Glac­i­ers are more than fan­cy words for snow­fields. In the moun­tains, they’re the main obsta­cles to reach­ing peaks. In Alas­ka, they calve ice­bergs into the sea and have ori­gins in ice­fields the size of Rhode Island. And they’re melt­ing, which will have some big rip­ple effects that Al Gore has warned us about. And what are ter­mi­nal and lat­er­al moraines any­way? Here’s what hap­pens to a snow­field when it comes alive and starts to move.

A Cold, Cold River
The mag­ic hap­pens when enough snow accu­mu­lates on a down­ward fac­ing slope, which grav­i­ty then starts to move it all down­hill. A glac­i­er is sim­ply a frozen riv­er. When ice accu­mu­lates to a cer­tain thick­ness, the weight of all that ice, com­bined with grav­i­ty, caus­es the bot­tom sec­tion of the glac­i­er to flow and slip along the sur­face. The result is a riv­er that grad­u­al­ly flows down­hill, at rates that may be mea­sured inch­es, or in the case of Glac­i­er Bay’s mod­er­ate­ly hyper­ac­tive Johns Hop­kins Glac­i­er, as much as 8 feet a day. As it flows down­hill, the glac­i­er hits warmer tem­per­a­tures, and the ter­mi­nus starts to melt. The rates of flow and the rate of melt deter­mine whether a glac­i­er advances or retreats. And like any riv­er, glac­i­ers have steep sec­tions and calm ones.

Crevass­es and Ice­falls and Ser­acs, Oh My!
When the glac­i­er moves down­hill, the brit­tle upper sec­tion that can’t bend ends up crack­ing. The results are crevass­es, which climbers strug­gle to cross and dread falling in. Ser­acs are ice tow­ers that form below steep sec­tions, which form ice­falls: the glacial equiv­a­lent of a water­fall. These are par­tic­u­lar­ly treach­er­ous for climbers, because they’re both dif­fi­cult ter­rain and the most prone to shift­ing, avalanch­es, and tum­bling chunks of ice and rock. The most noto­ri­ous is the Khum­bu Ice­fall on the approach to Everest.

Exam­ple of a Pied­mont Glac­i­er, Chugach Wrangell-St. Elias Moun­tain Range Glacier

Beware the Bergschrund
At the top of every glac­i­er is the bergschrund (Ger­man for “moun­tain cleft”) a large crevasse that marks where the glac­i­er breaks away from the head­wall or snow­field to begin flow­ing down­hill. If it were a riv­er, this would be the head­wa­ters. Bergschrunds are big, deep, and hard to cross. On many climbs, espe­cial­ly ice cas­cade stra­to­vol­ca­noes, they’re one of the biggest obsta­cles. The lat­er the sea­son, the wider the bergschrund yawns and the hard­er it is to cross.

Wet Win­ters, Cool Summers
If you look at a map of the most glaciat­ed moun­tains, one thing is clear: they’re near the sea, even though many coastal moun­tain ranges are low­er than the Rock­ies. Glac­i­ers form when snow accu­mu­lates rapid­ly in wet win­ters and doesn’t melt much in cool sum­mers. The moist marine air that hits the coast of Alas­ka, British Colum­bia, and the Cas­cades of Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon, as well as Patag­o­nia and the mon­soon sweep­ing over the Himalayas are cas­es in point: we get the mas­sive glac­i­er-cov­ered Cas­cade vol­ca­noes, and the tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers of Alas­ka and Patag­o­nia and the Himalayan ice fields. Dri­er places may be cold­er, but unless they also get enough pre­cip­i­ta­tion, the glac­i­ers will be small­er, unless we’re talk­ing Antarctica.

3 Types: Val­ley, Pied­mont, Tidewater
Val­ley glac­i­ers are the ones we see in most of the moun­tains in the low­er 48: they form near the top of peaks, often where snow accu­mu­lates below a moun­tain head­wall, where it’s pro­tect­ed from the wind. Over time it accu­mu­lates enough weight to start flow­ing, and flows down­hill, carv­ing a val­ley. Most end when they reach low­er alti­tudes, releas­ing silt-laden tor­rents down steep valleys.

If a val­ley glac­i­er flows out of the moun­tains onto a flat plain, it does just what a riv­er would: spread out into a wide, flat sheet called a pied­mont glac­i­er. The most famous of these is the Malaspina Glac­i­er in Alaska’s Wrangell St. Elias Nation­al Park.

But the most dra­mat­ic are tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers, when glac­i­ers flow all the way to the sea, calv­ing ice­bergs into the ocean. The most famous of these are in Alas­ka: Glac­i­er Bay, Prince William Sound, and Kenai Fjords, but they exist else­where in the world: Green­land, south­ern South Amer­i­ca and else­where. Tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers act like “glac­i­ers on steroids, advanc­ing and retreat­ing faster than most oth­er glaciers.

Blue, Blue Baby I Love You
Glacial ice is an enchant­i­ng shade of deep blue-turquoise. You’ll notice it most on cloudy days, or when an ice­berg breaks off. Because glacial ice is super-com­pressed from mil­len­nia under the weight of all that oth­er ice, the gas­es have been squeezed out of it, unlike the clear ice in your freez­er. This dense ice absorbs the rest of the col­ors of the spec­trum, so blue is what’s left for you to see.

Exam­ple of a Tide­wa­ter Glac­i­er, Colum­bia Glac­i­er, Colum­bia Bay, Valdez, Alaska

The Moraine Drag
Glac­i­ers are enor­mous bull­doz­ers push­ing mas­sive piles of rock and soil in slow motion. On the sides and end of the glac­i­ers, you’ll find ridges of rocks and debris from pre­vi­ous advances and retreats. The ones on the sides are called lat­er­al moraines; at the end of the glac­i­er, they’re called ter­mi­nal moraines. Where two glac­i­ers meet, they form a stripe of debris in the mid­dle of the new glac­i­er, called medi­al moraines. The land­scape around glac­i­ers is full of past moraines, some exposed rock and grav­el some over­grown with vegetation.

Is Al Gore Right?
Yes, he is. Most glac­i­ers in the world are melt­ing faster than they are accu­mu­lat­ing new ice. As a case in point, North Sister’s Col­lier Glac­i­er has been steadi­ly shrink­ing. Cli­mate change is very real. So are the effects of melt­ing glac­i­ers. Small­er glac­i­ers mean an increas­ing risk of sum­mer low flows, mean­ing less water for crops, peo­ple, and fish down the road. And the more glac­i­ers melt, the more the earth warms, because the white sur­face of ice reflect heat, while dark rocks absorb it. And as the vast glac­i­ers of Green­land melt and release cold water into the Atlantic Gulf Stream, a warm cur­rent that keeps Europe fer­tile for its lat­i­tude. Cli­mate change could hit the UK par­tic­u­lar­ly hard.

Dan­ger­ous but Beautiful
Glac­i­ers are one of the most stun­ning­ly beau­ti­ful things on earth. Their col­or and shape are amaz­ing, espe­cial­ly when seen at sun­rise on a high peak. The blue of crevass­es, the strange forms of ser­acs and the inde­scrib­able col­ors of melt­wa­ter ponds are one thing. But a few hours spent on an Alaskan glac­i­er will reveal that they have their own moun­tains, lakes, canyons, and rivers. Need­less to say, glac­i­ers should be approached with skill, care, and aware­ness of the con­di­tions. But there are few more irre­sistible things on earth.

As I write this there rain is pelt­ing on the win­dows. My plans for a ski­ing week­end are melt­ing into a giant pile of mushy slush. It’s mid­win­ter, but the snow sea­son is bare­ly get­ting start­ed. News sto­ries say that win­ter Olympic venues may not have enough snow. As we chomp at the bit for ski sea­son, here are some things you can still do.

Hit the Trails…Hard
Hik­ing isn’t just a sum­mer gig. In fact, it’s bet­ter when you don’t over­heat and the trails are emp­ty. Win­ter tem­per­a­tures can be ide­al for the aer­o­bics of hik­ing or trail run­ning, just as they are for nordic ski­ing. There won’t be traf­fic jams at pop­u­lar trail­heads. Just be ready for short­er days, some rain, and mud on the trails.

If there’s not enough snow to ski there’s prob­a­bly rain, espe­cial­ly in the wet Pacif­ic North­west. Water­falls will be spew­ing water far more dra­mat­i­cal­ly than sum­mer trick­les. Even in spots of the Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge, where some areas are closed from last fall’s wild­fires, there are plen­ty of spots still open, espe­cial­ly on the Wash­ing­ton side.

Hang Out with Large Visitors
Every win­ter, gray whales migrate south from their feed­ing grounds in the Bering Sea to their warmer birthing grounds on the west coast of Mex­i­co. Go to a head­land along the west coast (make sure to dress warm). When the whales head south they tend to be a bit fur­ther off­shore than dur­ing north­bound migra­tion, so you’ll want a spot­ting scope.

Win­ter Birds
Birds gath­er in giant flocks in win­ter. Not all birds head for the trop­ics though. There are ener­gy costs and risks when fly­ing that far. Water­fowl con­gre­gate in the low­land marsh­es and riv­er mouths of North Amer­i­ca after migrat­ing south. Eagles and hawks gath­er to feed on what are lit­er­al­ly sit­ting ducks. The bare trees make it easy to spot them.

Prep the Pile
We all know the dis­or­ga­nized scram­bling of the first ski week­end. You’re try­ing to remem­ber where your wax is or real­iz­ing you pulled ski cloth­ing into dif­fer­ent piles for some oth­er trip. You also don’t know who bor­rowed your gog­gles. Get your stuff togeth­er and wax your skis now so you can grab-and-go when the time comes.

Down­hill ski­ing, snow­board­ing, nordic ski­ing, and skate-ski­ing can be a rude awak­en­ing (or an injury) if you haven’t used those mus­cles since last sea­son. Start work­ing out ear­ly. Even if you wait­ed too long for a 6‑week reg­i­men, it’s bet­ter late than nev­er, and it will train your brain too.

cross country skiing

For any­one that has dis­cov­ered the rhythm of a per­fect cross-coun­try ski glide, espe­cial­ly one that takes you fur­ther into a snow-laden wilder­ness, you know how much sat­is­fac­tion can come from Nordic skiing.

To find some of that sat­is­fac­tion your­self, check out any one of the large-scale Nordic races hap­pen­ing across the coun­try this win­ter. Skate or Clas­sic, what­ev­er style you choose, these events pro­vide the ide­al envi­ron­ment to prac­tice your skills, and serve as a per­fect meet­ing ground for the cross-coun­try ski­ing com­mu­ni­ty that makes the sport so spe­cial. From the Amer­i­can Birke­bein­er in Wis­con­sin to the Methow Val­ley Pur­suit of Wash­ing­ton, with a lit­tle help from these excit­ing cross-coun­try ski­ing events hap­pen­ing all sea­son, you can hap­pi­ly glide through the win­ter. For more infor­ma­tion on the fol­low­ing events and more, be sure to check out the Amer­i­can Ski Marathon Series host­ed by the Amer­i­can Cross Coun­try Skiers (ACXS)

Methow Val­ley Pur­suit, Winthrop, Wash­ing­ton—Jan­u­ary 20th-21st
Back­dropped by the rugged peaks of the North Cas­cade Moun­tains, the town of Winthrop and the near­by Methow Val­ley real­ly comes to life in the win­ter. Fea­tur­ing some of the best snow-laden ter­rain you’ll ever ski through, for the cross-coun­try enthu­si­ast, the two-day Methow Val­ley Pur­suit takes you through it all. As part of the larg­er Methow Val­ley Nordic Fes­ti­val, which includes small­er races and a free-to-enjoy 10K, the Methow Val­ley Pur­suit cov­ers 60 kilo­me­ters in two con­sec­u­tive days, draw­ing in hun­dreds of ath­letes every year to this win­ter wonderland.

City of Lakes Lop­pet, Min­neapo­lis, Min­neso­ta—Jan­u­ary 27th-Feb­ru­ary 4th
Serv­ing as a larg­er cel­e­bra­tion for win­ter in the Twin Cities, the City of Lakes Lop­pet fea­tures a 42-km Ski Marathon and a 21-km Half-Marathon as the cen­ter­piece for all the action. Clas­sic and Freestyle skaters are both able to enter, and every­one is encour­aged to check out the snow sculp­tures, Kubb tour­na­ments and Surly beer gar­den as part of the fes­ti­val. The actu­al Lop­pet itself takes skiers through the beau­ti­ful trails that wind through the nat­ur­al spaces, lakes and frozen land­scapes found with­in the twin cities. Whether you go to race or to find some good cheer against the drop­ping tem­per­a­tures, the City of Lakes Lop­pet gives win­ter the adven­tur­ous tone it deserves.

Alley Loop Nordic Marathon, Crest­ed Butte, Col­orado—Feb­ru­ary 3rd
Wind­ing through the back alley­ways and snow cov­ered streets of Crest­ed Butte, the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon isn’t your aver­age ski race. Begin­ning and end­ing on Main Street in the pros­per­ous moun­tain town of Crest­ed Butte, the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon makes its way through down­town, cross­ing bridges, nar­row alleys and a huge gath­er­ing of fes­tive and cos­tumed spec­ta­tors to cheer you on. Once rac­ers are off the streets and onto the out­skirts the town, a large chunk of this 42-km race is then back­dropped by epic Rocky Moun­tain views to effec­tive­ly cheer you on.

cross country skiing

The North Amer­i­can Vasa, Tra­verse City, Michi­gan—Feb­ru­ary 10th-11th
Locat­ed just west of Tra­verse City in North­ern Michi­gan, the North Amer­i­can Vasa takes place in the lus­cious Tra­verse City State For­est, and pro­vides a com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven day to explore the famous Vasa Path­way. Fea­tur­ing races rang­ing from six-km fam­i­ly events to 51-km freestyle races, as well as long-dis­tance Fat Tire Races, the North Amer­i­can Vasa has appeal for all abil­i­ties of win­ter enthu­si­asts. What­ev­er dis­tance you decide to go, and even if you’re just a spec­ta­tor on the side­lines, the white pines and dense forests of north­ern Michi­gan pro­vide a true win­ter won­der­land to enjoy.

Lake Placid Lop­pet, Lake Placid, New York—Feb­ru­ary 24th
Locat­ed at the site of the 1980 Lake Placid Win­ter Olympics, the Lake Placid Lop­pet offers recre­ation­al and pro­fes­sion­al rac­ers one of the most chal­leng­ing cours­es they’ll find in the east­ern U.S. Thank­ful­ly, rac­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in either the 50-km or 25-km Lop­pets are spurred on by the stun­ning New Eng­land scenery in the cloak of win­ter. A pre­mier event for this region, the Lake Placid Lop­pet has been doing its thing for more than 30 years. After the race, all par­tic­i­pants gain entry to the Cel­e­bra­tion BBQ & Awards event, ensur­ing every rac­er ends on a high note.

The Amer­i­can Birke­bein­er, Cable, Wis­con­sin—Feb­ru­ary 24th
Stretch­ing for 50 kilo­me­ters from Hay­ward, Wis­con­sin, to Cable, Wis­con­sin, the Amer­i­can Birke­bein­er is North America’s largest cross-coun­try ski marathon, and one of the pre­miere events of the entire win­ter sea­son. Tens of thou­sands of skiers line up to tack­le the Birkie each year, and while not all of them make it to the fin­ish­line, every­one has good rea­son to cel­e­brate. Serv­ing more as an enthu­si­as­tic ode to win­ter, the week sur­round­ing this leg­endary event is filled with snow-inspired events includ­ing the Barkie Birkie Ski­jor for the canines and the Barnebirkie for the small­est racers.

Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous, West Yel­low­stone, Wyoming—March 3rd
Locat­ed in the town of West Yel­low­stone, which serves as a gate­way com­mu­ni­ty into Yel­low­stone Nation­al Park, the Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous brings togeth­er all types of skiers for a vari­ety of events and races. Whether it’s your first time in the area or you’re a long-time res­i­dent, skiers have the choice between six races rang­ing from a 2K to a 50K at the Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous. Occur­ring near the end of the ski year, the Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous can real­ly put a good cap onto the sea­son, and with such prox­im­i­ty to the Nation­al Park, it pro­vides an easy out­let for even more adventure.

Tour of Anchor­age, Anchor­age Alas­ka—March 4th
While some cross-coun­try ski des­ti­na­tions might face dwin­dling snow con­di­tions come March, Anchor­age doesn’t have to wor­ry about that. To tru­ly expe­ri­ence this snow-laden south­ern part of Alas­ka, the Tour of Anchor­age can point you in a few good direc­tions. Fea­tur­ing four dif­fer­ent rac­ing cat­e­gories, includ­ing 25k, 40k and 50k freestyle events, the Tour of Anchor­age lends big views of Mount McKin­ley, prox­im­i­ty to the Pacif­ic Ocean and a vari­ety of trails that line and define the city of Anchor­age. After explor­ing all that Anchor­age has to offer via skis, par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged with a free beer to stay for the after party.

winter run

winter runWhen the world out­side is cov­ered in snow and ice, most peo­ple slip on a pair of cozy slip­pers and snug­gle close to the fire.

But trail run­ners aren’t “most peo­ple,” and win­try con­di­tions are no excuse to hiber­nate. As the old adage goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather—only unsuit­able clothing.”

That spring race is clos­er than you think and it sure as heck isn’t going to run itself, so grab your shoes (and spikes) and head to the trails.

Spikes: Don’t Leave Home With­out Them
Crampons—or spikes, as many peo­ple call them—are just as essen­tial as your shoes when the trails are cov­ered with ice. You’ll need extra trac­tion to avoid painful bails, par­tic­u­lar­ly on uphill and down­hill sections.

Look for more rugged mod­els that are meant for the trails, which will stand up to uneven ter­rain, slip­pery trails, and ice-cov­ered rock. Coil-type trac­tion devices are typ­i­cal­ly not tough enough to sur­vive a winter’s worth of trail runs. Look for styles with a strap over your foot, which will stay in place, even when you’re well into in the dou­ble-dig­it miles.

Socks: Go Tall
This is most def­i­nite­ly not the sea­son for ankle socks. Not only will your ankles freeze from kicked up snow, but they might also get a lit­tle bloody if you acci­den­tal­ly brush your ankle bones with your spikes (it hap­pens to the best of us). Look for tech­ni­cal socks that will keep your feet toasty and your ankles hap­py in insu­lat­ing, breath­able material.

Lay­ers: The Great Paradox
Dress­ing for a cold-weath­er run in the trails is a lit­tle trick­i­er than sim­ply throw­ing on shorts and a T‑shirt. Strad­dling the line between stay­ing warm and over­heat­ing is eas­i­er said than done, and it’s hard not to over­dress a lit­tle when you know how frigid that first mile will feel.

A thick lay­er of tights is usu­al­ly suf­fi­cient for the bot­tom half, although some pre­fer to lay­er two on par­tic­u­lar­ly blus­tery days. As for the top, start with a meri­no wool base and lay­er as need­ed. It’s easy enough to tie a jack­et around your waist or tuck it into your vest, but avoid the temp­ta­tion to pile on the layers—you’ll heat up faster than you think.

Extrem­i­ties: Pro­tect ‘Em
Don’t for­get about your hands and your head. A good pair of run­ning gloves are well worth the invest­ment. If you feel your­self get­ting too warm, they’re easy to tuck into your run­ning vest or pockets.

Choose a head­band or beanie that’s meant for running—they’ll keep your nog­gin warm with­out turn­ing into a pool of sweat. Don’t for­get a neck warmer to pull up against your face, which is a must-have in windy conditions.

Hydra­tion: Essen­tial, Even if You Don’t Feel Thirsty
You might not think you’re thirsty on a mid-win­ter run, but your body is work­ing mighty hard—especially since it’s try­ing to keep you warm in addi­tion to every­thing else. You might not need as much water as you do in warmer weath­er, but def­i­nite­ly bring some water with you and remem­ber to take a few sips every so often.

Run­ning Com­pan­ions: The Key Ingredient
When con­di­tions are a lit­tle sketchy, it’s always a good idea to run with a friend or two. Despite your best efforts, slips and stum­bles can still hap­pen, espe­cial­ly since ice and obsta­cles are eas­i­ly blan­ket­ed under a lay­er of snow. There’s safe­ty in num­bers, so call your run­ning bud­dies and make a plan. Besides, it’s always eas­i­er to head out the door when you know some­one is wait­ing on you.

Chammonix, France.

There’s no short­age of snowboarding/skiing resorts strewn across the world. Most of them pro­vide epic pow­der and slopes that’ll send you tum­bling with one wrong move. Whether you’re a sea­soned vet or just get­ting into the sport, here are five moun­tains you should check out before you kick the bucket.

©istockphoto/Banff, Alberta, Canada

1. Banff, Alberta, Canada

The area around Banff pro­vides over 8000 ski­able acres. This makes it one of the largest and most beloved snow­board­ing and ski­ing spots on the plan­et. The moun­tains here are teem­ing with dou­ble-black-dia­mond runs to keep rid­ers sat­is­fied. While the town itself is a haven for folks who love win­ter sports. There are plen­ty of craft brew­eries and upscale resorts in the area to keep you busy when you’re not slay­ing the slopes.

Verbier, Switzerland

2. Verbier, Switzerland

Ski­ing and Snow­board­ing in Ver­bier aren’t exact­ly easy on the wal­let, but if you can afford it you’ll dis­cov­er why it’s a favorite around the world. The lines down the moun­tains here are some of the best in Europe. It’s wide­ly known for its piste rid­ing, so if you pre­fer off-piste it might not be your style.

Chammonix, France.

3. Chamonix, France

The Cha­monix Val­ley in France is one of ski­ing and snowboarding’s pre­mier off-piste des­ti­na­tions thanks to extreme­ly rugged ter­rain and the locals’ gen­er­al avoid­ance of even main­tain­ing the pre­tense of try­ing to upkeep the resorts. It’s beloved in the win­ter by those who need to hit the pow­der and in the sum­mer by climbers, mak­ing it one of the best places on Earth for out­door adven­ture. Ski­ing and board­ing cul­ture thrives here and it’s home to one of the most charm­ing lit­tle towns in all of Europe. It’s also home to the continent’s most thrilling moun­tain: Mount Blanc.

Myoko Kogen, Japan

4. Myoko Kogen, Japan

The Myoko area is made up of sev­er­al ski resorts, most of which are local­ly owned and operated—a won­der­ful break from the many west­ern­ized resorts in Japan. It sits right in the heart of the Joshinet­su Nation­al Park an hour north of Nagano. Myoko is renowned for the sheer enor­mi­ty of snow that falls: rough­ly 42 feet a sea­son. There’s ample oppor­tu­ni­ty for snow­board­ers and skiers to get off-piste in the region. Plus, the lack of ritz and glitz means you’ll have noth­ing much else to do while you’re here.

Mammoth Mountain, California, USA

5. Mammoth Mountain, California, USA

While most snow­birds flock to Col­orado once the pow­der sea­son begins, diehard rid­ers know that the best place to go close to home is Mam­moth Moun­tain. With near­ly 3500 acres of unadul­ter­at­ed ter­rain to explore, it’s a mec­ca for out­door enthu­si­asts. Snow sea­son lasts well into May with aver­ages near­ing 15 meters. Thus, there’s always a good time to hit the slopes. The ter­rain parks have pistes for every skill lev­el. You won’t have trou­ble chal­leng­ing your­self at any of the three major hubs.

snow run

snow runFor the casu­al run­ner, mounds of snow pil­ing up on the ground is a cue to pack up the shoes and take the sea­son off—but real ath­letes see this time a year as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to up their game. If you’re not sure how to man­age the extra resis­tance that comes with run­ning in snow here are a few exer­cis­es that’ll help you con­quer the white stuff.

It sounds sil­ly, but one of the gym’s most basic machines is a great tool to help you build endurance and strength in your legs. If you can tack­le the end­less upward ascent of the Stair­mas­ter, then you’ll eas­i­ly be able to sur­mount the snow. Spend at least 30 min­utes a day on one of these beasts before win­ter tru­ly sets in and you’ll find your­self primed and ready to run through a blizzard.

Ham­strings are one of the runner’s biggest assets and they need to be pumped reg­u­lar­ly if you’re going to learn how to run in the tough­est of cir­cum­stances. The slow, for­ward motion of the lunge actu­al­ly mim­ics mov­ing in snow some­what. If you can pro­pel your­self for­ward from such a low posi­tion with­out tir­ing quick­ly than you’ll be apt to do the same in a few inch­es of snow.

Moun­tain Climbers
This one might sound too obvi­ous, but to up your game and help you run in the snow, incor­po­rate moun­tain climbers into your dai­ly exer­cise regime. These nifty moves help blast your quads and pre­pare you for the resis­tance you’ll face run­ning both uphill and in win­try con­di­tions. The burst of ener­gy required to com­plete each move­ment is sim­i­lar to what it takes to force your body for­ward when run­ning in deep snow, so use it to help you fight back against obstacles.

Floor Glute-Ham Raise
Glute-ham rais­es are one of the most effec­tive exer­cis­es when it comes to cre­at­ing seri­ous pow­er in your ham­strings and butt. You’ll need that strength to run against the extra resis­tance of snow, so try adding some into your next work­out. The ben­e­fit of the floor glute-ham raise is that it doesn’t require equip­ment and can be done at home.

How to: Start on your knees with your tor­so straight up, then slow­ly low­er your upper body down onto your hands with­out bend­ing your hips. Then push back up. Most peo­ple need help with these the first few tries.

Bul­gar­i­an Split Squats
Bul­gar­i­an Split Squats are a pow­er­house move that works sim­i­lar­ly to a lunge but require much more effort and strength. Adding them to your exer­cise rou­tine can help you build not only epic leg mus­cles but also upper body strength.

How to: They’re basi­cal­ly lunges that occur while you’re stand­ing in one spot, with one foot placed behind you on a bench and the oth­er in front. Slow­ly bend your leg for­ward like you would with a squat, stretch, then return to the start­ing posi­tion. Adding weights can help anni­hi­late your legs and back muscles.

©istockphoto/VisualCommunicationsYes, we’re halfway to win­ter. Per­haps more than half way in some places, and it’s time to get seri­ous about work­ing out. No doubt, you’ve prob­a­bly been moun­tain bik­ing, hik­ing, and maybe some climb­ing mixed in there, but there’s always more that can be done to ensure you’re strong and injury-free this sea­son. Read on.

Bands and Foam Rollers
Elas­tic bands and foam rollers are used reli­gious­ly by phys­i­cal ther­a­pists to turn tight ten­dons and mus­cles into sup­ple pow­er­hous­es while also rolling out any knots or aches. These items are inex­pen­sive and can typ­i­cal­ly be found at your gym, so there’s no excuse for not uti­liz­ing their heal­ing abilities.

Try to incor­po­rate stretch­ing and rolling into your dai­ly work­out rou­tine and pay close atten­tion to your IT bands, glutes, quads, and the areas around your knees.

Bosu Balls
Bal­ance, core strength, and sta­bil­i­ty are extreme­ly impor­tant for skiers (and board­ers). A nifty lit­tle device, the Bosu Ball (also found at most gyms) is an excel­lent way to train for the slopes.

Try rou­tines con­sist­ing of two-legged squats, one-legged squats, and lunges.

Trail Run­ning and Hiking 
To gain sta­bil­i­ty and sta­mi­na, hik­ing and train run­ning are excel­lent activ­i­ties for skiers. Par­tic­u­lar­ly, the down­hill hik­ing or run­ning sim­u­lates some of the same move­ments and stances found in ski­ing and help to build ankle, quad, and glute strength. Just be sure to take care of those knees, as they can take a major beat­ing on the downhill.

Yoga and Swimming
These two exer­cis­es are par­tic­u­lar­ly amaz­ing if you are com­ing back from an injury. Both are low-impact, regen­er­a­tive, and, sim­ply put, they just feel good.

Ski­ing requires con­sid­er­able car­dio, which is where swim­ming can help. Yoga strength­ens, sta­bi­lizes, and helps work out any per­sis­tent kinks in your body: all impor­tant for float­ing in pow­der. Not to men­tion, your body can real­ly take a beat­ing dur­ing the win­ter months, so par­tic­i­pat­ing in restora­tive exer­cise is a must.

Many out­door enthu­si­asts scoff when you men­tion weight-train­ing. Their log­ic? The wilder­ness pro­vides them with all of the exer­cise they need. Fair enough, but don’t be too quick to dis­miss hit­ting the indoor gym. There are plen­ty of machines that can dra­mat­i­cal­ly enhance your strength, includ­ing the seat­ed leg-press which is excel­lent for your quads, glutes, and can help build knee strength and stability.

The Rou­tine
Alright, so here’s some­thing to try. Instead of moun­tain bik­ing or run­ning every day, why not incor­po­rate all of the above into your rou­tine for two weeks and see how it feels: Yoga and swim­ming one day, weight train­ing and the Bosu Ball the next, a good hike or trail run mid-week, then rip it up with your favorite sport(s) through­out the week­end. Be sure to foam roll and use elas­tic bands throughout.

If you incor­po­rate all of these exer­cis­es, there’s no doubt you’ll be health­i­er and stronger come sea­son ski.

Exposed rock, wind-blown sheets of ice, and no pre­cip­i­ta­tion in sight: that’s what some call “sh*t‑f*ck” con­di­tions. When ear­ly sea­son ski­ing per­sists into Jan­u­ary, you can com­plain about the lack of snow, or you can grab your rock skis and go have some fun.

Prov­ing that a good day depends more on your atti­tude than the snow­fall, big moun­tain skiers Johan Jon­s­son and Wille Lind­berg shred lines and drop cliffs in their lat­est shoot from Engle­berg, Switzerland.

Watch and get inspired to make the most of the “sh*t‑f*ck” ski­ing at your home mountain. 

Via []



Mem­bers, click through for insid­er pric­ing on dai­ly deals!

Fresh on the menu today:


Bill­abong Snow: Bill­abong began in the waves of Australia’s Gold Coast in 1973 and has become the mar­quee name in surf­ing. Spon­sor­ing events, ath­letes, and mak­ing fresh, active-dri­ven designs they’ve opened the ocean into a play­ground. Now they’ve opened the slopes, and with Bill­abong out­er­wear you can prac­tice your cutback’s all win­ter long.


Bill­abong Surf: Aus­tralian wave-chas­ing board shaper Gor­don Mer­chant found­ed Bill­abong while liv­ing on the Gold coast in 1973. This col­lec­tion fea­tures wet­suits, booties, gloves, and more.


Lib Tech­nolo­gies: What began in an old race­horse barn has turned into an indus­try leader in snow­board design. Lib Tech has depart­ed from tra­di­tion­al snow­board shapes by revers­ing the cam­ber geom­e­try with­in the board. The result: they’ve won eight awards since intro­duc­ing the Banana Tech­nol­o­gy in 2007, includ­ing the “Best of Test Award” from Snow­board Mag­a­zine in 2009.  


RED Hel­mets: Bob­ble­heads belong on the dash of a Chevy El Camino or on your co-work­er’s desk, not cruis­ing moun­tain slopes. RED Hel­mets are the brain­child of Bur­ton Snow­boards, the com­pa­ny that invent­ed snow­board­ing. You’ll see their rid­ers, Shaun White, Ter­je Haakon­sen, and Jere­my Jones rock­ing these tech-savvy dome-pieces whether they’re doing dou­ble Mac Twist 1260’s in the pipe or bomb­ing pil­low lines in the backcountry.



Swim­ming With the Sharks: Did you know?

On August 22 (that’s today!), 1979, Diana Nyad com­plet­ed a 102-mile open ocean swim from North Bimi­ni Island, Bahamas to Juno Beach, Flori­da. In the Gulf Stream that is teem­ing with sharks, Nyad swam with­out a pro­tec­tive shark cage. She was nev­er attacked by sharks, but did get into a tan­gle with a Box Jel­ly­fish. Pow­er­ing past it, she aver­aged 3.7 miles-per-hour and com­plet­ed the swim in a lit­tle over a day. Nyad’s feat set both the men’s and women’s world record for dis­tance swim­ming with­out a wet­suit. Her record still stands today, but hope­ful­ly not for long. Nyad, age 62, is plan­ning a 103-mile Cuba to Flori­da swim in 2012.

Image cour­tesy of Eagle Creek

Hap­py Fri­day, Clym­bers. We’re excit­ed about tonight’s par­ty, where we’ll cel­e­brate The Clymb reach­ing one mil­lion mem­bers by clink­ing keg cups and attempt­ing to drop it like it’s hot on the dance floor with friends from the Port­land-area out­door indus­try. Colum­bia Sports­wear? KEEN? Which brand’s employ­ees are going to cut the mean­est rug? And will any of us be awake in time to go ski­ing on Sat­ur­day? It’s going to be a fun one. In the mean­time, we’ve got two great new events on the dock­et for you. Have a look and be sure to get out­side and do some­thing Clymb-wor­thy this week­end. If you stay con­nect­ed tomor­row, be sure to keep your eyes on your email around 9am—we have more great events in store for you.

Eagle Creek: World trav­el is hard on gear. Don’t let a bro­ken strap or a failed clip slow you down. The experts at Eagle Creek are ded­i­cat­ed trav­el­ers who design smart, com­fort­able, and near­ly inde­struc­tible trav­el gear for fel­low lovers of the open road. Whether wend­ing by taxi, tuk-tuk, martchut­ka, or hairy yak, trav­el­ers can rely on Eagle Creek to elim­i­nate their wor­ries about gear hold­ing them up. Mak­ing it down that sketchy moun­tain road is anoth­er sto­ry. Pre­pare to sati­ate your wan­der­lust with Eagle Creek trav­el duf­fels, bags, lug­gage and mul­ti-day packs, on sale today on The Clymb for mem­ber-exclu­sive pricing.

Neff: Neff is the first authen­tic core surf, skate, and snow head­wear brand in the indus­try. It is now worn by the biggest names in action sports and sold in over 40 coun­tries— a pret­ty impres­sive feat by Shaun Neff, who found­ed the com­pa­ny just 10 years ago and says, “We are like a gum­ball machine, spit­ting out end­less fla­vors for the world to con­sume.” Get a taste today on the The Clymb, with Neff head­wear, tech­ni­cal appar­el, and acces­sories for mem­ber-exclu­sive pricing.

PLUS… There’s still time to save on prAna, Craft, CELSIUS, Salomon socks, New Bal­ance, ISAORA, Spy­der, Sur­face Skis, CELTEK, & More. 

Before you go:

HOT TUB TRAVEL MACHINE: Did you know? Found­ed from a desire to equip hip­pie trav­el­ers with qual­i­ty gear, Eagle Creek was born dur­ing a series of infa­mous late-night hot tub plan­ning ses­sions in Idyll­wild, Cal­i­for­nia, in 1975.


Hi, I’m Kevin Palmer,  Social Media Direc­tor for The Clymb. Wel­come to our blog. Here you’ll find posts from myself and oth­er mem­bers of The Clymb staff. From time to time we’ll update you on the inner work­ings of the com­pa­ny, the site, and share pic­tures and videos from our expe­ri­ences. More impor­tant­ly we are going to open the doors (well vir­tu­al doors) to oth­er peo­ple who live for the out­doors. We want guest blog­gers and vlog­gers to show off their favorite gear, how and why they use it, and share sto­ries from their adventures.

What is The Clymb?

We’ve cre­at­ed a pri­vate sale net­work to bring you insid­er pric­ing from an amaz­ing group of out­door brands. If you climb, hike, run, ride, pad­dle or ski, you’re gonna love this. Here’s how it works: you accept a free invi­ta­tion to join from a cur­rent mem­ber (or you can sign up for our wait­ing list) and we hook you up with deep dis­counts, usu­al­ly 50–70% off retail, on gear from one of our part­ner brands. We’ll have a new brand each week, and each brand’s prod­uct will be avail­able for 3 days only, or until it’s sold out. Our very first sale goes live Wednes­day Novem­ber 4th at 9AM PST.

If you like what we are doing, invite friends. We’ll cred­it your account $10 when their first order ships.

It isn’t all about the sale though.

We’ve thought long and hard about doing busi­ness in a way that match­es our per­son­al ethics. We’re com­mit­ted to keep­ing The Clymb green and will con­tin­ue to seek ways to make our busi­ness prac­tices as sus­tain­able as pos­si­ble. Some of the first steps we’re taking:

We’ve part­nered with Green­Ship­ping, an amaz­ing com­pa­ny out of Hood Riv­er, Ore­gon that allows us to off­set the car­bon foot­print of every order we ship. The Clymb pur­chas­es cred­its, based on the size, weight and des­ti­na­tion of your pack­age, which fund the devel­op­ment of renew­able energy.

A por­tion of every pur­chase made on The Clymb will go to sup­port con­ser­va­tion and envi­ron­men­tal efforts across the plan­et. We’re fine-tun­ing those part­ner­ships right now and are excit­ed to share more details in the weeks to come.

Also, That $10 cred­it I men­tioned above?  We’re rolling out a fea­ture soon that’ll allow you to donate it to any one of our non-prof­it part­ners. This of course in addi­tion to the sup­port they receive from our company.

So sign up, stay tuned to what we (and hope­ful­ly you) have to say, and tell a friend or two.