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Adam W. Chase

While regular running routes serve as havens that help maintain sanity, they are just that: routine, something that you don’t necessarily remember, the way you don’t recall brushing your teeth. Transporting the activity of running to an exotic destination adds motivation and creates indelible impressions, especially if you wrap the trip around a particular running event. It converts what may be an ordinary endeavor into an extraordinary experience. Besides, after being cooped up from an overseas flight, your body will yearn to run long and hard. Long-haul travel is the perfect taper. Malaysia and Israel are two countries runners don’t [...]

Monique Seitz-Davis

Just because winter has settled in for the season, doesn’t mean you have to hang up your running shoes or retreat to the indoor hamster wheel. And while a frigid jaunt around the park or on the trails can sound pretty darn daunting, outfitting yourself with the right gear can make all the difference. In fact, you might find yourself enjoying cold-weather running. What to Wear—From the Bottom Up Socks Okay, so socks aren’t the most glamorous place to start, but they’re effectively the foundation for your feet. I highly recommend merino wool socks to any who ask (or those [...]

Connor Johnson

When you ask most people for advice about winter camping, their response is usually either “Don’t!” or “Why?” To many, heading out into the wilderness when there’s snow on the ground and temperatures are in the single digits is totally crazy. But there are actually a lot of good reasons to go winter camping: quiet, solitude, having your pick of camping locations, and freedom from bugs and bears (which are most likely in hibernation), and, if your trip includes backcountry skiing or snowboarding, access to all the untouched snow you could want. The key, of course, is staying warm. The [...]

Colin Clancy

We’ve all felt it, the way those first stray flakes of a big winter storm turn thoughts from school or work to more important things like waxing your board or setting your ski boots next to the heater for the night. It’s not even snowing yet, but the cars in the parking lot outside the Backcountry office already have their windshield wipers pointed skyward. It might be hopeful thinking, maybe a strange offering to the snow gods, but more likely it’s the knowledge that there’s a storm a-brewin’ and we’ll soon be milking the pow cow. I spoke with Evan [...]

Curtis Jensen

Winter offers unique challenges for anglers, and it can therefore be an especially rewarding season for those who really want to hone their skills. Here are a few important facts about fly fishing during the winter months. Most rivers don’t freeze Unless you’re at very high elevation or very far from the equator, your favorite moving waters don’t freeze in the winter. This is especially the case for tailwaters, any river or stream coming from a dam or other impoundment. Most dams are built such that outflows come from positions lower down the water column, making for generally consistent water [...]

Colin Clancy

My butt’s too big for the hard molded plastic chairs of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport; my back aches and the metal armrests on either side dig into my ribs. I’m alone and broke, my student loan deposit having been delayed. People speak Swahili around me, some German, some French. Then I hear a British family across the terminal speaking English, and it brings some comfort. While this moment may seem like a lonesome one, it is actually a fond memory, one of those flashes of time that embed themselves in the mind of a traveler like a photograph. There is [...]

Patrick Law

Scoring a pair of older but pristine skis at ski swap can give you serious shopper’s high and make your season, but shopping for ski bindings gets a little trickier. There’s no pretty topsheet, stiffness to test, or sidecut to eye; there are only mysterious inner workings. But don’t be intimidated; essentially bindings attach your boots to your skis. For most types, this job also entails efficient transfer of energy from boot to ski and safe release when you fall, but it’s not rocket science. There are three main types of bindings, and here is how to choose which ones [...]

Omar Muhyar

It wasn’t that long ago when snowboard designs followed a similar formula, with shorter twin-shaped boards dominating the park scene and stiffer, slightly directional boards primarily focused on freeriding. Although these classic shapes are still relevant for their obvious strengths, snowboards are rapidly evolving with space-age materials, rocker-hybrid profiles, and shorter, wider shapes bucking preconceived notions of what’s possible in design. Influenced by surf design, many of these newer shapes are shorter and stubbier, displacing more volume for the same flotation and stability of a longer board, but without the hefty turning radius when you’re seeking stashes in tight tree [...]

Colin Clancy

Stand on a beach in Marquette, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on a typical November day, and you’ll likely feel the cold spray from raging gale waves on Lake Superior. And then will come winter, a time that brings weeks of below zero temperatures, over 200 inches of annual snowfall, some of the best starry nights you can imagine, and great opportunities to gaze north into the dancing lights that are the aurora borealis. Before that, though, is the best time of year in the U.P. It’s a time when the typically icy waters of Superior, having had all summer to [...]

Justin Morgan

The basic function of any snow goggles is enhance your vision on the slopes, by protecting your eyes from wind, snow, impact, and cold, as well as compensating for lighting conditions. Basically, they’re key to your having a good day on the slopes, which makes getting the right pair for you kind of important. But with the dizzying selection of ski and snowboard goggles on the market today, choosing the right one can get confusing—there’s a lot more to it than picking a pair that matches your new jacket. Here’s a quick overview of things to consider while making your [...]

Colin Clancy

The trees and bushes surrounding Utah’s Weber River are full of bugs—elk hair caddis, zebra midges, and prince nymphs—hoppers, muddler minnows, and wooly buggers. I know this because I put them there, not on purpose of course. Above photo by Matt Ebbers My interest in flies started as purely utilitarian, catching fish and replacing what was missing from my box, but I soon learned to appreciate the artistic beauty of these bundles of feathers and thread, and the people who sit over the vise tying them. My fat fingers struggle to tie a rainbow warrior onto 6x tippet, so I [...]

Adam W. Chase

When you boil it down, runners are travelers. Photos by Jamie Mieras We move through space faster than walkers and hikers and, at times, we venture to different parts of the world to run on new roads and trails. Running away from home, or, rather, running while traveling, is somewhat of an acquired skill and this guide provides some shortcuts and does so contextually, in the central coast of California. Highway 1 Discovery Route is to roads what many of the trails in communities along the scenic coastal drive are to running trails: they are both iconic. As such, the [...]

Jimmy Elam

Simplicity is one of the greatest things about running. You leave the house with just your trusty pair of shoes (okay, hopefully shorts too) not worrying about flat bike tires, waxing the skis, or if your sleeping bag is warm enough. Since running is so simple, how is it that choosing a running shoe can be so challenging and frustrating? The number of running shoes on the market is overwhelming, to say the least. With varieties ranging from trail, road, neutral, stability, minimalist and maximalist, it’s no surprise many runners get stuck with a shoe that’s not for them. Don’t [...]

Rob de Luca

If asked, most skiers would likely say that sidecut—the modern version of it—came before fat skis. They’d be wrong, but only on a technicality. Fat skis have been around since the late ’80s, but it really was the development of modern sidecut (thanks, snowboarding) in the late ’90s that started the move to fatter dimensions in skis. Since turning no longer required shins of iron and quads the size of pot-bellied pigs, skis could be made wider without making them simultaneously harder to maneuver. Width became the new hot thing, and around 2006 skis simply exploded, going as wide as [...]

Alex Bass

So you’ve narrowed down your list of snowboard choices, and all you need now is the secret formula for choosing the right size board, right? Well, sorry to disappoint you right off the bat, but no such formula exists. However, the good news is that there are some tips that can help you decide for yourself which snowboard length is right for you. Height & Weight Snowboard Size Chart Rider Weight Up to 70lb (32kg) 80lb (36kg) 90lb (41kg) 100lb (45kg) 110lb (50kg) 120lb (54kg) 130lb (59kg) 140lb (64kg) 150lb (68kg) 160lb (73kg) 170lb (77kg) 180lb (82kg) 190lb (86kg) 200lb [...]

Rob de Luca

While there’s no equation that looks like (height x weight)/(skill level)√magical number = perfect length in the skiing world, there are a few tips that can point you in the right direction when you’re trying to figure out which length of ski is right for you. Likewise, there’s no formula regarding width; the prevailing sentiment post-fat-ski-revolution seems to be, “Ski the widest ski you can without sacrificing performance,” and as a generalization, we tend to agree. But should you ski on wider skis? And if so, how wide do you go? The Long & The Short of It Length changes [...]

Connor Johnson

The style statement, the gear hauler, or the bottomless pit of fun: Whatever you call it, the daypack carries all of your essentials, wherever you’re going and whatever you’re doing. You may be wondering just what about a backpack makes it a “daypack.” Well, it comes down to the size. A daypack sits in the range from about 610 cubic inches (10L) to 2135 cubic inches (35L). For most people, packs in this size range do an excellent job at carrying a single day’s worth of gear, but needs do vary depending on the individual and activity. When shopping for [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Rope care and maintenance is one of those things that climbers neglect at their peril. One aspect that is frequently debated among climbers is the question of how to clean a rope. I’ve cleaned ropes using all the methods described below, many of which I learned from other climbers, read about in magazines, or read about online. In all of that research, one thing I’ve never read is someone raising the bigger question, which is: Do you actually even need to clean your rope, and should you? I ask because every time I’ve washed my rope, I’ve noticed that the [...]

Jeff Catalano

Climbing hotspots are sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Among the monotony of grassy hills and grazing cattle just north of the Utah-Idaho border, sitting on the edge of the small town of Almo, sits City of Rocks. City of Rocks National Reserve is part of the California Trail and has a rich history as a landmark for emigrants heading west on wagons. There are several historical sites within the Reserve, such as Camp Rock and Register Rock, which feature signatures scribed in axle grease from emigrants heading to California in the mid 1800s. Besides its historical significance, City [...]

Curtis Jensen

So you’re going to do some traveling. Serious traveling. Maybe you’re headed to Peru to see Machu Picchu and spend a few weeks village-hopping down the Andes. Or you have ten days of August snowboarding booked in New Zealand. Or you have a Eurail pass and three months to kill before grad school begins. Maybe you’re planning some deep-water free solo climbing in Thailand, development work in Namibia, or 200 miles on the Camino de Santiago. For serious traveling, you’re going to need a serious bag. But should you go with a backpack or a rolling gear bag? How long [...]

Eric Watford

On a hot, sunny summer day, nothing beats getting out on the water. Photo above courtesy NRS. More and more, people are discovering stand-up paddleboarding, whether it’s as a new fitness or yoga medium, a new way to explore waterways, a new approach to surfing, an alternative to kayak fishing, or simply as a great way to enjoy warm weather. If this sounds appealing, here’s what you need to know to select a board and get started with stand-up paddleboarding. When looking at boards, your first decision will necessarily be between inflatable and solid boards. Each have their advantages and [...]

Adam W. Chase

Tripling up with running in the Canadian Rockies is all the rage this summer. Photo credit above: William Eaton, Golden Ultra With two tremendous events, both hosting three days of incredibly scenic and enticing trail running, you have your pick of courses and distances in a ruggedly accommodating part of the world. The Trailstoke Trifecta Triplestoke and Golden Ultra are both held in Canadian destination ski resorts that are just as beautiful in the summer as they are in the winter. If you’re a running aficionado, and even if you’re not, these spots are definitely bucket-list-worthy. Getting Stoked in Revelstoke: [...]

Colin Clancy

“Barring love I’ll take my life in large doses alone—rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs.” —Jim Harrison Each autumn the gales of November blow from Canada and raise 20-foot waves on Lake Superior that ravage the gorgeous and rugged shoreline of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Home to legendary American author Jim Harrison for much of his life, this coast of the freshwater sea pervades Harrison’s work in spirit and is home to many of his most enduring characters. A gem of that coast is Marquette, a town whose Landmark Inn houses a Jim Harrison suite. Living in Marquette, I first read [...]

Sunn Kim

The landscape of Utah is world-renown for its immense beauty, grandeur, and diversity. From the jagged peaks of the Wasatch Range to the deep canyons of Zion, Utah’s landscape has been heralded as one of the most beautiful places on earth. For this reason, a disproportionately large number of national and state parks dot the land. While each park is unique, they all have in common one immutable fact: they somehow defy description and photography. One can describe the landscape and take numerous photos, but it is difficult to encapsulate the essence and sheer scale of these places. One must [...]

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