Archive for December, 2012

December 30th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Spread the (Bike) Love This New Year

We found this love-ly shot via ARTCRANK’s Facebook Page, and felt compelled to share it for two reasons. 1. It’s beautifully, subtly and undeniably bike-themed. And 2., Its message is what this holiday season is all about: Love.

From all of us at Osprey; Cheers  to a brand-new year that’s filled with as much love as possible.

December 27th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

A Helmet Made of Woodpecker-Inspired Cardboard

Back in October, we wrote about an incredible new bicycle that’s made entirely out of cardboard. Now we’re back to show you the newest in cardboard creations: a helmet that’s designed with a corrugated cardboard interior that mimics the corrugated cartilage standing between a woodpecker’s impact-heavy beak and its precious skull.

The new “Kranium” helmet is crafted with cardboard in such a way that, according to NPR, a whopping “90 percent” of its liner is actually air. Specifically, the helmet is uniquely designed by “incorporating a network of honeycomb-shaped corrugated cells” that would safely dissipate the energy of a blow to the head.

We’re excited to see new innovations hitting the bicycle and bicycle helmet market, which are changing the way we see transportation and the safety that’s necessarily involved in it. What’s more, we’re hoping that inventions such as these spark people’s interest in riding bikes, regardless of what they’re made out of.

December 24th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

A New Caroling Classic: Big Red Bicycle Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly and to listen to caroling favorites. The only problem is: playing those tunes on repeat has the potential to drive even the most spirited singer to want to jingle all the way home. Fortunately, we’ve found something that’s not only brand-sparkling-new — it’s bike-themed, too!

This new holiday tune, aptly named Big Red Bicycle, comes to you via Nora and One Left, who’s all about “music, bikes, seeing what’s over the next hill.”

Cheers to a safe, happy and healthy holiday season full of love, laughter and, of course, bikes!

December 21st 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of 88bikes

Osprey was introduced to 88Bikes when we first entered the bike industry with our Osprey Hydraulics™ line of hydration packs. Their model is simple yet incredibly powerful: provide bikes — often the first — to young people living in challenging environments across the planet. In places like Cambodia, Uganda and Peru the addition of a bicycle to a young person’s life almost always is a life-changing event.

It’s undeniably the season of giving, which can equate to added stress over finding the right thing to give the ones you love. The good news is, if you want to embrace the spirit of the season and gift up something meaningful, it’s easy. Through the non-profit 88bikes, you can donate a bike to a child in the name of your special someone and know that you’re quite simply helping to pedal change on a global level.

Want a little more background? Here’s how 88bikes gift-giving works, directly via the non-profit’s site itself:

Bike contributions are $88 each, which will be used to purchase one bike for one child for the project. Your name will be added to the website, and we ask that you send a photo of yourself to us by email so that we can print it out and give it to the child who receives your bike. We’ll take a picture of the child holding your photo, with her new bike, and send this back to you. 88bikes is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and your donations are fully tax deductable. 88bikes does not maintain a staff or an office, so that 100% of your contributions go towards our projects.

You can choose to donate a specific dollar amount, one bike or multiple bikes by going here. You can even print your own gift certificate to personalize and wrap up for the holidays yourself. However you choose to donate, 100 percent of your donation goes to the cause. What’s more, “Each child is given his or her bike in person by the founders or an 88bikes volunteer, on behalf of the individual Sponsor who donated the bike. The child is also given a postcard with a photo of their Sponsor and a world map, indicating the Sponsor’s hometown. Photos and film of the project are made available to the Sponsors, and each Sponsor receives a thank-you letter with a photo of the child who received their bike.”

December 19th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Only One Mountain

Sunrise in the Sonoran desert.

As the sun rose over craggy desert mountains near Arizona’s McDowell mountain range, 60 some odd racers toed a start line and a race director was counting down from 5, 4, 3, 2… 1. At that same time, standing at a tent 20 feet from the start line in the warm desert dawn with headphones in my ear, I was filling the bottle to its 20-ounce capacity and casually realizing that these few seconds may not matter as much as the next few hours or the task ahead: to complete my second 50-mile ultra marathon. I told myself all week I was ready for this; after all, the course only offered one ascent to a 3914′ mountain and my mantra for the day was: I only have one mountain to climb! Seconds later with a topped off water bottle, I snuck into the back of the pack. I adjusted my pace to pass enough people to get some breathing room and eased into averaging 9-minute miles, my target for the day and a pace that would keep me ahead of mid-pack, ready for a charge after 30 miles if I did everything right.

The expansive terrain of the McDowell Mountain Park outside Fountain Hills, Az. Thompson peak is the highest point on the horizon and was the races highest point gained.

I live in the mountains in Telluride, Co. and my gear closet has more shiny sharp edges, clangy items and weather-bleached nylon than dusty running shoes, so to be here in Pheonix, Az. on a weekend in December (a time I would normally be skiing Silverton or in past warm winters rock or ice climbing) was quite foreign to me. Then again, climbing this one mountain in the middle of an ultra distance race — 3914′ Thompson peak with cell phone towers on it and a partially paved road to the top — was even crazier. But this year marks a new chapter in my quest to explore peaks, one that will require greater fortitude for distance than I have exhibited in the past, and so running 50 miles and climbing one mountain in the middle is all part of the process… on paper. The reality of ticking off goal after goal in a longer process I’m scoping out but can’t reveal to you guys just yet today has taught me things I wish I had learned earlier in my mountaineering career and am incredibly grateful to be learning now.

I traveled to Phoenix for this race with a Telluride region local and experienced ultra runner, Rhonda Claridge. Rhonda has won a few 50 and 100-mile races and is a great person to travel with for an event like this, one she took second place in. On the eight hour drive, we recounted stories of long solo training runs in the San Jaun mountains, the seclusion and self reliance they often demand and the stunning beauty that we have been so lucky to experience triggered by curiosity and driven over summits and ridges to further summits and ridges, all because of running. For Rhonda, the goal was to win the race. For me, it was to have a fantastic time finishing as I think that at this stage of the game, entering my second 50 mile ultra in only six months of high mileage training after years of trail running alone, I enjoy just being there — and the training runs that I do to get to the start line.

A view from Colorado National Monument's Upper Liberty cap trail, a trail I enjoyed running on a 25 mile out and back traverse of the park.

Much like climbing mountains, racing them demands specificity in training. Whereas in the Himalayas I may sharpen my skills on mixed ground before attempting a climb on a steep line, for this race and my next two afterwards in February and May, I must train in the desert. Thirteen days before this race, I went out from the Wildwood trailhead in Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction, Co. and traversed the whole park and then back again completing a 25-mile run knowing that if I felt good and could move steadily, this desert race would be a lot of fun because it was at substantially lower altitude. This training run took me just over four hours. Mostly because I am a newbie to frequent weekly big distance runs, consistently now clocking mileage over 30 or more on most weekends and up to 70 a week, a nasty non-detrimental hindrance to joining the ranks as a distance runner popped up during this run — an irritated IT band. This is a common overuse condition that occurs frequently in runners escalating mileage and sitting for long periods at work as I often have to. At about mile 20, I started having less fun picking up my left knee and by mile 25, was reduced to a shuffle, albiet still at a running pace. I chalked it up to a lesson learned and completed the run as I couldn’t bail out anywhere anyway. Later that week I went to see a physical therapist and was cleared to taper off and keep my fingers crossed it didn’t spring up during the race but if it did, I could keep going as long as I could handle how it felt. “Ok, so I can race” I thought, “I can do this and get through it but I will have to have a day where I do everything right.”

The morning of the race, after the pack spread out onto the trail, I had a fantastic time shuffling along at a decent clip in 50 degree temps and passing many racers on my way to settling into the 9-minute pace I wanted to keep for 30 or so of the 50 miles. The trail was smooth, sandy at times and the low altitude meant that I could run uphill endlessly at the same clip without ever suffering as we do here in the mountains. It was bliss really and a great start. Around mile 11 I started to feel the IT band as my left hip got tight and my knee wanted to lock up a little. I told myself, much like I would on a nasty day in the high mountains, that like cutting cold weather, this condition would go away and everything would be fine if I just kept moving. Miraculously, by mile 15 it did and I had neither slowed down nor given in to the pain that had completely disappeared, and everything was plugging along on the desert trail exactly as I had wanted, as I had trained specifically for.

On the summit of Thompson Peak, cool spot-nice views!

The crux of the race came around mile 19 as the ascent up Thompson peak loomed two miles and a couple thousand feet overhead up a steep partially paved road cut. I settled into a rhythm that felt totally relaxed and just motored my way up, passing several people who did not seem to anticipate the joy of reaching this summit and still having over 26 miles left in the race. I adhered to my mantra, I only had one mountain to climb and I was going to enjoy it! Having a moment to myself on the summit amid buzzing cell towers, I felt good, stretched and then let it rip on the “blisteringly” steep descent. My joy was short-lived as I reached the bottom of the climb at mile 23.2 and suddenly, after changing my shoes and beginning uphill again, my IT band flared to the point that lifting my knee initiated a stabbing pain. Apparently this suffer point was common as many racers were blistered, spent or out of gas after the climb and friction-producing descent of the steepest “paved” road any of us have climbed, one I could only imagine driving up with a winch and a few hours.

Undeterred and reeling from endorphins, I figured oh well, like the episode earlier, this shall pass. But it didn’t and so for the next six miles I would run about a minute or two, stop and then rub my knee cap as my physical therapist had instructed and then proceed pain free for another minute or two until it came back. This became a trying effort as I had seen the first half of the race fly by and set me up for a nine hour or so finish and now I would spend more than two hours going six miles, all the while feeling energetic and optimistic, just in pain in one critical spot but patiently trying to work it out thinking “Ok, I can do this in 10 hours!”

As I passed the aid station at mile 29.5, I ran uphill one last time and began the epic process of deciding what to do over a seven-minute stretching session that proved fruitless to the pain. I struggled with the decision to continue with more than 20 miles to go. I thought to myself, “there is no way I can run for two minutes at a time, stop, rub my knee for a minute and ever get to the finish line,” as I continued forward mile after painful stop and go mile. The worst part about an IT band issue is that although it might hurt then, in all liklehood, the next day it wouldn’t even be there, not even a trace. I continued forward, being a stubborn mountaineer and aware that I had to get somewhere if I was going to quit anyway. Soon, people started catching up to me and as I looked over my shoulder just past mile 33.5, a “large” tan shirtless man in his 50s with a giant belly approached and I began to suffer the agony of defeat, knowing I would be passed and bested by someone who even despite an unlikely appearance would beat me on old man strengh alone… NOOOO!

So I accepted my fate, called my wife and began a hobbling hike forward knowing I had to get to at least mile 39.5 before I could drop out of the race and told her what I thought I would do. As usual, we laughed and chatted about other stuff, it was fun sharing the time alone crossing the flat expanse of desert with my wife on the phone. She would never do this type of activity and for good reason, you have to get through some major barriers before you can experience the real pleasure of ultra distance and I was suffering this common one now in a race. I agreed to drop, hung up the phone and plowed ahead in the still 80 degree air for few minutes… but then, I looked at my watch and realized it was only 3:30 and I had travelled 35.6 miles in 8 and a half hours despite all this complication. I stopped and rubbed my knee and felt now that after a few miles of pure hiking I could walk with minimal pain and adjustment to my gait… hmmmm. This race was not going to be possible to finish at the six and a half mile an hour pace I had trained so hard to be able to run but I had a lower gear, one that would still get it done, one I had used many a time pounding out long approaches back to civilization after draining mountain climbs.

Playing hurt has been part of the game since frost-biting my foot on my Everest summit day in 2003, that is real pain and a pain that lasts. This, well, this was just something I would have to live with for a day. I was not going to make my goal of a sub 10 hour top 10 finish but I had gone fast enough in the beginning that despite burning nearly four hours on a measly 9.5 miles of running and stopping for maintenance for two minutes every two or so minutes of running, it became clear that with only a little above 14 miles left that if I just hiked like I knew I could, I could still finish under the 14 hour cutoff time. So I picked up the pace and motored to the end finishing in 12:24 minutes, the last four hours were at nearly a four mph pace hike. I didn’t care if I couldn’t run, I was just there to get the mileage in and yet still, improved on my previous 50 mile time (especially the first half) and beat nine other finishers to the finish with nearly 20 miles hiked after a painful 30 mile run.

In the midst of this “successful failure” I learned something, something that I think is important. I learned that I could overcome a mistake I had made eagerly two weeks before by running too great a distance too close to the race and taking as much joy and enthusiasm in training as I thought I would experience in racing. It happens, I have to balance a family, work and an athletic schedule and ultra running is one more arrow in the quiver of being a mountaineer and I am taking a real liking to it. After all, I’m doing these races because I have a secret bigger distance mountain goal coming up and this is the only way I can solve the puzzle to get there. But unlike the field of 55.4 percent of people who entered this race and dropped, many after the mountain climb long before nightfall and some champions afraid to lose, I could claim I hung in there and solved the problem. I didn’t let my ego or expectations get in the way of doing what I love doing, being outside all day. After all, I only had one mountain to climb all day — the icing on the cake: the next morning there was no pain in my knee, none…that’s an IT band for you.

Can’t wait until the next race 2/16/13!

December 17th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

75 Months of Turns All Year

I’m not sure how the turns-all-year habit started, but I’m clearly hooked. 75 months (6 years) and counting. Summer or winter, the thrill of the chase is always there. Just like chasing pow in the winter, or nailing your dream line in safe avy conditions, finding the perfect corn cycle can be just as elusive.

Let’s just say this month we didn’t nail the corn cycle, but the adventure was worth it. Skiing 45 to 55 degree blue ice in the Washington Cascades is just one example.

Volcanos… now that is fun! Well, if you’re trying to qualify as a mountain goat. And then there was the massive frozen suncups – one foot high by one foot deep. Each turn was so bone-jarring, I thought my knees were going to explode, or at least it felt like they would. To top it off, the rest of my 1,500-foot run (Yah, I kept going) consisted of carving a few turns, then hockey stopping into 20 foot side slip segments. All that has to be good practice for something right? Like, say, the next time?

On the hike out, I put my ski crampons to good use, and was inspired when I found a good breathing sequence and rhythm. Moving on, the fresh air and beauty of my surrounding left me with more energy and dreaming of my next trip. After all, the perfect way to get geared up and kill the pre-season nerves is to just go skiing. Every month, Every Year.

December 14th 2012 - Written by: alison

Climate Change to Dent Ski Industry $12.2 Billion?

Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Freeskier, founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation and an award-winning global cooling consultant who has spent her life dedicated to solutions for climate change.

While I’ve been working to save our snow from climate change for over 20 years, superstorm Sandy was still a huge wake up call for me. One of the biggest problems for us global warming geeks is that “it” was always happening to someone else, usually thousands of miles away in a third world country. My skiing travels certainly made it more real for me as glaciers and snowfields I had skied just a few years ago disappeared forever in just five years or so. But the impact of Sandy hit close to home, so to speak.

For years, arguments have passed back and forth regarding what “safe” amounts of carbon dioxide emissions that we could emit might be. A recommended 80 percent reduction by 2050 was often seen as the only sensible way to keep extreme weather at bay, save our snow, and keep low-lying countries above water. Yet this was often regarded as too extreme and unreasonable to reach. While at Copenhagen in 2009, I watched the U.S. delegates actually argue for a one percent reduction over 1990 levels, while most of the rest of the world argued about 80 percent not being sufficient. McKibben’s recent speaking tour, along with a demonstration of actual higher-than-projected-emissions, are now showing us on path for a 7-14 degree temperature increase. Considering a two degree increase is most likely to put many countries under water and most ski and snowboard resorts out of snow, we now need to really skip the baby steps and focus on real and meaningful reductions.

This all doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom and crawling into a cave – I’ve happily reduced my energy use and carbon footprint in half in the last several years – all while saving money and increasing my quality of life. We are able to do this, but it means that we have to get real with reductions and stop being so damn nice about it. Forget recycling and driving your Prius; What is your carbon footprint and can you cut it to three tons from 40? This is going to involve some hard choices for all of us. In 2001: I gave up heliskiing; in 2005: my snowmobile; and in 2010: my ski pass. Each one involved tears and temptation, yet in the end I believe I am happier and healthier.

All of this leads me to another report I read this week, this time from Protect Our Winters (POW) and the National Resources Defense Council. It’s called the Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States. So often, folks tell me that we can’t afford to implement changes in our lives due to the economy, yet (as this report shows) it is the very economy that will suffer the greatest in a world with super wacky weather such as droughts, floods or a combination thereof: super storms. Yet until now, no one has ever attempted to put a financial figure on the losses that the winter sports communities might incur, or the amount of jobs that might be lost. While skiing and snowmobiling contribute $12.2 billion dollars and 600,000 jobs to our national economy, the numbers from the state of Colorado alone are staggering; a $154 million in revenue could be lost due to the impacts of climate change.

“In order to protect winter – and the hundreds of thousands whose livelihoods depend upon a snow-filled season – we must act now to support policies that protect our climate, and in turn, our slopes,” wrote study authors Elizabeth Burakowski and Matthew Magnusson of the University of New Hampshire.

December 13th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Who Needs Video Games?


Osprey sponsored mountain bike racers Jake and Nye Yackle show us their skills and awesome attitude toward getting away from the video games and enjoying the outdoors.

December 12th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Winter Call (Summer Ski Apology)

Majka Burhardt and her father outside of El Bolson, Argentina.

Winter Call (Summer Ski Apology) was originally posted on Majka’s Blog.

I am not a hoarder. Or at least not of material things. But I might have to confess to being a recent hoarder of snow. And for that, I’m sorry.

Today, December 11th, 2012, I took a hike in the White Mountains and watched yesterday’s thin layer of white turn to clear liquid in the span of an hour. My skis—touring, downhill, classic and skate—are lined up in my garage ready to go. Like most of the northern hemisphere I am ready to ski. But I might be the reason why so few of us are actually getting to shred the gnar.

Here is my confession. I went south to ski and now the north is paying.

More on Majka’s Blog

Majka Burhardt is a writer, climber and AMGA-Certified Rock Guide who lives in New Hampshire… learn more at majkaburhardt.com.

December 11th 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Valhalla Teaser: A New Film From Sweetgrass Productions

VALHALLA: A New Film From Sweetgrass Productions from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

Wild, weird, free… stunning. Those are just a few of the words that touched out lips while watching the teaser for Sweetgrass Production‘s new film, Valhalla. We’re stoked to be supporting this incredible crew and even more excited to watch the story unfold in the coming months. Take a few minutes and watch…


Whether your pack was purchased in 1974 or yesterday, Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge.