Alpine Skiing

How to Tell If Your Ski Boots Are Out of Alignment

At root, proper alignment from your ski boots is the key to proper balance. And proper balance, of course, is the key to fluid, efficient, confident skiing. Why Alignment Matters In a vacuum, ski turns should be symmetrical – what your right leg does during a left turn should be the same as what your left leg does during a right turn. Balanced skiing relies on predictability, and predictability comes from consistency. So, assuming the same articulation during both right and left...

MTN Active

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...

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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...

Mountain Biking

Mountain Bike Suspension Setup Guide

Park City has a lot of singletrack, over 450 miles that vary from smooth velvet trails to aggressive rocks and roots to 40-foot gaps. There are mean, steep climbs or fun twisty descents alongside mellower trails with scenic vistas. St. George and Moab are a short drive away with desert-style riding, and next door in Colorado are some of the rawest trails we have ever ridden. We use these trails to hone our riding skills and tune our bikes to as near-perfect we can get them. The way a bike...

Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Spring's Early Hatches in Utah

All it takes in Utah is a week of warmer weather and little sunshine to get people scrambling for their fishing and bike gear. Out come the road and mountain bikes, and rivers that have seen only die hard anglers the last few months are alive with people once more. Winter isn't letting go easily and snow lines move up and down mountainsides daily. The wildlife begins to migrate back to the comfort of the high country and the elk herds again become the ghosts of the pine and oak brush. ...

MTN Active

Save Bonanza Flats

High in the mountains above Park City lies a beautiful and vast aspen grove. Aspens trees seem to stand together as individual trees, but in fact they are an interconnected system sharing a hidden network of roots underground. I have been fascinated by this special place and love to spend my days snowboarding and hiking in its midst.
What appear to be individual trees, are connected by their root system When I found out about professor of ecology, Suzanna Simard's, discovery o...

Cross-Country Skiing

Rossignol XC Skis, Boots, Poles - Classic Discipline | Expert Picks

Cross country skiers are passionate about their sport. Case in point, I've already skied 22 days this season and am hoping to break last year's record of 39 days in a less-than-ideal snow year. And one of the days this season was during a full-on blizzard where I couldn't see the track, let alone my skis. Fanatical? Maybe. Happy? Deliriously so. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a fanatical skate skier who dabbles in classic skiing when my job requires. Logan Jones, ...

Alpine Skiing

Early January Storm Recap | Park City, UT

Coming up for air after 12 days of powder, I wanted to put the most recent storm cycle in perspective. Or just reminisce for personal enjoyment. Either way. From January 2nd, when the Park City ridgeline started getting pounded with snow, until January 13th, when the sun finally reappeared, it “snowed like it used to.” What does that mean? Take a look at Deer Valley’s snow totals over this 12-day period:
Snow totals displayed in inches. Data courtesy of On Th...

Clothing & Accessories

Nils Ski and Snowboard Apparel for Women 2016/2017

Full Disclosure I've been a Nils' athlete ambassador for several years. This means I have a natural bias toward their clothing, but it also means that I have a lot of first-hand experience with their products. Each season I pick my favorite outfit or two from Nils, and it arrives in time for skiing, like an early Christmas present. I wear the Nils gear, giving it exposure on the mountain and in social media. I provide feedback about the clothing to Nils, and I provide descript...

Alpine Skiing

Life is Better with Integration

We've all been there: you're out having a great day on the mountain, riding hard, hiking peaks, and carving pow. Then, you get a little warm and all of the sudden you're in a fog-induced haze that has you stumbling around the mountain like a gorilla in a china shop. If you're like me, you think this is one of the most frustrating spots to find yourself in. You can't wipe the fog out of your lenses for fear of scratching your expensive eyewear, so your only option is to pul...