Fly Fishing

Considerations When Buying Waders

1/2 Breathable waders are your best choice Photo: Mike Schirf 2/2 Wader fitting and sizing Photo: Ross Downard $('.bxslider').bxSlider({ auto: true, mode: 'f...

MTN Active

Photographing van life, part 4: desert season

When Tera and I finally decided to dive into van life full time, one of the things I was most excited for was desert season. Of course living in Salt Lake I have been to the desert countless times, but only for small chunks of time. Moab for a couple days here, Indian Creek for a few days there, it was never enough time. I was always wishing I could stay longer, and what better opportunity to do so than when we're living in a van. If we were ever going to pick a fall to spend in the dese...

Clothing & Accessories

Gloves vs Mittens

Winter is getting started up here in Park City. Remember how great last season was? Remember the 20-inch storm on Christmas Day, or the never-ending snow in January and February; we had 14 days with double digit snow fall totals! Did you get to enjoy all those epic snow storms and all the great days in between? Or did cold fingers send you home early? Today at jans.com we ask you one of the most important questions in the snow sports world: are you a glove guy/girl or a mitten man/woman? ...

Clothing & Accessories

Fabric Tech: 2-Layer vs. 3-Layer

Alright, you're ashamed of that hand-me-down from the 1990s / early-2000s and you're ready for a new ski jacket or pants. Fair enough, you deserve it. Ski outerwear comes in many flavors these days and the marketing speak from manufacturers can be overwhelming. We want to provide a little context into why a $600 jacket is better than a $200 one. And that starts with layered fabric. In short, 2- and 3-layer fabric has the same intention - keeping you protected from the elements. Wh...

MTN Active

The Science of Northern Utah's Outdoor Playground

Recently, while reorganizing my spare bedroom gear closet, I got to drinking thinking. Does mountain bike season ever officially end? When should I break out all of my ski stuff? What if I get all of my ski stuff out but then it turns out bike season isn’t actually over? That would be a mess. More specifically, what are the physiographic features of the Wasatch Mountains that make it so difficult to effectively organize and store my gear? Now, you might say, “It’s be...

Alpine Skiing

Ski Boot Alignment

Are you struggling to improve your skiing, stuck in a rut and can’t break through to the next level? The answer could be right at your feet. More specifically, it could be your boots and how they match up with your body from the hips down. I’m referring to your stance alignment, and just like your car’s steering may need adjustment, your boots may need adjustment too. Your car will let you know when the steering is out of alignment by pulling to one side or the other whi...

Mountain Biking

Beyond Park City's Singletrack, Exploring Highstar Ranch

If you follow us here at Jans you know just how proud we are of our hometown's extensive trail network that is the International Mountain Biking Association's world's first Gold Level Ride Center. But outside of Park City's award-winning trails there are tons of other great rides down in Salt Lake City, out in Heber, and now even in Kamas' Highstar Ranch. Which line would you choose, inside or outside? Photo: Ross Downard If you've never heard of this small we...

Mountain Biking

What to Look For After Crashing Your Bike

1/4 Wheels Check your wheels and axle to be sure they are still spinning freely and are secure on your frame and fork. Photo: Ross Downard 2/4 Cockpit and Saddle : Be sure to check and if needed, align, your handlebars and saddle with your fork and frame. Photo: Ross Downard 3/4 Frame Give your frame a thorough check for any damage. Photo: Ross Downard 4/4 Post-Crash Shakedown The uncanny but helpful Pick-Up and Drop tes...

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Photographing van life, part 3

If I had to choose only one activity we could go do while we were van-life-ing, it would be mountain biking. My wife, Tera, on the other hand, would without a doubt choose rock climbing. We both enjoy both methods of recreating, and we're making a conscious effort to balance time doing each activity. For this reason, we've been really looking forward to spending some time in British Colombia, and in particular Squamish, which is a Mecca for both biking and climbing. A few days bef...

Mountain Biking

More Miles. More Singletrack. New Trails in Park City!

The Park City trail network is constantly changing and evolving. Every year we get new trails and more miles. Every year an old trail is refreshed. And every year new connections are made to link together more and more miles of velvety singletrack. Most trails are machine-made with bits here and there dug by hand. But the toil is the same and the work is honest! We're thankful to live and operate in a community that is so devoted to creating new trails. So far in 2017, the city, in pa...

MTN Active

Photographing Van Life, part 2

We are closing in on two months on the road and Tera and I are finally starting to get the hang of van life. From finding our next camp spot to where to fill up on water, the things that stressed us out the most at the start are definitely starting to become a lot easier. Tera camp cooking by the van. Photo: Mike Schirf We started off July in Hood River, OR, definitely one of Tera and I's favorite stops so far. It has a bunch of great riding and just a nice friendly outdoor vibe....

Fly Fishing

What is the difference between a switch rod and a spey rod?

So, this month's blog comes to you by way of a true story. Last fall, my brother asked me to get on the sticks and row he and his friend down the Green on Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. At the put-in, while rigging up, I suggested they throw big Chernobyl Ants with a dropper. It was then that I noticed that my brother's friend, Ned, (not his real name to protect the innocent) had strung up an 11-foot switch rod with a heavy switch line. What the Hell! I politely said, "Uh, ...

Mountain Biking

Bicycle Geometry Explained!

Bike design is an ever-changing art. As a new category of bike is released, with it comes a suite of new angles and measurements that leaves most scratching their heads. When trying to decide what kind of bike you want, sifting through bike geometry jargon can be overwhelming. Below we've put together a handy guide on what all those numbers and angles mean, and most importantly, what they do for you as a rider. The steeper the head tube angle, the better handling you'll achieve, ...

MTN Active

How to Stay Comfortably Cool While Hiking

1/5 Get out early The temperature is lower when the sun is lower in the sky. Photo: Ross Downard 2/5 Go for shady trails Staying out of the sun is key for staying cooler. Photo: Ross Downard 3/5 Go for high elevation trails The higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure, and therefore the cooler the temperature. Photo: Ross Downard 4/5 Stay hydrated Your body is better able to regulate its own temperature when it ha...

Fly Fishing

Teaching Kids to Fly Fish

So, you want to teach your obsession, fly fishing, to your son, daughter, grandkid, and/or your friend's child because he thinks you know something about whipping the water with a fly rod. Casting a fly rod can be challenging for an adult, so imagine what it's like for a kid who is barely learning how to walk and chew gum at the same time. What follows, owing to research and many years teaching children, is advice to help you teach a 4- to 12-year-old (4th grade is ideal) how to fly f...

MTN Active

Photographing Van Life

My wife Tera and I have been on the road, living in our Sprinter van with our two pups, Milly and Patsy, for about 3 weeks now. About a year ago we saved up and bought a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter van and started building it into a camper van. After months of hard work, a lot of learning, and an equal amount of frustration, we are finally on the road. Our plan is to spend a year traveling the western U.S., exploring and doing the things we love. Being a photographer and being able to live on ...

Mountain Biking

How To Clean Your Drivetrain

When I decided to come to Utah six years ago for mountain biking, skiing, and a little school, my mom made sure that I knew how to properly do my laundry and clean my clothes so that they would last. After this year's epic winter and fairly wet spring, the Wasatch Mountains experienced what we call a mud season. Now, you shouldn't go riding your bike through the mud, but as the snow melted and the weather stayed clear for a few days, curiosity and excitement had me out on the trai...

Fly Fishing

What Tippet Should I Use? Mono vs Fluoro

Back when I was just a wee water-whipper, my Grandpa taught me how to build fly fishing leaders from differing lengths and diameters of catgut. Catgut leaders had to be "greased" with floatant when used with dry flies. In my teens, I could construct leaders with blood knots and monofilament nylon ("mono") which did not have to be greased. Later, thanks to Eagle Claw and better technology, tapered, knotless leaders, extruded from mono, hit the fly shops. Life was good. I...

Mountain Biking

Smith Forefront Bike Helmet and Arena Sunglasses; a Winning Combo

Some things just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, salt and pepper, and even Batman and Robin. The Smith Optics Forefront bike helmet and Pivlock Arena Max sunglasses are another example of a dynamic duo. On their own each is an important part of your summer bike kit, but when you put the two together you can really see and feel the difference. I recently tested the Forefront helmet with Smith's Arena Max sunglasses while riding one of Salt Lake's legendary mo...

Rock Climbing

Nice Rack (Springtime Climbing in Utah)

It's springtime in Utah. You know what that means. It is time to get in climbing shape. The smart climbers out there have been at The Mine Bouldering Gym or Momentum Climbing Gym all winter staying strong. If you are like me, however, you were too busy to go to the gym because you were slaying the greatest snow on Earth in one of the greatest winters in a decade. I wouldn't trade my 100+ powder days of 2016/17 to climb 5.13, but I AM paying the price for not climbing all winter. There...