Ear to the Ground: Issue 101

News and notes from the outdoor industry

“People remember their first day on skis because it comes as such a mental rush. When you come down the mountain from your first time on skis, you are a different person. I had just now experienced that feeling, if only for half a minute; it was step one in the direction I would follow the rest of my life.” Warren Miller, 1924-2018

Warren Miller’s Legacy

The adventure world has lost one of its original patriarchs. On January 24th Warren Miller passed peacefully into legend at the age of 93.

Like Jack O’Neill’s contribution to the sport of surfing, Warren Miller’s influence on skiing cannot be overstated. His humor and adventure-seeking spirit forged the legacy of a genre and a passion for freedom.

Fortunately his work will live on through Warren Miller Entertainment, with a continuation of the trademark feature length movie coming out every year.


Tahoe Donner Voted #2 Cross Country Ski Resort in N. America

The results are in for USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award contest and Tahoe Donner was voted number two for Best Cross Country Ski Resort in the U.S. and Canada. Tahoe Donner rose one spot from its ranking in 2016.

“It’s a real honor to be recognized as one of the best cross country ski centers by such a prestigious panel of Nordic experts for the second year in a row,” said Sally Jones, Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center manager.

Tahoe Donner was also voted Best Nordic/Cross Country Ski Center in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee in 2016 and 2017 by readers of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza — proving it’s a locals’ favorite in addition to being an international destination for cross country enthusiasts.

Located 18 miles north of Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center offers over 100 kilometers of skillfully groomed trails prepared for classic cross country striders and skate skiers of all abilities.


Bishop High Sierra Ultras to Benefit Eastern Sierra Youth Outdoor Program

The Bishop High Sierra Ultra Marathons returns in 2018 with a 20 mile “fun run,” a 50k, a 50 miler and a 100k. These are high altitude races, with a great deal of climbing, in the scenic foothills of the Eastern Sierra Nevada above the small town of Bishop.

The race is produced by non-profit Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) under the new direction of Eastside Sports co-owner Todd Vogel The event benefits Inyo County Search and Rescue as well as the Eastern Sierra Youth Outdoor Program, a free outdoor program for youth ages 12 – 18 offering rock climbing, backpacking, team-building and related skills, of which Vogel is a leader.

Learn more at bishopultras.com.


Wildflower Returns to Celebrate 35th Anniversary

After a one-year haitus, the much-loved and anticipated Wildflower Triathlon Experience returns for 2018 to celebrate its 35th anniversary on May 4-6 at Lake San Antonio in Central California.

The full triathlon race lineup is back, including the Long-Course, Olympic, Sprint and Mountain Bike, plus new events and activities for participants and spectators.

The “Woodstock of Triathlon” will resume with the iconic festival environment participants have grown to love and there will be enhancements to the “Wildflower Experience” enjoyed by friends, family and racers alike.

Registration for all events is open at wildflowertriathlon.com.


Epic Rides Off-Road Series Registration Now Open

From beginners to seasoned weekend warriors and full-time pros, each Epic Rides Off-Road Series event welcomes mountain bikers of all experience levels with three different length courses (15, 30, or 50-ish miles) that challenge the mind and body plus deliver inspiring views of nature’s beauty. Each event offers three days of mountain bike culture, (including a massive industry expo), live music and world class singletrack, and boasts its own unique flavor and character thanks to the vibrant host cities that value the importance of healthy living and outdoor recreation.

The 2018 Epic Rides Off-Road Series includes the following events: The Whiskey Off-Road April 27-29 in Prescott, AZ; The Grand Junction Off-Road May 18-20 in Grand Junction, CO; The Carson City Off-Road June 15-17 in Carson City, NV; The Oz Trails Off-Road October 5-7 in Bentonville, AR. Register at epicrides.com.


Airbnb Launches Hawaii Experiences

Airbnb recently announced the launch of experiences in Hawaii, the latest market to join the ranks of an array of other global Airbnb Trips destinations. Airbnb Trips allows visitors to experience a side of a destination they couldn’t see from typical tourist districts and attractions. Visitors and locals alike can now book over 100 experiences across the Hawaiian islands, offering the opportunity to explore the people and places that make Hawaii a truly unique and special place.

From learning the ancient art of hula and chants with a revered Kumu to setting sail aboard a handbuilt traditional outrigger canoe with a local waterman, Airbnb experiences allow visitors to immerse themselves and celebrate Hawaii’s unique history and culture.


NPS Announces Fee-Free Days

The National Park Service has invited the public to experience all national parks, without entrance fees, on four days in 2018. The free days started on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15); remaining days are: April 21 – First Day of National Park Week, September 22 – National Public Lands Day, and November 11 – Veterans Day.

“National parks connect all of us with our country’s amazing nature, culture and history,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Michael T. Reynolds. “The days that we designate as fee-free for national parks mark opportunities for the public to participate in service projects, enjoy ranger-led programs, or just spend time with family and friends exploring these diverse and special places.”


Yosemite Legend Jim Bridwell Dealing with Health Issues

Yosemite big wall legend Jim Bridwell has been dealing with serious health problems. According to his son Layton Bridwell, the official diagnosis is most likely liver and kidney failure as a result of Hepatitis C. Bridwell thinks he may have contracted the blood disease when he got a tattoo from a rainforest tribe during an expedition to Borneo.

As of press time, about $30K was raised to help cover his considerable medical expenses. For more information, visit gofundme.com/help-jim-bridwell-with-medical-care and check out ongoing coverage on our ASJ Facebook page.


Family-Friendly 5K Added to Salinas Valley Half Marathon

As runners wind through the flourishing vineyards and past fields of leafy green vegetables along the Salinas Valley Half Marathon on August 4, another group of runners and walkers will be enjoying the final miles of the course on a newly-established 5K fun run.

The inaugural event will offer family members and others the opportunity to be a part of the action. Geared to both fast runners and families with children, the 5K features a scenic out-and-back route from the half-marathon finish at Pessagno Winery. Finish festivities will include music, MY Museum activities for young children, wine tasting for adults, and a fund-raising tri-tip barbecue.

The Salinas Valley Half Marathon, now in its ninth year, is organized by the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. Register at salinasvalleyhalfmarathon.org.

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