Issue 70

Cold Water Basics

Cold Water Basics

A good wetsuit is like gold for California’s year-round surfers By Elizabeth Glazner ©iStockphoto.com/LachlanCurrie Surfers use the word “heavy” to describe the cold, dark waters of the ocean in winter. While it is true that cold water weighs a bit more than hot water by volume, it is the actual temperature of the water and the resulting physical difficulties that make cold-water surfing so much more serious than warm-water surfing. The Pacific Ocean seasonally fluctuates only about ten degrees off the Central Coast, but any surfer or open water swimmer knows that those ten degrees are huge. For example, a sixty-degree ocean on a hot day can be pleasantly refreshing, but fifty-degree water on a cold day can cause fatal hypothermia in minutes, given the right circumstances. The evolution of the wetsuit has gone far to reduce the dangers associated with cold-water surfing, but this is no reason to...
The French Connection

The French Connection

Sylvain Duclos, the Banzai Tour’s yoga-trained charger, has won the snowboard title two year’s running — with a torn ACL By Pete Gauvin Duclos with his daughter Scarlett after his first Banzai Tour victory at Alpine Meadows in 2011. Photo courtesy of Alpine Meadows Sylvain Duclos knows how to stay on his feet. That’s what the Squaw Valley ski and snowboard instructor considersthe most important skill in winning the men’s snowboard title on the Rahlves’ Banzai Tour the last two years. “It’s not about being fast. It’s about staying on your legs all the way down,” says Duclos, 32, in his classic French accent. “You don’t have to get the hole shot to win. You just need strong legs. The runs are up to two minutes long, which is two or three times longer than any other course. The most important things are endurance, strength and reading the terrain...
Celebrate this Winter with a California Tradition

Celebrate this Winter with a California Tradition

ASJ highlights some of our favorite seasonal brews By Derrick Peterman Winter is a time of many traditions. One of my favorite winter traditions is sampling all of the wonderful seasonal beers so many California breweries release this time of year. Winter Seasonals provide brewers the freedom to experiment with different ingredients, unlike beer styles such as IPAs or Hefeweizens, which involve long established brewing techniques and flavor profiles. Many brewers infuse species such as nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, and orange peel associated with the holidays in their winter seasonals. In addition, they also tend to use more heavily roasted malts which impart flavors of toasted bread, caramel, coffee and chocolate that we associate with the holidays. The hop content is usually kept low so as not to compete too strongly with the other flavors. While holiday beers have a history dating back centuries to many of Europe’s...
Roadtrip Diversions

Roadtrip Diversions

Mojave National Preserve Words by Haven Livingston Exploring the Mojave on foot. Photo Natural History Field Quarter Archives California deserts have long been winter hideaways for outdoor adventurers. The stark beauty reveals a complex and fragile ecosystem that draws you in and keeps you coming back to learn more. Tucked away on the southeastern edge of California, the Mojave National Preserve is a desert playground often overlooked because of the popularity of neighboring national parks, Death Valley to the north and Joshua Tree to the south. Bound by Interstate arteries 15 and 40, this little known corner of the State is actually the third largest National Park Service area outside of Alaska. (Death Valley and Yellowstone National Parks rank first and second.) It’s called a National Preserve instead of a National Park mainly because hunting is allowed. Go figure. The landscapes range from granite mountains to volcanic cinder cones...
Why Ride Used Snow

Why Ride Used Snow

Pacific Crest Snowcats is California’s only snowcat skiing operation with a private stash Story and photos by Brennan Lagasse Photo Brennan Lagasse Looking to score fresh tracks all day in your own private Sierra playground? Then Pacific Crest Snowcats may be just what you are looking for. Based out of Truckee, PCS is a oneof-a-kind snowcat operation in the Sierra Nevada serving skiers who love fresh tracks and are willing to pay for the privilege ($325 per day with two-week advance booking) of cat-accessed, guide supported skiing in a private playground of untouched lines. Climbing skins not required. PCS is the only major snowcat operation in California with exclusive access to over 3,000 acres of terrain situated along the Sierra Crest between Sugar Bowl and Squaw Valley USA. During the winter months, two snowcats will usually be in operation daily, chauffeuring up to 12 clients and two guides...
The Alpinist Comes Home

The Alpinist Comes Home

A Brief History of Andy Selters By Leonie Sherman – Photos by Andy Selters Andy at Concordia, Baltoro Glacier, Karakoram. Photo: Cecilie Skog In 2004, Andy Selters made the leap from guidebook author to mountain literati. Before the publication of Ways to the Sky, Selters was known as the Shasta guy, or maybe the glacial travel guy. Afterwards he became known as the guy who redefined the way Americans view our relationship to mountains. His history of North American mountaineering went beyond routes and dates and detailed our cultural climbing heritage in a single volume. It also won the National Outdoor Book Award and the Banff Mountain Book Festival award for history and was recently named one of the top five adventure books of all time by the Wall Street Journal. Selters is not just a writer and a historian; he’s part of a lineage of Sierra rambler-artist-author-poets...
Fear and Mavericks

Fear and Mavericks

An excerpt from The Fear Project, a new book that explores our most primal emotion By Jaimal Yogis Surfline’s California Surf Guide reads: MAVERICKS Best Size: Triple-overhead to 80-foot faces. Ability Level: Nothing short of Flea, Laird, or Neptune (Flea and Laird being two of the best big-wave surfers in the world; Neptune being a god.) Hazards: Death by drowning, sharks, run over by a whale, run over by a PWC, a trip through the rocks, hypothermia, broken boards, ego deflation. Photo: iStockphoto.com/Rich Hyman Why did I open that book? I knew all this. The waves at Ocean Beach outside my window look like they could take down a cruise-liner. But seeing the dangers in print changes things. I trip and fumble as I walk around the house, wiping counters that don’t need wiping. I don’t eat. I find myself feverishly tossing an apple and a loaf of...
The Winter Commute

The Winter Commute

Survival tips for commuting through the wet, cold and dark season Story and photos by Haven Livingston The autor, Haven Livingston, enjoys bike commuting regardless of the weather. There’s no need to pack away your trusty two-wheeled steed just because a little rain starts to fall or a few inches of snow lie between your wheels and the ground. For some people, and you could soon be one of them, this is when the fun begins. Winter bike riding and commuting requires a little more preparation and perhaps motivation, but trust me, you’ll feel more badass than ever when you show up for work with frozen eyelashes and your coworkers envy your toughness. If you want to be pragmatic about it, consider that you’ll save on gas, be environmentally friendly and keep your fitness up while everyone else puts on holiday pounds. Brian Nakagawa, bike mechanic at Olympic Bike...
Winter Fitness

Winter Fitness

Five Strategies for Surviving the Holidays By Paul Romero Photo courtesy of Paul Romero. For many outdoor athletes, the temptation is strong to go into semi-hibernation during the winter months. Nobody chooses to do this, but it just becomes the path of least resistance as the weather gets colder and the holiday season tempts us to “eat, drink, and be merry” with friends and family on a near daily basis. Unfortunately, the more we eat, the less energy we have. As a result, our motivation to get out there and get some quality exercise starts to wane, and working out becomes an afterthought, or is put on the back burner entirely. Just about everyone I know struggles with this problem to some extent every year. Of course, this leads to a harsh buzz kill come springtime, as we try to pull our favorite cycling jersey down over a muffin...
High Fives

High Fives

A Tahoe non-profit is changing the lives of injured winter athletes By Matt Niswonger • Photos courtesy of High Fives Foundation Photo courtesy of High Fives Foundation. Imagine that you wake up in a hospital bed in Tahoe and it slowly dawns on you that your body is broken. Whatever happened on that last run down the mountain did not go well for you, and now you are facing a sobering future and a long road to recovery. Maybe you broke your neck, or maybe you broke your back, but now you have to face the possibility that you might never walk again. As an active skier or snowboarder, this lifestyle change is tough to contemplate. Deep depression sinks in. All of a sudden, a stranger appears next to your bed. With little introduction he or she starts talking about the healing process, including your mental anguish. This person...
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