Why Nature and Minimalism Go Hand-in-Hand

To me, being outside is about letting go of everything that’s weighing me down. Life’s little stressors, baggage from work, the minor failures that slowly add up every day, and impact overall happiness and health. Being on top of a mountain, in the forest, or on a freshly groomed slope can help whisk all of the negativity away.

I realized that nature doesn’t have to be my only escape. There are little things I can do in my day-to-day life to minimize the stresses and be more relaxed. Here is how I got started:

Clean up and clean out 

Keeping my house clean isn’t a huge task, but after a weekend away or a long work week, there always seem to be a few more dishes in the sink and a few more piles of laundry. Cleaning things as I go has helped me keep everything in order all the time.

Periodically cleaning out each area of my life has also led to a more organized existence. With the exception of sporting apparel, cleaning out my closet was a ruthless endeavor. I’m not much for fashion, so anything I wasn’t consistently wearing I donated.

Don’t decorate, fill your house with things you love

When I got my house, I put things on the walls – prints and all the trail maps I’ve collected. It’s normal to add some personality to your home. But clutter is distracting. Solve this problem by keeping the things you love, that make you happy when you see them and throw away the excess. The vintage skis my dad and I found in a thrift store on one of my first big ski trips? Those are staying on my wall. The experts only wall decal from Amazon in the kitchen? That can go.

Spend time doing things you love 

For me, adopting a more minimalist lifestyle wasn’t about organization and order. It was about freeing up my time and space to do the things that really matter. Minimizing one area of my life allows my to maximize another. I’d much rather have a relaxing Sunday hiking outside than stressing about what I need to accomplish for the week ahead. 

The idea to gradually change lifestyles occurred to me on a hike. The things I own am just weighing me down. To me, nature is about being present in the moment, enjoying the wind in your face or the views in front of you. I can carry that feeling through the rest of my life by simplifying.

How Many Things Can You Do with a GoPro?

A lot of us skiers and snowboarders have GoPros to use during the winter to catch all of our crazy tricks and crashes. But what do you use your GoPro for in the summer?

I’ve been trying to unleash my more creative side this summer so here are a few ideas of how to use your GoPro:

  1. Get a variety of mounts. Head mounts, suction mounts, clamp mounts, bike mounts, and tripods can all be found for a reasonable price on Amazon. Now you have the right setup for every situation!
  2. Start making timelapse videos. Film the sunrise, sunset, the stars coming out, your remodeling project, or the traffic below your city apartment. You’ll end up with something artsy and cool.
  3. Film your everyday life. Some call this vlogging, I consider it a way to candidly catch my favorite moments. I’m not suggesting you set it to run 24/7, but making brunch or walking the dog can make a surprisingly awesome video. Bonus points if you get a POV footage from your dog’s collar.
  4. Take it camping. Setting up a tripod outside your tent will let you see what roams around your campsite at night. And if you are backpacking or bikepacking, you can mount it to capture the journey as well.

Does anyone else use their GoPros for something other than action sports?

Rock Climbing from Your Couch

Rock climbing is a fun sport, but it can really beat you up. When you don’t have the time, money, or friends to go with you, there’s another way to get your adrenaline fix. Video game rock climbing seems kind of like a cop-out, but with new tech like Virtual Reality, it’s getting more and more realistic. It’s so awesome it will make your palms sweat like you are standing on a ledge.

Check out some of Google’s cool projects with street view rock climbing for El Capitan and Mont Blanc and Crytek’s new game coming for Oculus Rift.

While you won’t get the wind in your face, Crytek comes pretty close with jaw-dropping views and sound effects.

So for those days when you can’t be bothered to leave the couch, you can still enjoy the great outdoors!

3 Crazy Endurance Races that Push the Limits

Sometimes I finish a really long run or a strenuous hike and think that I’ve exhausted myself to my very limits and can’t push anymore. And that might be true because once I wildly underestimated the amount of water I would need on a 10-mile hike and considered drinking from a (not so clean) stream at the end. That was miserable.

But I like to push myself and see what I am capable of, and doing that is a long process of learning and failing and eventually succeeding. I found some articles about some unbelievable races that are designed to push humans to their very limits.

This boat race covers 750 miles in variable conditions. The only rules: No motors and no support along the way.

This 100 mile foot race in the mountains of Frozen Head State Park, TN is designed for failure. There’s no map, no GPS, and just making it to the start line is nearly impossible.

This race has you ascending and descending four peaks on skis. You better be ready to bring your uphill game.

As cool as it would be to participate in one of these, I think I’ll stick with my shorter races. But who knows?

Bucket List Update

Made it through the first two months of the year! At the end of 2015, I shared my bucket list with you all here. My news years resolution was to ski as much as possible this year, and I think I did a pretty good of staying true to that. (Not the hardest resolution I am aware.) As spring comes along, I’m making some more goals for myself since I can’t keep skiing once the snow is gone…

Number 1: Get in good shape for running. I haven’t seen my good old friend the gym much this winter – although I’ve tried. Skiing helps with endurance, but getting those miles in isn’t going to be fun at first.

Number 2: Go hiking! In my opinion, living near the mountains is a waste if you never make time to enjoy the outdoors. Hikes long and short always help me de-stress and appreciate the world I live in.

Number 3: Go on adventures with friends. I’ve gotten a lot of people to come skiing with me who normally wouldn’t. They were willing to try something new, so it’s my turn! Whether they want to go white water rafting, backpacking, road-tripping, I’d love to learn something new with my friends and fam.

Skiing: Frequently Asked Questions

As a diehard skier trying to spend every day that I can on the slopes, I get a lot of questions. When it’s chilly out, I can never complain because people always ask “You’re a skier, don’t you like being cold?”

So I thought I’d do a little Q&A with the questions I frequently get from friends and family.

 

Q: Doesn’t being cold make skiing less fun?

A: I enjoy skiing so much that cold doesn’t bother me, but I don’t want to stand around in -10 weather.

 

Q: Isn’t it boring to ski green (easy) or blue (intermediate) trails once you are an “expert”?

A: I enjoy the advanced terrain, the moguls, the deep pow, but I also like a nice meandering trail with a view or a freshly groomed beginner trail with no one else on it. Skiing for me is about having fun – whatever the condition.

 

Q: Is ski racing an event where everyone lines up and tries to get to the bottom first?

A: That sounds kind of like skier-cross, which includes banked turns and jumps as well. I would totally give that a try. However, traditional ski racing is a little more organized and looks like this

 

Q: Doesn’t gravity do all the work for you? Why do you need to be get in shape for skiing?

A: Gravity helps, but there’s technique involved. It’s a workout, and the mountain sure knows how to kick my butt. Getting in shape helps make the ski season more fun.
What are the most common questions you get about your hobbies?

A Skier’s Dream Car

A Skier’s Dream Car

I’ve been looking into new (to me) cars, because mine is rugged and sturdy, but I want something that is actually fun to drive. Mine is going on 110,000 miles and I think now might be a good time to sell.

This one looks like a lot of fun, but unfortunately its top speed is 40 mph because it is meant for driving on ski slopes…

That one is out for practicality purposes.

Which brings me to these beauties, which unfortunately are also out for financial reasons, and possibly because they aren’t the best for commuting to work everyday.

And my car is pretty good in the snow, but no way could it ever do this.

I’ll probably settle for something a little less flashy and look into something a little sporty, a little practical, and a lot more fun to drive than my clunky old CR-V.