Category Archives: Gear

Nordica Unleashed Outreach Ski Help Kids Get Outside

Nordica, one of our favorite ski brands at SPL, just partnered with  SOS Outreach and Christy Sports to bring $$$ to underrepresented kids and get them outside. A limited-edition “Nordica Unleashed Outreach Ski” is now available for a crazy $1000 price tag in the hopes of raising $50k for SOS. Only 50 pairs have been produced and they are pretty cool looking.

The collaboration involving SOS Outreach, Christy Sports, and Nordica started in 2022 with four young women from around the country — Heidy Hernández and Veronica Saint Jane, SOS Outreach alumnae, and Frida Quintero and Delaney Muro, currently SOS program participants — to design a custom ski and bring it to market. The program gave the women the opportunity to learn about and contribute to the end-to-end commercial process. By telling their story and promoting the custom ski, the program hopes to generate funds for SOS Outreach.

What is SOS Outreach?

SOS Outreach is a national youth empowerment non-profit organization that cultivates a deep sense of belonging in kids and teenagers, unlimiting their future potential and impact on our world. Their programs extend from the Cascades and the Sierras to the Rockies and the Midwestern hills, serving more than 3,000 youth each year across 15 locations in 9 states. They offer year-round programming at several sites that combines the support of caring adults, the thrill of outdoor adventure, and the grounding of value-based leadership skills kids and teenagers need to become their best, unlimited selves. To learn more, visit

Who are the four girls making these Nordica Unleashed Outreach skis?

The four women are from Seattle, Salt Lake City, Truckee and Vail, and worked closely with Nordica’s product development and design teams to create the Unleashed Outreach ski. Heidy Hernández, 21, from SLC, interned for Armada Skis through SOS’ Career Development Pipeline and is pursing a graphic design degree. Veronica Saint Jane, 21, from Seattle, has been with SOS since the 7th grade. She’s pursuing a degree in industrial design with a minor in writing and literature. Frida Quintero, 17, from Truckee, is in her fourth winter with SOS Outreach. Delaney Muro, 18, from Denver, is a high school senior and has been with SOS for over 6 years. She interned with industry partners like Smartwool and Tecnica Group.

The young women selected the Unleashed 108 for the project and conceptualized graphics and colors. The ski design is based on a topographical map of Silverton, Colorado, where the ski was unveiled over Martin Luther King Weekend, 2023. The design includes a compass with all four of the cohort’s names, the peak of Silverton Mountain as well as the streets in the town of Silverton. Nordica and SOS logos were incorporated in the design along with “Christy Creek,” a nod to Christy Sports. 

Nordica Unleashed Outreach Ski

“Adding the SOS logo to the ski was important,” stated Delaney Muro one of four women on the project. “I hope folks who purchase this ski walk away with a deeper connection to SOS. This was something that was designed with intention and so much love and passion. We really want people to know about all the good this program does.”

The limited-edition Nordica Unleashed Outreach Ski is exclusively available at As one of the key partners in the program, Christy is focused on supporting the four women of the project and provided direction to bring the product to market. Christy Sports will donate 100% of the sales to SOS Outreach. The sales will directly benefit 3,200 kids this year alone across those programs. 

Utah’s Big Gear Show Concludes

big gear show overlook

And that’s a wrap for the second annual (?) Big Gear Show. The outside off shoot that sprung up at Deer Valley last year after the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver drove major outdoors brands to flee the Colorado Convention Center is starting to find its footing. Even more brands than last year turned out to appreciate the ability to connect with outdoor shop buyers and media.

big gear show booths

Brands like Mountain Hardwear and Black Diamond joined more than 200 gear manufacturers in the lower parking lot of Deer Valley to showcase their 2023 lines to prospective and current retailers. It was an opportunity not only to see what will be in stores like REI and Sportsmans Warehouse but to feel them as well. You could demo trail running shoes from Adidas by jogging the singletrack above the Lodges, take eBikes to Main Street or float a kayak in the Deer Valley pond. Paddle brands like Aquaglide and Solstice settled along the edge of the water just like in days past when the Utah Outdoor Retailer Show hosted their “demo day” at Pineview Reservoir.

deer valley pond

Attendees to this year’s BGS noted the relaxed atmosphere, the bigger selection of gear brands over the inaugural year and the congruency of hosting an outdoors experience outdoors instead of in a convention center. It certainly wasn’t busier than the ghost-like aisles of the OR convention but organizers are taking feedback and making changes to move in that direction. Parking, however, could be an issue in the future if that happens. This year, the lots of DV filled up by 10 a.m. and people took to the sides of public streets.

Several Utah-connected brands made a showing for the two-day event including Camp Chef, Petzl, Magnum Bikes, Uncharted Supply Company, Hydrapak, Goal Zero, Liberty Mountain, Scott Sports, POC, Klymit, Peak Refuel, Black Diamond Equipment, Chums. Missing from the roster though were Altra, Lowa Boots, Coalatree, Kuhl, Cotopaxi, Gregory Mountain Products, Lizard Skins, Lone Peak Packs, Cypher Climbing, and Salomon.

utah beer at the big gear show

Like the OR Show demo day (which is coming back to Utah this January!), the Big Gear Show gives attendees that hands-on session with the brands. We took a sunrise trail run with Uncharted Supply Co’s Christian Schauf and Utah Olympic Nordic gold medalist Billy Demong off Guardsman’s Pass to test Uncharted’s Park Pack hip back and hiked to DV’s Royal Street Cafe with wearing Mountain Hardwear’s butter-soft Crater Lake Tank and Scarpa’s Ribelle Run trail runners.

scarpa trail running shoes

No one’s pontificating on the future of the BGS now that the OR is returning but those who attended seemed to enjoy the slower pace, the less-hurried meets with buyer and the mountain breezes wiggling their tents. I do have to say that for an outdoor event I was sadly sunburned after expecting at least a dozen sunscreen brands to attend and not a one could be found. Really, Guys, how can you play outside without sunscreen? Perhaps next year.

Ski Play Live TV at the Big Gear Show

Let’s meet some of the brands who attended-

The Mountain Lover’s Gift Guide

outdoor gifts

Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? You’ve got a new pile of giftcards ready to walk on over to Amazon and REI? Here is the gift guide for your second chance at the present you wished Santa had delivered:

KEEN Howser Wrap Slipper

Talk about bang for your buck. The Slipper is actually an indoor/outdoor shoe that is just as functional around the campfire as it is driving home after an epic day on the mountain. The warm, fleece lining, removable PU insole for cush and durable, rubber outsole make the perfect combo for winter wear … so long as you don’t need a ton of traction. It’s great with or without socks.

Worn Socks

There’s honestly nothing more satisfying to a skier (aside from untracked powder) than a brand-new pair of ski socks. Worn’s high-performing, long-lasting, Enhanced Ski is designed for all climates and conditions. They use a patent-pending organic Merino called Arrowool that offers 4x the life, 2x the performance and ¼ of the waste compared to most cotton-based socks. The medium padding hugs your foot without bunching or feeling clammy after an all-day session on the hill. The bonus is that with each wash it’s like you’re putting on a brand-new pair of socks all over again.

Knockaround Slingshots

You can spend $400 on a pair of bougie goggles or you can make the smart move and get the Slingshots. For $70 or less you can have a fun, helmet compatible non-fogging goggle that comes with two easily swappable magnetic, anti-fog lenses with UV400 protection. I’ve been wearing mine for the past two seasons and they’ve yet to let me down!

Wildhorn Drift Helmet and Alta drop in Bluetooth Headphones

If you are at all concerned about stuffing your head in a newer local brand (Wildhorn is based in Utah) then trust the pros. The Drift Snow Helmet is an official product of the US Ski and Snowboard teams! Of course helmets are super personal and fit depends on the shape of your head but the lightweight, well-vented lid fits me well. It also has an adjustable dial in back for fine tuning and is compatible with most audio pucks- although you’ll want to use their Alta drop ins. Unlike my Skullcandys, these have lasted three seasons and are user friendly- left press to connect, power on/off and answer calls; right side buttons control volume and song choice. The pucks charge with a standard micro USB, connect to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0 for hands-free calling, texting and music listening, they have a 10+ hour battery life and are water, sweat, and cold resistant with IP45 rating.

Gordini Polar Gloves 

There’s no denying that mittens are double the warmth for your digits but when you want dexterity and warmth you gotta love these 750-fill DownTek gloves. The waterproof down is on the back of the hands while there’s Megaloft synthetic insulation in the palm. There’s also a waterproof, windproof, breathable membrane between the four-way stretch softshell and the insulation so your hands stay warm and dry no matter how stormy it gets.

Vssl Flask

Coala Tree Camper Jacket

I was going to write about this awesome jacket in the fall but then our fall turned to winter in a blink. Still, the Camper can be worn and loved year round; on warmer days in the 40s or as a midlayer under a ski jacket when temps dip below. The compactible DuPont Comfort Max Fiberfill insulation provides 4-5 times more insulation than other similar fibers, keeps its warmth even when wet, and even has enough room underneath for a sweater or fleece without making you look like the Stay Puff man. You’ll love all the pockets (three on the outside and three inside), the internal stuff pocket turns the jacket into a travel pillow. Did I mention that Coala Tree is another awesome Utah brand?

Coalatree 2021 Gift Guide

The Outdoor Retailer Show is Back in Utah. Well, Not Really…It’s The Big Gear Show!


Something called The Big Gear Show is coming to Park City this summer in the hopes of reinvigorating Utah’s quest for outdoor brand recognition. The beehive state and Utah’s former governor Gary Herbert blew it big time when they let the hugest retail expo in the land move onto Colorado’s pastures, taking with it MILLIONS in tourism dollars.

The inaugural event in Park City, Utah, has the support of the Utah’s newest and less douchy Governor, Spencer Cox and will bring outdoor brands and retailers back to where they belong- a state teaming with outdoor recreation, public lands and national parks.

From climbing to cycling, overlanding to paddlesports, “we are excited to play host to the Big Gear Show 2021, an event that both celebrates the great outdoor recreation offerings of the state and the spirit of innovation and commerce that drives the modern economy here,” said Spencer Cox, Governor of Utah.

outdoor recreation in park city

The Big Gear Show isn’t exactly the Outdoor Retailer Show, but it was created with the needs of buyers front of mind, with the demo aspect fully integrated into the event. America’s first open-air trade show was created solely to meet the needs of outdoor shops and gear builders. The event is a demo and buying experience built for outdoor, bike, paddling and climbing buyers and makers. The show will feature a curated group of 500 hand-selected retailers and 250 brands across the outdoor and cycling industries. The demo is fully integrated into the event, so buyers get to paddle, ride bikes, and test gear all day. There is simply no better place to discover new brands and products.

The founders chose Park City for its incredible access to trails, roads and water for paddling, biking, and gear testing opportunities conveniently located onsite.

Paddle boarding will be demoed at the Big Gear Show

Park City is an outdoor paradise in the summer, offering legendary outdoor access that the state of Utah is famous for. “Utah is known as the crossroads of the west and has always been a gathering place for outdoor recreation and the industry. Deer Valley is a perfect place to experience the latest and greatest gear and connect with all the people that make the outdoor industry special. I am excited for some in-person time in the outdoors with all our friends from across the country,” added Pitt Grewe, Director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation.

Park City Embraces The Big Gear Show 

Hiking in park city

Park City is a place retailers and brand teams want to go for vacation – which founders knew was important in creating an event in a location that everyone could get excited about. “There are so many incredible outdoor venues across the country, but none can match the accessibility of Park City and Utah’s Wasatch Range for adventuring and having an authentic and inspiring business gathering of outdoor recreationists,” said Kenji Haroutunian, show Director.  DAMN STRAIGHT.

Additionally, Park City’s ideal summer weather and convenience from the Salt Lake City International Airport just 40 minutes away, makes the iconic mountain town an obvious and easy choice for retailers and brands across the country.

To learn more about the show or to request an invitation, please visit

Best Toys For Lazy Dog Owners

dogs playing tug

Dogs make the best outdoor companions but there are definitely down days where you are the lazy dog owner. You don’t feel like taking a 5-mile hike or even a walk around the block with your best friend. Oftentimes, I’ll sack up and do it for him but when I just can’t rally, I look for ways to entertain him with the least amount of effort on my end. 

Here are some ideas for slackers and their dogs. 🙂

Lazy Dog Owners Throw Things

If your dog loves to fetch, sit at the top of the stairs and toss a ball or favorite toy to the bottom. He’ll run down, grab it and run up. Hard to beat this indoor workout. I can keep my Aussie engaged for a good 30 minutes with this but you’ll want to use soft toys to avoid mishaps. No stairs or too much junk in the way? Take it outside for a ball or Frisbee toss. 

West Paw Design Dash Dog Frisbee

The design of the 8-inch Dash Frisbee makes it easy for humans to throw and dogs to pick up. Although the weightiness will keep it from catching too much loft, it’s a solid chucker. In fact, the wavy edge makes it a hoot to roll on its side and watch dogs chase after the wobbly ring.  The durable, nearly indestructible outer shell surrounds a soft foam material that won’t make dogs’ gums bleed but you still might have to grab slobbery sections unless you’re playing near water. Dash is injected with Air Technology making it floatable. If your pooch is a chewer the Dash is guaranteed against dog damage, latex-free, BPA and phthalate-free, FDA compliant, non-toxic and top rack dishwasher safe. 

Speaking of water, the Kurgo Skipping Stones really do skip…and float but your dog better be a great retriever or you’ll be waiting an eternity for them to float back to shore. 

Kurgo – Skipping Stones may not skip as well as a flat rock but they don’t sink as well as they do either. The bright colors help your dog to see them in the water as he paddles out. If he’s not much of a swimmer, the uneven shape makes for fun chases as they bounce erratically for land fetch.


Dog sniffs the Ruffwear Gnawt a rock dog toy








Ruffwear Gnawt-a-Rock™ Rubber Dog Toy

If you’re a lazy dog owner than you’re probably too lazy to pick up bits of plastic from toys your dog shreds in minutes. Ruffwear makes some of the most durable tossables on the market. Stick kibble and treats into the “rock” through the slit and they drop out through two holes on either side as your dog pushes the toy around. You won’t want to leave the Gnawt a Rock on the floors for days without supervision but for treat dispensing and slow feeding, it can’t be beat. Plus, it kind of looks like a rock so you can pretend you’re outdoors? Not really but use your imagination. 

Play Amongst Themselves

If you have two dogs (or more), or a friendly neighbor that welcomes a playdate by all means sit back and let them dance. Since I spoil my dog rotten (even when I’m being a lazy dog owner) I can’t share him with anything else but the cat. They seem to keep themselves company when my throwing arm gets tired. 

Lazy Dog Owners


Lazy Dog Owners Play With His Mind

There are all sorts of toys on the market for lazy dog owners that challenge a pup’s problem solving skills.  

The Hide A Squirrel toy features a handful of squeeky squirrels that your dog gets to search for and tug out of a stuffy log. Your job is to find them all and put them back. I’m still working on getting Takoda to clean up his mess with this one!


Or just let her go to town ripping apart a toy that doesn’t leave stuffing everywhere.

Rippys Pull Apart Cow Dog Toy







You could also teach him a new trick, which, by the way, is great for stimulating your mind as well. The Pocket Guide to Dog Tricks By Kyra Sundance is a handy step-by-step instruction manual for impromptu training sessions.


Teach your pup the basics like Sit, Shake Hands, Fetch, and Roll Over, and graduate to more impressive tasks like Tidy Up Your Toys and Get a Beer from the Fridge. Kyra Sundance is a world-renowned dog trainer, lecturer, and author. Her other books include Dog Training 101, The Dog Tricks and Training Workbook51 Puppy Tricks, and 101 Dog Tricks, Kids Edition.

If you want to dig even deeper into the world of the trick dog, Sundance’s website Do More With Your Dog offers masterclasses and coaching and even a certification process if you’re looking for a new career. 

That’s all I have for now. Would love to hear how you keep your dog entertained while you fell lazy! Leave comments below. 



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