Japan is firmly planted on the international ski and snowboard map, an exotic dream destination for many. Powderhounds the world over start drooling with the mere mention of ski resorts in the Northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido such as Niseko, Tazawako, and Minow, all of which are known for their insane (see below) amounts of high quality, dry powder.
With these resorts being world class destinations, resorts in Fukushima’s lesser known Aizu and Minami Aizu mountain regions are attempting to put their name on the map by offering free lift tickets to anyone with a foreign passport between the ages of 19-24. Simply present your passport at the ticket window and away you go. Now, before you quip about the misleading title of this article, if you hold a foreign passport and you’re over (or under, not sure there 19) 24 you can get lift tickets for roughly USD $17. Not a bad deal any way you look at it. The offer is available through March 31st, 2017, at 22 ski resorts in the Aizu and Minami Aizu mountain region.
The promotion, as reported by local news agency Rocket News 24, is being held by Visit Fukushima, the prefectures’ tourism board. Some of the best looking resorts participating in the promotion are:
SnowSports Industries America’s Snow Show wrapped up for another year this past week and the overwhelming buzzword of the show was sustainability. This isn’t surprising, consumers are becoming more and more conscious of how their purchasing decisions affect the world around them. It’s just bad business for companies not to at the very least have a cute little section of their website dedicated to that particular shade of green that lets the world know they recycle. But how many companies truly embrace those twisty bendy green arrows?
The traditional manufacturing of snowboards, skis, surfboards, anything that brings the stoke, is pretty gnarly for the environment. This is ironic as stoke as an industry relies so much on pristine nature to bring in the bucks. Enter Niche Snowboards.
Niche has partnered with The Mothership; one of the world’s most environmentally friendly and sustainable factories and the world’s most environmentally friendly snowboard factory. The facility is 100% river powered by hyrdo-electricity and emits zero CO2 emissions thanks to electric cooling and NH3 natural gas heating. In addition, the factory uses 98% locally sourced materials, reducing transportation emissions and energy used.
For the 2017/18 winter season Niche is releasing 100% waste-free snowboards, reducing their already impressively low manufacturing eco-footprint. A new system developed at The Mothership creates resin from any waste plastic material, allowing 100% recycled hard plastic to be used in their board construction. In addition to being waste-free and featuring a number of other eco-friendly construction techniques, the 17/18 boards incorporate a flax based fiber stringer, allowing for more pop while dampening the vibration and reducing board chatter.
We’re really impressed with Niche Snowboards for putting their money where their mouth is and committing to being eco-friendly and sustainable. We know where our next snowboards are going to be coming from.
If you haven’t seen the cinematic masterpiece that is Ski Schoolthen you need stop whatever it is that you’re doing RIGHT NOW and watch it, seriously, we’ll wait. Ok, got that out of the way? Great. Now, Ski School is clearly the be all end all of films that capture the raw energy and passion of freeskiing. It also showcases the pinnacle of mountain fashion and attitude, and fashion in general that was the year 1991. We just made that sign with our hands that a mustachioed caricature Italian chief would make, you know the pinch your fingers together and kiss them to let the world know “that’sa tastyyyy meataballll” because 1991 was so on point:
But we digress. Redbull (“that’sa tastyyyy energyyy drinkaaa”) decided to take an expanded look at the fashion and skiing styles of five decades of freeskiing in their latest mini documentary Generations of Freeskiing.
Filled to the brim with neon jackets, long tees, and every other awesome fashion fehler (German for mistake, so we’re told) that has hit the slope in the last fifty years, Redbull’s Generations of Freeskiing also features some of the biggest names in modern freeskiing.
To name a few, Jon Olsson, Ben Mayr, Lisa Zimmermann, Nick Goepper, Jesper Tjader, all throw down to make the film as awesome as it is entertaining.
Generations of Freeskiing can be streamed in full, for free on Red Bull TV. Now if you’ll excuse us we’re going to break out the neon and take back the slope from those pesky snowboarders!
Becoming a pro snowboarder takes hours of riding, hard work, determination, and probably a fair share of pain. Of course being a 16 year old prodigy with a private park in your backyard doesn’t hurt things either.
Amongst the most humble of teen pro athletes out there, Red Gerard’s great attitude and relentless energy makes him one of the most likeable young guns in the game. His family splits their time between Ohio and Colorado and during the winter months call Summit County, Colorado home. Sitting on a beautiful piece of property, the family’s home has a sloped backyard which Red and his brothers immediately flagged for a perfect backyard setup. A rode-to-death 50 cc dirtbike powers a homemade rope tow allowing for endless technical rail hits, and fro Red to perfect his craft for competition riding. In Red’s words “I can come home from snowboarding at the mountain, you know, and just like shred in the back yard” What a dream, but you can’t fault his determination and drive either.
Known primarily as a contest powerhouse (it’s easy to forget he’s only 16), Red’s raw talent will propel him into the freeride and all mountain limelight. He recently was featured in the Transworld film, Insight and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the table in 2017.
Check out the trailer Insight, feature Red, below:
And visit Gogorillasafe.com to learn more about GorillaSafe for free anti-theft protection for your outdoor recreation equipment.
An ultra endurance event is one of the most challenging and rewarding events you can experience. There is little else which will completely test you physically and often much more challengingly, mentally. Many outside of the ultra endurance community wonder why people would voluntarily punish their bodies to such an extent. One of the greatest joys of an ultra event is that they allow individuals to explore and experience an area or culture in a way that isn’t possible any other way. You become intimately familiar with a place after running 100 miles of it. You see things and locations that you can’t reach by car. You interact with people you otherwise wouldn’t ever meet.
As locations go there are few places less explored and visited than The Arctic. Enter The Arctic Triple. The Arctic Triple is a series of three races held in the Lofoten archipelago of Norway. Located 68°20′N 14°40′E Lofoten is deep in the Arctic circle however it enjoys relatively warm temperatures due to its high altitude and Gulf Stream air currents which bring warm air to the region, making for the highest relative temperature anomaly in the world. It is also one of three locations which is both furthest North and has year round average temperatures above freezing. There is no better place for endurance racing in The Arctic, featuring stunning natural scenery including dramatic mountains rising from the wild Norwegian Sea, sheltered bays, pristine grasslands and untouched beaches.
Completing the Arctic Triple means successfully completing three events, the Skimo, the Ultra-Trail, the Triathlon within one year. Each event may also be participated in as a standalone event. The Skimo is a ski mountaineering (snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and running) race offering one extreme 4000+ meters and one normal distance taking place during March 16th through March 19th 2017. The Lofoten Ultra-Trail® is a trail running event with distances of 100 miles, 50 miles and 24 KM. All three routes feature near entire ocean views through and travlel through mountains, beaches, green hills. The Ultra-Trail is run June 1st through June 4th. The Arctic Triple Lofoten Triathlon is offered at two distances, Extreme and Olympic +. Lofoten Triathlon is a unique race due to it’s stunning surroundings and transition zone in the heart of Svolvær city. Held August 17th through August 20th.
With participants labeling the events as “insane” due to course and weather conditions, any one of these races will prove to be a huge challenge, however completing the entirety of the Arctic Triple would be a truly impressive and rewarding experience. As the even organizers put it, “It will be hard. It will be tough. It will be amazing.”
Registration is now open, are you up to the challenge?
Can’t decide if you want to bomb the mountain or rock out at a music festival? Why not do both? We have you covered, here are five of the world’s best ski and snowboard festivals.
Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria
3rd-8th April, 2017
Snowbombing Canada, Sun Peaks, Canada
6th-10th, April, 2017
Snowbombing is the granddaddy of ski and snowboard festivals. It’s the biggest, baddest and raddest ski and snowboard festival of them all.
Where to start? Located in Mayrhofen, Austria, Snowbombing is as the official tag line goes, a “festival 8,497ft above ordinary.” Featuring some of the world’s best skiing and snowbording and world class musical acts performing in unique venues; igloo raves, enchanted forest parties, underground tennis clubs turned super clubs. If that’s not enough, the charming town of Mayrhofen has luxury spas, authentic alpine cuisine, blue runs, black runs and all the schnapps you can drink.
New for 2017, Snowbombing is holding a sister event at Sun Peaks in the Canadian rockies, giveing North America it’s own version of this awesome ski and snowboard festival. Dates: 6th-10th, April, 2017
Situated high in the breath-taking Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, Horizon Festival 2017 features outstanding skiing and snowboarding, two mountain top stages with day and night line-ups from 1pm each day, amazing bars, restaurants, clubs, and a hidden secret stage located deep in lush pine forest. What more could you want from a ski and snowboard festival?
The ski resort offers a kilometer of vertical and outstanding conditions for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders, alongside stunning mountain tops, villages and valleys.
World Ski And Snowboard Festival, Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
6th-16th, April, 2017
A completely free outdoor and indoor ski, snowboard, music, arts, and everything in-between festival held in Whistler village every April. The World Ski and Snowboard Festival combines everything that makes Whistler great and supersizes it. Ten days and ten nights of spring riding, après, nightlife and culture.
Whistler Blackcomb needs no introduction. Featuring more terrain than you could ski or ride in a month it is consistently ranked as the World’s best ski and snowboarding destinations. Plenty of Spring Sunshine and friendly Canadians makes the World Ski and Snowboard Festival one not to be missed and fun for all ages.
An independent ski & snowboard music festival held in Les Deux Alps, Rise combines fantastic alpine skiing and riding with the hottest in electronic music. Epic parties and a focus on human wellbeing and sustainability along with 222km of pistes and the largest skiable glacier in Europe makes Rise a unique ski and snowboard festival experience. The French resort town of Les Deux Alps is located 3000 meters above sea level and offers European charm, fine dining and . Tickets include a lift pass and access to all night and daytime soirees.
For those of you who like to take to the mountain and have fun at the same time (you monsters, who are you?) then check out the Altitude Comedy Festival. Held in the lovely Tyrolean ski resort of Mayrhofen, this unique festival combines fantastic skiing and riding with stand-up comedy. In addition to world class comedy, skiing and snowboarding the Altitude Festival features late night parties, wonderful food, and an overall great atmosphere for young and old.
The 2017 ski and snowboard season has gotten off to a phenomenal start with amazing levels of snowfall from Whistler to Niseko. However with increase snowfall comes increased risks both on and off-piest. Tree wells are often overlooked as potentially life threatening mountain hazards. Less spectacular and visible than avalanches, they are more common and just as dangerous if not more so. As with avalanches a basic understanding of the threats posed and self-rescue and survival techniques can mean the difference between life and death. The threat of tree wells is made even more prominent as they can occur in-bound, in areas where skiers and borders feel otherwise safe and familiar.
What is a tree well? A tree well is formed when snowfall surrounds the base of a tree yet a void is left as branches directly above the tree well keep snow from accumulated around the trunk of the tree. Think of an umbrella keeping the trunk of the tree ‘dry’. The higher the snowpack, the deeper and more dangerous the tree well.
Danger comes when a skier or boarder falls into a tree well, becoming trapped with the impact potentially knocking snow from branches above onto the individual below. Falling headfirst or being buried by falling snow can cause snow-immersion suffocation (SIS).
The highest risk of becoming trapped in a tree well comes after large snowfalls. The best way to avoid becoming trapped in a tree well is to stay clear of trees! Duh! But if you do ski or ride glades remember that all trees pose a tree well threat, even small trees which don’t appear to pose a risk. Small trees can have surprisingly deep, dangerous tree wells which catch skiers and boarders off guard.
What are some tips to avoid tree wells and survive a tree well incident?
Always ski or ride with a buddy. 90% of tree well entrapment tests found that individuals could not self-rescue. Having a friend nearby can mean the difference between life and death.
Maintain visual contact with that friend and others in your group.
If you see someone who has fallen into a tree well do not assume that they can self rescue, stop and provide assistance and if possible flag down ski patrol, time is critical when dealing with tree well entrapment and SIS.
Ski and ride with a whistle that is within easy reach, ideally located as close to your mouth as possible.
If you find yourself trapped in a tree well, what should you do?
Try to prevent yourself from sliding further down into the tree well by any means possible. Grab branches, wedge yourself against the trunk, the further into the tree well you sink the increase level of danger and risk of SIS.
If you are trapped in the tree well, do not struggle. Struggling after you have fallen in will only lead to the risk of snow falling from branches above and burying you further.
Try to make an air pocket around your face and mouth, this small pocket of air can mean the difference between life and death as every minute of air increase the likelihood of surviving long enough to be rescued.
Stay as calm as possible.
Stay as calm as possible.
Stay as calm as possible. Yup three times. Panicking will increase your rate of air consumption and potentially trap you further. Stay calm and yell or blow your whistle to attract attention and rescue.
What should I do if a member of my party falls into a tree well?
If you cannot immediately find your missing person contact ski patrol and direct them towards your friend’s last known location, then being to search for your missing person.
Listen for any noise which may indicate where your friend is located.
If you have an avalanche beacon switch to search mode and use the same techniques you would with a avalanche rescue.
If you find the tree well victim, determine where their head is and tunnel in from the side to provide immediate air and minimize further injury.
An avalanche skill 1 course will provide you with skills necessary for the best methods to tunnel and rescue a trapped individual. Always tunnel directly to the individuals airway and be careful not to knock more snow onto the victim. Expand out the tunnel to the airway until you can pull your partner out.