Ear to the Ground: Issue 100

News and notes from the outdoor industry


Ski California Releases Inaugural “Mountain Safety Guide”

As part of their ongoing snow sports education effort, Ski California (aka the California Ski Industry Association) and its member resorts have debuted their first-ever Mountain Safety Guide for the 2017-2018 season.

The free guide is available at resorts in a pocket-size format and/or an online/mobile version to all guests with education about making good decisions for a safe experience. It contains safety education every resort guest should know, covering everything from what to do before going to a resort, to loading and riding lifts, navigating potential hazards (including deep snow and avalanche awareness), and understanding trail signage. It’s printed on reclaimed stone without using trees or water, and is waterproof and tear-resistant.

The guide is complemented by a series of PSA videos featuring Olympic gold medalist Maddie Bowman and professional snowboarder and founder of Protect Our Winters (POW) Jeremy Jones. PSAs include safety education for children and their parents, being “Park SMART” in terrain parks, and specific guidance for new skiers.


Sonoma Pride Raises Funds for Sonoma County Wildfire Victims

To date, Sonoma Pride has raised over $340,000 for victims of October’s Sonoma County wildfires. King Ridge Foundation — founded by former road cycling national champ Levi Leipheimer — has partnered with several organizations in the Sonoma County community to guarantee funds raised by Sonoma Pride are disbursed in the most effective manner possible.

On October 31, Sonoma Pride beer was released at Russian River Brewery and select retail outlets, and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this beer benefits victims of the catastrophic fire events that took place in the Northern California communities.

In addition to Russian River Brewery, ten other Sonoma County breweries released one of their own signature beers under the Sonoma Pride label with 100% of the proceeds being devoted to this Sonoma Pride fundraising effort.

Help wildfire vicitims by purchasing Sonoma Pride at Russian River Brewery and select retail locations or by making a direct donation.

Club Ride Launches Program to Support Interscholastic Mountain Biking (NICA)

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), a youth development organization governing interscholastic mountain biking in the US, recently announced its partnership with Club Ride, a well-known apparel brand based in Ketchum, ID.

“We are honored that Club Ride has joined NICA’s Corporate Booster Club and will be contributing a portion of revenue generated from the sale of their excellent clothing. By doing so, they are joining a number of leading brands who believe in NICA’s goal of wanting to provide every American teenager the opportunity to build strong body, mind and character through participation on school based mountain bike teams,” says NICA president Austin McInerny.

Club Ride founder Mike Herlinger adds, “By providing financial support from the sales of Club Ride gear, we are proud to strengthen NICA’s efforts to expand their programs to more communities across America.”


High Fives Grants Record Amount to Injured Athletes

This past September, the High Fives Foundation experienced its largest grant cycle since its inception in 2009, granting $110,578.89 to 22 injured mountain bike action sports athletes as well as the sponsorship of a wheelchair rugby team in Reno, NV and a sled hockey team in Central VT.

The Truckee-based foundation supports injured athletes through grant funding to be used toward reaching their recovery goals. Since the non-profit was founded, its empowerment program service has assisted 167 athletes from 31 states in nine respective categories including living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and “stoke” (positive energy, outlook and attitude).

As of September 2017, $444,673.84 in 114 board-approved grants has been disbursed to 73 individuals across 23 states (including the 2017 Military to the Mountains Program) and the sponsorship of two adaptive sport teams.


Nine Miles of Singletrack Added to Downieville Trail Network

The Lost Sierra region that includes the notorious Downieville Downhill is a model for true shared multi-use recreation, thanks in part to a strong partnership between the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS), Sierra County Land Trust, the Tahoe National Forest – Yuba Ranger District and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA).

And after nearly a decade of work, nine new miles of bike-legal singletrack and 1,500 extra vertical feet of non-motorized descent were opened with a ceremony on October 1. From the very top of the Sierra Buttes at 8,591 feet elevation on the Sierra Buttes Overlook Trail, the Downieville Downhill now boasts 7,000 vertical feet of descent to Downieville, dubbed the “Tower 2 Town,” one of the longest descents in North America. Not only is the Sierra Buttes Overlook Trail a technically challenging and fun singletrack descent, but it also offers breathtaking views of Lower and Upper Sardine Lakes as well as cliffside views of Young America Lake.
REI Adventures Launches New Destinations, Expands Camping Offerings

REI Adventures, the active travel company part of national outdoor co-op REI, has launched 20 trips, bringing its total to more than 40 new itineraries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. The industry leader also introduced a collection of lower intensity trips to meet the diverse interests and abilities of its broadening traveler base.

REI Adventures’ new lower intensity collection offers its usual active itinerary but at a more relaxed pace and with less intensity. Designated as level two on the company’s activity scale, a sample day includes hiking two to six miles with minimal elevation gain and/or loss. Physical activities are interspersed with local experiences to highlight a region’s cultural and natural history, and unique interactions with communities made possible by local expert guides. The company’s most strenuous trips (level five) offer 10-miles per day hikes with dramatic elevation gain and/or loss, and guests carry up to 45 pound backpacks.


Nakoma Resort Opens New Recreation Center “Altitude” 

To say Nakoma Resort is a surprise discovery in the Lost Sierra is an understatement. The resort and its iconic Frank Lloyd Wright architecture peeking from the pines is a true four-seasons base camp from which to explore all the vast Lost Sierra region of Eastern Plumas County has to offer.

Overnight Lodge guests now have full access to Altitude, Nakoma’s recreation center that opened in October. Altitude’s 12,500 square feet features a heated 25-meter outdoor pool, indoor climbing wall, fitness center, play room for little kids and a game room for the young and young-at-heart.

Located 45 minutes north of Truckee off Highway 89, Nakoma is just minutes from the Gold Lakes Basin, Mills Peak trail, Plumas-Eureka State Park and historic Johnsville Ski Bowl, and is open year-round.

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