Showing posts with label Snowboarding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snowboarding. Show all posts

Video: Sliding Fire - Skiing and Snowboarding on an Active Volcano in the South Pacific

We've seen a lot of skiing and snowboarding films over the years, but none like this one. In this short documentary we travel to Vanuatu in the South Pacific where we join freeriders Xavier de le Rue, Victor De Le Rue, and Sam Smoothy as they test their skills on the side of an active volcano in a place where there is no snow. As you would expect, it turns out to be quite an adventure in a place that looks like paradise on Earth.

Some Final Thoughts on the 2017 Winter XGames

If you've ready my blog over the weekend, you saw that I posted a couple of stories from the 2017 Winter XGames (part 1 and part 2). After an eventful day again on Sunday, I'm now back home and ready to dive into our usual updates here at The Adventure Blog, but before I did that I wanted to share some final thoughts on this amazing event held in Aspen, Colorado.

Yesterday was the final day of the competition, with only three events on the schedule. But because all three received air time on ESPN, there was plenty of energy around those competitions. The first of which was women's ski slopestyle, which was won by 14-year old Kelly Sildaru, who simply looked amazing on the slopes. At 14 years of age I was barely able to keep myself out of trouble, but this young lady is already dominating the freestyle skiing world circuit. Don't believe me? Consider this: it was Kelly's second XGames gold medal in this event in a row, which means she started winning last year at the age of 13.

From there it was on to the men's snowboard slopestyle final where an another amazing young athlete took center stage. Norway's Marcus Kleveland, who is just 17 years old, showed off moves that are going to make him a force to reckoned with for years to come as well, winning the event in impressive fashion. With just over a year to go until the next Winter Olympic Games, I think it is safe to say that we're going to see both Marcus and Kelly on that very big stage next year.

The final event of the XGames with the snowmobile best trick competition, which was won by Daniel Boden. Unfortunately, I wasn't around to see this event go down, as when it was getting underway I was heading to the airport to start my trip back home. The big story around this event was the attempt by two of the riders – Colten Moore and Heath Frisby – to do the first ever double backflip in a competition. Neither man was able to accomplish that feat however, leaving the door open for others to show off their moves instead.

So, after a very busy weekend filled with some great athletic performances – not to mention a few dramatic moments – my main takeaway from my first ever XGames competition was just how approachable and relaxed the athletes all were. Everyone was having a great time, with these world class skiers and snowboarders mingling casually with fans, speaking freely with the media, and generally having a great time. I've been to similar events in the past, and it isn't always so relaxed or easy to enjoy the proceedings, but the entire vibe of the XGames is so positive, its hard not to get caught up in what's happening there. It doesn't hurt that Aspen is a great place to hold the competitions, with plenty to offer spectators and athletes alike.

I want to thank my friends at LifeProof for inviting me to take part in the event. It was a great experience, and I was happy to be a part of the crowd that saw everything go down over the past few days. Hopefully I'll get a chance to go back again in the future.

Winter XGames 2017 Day 2: A Well Oiled Machine

Yesterday was my second day at Winter XGames 2017 in Aspen, Colorado and much like Day 1, it was filled with lots of energy and excitement, not just from the athletes, but from the spectators too. With great weather, relatively warm temperatures (25ºF/-3ºC), and lots of things to do in and around the XGames arena, the fans turned out in large numbers to cheer on their favorite actions sports athletes, who didn't disappoint.

The first competition of the day got started early was some of the best skiers in the world hitting the slopes for the men's slopstyle skiing final, which was won by Øystein Braaten of Norway. He started a bit slow on his first run, crashing out early on some rails. But but his second attempt was nearly flawless, giving him a solid win agains some great competition, which weren't far off in terms of scoring.

Next up, was women's snowboard slopestyle finals, which went Julie Marino of the U.S. This competition wasn't quite so hotly contested as the men's ski final, but the ladies did put on a good show, with a large crowd starting to gather in the XGames village. With music, food, contests, entertainment, and plenty of fun booths to visit, the fans had a lot to do between competitions.

The big draw for the daytime events was without a doubt the snowmobile freestyle final. This is the crazy event in which snowmobile riders attempt to push their powerful - but heavy and ponderous – machines through some amazing stunts in the air. Each year, this competition seems to get more intense, and 2017 was not different. This is one of those sports where I'm much happier watching than actually participating, as on more than one occasion I thought to myself "these guys are crazy."

As the event rolled along, the riders continued to push the envelope, with Colten Moore setting the pace with some high-flying stunts that wowed the crowd. But at the end of the day, the gold medal went to Joe Parsons, who on his final run strung together an impressive set of tricks that impressed the judges enough to just edge out his rival.


Following the crazy antics on the snowmobiles, we had a bit of time to catch our breath before the start of the next competition. During that period, I had the chance to chat with a couple of different athletes, including skier Kevin Rolland and snowboarders Sebastian Toutant and Christy Prior, who wasn't on hand to compete as she recovers from injury. The take away I got from chatting with each of them was that the XGames are as big for these athletes as the Olympics, and that they all look forward to competing with their friends in Aspen. This is a tightly knit group of friends who also happen to be rivals, and it was clear that they all knew each other well and enjoyed going head to head with one another.

In speaking to with Rolland in particular we chatted about the number of crashes that had been occurring on the superpipe over the course of the week. I mentioned this yesterday, and said that it marred the competition to a degree, as not everyone got the chance to truly shine. Kevin told met hat the edges of the pipe were not quite what the athletes were use to, and it was making it very difficult to stick the landings after coming off some of their high flying antics. He had crashed badly on one of his runs the night before, but fortunately was just a little bruised and shaken up the next day. After we chatted, he was getting on a plane to fly to Europe, where he would be skiing at the World Cup next week. Fortunately, he should be ready to go for that competition.

Early in the evening, the focus of the games shifted back to the slopes, where the ladies gathered once more for the ski Big Air finale. That competition was won by German Lisa Zimmerman, who is amongst the best big air competitors in the world. She edged out the competition with some serious height and tricks that had the crowd cheering, even as they regathered for the evening's events.

After that, the snowboarders returned to the superpipe once again, with the ladies final in that event. American Elena Hight took her first ever gold in that event, fending off some stiff competition from a who's who list of female snowboarders. Fortunately, there were fewer crashes in the pipe for this event, although the same problems that had caused the men issues the night before were still somewhat common for the ladies too.

The final event of the night was the men's skiing Big Air final, which got off to an auspicious start when Swiss rider Luca Schuler crashed badly on his first run of the night. That accident brought a hush to the crowd, which looked on with obvious concern as medical staff slowly stabilized him, placed him on a stretcher, and rushed him off the snow. The prognosis later would be that Schuler suffered a concussion, and he spent some time in a local hospital where tests were negative and he was later released. It seems like he'll be just fine, but it was a scary moment for the games for sure.

Once the competition resumed, the rest of the field put on quite an aerial show. The skiers flipped, tumbled, soared, and spun through the thin Aspen air, quickly reenergizing the crowd. In the end, it was Brit James Woods who took home the gold, the first person form his country to earn that honor at the XGames.

After the competitions wrapped up for the evening, the crowd moved over to one of the music stages to listen to some of the bands booked to entertain them at the XGames. For me, it was time to head home and get some rest. It had been another fun, but long day, during which I had yet another chance to see these athletes not only shine in their field, but interact with their fans too. The one thing I'll definitely take away from my XGames experience is how down to Earth and grounded all of the athletes are, and how happy the are to be here. That includes meeting and greeting their fans, who find them accessible and accommodating at every turn. There are other pro athletes that could learn a thing or two from that.


The XGames Bring Winter Fun and Excitement

I'm on the ground in Aspen, Colorado at the moment, where I'm attending the 2017 Winter XGames. After a full day of watching a wide variety of competitions, it is easy to see why this event has grown into one of the premiere skiing and snowboarding showdowns on the winter sports calendar each year. But beyond that, there is plenty of other fun to be had in the snow too, including a new event that looks to have a big future, both at the XGames and beyond. 

Held each year at Buttermilk Mountain, the XGames attracts some of the top winter athletes from all over the world. The resort is a good one to serve as host, as it has all of the facilities needed for the wide variety of events that take place over the course of this long weekend. That makes it a popular place not just for the athletes, but also the fans in attendance, who turned out in droves last night for the women's Ski Superpipe final,the LifeProof Ski Superpipe men's final, and the men's Snowboard Big Air final, despite the fact that the temperatures hovered around 0ºF (-17ºC), with windchills dropping it even further. 

Likewise, Aspen is a great host city as well, in part because it is such a popular winter playground. The quintessential mountain town, Aspen is well situated right in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and has plenty of hotels, restaurants, and other amenities to keep skiers, snowboarders, and XGames attendees very happy. 

When I arrived at Buttermilk yesterday afternoon, the XGames village was already jumping. Crowds were already gathering to watch snowboard qualifying runs, while also visiting various booths, tents, and interactive displays from event sponsors. A steady stream of music played throughout the area, and there was an electric excitement in the air. Blue skies and a warm sun made it very comfortable to enjoy watching the athletes, although it was just as fun to watch attendees compete in various games, cheer on their favorite XGames personalities, and queue up for athlete autographs. 
One of the first competitions that I had the opportunity to watch in its entirety was the first ever Snow BikeCross final, which was one by Brock Hoyer. During this event, the competitors ride Snow Bikes, like the Timbersled that I had the chance to ride and write about last year. For those not familiar with these machines, they are a cross between a dirt bike motorcycle and a snowmobile, with some of the best elements of both of those vehicles. 

As I mentioned last year when I had my test ride, these bikes are fast, agile, and fun, which is what the crowd saw yesterday during a wild and crazy final. I think it is safe to say that the snow bikes were very popular with XGames attendees, and I could see them taking a more prominent role in future editions of the event. 

I had the chance to talk to one of the riders – Darrin Mees – following the event, and it was clear that he was excited about the possibilities of the sport. He told me "This is just the beginning. The future looks really bright for snow bikes, which are just incredibly fun to ride." Judging from the crowd's reaction to the race, I think that is very astute prediction. 

After the Snow Bike Cross final, I had some time to before the evening's festivities. During that time, the afternoon crowds began to swell to larger numbers, but once the sun dropped behind the mountain, the temperature plummeted. By the time the ladies Ski Superpipe competition got underway it was getting down right chilly. That event was won by Marie Martinod in an event that set the tone for things to come. 

Most of the attention on Friday night centered around the superpipe, which several athletes indicated was the fastest half-pipe they had ever skied on. That speed and challenge was evident, as there were a number of missteps and outright crashes for both the men and women, which marred the competition to a degree. The winners were certainly deserving, but it quickly became evident that the medals for the evening would be won by the athletes who could survive.

This was especially the case for the Lifeproof Ski Superpipe men's final, which was won by Aaron Blunck, who definitely put down the best run of the night. But some of his competition took themselves out of the running with frequent crashes. I think the crowd would have liked to have seen the skiers get a chance to show off their skills without so many missed maneuvers. 

The evening was rounded out with the men's Snowboard Big Air competition, which is a rapid-fire event that involved the 8 competitors pulling off their biggest and boldest tricks, then racing back to the top of the mountain in an effort to get as many runs down the slope as they could in a 25 minute time limit. This event turned into a highlight reel with the boarders pulling off some amazing stunts, many of which had never been done in competition before, including 17-year old Marcus Kleveland of Norway completing the first quad-cork ever completed in competition. 

This event was eventually won by Max Parrot, but it was certainly a spirited event that also featured a number of crazy, and painful, looking crashes. In this case however, it was more due to the athletes pushing the envelope as far as they possibly could in an effort to win the event, rather than the course being too fast or icy. 

This was my first day ever at an XGames event, and it was a lot of fun. These winter athletes are incredibly gifted, but all of the ones I met and talked to are also very down to Earth, accommodating of fans, and are just happy to be here. They are great ambassadors for their various sports, and the kind of person you'd enjoy spending a day exploring the backcountry with. 

I can't think of a higher compliment than that. 

Heading to Aspen for the Winter XGames

Just a quick note as I get ready to head out on another brief, but exciting adventure. Tomorrow morning I'll leave for Apsen, Colorado to attend the Winter XGames, which means there will probably be no normal update to round out the week. But, that said, don't be too surprised if I don't post a few things over the weekend about my experience. It should be an interesting one.

While in Aspen, I'm hoping to get the chance to chat with some of the athletes, attend several of the events, and take in the spectacle that is the XGames. This is the first time I've attended the event, and I'm really looking forward to it. I want to thank the folks at LifeProof for inviting me. It should be a busy couple of days, but a lot of fun too. If you want a first hand account of what the games are like be sure to follow my social media feeds. (Facebook - Twitter - Instagram)

This is a short trip. I'll be back home by Sunday evening, and usual updates will resume on Monday. While I'm away, I hope everyone heads out to enjoy some weekend adventures of their own. Back soon!

Video: Getting the Shot - What it Takes to be an Adventure Photographer

Ever wonder what it takes to be a great outdoor and adventure photographer? As you can imagine, it is a fun, rewarding job, but one that is also incredibly tough too. That is especially true for a woman, as there aren't many in the industry. But Erin Hogue is one of those ladies, and in this video she talks about what it takes to get the perfect shot. Erin will also be the only woman participating in the inaugural World of X Games: Zoom Photography Contest next week, which is awarding prizes for the best action sports images as well. If you're an aspiring photographer, you'll want to check out this clip, and subscribe to her YouTube channel to catch the ongoing series starting soon. 

National Geographic Offers the Best Backcountry Ski Huts in the U.S.

Now that the holidays have come and gone, a new year has started, and winter is in full swing it is definitely time to start thinking about retiring to our favorite outdoor adventures. And to help out with that endeavor, National Geographic is offering a list of the best backcountry ski huts in America. These are places you can stay while out exploring untouched powder along remote trails that are far from the crowded slopes that most people visit. And just because you're in a remote place, that doesn't mean you can't have a cosy place to relax at the end of the day.

In all, ten huts make the list, ranging from places like Baxter State Park in Maine to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, with plenty of amazing places in between. Most of the huts are found in the western states, with Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho well represented.

Each entry onto the list offers some insights as to why that particular lodge stands out from the crowd. Those descriptions give skiers an idea of what to expect in terms of the hut itself, but also the trails they'll get to ski while visiting. You'll also learn how to get to these places, some of which aren't exactly just off the parking lot. But of course, that's part of the fun, isn't it? This is backcountry skiing after all.

If you're looking for some amazing places to find fresh powder his winter – and by most accounts there is plenty of it to be had – than this list will give you some ideas of where to go and where to stay. The huts are all impressive places to seek refuge after a hard day of touring, but after a good night's sleep you'll be ready for more in the morning. And since it is only January, there is still plenty of time to plan a winter escape. Perhaps one of these lodges is just what you've been looking for.

Read the full story here.

Gear Closet: Dynafit Cho Oyu Down Jacket

If there is one piece of gear that every outdoor enthusiast needs to have in their closet for winter, it is probably a good down jacket. This is the insulating layer that keeps us warm when the temperature starts to plummet, and it plays a vital role in allowing us to play outdoors longer, even when the weather is less than favorable.

Over the past couple of weeks – as the temperature has been on a roller coaster ride where I live – I've had the chance to test out a new down jacket from Dynafit that I've found to be exceptionally warm and comfortable. In fact, I'd say that the Cho Oyu Jacket is easily amongst the best that I've ever worn, and if you're in the market for something new in this category you'll want to have it on your list.

Made with a durable ripstop fabric covered in a DWR finish, and insulated with DownTek hydrophobic down, this jacket is built for use in a wide variety of conditions. In fact, I've worn in cold temperatures, freezing rain, freezing fog, drizzle, flurries, and even outright downpours, and it has performed fantastically in all cases. The water-resistant down never loses its loft, and continues to perform well even as the jacket gets wet, although the DWR coating also plays a big role in ensuring that you stay warm and dry no matter what's happening around you. 

With its athletic cut, the Cho Oyu – named for the 8000 meter peak – hugs the wearers body snugly, which helps in keeping warm air trapped inside. But, at the same time, the jacket doesn't impede movement in any way, allowing you to stay fully in control on the slopes or on the trail in the backcountry. I personally hate feeling like my layers are restricting my motion in any way, but with this jacket I don't have to worry about that. In fact, aside from perhaps the new Mountain Hardwear StretchDown puffy, this might be the best jacket I've worn in terms of not getting in the way of your natural athletic motion. 

Other nice features of the Cho Oyu include a comfortable hood that is helmet compatible, and an adjustable hem that makes it easy to adjust the fit. This comes in especially handy for keeping cold winds and snow from reaching the interior of the coat, which is obviously something we all can appreciate. The jacket also has four pockets, including two hand-warming pockets and a zippered chest pocket on the front, and an interior pocket that doubles as a stuff sack when packing for a trip. 

After wearing this jacket in a number of different capacities over the past few weeks, I've come away very impressed with how well it performs in pretty much every capacity. Not only is it very warm, but it is super-comfortable to wear too. On top of that, it is also incredibly durable too, shrugging off wear and tear and with ease. I've also found that it is easy to keep clean too, and does a good job of venting excess heat and moisture when things start to get active. 

One of the aspects of this jacket that has been both pleasant and confounding at the same time are the zippers. On the one hand, they may be the smoothest, easiest pulling zippers I've ever used, but at times I've found myself struggling to get the jacket closed too. That's because the Cho Oyu uses a double-zipper system on the front, which is handy when you want to keep your chest warm, but vent out excess heat at the same time. But, when first closing up the jacket, it can be a bit of a challenge to get things started, in part because of the second zipper. Sometimes it works like a charm, and at other times I find myself working hard to get it seal up properly. After wearing this coat many times, I think I've finally got it down to a science, but it was a bit vexing at first. Most of this challenge probably was the result of user error, but it is important to point this out nonetheless. 

The Dynafit Cho Oyu down jacket is an exceptional piece of gear, and one that I recommend without question. But, it also comes with a steep price tag. The jacket sells for $319.95, which makes it amongst the more expensive coats that I've reviewed. That probably puts it out of reach for the average consumer, but if you're an outdoor athlete who doesn't want to compromise performance in the winter, this jacket should be in your closet. It is a fantastic layer for skiers, snowboarders snowshoers, or anyone else who likes to play outdoors in the cold weather. Yes, it is an expensive piece of gear. But it is also worth every damn penny. 

Purchase the Dynafit Cho Oyu at CampSaver.com

Nat Geo Adventure Gives Us 39 Destinations for a Great Long Weekend

Looking for a few suggestions on where to get a nice long weekend adventure? If so, you're in luck, as National Geographic has compiled just such a list. But this one is quite extensive, offering 39 different places in the U.S. to make a quick getaway, but still enjoy a surprisingly great outdoor adventure too.

Now, lest you think this is one of those quick and dirty  lists that is vague in its description of the place, each of the locations is given a solid introduction and shares inside tips from an expert on that particular place. You'll learn where to hike, bike, climb, ski, and paddle, as well as where to eat, drink, and stay too. You'll also learn about the favorite spots for the locals as well, most of which aren't well known to visitors. All in all, the individual posts for each destination are filled with useful info to help you to decide just where you want to go, and what to do when you get there.

So what are some of the places that earn a nod? The list begins with Salida, Colorado, expands to Hood River Oregon and Lake Placid, New York, before spreading out across the U.S. to other places like Ely, Minnesota and Whitefish, Montana. Of course, the list is populated with plenty of destinations you've heard of, but it is also long enough to slip in some new ones that you probably haven't encountered before too. And whether you like to play in the snow, desert, mountains, or on the water, you'll find something here to draw you in.

As 2016 grinds to an end, and the holidays draw ever nearer, most of us probably don't have a lot of free weekends at the moment. But, 2017 is just around the corner and after the New Year comes and goes, I'm sure we'll all be looking for an escape. Check out the full list here and start planning.

Men's Journal Gives Us the 50 Most Adventurous Men

If you're looking for something to read today that is equal parts inspirational and educational, than have a look at Men's Journal's list of the 50 Most Adventurous Men on the planet. You'll find more than a few names that get mentioned here on The Adventure Blog on a regular basis, as well as some that you may not have encountered before.

The list reads like a "who's who" of adventure, with guys like Alex Honnold, Kilian Jornet, and Conrad Anker all making the cut. Others who earn some recognition from MJ include Ueli Steck, Eric Larsen, and Mike Horn, all of which I've written about and covered their expeditions extensively on this very website.

Of course, those well known names are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, with numerous other interesting, daring, and downright visionary individuals making their way onto the list as well. The article spotlights mountaineers, rock climbers, ocean rowers, explorers, and more. Each of the profiles includes a brief introduction to the person's accomplishments, some insights into their career highlights, and a glimpse of where they may be headed next. All in all, it is a pretty great way to learn about some of the men who are shaping the way we explore the world today.

While 50 individuals is a fairly lengthy list, there are always some who are left off. I'm sure that like me, you'll be able to think of a few individuals that probably deserve to be mentioned with this group such as Simone Moro for instance. There are others as well, but this is still a pretty interesting list and well worth a look for sure.

Now, when is someone going to do a list of the 50 most adventurous women?

Video: Xavier De Le Rue Demonstrates the HEXO+ Autonomous Drone

We've been following the development of the HEXO+ autonomous drone for sometime now, and have been intrigued by its capabilities. In this video, we get to see the unique gadget put to the test, as extreme snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue shows us how the HEXO+ performs as it follows him down the slopes. This kind of tool will allow us to make interesting new adventure films completely on our own, and the technology offers up some interesting possibilities for the future. I'd love to get my hands on one of these drones to test myself. It looks like a lot of fun!

Video: Snow Leopard Makes Rare Appearance For Skiers in India

The snow leopard is one of the rarest and most endangered species on the planet. So much so that they are seldom captured on video. But a group of skiers and snowboarders traveling through Gulmarg, in the Kashmir region of India, got the chance to spot one in the wild, and captured the encounter on video. You can check it out for yourself below.

Leopard in the snow in Gulmarg, Kashmir from PreviousNext on Vimeo.

Nat Geo Shares 15 Unexpected Places to Go Skiing

Winter is here, and if you're lucky you have plenty of snow to play in. But, if you're one of those winter warriors who is always on the lookout for new places to ski and snowboard than National Geographic has some suggestions you may not have considered in the past. In fact, they've assembled 15 of the most unexpected ski areas that you'll want to put on your radar.

Some of the suggestions include Malam Jabba in Pakistan, which is the only ski resort in a country that is filled with impressive mountains, and Masikryong, North Korea, which falls behind the veil of secrecy and propaganda that permeates that nation. And if neither of those are unusual enough destinations for you, give Riksgränsen, Sweden a shot. It is home to the northern-most ski area in the world, a full 200 km (125 miles) above the Arctic Circle.

Whether you enjoy skiing remote backcountry or unique resorts, this list has something for everyone. Ranging from Lebanon to Afghanistan, to Alabama, you'll find a ski area to fit your needs, including some in the most unexpected places.

Check out the full list here.

Video: Xavier De Le Rue Rides the 55º Mallory Couloir in Chamonix

Over the years, we've seen big mountain snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue ride some impressive lines in some incredibly remote locations. But for his latest video he stayed close to home in Chamonix, France where he took on the impossibly steep Mallory Couloir, on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi, which features a 55º slope. As you can imagine, this run wasn't for the faint of heart, or those lacking in skills. Check it out in the video below, which first begins with some fun shredding in the Alps before making way to the main event.

Video: Adventure Highlights From 2015

Now that 2015 is squarely behind us, we can look back at the year that has passed an think about some of the amazing adventures that took place over the course of those 12 months. There were some amazing expeditions, challenges, and accomplishments for sure. In this video, Redbull reviews their own very adventurous year with some great clips of climbing, BASE jumping, mountain biking, and so much more. It is a good video retrospective of some of our favorite activities. Here's to another adventurous year in 2016!

Video: Snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue Paramotors into the Alaskan Wilderness

Extreme mountain snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue is well known for going to great lengths to reach some of the most remote areas of the world. In this video, he shows that spirit once again as he and his team use paramotors to fly into the Alaskan wilderness to reach places that no one has ever snowboarded before. This is certainly a unique way to travel, and very different from taking a helicopter into the backcountry, which is the way many of these videos are shot. In the clip below, you'll fly along with Xavier and his crew through some beautiful landscapes before they drop off and snowboard down some incredibly steep slopes. It is an impressive display all around.

Video: The Year in Review with GoPro

It was another good year for GoPro. Not only did the company release a series of excellent new cameras, the footage that was captured on those devices continued to improve and become more refined. This video takes us on a 4+ minute look review of the year as seen through the lens of a GoPro camera, with some fantastic shots of some amazing places to remind us of all that took place in 2015.

30 Fantastic Things To Do In Winter

We're now less than a week away from the official start of winter, and for many people that means shutting down their outdoor adventures until the arrival of spring. But for those of us who don't see a little cold weather and snow as a barrier to being outside, it is just another time of year to pursue our passions. To help us in that area, Outside magazine has compiled a list of the 30 best things to do in winter, giving us a bucket list for the season ahead.

Most of Outside's suggestions are approachable, even if they seem like something that would be tough to accomplish. For instance, they start the list by recommending we all go skiing with Chris Davenport, one of the most accomplished ski-mountaineers ever. At first glance, you're apt to ask yourself how that would ever be possible, but it turns out Davenport is going to be guiding on Aspen Mountain in March, and if you have enough cash you can join him.

Other suggestions are a bit more reasonable. For instance, they offer suggestions on where you can drive a snowcat or go fat tire biking. There are also options for soaking in a hot spring, going heli-skiing on a budget, and climbing and skiing a volcano. In short, there are so many possibilities on the list that you'll likely need ten winters to accomplish them all.

I like this list because it eliminates the excuses that many people make for not enjoying the winter season. Sure, its cold and windy, but that's also part of the fun. With the right gear however, you can spend all day outdoors and still be very comfortable. Besides, as an avid lover of the outdoors, why would you ever want to spend an entire season avoiding the elements, when you could be embracing them for an even more fulfilling experience. Winter is nearly here. Enjoy it to the fullest!

Video: Teaser for Snowboarding Film The Fourth Phase

I don't post a lot of snowboarding and skiing films on The Adventure Blog, but this one looks so utterly fantastic that I had to share the teaser trailer for it. It is called The Fourth Phase, and it comes our way from the same team that brought us the critically acclaimed Art of Flight a few years back. The film features the return of pro rider Travis Rice, along with a host of other snowboarders, as they travel the globe looking for epic powder. Based on the fantastic scenery that is on display here, this documentary will be worth watching just for the landscapes alone. Oh, and the snowboarding looks pretty great too. Take a look below.

Outside Magazine Presents 2016 Winters Buyer's Guide

It may seem like fall has only just arrived, but the winter season is not as far off as you think. It won't be long before the snow begins to fly and the colder temperatures of the season descend upon us. If you embrace the outdoor experiences that winter has to offer, chances are you're looking forward to the change. But if you're one of those people who goes inside during the colder months, it is probably not something you're looking forward to. But as I always say, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. If you have the right clothing and equipment, winter can be a great time to be outdoors. And to that end, Outside magazine has released their 2016 Winter Buyer's Guide, giving us the scoop on the best products available to help us enjoy the season ahead.

The buyer's guide is broken down into a variety of categories, including Skiing & Snowboarding, Jackets, Accessories, Training, Style, and Tech. In the more traditional of those categories, you'll find suggestions for the best skis, snowboards, boots, and bindings for a wide variety of conditions. You'll also get some tips on which jackets and shells are best for keeping you warm on the slopes and around the lodge. But the other categories also help to fill in the gaps as well, offering up the best gloves, helmets, and goggles for instance, as well as top winter running shoes, hiking boots, and even fat bikes. Outside even goes so far as to suggest the best watches and tailgating essentials, while also weighing in on the top cameras and fitness trackers as well.

All told, there are more than 250 products listed in the Winter Buyer's Guide, covering a wide array of needs. In fact, this is about as broad of a gear selection as I've seen in awhile, particularly for the winter season. If you're in need of some gear to help get you through the season ahead, chance are you'll find what you're looking for somewhere on this list. Outside even shares their choices for the best winter camping gear, with some excellent options that will allow you to stay warm and dry, even while spending the night outdoors.

Personally, I'm going to enjoy the autumn while it lasts, as it can be all too fleeting. But that said, I certainly look forward to winter as well, and the new opportunities for outdoor adventure it can provide. Stay warm and comfortable, and you'll enjoy that season too.