck in traffic with the kids among the joys of skiing, skipping the slopes with your children could be a good choice. Consider these low-cost ideas for alternate winter fun that keep the action close to home.

Jason Merritt

• Strike out With empty 2-liter bottles and some sand, let kids create their own lanes of glory. Get out the shovel or snowblower and clear them a lane. Find some balls in the garage, or make snowballs and freeze them over with water. Let their creativity shine as they arrange pins in different patterns. Three strikes in a row and they’ve got themselves a snowman.

• Paint the snow Instead of letting her wilt under a layer of snow, get your budding O’Keeffe excited about winter and its endless white canvas. Fill squirt bottles—old dishsoap or pumpable hairspray bottles work well—with water and a few drops of food coloring. Experiment with different nozzle types, use lots of colors, and try for a true masterpiece.

• Fortify in snow Who says forts are just for sunny days or bed sheets and chairs inside? Channel your kids’ architectural genius and help them design a snow fort. Use spoons, buckets, shovels, and whatever tools you can find to craft that A-frame, drawbridge, or castle of their dreams. If the forecast is friendly, bring out the down sleeping bags and spend a chilly night in their new home made of snow. • Feed the birds Use a 1-gallon milk jug to offer feathered friends a winter snack. Clean the jug and cut holes of different sizes on both sides. Stick a thick dowel through the base of the jug, and let kids decorate it with glitter, lace, and stickers. String the feeder on their favorite tree, and watch hungry winter wrens come flocking. —Courtney Johnson


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Meet Jessica Sobolowski-Quinn Age: 33 Stomping ground: Squaw Valley, California, and Cordova, Alaska Job: Professional big-mountain skier, guide, and owner of Points North Heli-Adventures in Cordova.

Jessica skiing her Alaska backyard

After a successful collegiate career as a Division I ski racer, Jessica Sobolowski-Quinn craved something bigger. She moved west to Squaw Valley in 1999 and later that year won first place in the Red Bull UltraCross, catapulting her to bigmountain stardom and into Warren Miller film fame with Storm in 2003 . One of the world’s top female freeskiers, Jessica runs a heli-skiing company, guiding in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains.

What got you interested in guiding? Running Points North involves many roles. I was always either filming and doing photo shoots or managing the office—but not guiding. I finally feel like I’ve entered a new stage of my career, and that guiding is now in the cards. I was a “tail” guide for almost 10 years, and so leading came pretty naturally. The hard part was earning the credentials and certifications. What does a typical day guiding with Points North look like? Kevin wakes up and checks the weather; we have a guide meeting to go over the day’s agenda. I meet my group at 7:30 a.m., power 22  WAM OWINTER’2010”


back an egg sandwich, gear up, grab lunches, double-check the beacons, and get ready for the helicopter. Once in the field, it’s all about communicating with my fellow guides on every run, sharing beta, and checking stability by digging snow pits and skiing test slopes. My group will ski nine to 12 runs before heading back to a family-style dinner. The electricity in the room is amazing; everyone’s charged up about having experienced the Chugach. After dinner, I wrap things up in the office then get to bed around midnight.

What are your latest career goals? To continue to progress and push myself in skiing and to continue to help people with their skiing goals. I am founder of Alaskan Ladies, a camp I host every season at Points North Heli-Adventures (www.alaskaheliski. com). My friend Ingrid Backstrom and I are also hosting a ladies camp at Squaw Valley for the first time this winter (

What inspires you about your career? The people, the snow, and the mountains. There is nothing more gratifying than helping people reach their goals through guiding and camps. It’s also great introducing people to Alaska, which has been made out to be this scary place to ski. It can be that if you want, but there is truly something for everyone here. What scares you about your career? I try not to let my head go there. I have lost friends to the mountains. If you think about it too much, you constantly live in fear. I believe energy attracts like energy. For my job there are some key things I have to think about on a daily basis: avalanches, sluff (loose snow), exposure, and injury. I do everything I can to try and make sure my I’s are dotted and my T’s are crossed.

“There is nothing more gratifying than helping people reach their goals.”

court leve

How did the Points North Heli-Adventures business come to be? Thirteen years ago, my now-husband, Kevin, had been scouting out sites in the Chugach in a rented fixed-wing airplane. What he found was Orca Cannery, an unexpected gem nestled in the small city of Cordova, Alaska. Back in the day, Orca was one of the largest working canneries in Alaska. We resurrected it as Points North. We are the only heli operation in Cordova utilizing the world-famous Chugach Mountain Range. We have a unique situation in that we are all-inclusive—the helis are literally out your window. And we do not have to deal with a bunch of other operations all competing for the same terrain.



Tree Skiing Learning to look beyond life’s obstacles


enturing off groomed trails and into the glades induces that special brand of exhilaration that comes from laying down your own tracks. In the haven of trees, you’ll find harbors of powder, sacred and secret stashes, and places where perhaps no skier has gone before. Weaving through nature’s slalom requires control and confidence. Negotiating quick, short turns begs improvisation and conditions change suddenly. Iced-over ruts, exposed roots, steep verticals, bumps, and cliffs are all in play with tree skiing. Successful tree skiers know that their sport is not an exercise in dodging obstacles, but rather a challenge to find the spaces between. At high speed, focusing on a tree or a root means a collision, since the body tends to follow the eyes. So tree skiers train themselves to look for light, bright places that identify the clear path.

court leve

This method works for life off the slopes, too. When a roadblock arises in an important relationship, in your career or sport, or even with your health, where does your attention go? Do you pour all your energy into that obstacle, obsessing about how to get around it, under it, or over it? Next time your life starts to feel like an ungroomed run through dense trees, take yourself back to the mountain—at least in your mind. Focus on the spaces between instead of what stands in your way. And remember: The tougher the course, the sweeter the ride.


The Ladies Love Winter


of crosscountry skiers are women.

40% 57.4 of snowshoers are women.

In 2008–2009 there were

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[ ROAR ]

Lori living it up in the high alpine

Lori Schneider


ori Schneider knew something was wrong. Her body tingled like a limb that had fallen asleep. Only it wouldn’t wake up. Four spinal taps later— along with a few MRIs and some blood work—and Lori had her diagnosis: multiple sclerosis. A mountaineer at 43 years old, Lori had already climbed two of the world’s highest peaks, Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua. But five more, including Everest, remained in her bid to scale the tallest mountains on every continent. Her doctors told her the disease was progressing quickly and she’d likely be in a wheelchair. This news sent Lori into panic mode: “I ran away from my life in hopes of completing all the things I had ever wanted to while I still had good use of my legs,” she says of her response to the 24  WAM OWINTER’2010”


diagnosis. “I left my 22-year marriage, quit a 20-year teaching career I loved, sold my house, moved away from my friends and community, and fled from my fears.”

and stick with it,” she says. “This one took me 16 years, but I needed to see how the story would end. I needed to write that final chapter in my climbing book of life.”

Lori left for big mountains, but in the end the mountains brought her back to herself. “In the words of the great climber Sir Edmund Hillary, ‘it is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves,’” she says. “I am no longer fearful of what might happen with my MS in the future. I have learned that the labels that once scared me no longer define who I am. You are who you are on the inside, and that is what truly matters.”

When asked how she’ll top her Everest feat, Lori admits that, physically, there are no more Everests in her future. But it’s obvious she can’t sit still for long. Within months of completing her record climb, Lori started Empowerment Through Adventure to help others with MS prove to themselves that life does not end with their diagnoses. “I feel a need to use these life lessons to teach others to believe in themselves and live their dreams,” Lori explains. In 2011 she’ll begin leading fully supported climbs up Kilimanjaro for people with MS, and she has set up a scholarship fund to facilitate the program.

Earlier this year, at the age of 53, menopausal, and 10 years into her battle with MS, Lori stood on top of Everest (the last in her seven-summit quest). “I have always been a determined person who’d set a goal

Courtesy of Lori Schneider

Meet the First Woman With Multiple Sclerosis to Climb All Seven Summits.

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If You Love Someone… Never Teach Her to Ski Learning from a partner leads to lessons of the heart. By Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan


n a bluebird day last winter, perched somewhere between the bunny hill and the black diamonds at Vail, my inner misanthrope finally got the better of me. “I hate everyone,” I declared to my boyfriend, as missileof-death skiers zoomed by us on all sides, oblivious and uncaring that this was my first real day on skis and that I was

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mere inches away from peeing my ski pants out of fright. I managed to grit my teeth and snowplow off the mountain without stabbing any of these alpine enthusiasts with my pole, and my boyfriend called my outing a grand success. But I wasn’t so sure. Not only had my regard for humanity in

general reached a new low, but I’d also been kind of mean to the sweet, encouraging guy who’d skipped a day of shredding to give me private lessons. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have been out there if not for him. I love playing in the snow, but hey, I’m from Illinois, where the “ski hills” are small landfills (no kidding) and the chances of getting impaled by someone else’s ski are virtually nil. I’d just never been a skier. But one of the cutest pictures hanging on my boyfriend’s parents’ wall shows him as a toddler, rocking a sweet pair of kiddie skis at Red River. He cut his teeth skiing. And if he loved it, and he wanted to teach me, then I was sure going to try. Maybe I should have thought this through a little more carefully. This wasn’t just about skiing, of course. This was about my egalitarian relationship suddenly tipping out of balance. This was he, for the first time, assuming a position of authority over me. He would issue commands, and I would obey. On the one hand, yeah, it’s just skiing. But on the other, I would be totally dependent on him from the minute I stepped into my rental boots. On top of that, I should mention that I’ve never been great with the hapless beginner thing. The day started off with promise. He took me up to the snow-school area at Vail, where, once I got over being humbled by the skills of 5-year-olds, I figured out the basics of turning and stopping. I even managed a green run or two. And he was an excellent teacher: nurturing, patient, and willing to overlook my aggravation at not nailing every move on the first try. But things started to get touchy when we approached a blue run. “Are you sure?” I asked with pure skepticism, scoping out what seemed to be a much-too-steep run of terror ahead. “Of course,” he promised. “You can do it.” Well, not really. My legs, aching from hours of unfamiliar machinations, were proving tricky to command. Unable to control my speed, I instead sliced long, awkward paths back and forth across

the run, moving two feet forward for every 30 across. And then there were all those other damn skiers, whizzing by within millimeters (I swear!) of my mittens. Frustrated and shaky, I had to keep stopping to collect myself under the guise of adjusting my hat. “You’re doing so well!” my boyfriendteacher said, expertly skiing over and beaming at me. “I am not doing well. I suck. Stop telling me I’m doing well!” I snapped back at him, then pushed off into another awkward traverse. Bless his heart, he didn’t even balk at my distemper. “Maybe we should head down and take a break,” he suggested sweetly. “Come on, let’s do a few more turns.” We made it down the mountain together, him skiing ahead then turning around to coach me as I followed slowly. Part of me was still angry at this strange inequity between us—he was skiing backward, for God’s sake, maneuvering his skis with effortless grace. He was so good! And I was so very, very bad! But yes, part of me also realized I was being stupid. This was my first day on skis, after all (that Girl Scout trip to Mount Trashmore notwithstanding). I wasn’t supposed to be good, and he was doing his best to help me learn. Despite the setbacks, we hit it up again the next day, this time at a kinder, less crowded mountain nearby. I struggled my way down a blue run several times, falling a lot but also (sort of) learning the parallel turn. And as the day passed and he continued to gently command— er, instruct—me, I realized that his alpine expertise did not suddenly make him my boss. He was still my awesome, supportive, equal-rights boyfriend. I wasn’t going to have to start doing his laundry when we got home. Besides, near the end of the second day, as he was skiing in reverse and shouting kind words at me, he slammed into a tree, bonked his head, and tumbled over. I can always remind him of that if he ever gets too uppity.







Big Air and New Tricks

Indoor terrain parks like Colorado’s Woodward at Copper can enhance your skiing and snowboarding skills—and set you flying high before the snow flies. By Krisan Christensen


e learned how to fall before we even learned how to leap. The first half hour of my exhausting, exhilarating day at Woodward at Copper began with tumbles, somersaults, flops, and dives into a 22-square-foot foam pit. And, girl, am I glad we learned to fall first, because that’s pretty much what I spent the rest of the day doing. Woodward’s mission is to help campers progress through their training goals— mine was to complete a 180-degree spin off a snowboard jump. I began on the trampoline, where I must have knocked out hundreds of 180-degree spins. Then after “mastering” the movement on the trampoline, I completed another hundred spins with an awkward

foam “snowboard” strapped to my feet. Wouldn’t you know, by the 25th spin or so, I was even doing 360s. Once I’d built enough confidence, it was time to keep the ego in check with my first ride down the Snowflex, a snow-simulating surface that’s like a cross between Astroturf and the rough side of Velcro. All I wanted to do was avoid falling on the stuff, but as you might imagine I spent plenty of time plucking myself off the uncomfortable surface. After many attempts, I managed to successfully make it to the bottom more times than not, without falling. Woodward has a 35-foot jump (at 42 degrees, it’s one of the mountain’s steepest pitches) into a foam pit, a 10-

foot cliff into the same pit, and a Snowflex jib run with a box and rail leading into a quarter-pipe. These features allow participants to practice their tricks in a safe and controlled environment. After watching kids from the International Snowboard Training Center get big air off the jumps, I was ready to put my practice to the test. It only took three tries to “land” my 180 from the cliff drop into the foam. While I couldn’t quit muster the courage to try the big-kid ramps, I was still thrilled with the progress I’d made throughout the day. Hey, I even rode my first box in the rail park. I’ll be perfecting my new tricks on the real white stuff all season.

Check out some video of the “pros” at Woodward at Copper.

Getting Started:

Wear a helmet. Hard-packed snow is just that—hard. And busting your skull is a dangerous way to end the day.

Landing a 180 takes practice, patience, and a few key skills. Follow these tips from Kim Stacey, head outdoor coach for Woodward at Copper, to get off the ground— and back to it—safely.

Approach the jump with relaxed knees and your chest up.

Twist with your hips. It’s all about balancing the torque of your arms and your waist.

Focus on a far-off spot to help keep you oriented while you spin.

Lift the board up instead of bending down to grab it. This will keep your chest up while you’re in the air.

Land with a flat board to avoid catching an edge.

If you can: Practice jumping on a trampoline with your board on (tape the edges to protect the tramp). Enough 180s and 360s and muscle memory will kick in when you hit the slopes.

28  WAM OWINTER’2010”


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Beat the Winter Blues Three out of four people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder are women. Keep SAD at bay by staying active this season. By Jayme Otto


eredith looked forward to ski season all year, but when it finally arrived, she didn’t feel like skiing. The two-hour drive from her apartment to the slopes seemed like a chore. In fact, everything seemed like a chore. Some mornings the 31-year-old struggled just to get out of bed. “The scariest part was that I didn’t care about anything,” she says. “It was like I was just going through the motions of my life.” Meredith’s symptoms eventually subsided, and she forgot about them—until the next winter when the cycle repeated. Each year she’d dismiss her experience as “winter blahs” or PMS and blame her lethargy on the shorter, darker days. The energetic middle-school teacher never considered depression. But depression is exactly what she had. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a variation of depression that plagues normally healthy people with depressive symptoms during the winter. These symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, loss of interest in hobbies, carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating and processing information. Approximately 6 percent of Americans experi-

30  WAM OWINTER’2010”


ence SAD, and another 14 percent experience subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder, a milder form of SAD. But Kathleen Hall, PhD, founder and CEO of The Stress Institute, believes the number of sufferers is actually higher and that many people go undiagnosed. Women are more susceptible to SAD than men, but women tend to do what Meredith did: blame their symptoms on other things, like PMS. They fail to see that the sum of the parts equals SAD. “As women we become very adept at making excuses for what we fear society will deem as irrational or overemotional behavior,” Hall says. Jim Sorrell, MD, a psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and an associate professor of psychiatry specializing in mood disorders, cites the holidays as a reason why many fail to detect SAD. During the holidays, people expect weight gain and more readily accept feelings of sadness due to physical distance from or even loss of loved ones. “It’s a common misconception to consider symptoms of SAD as a normal part of the holiday season,” Sorrell says. “This prohibits people from taking action to get the help they need.”



Although most people who develop SAD have a genetic predisposition for depression or anxiety, studies show that seasonal mood variations are also related to light. SAD is particularly prevalent in the world’s northernmost latitudes, such as Finland, and people living in North Dakota are more likely to experience SAD than those residing in Florida. Sorrell says SAD could be a leftover evolutionary drive toward hibernation. It’s also been linked to our unnatural tendency to structure our days around a clock instead of daylight. Other theories for the disorder’s origin connect SAD with serotonin, a brain chemical responsible for mood, and melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in dim light and darkness. A recent study showed that the mutation of a gene expressing melanopsin, a chemical in the retina involved in circadian rhythms and other non-visual responses to light, increased SAD risk. So how do you know if you have SAD? Gabriela Cora, MD, a psychiatrist in Florida, says the key determinant is that your symptoms are not present throughout the year, but then you start to feel “gloomy” come fall or winter. Things you used to care about no longer seem important, and you withdraw from people close to you. The symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly and are marked by oversleeping and overeating. The tricky thing about SAD, though, is that once you’re consumed by it, it is difficult to self-diagnose. Most people only seek treatment when symptoms begin impacting their ability to work or care for family. The bad news is that undiagnosed SAD can impede your ability to function normally. The good news? SAD is easy to treat, especially since sufferers can predict and plan for its onset. The most effective treatment for SAD is light therapy, says Hall, which can be as simple as it sounds: “Get outside for 20 minutes each day,” she recommends. “Natural light is better than anything you can buy for the indoors,” But if you can’t get out, purchase indoor lights specifically designed to combat SAD. During evenings or other times of limited sunlight, the average living room lighting is only 400 lux—that’s just 4 percent as strong as the standard light therapy box (sometimes called a “SAD light”) at 10,000 lux. Other methods of coping with SAD include taking medication, most commonly antidepressants, and/or psychotherapy done in a coaching style that works to improve overall lifestyle. The practice of “snowbirding,” moving from a northern state to a southern state like Florida for the winter, is another solution, although freedom to fly the coop isn’t a reality for everyone. If you suspect you have SAD, consult a health-care professional for evaluation. “Once you find out what works best for you in managing SAD, there’s no reason you can’t have an amazingly wonderful life,” Hall says. Or an amazingly wonderful winter at least.



To deal with seasonal affective disorder, Kathleen Hall, PhD, offers a proactive approach that she calls SELF. The acronym for this self-directed strategy stands for serenity, exercise, love, and food. Subscribe to these tenets for a better winter: Serenity. Hall says you can get your brain to release depression-fighting serotonin by listening to your favorite song, even for just five minutes a day. A huge body of research shows that people who meditate, follow guided-imagery tapes, or even listen to nature sounds on their iPod have increased serotonin levels. Also keep a flower nearby—something blooming will ease depression and increase productivity and creativity. Exercise. Physical activity produces serotonin and endorphins. Hall cites a study that found five 20-minute bouts of exercise per week decreased depression symptoms as much as the antidepressant Zoloft. Depression and exhaustion make exercise feel counterintuitive, but it’s important to make yourself be active if you’re feeling depressed and tired, says Hall. She recommends learning five yoga poses that you can do anywhere and practicing them daily, keeping 5-pound dumbbells by your desk and grabbing them for a quick 20 reps several times a day, and using the buddy system at work—find a co-worker to walk with at lunchtime. Then take a family walk after dinner, or head to a bowling alley if it’s too cold outside—do whatever you can to get your body moving. Love. SAD causes a tendency to withdraw, so maintaining relationships is especially important in combating it. Hall says that connections with others can positively change the chemical makeup of the brain: When you’re physically close to someone you care about, your brain produces oxytocin, a depressionfighting hormone. She suggests setting up automated reminders to e-mail or phone friends several times a week to stay in touch, as well as dining with a friend at least once a week. Food. Food has a powerful impact on mood and can be used as medicine. Hall recommends eating breakfast to help control mood swings throughout the day and jump-start metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids help alleviate depression, so take flaxseed oil or fish oil as liquids or capsules. Another key supplement is vitamin B6, which has a calming effect and increases serotonin. Hall’s favorite superfood is blueberries—she calls them “brain berries” because they’re high in antioxidants, which improve brain function.









Culture Club

The many guises of a smooth, creamy treat. By Matthew Kadey, R.D.


ogurt is one of the world’s oldest foods, likely created by accident when lukewarm milk met bacteria and, ta-da, fermentation occured. The nuts and bolts of making yogurt hasn’t changed much over the centuries, but now we’re appreciating the creamy concoction not only for its adaptability in the kitchen but for its numerous health perks. “Yogurt is packed with active cultures for immune and digestive health, bone-building calcium, and protein to help active women build and repair muscles,” says Tara Gidus, a sports


Goat Yogurt

Other than a slight goaty note, good goat yogurt shouldn’t taste much different than the stuff made with cow’s milk, says Bill Wendorf, an emeritus professor in the food science department at the University of Wisconsin. Uniformly smooth, goat yogurt is easier to digest, Wendorf adds, because of differences in the casein protein and a softer curd. It’s also higher in potassium. We like: Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt ( European-style yogurt made without refined sweeteners or preservatives. Try this: To make crowd-pleasing guacamole, combine plain goat yogurt, avocado, lemon or lime juice, garlic, diced jalapeño, and salt in a blender; whirl until smooth.


dietician based in Orlando, Florida. What’s more, food scientists have recently discovered that a daily bowl of yogurt may help us dodge hypertension, gum disease, stroke, bladder cancer, the flu, and a Buddha belly. Sales of this powerfood, now a regular blip on the health media’s radar, have grown by 10 percent annually. But no longer does yogurt from Bessie the Cow hold a monopoly in the dairy aisle. Now you can get your yogurt fix by dipping spoon into any one of these contenders creating a stir.

Sheep Yogurt

Sheep milk has more solids than cow or goat milk, making the yogurt a rich, luxuriously thick product that doesn’t need beefing up. “Sheep yogurt is much higher in calcium than cow or goat yogurt,” says Wendorf. There’s also nearly double the protein and, as with goat milk, sketchy hormones and antibiotics common in large-scale cow-based dairy farms are not generally used in sheepyogurt production. We like: Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Sheep’s Milk Yogurt (www. Pasture-fed sheep produce nutritionally packed organic yogurt. Try this: Mix together plain sheep yogurt with grated orange zest, lime juice, curry powder, cayenne powder, and honey. Spread this mixture on fish as it cooks.



Originally from the Caucasian Mountains of Russia, kefir is made by inoculating cow milk with kefir grains, a mixture of yeasts and bacteria. Kefir is more sour than standard yogurt, and studies suggest the unique type of beneficial bacterial cultures within it breakdown much of the lactose, making it a potentially viable dairy option for those intolerant to milk sugar. Canadian researchers have found that extracts from fermented kefir may halt the spread of breast cancer cells, making it a potentially useful tool to prevent and treat breast cancer. Today kefir is largely available as a thick drink—excellent recovery food after a stiff workout. We like: Evolve Kefir ( Made with low-fat milk and 11 tummy-friendly bacterial cultures, including Bifidobacterium lactis and Streptococcus thermophilus, not found in other types of yogurt. Try this: If kefir tastes too sour to you on its own, reduce the lip-puckering factor by mixing it in a blender with orange juice, frozen berries, and a dollop of peanut butter to make a smoothie.

32  WAM OWINTER’2010”






Crafting your own yogurt saves you a bunch of cash, cuts down on container waste, and is surprisingly easy. What you need: Food thermometer 1 1/3 cup non-instant milk powder ¼ cup yogurt with live cultures 1-quart glass jar


Greek Yogurt


Soy Yogurt

Greek yogurt has become popular because it’s creamier, has more tang, and contains up to twice as much protein as regular American-type yogurts, says Gidus. Chalk these attributes up to the added step of straining the watery whey away. “If you are sick of runny yogurt, put a spoon into a container of Greek yogurt and feel the difference,” Gidus quips. “Just make sure you look at the fat and sugar contents, as some Greek yogurts can pack in a lot of both.” Typical Greek yogurt from Greece uses either sheep or cow’s milk. Most U.S.– made versions, however, stick to only cow’s milk.

Geared to veg heads, soy yogurt is made by combining soymilk with vegan bacterial strains. Its slight beany taste may put off some, but soy yogurt lacks lactose, making it a boon to those whose stomachs churn like a cement truck in the presence of dairy. Soy yogurt is a natural source of energyboosting iron and phytoestrogens—estrogen-like compounds that may boost bone health and offer some protection from breast cancer. One caveat: “Soy yogurt tends to be higher in calories than people realize, because a lot of sugar might be added to cover the ‘soy’ flavor,” Gidus says.

We like: Chobani Greek Yogurt (www. Real fruit added, and so creamy you’ll swear it’s full fat.

We like: WholeSoy & Co. Soy Yogurt ( Eleven creamy flavors made using organic, non-GMO soybeans. Plain is available for the sugar-weary.

Try this: To make a toothsome tzatziki dip, combine diced cucumber, salt, finely chopped mint leaves, minced garlic, plain Greek yogurt, and chopped chives.

Fill jar with water to about 2 inches from the top. Pour the water into a saucepan and heat until 100–110°F. Pour 1 cup of the warm water into a blender and the remainder back into the jar. With the blender on its lowest setting, add the milk powder and yogurt. The instant the mixture is smooth, turn off the blender. Add the milk mixture to the jar and close the lid tightly. Set the jar in the warm oven (see note) and let set for 3 or more hours. When the surface of the yogurt resists a slight touch, place the jar in the refrigerator to cool completely and thicken further. Note: If using an electric oven, turn it on to its lowest heat setting for 2 minutes, turn it off, and put in a pot of boiling water along with the yogurt. If you have an oven with a gas pilot light, turning it on for a few minutes and then turning it off before adding the yogurt jar should provide enough warmth. You want the temperature during yogurt setting to stay 90–120°F.

Try this: Place a dollop of soy yogurt in the bottom of a glass. Top with some granola and berries. Repeat the layers, and top this parfait with a drizzle of pure maple syrup.









Goodbye, Princess One dad struggles to find a Disney antidote. By Joe Siple


hree-year-old girls love princesses. I get it. And despite being a dad—and an active outdoorsman—I can handle it. So she wants to wear frilly dresses around the house now and then? Fine. Watch Cinderella occasionally? Sure. I’ve even become immune to my daughter running around wearing nothing but underwear, because “you can’t have a fishy tail like Ariel’s if you have pants on.”

So I decided to take action. I bought my daughter some hiking boots.

But after a trip to Disney World last spring, princess mania hit the threshold of my tolerance. We’ve been in Princess Cleansing Mode ever since.

“Where can I find girls’ hiking boots?” I asked the woman working at Famous Footwear.

For parents like me who value nature, adventure, and exercise, the grip that Disney princesses can have over our girls is more than just annoying—it’s unhealthy. Our daughters don’t just watch the cartoons that these princesses star in; they absorb them. While we’re paying bills, washing dishes, or sitting with our girls but letting our minds wander, they’re sizzling every word, every lyric they hear into their memories. And the lessons conveyed aren’t always beneficial. Sure, Belle likes to read and has a mind of her own. Ariel is courageous and saves the prince, for a change. But Sleeping Beauty? Snow White? Cinderella? I could do without my daughter learning that women are supposed to rely on men, or that money and stature make men worthy.

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She had been fascinated with my boots for a while, but I had never considered that buying her a pair may do her some good. After all, she already had a pair of shoes—with flashing lights and princesses on the sides.

She gave me a sideways glance. “Don’t think they make them,” she replied. I perused the store shelves anyway and found the perfect pair—in the boys’ section. Apparently hiking is a boy thing. Not so in our household. For the next month, my daughter was enthralled with her new hiking boots. We tromped around the foothills, and she kicked the dirt trail the entire way to make sure even the smallest rocks couldn’t get into her boots. I haven’t seen the princess shoes since. But that was easy. That was in the spring, right after my daughter had gotten her princess fix at Disney World. She may have even been feeling slight princess overload. This


time of year brings the biggest enemy of Princess Cleansing Mode: Christmas presents. In-laws send Sleeping Beauty figurines. Aunts and uncles send books—not Colorado’s Best Family Hikes, but The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Beginning, or some other unfortunate sequel. Last year my daughter received a Disney castle, complete with every princess doll imaginable. It was exactly what she wanted. So to prepare for this Christmas, I began working on her months ago. “When Christmas comes this year, would you rather have another princess thing or your own pair of skis?” I asked, putting all the excitement I could muster into the word “skis.” “Princess thing,” she answered. “But don’t you think it would be really cool to have your own skis for when we go to the big mountains?” “I don’t know. Does Sleeping Beauty ski?” “No, babe, Sleeping Beauty doesn’t ski.” I shook my head in misery and lowered my forehead to the table. Of course Sleeping Beauty doesn’t ski, I wanted to say. She’s a spoiled, brainless, rich girl who falls for some random stranger who kisses her while she’s sleeping. People like that go to jail; they don’t win the girl. But as I studied my daughter’s expression, I experienced a small shift in thinking. Maybe Disney princesses aren’t completely bad. They live in imaginary, magical worlds and our daughters get a lot of joy from watching and reading their stories. So even though I don’t want princesses to be my daughter’s primary interest, maybe there is some room for compromise. Maybe I can even paint princesses in a different light. “Sleeping Beauty doesn’t ski, kiddo,” I said. “But I heard that she’s an amazing snowboarder.”

Gear Room

The 2009 Winter Editor’s Choice Awards Hitting the slopes has never been better. By Michelle Theall Want to know what to buy before you ski and ride? We’ve done your homework for you. Here are our annual Winter Editor’s Choice Awards. Go ahead—it’s okay to drool.

Never Summer Infinity-R $450 Float, forgiveness, and versatility for all riding styles make Never Summer’s Infinity-R the go-to board for park, powder, and all-mountain fun. The radial side cut makes the board very carvy out at the tip and tail, but then it gets progressively less aggressive closer to the center. The result? A board with bite that doesn’t force you into sharp turns.

Kastle FX 74 $980 Kastle focuses on a simple, classic ski construction: just wood, metal, and rubber dampening sheets with no fancy fad technology. The FX 74 is elegantly simplistic and featherweight light—perfect for petite, aggressive skiers. Even on icy days, this ski holds its edge with confidence at high speeds, without chattering. The FX 74 responds well to finesse, rather than brute force, making it a delightful choice.

Burton Supreme $400 Hands down the best women’s boarding boot on the market. The Supreme doesn’t sacrifice comfort for performance. Stay out all day; take aggressive runs—your feet, legs, and calves won’t even notice. An articulating cuff and heat-moldable insole allow for a perfect fit, while plush interior keeps you cozy. If your feet do get cold, the boot is pre-wired for a Basix Battery Pack (sold separately) and nine hours of toasty tootsies. Worth every penny.

Salomon Relay Gift Women $270 These guilt-free, top-of-the-line bindings use 100 percent recycled materials for the baseplates and ratchets and offer unbeatable performance. With a skate/surf feel, the Integra highbacks on the bindings conform to a woman’s calf shape. Our favorite part, though, is the wrap toe strap that, unlike competitors’ straps, doesn’t slip out of place.

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KneeBinding $459 Finally, a ski binding that aims to prevent ACL injuries by creating a third “dimension” of release during falls. Because a woman’s intercondylar notch is narrower than a man’s, women are more prone to ACL strains and tears. KneeBinding provides PureLateral heel release (without pre-release issues), which enables a skier’s heel to twist out sideways before the ACL can tear.

Scarpa Domina $699 An all-mountain freeride boot, the Domina fits into a traditional alpine binding with no modifications yet sports a lugged Vibram outsole ideal for hiking to the next ridge. The Domina is lighter than other alpine boots, making it a great choice for skiers who venture out of bounds on occasion. It also comes with a touring tongue (stiffer alpine tongue is standard) that has bellows for softer flexing for touring with the boot in a Fritschi, Naxo, or Duke binding.




Women to Watch


By Rachel Walker Why should you watch these five American women this February when they join athletes from 19 countries to vie for Olympic gold? Because they are more than good—they are outstanding.

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Lindsey Jacobellis, Snowboard Cross DOB: August 15, 1985

You don’t get into snowboard cross—boardercross—if you’re timid. Racing against four competitors on an obstacle-laden course at full speed requires chutzpah, which Vermont native Lindsey Jacobellis has in surplus. The entire world glimpsed it in 2006 when she fell attempting a show-off jib and lost her chance to clench the gold medal in the sport’s inaugural Olympic event. Second place isn’t as sweet—but don’t expect Lindsey to belabor her mistake. In the four years since Italy, she’s channeled her talent and energy into a driven work ethic that’s given rise to a wizened maturity. “I’ve been competing against the best in the world, attending World Cup events, and doing really well since I entered the tour at age 17,” says Lindsey. “I was the only girl when I started [in boardercross]. Now there are more girls on the team, and I’m putting all of my time and energy into my work. This is my job.” In this line of work, performance reviews occur in full view, on the podium. Lindsey has spent the last few seasons pushing her athleticism with coaches Peter Foley and Jeff Archebald, getting back up despite her myriad crashes (Did we mention this isn’t a sport for the fainthearted?), and discovering camaraderie and support among her teammates. She says she’s matured. Still, no amount of sophistication can quiet the obvious passion Lindsey has for her sport. “I love how unpredictable boardercross is,” Lindsey says. “Before each race, I am on the mountain and am so stressed, wondering why I do this. But then I finish and get really fired up and aggressive. I can never trigger those emotions by myself, but if I am in a course, I know exactly when it turns on.”

Julie Chu, Ice Hockey


DOB: March 13, 1982

When Julie Chu takes to the ice at the 2010 Olympics, she’ll be one of the calm ones. With two Olympic medals under her belt, she already knows the thrill of victory. This time, she says, her job will be to channel the energy of the U.S. women’s hockey team’s new players. “We only have six returning Olympians out of the 20 who played in 2006,” says Julie. “The younger players bring a phenomenal, fresh outlook and a new identity, and the veterans give us the strong foundation we need.” In other words, this is a team led by experience and fueled by new enthusiasm—exactly what the Americans need to score a competitive edge, Julie says. Julie falls into the veteran category. The Harvard University grad helped the Americans secure a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and bring home a bronze from Italy in 2006. She’s also helped create an international appreciation for girl’s and women’s hockey. But don’t expect her to crow about these accomplishments. “My personal goal is tied within the team goal,” says Julie, who plans to retire from the U.S. team after the Olympics and possibly pursue a coaching career. “It’s not that important who gets the goals or assists in a game. A lot of people put too much heat on who scores the goal. For me, what’s more important is doing the things that make the team work.”




Noelle Pikus-Pace, Skeleton DOB: December 8, 1982

An Olympic favorite leading up to the 2006 games, skeleton slider Noelle Pikus-Pace weathered a severe setback when a runaway bobsled shattered her right leg at the team trials six weeks before the games. Doctors told her that learning to walk again would take months and to forget her Olympic dreams. “I never knew how strong I was before that,” Noelle says. “I wasn’t satisfied with their diagnosis and didn’t want to put limits on myself. Just because no one had done it before didn’t mean that it couldn’t be done.” She didn’t make it to the games in Turin, Italy, but Noelle returned in 2007 to clench the world championship. Then she had a hard decision to make. “Going for the Olympics—it’s not easy to let go of,” says Noelle. “My goal was to retire after 2006. My husband and I knew we wanted to start a family and move on with life. But for us the Olympics are the biggest race there can possibly be. I knew I wanted to compete.” Rather than retire, Noelle, who had earned an MBA prior to the 2006 Olympics, continued training, got pregnant, gave birth to a daughter, and started a company, SnowFire Hats (www. Now, with the support of her family, she’s favored to win gold in Vancouver. And what might her championship run feel like? “Skeleton is like driving down the freeway and sticking your head out the window,” Noelle explains. “Look down at the lines going by— that’s how fast we go. We take off at a full-sprint control, jump in our sled, and then relax.” After the Olympics, Noelle plans to retire and apply the lessons from her sport to her post-competitive-athletics life. “You need to look ahead,” she says. “You can’t dwell on the past. You steer and focus on what lies ahead.”

Katherine Reutter, Speed Skating One of speed skater Katherine Reutter’s biggest challenges has nothing to do with ice: Taking time to recover between training sessions is especially tough aspects for the aspiring gold medalist. “I never leave the rink or training knowing there is something else I could have done,” says Katherine. “The very worst feeling in the world is if I have to cut a session short when I know my legs need a break.” Katherine broke onto the international speed-skating scene during the 2007–2008 season, winning her first World Cup medal and securing the overall U.S. championship title. That year she moved from Marquette, Michigan, to Salt Lake City to train with the national team. A senior in high school, she relocated on her own, shared a room with another speed skater, and split her time between school and training. Katherine remembers this time as an enormous—yet necessary—sacrifice. “I lost a lot of relationships with my friends back home,” she says. “I wouldn’t be the skater I am today if I hadn’t done it, but I wish I hadn’t left so early.” If this sounds like ambivalence, well, it’s not. Katherine is focused and driven, and her goals include winning an Olympic medal, a world championship, and more. “Sure, these are things every competitive athlete strives for, so I have to work hard enough and make sure it is me who reaches those goals,” she says. Katherine’s formula for success includes rigorous training, a supportive family, and confidence. “My family is extremely driven,” she says. “We’re positive thinkers. It’s never been questioned that I can do what I think I can do. We don’t sit there and think, Wouldn’t it be nice to do this? Once we decide to do something, we figure out what we have to do to make it happen.”

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DOB: July 30, 1988

Julia Mancuso, Alpine Skiing DOB: March 9, 1984


After surprising the world with a gold-medal finish at the 2006 Olympic games in Turin, downhill skier Julia Mancuso charged into the 2007–2008 season determined to win. Her banner year fueled expectations that she’d claim the world championship title, which ended up going to her U.S. teammate, Lindsey Vonn. And then last season, the tiara-wearing speed demon only finished in the top 10 three times—a poor showing for a woman vying to be the best in the world. So this summer the part-time Maui resident retreated to the gym and the sea, devoting four days a week to weight training and Pilates sessions and surfing in her free time. Now, she says, her “new” body is ready to defend her 2006 gold in Vancouver. “A lot of the exercises I had been doing were wrong because they emphasized my bigger and stronger muscles instead of my smaller ones,” Julia says. “So I worked really hard, and I feel stronger now than I’ve felt in four years.” Standing atop the Olympic podium isn’t all Julia hopes to achieve this year. The budding entrepreneur launched her own underwear line called kiss my tiara (available at her website, And her skiing goals extend beyond the Olympics. “I have so much more to accomplish,” says Julia. “When I won the gold [in 2006], I found the difference between being in the top three and winning. I want to win.”




Gifts Gone Wild For the adventurers on your list—you included— we’ve got 23 gift ideas to inspire that long push through the winter season. Whether for traveling, trekking, or toasting next to a roaring fire, consider these hot items, handpicked by the Women’s Adventure team. By Karina Evertsen


Give the gift of a good time. This smattering of fun-filled toys will add joy to your holiday season— and your party.

Tarma Designs Cairn Opener When playtime is over, crack a cold one with this handy stainless steel bottle opener manufactured from 60 percent post-consumer waste. A dozen designs feature either outdoor sports or profiles of your favorite peaks. Half Dome, Grand Teton, or Rainier? That’s a tougher choice than lager or stout. $23;

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Gibbon Funline


The stiffer, less stretchy webbing of Gibbon’s newest Funline offers more stability for novices and kids. Sticky graphics help little feet stay put, and setup is super easy. Sling it between two trees and you’re ready to start practicing balance and strengthening your core. $100;

Get the kids outside for their very own adventure. This child-friendly GPS operates with one button and comes loaded with over 250,000 geocache locations all across the U.S. $70;

Cozy Up

Staying warm entails more than just layering up and blocking wind. These gift-worthy pieces are hot and will stay that way all season— they’ll help stave off hypothermia, too.

Smartwool Reversible NTS Scarf Soft and warm, this stylish, 100 percent merino wool scarf—we like the blue-green loden stripe—is breathable, reversible, and a great addition to on-thetown or trailside attire for the chillier months ahead. $45;

Pistil Tate Brimmed Beanie

Nau Profile Fleece Hoody

Point6 Light Cushion OTC

Cozy up with this cute little lid on cold days or after hours on the slopes. Another sassy beanie from Oregon-based Pistil Designs, the chunky Tate is one of this year’s new styles and is hand-knit in Argentina. The pom-pom topped, cableknit cap combines a subtle, flexible brim with a warm and low-maintenance acrylic yarn in our favorite color for this year. $28;

Urban chic meets outdoor performance in the Profile Fleece Hoody. Edgy lines are cut from recycled polyester with a durable waterresistant finish and Polartec and Wind Pro to keep the elements at bay. $195;

Nothing’s more satisfying than pulling on a new pair of ski socks at the beginning of the season. These merino blend beauties are designed with protection pads on the Achilles and shins but without performance-zapping foot pads to interfere with custom-fit boots. $20;




On the Go

Active all year long? We compiled this set of gifts with you in mind. They’re practical, versatile, and meant to keep pace with your lifestyle.

Zeal Orb Who doesn’t love a sassy pair of shades? The Orb adds the perfect touch to your wardrobe, and the polarized lenses keep your eyes nice and protected to boot. $110;

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REI Lifetime Membership This gift is money well spent for the constant adventurer. For only $20, you get access to rental and service discounts, annual dividends, and invites to membersonly garage sales stocked with killer deals on returned merchandise. If you’re not already a wilderness diva, check out REI’s free and reasonably priced classes and clinics—they’re great intros to the outdoors. $20;

The Athlete’s Pocket Guide To Yoga by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2009) Stretching out after activity is key to avoiding injury. Look no further for great tips on how to do exactly that. This spiral-bound book has 50 routines varying from warmups, standing poses, core exercises, and breath work to increase your flexibility. $16;

Osprey Kode 30 If you’ll head to a ski resort or off into the backcountry this winter, the Kode 30 should make your wish list. This pack has the essential bells and whistles: room for a hydration pack, space to carry your board or skis, and a comfortable harness design. $139;

Tech Smart

You’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty? Puh-leeze. For some of us, there’s no such thing as too many high-tech goods.

Sony High Definition Handycam Camcorder Scrapbooking is for sissies— move into the 21st century of documenting friends and family with this ultralight camcorder. Measuring just 5 inches tall, 2 inches wide, the Handycam is probably smaller than your first cell phone, but it doesn’t sacrifice a thing. Features include optical zoom, a Carl Zeiss Vaio-Tessar lens, 1920 x 1080 HD video capability, a 4 megapixel still image capture, and built-in GPS for super-simple geotagging. $1,000;

Suunto Lumi Florette To call this a watch is doing it a disservice. The easily navigable Lumi Florette has a long list of functions, including altimeter, barometer, compass, and sunrise and sunset schedules. Stay aware of impending storms, note your elevation, and use the calendar to keep track of hot dates. Accessory packs let it dangle from a carabiner or necklace. $399;

Sacred Rides MTB Skills Camp Five days of riding advice from professional coaches alongside a pack of superstoked riders on some of North America’s most beautiful trails: a surefire recipe for honing fat-tire skills you can take home to local trails. Weekend, weeklong, all-women, and coed camps in Fernie, British Columbia, are run with a sustainabletourism ethic and your enjoyment in mind. From $295;

Nikwax Tech Wash This non-detergent soap cleans technical clothing and fabrics without stripping the durable water-repellent finishes. Nikwax has a long list of technical washes, products, and advice to extend the life of your favorite gear. $9–$12;




Creature Comforts


A little luxury goes a long way. Whether you prefer touches of elegance on the trail or extravagances large and small, these gifts offer a certain je ne sais quoi that’ll enhance holiday cheer.

Holiday fun doesn’t end where the fur begins. We’ve never seen so many playful—and useful—toys for our four-legged friends. These ideas will make life merrier for your whole pack.


Kelty Forcast 20˚ You’ll sleep well in this affordable, women’s-specific mummy bag made of recycled polyester and filled with Climashield Green. A fitted hood helps retain heat, while a zippered foot vent allows air to circulate around warm sleepers’ toes. $150;

Wanderlust and Lipstick

The Body Deli Crème de la Rose

Whether you prefer snapping pictures in Bhutan, cooking noodles in Southeast Asia, or creating a custom Indian adventure, Wanderlust and Lipstick’s owner and founder, Beth Whitman, has the trip for you. A seasoned traveler, writer, publisher, and all-around adventurer, she has devised a menu of delicious experiences for anyone with a travel budget. From $1,560;

After a long, cold day on the slopes, salvage your skin with The Body Deli Crème de la Rose. This handmade organic moisturizer blends essential fatty acids like organic macadamia nut oil with food-based micro-algaes, super greens, probiotics, enzymes, and peptides for the ultimate in cellular nutrition. $75;

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Platypus PlatyPreserve If you like wine under the stars, this flexible, lightweight wine bladder should be in your stocking this year. Simply transfer your wine, squeeze out remaining air, and voilà— your vino is preserved and more packable than a glass bottle. $10-$13;



Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Bulb With Treat Spot If you’re lucky, this holiday-themed, recyclable toy will keep Fido distracted from the lights on your tree. If the minty taste isn’t enough to keep him interested, stuff a treat inside this durable shell for a tail-wagging good time. $11;

Ruff Wear Bivy Bowl

Walk-e-Woo Dog Collar Such a fun departure from everyday collars— you can’t help but smile when dressing the pooch in brightly colored polka dots. Maybe your dog doesn’t need a new collar, but who said anything about need? $20–24;

A staple in the Ruff Wear line since 1994, this newly designed travel bowl is a musthave for the dog in your life. Lightweight enough for backpacking and easy to toss in your car so Fido has something to lap from while you sip latte. $20;

Blue Dog Bakery Cookies Let’s face it, everyone loves holiday treats, and dogs are no exception. Blue Dog cookies contain no animal by-products, and you can actually pronounce the words in the concise ingredients list. Go with the animal-shaped peanut butter originals, or try softies for dogs with sensitive teeth. From $5 per box;

Running With Reindeer


don’t dare stick my neck out. The wicked threat of being clotheslined by a branch, getting whipped by a spray of pine needles, or falling victim to a full-frontal tree smackdown forces me to keep all limbs tucked in. I’m hurtling across the vast expanse of the Arctic at about 50 miles per hour on the back of a snowmobile. I’m hanging on for dear, or deer, life. We’ll spend the next five days combing the unspoiled forests of this immense frontier, rounding up and corralling small groups of reindeer in preparation for the “Big Push,” their annual spring migration.

Written and Photographed By Karen A. Holst 48  WAM OWINTER’2010”



y white-knuckled driver, Helena Länta, is a native Sámi, a group considered to be the last indigenous people of Europe and best known for their harmonic lifestyles with reindeer. “It’s a special life, to be outside with the reindeer every day in this cold land,” Helena says as she scours the open landscape with her binoculars. “But I can’t imagine any other way of living.” I nod in feigned agreement as I frantically but discretely attempt to thaw out my freezing hands in the below-zero chill. Despite my multilayered gloves, the cold at latitude 66.6° N still bites. Many consider the Arctic Circle to be the last true, continuous wilderness in the world. This impressive 1.59 million– square-mile sprawl offers unending expanses of mountain, forest, and ice. I’m mesmerized by the stunning, boundless backcountry. The magnificent silence, tremendous stillness, and overwhelming beauty of the vast Arctic take my breath away. I stand and absorb its simple splendor. Perhaps the Sámi are on to something. The Sámi trace their polar roots back at least 2,500 years (some argue as many as 8,000 years), when they originally settled in an area known as Sápmi, which spans the rooftops of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Today in Sweden the Sámi represent a fragile, shrinking population numbering between 15,000 and 20,000—about 3,000 of whom are completely dependent on animal husbandry, the community’s traditional livelihood.

Women make up less than one-third of these herders. Exactly how many reindeer Helena and I collect is a mystery. In fact, she won’t even tell me how many she owns personally. “It’s like asking how much money one has in the bank—we just don’t speak of it,” the 42-year-old states with a devilish grin. Instead Helena offers up the “approximate” number of animals managed by her tightly knit siidi, or family group. Due to the modern economy, the Sámi must share their land, resources, expenses, and time spent tending to these herds— of which individual animals can weigh 700 pounds. “It’s the only way we can survive, the only way to sustain our

ing through open forests. This the wildest wind-stinging roller coaster ride I’ve ever experienced. Helena dives under bushes, curls around trees, and rips through anything else in the way. She stands upright and uses her agile, 5-foot-5-inch frame to twist, thrust, pull, and tilt the scooter. It’s a battle of strength, and you never know who’s really in control—Helena or the snowmobile.


eindeer travel farther than any other terrestrial mammal, some logging up to 3,000 miles in a year. “Once the reindeer begin to move, we move with them to help protect them,” Helena explains. “We look for the safest paths,

when the reindeer are at their weakest and most vulnerable,” Helena says. “They’ve just endured a long, scarce winter. They are slow, and the pregnant reindeer are especially easy prey. We have to keep them together. We have to protect them.” The annual journey begins with snowmobiles and ends with days of walking and cross-country skiing into Padjelanta, a mountainous region near the Norwegian border. Here the reindeer will feast in 24-hour sunlight and Helena and her family will spend an entire month. “We return to our roots every year in July,” she says. “There is no TV, no radio, nothing. We play, fish, mark our newborns, and just enjoy one another and nature. It’s a shame all children don’t have the opportunity to live like this in nature.” The Sámi have always lived in harmony with the great eco-cycle of nature, Helena explains later, sipping coffee and nibbling on reindeer jerky during an impromptu campfire break. But the Sámi’s past resembles that of native populations in the U.S.: segregation, forced assimilation, and inequality. European settlers descended upon the land and used stakes to declare it their own. “How can you mark and claim land that is of the earth?” Helena asks. “To us it was just as impossible as owning the air or the water. Unthinkable.” In the 1940s the Swedish government forced Sámi children to attend boarding schools where they were immersed in Swedish and “civilized” according to Swedish standards. “My parents told us it was

We’re once again barreling over endless sheets of snow-covered ice and swerving through open forests. This the wildest wind-stinging roller coaster ride I’ve ever experienced. heritage and our way of life,” Helena says, “We can’t afford it otherwise.” During winter Helena keeps a handful of reindeer in her backyard in Jokkmokk, a northerly municipality in Lappland, while her other animals spread across three or four different properties in the area. With a quick flick of the key, the “scooter” jumps to life and we’re once again barreling over endless sheets of snow-covered ice and swerv-

fight off predators, and keep them going. It’s what the Sámi have always done.” So much so that the reindeer’s movement structures the Sámi peoples’ schedules. During the course of three weeks in the spring, Helena, her family, and the reindeer move 80 to 100 miles toward higher ground, where the reindeer give birth and stay cool during the 70-degree summers. This annual migration is the Big Push. “This is




Reindeer bologna sandwiches, reindeer hot dogs, and reindeer filets grace menus around town. Above: Houses are few and far between above the Arctic Circle, these wooden cabins lie alongsidethemigrationroutebetweenJokkmokk and Padjelanta. Opposite: Top: Picnicking on a sunny Swedish afternoon, Helena, her husband, and her son make themselves at home on the snow. Middle: Making her way through the trees, Helena approaches her family’s traditional reindeer-hide kota. Bottom: Handling the massive reindeer requires finesse and trust, which Helena’s been honing her entire life. 50  WAM OWINTER’2010”


ugly to speak Sámiska, and so they only taught us Swedish,” Helena says with perfect Swedish pronunciation. But, committed to salvaging her oral heritage, she chose to learn Sámiska at a local university in her 20s. “We have an ugly history,” she says. “But here in Jokkmokk, we

have now learned to live side by side and it is good.” Jokkmokk is a small, charming town bulging with all things Sámi, including a museum, an original church, handicraft shops, and twists on traditional food. Reindeer bologna sandwiches, reindeer hot dogs, and reindeer filets grace menus around town.


gain I refuse to stick my neck out. But this time I’m standing in the middle of a large corral with 700 reindeer charging at me at full speed. Inside I panic at the impending stampede, but I’m stunned by their grace and power as they dodge me mid-stride, just inches from my profile. Eighteen Sámi herders—

including Helena’s cousin who is eight months pregnant—circle the corral, 60foot lassoes in hand, scanning for unbranded deer. It’s like a friendly competition between man and animal in the ring. Helena is in her element, her upper body twisting as she follows a young calf that’s circling with the tireless pack. With one swift toss of military precision, she lassoes the running reindeer at its antlers, pulls the animal toward her, and quickly, smoothly brings it to the ground to identify it. “This one’s mine!” she shouts, confirming its identity and quickly branding its ear. She is tender and loving with the animal. “Hurry along now. Run with the others!” she says, patting its head. I ask her later about her personal connection with the reindeer, and she talks about her favorites—the 10 to 15 animals she can spot easily based on how they walk, their fur, or the shapes of their antlers. A few she uses for racing, hauling, and company. But how does the eventual harvest of the animals affect her? She pauses for a moment. “This is the most difficult thing to do,” she says in a low, tender voice. “But I know the reindeer have lived a good life and have been cared for. It is the circle of nature.” The Sámi use every last piece of the reindeer, wasting nothing. The hides provide warmth, the meat provides nutrition, and the horns and bones provide protection. “You don’t need to slaughter so often if you are careful. Take only what you need, as little as possible, and then you are rich,” she explains. I am struck by her sense of balance. She’s noble toward the spirit of the reindeer, which creates a recipe for strained living. In addition to

the husbandry business, Helena works to support her family by fishing, hosting tourists in her family kota (a Sámi tent made of reindeer hide), working at the local museum when needed, and selling handmade bracelets, handbags, and knives embellished with antlers and bone and etched with traditional Sámi patterns. Balance, though, is key. Helena explains that her family maintains its traditional way of life but also embraces the modern gifts of computers, digital maps, cell phones, snowmobiles, and, when need be, helicopters. “These make our lives easier and safer,” she says with a genuine smile. “So why shouldn’t we use modern advancements? We can’t be preserved in a museum; we must live in the modern world.” Today is the day—the first day of the long haul, for which we’ll move more than 2,000 reindeer across the colossal Arctic. We hit the unmarked trails in the bitterly cold, grey, and cloudy morning. Helena glows with enthusiasm despite her prediction of mixed snow all day. “It will be the first time we see our entire herd together since winter started,” she says, taking a deep breath of anticipation. “It is a beautiful moment.” Helena’s sons, John Mathis, 15, and Per-Ailo, 12, each drive their own snowmobiles. Her husband, Per-Oddvar, a Norwegian Sámi, is already out. I am in awe of the boys’ adept skills, confidence, and sense of solemn respect. The family shares an unshakeable bond as they work their reindeer together. Today’s goal: Move the giant herd 15 miles across the frozen tundra. We cut across a few large open expanses of ice and take our position at the forest’s edge. As we wait for the other herders and

reindeer to arrive, Helena reminds me it’s not all sunshine and joyrides. She’s endured many sleepless finger-numbing nights, fought off prowling wolves, and witnessed bear attacks on weakened reindeer mothers and unborn calves. Her worst experience was when the ice broke while crossing a semifrozen river. “It was horrible,” Helena says grimly. “We tried hard to save as many as we could.” She recounted their severe desperation as they lassoed the frantic animals, heaving some from the frigid water while watching others get swept away in the ferocious undercurrent. In addition to predators and thin ice, more-ominous aggressors threaten the survival of the reindeer and the Sámi way of life: deforestation and global warming.


n average of 90 to 100 million cubic meters of forest is harvested every year in Sweden, and just 3.3 percent of the country’s productive forestland is protected. Seventyfive percent of the country’s productive forestland is privately owned by individuals and lumber companies hoping to reap their shares of the country’s nearly $30 billion forestry industry. Reindeer require huge range and intact ecosystems, and Helena feels that foresting companies are slowly devouring the forests. “One shouldn’t take what can’t be reproduced in a year,” she says. “And they are taking too, too much. It is disappearing. We see it before our eyes.” Given the current rate of climate change, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center warns that the Arctic will be ice-free during the summer months by 2030. The heavy cloud of global

warming looms large. A recent study from the University of Alberta revealed that the global reindeer population plummeted nearly 60 percent in the last three decades due to climate change and habitat disturbance. Researchers deem the situation “extremely urgent,” as reindeer are central to survival of northern ecosystems. Long-term trends indicate an ice decline in the Arctic of 3.3 percent per decade, an average of 15,500 square miles of ice per year. In Jokkmokk and the Padjelanta Mountain region, that’s a direct and intensifying threat that Helena and her family are already experiencing. “We’ve even had rain in January,” she exclaims. “It never rains in January! It just doesn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen.” At that time of year, freezing rain creates a thick layer of ice that the reindeer can’t break through to forage for food. Although they can live up to six weeks without eating, an ice cap over already-sparse foliage can eventually force them into starvation. “We do what we can to buy feed, and take care of our animals,” she says quietly. “You can afford to do that maybe once or twice, but not ever year.” I am shocked and saddened. The Sámi, with their balanced approach to life and deep respect for animals, have contributed the least to the percolating environmental crisis. But in a finger snap, global warming and deforestation may sweep them under the planet’s rug. “When winter leaves Jokkmokk, the reindeer will disappear and so will we,” Helena says slowly and sadly as she looks off to the never-ending distance of the Arctic. I know the day ahead will be long and cold as we tire-

lessly drive, push, and herd the reindeer more than 15 miles before safely tucking them into another makeshift corral for the night. The group will push forward for the next several weeks, braving the harsh elements and hungry predators. It’s what they’ve always done and will always do as long as there is winter. I snap back into reality as I hear the buzzing of snowmobiles and the high-pitched calls coming from the other herders. I look up to see the entire 2,000-head herd emerging from the forest—a

magnificent running, jogging, and walking mass. I can say nothing, but I notice a moose in the distance also transfixed by the majestic movement of Mother Nature’s splendor. The sky is large, the horizon unending. I watch the reindeer. They are beautiful, gentle, and aware. But mostly they are innocent to their changing environment and shrinking numbers. It begins to snow in small, soft pellets. The thick stillness of the expansive Arctic is accompanied by the constant clicking sound of the animals’ knees moving

en masse. It is a privilege to share this grand corner of the planet with them, to journey with them, and to be reminded again of the dire need to care of our planet and all her creatures. •

Below: Hundreds of reindeer moving slowly across the tundra on the beginning of a 100-mile stretch of their annual migration. Opposite: Top: The hollow, insulating hairs on a reindeer’s overcoat help it tolerate extreme temperatures. Middle: Helena watches the herd with her lasso at the ready. Bottom: Sami wear the traditional gákti in for ceremonial occasions and when herding reindeer. Different color combinations and ornamentation hint at marital status and family geography.

Embrace To lessen the number of days you look out the window and decide to ditch your run, hike, bike ride, or snowshoe trek in favor of burrowing beneath your down comforter or watching college football (that’s why there’s TiVo), we’ve gathered expert advice from four world-class summer-sport athletes. After all, five-alarm chili tastes way better after putting in a few miles. ■

The key to working out in the winter is to never do it alone. 54  WAM OWINTER’2009”


Kimberly Baldwin

porter foto

So you’re not a winter person. It’s okay. Nothing to be embarrassed about. But as a fairweather adventure gal, you’re missing out on one of the best seasons. That’s one-fourth of your year, a whole 25 percent of your outdoor-girl self, spent inside. Needlessly.

K. Baldwin

By Courtney Johnson & Michelle Theall

Forget the whipping wind, dropping temps, and slippery slush and ice. We’ll have you playing outside like a giddy kid on a snow day.

Grab a buddy ■

Two-time defending Ironman world champion and current iron-distance world record holder Chrissie Wellington knows the winter blues make it hard to get out the door. “Find some reliable and fun friends to train with,” she says. “It makes it tougher to duck out of a workout if you feel you’re letting someone else down.” Kimberly Baldwin, a four-time U.S. national cycling champion, agrees: “The key to working out in the winter is to never do it alone.” Make a list of people you know you can count on to show up and arrive on time, especially if you’re the one who usually flakes out. Can’t find a blizzard buddy? Try the furry, four-legged kind. Dogs (yours, the local shelter’s, or a neighbor’s) are steadfast training partners regardless of weather.

Pretend you’re a kid again ■

Remember snow days? No school. Snowmen. Fort fights. Sledding. You could be soaked to the bone with icicles hanging from your ears, and you’d still fight with your mom to let you stay out a little longer. Baldwin taps her inner child regularly. “I love to ride my mountain bike after it snows,” she says. “Sure you’ll probably crash, but falling in the soft snow doesn’t hurt as much, and you’ll feel like a kid again.” Play. No one says you need to run or bike or snowshoe if these sports aren’t for you. Try a game of snow tag, build an igloo, go ice skating, join a hockey team, or make a snowboard jump in your backyard.

porter foto

K. Baldwin

Reward ■ yourself

Find some reliable and fun friends to train with. It makes it tougher to duck out of a workout if you feel you’re letting someone else down.

After she comes in from the cold, Wellington treats herself to a “movie night with warm pj’s and slippers.” While it doesn’t take a PhD to know that positive reinforcement works, sports psychologist Julie Emmerman emphasizes its effectiveness. “It’s a lot easier to get out the door and get your body moving if you know, once you return, there is your favorite cup of hot cocoa, tea, or a hot shower, waiting for you,” she says. Create a ritual that you associate with a specific physical activity, such as: running in the snow equals a soak in the hot tub. Or perhaps every Wednesday’s snowshoe ends with a group breakfast or coffee klatch.

Sign up for an event ■

If you can’t find friends to hold you accountable, sign up for a snowshoe race like the Tubbs Romp to Stomp. Set a goal and train for it. “But choose goals that are realistic, enjoyable to pursue, and obtainable,” Emmerman advises. Before the snow flies, check out and select the race nearest you. Or try for a broad selection of events.

Limit your exposure ■

Three-time XTERRA world champion Melanie McQuaid typically chooses activities that are accessible and pack a wallop. “Snowshoeing and skate-skiing give me a great workout in a short amount of time so I don’t have to be outside for as long,” she says. Likewise, Shayne Culpepper, twotime Olympic runner and co-owner of Solepepper Sports, suggests working out right outside your door: “This way you can have access to warm, dry clothes post-workout, and a warm drink isn’t too far away.” On the worst winter-weather days, select an activity close to home and try 20 to 30 minutes of intense training.

Hit your favorite ■ summer trails

McQuaid is a fan of finding complements to what she loves doing in the summer to get her through cold-weather workouts. “Find a sport that’s like the winter version of a summer sport you like to do,” she advises. “I cross-country ski the trails that I love to mountain bike. I get to see the trails in a whole new way.” Scout a few of your go-to warm-weather hiking and biking trails and think about how you can use them when they’re covered in the fluffy white stuff.

Prepare ■

We saved the most important tip for last: Buy winter gear that works and keep it handy. Culpepper suggests spending money on well-constructed clothing that will keep you warm and dry in the elements. “Quality winter outdoor apparel will be a purchase you won’t regret,” she says. “Keeping dry and warm on those cold, wet days will make [your activity] less daunting. There are tons of new fabrics and lightweight pieces out there.” According to Emmerman, having the right gear and apparel also builds confidence and “provides an added sense of psychological reassurance.” Assemble a winter arsenal and have it ready to go each morning. Don’t be afraid to wear the same outfit every day. Most base layers come with antimicrobial features and are breathable enough to eliminate heavy sweating.

56  WAM OWINTER’2010”


Victah Sailor; courtney johnson


Snowshoeing and skate-skiing give me a great workout in a short amount of time so I don’t have to be outside for as long.

Ready, Set, We’ve got the


Brooks Nightlife LED Light Band

gear to get you out.

This slap bracelet conforms to your arm or leg and has reflective 3M Scotchlite and a blinking LED. Perfect for early-morning or after-work runs.


Victah Sailor; courtney johnson

Joneswares Performance ■ Cycling Tights

Have it your way. The folks at Joneswares will equip these heavyduty wool tights with one of three chamois styles—from barely-there to ultra plush—and custom-cut the cuffs of these heavy-duty tights to fit your inseam. You’ll stay warm and have some padding left in your wallet, too.


Yaktrax Pro ■

Crisscrossing steel coils allow runners to move across snow and ice as confidently as they would on dry land. Lightweight and stretchy, Yaktrax Pro conforms to your foot without adding bulk.


Mountain ■ Hardwear Radiance Jacket ■

Perhaps one of the year’s most innovative products, the Radiance uses the Moshi Power System by Ardica Technologies to provide up to eight hours of heat (three hours on the highest setting) and to charge your iPod and cell phone. The jacket has all the bells and whistles you expect from Mountain Hardwear and weighs just 1 pound, 6 ounces.

$230; WAM OWINTER’2010” 



Kahtoola FLIGHTdek TS23 ■

The solution to unpredictable trail conditions, Kahtoola’s newest snowshoe combines a strap-on traction cleat with a patent-pending snowshoe binding. The result? A seamless trail side transition between hard packed snow and untracked powder. Available is three sizes for even more versatility running, hiking, and lugging a hut-bound pack.


Saucony ProGrid Razor

Looks like a shoe made for Spider-Man. Ideal for runners who want the fit and comfort of a traditional Saucony running shoe without getting their feet wet in slush and sleet. A built-in, zip-up eVent gaitor keeps runners toasty and dry without adding bulk or extra weight to the shoe.

SUGOI ■ Wallaroo 170 L/S

Once you don this silkysmooth merino base layer, you’ll never want to take it off. Naturally wicking, anti-odor, and with the elastic stretch sufficient for pre-run warmups and standing bicycling hillclimbs. This long sleeve crew adds warmth without bulk, works with every winter workout, and will outlast almost every other item in your closet.



Little Hotties Foot Warmer Insoles

You may know Little Hotties for their tea bag–size hand and foot warmers, but they also make performance insoles with secret compartments for toe-warmer packets (three pairs of warmers included). Warmers stay in place in winter, and when summer returns wear the insoles without them.


58  WAM OWINTER’2010”





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60  WAM OWINTER’2010”



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Determine to live life with flair and laughter. Maya Angelou (1928 - ) 64  WAM OWINTER’2010”


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December 2009 Women's Adventure  

The magazine for women who thrive in the wild! In this issue: High-alpine huts, cruising Vancouver, Austin’s outdoor offerings, New Mexico’...

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