You are probably familiar with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but what do you know about the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)? NEPA is a critical piece of legislation, and each of us needs to understand what it does and why it matters so much — especially since some major changes to NEPA are being proposed that could have extremely serious environmental and human rights consequences. So to help us understand the high stakes of the changes being proposed, we spoke to Hilary Eisen, the policy director for the Winter Wildlands Alliance.
BlackAFinSTEM was started to encourage and support Black individuals who are working in — or who are just passionate about — the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and also to encourage, support, and increase the visibility of Black naturalists and Black people who recreate and work outdoors. So we talk to Tyler Jones, the co-organizer of Black Birders Week, about all of the above, plus the difference between a bird and a trash bag; Taco Bell & STEM; her graduate work on bees (!!!); and more.
Most of us know that bee populations are struggling to survive, but why? And why do bees play such a critical role in the production of food? We talk to Peter Nelson and Sally Roy about their new film, The Pollinators, which tells the story of bees and beekeeping and soil and farming practices and pesticides and the EPA and why we need to change the way we produce food — and what each of us can do to help the cause.
We talk with our friend, Sanjay Rawal, about his new film, Gather. (Sanjay directed the film, Renan Ozturk was the cinematographer, & Jason Momoa produced it.) Gather tells the story of the growing food sovereignty movement among Native American tribes across the U.S., and this film is sure to cause you to re-evaluate your own relationship to food and to land and to a lot of other things.
As a number of locations are beginning to relax travel restrictions and are able to welcome visitors back, we wanted to discuss some important reminders and best practices for recreating responsibly in this time of COVID. We’ve also included some important links in the show notes to this episode that you should check out to ensure that you are up-to-date on state and local ordinances. So give this a listen, and let’s all do our best to do things the right way.
In the latest installment of our Blister Book Club, we talk with the artist, Geoff McFetridge, about Jack Turner’s book, The Abstract Wild. We discuss why Geoff selected this book; why it isn’t designed to be a comfortable read; why we need to get clear on the distinction between “the wild” and “wilderness”; and why we think that every reader of BLISTER ought to read this book.
Henry Munter is a lead heli guide and the general manager of Chugach Powder Guides in Girdwood, AK, and we talk with him about making the call to shut down operations right as the heli season was in full swing; the evolution of heli skiing; decision making, memory, and some of the tools and practices Henry uses in forecasting, guiding clients, and handling all types of different aspects of the business; and we discuss environmentalism and heli skiing, and how Henry and others at CPG are thinking about those two things.
The creativity and talent on display in X Games Real Ski is always so bonkers that it can be easy to overlook all that goes into making these 90-second edits. So we talked with Real Ski 2020 winner, Jake Mageau, about what really goes into filming a successful 90-second edit; scouting and settling on locations; the insane “Mind Flip” he puts down in this edit, and more.
The ski industry has undergone rapid changes in the past several years, and we are currently in another unprecedented moment with the COVID-19 pandemic. So to help us better understand the past, present, and future of the ski industry, we talked to industry veteran and author of SKI INC, and SKI INC. 2020, Chris Diamond, about the rise of the EPIC and IKON passes; this recent era of rampant ski resort acquisitions; the state (and fate) of independent ski areas; whether COVID-19 will likely have lasting impacts on the ski industry; and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We talk to IFMGA / AMGA mountain guide, Rob Coppolillo (author of The Mountain Guide Manual and the new book, The Ski Guide Manual) about how he got into guiding; the current state of backcountry and avalanche education; his take on the pros and cons of avalanche airbag packs; the fundamental question of the most effective way to travel in the backcountry; and more.
Wendy Fisher is one of the all-time greats. She is a two-time World Extreme Skiing Champion; was on the U.S. Ski Team; filmed with Warren Miller and MSP; and played a huge role in showing the world what women could do in big-mountain arenas. We spoke to Wendy about all of this and more (including a few fantastic Shane McConkey and Seth Morrison stories).
In the world of ski and ski boot design, Thor Verdonk is well known and very well respected. So we talked to Thor about his background, his 25+ year career with the Rossignol Group and how he became the Global Brand Director for Lange, then we talk about the history of ski design and ski boot design; developing the Rossi S7; and we get his predictions about what the ski industry will look like 10 years from now.
Geoff McFetridge is an iconic designer and visual artist who’s worked with the Beastie Boys, Pharrell Williams, Spike Jonez and Rick Rubin, and companies ranging from Patagonia, Nike, the New York Times, Oreo, and many more. Geoff is also a passionate skateboarder and skier, and a big fan of … BLISTER??? So we talk to Geoff about going from being a sponsored skater to starting a skateboard company to designing for some of the biggest companies, bands, musicians, and directors in the world. We discuss skate vs. ski vs. snowboard culture; being a “conflicted” telemarker; and a whole lot more.
What will the ski & snowboard industry look like 10 years from now? Will backcountry skiing and splitboarding keep growing? Will indoor ski areas become more common? Will there be fewer or more ski companies in existence 10 years from now? We offer our predictions on all of these questions and more.