Sunday, March 21, 2010

Product Development

Have you ever wondered how a great piece of gear is brought into being?

For one week last month I was invited to participate in the Outdoor Research sales/ marketing/ product development retreat at Valhalla Mountain Touring right here on my home turf in the West Kootenays. Our guide for the week was Evan Stevens, who besides doing a great job of finding us the best skiing in the area has put up a great post at the Outdoor Research Verticulture website.

The verticulture site is a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to stay on top of all things outdoors. Check out my own posts on the site HERE.

Happy Spring!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Adventures in Hair Care

I keep hearing people talk about how busy they are, and I thought I’d share one of my time-saving secrets with my blog readers:

Don’t brush your hair. I mean never, except as a gesture of respect right before you go to your hair stylist. Not only is brushing your hair time consuming (the average woman brushes her hair at least twice each day) it is completely unnecessary. The only potential problem is that your hair could start to mat up and be difficult to untangle. I recently had this problem when I returned from two weeks of ice climbing in Ouray, but I discovered that I could quickly take care of it by cutting out all of the offending dreadlocks with a pair of travel scissors.

Give it a go, you might never look back.


Monday, January 11, 2010

New YouTube Channel and Glitter Girls on Ice deadline

Things are winding down in the tiny mountain town of Ouray, Colorado as the 2010 Ouray Ice Festival comes to a close. We had a fun weekend filled with clinics, demos, competitions, and climbing. Many people are walking away having accomplished their goals, including Will Gadd who finished his 24 hours of non-stop ice climbing at noon on Sunday, completing 194 laps of the 145ft pitch “Pick of the Vic”. His was a project to raise money for the DZI Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Ridgeway, Colorado.

You can view a short clip from my women’s lead clinic on Saturday on my *NEW* YouTube Channel. My demo climb with Cheryl Wallace will be up shortly, and you can check back for more clips in the weeks to come. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on anything!

I just got a new pair of Black Diamond Cobra ice tools and am more psyched than ever to get on some big climbs in the Canadian Rockies next month. Stay tuned for a review of these coming soon…

If you haven’t signed up already for Glitter Girls on Ice, time is running out! You’ve got until January 21st to sign up HERE.
Happy Swinging,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blurred Edges

I think the biggest thing we can all learn from the past year is that nothing should be taken for granted. I know things look like business as usual right now, with the economy seemingly back on track. But beneath the surface of things huge shifts have taken place that will not be felt for months, if not a year or two, to come.

When and how these shifts came about is beyond the scope of this blog, but I would like to address a few things that you can do to mitigate the potential off-balancing of a world in transition in 2010.

Choose local quality over cheap imports. Do not support slave labor anywhere in the world, and the best way to do this is to buy home grown goods, the closer to home the better. Not only does this insure that you are not financing sweat shops in China, it also ensures that the money you spend stays in your own local economy.

Stay, or get, in the best possible physical shape that you can. If you don’t like regimented exercise like going for a run or lifting weights, do something different like gardening, chopping firewood, or playing soccer with a child. The rewards will be manifold, from a general feeling of well being to increased stamina and self-esteem. When we look good and feel great, we exude more of that energy commonly referred to as ‘charisma’. We also tackle stress better.

Reinvent yourself. There’s nothing like a period of uncertainty to blur the edges of who we think we are. What are your hidden talents, and what could you do with these if you decided to become an entrepreneur instead of a wage earner (not that there is anything wrong with earning a wage, just that one day your employer may not be able to keep paying you that wage and it will be a lot less stressful if you have already laid some groundwork).

We saw many changes in 2009, and I would argue that the biggest changes went largely unnoticed by the mainstream media and hence the population at large. Big Media have not earned our trust; in fact they have failed miserably at this. So why finance them with your money and energy when there are some great websites out there that are committed to ferreting out the truth.

Below are three of my favorites.

Happy Transition!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dirtbag Mystique

I finally consulted with Freddie regarding the aforementioned scenario, and he told me that we are now venturing into the realm of “dirtbag mystique”.

The Banff Book and Film Festivals went by in a blur. I didn’t manage to see any films, but I did manage to make it from one cocktail party to the next without a glitch. The highlight was busting in on the OR sales meeting and watching Christian model the Banff Bodysuit on the makeshift runway. I think you had to be there, and you definitely had to be a woman.

Throughout all of this my editors aren’t letting me stray from the facts of my story. I am finding it quite interesting that my biggest core weakness in my writing is the same one I struggle with in my life, namely that I tend to generalize and philosophize and be judgmental about things rather than just tell the story. This tendency gets me into trouble with people because I am trying to interpret my stories for them instead of letting them come up with their own interpretations.

What all of this means is that I am not only going to exit this program a better writer, but hopefully a better person as well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Banff Landing

I arrived two nights ago after my seven-hour drive from my home in the West Kootenays. I was worried about feeling distracted being in Banff; after all I spent two decades living and climbing here in the Canadian Rockies. But luckily my friends are busy and the ice is slow in coming in. I have been running up Tunnel Mountain and going to the rock gym at the Sally Borden Centre to get my daily training fix. Sarah Hueniken told me about the new “Playground” for mixed climbing that is just outside of Canmore, and we’ll get out there as soon as we can both clear our schedules.

The writing is going well. I came here with a lot of existing material, in need of a lot of editing. Tony Whittome is my main editor, and he has given me quite a lot of feedback on how to structure my story. As you can imagine, it is a chaotic affair sorting though the contents of one’s psyche, so there’s nothing better than an objective mind throwing in their professional perspective.

The Banff Centre is taking on a whole new slant for me. I have been coming to the mountain film festival here every year without fail since 1992, and I can say that being here on campus as an 'artist' has a completely different feel. I have a wonderful room; complete with king-sized bed and balcony, and a little writing studio in the basement of a different building. There is no view in this room, and it is dead quiet. The only distraction is the piano against the wall, where I can practice my scales and arpeggios whenever I need a break from putting thoughts down in writing.

I started having trouble sleeping about one week prior to coming here, and my insomnia is still in full swing. This gives me lots of extra time to write, especially late at night. I feel like I am running on some sort of adrenaline high, but I hope it wears off soon so I can go back to my normal sleep patterns.