Monthly Archives: December 2009

New Opportunities For Two Feet to Adventure

Yes, I know.  I have been a bad blogger.  I apologize.  But I swear it was for good reason.  You see, not only have I been having awesome adventures, including sliding head first down a chute at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort (story to come), I’ve also been working on stirring up new opportunities for Two Feet to Adventure.

What are these ‘opportunities’ that I speak of?  Drum roll please . . . . Two Feet to Adventure is now an official blogging partner of the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau and Ski Salt Lake!  Pretty awesome, huh?!

So, what does this mean to you, my faithful readers?  More stories and more adventures!  Nothing will change.  You can still count on stories.  You can still bank on entertainment.  And you can still get your adventure fix right here at Two Feet to Adventure.

Speaking of adventure fix, I want you to pick the resort that will be the focus of my first ski resort blog.  Vote in the poll below.  The resort with the most votes wins!

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Gear review – The North Face Cat’s Meow

Great gear is necessary for great adventures.  So it only makes sense that a blog about my adventures should include the low down on the gear that makes it possible.  Lucky for you, I get the opportunity to regularly write gear reviews for the Gear Junkie, one of the top online publications and blogs for product reviews and news in the outdoor world.  This was my first review:

“On a recent three-day backpacking trip in the Teton Mountains of Wyoming, my sleeping bag of choice was The North Face Cat’s Meow. Touted as a “classic bag for three-season mountaineering treks,” the Meow has a polyester fiber fill for insulation and is rated for temps as low as 20 degrees F. My main concern in the Tetons, with temps forecasted to drop into the teens, was whether this mummy-style bag would keep me warm through the night.At 2 pounds, 10 ounces, the Cat’s Meow is one of the lightest synthetic bags in its price range and class. It packs down to a size smaller than a soccer ball when stuffed in its included compression sack. A better compression sack could pack it even smaller.

North Face Cats Meow Sleeping Bag Photo.jpg
The North Face Cats Meow Sleeping Bag

The bag retails for $159 (regular length) and $169 (long). It is a bargain price to start with, and I bought it earlier this year after finding a good deal at a local outdoors shop. In almost a full year of use, the bag has yet to disappoint. In the Tetons this summer, we hiked into Death Canyon and came out at String Lake. In between, we crossed over Static Peak divide at 10,790 feet, hiked up Cascade Canyon and over Paintbrush Divide to a camp.We set up camp at Holley Lake, pitching the Alps Mountaineering Comet 2.0 tent, a two-person backpacking model, and then going to sleep.

Despite a chilly night that dropped as low as 18 degrees, the bag kept me warm with only a base layer on. I tend to sleep a bit warm, and in fact at one point had to use the bag’s full-length zipper to vent my feet.

The adjustable hood, which has a one-hand draw cord, kept heat in without completely covering my face. Sometimes looked at as excessive, I loved the bag’s chest pocket for my watch and headlamp. Plus, the glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls and the welded no-snag stiffener in the zip column made zipping the bag a breeze. This is the first time I’ve had a bag whose zipper has not snagged.At 5 foot 11 inches tall, I use the regular-size bag, and it fits me well. Its shoulder and hip girth measurements provide just enough space to move around without losing heat.In my tests — in the Tetons and beyond — the bag has proven to be durable, warm and great for camping in all seasons. For the price, versatility and features I would recommend the Cat’s Meow for all-around outdoors use.”

*This review originally appeared on Gear Junkie*

With winter in full swing, stay tuned for more reviews on winter products.  I’ll be putting gear to the test on the mountain and in the backcountry all winter long!

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Ski Bum Economics

I’m not going to lie to you, this blog has been a long time coming.  I’ve pre-planned, planned, thought and over thought just about every detail.  And most of this planning and thinking centered around the topic of my first post.  Should I pen a post about trekking through the Grand Tetons?  Should I write about skiing the “Greatest Snow on Earth”  in Utah?  Or maybe share about backpacking through Europe?  Believe me, I’ll get to all these adventures, so stay tuned!  But it wasn’t until I read a recent editorial in Ski Press Magazine that I knew the subject of my first post. 

You see, over the past two months my life has been one big adventure.  I left a job most people would kill for, working with great people at the Spokane Regional CVB, to backpack through Europe.  After returning, unemployed and broke as a joke, I was offered and accepted a marketing/PR job at Solitude Mountain Resort in Salt Lake City, UT

Backpacking in Europe

What’s the catch?  First, I know all of two people in Salt Lake City.  Second, I was offered the job on a Wednesday and had to be in Salt Lake City on that Friday.  I had a whole day-and-a-half to pack up my life!

Word from the wise:  When you’re broke, rushed decisions are not your friend.  Paying to live in two different cities because you didn’t have time to find a subleaser is rough!

Right about now you might be thinking the same thing that a lot of people have.  You’re doing what?  Why?  What are you thinking?  You know the economy is in the pits right?  Is this a smart decision?  Believe me, I’ve heard it all.  And for the longest time I had a hard time explaining myself.  I knew what I was doing, but I couldn’t convey it to people in a way that made sense.  Until now.

Peter Kray, Editorial Director of Ski Press Magazine, wrote “Ski Bum Economics” (pg. 6) an editorial that everyone, and I mean everyone, should read.  Here are my favorite excerpts:

“When I graduated from college I moved to Jackson Hole and skied more than 600 days over four years.  I delivered pizzas and planted trees, and was out of work each mud season in the spring and fall.  But I always had enough money for a new pair of skis and a seasons pass, and there was never any shortage of beer.”

“Billy D, my roommate from that time, sent me an e-mail when the economic crisis was snowballing across the planet like the wreckage of a small moon that said, ‘I bet we could get back our old jobs.’ He’s an investment banker now.  But other than his wife, his kids and their impending college tuition, he says he thinks about those seasons we spent skiing more than anything else he ever did.”

“Which I think is the difference between making memories and making money.  No matter how hard you work to earn either, only memories consistently pay you back over the long haul.  That’s why, no matter what happens with the economy, I’m skiing as much as I can this year.  Because the dividends are guaranteed, and the (re)turns are unbeliveable.”

Wow.  So simple, yet so profound.  I’m not making much money right now, in fact, I might even have to get a second job.  But you know what?  That doesn’t bother me at all.  Because when it comes down to it, it’s the great times, people and adventures that I’ll remember, not how much money I made.

Hiking Mt. Olympus in the snow

So here’s to hiking Mt. Olympus (and finishing in a snowstorm), Bobby the Brewer, movies at Brewvies, top ramen lunches (and dinners), barely making rent, Thanksgiving with new friends, Solitude Mountain Resort, future epic powder days and the people I have yet to meet.  No amount of money could replace the great memories!

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