9 Outdoor Dates for Valentine’s Day

We all want to have a special date with our partner on Valentine’s Day, but we’re all bored of the same fancy dinner year after year. How about trying something different? Like heading outside for a special adventure and sharing the memorable experience with the one who stole your heart.

Campout for Two – Pick-out your favorite tent for two, sleeping bag for two, and even a chair for two and head to a perfect campsite where you can relax in the company of your significant other. Grab your S’mores to eat by the campfire, and you can even set-up camp with extra lights and flowers to create a romantic ambiance. Don’t forget lots of blankets to snuggle-up in during the sunset.

Brunch + Driving Range – Have a brunch date at your local golf course then hit the driving range!

Snowmobile Tour – Reserve a Private Snowmobile tour for you and your sidekick in the back country. You will be challenged as well as going new places neither of you have seen. Just be sure to dress appropriately. Normally, dressing like your headed out snow skiing will suffice. Need Gloves? Snow Pants? Winter Jackets?

Food Truck Hopping – Trek around the city looking for the best food trucks around. Find an appetizer truck, move to the main course truck, then find a dessert truck! If you’re lucky enough to be in the big city over Valentine’s day, you will probably find all three and be pleasantly surprised with how full you are at the end of the date. Plus, you get exercise between each course! If it’s raining or snowing, you might want to be prepared with a trench coat or parka like one of these!

Your Very Own Drive-In Movie – Head to a romantic location with spectacular views and you and your significant other will have your very own romantic movie night getaway. Download a movie of your choice on your laptop or tablet, fold down the seats in your car, pile in the blankets and pillows (the more the merrier), open the tailgate and enjoy the movie with a fantastic backdrop. Don’t forget to bring the chocolate and make the popcorn before you head out!

Batting Cages – Pack a lunch and head to the local batting cages. End the date with fresh smoothies from your local smoothie bar or head home to make your own!

Disc Golf – It’s not your normal game of Disc Golf. At each hole, you will answer a certain question before tossing the Frisbee. Then there are consequences whether you win or lose each hole. This idea comes from The Dating Divas:

Hole 1: Name the top 5 most attractive physical things/features about your spouse

Hole 2: Name the 5 most attractive things about your spouse’s personality or character

Hole 3: Name 5 things you did today that your spouse didn’t know about

Hole 4: Name 5 places you wouldn’t mind moving to

Hole 5: Name 5 desserts you could eat right now

Hole 6: Name 5 favorite ways your spouse makes you feel special

If you lose (a hole), you get to choose one from the list:

  • 5 push-ups
  • 5 sit-ups
  • 5 leg squats

If you win (a hole), you get to choose one from the list:

  • 5 kisses
  • 5 hugs
  • 5 kisses & hugs intermixed
  • 5 of whatever you want

Day Hike – Head to AllTrails.com to find local hikes in your area. Pack your lunch, water, and camera to document your hiking date. Don’t post any of the photos online. Later you can gift a scrapbook of the day for your partner! This element of surprise is the best part! You guys might even like to try one of our new Daypacks for the date!

Date Night on the Ranch – Head out of the city and unplug in the solitude of a quiet ranch high-up in the mountains or deep in the hills. There are many ranches located on acres of land offering unique settings and an “Old West” type feel when you stay in their cabins. One family ranch that comes to mind is the Schmid Family Ranch located outside of Telluride, Colo. Make reservations fast though! (You might even recognize this setting from a recent movie.)

There are so many different Outdoor dating ideas to experience! This Valentine’s Day, maybe one of these will catch your eye. If you have other unique outdoor dates that you have been on, we’d love to here from you!

 

Dangers of Snow Shoveling

If you’re anywhere East of the Mississippi, you’ve got snow, and lots of it! You’re also probably snowed-in and will stay snowed-in until you do something about it (or until the snow melts in the spring). Enter the snow shovel.

Most of us know shoveling can cause excessive strain on your heart, so before getting in a workout moving large amounts of snow, be sure to consult your doctor in advance.

In addition to the strain on your heart, be mindful of your spine. Read these 10 Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling.

When you’re out shoveling, wear proper gloves and be aware of frost bite and know the symptoms before you end up turning black and blue. We recommend winter work gloves. Made with a leather shell, they have the durability of a work glove plus the extra warmth. Pick a pair up here.

dirt bag glove
The Black Diamond Dirt Bag Glove is a favorite among fellow snow shovelers with a leather shell and fleece lining at only $44.95.

Hot Chocolate Making A Comeback

Hot chocolate with marshmallows in mug, on tray, on color wooden background

If you’ve ever gone on a cold-weather adventure, winter camping, watched a football game in the snow, or hunkered down during a Nor’easter, what’s in your thermos? My guess is some sort of hot coco concoction that seems good while in the moment, but maybe it’s time you spice up your life a little with some Sipping Chocolate instead.

Believe it or not, hot chocolate didn’t always come in pre-packaged pouches containing precise amounts of sugary powder for the perfect cup of coco. Mesoamericans started fermenting, roasting, grounding, and blending bitter cacao and mixing it with water and spices thousands of years ago, calling it “Sipping Chocolate.”

Be on the look-out for more and more coffee shops around the country offering up sweet and bitter variations of sipping chocolates – the frothy European-style mixed with milk, or the smooth Aztec-style mixed with water, each containing their own unique blend of spices.

The main reason (other than the fantastic flavor) for the chocolate comeback is a particular health benefit researched over the last few years. Chocolate contains more flavonoids than red wine or green tea, helping to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

If you’re in the New York City, Portland, or LA area, then you’re lucky enough to have shops currently offering-up glasses of Sipping Chocolate. Otherwise, for the rest of us, we can either wait for the next local coffee shop to start serving-up the goods, or you can create your very own Sipping Chocolate at home using this recipe. Don’t be afraid to add in your own spices like chili, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, vanilla, a dash of allspice, fresh ground black pepper, or even ginger! These cold, winter nights need a little extra spice!

 

Plaid vs. Flannel – It’s on this Fall

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Fall is upon us. It’s already peaking through here in the Rockies. Last weekend I started spying drops of gold among the aspens, and before we know it, Fall will be in full swing. I’m ready for the crisp, cool evenings by the fire pit, but I just realized my wardrobe is not.

What am I missing? Flannel. I have the sheets, I have the pajamas, but what about my every day/evening wear? Plaid button-ups fill my closet, so I should be good with flannel button-ups, right? Wrong. Even though plaid takes up every square inch of my hanger space, that doesn’t mean it’s flannel.

So what makes “plaid” plaid and “flannel” flannel?

It’s simple. P is for plaid and P is for pattern. F is for flannel and F is for functional material.

Flannel was originally made purely of wool, but gradually became a mixture of great materials like silk, cotton, and other synthetics. Flannel shirts can come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Plaid and flannel are commonly used interchangeably causing the belief that both are patterns. Typically, we see plaid used in button-up shirts, and to make a shirt softer, warmer, and more durable for use in the outdoors, the plaid button-ups are made with flannel material.

I’ve picked-out my favorite flannel shirts and listed them below. You can also browse all of our flannel here:

MEN’S FLANNEL HERE >     |      WOMEN’S FLANNEL HERE >

Hobson
The Men’s Marmot Hobson Flannel Button-up is an example of solid flannel. Soft, warm, cozy, and just perfect. SHOP NOW >
womens fjord
The Women’s Patagonia Fjord is seriously soft, seriously. I love the fit and comfort it gives me all day, whether at work, camping, or on the slopes. SHOP NOW >
MH Trekkin
Mountain Hardwear is hard to beat when they created a high-tech flannel with quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties that you find in most technical baselayers! SHOP NOW >

MEN’S FLANNEL HERE >     |      WOMEN’S FLANNEL HERE >

Celebrating Memorial Day

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and as such vehicles flood the highways and tourists flood the sidewalks.  The smell of barbeque fills the air while the sound of laughter rings in your ears.  Everyone is happy.  The skies are blue.  And the fish are jumping.  But amidst all of this joy we may hear the last, resounding notes of a trumpeter playing “Taps,” composed by Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield to signal the end of the day and later to be played at memorials and funerals.  The last Monday of May is a commemoration for all those who died while in the military service.  Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery when citizens decorated both Union and Confederate graves.  But a couple of years before that, in the wake of the Civil War, local communities, north and south, claim they started Memorial Day by honoring the graves of those who died.  President Johnson, with the help of Congress, ended this debate by declaring that Waterloo, New York was the birthplace of Memorial Day, because its ceremonies were community wide and annual.  Memorial Day did not become a nationally recognized holiday until 1971.  So at 3:00PM take off your hat and have a moment of silence.

“With the choicest flowers of springtime…we should guard their graves with sacred vigilance…Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”     -Major General John A. Logan

2014 Paralympic Winter Games

The Opening Ceremony is on the 7th, but you can watch it on NBC on the 8th at 11:00AM.  You can also watch the Sled Hockey Final on NBC on the 15th at 11:00AM.  And then to wind things up you can watch a one hour Winter Games Review on NBC on the 22nd at 11:00AM.  Everything else will be on NBCSN…

This year will be the debut of Snowboard Cross.  You can see it at 1:00AM on the 14th.  Downhill skiing can be seen at 11:00PM on the 8th, Super G can be seen at 12:00AM on the 10th, and the Giant Slalom can be seen at 2:30AM on the 16th.  Cross Country Skiing will be on the 9th at 11:00PM and on the 15th at 1:30AM.  Biathlon is on the 11th at 12:00AM.  Curling (USA versus China) is at 11:30PM on the 12th and the finals will be at 4:30PM on the 15th.  USA will take on Russia in hockey on the 11th at 1:00PM.  The semifinals will be at 3:00AM and at 10:00AM on the 13th.  Closing Ceremony will take place on the 16th at 1:30PM.

(All times MST)

Reminiscing Sochi 2014

So much Olympics so little time.  The world spends four years in anticipation for two weeks worth of competition from the best athletes.  The closing ceremonies aired on Sunday, and now withdrawal symptoms set in.  So before we put away our Winter Olympic enthusiasm for another four years let’s recap some of the highlights from Sochi 2014.  This year we saw a lot of new competitions debut.  From snowboard slopestyle to ski halfpipe, we were entertained night after night.  Sage Kotsenburg calmed us with his laid back attitude and smooth execution of new tricks in the men’s snowboard slopestyle.  Maddie Bowman would have made Sarah Burke proud with her gold in women’s ski halfpipe.  In men’s slopestyle skiing we swept the podium.  Unfortunately, Sean White fell short in men’s snowboard halfpipe with not even a bronze.  The women’s team did much better with Kaitlyn Farrington taking gold and Kelly Clark taking bronze.  At thirty Clark says she has to train six days out of the week to stay at the top of her game, and she’ s been at the top for a while proving that age should never keep you from pursuing your passions.  Pikus-Pace understands a thing or two about chasing one’s dreams.  She not only juggles raising two kids with her husband, but medalling in women’s skeleton.  For the first time an American won a medal in a single’s luge competition.  Congratulations Erin Hamlin!  The big upset took place in women’s figure skating when Adelina Sotnikova of Russia took gold, pushing Kim Yu-Na of South Korea to silver and Carolina Kostner of Italy to bronze, leaving Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner off the podium.  In the mixed ice dance, childhood friends, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took gold.  Despite Holcomb’s calf injury, the American 4 man and 2 man bobsled teams slid into bronze.  In women’s 2 person bobsled Williams and Meyers took silver leaving Evans and Greubel to pick up bronze.  The women’s  hockey team lost to Canada, but still proudly took silver.  Ted Ligety finally earned his gold in men’s giant slalom, and  Alex Deibold, the wax tech in the 2010 winter Olympics, earned his bronze in men’s snowboarding cross.  Good job Team USA!

Look for the paralympics to start in a few days!