Tips and Tricks for Planning the Ultimate Ski Season

While it seems like summer just ended, the truth is we are already deep into autumn. That means winter isn’t far off , which means that it is time to plan out another season: ski season. Here are some tips for planning out your ski season itinerary.

Pad Your Pass
If you plan in purchasing a resort pass this year (and you should if you’re really wanting to up your skiing ability and get the most bang for your buck), you may also want to consider padding your pass with a few days at resorts that are outside your pass. Many resorts offer what are called “transferable 4 packs” that can be bought early-on in the season and will save you considerable cash off a daily lift ticket. You or anyone in your party can use these “packs” throughout the season, so they also make great gifts.

Avis and Beacons
If you’re planning on doing any side country or backcountry skiing, brushing up with an avalanche safety course or two couldn’t hurt. These courses are put on by a variety of outdoor institutions including the Colorado Mountain Club and SheJumps ( be sure to check for regional availability). Furthermore, REI often partners with a variety of outdoor centers to put on these classes each season. Not quite ready to invest in a pricey course but wanna get your feet wet? REI also hosts free Introduction to Avalanche Safety classes that you can sign up for online if you has an REI nearby.

Note: An introductory course is just the first step in preparing yourself to ski in the backcountry. A great deal of time, practice, and coaching from more experienced backcountry skiers is highly recommended.

If you’re already an experienced backcountry skier or boarder, now is the perfect time to check your gear by making sure your beacons are still working properly. Organize or attend a “beacon games” gathering where instructors and the public can participate in mock avalanche situations, learn to use or brush up on their beacon skills, and discuss various elements of avalanche safety.

Rally the Troops
As ski season revs up, make sure all of your friends are on board. Buy passes together, attend the annual Warren Miller film, and plan trips. Having a solid group of people to ski and snowboard with all season long will ensure that you have fun, stay safe, and push your boundaries.

Get the Gear and Maintain It
If you’re a season or two into your powder career, it may be time to upgrade on your gear. More importantly, no matter how many years you’ve been riding the mountain, maintaining your equipment is key. During the months of September and October, start going through your ski and boarding gear. Assess what is still working for you and where you’d like to invest some money.

Now is also the time for getting your bindings adjusted, skis and boards waxed, as well as Nikwaxing your slope apparel.

No Train, Lots of Pain
Like any dedicated outdoorsman or woman, you’ve probably been training for ski season throughout the summer months with a weekly routine of mountain biking, climbing, peak-bagging, and yoga. However, just because the snow is here doesn’t mean you can stop cross-training for the mountain. For you weekend warriors who plan on shredding, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re keeping your cardio and strength training in place during the week. Yoga is also an excellent way to build lean muscles, strengthen, and length tendons to prevent injury on the slopes. For more specifics on how to train for the snow, check out Bode Miller’s personal workout routine.

Focus on Quality, Not Just Quantity
You’ll often here bros brag about how many days they got last year or how many they plan on crushing this coming season. While consistency is key if you want to improve your skiing and snowboarding, make sure you’re setting more performance based goals for yourself rather than just striving to hit a certain number of days.

Some goals to set for yourself may include:

-the number of powder days you hope to ski or board (weather dependent, of course)

-how many different resorts you want to visit

-how many hours/runs you want to get in during a single day

-making a smooth transition from black diamonds to double blacks

-going on your first side country or back country trip

-organizing a hut trip

-saving and training for your first heli-skiing adventure

There are a multitude of ways to push yourself beyond a mere number. Just remember, the person pushing the hardest is the person who is having the most fun on the mountain while respecting it and all of its wonders.

We love you, just remember that.

How to Score a Date with a Skier-Chick

srtFor most serious skiers, finding love of the slopes isn’t exactly at the top of their priorities list. What with the fresh pow, trying for rope drops, and just generally upping your game, you might not have time to stop and chat with that cute skier chick you noticed ripping it down the mountain. In fact, she was probably moving so fast and leaving you in her snow spray, that you might as well just give up and go do a couple of groomers. Right?

Wrong.

Believe it or not, plenty skier chicks are out on the mountain riding solo and are more than happy to give out their number to the right guy. The tips below, along with the general understanding that you shouldn’t be creepy, can help you snag a ski date with that cutie you’ve been admiring.

Lift Talk
The most obvious way to strike up a conversation is during the lift line or on the lift itself. Lift lines are often long and the lift ride can be even longer (depending on how many gapers fall off and slow the process), so you might as well make the most of your time by making casual, light-hearted chit-chat with the snow bunny or bunnies next to you. If you’re digging one of them and she’s digging you, invite her to ski. It’s just that simple. If she says no, don’t take it personally and ride on!

Helping Hand
Contrary to popular belief, most women won’t get offended if you help them. If you spot a lovely lady who is working on turns, took a fall, or lost her ski pole, lend a helping hand.

Conversely, if you see a badass chick doing some cool trick that you’d like to master, talk to her about it. She’ll probably be more than happy to give you a few pointers.

Hot Chocolate or Beer, Anyone?
Spot a cutie in the lodge and some flirtatious eye contact ensues? Buy her a hot chocolate or beer and have it sent over by one of your bros. She’ll either think it’s cute or dump it all over your bro. Hey, sometimes friends have to take one for the team.

Compliments. The Genuine Kind, Bro.
Women love compliments. However, they’re typically not interested in the shallow and generic “ You’re so pretty” clichés. If you meet a lady and ski with her, compliment her on what she does well. Maybe she carves like mad or is really graceful when turning through trees. If you make it about her skiing, rather than her looks, you’ll be less likely to get hot chocolate dumped on you later.

Ride Solo
There are plenty of ski girls out there riding the mountain solo and the singles line on lifts is a perfect way to meet them.

Note: Don’t be a desperate Creepy McCreeperson and follow chicks to the lift in hopes of scoring a ride with them. Just let things flow naturally. In the course of a single ski day, you’re sure to pair up with one or two cuties. Strike up a conversation and see where it goes from there.

Be Yourself, and Cut the Bro-Speak
Finally, and most importantly, just be yourself. Most skier girls have no desire to hear how much air you got on your last jump, how many days you’ve skied this season, or how many miles per hour you clocked on your last run. We wanna know about you and, if you’re gonna brag, then you can prove it on the slopes.

We love you, just remember that.

A Winter Photography Guide

Winter photography is tough. Snow fools meters, cold saps batteries, and lugging cameras around in the snow and operating them with cold hands is hard work. But the austere winter environment is ripe for photography if you can master the elements. Here are some ideas to make your photos of a wintry world do the season justice.

Tell A Story
Photos should tell stories or evoke emotions. What’s your story about winter? The pure beauty of untracked powder? Settling in next to the fireplace? Struggling to dig your car out of the snow? Before you can make a good image, you need a story.

Be Smarter Than Your Camera
Despite all the computer wizardry in cameras and smartphones, one situations still always fools their light meters: snow. Camera light meters are meant to turn the image “neutral”, or 18% grey. If your scene is mostly filled with snow, it will turn that grey too. You’ll need to override your camera’s auto settings to add between 1 and 2 stops of light.

Use the Reflector
Once you conquer the camera’s desire to underexpose snow, you can use it in another way. Midday light usually creates hard shadows, where faces under helmets or hats go black. Snow is a giant reflector. By paying attention to the angles of the sun, you can use it to bounce light back into the shadows much like a flash or beauty dish.

Use the Blankness
White snow has many meanings: purity, cleanliness, the blank slate waiting to be written on, or a blanket covering the earth. Use the associations of whiteness in your images: think of the skier about to plunge into an untracked valley, the austere clarity blue sky and white snow, and use them to spark the imagination.

Seek Warm Colors
Winter is commonly composed of three tones: white snow, blue sky, and grey in either old snow or cloudy skies. This simplified palette can evoke the clarity and austerity of winter. However, the absence of warm colors (red, yellow, magenta and gold), which come forward in the frame, limits the ability to create a three-dimensional feeling. Find ways to inject depth-creating warm colors whenever you can.

Use Shadows
Short days are a perverse advantage to the winter photographer. It creates morning and evening shadows closer to the middle of the day, and these shadows can add depth to an oversimplified snowy landscape.

Take Care of Equipment
Intense cold saps the energy of both the photographer and the equipment. Batteries produce less power, especially in consumer-level cameras: keep a spare or two in an inner pocket. Glove combinations that allow the fine manipulations of dials, lenses, and filters are a vital piece of equipment, as is plenty of warm clothing to allow you to stand still and wait for light. Be especially careful when bringing a camera inside from the cold: sudden warmth and condensation are no friend to optics and electronics. Before stepping inside, put your camera inside a plastic bag or inside your jacket to reduce condensation.

Have Fun
You won’t make good images if all you’re thinking about is when you can go inside and be warm. Embrace the winter.

We love you, just remember that.

Top 8 Songs to Shred To

 

It’s the perfect pow day and you’ve struck out alone to take full advantage. Just you, your board, your headphones, and some really great music. Whether you’re looking for an introspective ride or want something to really tear it up to, we’ve got you covered with this ultimate guide to songs to shred to.

Since I Left You—The Avalanches
This is your blue bird, open bowl, beer in the backpack song. Easy breezy beats and catchy samples to accompany you as everything and everyone is left in your bright white sluff trail.

Bogus JourneyIron Chic
It’s the end of the day, you’re skiing out, dodging pizza-making adults and well dressed ski bunnies. This upbeat and uptempo track motivates you for that bogus journey to the end of the day which, truth be told, isn’t so bad considering you’ve probably got some pretty great apres plans lined up.

OscillationThe Men
You’ve got your skins on and you’re touring uphill- you’re going to need this heavy-on-the-instrumental, slowly building song to provide you with the upbeat pace that you need to keep pushing upwards and onwards around the next switchback. Channel your inner warrior and keep going- the ultimate reward could not be more worth it.

Working Full-TimeConstantines
This is for your first ride up the lift. The sun is coming up over the mountains, you’re ready to ski like it’s your job and you’re the boss. Gnarly vocals, loud guitars, and enough space to let you scream back in anticipation. Just make sure you don’t lift that safety bar until the sign tells you to regardless of how amped up you may be.

Bury Me Standing—The Handsome Furs
The pulsating, consistent beat and driving chorus make this assertive track the ideal companion for ruffle chip groomers. Trust, you’re going to feel like an animal on those long, inviting blue squares. Put this one on repeat and prepare to dominate like never before because, after all, you own this mountain.

Bundle UpThe Cool Kids
No matter how fresh the powder, dragging yourself up and out of bed when it’s still dark is never easy. This song isn’t too intense (you don’t want to expend all of your energy before you get to the parking lot) but is catchy enough to get you beyond the lift line and all strapped in. As an added bonus, the earworm chorus serves as a helpful reminder to keep warm. Thanks Cool Kids!

Cuts Across the LandThe Duke Spirit
Pushy drums, driving, chunky guitars, and sweeping vocals are precisely what you need when making first tracks. Once this one starts coming out of your headphones, you’ll be making your own cuts like it’s nobody’s business. Dream big and carve out your own path, you can’t be stopped, you mountain-master, you.

Dream House—Deafheaven
Reserve this one for the single most intense run of your life. It’s got the crashing crescendos of heavy guitars coupled with seemingly strained vocals that will come at you in waves like slow rollers over open crests of virginal powder. Seriously, what more could you possibly ask for?

—Kate Walker

We love you, just remember that.

8 Tips to Take You From Intermediate to Expert Skier in One Season

aergWanna get off those groomers and into the trees and pow? First you need some Bluetooth helmet speakers so you can be cool but really, here’s how.

Tailor Your Workouts
Whether you’re mountain biking to build your leg strength, doing yoga to improve flexibility and core strength, or running for cardiovascular endurance, you should be training for skiing when you’re not skiing. This will pay off in spades when you’re working on speed, attempting longer runs, and practicing bumps.

Quality AND Quantity
You may have heard of “Powder Snobs.” By definition, these individuals only get on the mountain for powder days and, while that’s all well and good for them, if you wanna take your skiing to the next level, being picky about conditions should be the furtherest thing from your mind. Certainly, you don’t wanna hurt yourself if conditions are icy and unsafe, but waiting for the perfect powder day is a waist of your valuable time. That being said, try for as many powder days as possible but ski on the “just average” days too. When you’re trying to improve, the general rule is that you should be eating, drinking, and breathing the mountain. End of story.

Ride with the Badasses
Simply put: Ride with people who are better than you. Skiers are generally very cool and kind people. Though they may not sacrifice a powder day to teach you new techniques, they might be willing to ride with you when conditions are simply “meh.”

The key here is to be patient. It can be really frustrating to ride with your double-black diamond, backcountry, skiing friends. You wanna do what they’re doing and you wanna do it NOW! But, as is the case with anything on the mountain, time and dedication will pay off.

Drop Some Cash
There’s no arguing with the fact that skiing is an investment. The passes, the gear, transportation, and lodging can drain pockets fast and many hardcore skiers have 2 or 3 seasonal jobs so they can have the flexibility and finances to do what they love. If you’re serious about improving your technique, dropping cash on more aggressive skis, buying a pass to ensure that you get to ski a variety of terrain and log a lot of time, and saving for some multi-day trips, is the reality of improving on your skiing. It’s not a sport that you master in 10 days on the groomers and it’s not a cheap sport, so be prepared to pay and reap the benefits.

Take a Lesson. No, Seriously.
For many people, once they get the basics down and start transitioning from blue to black runs, they get a bit complacent. It’s also at this point that a lot of bad skiing habits have, potentially, started to form. An excellent way to up your game and correct those bad habits early on is to take a class or, if you have the time, attend a ski clinic. Classes are typically small and last anywhere from 1-6 hours depending upon the price and form of instruction. Clinics, on the other hand, are multiple days and usually meet once or twice a week for several weeks. This is an excellent way to make friends, get instruction, and ride with people who are sure to push you.

Plan a Trip
Most expert skiers will tell you that one sure-fire way to see steady improvement is to ski for multiple days in a row. Sure, you’re quads are shot by the end of Day Three, but you gotta break ‘em down to build ‘em up. Try for at least a 3-4 day trip to your favorite resort with friends or family. Now, here’s the kicker: You need to maximize your slope-time every day. Which means you hit it hard every day that conditions allow. No relaxing days cruising down the easiest groomers you can find. Another way to efficiently use your trip time is to choose goals for each day. Perhaps Day One is all about focusing on tight, parallel turns and speed. Make Day Two about bumps, if that’s your thing. The point is to push yourself each day, learn something new, and improve.

Log Your Progress
With all of the apps out there allowing you to measure, log, and calculate every run and every foot of elevation gain, if you wanna get serious about your progress then keeping track of it is one sure-fire way to hold yourself accountable. Since the numbers don’t lie, downloading Trace Snow (formerly Alpine Replay), for example, can help you track your max speed, slope time, distance traveled, and vertical feet.

Like other performance aps, you can add and track your friends, so friendly competition is encouraged.

Want It Bad
In the end, a large portion of improving in any mountain sport boils down to shear drive and dedication. Do whatever you can to maintain the stoke all season, reward yourself when you meet goals, and remember that any day on the mountain is a good day.

We love you, just remember that.

Aftermass Filmmaker Joe Biel on Portland’s Pedal Powered Revolution

one less biker

Aftermass explores how Portland, Oregon’s unique combination of city planning laws, bicycle advocacy actions, and Critical Mass protests led to a major culture shift in urban cycling. Rife with pitched legal battles, police conspiracies, and (mostly) peaceful mass protests, it’s a great 90 minute case study in how to wage a pedal powered revolution. We caught up with filmmaker Joe Biel of Microcosm Publishing to discuss the film while he was on tour in Texas.

Outdoor Tech: What triggered the idea to make a documentary about Critical Mass-era Portland
Joe Biel:
Circa 2007, Rev Phil and I were sitting around talking about the next big thing we wanted to work on. Phil started talking about how much he would enjoy watching a film that told the history of Portland’s Critical Mass. Portland is a town full of transplants. We have an awkward relationship with our own history, and more and more of the stories we hear are false. You start to take it personally after awhile. I’ve lived in Portland since the 90s and saw how hard fought those battles were, so it was pretty heartbreaking to hear flat-out falsehoods.

OT: You were part of that Critical Mass scene. Did you have to do much research to understand all the players and events?
JB: 
I was never ticketed or arrested—but I did ride easily 100 times or so. As such, I came into the story assuming that I knew it. So I was shocked to learn how much the police tried to define the city’s legacy and personality in 1993. I knew about the Bicycle Bill and the BTA lawsuit. I was also aware of the zoning laws going back to the 70s that protected city size and farmland. But I didn’t understand how it all came together with the flowering of the Critical Mass movement. I spent five years working on the film and probably two of those years were spent in the city archives, doing FOIA requests and deciphering mountains of paperwork.

OT: Aftermass has some great clips from protest rides back then. Where did you find those?
JB:
Thanks! I began shooting in 2002, though I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for. We also had the cooperation of a ten-year freelance K2/KOIN news cameraman who let us use his footage. The remainder came from public domain materials on Archive.org.

OT: Given what you’ve learned, do you think that radical protest is necessary for a marginalized subculture (like cycling) to be taken seriously?
JB:
Yes, it seems that in Portland, Amsterdam, and virtually everywhere except a town we visited in Wyoming, in order for real political change to happen, you must have three elements: 1) Cooperative leaders influenced by 2) Effective advocates who are able to ask for more because of 3) Street-level activists. It doesn’t need to be Critical Mass and it doesn’t need to be radical. We saw a pub crawl have the same consequences in Spokane where hundreds of cyclists would drain bars of their beer on the monthly Full Moon Ride.

OT: The police attitude towards cyclists was much more adversarial in the 90s. Was there a tipping point that changed things? Any one ride or event that was pivotal?
JB: 
I believe the city-sanctioned “Bike Summer Critical Mass” in August of 2002 was the climax for Portland’s cycling conflict. As you can see in the film, up until that point the police had this idea that bicyclists only commuted to inconvenience cars and be in the way. But the fallout from pepper spraying babies and arresting numerous people for “appearing to be a leader” in a city-sponsored event resulted in a massive pile of angry letters to the city (that are a bonus feature on the DVD). After that, the 2009 police training video made a point of distinguishing that “these [cyclists] aren’t aimed at traffic disruption. They bike for health, thrift, or the environment.” Despite it being literally the same people in question.

OT: You point out in Aftermass that Portland still has a long way to go to be on the level of truly bike-friendly cities like Amsterdam. What do you think the biggest obstacle is to getting there?
JB: 
I think we need advocates who utilize street-level activism to create a bigger ask at the city level. Amsterdam accomplished it through tens of thousands of people protesting the murder of children by cars. But in the U.S. we think of that kind of strategy as toxic. Why? The city of Portland, its residents, and planners are ready for this. The political strategy is not.

 

We love you, just remember that.

What Parents (and kids) Really Want for Christmas

Parents say they want their kids to be safe when really they just want to give them up for adoption. Kids say they wear their helmets to be safe when really they just want to drown out their parents.

So why the disconnect? Kids, negotiate better! Chips not only force you to wear your helmet, it also gets you out of the house—a win win for you and your folks!

We love you, just remember that.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Along

Anyone can get along in the wilderness when it’s 75 degrees, sunny, your Bluetooth speaker is kicking out the jams, and there’s a great swimming hole. It’s a different story on the third day of cold driving rain, or when you have to cover long miles in rough weather.

Experienced wilderness travelers talk about something vaguely called “expedition dynamics.” NOLS calls it ”Expedition Behavior”: a set of practices that keep a group cohesive. Here are my tips to keeping groups operating smoothly through rain, snow, sleet, long miles, bugs, and other adversity.

Group Comes First
Strong groups are more than a collection of individuals. To prosper through the warp and weft of a hard journey, groups need to have a clear goal and group members must be wiling to make the group’s goals their priority.

Personal Goals
That doesn’t mean that individuals won’t have their own goals—from seeing a particular part of the world to climbing peaks or surfing waves on a remote beach. It just means that they’re secondary. If individual members get too much summit fever, group dynamics tend to fall apart.

Take Care of Yourself
Each member must also take care of their own needs. If people get dehydrated, exhausted, or injured, the margin of safety shrinks and the group’s goals are more likely to be out of reach.

Everyone’s Responsible for Assessment
Assessing risk in the outdoors is a complex judgment process. While there’s a tendency to defer to experience, the reality is that everyone in the group will be running that rapid or traversing that ridge. Self-assessing one’s own abilities is even harder than evaluating external risk, so everyone should develop their judgment.

Expertise
That doesn’t mean that the most experienced members of a group don’t hold sway. They may overrule the group consensus based on their experience. There should be redundancy in critical skills like route-finding: any group reliant on one person’s ability is at risk.

Help Others, But Don’t Do Their Work For Them
Everyone will have responsibilities, and there will be times when someone needs a hand.  The whole purpose of operating in a group is to be able to support each other when needed and to allow the group to achieve what individuals can’t. Helping out, however, is not an invitation to slack off.

Personalities Meet in the Middle
When you’ll be crammed together in stressful situations, moderating personalities helps the group endure challenges without getting on each others’ nerves. The manic or deeply introverted personalities that work fine or can be funny when everything is going well can become grating when times get tough. A moderate combination of placid calm and positive energy, will help the group weather rough seas and endure over time.

Conserve Energy
On an expedition, you never know when you’ll need a reserve of energy: a midnight storm or a late night setting up camp. Keep some fuel left in the tank.

Expect Everyone to Mess Up….Including You
High-altitude mountaineers operate under the assumption that due to the combination of oxygen deprivation, fatigue, and summit fever, everyone will make both physical and mental mistakes. Even if you’re not in the 8000-meter zone, double-checking ropes, compass bearings, and other critical functions is a good practice. Once a group accepts that it’s operating in a challenging environment under stress, this redundancy will feel less like an implication of incompetence and more like a basic pre-flight check.

Have Fun
This list doesn’t mean that expeditions are all work and no play. It’s just a different kind of fun in some of the wildest places in the world.

We love you, just remember that.

8 Reasons to Become a Nautical Chart Nerd

Neophytes call them “maps”. But any old salt can tell you a nautical chart is a different beast entirely. For starters, they’re huge, and covered with lots of weird symbols numbers.  No, those aren’t the secret messages from the Illuminati for people who have read too many Dan Brown books.  But those symbols mean stuff, and once you understand them you’ll never look at a body of water in the same way. Here’s why you should become a nautical chart nerd.

When I started hiking and mountaineering, I learned to read topographic maps, so I could navigate off-trail and learn to read the contours of the land to find good routes.  When I started coastal sea kayaking, I needed to do the same thing: find good routes and landing spots through offshore rocks, coastal swell, and current. Unlike the land, the sea is always moving. The chart is the key to the mystery of how it moves.

The Top and the Bottom
Most of those symbols on a nautical chart describe the bottom of sea or river you’re in.  They describe the depth, rocks lurking just below the surface, and channels that dry to mud when the tide is out.  The shape of the bottom of the sea controls the surface behaves. Gentle wells turn into breaking waves when they hits shallows areas.  Wind across deep water will cause ripples, but creates rough water when it pushes water across shallow subsurface rocks, Understanding the bottom helps you stay safe on the top of the sea.

Find the Nozzles
Nautical charts help you predict the water will do really strange things.  Tide changes generate currents, and these currents will accelerate through narrow passages, form swirling eddies around headlands, and create surf waves where they pour over rock shelves.  At its worst, you can end up fighting a strong current or swept into a bad spot. At it’s best, you can get a free ride and find great spots to play.

1571 nautical chart from Portuguese cartographer Fernão Vaz Dourado

1571 nautical chart from Portuguese cartographer Fernão Vaz Dourado

Don’t Get Squashed
Nautical charts aren’t just topo maps of the sea. They’re also a road map. Giant ships ply our waterways. If you’re a kayak, sailboat, dingy, or anything smaller than an oil tanker, you don’t want to play in the middle of the interstate. Learn where the shipping channels are, and look both ways before you cross the street.

Fog
When fog rolls you’ll suddenly find yourself traveling blind. The ability to read a chart here becomes critical. Knowing directions, reading landmarks from quick glimpses through the pea soup, and knowing how to navigate by compass will keep you off the rocks.

Fish
My friend Jason, a kayak-fishing expert, always stresses that his most important piece of fishing gear is a nautical chart. It shows him the undersea rocks where fish gather, and how deep they are.  There’s no point in dropping your lure twelve feet when the rock is twenty feet down.

Impress Your Friends
When the conditions get wacky, chart reading quickly goes from nerdiness to wisdom.  I’ve helped groups find an offshore island in the fog, guided them through tiny passages protected from big ocean swell, and anticipated tidal rapids where none were marked.

It’s way cooler than GPS
On one long fogbound crossing off the west coast of British Columbia, I challenged a friend of mine with a GPS to see who could plot a more accurate course to an offshore island. We landed right next to each other. And a nautical chart won’t run out of batteries or short out when you accidentally drop it in the drink.

They’re Free
The government would rather not have to come get you in a bright orange Coast Guard helicopter. As a result, American charts are fee online. Now you can nerd out to your heart’s content for free. You can also download Chart #1, which tells you what all those funky symbols mean.

We love you, just remember that.