Baby giraffes? Organic bamboo scissors? Superman? Since we now have to learn how to tele ski (we’ll explain), we’re crowdsourcing a crash course in what we need to know to avoid embarrassing and / or killing ourselves. So here in Part 1, we solicited the best tips and advice from artist and telemarker, Geoff McFetridge; Flylow Gear president, Dan Abrams; and Blister reviewers, Paul Forward and Kristin Sinnott.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, a number of companies in the outdoor industry are pivoting away from their normal operations and product offerings to provide healthcare workers with critical gear. So we talk to physician assistant and Blister reviewer, Sascha Anastas, about the scope of the problem, and we then talk to Kitsbow, Industry Nine, and Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis about how they are each helping the cause.
Eric Schranz has been a staple of the trail running and ultrarunning world for over a decade — both as a passionate runner, and as the host of Ultrarunnerpodcast.com. And since Eric spends so much of his time writing about and interviewing other runners, Brendan Leonard (semi-rad.com) and I thought it would be fun to put Eric in the guest seat. So Brendan and I talked with Eric about how he got into running; his work in the music industry and politics; getting started at ultrarunnerpodcast.com; the art of conversation; how running media differs from other sports media coverage; and a whole lot more — including, a rather spirited discussion about the best bank robbery and heist movies of all time.
Caite Zeliff is a former ski racer turned big mountain skier who won the first ever Kings & Queens of Corbet’s competition in 2018, then won it again in 2019, then was on the podium this past year. She’s filmed with Warren Miller and TGR, she is equally fun to ski with and to shoot the breeze with, and, while she’s already accomplished a lot, it seems like Caite is just getting started. So we caught up with Caite on her birthday to discuss skiing; filming vs photo shoots; her best Marcus Caston story; her music and podcast recommendations; and more.
Bison Wool? Bison Down? That’s a thing? Well it’s being used by United By Blue,
who started salvaging otherwise wasted bison fibers, and is now incorporating them into a growing range of products. So we talked with Brendan Raugh at United By Blue about how the company was founded as a waterway cleanup company; how they went on to develop an entire line of apparel around salvaged bison coat fibers; how bison fibers compare to sheep’s wool and goose down; and more.
Before this FWT season, Isaac Freeland, was a very good skier who was definitely on his way up. But then Isaac not only was named the 2020 Freeride World Tour Rookie of the Year, he also became the FTW World Champion. So we had Isaac take us through his first season on the FWT, and walk us through each stop. We also discuss what it was like competing against some of the biggest names in skiing; how he approached each particular comp; the rather surreal — and abrupt — end to this comp season, and more.
Full Tilt ski boots are beloved by some (including the likes of Bode Miller, Tom Wallisch, Seth Morrison, and Sammy Carlson), but they get pigeonholed by others who think of them as only being for park rats. So we talk to Austin Peters, the Ski Boot Engineering Manager for Full Tilt and K2 Ski Boots, about the history of Full Tilt; what makes them unique; why you might opt for a Full Tilt over an overlap boot; and what’s new for 20/21.
Ryan Van Duzer has a YouTube series called, Running with Ryan. And last fall, as our Off The Couch co-host, Brendan Leonard, was nearing his goal of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, Ryan had Brendan as a guest on Running with Ryan. So we thought we’d give Brendan the chance to turn the tables and have him interview Ryan, and that proved to be a good idea. They talk about snakes; biking across the country; starting his YouTube channel; the Burning Man Ultra; and a whole lot more.
We talk to veteran ski industry reporter, Jason Blevins of the Colorado Sun, about the COVID-19 pandemic and this past weekend’s historic and abrupt mass closure of ski areas. We discuss what, exactly, is going on; what is likely to come next; the impact on ski towns; and what each of us should and shouldn’t be doing right now.
Picture Organic Clothing is going way beyond common sustainability practices with things like castor bean oil waterproof membranes and sugar cane waste-derived polyester, and they are attempting to eliminate polybags from their entire supply chain. So we talked to Picture’s co-founder, Julien Durant, and their sustainability manager, Florian Palluel about these ambitious projects — including their new air-permeable membrane, Xpore, that they are putting in direction competition with Gore Pro and TNF Futurelight.
For many of us, it will soon be time to dust off our bikes and get back to riding. So what are some of the most important things you can do to your bike if you haven’t been riding it? To answer this, we talked to Simon Stewart, who has a long history in the bike industry, and who currently owns and runs the bike shop, Boneshaker Cycles, in Buena Vista, Colorado.
Joe Grant is an endurance athlete, a mountain runner, a reader, a writer, a thinker, a filmmaker, and, as you are about to find out, an exceptional storyteller. In this conversation, Brendan Leonard and Jonathan Ellsworth talk to Joe about how he got into running; racing (and winning) the 2008 Caballo Blanco Copper Canyon Ultra and how that affected his life; his Tour de Fourteeners, a self-powered and self-supported link up of all Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks by bike and on foot; and a whole lot more.
Bobby Brown is one of the best slopestyle and big-air comp skiers of all time, but he’s currently focused on finding out what he’s capable of in the backcountry. So I talked to Bobby about his trajectory; the art of landings, air awareness, and making mid-air adjustments; who he most enjoys watching these days; what’s next for him; and more.
Luke Koppa, Kristin Sinnott, and Jonathan Ellsworth discuss some of the new skis, boots, and apparel they’ve been testing, including products from K2, Blizzard, Nordica, Rossignol, WNDR Alpine, Atomic, Dynastar, & more. We also discuss what skis we prefer for off-piste, icy conditions; the merits of slim-fit ski pants; which ski boots are best described as “donkeys”; and more.
The World Cup Downhill season starts in just a couple of weeks, so we checked in with Blister reviewers Noah Bodman, David Golay, and Ben Sims to get their thoughts on and predictions for the upcoming season. We also discuss the future prospects and popularity of World Cup DH racing versus the popularity and trajectory of Enduro World Series racing, and we place one very big wager on the upcoming season.
When a 15-year-old Hayden Hawks first learned about the Western States 100, he knew that he would someday get into running ultras, and it became his dream to race Western States. Fast forward 14 years later, and the now-29-year-old Hayden Hawks is a world-class runner, he’s just won the Black Canyon 100k, and he’s qualified to race Western States this June. So we talked to Hayden about his Black Canyon 100 win and the specific lessons he learned there. And we discuss his trajectory from running track in high school to where he is today, and more.
Last week at Western Colorado University, we talked to Tommy Caldwell about speed climbing & setting the speed record on the Nose with Alex Honnold; strength vs. experience; how he focuses on climbing projects while also having more disparate responsibilities than ever; and how and why he’s become increasingly involved with environmental causes; and more.