Podcast #44 – The Bums Get New Toys!

The bums are back and they just picked up some new toys and can’t wait to share their thoughts on the Smith/Outdoor Tech Wireless Audio Chips and the 2017 Nordica Enforcer 93.

Weekly Flavor

Ski News

  • Organizers hope Big Air at Fenway is a launching point

    The action will start 140 feet above Fenway Park’s center field, roughly four times the height of the Green Monster. From that breathtaking height (think of the light stanchions that encircle the park), some of the world’s best freeskiers and snowboarders will step onto a snow-covered ramp.

    Accelerating to 35-40 m.p.h., they will descend to 52 feet, and it’s there, at roughly the elevation of the upper-deck seats, that Big Air gets its name. Competitors will take flight — flipping, spinning, and twisting multiple times — before coming to rest near what two months from now will be home plate.

    Outside of the Olympics and the X Games, the sports don’t generate interest among a diverse audience. Events in the mountains draw fans who already are passionate about skiing and snowboarding. But Big Air at Fenway, from the cityscape to the public-transit accessibility to the concert stage along the third base line, will be dramatically different from most ski and snowboard competitions.

    Big Air organizer Eric Webster describes the Fenway setup — the 430-foot-long scaffold jump crammed into the ballpark — as “worth the price of admission.” He expects a combined 25,000 fans to attend Thursday and Friday nights, roughly 10 times the average crowd for freeskiing and snowboarding events at mountain resorts. And he figures most of them will be watching Big Air live for the first time.

    Killington’s snow making team are the ones helping with snow

  • Collison Power Siblings Dominate Podium at Red Bull Cold Rush

    Congratulations to the Collinson siblings for both securing podium finishes at this year’s Red Bull Cold Rush! Angel grabbed first place with a show stealing first run, picking apart a technical cliff band and straight lining out the bottom at a suicidal speed. Brother Johnny, despite bloodying his face with a “knee sando”, laid down some clean lines with massive 360’s and a backflip to earn second place in the men’s division.

    Following Angel on the women’s side was Tatum Monod in second and Lexi Dupont in third. Kye Peterson snatched 1st place in the men’s division by throwing the loftiest 360 of the competition. Greg Hope threw down a massive spread eagle on a very technical drop that contributed to his third place finish.

    Red Bull Cold Rush made a comeback this year after a three year hiatus. This year’s venue was in Revelstoke BC, a place well known as a regular stop on the Freeskiing World Tour. Unlike the FWT, however, the Cold Rush is invitational only, and the guest list this year included only 16 male and 5 female athletes. Additionally, the competition is peer-judged, on the last day of the competition the athletes viewed highlight reels and voted for who they thought performed best overall.

    The terrain at Revelstoke is steep, rocky and big. With plenty of new snow on the ground, athletes were able to push huge airs and difficult tricks throughout the three day event. The competition focused on four different ski disciplines, including backcountry slopestyle, big mountain, cliffs and ski touring. Athletes were judged on their technique, speed and style throughout these disciplines.

  • The 10 Best Heli-Ski Adventures on the Planet

    As the Northern Hemisphere heads deep into winter, El Niño has been a source of feast or famine for skiers and snowboarders fixated on floating first tracks through fresh powder. With this season’s disparate delivery of snowfall, traveling to prime mountain locations becomes a priority. Leave the lift lines behind and find off-piste paradise with these 10 top heli-ski adventures. Specialists at bucket-list trips tailored to skill level, these guides are your top-notch ticket to epic turns.

  • History Space: Killington in peak form

    Killington’s story begins in the summer of ’63, specifically 1763, when from atop Killington Peak (then referred to as Mount Pisgah), a rambling Rev. Samuel Peters christened the surrounding area “Verd Mont.”

    While this origin tale hasn’t gone uncontested over the years, and despite a lack of surviving witnesses, sufficient supporting historical evidence keeps the legend alive. Undisputed is the 900 million year age of the exposed rock of Killington’s summit. At 4,241 feet, Killington is Vermont’s second tallest peak; older than the Alps, Himalayas and Rocky Mountains.

    Today’s Killington Resort stands as a testament to those values with more lifts, skiable terrain and high-elevation amenities than any other Eastern ski area while being simultaneously recognized as the best place in the country to learn to ski or snowboard (2015 National Ski Areas Association Conversion Cup) and one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible operations (Greenest Overall Resort in Vermont, 2014 Green Mountain Awards for Environmental Excellence).

    On Dec. 13, 1958, the Killington Basin Ski Area opened after three and a half years of arduous, persistent work. Lift tickets were sold from a converted chicken coop, and a slow start to business accelerated to the tune of roughly 8,000 skier visits and 100 new investors during the first winter season.

    The 1970s brought the addition of gondola service to Killington Peak, plus lift service added to Needle’s Eye, South Ridge and Bear Mountain and record setting seasons of more than 200 days on snow. Long seasons, a host of lift upgrades and an industry-leading commitment to snowmaking set the stage for Killington to record its first season with over 1 million skier visits in 1987.

  • Vista Lodge Residence Club @Blue Mountain, Poconos

    Blue Mountain Resort is proud to announce development plans to build a luxury condominium hotel located directly on the slopes and adjoining the Summit Lodge. The Vista Lodge Residence Club, VLRC will offer sweeping panoramic views of the Pocono Mountains and owners will experience true 4-Star amenities and services within this high quality facility. Residences will be configured as studio, one, two and three bedrooms ranging from 400-2,200 square feet and will be fully furnished with full kitchens.


  • Centriphone – an iPhone video experiment by Nicolas Vuignier

  • McSki – Yup, they’re got one in Sweden MORE

    You barely have to stop on your way down the slope to grab a burger and fries at the McDonalds ski-through window, located on a popular resort in northwest Sweden. The location has been open since the mid-‘90s and can seat 140 people inside, though most seem to choose the grab-and-go option. Why bother taking off your gear when you can just chow down and then hop right back on the lift?


  • Auntie Liana’s Cakeballs – Kickstarter Funding

    Dark Chocolate Rose cakeballs arrived last week and they were delicious. Ate some at home and ski house and now we can’t wait for the next batch, yummy.


Topic: New Toys!

Around the Horn

  • Dutch police are training eagles to murder illegal drones

    Drones near airports. Near firefighters. Near the Super Bowl. They’re illegal in these settings, sure, but how do you take them out safely? A Dutch firm claims it has the answer. Guard From is working with the Dutch National Police using trained raptors to target consumer-sized drones and knock them out of the sky. Yes, raptors, as in “birds of prey.” Like a goddamn majestic eagle.

    Background: The Dutch National Police say that they’re concerned about drones used for criminal purposes and have been working on ways to prevent unwanted drone use. In a release, Mark Wiebe, innovation manager of the National Police, cites incidents with ambulatory helicopters and interference from drones. “There are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly. This is almost always to do with security,” says Wiehe. But he adds that finding the drone operator can be next to impossible. Enter the drone-fighting bird that swoops in and yanks the drone down, dropping it somewhere safely away from human beings.


  • Morocco Just Switched On The World’s Largest Solar Plant

    When completed, the site will cover an area larger than the country’s capital, Rabat, and will make Morocco’s solar plant the largest in the world. It is hoped that it will eventually produce so much electricity that the nation will not only be able to meet its own energy needs, but also export the excess to Europe. The first section of the plant was turned on this afternoon by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, and is expected to start churning out 160 megawatts.

    Built near the town of Ouarzazate in central Morocco, the plant uses solar thermal technology, rather than photovoltaic solar panels. Solar thermal technology uses mirrors, which track the movement of the Sun, to concentrate solar rays to heat oil in pipes. The hot oil is used to create steam in order to power turbines, creating the electricity. The advantage of using this technique is that the oil can then be used to melt salt, which holds onto the energy, and can be used to produce power even after the Sun has gone down.

    Focusing the energy of the Sun onto a single point, the plant is able to heat the oil up to extremely high temperatures. This is used to melt the salt at 500°C (932°F), which is then stored in massive tanks. The solar plant is just one aspect of the nation’s ambition to generate 42 percent of its electricity needs from renewables (through a mixture of wind, hydro, and solar power) by 2030 – though it is expected to up this to 52 percent at the next climate meeting. Compare this to the U.K., a much richer country, which has pledged to generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewables over the same period of time.

    So far, the power plant has had $3.9 billion (£2.7 billion) in funding, with around $1 billion (£690 million) coming from a German investment bank and $400 million (£276 million) from the World Bank. It is hoped that as the price of solar power continues to drop, it will become more and more viable to build even more of these projects, and move further away from fossil fuels.


  • Coyotes are attacking cars, possibly due to magic mushrooms

    West Marin residents have lately been reporting a strange sight on Highway 1 near the Slide Ranch turnoff. It’s all the talk at Beth’s Community Kitchen in Bolinas and elsewhere: A coyote has taken to staring down automobile drivers as they drive through this twisting, turning section of highway, before attacking the car and then skulking off back into the wilderness. The coyote runs up to the cars, usually at night, forcing drivers to stop as the beast stares and sniffs around the vehicle.

    The coyote “attacks” have happened a bunch of times, to enough people, to warrant calls to figure out what’s going on with the animal. Or, animals, as the latest grist out of Bolinas has it that there are now two coyotes acting a little weird, or a lot weird: Drive-by coyote stare-downs have now become part of the normative experience for a Bolinas-based individual who makes numerous nighttime airport runs every week. We are not identifying this individual, who fears retribution at the vengeful paws of these bushy-tailed beasts. He would only say, “It’s a terrifying, yet beautiful thing to behold.”

    These coyote attacks have been going on for at least three weeks. If it were rabies, Bloch says, the coyote would likely be dead by now. “If this is going on longer than a week or so, then it’s likely not rabies. And we don’t suspect rabies, just because it is pretty rare.”

    Whew, it’s not rabies. It is possible, but not probable, that the coyote has eaten something—perhaps a fly agaric mushroom (amanita muscaria) which has hallucinogenic properties—and has subsequently been tripping its tail off. The cars would therefore be some sort of coyote vision, a dark vision of human interlopers, who must be stopped before the rents get any higher in West Marin. That would be kind of cool.


  • Can Pot Make You a Better Athlete?

    I’m running like I’m being chased by a bear. Sweat is pouring off me, my heart is pounding, and my mouth tastes like pennies. Also, I’m stoned.

    Exercising on drugs is a new experience for me. And except for some fun in my early twenties, I’ve never been a pot smoker. But about 15 minutes ago, I took a hit of marijuana and jumped on a treadmill to see how it affects my athletic performance.

    I know what you’re thinking: What’s the point? The societal view of a stoner is of somebody couch-bound and snacking on chips. Even the vast majority of regular cannabis users will probably tell you that the effect of the drug hinders their ability to do anything athletic at a high level.

    That’s what I always believed, too, and research seemed to back it up. A 1975 paper found that those who smoked pot experienced a 25 percent decrease in power output. Another study found that people who ingested THC lost motor skills and experienced decreased reaction time.

    Some close friends, who also happen to be really good skiers, swear that the drug improves their skills on the mountain, claiming that they can “feel the snow better.” So last winter I gave it a shot. After popping a ten-milligram THC gummy, I experienced a slight yet very functional high. But something else stood out: I felt invincible and proceeded to attack the steepest lines without fear. That reaction doesn’t surprise Stanford Medical School professor Keith Humphreys. “We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our brains, and when the THC hits those receptors, it triggers a system that reduces anxiety,” he says. “That you would feel more aggressive is a natural reaction to the drug.”


  • 8 Little-Known Facts (and Common Misperceptions) About Single Malt Scotches

    There’s magic that goes into every bottle of Single Malt Scotch. Or at the very least a fair bit of alchemy, the word Scots use for the transformation of such humble ingredients as water, barley, and yeast into liquid gold.

    While Single Malts have always been the drink of choice for Scots-from crofters to kings-Americans are quaffing increasing quantities these days. In 2014, Single Malt Scotch exports to the U.S. were up 6.4 percent by volume and 9.2 percent by revenue. But even as Scotland’s favorite spirit becomes more popular stateside, there are still a lot of mysteries about Single Malt Scotches. Here are eight things that might surprise you.

    • Scotch gets its start as a clear spirit. The color comes from its interaction with the cask. Sherry casks will lead to amber-colored whisky, while American oak casks bring about golden hues. Generally, the older the whisky, the darker it appears.
    • Like beer and wine, Single Malt Scotch whiskies aren’t limited to a single style-and extend far beyond the pungent, smoky, malty tastes the uninitiated associate with Scotch.
    • Peat bogs are abundant in Scotland and the brown, soil-like material burns well at low temperatures, making it ideal for drying the barley grain used to make whisky. This has led to a common misperception that all Scotch whiskies have a peaty flavor.
    • Every cask of scotch loses almost one third of its contents before it’s ready to bottle. That whisky lost through vapor as it matures is known as “the angel’s share.”
    • The taste of a good Single Malt never stops evolving while in the barrel. For example: 12 year old Aultmore is a sweet liquid with a verdant nose of dewy moss and delicate flora, while 18 year, the sweetness has become velvety, with soft melon and cereal hues.
    • Scotch whisky and beer have a lot more in common than you might think. Both start with malted barley, which deliver the sugars needed for fermentation when they’re steeped in hot water. The two drinks diverge in the “wash” stage-when hops are normally added to the beer. Both whisky and beer go on to fermentation. Only whisky continues with distillation and maturation.
    • France consumes more Scotch whisky (including both blends and Single Malts) than any other country, based on total volume of cases imported. (The U.S. is the second-biggest consumer and the U.K. takes third.) But when it comes to Single Malt Scotch, the U.S. is far and away the volume leader, drinking very nearly as much as France and Taiwan, the second and third biggest consumers, combined.
    • While mead is sometimes refered to as the drink of kings, Scottish royalty seem awfully fond of Single Malt Scotch. In 1833, Royal Brackla became the first Scotch whisky to ever be granted a Royal Warrant. King William IV gave the distillery permission to display the royal arms.

    T+L Scotch Stories

    Proof : The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers

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