7 Must Have Apps for Skiers

Personal trainer. Educator. Weather forecaster.

These are just a few roles that your phone can take on with the help of some pretty nifty apps. For skiers and snowboarders, a regular smartphone can pack a whole lot of punch—not to mention, keep you entertained on the gondola ride up.

Your cell phone will never replace things like personal experience or an avalanche course, but we’ve found that these apps can enhance your skiing and snowboarding experience in a major way. Here are a few apps that are well worth the download.

Mountain Athletics
If you’ve got a few square feet of space and a set of dumbbells, you’re ready to embark on the 40 day dryland training programs outlined in the Mountain Athletics app.

Developed by The North Face, this app lets you pick your mountain-related fitness goal (resort skiing or backcountry skiing, for instance) and provides you with a daily training plan. The workouts pack a lot of punch and are incredibly easy to follow, with the help of videos and self-timers. Give it a download, and you’ll be quadzilla in no time.

Red Cross First Aid
When you’re in the middle of a medical emergency, the last thing you want to do is panic. This app is an awesome tool to have on hand: it guides you, step-by-step, through some common first aid scenarios (like severe winter weather) to help get you back on track. In non-emergency scenarios, you can brush up on your safety and first aid skills through other features on the app.

PeakFinder
Impress your buddies with your knowledge of the local mountains with the PeakFinder app. Use the panorama feature to pick up the names of all the mountains surrounding you—the apps knows more than 250,000 peaks, so it’s probably got you covered.

Mammut Safety App
When it comes to avalanche safety, the more information you can get your hands on, the better. The Mammut Safety App offers some extra tools to help you make informed decisions on the mountain, including a clinometer, a compass, and an altimeter. It also provides updated links to avalanche bulletins around the world.

Ski Dice
Shake things up in the park—literally—with this ski dice app. Jostle your phone and the app will present you with a random trick to try. This is a good one if you find yourself doing the same old tricks over and over again, and will challenge you to become a stronger skier or snowboarder.

Ski Tracks
Are you one of those people who just has to know how fast they’re going, how many miles they’ve logged, and how much vertical they’ve skied? Ski Tracks was made for people like you: it uses GPS to track every run of the day, providing you with the stats you want and a handy map showing how much terrain you’ve tackled, among other features.

iTrailMap
If you’re hitting up a new resort, forget the paper maps they hand out at the info—that thing will be soaked and ripped in no time at all. Instead, download iTrailMap. As the name suggests, it’s got digital trail maps for more than 750 resorts worldwide, so you’ll know exactly where you are, what you’re skiing, and where to go next.

by Magee Walker

We love you, just remember that.

Tech Meets Goggles

goggle techOnce upon a time, skiers wore plain old sunglasses to keep the sun, snow, and wind out of their eyes.

Thankfully, ski goggle technology has come a long way since then. Companies are coming up with innovative ways to make their goggles better than ever before, whether that means making it easier to see in extremely tough conditions or building a mini computer into the lens, Google Glasses style.

Here are a few of the ways that companies are taking ski goggles to the next level.

Oakley Prizm Lenses
Have you ever amped up the contrast in an Instagram photo and found that it looked way better? That’s kind of the idea behind Oakley’s Prizm technology, only it doesn’t just make your surroundings look prettier – it actually helps you see better.

You don’t know how much you aren’t seeing until you try a pair of these on. Depending on the weather conditions, you can switch between three lenses that will allow you to see every dip, bump, and shadow in fine detail.

The magic lies in the way light transmission is controlled through the lens: using color science, the lens filters your view to provide maximized contrast and enhanced visibility. These features are awesome for competitive skiers and backcountry enthusiasts alike.

Recon Snow2
Check out a pair of goggles with Recon’s Snow2 and you’ll notice something different: there’s a little web-cam looking device in the corner of the lens. This mini computer can provide you with a ton of info, requiring only a quick glance on your end.

For starters, it’ll give you the lowdown on your performance: your speed, vertical descent, distance logged, airtime, etc. You can also connect it to a heart rate monitor to track that, too. Sync it to your smartphone and you can scroll through texts and e-mails while you’re waiting on the chairlift.

You can find Recon’s Snow2 technology in Oakley’s Airwave 1.5, its first model with new partner Garmin.

Smith Optics’ Turbo Fan
Goggles are supposed to help you see – so when they fog up, it can be extremely frustrating. When it comes to anti-fog technology, Smith Optics has always been ahead of the curve. Arguably, their most creative innovation is the Turbo Fan: there are actually tiny micro-electronic fans inside the goggle. The fans help keep air circulating through the goggles, keeping moisture at bay. You can choose to run the fans on a continuous low setting, or to use the high setting to clear things up quickly after a particularly sweaty run.

Interchangeable Lenses
Sometimes, the best innovations are the simplest. Interchangeable lenses are the perfect example: switching out lenses to match the conditions just makes sense.

Plenty of companies have jumped on board the interchangeable lens train, including Dragon, Electric, Oakley, and Smith. Each has their own little particularities, namely the ease of which you can switch between lenses. Smith’s I/O series are relatively easy to maneuver, but Oakley’s Airbrakes are foolproof: you can swap lenses even while wearing the puffiest of mittens.

Photochromic Lenses
Those hybrid reading glasses/sunglasses that changed tint, depending on the environment, were always a little dorky – but when it comes to technology, photochromic lenses suddenly make a lot of sense.

Instead of switching out lenses, photochromic lenses self-adjust in only a few seconds based on the present conditions. Both Smith and Julbo produce good photochromic lens options.

by Magee Walker

We love you, just remember that.

To Climb an Iceberg

Professional ice climbers Klemen Premrl and Aljaz Anderle ascend to the summit of an iceberg in Disko Bay Greenland. Their journey to the top is unpredictable, unstable, but worthwhile—so long as they don’t break the ice! They probably could have used some Chips for some relaxing music.

We love you, just remember that.

6 Situations Where The Kodiak Will Save Your Day

Most outdoor enthusiasts are more than happy to leave wireless connections behind when they head off the beaten track. But let’s face it, cellphones can feel like a good hedge against emergencies, even if you have to go some distance to get within a coverage zone. And should your camera batteries give out, or your camera goes AWOL, you can least use your smartphones to snap some crucial photos—like that Sasquatch print you encounter in the backcountry.

But smartphone batteries typically drain quickly in roaming mode or when you use one to shoot photos or video. The solution is to carry a high-capacity portable power bank, although many on the mark only charge a few types of devices.

That’s what makes the Kodiak, with its 6000 milliamp battery capacity and ability to charge all of your USB powered devices out in the field, an item to put on your Top 10 Essentials List.

Here are 6 pursuits where the Kodiak might not only be a day saver but a lifesaver:

Snowsports
Whether you’re off-piste down hilling or avalanche-zone free-heeling, or out in the backcountry on your cross-country skis or snowshoes, the Kodiak’s lightweight—a mere 9.4 ounces and the size of a deck of cards—makes it perfectly portable. It also features a tough, durable silicone wrap and IP-67 certification so you don’t have to worry if you drop your touring pack in a boulder field or your water bottle leaks all over it in your pack.

Kayaking
If the point of being on the water is to relax and enjoy the scenery, it makes sense to have all your ducks in order. That means keeping electronics in a dry bag, but also being prepared for a few splashes here and there. Whether you’re out paddling for a day or touring for a week, having a backup power pack wrapped in waterproof silicone available to power your emergency cellphone or your depth (fish) finder provides peace of mind.

Rockclimbg
Nirvana for rock climbers typically means places like Joshua Tree National Park and its high monzogranite walls. That’s exactly why road tripping and rock climbing tend to go hand in hand. The Kodiak’s fast 1.0 to 2.1 Amp output and IP-67 certified impact silicone wrap quickly juice up your tablet, phone, POV camera, e-reader, wireless headphones, GPS, or even your rechargeable flashlight. The power pack is also highly dustproof, something that’s downright indispensable in the desert.

Backpacking
A new nationwide 4G-LTE open wireless broadband network uniquely integrating satellite and terrestrial technology promises to not only revolutionize wireless communications in the United States, but also make it possible to make an emergency call from places like the exceedingly remote Tapeats Creek in the Grand Canyon. But you’ll still need a charged cellphone to make that happen. And while 9.4 ounces isn’t exactly ultralight, the Kodiak easily fits in your pack’s waist belt pockets or your coat’s napoleon pocket. And when you consider your options for a backup power supply when you’re far off the grid, along with the impact resistance of this power supply, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more reassuring.

Hiking
Hiking out to a cabin off the grid or to a fire lookout? The Kodiak provides a blazing fast charge to a smartphone or GPS unit, up to three times. It also features a push button battery level indicator that lights up to let you know how much juice you have left so you can carefully use or conserve as needed.

Mountain Biking
GoPro helmets cams are just plain fun. But GPS units are definitely indispensable when hurdling over a remote boulder garden, down technical single track or through a maze of fire roads way out in the sticks. Of course, so is a cellphone—especially for those surprise endos that require emergency transport out of the backcountry. Rugged, water-resistant, dustproof and, well, Bigfoot proof, the Kodiak could literally save your face and your butt.

We love you, just remember that.

Get in the Groove: Finding the Right Headphones For Your Active Life

No matter what sport you enjoy—save for backpacking, alpine climbing, and hiking, perhaps—a soundtrack can help improve your performance and keeping you going mentally and physically long after your body is ready throw in the towel.

But if you want to listen to music while working out or enjoying high-impact endurance sports, you’ll need headphones that are easy and comfortable to wear, offer a secure fit, and are resistance to dust, sweat, grime, and searing or freezing temperatures.

The more action-packed the sport, the more ergonomic, seamless and secure the fit you need. Few headphones meet these needs like earbuds, tethering your headphones securely to your head, and locking them into place without putting undue pressure on the ear canal. Outdoor Tech has you covered for all these issues, including headphones that seamlessly integrate into audio-ready sport helmets.

Here are 10 things to consider when buying headphones for active pursuits:

Awesome Technology, Minimal Design, Easy to Use
Look for headphones with a low-fuss design and a simple interface. They should also come with a secure cord you can wear around your neck when you’re not using them.

Hands Free Hi-Fi Sound
Wireless headphones connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices; look for headphone with easy one-touch pairing that let you listen to music, skip tracks and control volume without ever touching your device. When choosing wireless earbuds, look for headphones that deliver rich, crystal clean sound with 8mm drivers and at least 30 feet of reach. Advance sound enhancements to keep an ear out for include apt X and AAC.

Wireless Connectivity
The best wireless headphones let you reconnect automatically to previously paired devices.

Bluetooth Connectivity
Headphones with an Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) offer high-quality stereo sound streaming. Those with an Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVCRP) let you remotely control track (next/previous track) selection, pause/play and volume.

Wireless + External controls
Having both wireless connectivity and external controls provides even greater flexibility. Look for three-button inline controls that easily let you adjust volume, change tracks, pause/play and control calls effortlessly while on the move.

Batteries
Look for lithium-ion powered headphones. Lithium-ion batteries’ greater energy density means you can operate them longer between charges. They also have a much lower rate of self-discharge than other rechargeable cells such as Ni-Cad and NiMH. Also, you never need to prime a lithium-ion battery before its first charge, or do any maintenance on them, unlike Ni-Cad cells, which require a periodic discharge to ensure that they don’t hold a short charge “memory.” The best headphones have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries offering up to 6 hours of playtime and at least 120 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Built-in microphone
Multi-tasking headphones give you the option of listening to music as well letting you receive hands-free calls from anywhere, any time.

Surround Sound
Earbuds that offer ambient noise-enhancing features are critical for skateboarders, cyclists and runners. You should be able to safely hear sounds in your surrounding environment while enjoying your playlist.

Security
For high-impact sports, look for earbuds with removable over-the-ear clips paired with custom-sizable ear pads/cushions for extra secure staying power. Having the option of removing ear hooks and just having a bud in your ear are also indispenisable features.

Waterproof, Sweatproof
If your pursuits take you in or anywhere around water (like running in the rain or stand-up paddling), look for silicone-wrapped waterproof headphones that provide quality sound even when submerged, as well as the ability to adjust them easily for sound level and track changes.

Audio-ready, Hardwired, Cold Play
If you have an audio-ready liner in your ski or snow helmet, and would rather hit the slopes with a mp3 player or hardwired smartphone, look for hardwired headphones that seamlessly integrate with your helmet liner to allow you to control music tracks, play/pause, or activates voice command via one glove-friendly button, and also keep in you in the groove for as long as you or your battery holds up. You’ll also to look for headphones that stay functional down to -20°C/-4°F so you never have to worry about frozen button syndrome.

 

We love you, just remember that.

Interview with Filmmaker Darcy Turenne: The Little Things Movie

Darcy
The Little Things is not your typical powder shredding snowboard movie. In addition to featuring professional snowboarder, Marie-France Roy, and a cast full of environmentally-conscious pro riders all shot in epic locations, it’s woven together in a series of emotionally powerful vignettes that reveal how we can all help save the planet in small ways every day. We spoke with filmmaker Darcy Turenne after its premier in Montreal to get her take on what she learned in the process of shooting the non-profit project (all proceeds go directly to Protect Our Winters and the David Suzuki Foundation).

Johnathon Allen: What inspired the making of The Little Things Movie … where did it all begin?
Darcy Turenne: Pro snowboarder Marie-France Roy had been thinking about doing a movie for a while. But she wanted the film to have a strong environmental message and involve riders who are doing great environmental work and living their lives uniquely. So one day she gave me a call to see if I could make the movie and I said ‘yes!’ It was that easy.

JA: How long did it take and where was it filmed?
DT: The film took about two and a half years from conception to finish. It was filmed mostly around British Columbia—Whistler, Golden, Terrace—but we were given shots of some of the riders in many different locations. One of our main goals was to fly as little as possible while making this film, and we accomplished that by only taking one plane ride to go to Tahoe to interview Jeremy Jones. Staying local really made me appreciate my surroundings more.

JA: Given your background in skiing, environmental studies, and filmmaking—this project seems like a perfect fit for you. Is that by design or was it more of a happy accident?
DT: My background suiting this film was definitely the reason that Marie called me in the first place. She knew it would be the perfect thing for me to unleash my creativity on and still have a solid perspective of what needed to be done without straying too far from the message.

JA: Was there one moment in particular where it all came together for you? Where everything just clicked and you knew it was going to be great?
DT: I’m not sure that moment has even happened yet! Haha. I guess after our hometown premiere in Whistler I felt some sense of relief and pride, but I’ve been invested so deeply in the project that it is hard to have any perspective beyond my own intuition as to what is “good” or not! That’s what happens when you spend months alone in an edit cave.

JA: Do you have a favorite segment in the film?
DT: My favorite segment is Meghann O’Brien’s. We spent several weeks living with her in Prince Rupert, BC, and did a really fun hut trip together. She shares a lot of wisdom in her segment and it was such a challenge editing it down to a manageable segment length because everything that comes out of her mouth is profoundly beautiful! She has so much spirit and it really shows on screen.

JA: The movie’s theme draws on some deep wisdom and philosophy. What’s the most profound thing you learned in the process of making it?
DT: I learned a lot of things in the process of making this film, but more importantly, every rider I worked with inspired me to be a better person and live a better life in some small way. They are all very inspirational humans. Live simply, move slowly, enjoy it all.

JA: What’s the one thing you most want people to take away from the movie?
DT: I want them to leave inspired to challenge the status quo and make their lives more meaningful.

By: Johnathon Allen
– Photo by Marie France Roy

We love you, just remember that.

Japow

Rusutsu ski area in Japan built a Travis Rice-inspired supernatural terrain park in the forest and let the Salomon crew have the first crack at it. The terrain park was designed to encourage skiers of all levels to expand their horizons.

We love you, just remember that.

What does IP mean? Ignorance Pass or Ingress Protection

©istockphoto/IceArnaudov

©istockphoto/IceArnaudov

If you’ve been shopping for a smartphone, power bank or even headphones, you’ve probably seen the term IP followed by a series of numbers. If you’re curious what all that means, and want to update your status from ignorant to informed, read on.

In simplest terms, It’s a protection rating or designation, and it makes sense to have some understanding of it when you’re trying to decide between a device with a IP25 and IP67.

To start, IP is an acronym for “Ingress Protection,” a scaled rating system established by the International Electrotechnical Commission to help guide you on device care.

The two numbers immediately following IP are used to indicate the device’s ability to block entry of solid “dry” objects (like dust) and moisture (from rain to total submersion in water).

The numbers or scales are determined by specific tests that consider volume of water, duration of time, and distance from stream as part of the calculation. As the numbers increase, the size of objects and particles it can keep out get gradually smaller. Obviously, the higher the numbers in the rating, the better the protection.

The first number indicates how well it keeps out dry objects. This numbers rating runs from zero—or no protection to 6—meaning totally protected. (Occasionally, zero is replaced with an X). A 1 rating means it can keep out objects larger than approximately 1.6 inches diameter. A 6 on the scale means it can protect the device from particles the size of dust.

The second number runs from zero to 8, and indicates how well the device can handle moisture, specifically at certain angles. A low number in this case means it can keep out condensation or vertically falling raindrops. A 7 means it can be briefly submerged in less than a meter (3.2 feet) of water (say you drop your phone in a pool but immediately pull it out) and it will survive just fine. An 8 (an extremely rare rating) means it can handle continuous submersion.

A device with a IP67 rating can be counted on to offer complete protection from dust, and can handle being submerged in water up to 1 meter of water for about 30-minutes.

Just because your device has an IP54 or IP67 designation, doesn’t mean you should be totally careless with it. “Protection” is a key term in the testing benchmarks. Not accounted for in this discussion is force/pressure, or PSI, pounds-per-square-inch. If anything, those IP designations should remind you to protect your device and avoid exposing it to dust or water. while providing some peace of mind should you accidentally place your smartphone in that cup full of coffee sitting in your car’s beverage holder.

What commonsense suggests is that a phone placed in a cup full of liquid is less likely to be damaged than a phone that’s accidentally left in your swim trunks when you dive into a pool and swim around for a half hour, or the phone that takes a 45-minute trip through your washing machine. So a better way to look at this: IP means you can take you can take an ignorance pass once or twice. After that, your Hail Mary saves run out.

 

We love you, just remember that.

Best Music Festivals in November and December

Music inspires the soul to break free from stress, live in the moment and expose individuality and freedom. Concerts and festivals held around the world drum up global beats to please every music flavor and sound. This winter, escape the dull moments of season changes and revive the spirit at these top music festivals held during the last remaining weeks of 2014.

Sunburn – Goa, India
Goa, known for its backpacker and trance music culture, now homes one of Asia’s hottest electronic music festival. Locals, tourists and international DJ’s flock to the sunny Goan beaches to “live, love and dance.” Big names such as Avicii, Dash Berlin, Armin Van Buuren and Swedish House Mafia made presence in past events. Event is held December 27-29, 2014.


Dominican Republic Jazz Festival – Dominican Republic

Those who prefer classy music, head to the Dominican where traditional and modern jazz unite on Dominican beaches. The festival has been in existence since 1992 and runs strong with headline names such as Nestor Torres, Matt Marvuglio and Chuco Valdez. Visitors enjoy music along the Cabarete coastline, an active and youthful town spiriting vibrant energy. The event runs November 6-9, 2014.

Electric Daisy Music Festival – Orlando, Florida
Known as the “place where spirits run free,” EDC offers an exciting mind-trip experience filled with eclectic beats, interactive LED art and carnival rides. Expect lavish costumes, intense stage smoke and audible roars heard across Orlando. The 2013 event featured 90 performers, 370,000 watts of speaker power and 875,000 pounds of steel, all for the thrill of a two-day event heldNovember 7-8, 2014.

Snowglobe – South Lake Tahoe, California
Snowglobe is the place where music meets the mountains. Ski, snowboard and heart-pumping beats unite on one slope welcoming over 50 world-class artists and DJ’s. In between music fist pumping, visitors stay enthralled with ski and snowboard demos held between main stage sets. The event is nearby 9,000 acres of ski-worthy land, making this one of the most unique festivals in the world. The event occurs December 29-31, 2014.

Time Warp – New York City, New York
Held November 28-29, 2014, Time Warp is a two-day electronic music festival featuring some of the best Dj’s including the world-renowned Richie Hawtin, Time Warp originated in Mannheim, Germany and soon branched to other regions of the world including South America, the States and Netherlands. Held in a historic building in NYC, the event produces modern class beats within four historic walls and old-school charm.

Fun Fun Fun Fest – Austin, Texas
Austin, the city where music is the heart and soul of every local, lives, breathes and dies by hypnotic beats. Held November 7-9, 2014, the FFF Festival was created in 2006 by people who daily in the music industry. The vibrant atmosphere meshes hip-hop, electronic, punk, indie rock and comedy shows within three days of non-stop fun. The event takes places on the Red River, located in the heart of downtown.

By: Elizabeth Kovar

We love you, just remember that.