... writing and ridiculously busy. More soon ...
In the meantime, a snapshot of a my new, pre-writing dog walk each morning:
... Another long overdue post after dozens of new features and reviews have been published and / or completed over the past few months.
Among my favorites is a new feature for Rails to Trails magazine (the publication arm for a massive and ever-impressive nonprofit organization called Rails-to-Trails Conservancy). The piece won't be published until March, but here's a sneak peek:
For many, California is at once revered and reviled, progressive and backward, emblematic of both realized American Dreams and crushing disillusionment—a tinsel-laden enigma.
For anyone who’s seen it in person, though, the Golden State’s diverse natural beauty is unequivocal. Sometime in the future, that natural beauty will unite the state’s great urban centers, mass transit and regional parks networks by way of far-reaching paths such as the 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail. The trails are a great dream that will change the way the state, its residents—and perhaps those who visit or judge California from afar—navigate transportation, public health and the environment ... [stay tuned for the full article]
If you follow American soccer, you know Joe Cannon as one of the best goalkeepers in MLS history and a man who's featured between the posts in sold-out stadiums across North America (for both club and country). He’s been the last line of defense for superstar teammates like David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski, to name just a few.
At 36, Cannon is now plying his trade for MLS’s newly minted Vancouver Whitecaps, a team partly owned by Canadian NBA star Steve Nash, and he remains among the league’s elite netminders ...
... What many folks don’t know, however, is that Cannon and his twin brother used to shred the slopes of Sun Valley as alpine ski racers -- frequently referred to as “the next Mahre brothers.”
I recently caught up with Cannon after a match between his current Vancouver squad and the San Jose team he captained the past three seasons. My piece on our conversation about playing ball, ski racing, and hangin’ with the Beckhams (and Will Smith and Tom Cruise) will be out this fall.
Take a good look at the screenshot to the left: It's world-class surfer and freeskier Chuck Patterson skiing -- yeah, skiing -- the most famous surf on the planet, Maui's epic break, Jaws.
I just wrote a short piece on the guy who made Patterson's feat possible, Jason Starr, founder-inventor of Starr Surf Skis and among a handful of people who're pioneering the sport of surf skiing. If you're a Ski Racing magazine subscriber, you can read about Starr and the sport in the digital magazine here (replete with dynamic video of Patterson and others shredding waves in Hawaii), or you can read a PDF version of the article (sans video) here.
... Another month gone by very, very quickly.
Beyond the status quo, I embraced a few new opportunities this month, including two guest appearances on to discuss the 2011 NCAA Skiing Championships (March 9-12), which were hosted by the University of Vermont at Stowe Mountain Resort and Trapp Family Lodge.
Covering the event on site, my stories appeared in two different outlets each day, NCAA.com and skiracing.com. Have a glimpse of a particularly exciting event by clicking here -- a day when Colorado Buff Reid Pletcher made a thrilling escape to win the men's 20 k classic. My six-page feature on the 2011 Champs comes out in Ski Racing magazine on April 4.
I also had the privilege of contributing to Mac|Life magazine and maclife.com this month, reviewing a super-stellar photo editing suite for iOS devices. The print edition doesn't come out until June, but you can see the article online here.
And now? Shifting gears and welcoming spring.
This was my view from the ladies' giant slalom finish on Feb. 17. Garmisch-Partenkirchen -- Bavaria in general -- is pretty stunning:
More than half of Twitter’s nearly 200 million users have signed up in the past 18 months. And the spike in ski racing-related tweets was likewise plain for even the most casual observer. Many of our sport’s most prominent athletes are now regularly employing the platform to communicate with fans and each other.
Gaining altitude slowly: Sunrise in the Trinity Alps, no lift service here (iPhone photo)
Ever second-guess where you went to college? Think there mighta been a better fit for you somewhere? If you’re a skier, the following article -- just published in Ski Racing magazine -- might make you ask yourself such questions if you haven’t already.
A fun look at some of the best places in the country to ski ... while you get an education:
U.S. News & World Report famously publishes its “Best Colleges” rankings each fall. We recently examined the 2011 list and found the absence of ski-specific criteria unacceptable. With that in mind, we evaluate the 10 best NCAA and USCSA college ski teams by a non-traditional standard: access to phenomenal terrain ... [read more]
Just finished a short piece on Blackhawks captain Patrick Sharp and the city of Chicago. Sharp, a prolific left winger, tallied 11 goals and 11 assists en route to hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup this past June.
In the interview, I asked Sharp some important metaphysical questions. Before the deep stuff, though, we tackled the following: "Pardon the assumption, but since you’re Canadian, we imagine you have discerning taste in beer: Do any Chicago beers meet your high standards? If so, where’s a great place to grab one?"
Look for his answer and more in the Decemeber issue of GO.
... Still in the midst of a busy summer in the mountains and the city, so here's a quick update on one of the cooler cats I've recently covered ...
... The following profile / travel piece on Breckenridge, CO, and Breck Epic founder Mike McCormack appears in this month's edition of GO, AirTran Airways' inflight magazine. Here's the lede:
Mike McCormack is the founder and director of the Breck Epic, an ultra-endurance mountain bike stage race through the high-alpine backcountry of Breckenridge, CO. For more than a decade, McCormack—an outdoor industry marketing professional by day— has married environmental advocacy and mountain biking groups in an effort to expand wilderness protection in the region. The race raises money for local nonprofits that focus on backcountry advocacy and stewardship initiatives ...
This is a shot from an exclusive perch (wish it was because I was special, but alas, it's the company I keep!) adjacent Pebble Beach #6 on the final day of the 2010 U.S. Open. Moments earlier, Shaun Micheel notched a rare double eagle -- also known as an albatross -- after his approach landed just shy of the green and ran straight into the hole, setting the galleries at both #6 and #7 ablaze with cheers.
The MetLife Blimp, Snoopy One, hovers above Monterey Bay and the 17th green in the distance.
Not long ago, I had the privilege of covering pro soccer when the San Jose Earthquakes played the New York Red Bulls. My post-match recap and this brief story on Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey went up on the MLS homepage (and each team's website) shortly after the game.
Looking down on a large, exuberant crowd from the press box made me realize just how far MLS has come since its inception -- high-quality play and crowd enthusiasm are now plain for even the most casual observers. Very exciting stuff.
If you're a soccer fan, make sure you check out MLS's new website -- they're still working out the kinks, but it's pretty dynamic and a dramatic improvement over the previous incarnation.
Though it didn't last long, a blizzard swept through here this afternoon during the men's second run of giant slalom at the NCAA Championships. At right, one of the day's best shots (despite flat light and snow): New Mexico's Petter Brenna, who hiked in his first run, throws down a blistering second run from the back of the pack and finishes third.
Read a recap of the day's action by clicking here.
I'm moving into fashion writing and I love it. Check out this nugget from an article I recently wrote on attire of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games:
"During competitions, riders will wear faux-tattered denim-style pants and cozy down jackets featuring a hunter’s plaid comprised of unobtrusive red, white, and blue. The garb is patriotic without being overbearing, and it makes us feel as though we could be in a Vermont tree stand waiting for a 16-point buck to come along."
You can see the whole article by clicking here. Make sure you read the bit about red mittens.
Do the sports journalism thing for long enough and you'll run into a few refreshing, quality people along with a dose of prima donnas. I interviewed American footballing icon Kasey Keller yesterday and I'm happy to report that he's among the former.
In case you're not well-versed, a quick Keller bio.:
From 1990 to 2006, Keller was a member of four U.S. World Cup squads and one Olympic team. He also helped pave the way for American players in Europe, having starred in the world's preeminent top flights from the Budesliga to the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga. He even captained Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he famously lived in a 1,000 year-old castle with his family. Last year, Keller returned to his home state of Washington and currently leads MLS's most exciting franchise, the Seattle Sounders (who, by the way, welcomed almost 35,000 fans per game last season -- besting attendance averages for even the vast majority of Major League Baseball teams).
Keller is GO's celebrity guide for the city of Seattle in a piece that will complement this summer's FIFA World Cup Finals. Check it out in June.
... had to be at Squaw Valley this morning to confirm reports of a 3-foot dump. Someone.
I've surrendered. I'm blogging. I promise only to post when I'm working on something apart from the ordinary -- not necessarily extraordinary, but something independent of the status quo. I've got interesting stuff going on in 2010 -- assignments that'll bring me to the Olympics in Vancouver, among others -- and I figure I might as well share with those who visit my site (faithful readers, like my mother). Without further ado ...
... Working on a feature for Men's Journal that drives around some very compelling new science: modern man's omega-3 deficiencies -- we're finding out -- are largely responsible for inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer. Some of the most fun info. in the piece has to do with the diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who had much healthier ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in their bloodstreams than we do. As part of a special exercise and dietary regimen I embraced for the article -- and partly inspired by a wild boar episode from Michael Pollan's The Ominvore's Dilemma -- I embarked on a hunter-gatherer mission of my own for Thanksgiving. The result is this omega-3-rich A-run steelie, plucked from Idaho's Little Salmon River and happily placed on my Thanksgiving plate the very next day. Gut geschmeckt. Look for the whole article in MJ -- on newsstands everywhere -- this August.