(Photo courtesy of Altai Skies)

Every week, we bring you five gear-related stories, from all over, that you won’t want to miss. Here are this week’s highlights:

Ever heard of skishoeing? We hadn’t either, but Nils Larsen, maker of Altai Skis—“short, fat skis with free-heel bindings and built-in climbing skins”—wants to introduce you to the concept.

“Adults step out on these and feel like kids again,” he told The Missoulian. His Hok skis are available in two sizes—125cm (“more snowshoe DNA,” says Larsen) and 145cm (“more ski DNA.)

Read on …


(Screenshot courtesy of YouTube|MSP Films)

Risk vs. Reward in the Digital Age
Originally published in their December 2015 issue, POWDER just released online this powerfully written feature, “The End Game,” which examines the relationship between risk, reward and corporate sponsorship in the outdoor world. Do pro skiers, climbers or other athletes take bigger risks when sponsor dollars are at stake? How many lives are being staked on the pursuit of social-media success or a viral video (what POWDER calls the modern equivalent of a “one-hit wonder”)?

Above all, is it all worth it?

Read on …


(Photo courtesy of Mystery Ranch)

Special Ops Packs for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Outside has the scoop on Mystery Ranch—a company that, for 16 years, has been making backpacks for soldiers and hunters, and has just announced a brand new line of backpacking packs, daypacks and climbing packs. The packs are heavier than many other brands, but their focus is on durability—“burly fabrics, like Cordura, which don’t blow apart, even under constant abuse”—rather than shedding ounces.

Read on …


(Saguaro National Park, photo by Srikanth Jandhyala | CC2.0)

Diversity in the National Parks
NPR’s All Things Considered did an interesting piece this week on the National Park Service’s “diversity problem”—the fact that in 2015, minorities comprised just 20 percent of visitors to national parks, “despite the fact that they made up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population.”

Framed with the story of Arizona’s Saguaro National Park and its struggle to appeal to the local Hispanic and Latino communities, the piece ponders the variety of reasons that minority communities may not be visiting parks, as well as the reasons why parks need to do more to cultivate broad racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity among their visitors.

Read on …


(Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management | CC2.0)

The Best Outdoor Apps
Skeptical as some may be about the potential for technology to improve one’s experience in the outdoors, the SCTimes published a great roundup this week of useful apps geared toward this very purpose. Included in the roundup are offline-map app Gaia GPS, stargazing and constellation-identifying SkyView app, and the crowdsourced iNaturalist, which helps you identify plants, animals and fungi by snapping a photo of them with your phone.

Read on …