Skiing is Better than Snowboarding, and Here’s Why

The age-old competition between one board and two has been raging for decades. But the real question is, which is better? We have the answer right here. But if you don’t like this answer, be sure to check out the dark side’s argument.

When snowboarding first started, many ski resorts were hesitant to allow boarders and no, it wasn’t just because of their attire, attitude or any other personal reason; okay, yes it was. I used to have a problem with snowboarders myself. I say I used to because my daughter has moved over to the dark side and I now not only must accept them, I have to sometimes share a lift with one.

In the Beginning
When boarding first took off, there were no boarding schools or very few instructors and let’s be honest, most boarders were self-taught with many riding out of control. Every time I skied in the 1990s and I mean EVERY time, one of us would get taken out by an out-of-control boarder. Now resorts offer just as much instruction for boarders as skiers and after thirty years or so, (The first Snowboarding World Cup was held in Zurs, Austria in 1985) the average skill if not I.Q. level has gone up. Add in the fact that beginner boarders slide down the hill sideways, flatten the bumps, and jam traffic at the top of the lift due to squatters (that’s what I call boarders parked in front of the offload, strapping in) and you have understandable concerns.

The Times Have Changed
I used to dream about visiting a skier’s only resort, but I have changed. Heck some of my best friends are boarders. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but we do drink beer together. The battle between skiers and boarders raged for years and is almost, though not quite, resolved. Now both co-exist pretty well on just about every mountain in the land. Alta and Deer Valley in Utah along with Mad River Glen in Vermont are the last places around which ban snowboarders.

The Good Fight
There was a suit against Alta that was filed in January, 2014 with oral arguments presented in August. I think there was more to the boarder’s presentation than “C’mon Dude, that’s not cool” but I wasn’t there to confirm that. In September 2014 U.S District Judge Dee Benson ruled against the boarders saying there were rational reasons for Alta to ban snowboarding.

The snowboarders claimed in the suit that Alta banned them because of stereotypes that they are “Undesirable people with obnoxious habits and characteristics.” Good thing I’m not the Judge or I’d say, “Yeah, what’s your point?” Anyway, in the end, Judge Benson mainly threw out the suit because he ruled federal court was not the right forum to argue this issue. As of this writing, Alta, Deer Valley and Mad River still ban snowboards.

Why I Have a Problem
I considered trying to board once and only once when I saw how comfortable the boarding boots look. After so many years mastering the art of skiing on two boards though, I don’t want to start over. That and the fact I look ridiculous in baggy, sagging pants. I also don’t care to have to plop down on my butt at the top of every lift to strap in. On skies, once up top, I stand up and go: no plopping, flopping and strapping required. If I am on my butt on the slopes, you should call the Ski Patrol because I’m probably hurt.

In the Flats
Let’s face it: boards suck in the flats. My daughter gives me grief, and boy can she give me grief, if I lead her into a flat area. On my skis, I can skate through most any flat and if worse comes to worse, use my poles to get out of anywhere. If boarders hit the flats, they are huffing and puffing with one foot strapped and one out, or they have to walk and carry their board. This is one of those instances where I fly by and announce, “Two Boards rule Dude.”

Can’t You See?
I don’t care if you ride regular, Goofy, Donald, Pluto, or Mickey Mouse, half the time your back is to me and you’re blind, Dude. It also seems to me that skiing is harder: you have two boards that can separate causing the splits, cross each other causing face plants and they are longer causing all kind of problems in the trees. Boards give a false sense of stability making beginners go way faster than they can control. I actually bought a t-shirt in Breckenridge that says “If skiing was easier, they’d call it snowboarding.” I get a lot of compliments on that shirt.

Two Boards Rule But That’s Just Me
Snowboards seem to float better in deep powder, at least that’s my excuse when my daughter kicks my butt in the Back Bowls of Vail. Skiers seem to dominate the bumps though. If you can kick it on Double Black Diamond bump runs with your board, than you are good and welcome to ride next to me anytime, goofy or not. Yes, I too have learned to accept snowboarders and try to coexist on the mountain. Time, and the fact that the daughter is a boarder, has mellowed me considerably. That and beer.

We love you, just remember that.

Press Release: Outdoor Tech® Enters 2015 with a Bang

Outdoor Tech® Enters 2015 with a Bang from the Buckshot Pro to the Extended Kodiak Powerbank Line and CHIPS® All-in-One Headphone Accessories

CES Booth #36805 – Come on by!
LVCC South Hall 3/4, Upper Level

Media Contact:
Tara Yant
Hayter Communications
tara@hayterpr.com
360.313.7070, ext.7

If you’re not already familiar with Outdoor Tech®, we think you probably should be. It is one of the fastest growing brands in America and has been busy at work making Stuff You Probably Want®, which means your audience probably wants to hear about it, too! The brand is represented at REI, Sports Authority, Nordstrom, Quicksilver and West Marine to name a few of its 2,000 North American doors; so while it is a relative newbie to the CE game, people seem to be into it. We have several new releases for CES that we’re stoked to share with you. Please see below and reach out anytime with questions or requests.

Topping the 2015 new product list, Outdoor Tech’s brand new 3-in-1 Buckshot Pro (SRP $79.95) functions as a portable rugged speaker that has a passive bass port for bigger sound, a 2600mAh powerbank for charging devices, and a flashlight with three different settings (torch, lamp and strobe). Point the speaker end towards you when you fasten the Buckshot Pro to your bike handlebars using the included rubber mount strap, and add the flashlight accessory to the other end for dawn and dusk rides. You can also use the end with the USB output as a portable powerbank. And it features a built-in mic for hands free calls.

pr-ces-buckshot-pro

Next, Outdoor Tech® holds the power with its all-new pocket portable Kodiak Mini 2600 (SRP $19.95) that becomes your most trusted friend when you’re in a bind and need to charge your device. Its big brother, the slim and sleek Kodiak Plus 10000 (SRP $79.95) is also new and boasts 2.4A output as well as a 2nd USB port so you can share your power (if that’s your thing). This shockproof and waterproof portable power source is the envy of every bar-goer and outdoorsman when it comes to reliability in unpredictable environments.

pr-ces-kodiak-mini

pr-ces-kodiak-plus

And last but certainly not least, Outdoor Tech’s CHIPS® and Wired CHIPS®, famous for their performance and universal compatibility in snow helmets, can now come off the mountain into every day life with the addition of a new universal K-Roo Pouch that attaches onto almost any bike or skate helmet with a V-strap; a headphone Exoskeleton and a CHIPS® Headwear line that includes two beanie styles and a headband. Drop either CHIPS® (wired or wireless) into any of the CHIPS® All-In-One Headphone Accessories (SRPs ranging from $19.95 – $29.95), and take your tunes and mobile calls to the streets, skate parks, trails and anywhere life leads. The patented control interface of the CHIPS® changes tracks, plays/pauses music, takes calls and activates voice command with glove-friendly (if needed) buttons, without having to remove your phone from your pocket – ever. Complete with a built-in microphone and IPX4 sweat and water-resistant rating, these are also tested to work flawlessly down to -20°C/-4°F.

About Outdoor Tech
Founded in 2010, Outdoor Tech® is an outdoor designer brand creating accessories for an action-filled lifestyle. Packing the world’s most complete line of Bluetooth audio built for reveling in the open air and on the road, Outdoor Tech® proves there is a way to stay connected but not tethered. For more on Outdoor Tech® and the rest of its line including rugged portable power and the potentially iconic Yowie® Logo apparel collection go to OutdoorTechnology.com.

We love you, just remember that.

6 Tips to Make Your Holiday Travel a Little Less Crazy Town

OT_holidaytravel

You rush though traffic to get to the airport, but end up stuck on an arterial route because of an accident. That cleared, you finally arrive only to find a long line at the counter even though you already have your boarding pass downloaded on your phone (they still want you to go to the counter to check your bag).

Then you rush to the TSA line and stand some more. Finally, you make it to the gate corridor on the other side of TSA only to look at the digital “Departures” board and learn that your flight is delayed, for six hours.

Yeah, that was a nightmare.

If the logistics of your holiday travel plans are making you crazy town and you haven’t even left the house yet, take a deep breath and add these to your packing list:

Noise canceling headphones
Canceled flights, prolonged layovers in the airport or on the tarmac can be made a lot more tolerable with Outdoor Tech’s Privates Wireless Headphones. The 40mm drivers deliver clear mids and solid bass, and you get 10 hours of playtime. The lightweight, flexible, foldable design is paired with swivel earpads for easy fit, all-day (or night) wear and easy portability. A 3.5mm auxiliary jack lets you use them in situations where Bluetooth connectivity isn’t available (including on an airplane or with a non-Bluetooth device).

Portable power bank external charger
Again, whether you’re stuck on the plane, tarmac or in an airport lounge, you won’t have to fret about the lack of access to a charge port or worry about waiting in line for a one if you pack along the Kodiak 6000mAh Portable Power Bank. Weighing a mere 9.4 ounces, it not only boasts a monster 6000 milliamp battery capacity that can charge a GoPro 6X, a Galaxy 3X and the iPhone, but is also certified IP67 shock- and water-proof—thanks to its heavy duty rugged silicone shell. Plus, its battery level fuel gauge indicator lets you know when the juice is running low.

Therapeutic eye mask
Gone are the days when air travel was actually fun. Today, it’s synonymous with stress. Block all that busy inflight chatter and intercom updates with your headphones, then thwart intruding light with an eye mask. An inexpensive solution to grabbing some shuteye inflight or while waiting for the next leg of your flight, the soft sided eye masks lockout light but are also designed to follow the contours of your eyes so they don’t inflict pressure on eyelashes or eyelids.

A Minimalist Packing Strategy
The key to breezing through the airport check-in and TSA, while avoiding baggage claim on arrival is a carry-on organized with packing cubes.

Portable UV Germ & Bacteria Sanitizer
One of the downsides of holiday and winter travel is exposure to colds and flus that easily circulate on airplanes and in airports. Protect yourself with a handy little wand that quickly sanitizing airplane or gate seats, steering wheels in your rental car, or the mattress and remote in your hotel room. Death comes to viruses, bedbugs, dust mites and bacteria via ultraviolet light. The lightweight, battery-operated KIKAR sanitizing wand must be held about one half inch to two inches away from the surface and every area of a surface needs to be exposed for at least 10-78 seconds (depending upon the pathogen). But studies show it works.

Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Yep, this seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how few people think of carrying this one little item that can make a huge difference in your sanity. When you’re not filling it with coffee (having your own cup on the airplane saves the airline money and gets you several ounces more than the typical 4 ounces poured in styrofoam inflight cups), it can be filled with water to keep you well hydrated while you travel. It can also be used to load up on lobby coffee at your hotel or at the local drive-up coffee shack. Stainless steel won’t impact coffee taste and is easier to keep clean.

We love you, just remember that.

The 6 DJ’s You Must See Before You Die

Electronic music lovers escape into a realm of progressive beats with genres such as house, deep house, electronica, techno, dance and drum-and-bass. No matter the genre, only a world-class DJ drugs ambient souls with bumping beats until sunrise. These legendary DJ’s perform at top worldwide events and festivals such as Time Warp, Ibiza’s International Music Summit and Awakenings. Instead of living vicariously through websites, soundclound and Facebook fan pages, book a ticket to see these DJs before you, or the DJ, gets too old and dies. But if you do like the comfort of your computer, make sure to listen to your music with the Tuis wireless headphones.

Pete Tong

https://www.facebook.com/petetong/photos_stream

https://www.facebook.com/petetong/photos_stream

World-renowned dance DJ, Pete Tong, has “bootlegged” much skin in the electronic music world. Pushing the old age of 55, Pete Tong still rocks BBC Radio’s Essential Mix and global events, including his recent performance at Seattle’s 2014 Decibel Festival. Tong is Britain’s most recognized DJ and has kept a clean identity since his old school 1995 mixes with Paul Oakenfold. During the summer, fans find Tong beat-banging house music along Ibizan shorelines, creating a sexy yet sultry European atmosphere. His online presence allows him to reach fans when not performing live.

Richie Hawtin

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Richie_Hawtin

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Richie_Hawtin

Legendary techno-producer, Richie Hawtin, is one of, if not the, best DJ’s in the industry. This Canadian-raised DJ started with humble beginnings at 17 playing house and techno in Detroit clubs. Known as the “Plastikman,” rumor has it that Hawtin has made DJ-tastic loot, and scores six figure gigs. Hawtin recently entered the hot seat this fall 2014 with an ego-raged “accident” of pushing a speaker on top of a fan recording him at Time Warp. Richie immediately apologized, but when you hear his one-of-a-kind techno tricks, Hawtin fans either forgive his brutal mistake or rave about his senseless vibe. In 2015, Hawtin turns 45, but not to worry, his youthful blonde hair and music will be hear around the world for many years to come.

Maceo Plex

https://www.facebook.com/MaceoPlex/photos_stream

https://www.facebook.com/MaceoPlex/photos_stream

Eric Estronel, known by stage name Maceo Plex, produces a mix of house, dark and deep house and techno. His rookie beginnings originated in 2001 mainly along the Miami coastline. His native Cuban roots fabricate beats to keep music light and airy enough for the dance floor. So what kind of voodoo does Maceo Plex play? Fans find Maceo “beat matching” hypnotic gigs at festivals in sunny climates such as Ibiza and Mexico, and offers sexual healing to libido-frustrated ears. Known for his popular song, “Under the Sheets,” fans find Maceo taking a break from the turntable to dance, jiggle and move to his own grooves. Must be that Cuban energy?

Luciano

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciano_%28DJ%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciano_%28DJ%29

Conquering the Chilean crowds at 21, Luciano moved to Europe with dreams of making it big. He moved toward the big, hedonist culture of Ibiza after proving himself worthy in the underground scene. His music integrates a blend between techno and deep house, which enhances a “high on life” dance expression. Luciano produces emotional sets where fans enter a trance state of spiritual freedom and sheds an occasional tear in gratitude of his mind-altering music. This “Rico Suave” moved out of party city Berlin to St. Croix, Switzerland to spend more quality time with his wife and three children. Apparently DJs are family guys too.

Paul Oakenfold

https://www.facebook.com/Oakenfold/photos_stream?ref=page_internal

https://www.facebook.com/Oakenfold/photos_stream?ref=page_internal

Paul Oakenfold, 51, has been active in the DJ industry since 1980. Although his legendary career seems like he’d be an outdated bag of old crusty muffins, Paul Oakenfold still tours the world fusing classics with modern sets. Born in London, Oakenfold’s historic career started in the 1970’s producing “bedroom sets” and playing in wine bars. (Most likely the music that made your mom and dad conceive.) He dabbles into the realm of electronic, Goa trance, acid house, break beat, and anything else that combines a chemical reaction. Oakenfold is finishing up 2014 with a world tour and will play in Mexico City in 2015 with other popular DJs such as David Guetta and Tiesto. Better book tickets before this veteran exits the industry.

Deadmau5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadmau5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadmau5

Throughout the years of Deadmau5’s existence, thousands of fans have questioned, “Who is that guy behind the mouse head?” That mouse-man is soon to be 34-year old Canadian DJ, Joel Thomas Zimmerman. Blending a combination of progressive house, electro house and electronica, Deadmau5 has scored major labels including Ministry of Sound and Virgin/EMI. Deadmau5 performs live wearing a giant mouse head, which ruffled Disney World’s panties to file a suit claiming the mousehead has similar resemblance to the trademarked figure, Mickey Mouse. Zimmerman, being young and “wise,” attacked Disney via Twitter causing a mouse-droppling storm. Between irrelevant fighting, Deadmau5’s music is top notch.

We love you, just remember that.

Expedition Tech: How To Stay In Contact From (Almost) Anywhere

There once was a time—not all that long ago—when explorers and mountaineers would set off to distant, unexplored places for the sole purpose of filling in the blank spots on the map. They would often remain almost entirely out of contact for weeks, if not months on end, only sending letters and dispatches when it was absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, back home, their friends and family waited anxiously for news of their fate, all the while wondering if they would ever see them again.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and those days are all but forgotten. In an age where the Internet and satellite communications have made the planet a much smaller place. As long as you don’t forget to bring your power bank, it is now possible to Skype from Everest, email from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and send a text from the North Pole. The modern explorer has an impressive array of tech tools at his or her disposal, allowing them to stay in touch from virtually anywhere. Here are some devices that can help you to stay in contact on your next adventure.

Satellite Communicators
Small, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive, satellite communicators allow users to share their current locations with friends and family back home, and even provide the ability to send short text messages to let them know you are okay. These devices do not support voice communications of any kind although they do have the ability to signal for an emergency evacuation should the need arise. Satellite communicators provide relatively good coverage across most of the planet, and they can serve as a good safety-net for outdoor enthusiasts visiting far flung locales.

Examples of this type of device include the SPOT Satellite Messenger and the DeLorme InReach. Of these, the InReach seems to be the favorite of most adventurers because due its ability to facilitate two-way communication and better coverage area. Both devices require monthly service plans to operate.

Satellite Phones
Satellite phones have been around for years now, and they remain one of the most reliable ways to stay in contact while traveling off the beaten path. Sat phones allow users to place voice calls from just about anywhere on the planet, although instead of using traditional cell phone towers, they connect via satellite instead. Because of their reliance on those satellites, these devices generally need a clear line of sight to the sky overhead in order to function properly, but depending on the service provider, they can usually place a call from just about anywhere on the planet.

More versatile than satellite communicators, sat phones are not only capable of making voice calls, but can also send SMS text messages too. Some can even connect to the Internet, although at extremely slow speeds. This extra functionally comes at a price however, both financially and otherwise. Sat phones are more expensive than communicators, and are also bulkier to carry around.

There are essentially four major players in the satellite phone market. They include Iridium, Thuraya, Globalstar, and Immersat. Each provides different types of coverage, models of phones, and quality of calls. Of these, Iridium and Immersat offer the best coverage of the planet, while Thuraya probably has the best voice quality due to the larger bandwidth that its satellites provide. All four providers are working on improving bandwidth and updating their networks for future communications needs.

In recent years, the cost of making phone calls with a satellite phone has improved dramatically. It now costs, on average, about $0.15 to $2 per minute to place a call, depending on geographic location, provider, etc. This is fairly affordable when used sparingly, all things considered. The cost of placing a cal to a satellite phone is quite a bit more expensive however, often running $8 to $12 per minute. With that in mind, be careful who you share your satellite phone number with.

Satellite Internet
The newest, and most versatile, gadgets for staying in contact while in the field include several devices meant to provide Internet access in the most remote regions of the world. These devices use the same satellite networks provided by the sat phone companies, and while they do allow you to surf the Internet, post to social networks, and update your blog, they can be painfully slow most of the time. As mentioned above, the satellite companies are working on next-generation networks that will greatly improve available bandwidth, and provide better speed, but they are years away from truly implementing those systems.

Two popular devices for connecting to the Internet from the far corners of the planet include the BGAN from Immersat and the Iridium Go, a compact system that is small, lightweight, versatile, and poised to improve as next-generation satellites come online. Both allow for data and voice communications, and have networks that span nearly the entire planet. Iridium’s is the only provider that offers coverage of the entire planet, including the the North and South Pole. Immersat doesn’t cover the Poles, but it does have the rest of the world well blanketed as well.

The BGAN has a tried and true reputation for providing reliable data connections from remote areas. The service has become a mainstay on expeditions to the Himalaya, the Arctic, and other challenging places. The Iridium Go is a much newer, more advanced system, but it hasn’t seen as much use in the field just yet. It is likely that it will become much more popular in the years ahead.

The cost of using these devices can still be somewhat expensive. For instance, Immersat charges $7/megabyte of data used on their BGAN network. That means costs can add up quickly, as uploading a single photo could set you back more $20. Iridium plans are based on minutes used, which considering the speed of the service could get pricey quickly too.

Explorers like these satellite Internet system as they allow them to post dispatches, send emails, and connect with social media while they are on their expeditions. It also helps to keep them in touch with friends and family back home, allowing them to feel a bit more connected with what is happening there. Of course, their sponsors love them too, as this technology helps to provide extra exposure while the actual adventure is still unfolding.

The future of satellite communications from the field will include smaller, faster, and more powerful devices. But as of now, these are the options that are available to outdoor adventurers who need to stay connected in the most remote regions of the world.

We love you, just remember that.

How to Pick Up During Apres in 6 Easy Steps

©istockphoto/DanielBendjy

©istockphoto/DanielBendjy

It’s been an epic day on the mountain, and now you’re enjoying a well-earned frosty cold beverage (and perhaps a pulled pork burger)…and, bonus, there’s an attractive person sitting a table away. Skiing really is the best.

It’s one thing to gawk at someone across a pile of nachos jamming out to EDM on some wireless headphones, but it’s another thing entirely to act upon it. So what do you do to land yourself a brand new skiing partner? We’re glad you asked.

Share a Table
You head to your favorite apres spot and there’s nary a free table in sight. That sucks…or does it? This is actually not such a bad scenario: just survey the scene. If you spot someone who catches your eye with an extra couple of chairs at their table, ask if they’d mind if you sat there—and offer to buy them a beer for their efforts.

The same works in reverse: if you’ve got a prime table, be willing to share your spare chairs. You never know who might come by.

Sit at the Bar
Better yet, skip the table altogether—the bar is where the real socializing happens. Just be sure not to end up in a sandwich between your two buddies. Speaking of that…

Less is More
It’s fun hanging out with a huge crew during apres, but if your goal is to meet people, stick to the buddy system. Too many numbers isn’t conducive to making friends in this setting. Remember: your group will start small, but the goal is to grow it.

Borrow Props
Look around you. The best apres spots have some kind of interactive element that you can use as an excuse to start up a conversation. Do they keep Jenga behind the bar? Is there an epic moose head behind your person of interest that you need to get close to for a photo op? Is there a shot ski that’s begging to be used, but you’re a person short? Use your resources wisely.

Go Old School
Back in the day, when a person saw another person that intrigued them in a bar-like setting, they would buy them a drink (or so I’m told). This hardly happens anymore, but when it does, it usually comes off as incredibly charming. Have your server deliver it on your behalf, or heck, just walk up and hand it over yourself. Ladies, this is equally awesome for you to do.

Try a Line
There’s no doubt about it: pick up lines are just a little bit lame. But sometimes, they actually work—especially during apres, when everybody’s having a good time and the questionable beer is flowing. Give these ones a whirl:

“Where did you ski today?”

“Are those next year’s goggles?” (bonus points if they reply with another Shit Skiers Say line)

“Skier or snowboarder?”

“Just a head’s up—your beacon battery might be low. It took me all day to find you.”

“Did you check out (insert awesome zone here) today?” (Proceed to swap epic stories)

“Nice moguls.”

“Did you hear the forecast for tomorrow?”

“Are you sponsored?”

We love you, just remember that.

5 Ways Portable Power will Improve Your next Camping Trip

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As technology improves, there are a lot of arguments from hardcore outdoor enthusiasts that it makes a “cheater” out of a camper when they bring a power bank. What these guys tend to forget is that they’re making these statements while warm in their high-tech sleeping bags, not wrapped in a bear skin like their caveman ancestors. It all comes into perspective, however, when you realize that that caveman was probably made fun of by his naked friend – shortly before he froze to death. So relax, and here are some arguments to throw at your criticizing buddies.

Charge Your Phone
Just because our smartphones can do almost everything doesn’t mean they have to. Netflix under the stars might be taking things a little far, but having a detailed topographical map to help you scale that peak could make your trip that much better. But, a low battery sign doesn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know.

Charge Your GPS
Your phone has one of these, but if you’re really into it, you can have a standalone device that works a lot better. Although safety is an important issue, don’t limit these little gadgets to that purpose. If you’re not already addicted to geocaching, it’s time you start. And once you hit that point, think of how much more incredible those back country caches are. Just make sure you won’t run out of battery power right before you find it!

Music
I know, you want to bring your guitar and impress all of your friends at the campfire sing-along. But, hold it a second there, Jack Johnson. Are your skills really that good?  If they’re not, be the hero and make sure everyone has some speakers playing quality tunes to sing with. Bring some power, though, or you might have to listen to one of your tone-deaf friends plucking at some strings.

Walkie Talkies
As a kid, you used them to crawl around your basement and play James Bond. As an adult, you’ll use them running around the woods saving your life. If you get separated from your group on a hike, it’s nice to be able to talk to them when you’re out of cell range. That feeling is multiplied if you fall down a hill and break your leg. But, you might be dead with a dead battery.

Kitchen Appliances
Sure, everyone loves hot dogs, s’mores, and cans of beer. But, wouldn’t it be nicer to lie in front of your tent with a freshly made smoothie? With some portable power, your kitchen (and its amazing gadgets) can come with you into nature.

We love you, just remember that.

Only a Fool Pays Full Price for Lift Tickets / 6 Ways to Save

OT_liftticketsWalk up to the window at any ski resort and purchase a ticket and you will pay big time prices. Only a fool would do this and yes I am a fool. At least at one time I was. I now know a few tricks of the trade.

SHHH, It’s a Secret
Trying to find out what they are charging at the window in advance is about as easy as locating a CIA secret prison. The resorts change their prices daily depending on expected crowds, snow conditions and the correlation between the rotational phases of the Moon and Mars. Even if you have a season pass with attached buddy passes, you won’t know what your buddy pays until you actually pay at the window. I would imagine the reason for this is embarrassment, or at least it should be when I walked up to the window at Copper Mountain last year and was charged $110 per ticket.

Season Passes
These used to be exorbitant and only worthwhile if you skied pretty much every day. They still are. If you want to ski Aspen on a season pass it will run you $2,049. If you bought it before September you could have gotten it for $1699 but if you’re skiing Aspen, what’s three hundred and fifty bucks or so to you anyway? Single mountain season passes are only for certain mountains that are not linked with other resorts. If you have a little hill near your home, and Aspen Mountain is actually a little hill but you know what I mean, you may find a deal there.

Multiple Mountain Passes
Vail Resorts, which is planning on taking over the world, or at least the ski world as we know it, has their Epic Pass. You get unlimited access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado plus Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California, Park City and the Canyons in Utah and Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton back east. To show their worldwide domination they also offer, with limitations, days at Niseko United in Japan, Verbier in Switzerland and 3 Vallees in France. Their Epic Local Pass is similar but has restrictions as to which resorts you have access to (mainly Colorado resorts) and some limit you to 10 days but the price is less than the main Epic. These passes are only available in the spring, summer and early fall and must be purchased in person at the resort or certain ski shops.

Resort Online Sites
Most resorts offer deals if you order online and at least 14 days in advance. Vail is charging $129 for Saturday December 27 if you order online, in advance. The window price is probably about $149. I could tell you exactly but then would have to kill you.

Other Online Sites
Sites like Liftopia.com and Onthesnow.com offer great discounts. Some of them work with the resorts to help sell tickets in slow periods. This means your best deals are same day or next day sales. Part of this is due to the algebraic equations resorts seem to use to determine their pricing. Today may cost more than tomorrow and Saturday will definitely be more than Tuesday, unless it snows or the accountants are hung-over. I joke about this but I think it may be closer to the truth than you think.

Lodging Packages
If you book a stay in a room or condo owned by the resort they will offer discounted or free lift tickets. If you think that ticket is actually free, I have a ski condo in Kansas I’ll sell you. Sometimes these deals are good though, especially during slower periods. During the peak season, you will pay peak prices for that lodging so check other lodging options before booking. With the price of lift tickets today, which once again is a secret, you may save a lot by booking one of these package deals. One example is kids ski free with multiple days booked at a Keystone-run lodge. Keystone is smart in doing this to encourage the next generation to fork over big bucks for their condos.

Local Business Deals
In Colorado the big chain grocery stores like King Soopers and City Market (Kroger) and Safeway offer discounts at their customer service desks. These will save a few bucks but not much. On December 11, 2014 Kings was offering Keystone for $104 and Copper Mountain for $74. Great deal for Copper, not so much for Keystone. Sporting stores and rental shops offer deals as well so anytime you are buying or renting, ask what they have. In some areas, local gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants offer 2 for 1 coupons if you patronize their business. Look for these deals in the newspaper, on TV or, if anyone does this anymore, listen to the radio. You will definitely save over the walkup-to-the-window price which as I have taught you, could be $100 or more, especially if Pluto is in retrograde.

Once you get your lift ticket, make sure your wireless CHIPS® are in your helmet so you can get pumped while sitting on the lift.

We love you, just remember that.

Don’t Do This If You’re Stuck on a Ski Lift

It’s just really hard to describe what these guys are doing in a few words but whatever it is, don’t do that. This snowboarder,Travis Waite, got stuck on a lift that broke down while riding at Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

While the belay attempt is bad, the snow conditions might be arguably worse. (Seriously—what was he riding on, the grass?) They should rename it Beach Mountain…

The best part is the bystander who doesn’t offer to help until after he got the footage.

We love you, just remember that.

Choosing The Perfect Portable Power Bank

portable power bank

The Kodiak Power Bank

Navigating the world of portable power.
So if our stealthy online ads haven’t already gotten to you, one of the many other back-up battery pack companies probably has. So what is all the hype about exactly? Well, you know those electronic devices we all love so much (phone, tablet, camera, robotic sidekick), they always seem to kick it right as you are about to tag Becky in that super embarrassing photo, before she has a chance to delete her online existence. Never fear we are here to make sure that Becky in indebted to you for life, or at least until she has procured something on you that is much more humiliating.

How to stay in charge (you like my pun, don’t you).
The first place to start is the basic understanding of what a back-up battery pack is. Most back-up battery packs, or power banks, are simply a portable rechargeable battery that can charge electronic devices. How they work is you charge them ahead of time and then throw it in your bag or fanny pack and off you go. You can now use this magical wonder to charge your device when you aren’t near an outlet, like at the annual shuffle board convention.

What size battery pack do you need?
This is where things get a little more complicated. If you have done any basic research on this, you know that the options can be overwhelming. There seems to be three basic tiers:

  • Enough power for one full charge on most phones.
  • Enough power to charge your phone a couple times.
  • The big daddy that can fully (or almost) charge a tablet.

So how do you know how many times it will charge your device? It really comes down to simple math. Backup battery packs show their capacity in milliamps (or mAh). Your device’s battery also uses this same rating system. Here’s how it works: say you have a 2,000 mAh battery pack and you want to charge your iPhone. iPhones have a battery capacity of 1420-1800 (not including the new iPhone+). Since the backup battery has 2,000 mAh and the most you would need is 1800, you can safely assume that you will get one full charge to your phone (divide 2000 by 1800 and you get 1 and some change). Keep in mind that a little bit of power can be lost in the transfer, but it is a good estimation.

There is another thing to consider beyond the mAh capacity of the power bank and that is the output at which it can charge your device. Most cell phones and smaller devices (such as bluetooth headphones, digital cameras and GPS’s) only require 1A (amp) to charge them. However, larger more power-hungry devices (such as tablets) require a 2.1 or 2.4A output to charge effectively. This is something to keep in mind when you are shopping around. You should ask yourself what you will want to charge. Most of the smaller power banks (2,000-3,000 mAh) will have an output of 1A since they don’t have enough to charge a large device. Once you move into the next tier, a 2.1 or 2.4A output starts to become the standard.

There are even a lot of devices with dual USB outputs to charge two devices at one time. Generally one of them is a 1A and the other is a 2.1 or 2.4A. This can also be tricky to navigate as it is important to find out what the maximum output is for both USB ports combined. The reason for this is that while one USB may output at 1A and the other at 2.1A, sometimes they cannot both output their max at the same time. For example, in the scenario I just described (dual outputs – 1A and 2.1A) if the MAX output is only 2.1A, you cannot charge your tablet AND your phone at the same time. You could, however, charge two phones at once (since your phone only needs 1A each and you have 2.1A total). If you are looking to charge a tablet and a phone simultaneously, look for a power bank with a max output of 3.1 or 3.4A. The last complexity is that some devices that only require 1A to charge them can in fact take more power to charge more quickly, such as the Samsung Galaxy. This has generally not been the case with iPhones (although I am not sure if they made this upgrade on the new iPhone 6 and 6+ models). So even if you only want to use your power bank to charge your phone or other small device, you may still find the 2.1 or 2.4A output useful.

So, now you know what mAh capacity to look for, how the output rate will affect charging on your device, and that you have the option to charge multiple items at once, all you have to do is choose one. One expert tip: most batteries will print their capacity right on them. So for those devices with removable batteries, you can look here first to help you determine the capacity that you need. To help, I have listed the capacities below of some popular devices.

DEVICE ESTIMATED mAh
iPhone 4 1420
iPhone 5 1560
iPhone 6 1800
iPhone 6+ 3000
Galaxy S5 2800
iPad Mini (3rd Gen) 12000
GoPro Hero4 1160

** Legal disclaimer – the data in the chart above was found via simple online searches as not all manufacturers publish this information. This is not a guarantee of the battery capacity, but an estimate from published information by companies and user reports.

If you made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back because that was a lot of reading. You are now a little bit smarter for reading, so prove how smart you are by getting a Kodiak power bank.

We love you, just remember that.