Souled Out: To snow or not to snow… that is the question

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Nov 232012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

“How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell
and lodged on my coat.”
–Henry David Thoreau, 1856 [1]

Ah, winter is calling; I can hear her. A time when the days become shorter and the nights grow colder. When frost begins to make its way back into my mornings, nipping at my lungs. Fall transforms its magical colors into a white palate mixed with sparkling greys and majestic blacks.

Fall marks a time of wintery anticipation as I pack away what little summer attire I own. While winter lovers everywhere begin to mark their calendars with potential ski dates, anxiously awaiting the first snowfall.

The question on all our minds: will this be a year of epic snowfall or a bust?

Weather reports render a divided nation.

Unfortunately, the Farmers Almanac for the 2013 winter has predicted a snowier then usual winter for the eastern states, leaving the western states in a less-then snowy state. This past spring and summer, the country has experienced some of the worst drought conditions in over 50 years.

Fort Collins can attest to this fact after spending the summer battling traumatic wildfires, which left our beloved Horsetooth Reservoir at pitiful depths. Last year marked the fourth warmest winter since 1985, with over 24 states experiencing less then average rates of precipitation.

So what will be the fate for us Coloradans?

As of right now, it’s looking like a mild winter with average precipitation.

However, let us not lose faith in Mother Nature quite yet. Meteorologists have been known to get it wrong and the weather is forever playing tricks on us.

So I recommend breaking out the old snow dance moves and shaking your tail feather because snow is a-coming; I can feel it in my bones.

You decide: will-winter-return-with-a-vengeance

Souled Out: The Dream Factory

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Nov 162012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Sparking dreams and igniting the crowd, Teton Gravity Productions new film, “The Dream Factory,” had the crowd on their feet with wintery anticipation. Highlighting America’s last frontier, Alaska’s true beauty was brought to life throughout the film.

The mystical awe of Alaska has lured pioneers for thousands of years. With not a soul insight, the message seems to be that the glory is not the gold, but rather the finding of the gold, and that’s exactly what Teton productions achieved.

Chuck McMahan, a true pioneer in unbridled exploration was responsible for the first ski airplane ride. Back in the eighties, when a helicopter ride was the price of a latte, $5, he helped pave the way for what lies just beyond the boundaries.

Limited only by their imaginations, Dream Factory successfully touched upon the progression the ski industry has undergone.

The riders’ ability to stand where no one has ever stood and to ski where no one has ever skied is a reality few people actually achieve in their lifetimes.

The attention to detail and story-like narrative has me convinced that everyone should partake in the unmatchable experience of solitude that Alaska has to offer.

One thing I did find puzzling was the lack of ladies with Angel Collinson being the only female featured.

Regardless, the snow-goers in this film show you what it means to be dedicated to pursuing the best days you can think of in an annual migration to Alaska.

The soundtrack left me longing in anticipation to hit the slopes. Leaving me wanting more, I give this film an A+ for electrifying the crowd.

If you’re looking to get gassed for the season, I definitely recommend this one.

Check it out:the-dream-factory

Too School for Cool: Regifting without the regret

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Nov 162012
 

Author: Allison LeCain

We college students are hard to shop for. Usually I end of getting rolls of cash instead of tangible items for holidays, which is great. Other times I receive items that I would rather live without, such as girly smelling lotion, my fifteenth pair of sunglasses, or jewelry that is not my style.

Since it’s uncommon for gifts to come with receipts, these presents get thrown into my closet and forgotten about until moving day. Seems like a waste, but fear not, for there’s a solution.

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit Wikipedia)

No one wants to turn into a hoarder and the holidays can be a stressful time of spending money. You can eliminate both these fears by regifting unwanted presents from years past.

For example, in the case of the girly smelling lotion I received to my dismay, I prefer softer, fresh scents, like oatmeal and vanilla. I recall that my roommate loves floral scents, so the lotion would be a perfect thing to regift to her this holiday season.

One of the keys to regifting is that you should still put as much thoughtfulness in it as you would if you were buying something new. If you got a punk CD you dislike for your birthday, don’t give it to your friend who also hates punk music. This is inconsiderate and doesn’t show how well you know them as a friend.

Also, avoid regifting a present back to the person who gave it to you in the first place, unless you’re prepared to pull-off the old “well I liked it so much that I thought I’d get you one too!” No one likes a liar. Keep it clean, people.

When regifting, be sure to consider the item’s condition. Don’t regift something that has been used or has missing parts. The gift receiver will know it’s been used and won’t appreciate your gesture.

While regifting is a perfectly practical way to ‘shop’ for the holiday season, it is better not to tell people when you are regifting to them. In addition, don’t tell the person who originally bought the item for you that you gave it to someone else. No hard feelings are necessary in this practice.

If you own something that you don’t need that doesn’t qualify for regifting, remember that there are homeless shelters and donation spots in town that would be more than happy to receive gently used items, especially this time of year. So either way, the joy of giving is always an option.

Student Abroad: A Positive Outlook

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Nov 152012
 

Author: Anna Palmer

As I look outside my window at the beautiful, clear, blue sky a smile begins to form on my lips.  Despite the stress of this past week studying for exams worth half of my grade, I feel relatively at peace.  Generally speaking, I feel like I’ve managed to keep a level head throughout this month of examinations, knowing that all I can do is my best.  That isn’t to say there haven’t been moments of panic these past weeks at the thought of not passing one of my classes here.  All exaggerating aside, there is a realistic chance of this happening.  The thought of this possible failure has overwhelmed me from time to time these past couple of weeks but I think I’ve slowly come to the realization that no matter what happens and what grade I get, I know that I did my best.  And I also know that if I do fail, then it is simply life’s way of giving me an opportunity to learn and grow from.  These thoughts seem to ease a lot of my fears, especially around this fear of failing and I know that fear itself is such a fleeting emotion.  It comes and it goes, in cyclical, almost predictive patterns and I know that if I act fast I can prevent it from taking over altogether.

So that’s what I have tried to do throughout this period of high stress; I’ve been working on noticing and acknowledging the fear and anxiety, detaching myself from it and observing it from an outsider’s perspective and then finally letting go of it.  This fear is not who I am.  It is merely a symptom of the ego.  By detaching myself from this fear, I’ve begun to realize that I am so much more than my thoughts, so much more than my emotions.  I know I struggle to not get wrapped up in this negative thought pattern and I know that it is simply a result of habit, a maladaptive pattern of conditioning.

These past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed changes in my mood that will happen literally from one second to the next.  One moment I felt stressed and anxious about an exam and the next moment I felt calm and relatively at peace.  You would think this shifting of emotions, literally in the blink of an eye, would make me feel like I’m going crazy or losing my grip on things.  And sure maybe my ego was losing its grip on things in feeling like it didn’t have any control in how well I did.  But the truth is this is not the real me that felt like it was falling apart.  It was simply my ego feeling like it was on the brink of losing its grip on things and losing control.  My mom sent me a quote by Yogi Amrit Desai that has been stuck in my mind ever since:

“When you feel like you are falling apart, it is not you who is falling apart; it is who you are not.  The real you can never fall apart.”

This quote really struck a cord within me and has made me come to many realizations.  We are not our emotions nor are we are thoughts, or even our personality.  We are all so much more than that.  We are souls, full of love and life.  This is the part of us that remains constant, ever-stable and resistant to external influences.  I think I’m finally opening my eyes and heart to the truth in that I am so much more than this façade, I am so much more than my personality, than my body, than the thoughts and emotions that go along with these.  The real me is not influenced by how thin I am, how pretty I am or even how well I do in school.  When I feel like these are the things that define me I know that is when I have lost the connection with this inner, whole and all-loving part of me.

Although I am just beginning to learn that what truly matters in life is the love you have for yourself and the love you give to others, it does not change the fact that I am still human.  I still have these human characteristics (thoughts, emotions, bodily ties) that do have a say in how I carry myself.  Even though I know the real me is so much more than the thoughts I have or the emotions I feel, I know that this realization does not do away with these instinctual primal instincts.

I know that these negative thoughts and emotions are fleeting and truly do come and go and this realization has led me to believe that I truly do have power over what I think and feel.  I can consciously choose to feel stressed or think negative thoughts or I can consciously choose to shift my focus to the positive things in life.  This conscious choosing really does impact on how quickly your mood and mindset can change.  Even today, after getting out of my last exam, feeling a bit discouraged, I simply decided to shift my focus on the positive: the beautiful blue sky, the warm sunshine on my face, and the fact that I will get to spend the next couple of days with the friends I’ve made here in New Zealand.

As my time here in New Zealand is quickly coming to a close, all sorts of thoughts and emotions come up: mainly sadness of leaving and the regret of things I didn’t do or changes I didn’t make within myself.  Despite these negative feelings, I choose to shift my focus on these last couple of days and to truly enjoy my time with the friends I’ve made.  As I shift my perspective from dwelling on the negative to basking in all the wonder and beauty surrounding me, I find myself content and at peace with where I am.  I am thoroughly grateful and appreciative of this opportunity that I’ve had to come abroad and to have all of these wonderful experiences.

I also know that my outlook on this experience and in life in general is greatly determined by my conscious choosing.  I can choose to dwell on the regrets, the mistakes, the negatives or I can choose to focus on all the good that is around me each and every moment.  Being in New Zealand has made me realize that each and every moment is a new moment, a chance to consciously choose happiness and love over doubt, fear and second-guessing.  My gaze shifts back to my now open bedroom window and as I look up at the beautiful blue sky and bask in the sunshine pouring down on me, I smile and relish in the beauty and simplicity of what I have in this moment.

 

Souled Out: Lets get weird, embrace your inner Gaga

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Nov 092012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Creativity is at the heart of snow sports. Its common knowledge that making it down the mountain in a unique manner gets you major bonus points.

The mountains are home to all sorts of weird riding techniques where style and flare are highly encouraged.

Having worked at a resort, I’ve witnessed people of all types in costumes embracing their inner Gaga on the slopes. Everything from bunnies and intense camouflage to Pocahontas, you name it; I’ve probably witnessed it.

Yes, I have even watched a bride and groom take their first shred as a married couple decked out in wedding attire with their camera crew ensue.

It must be something in the air, but people are definitely letting their freak flags fly high.

Maybe the mountains help reawaken forgotten dreams; Halloween-like dreams of course. Where even the most established, professional people can get down with their free-spirited side.

Regardless of the reasons, I support these innovative peoples ability to laugh at life and more importantly, themselves.

It sure made my job enjoyable and reinforced my enthusiasm for the human spirit.

So this one is for all you love-lifers and snow-goers out there. Keep it weird ya’ll!

Too School for Cool: Unconventional uses for condiments

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Nov 092012
 

Author: Allison LeCain

Schedro_ketchup Dansk: Ketchup sælges typisk p...

Heinz Tomato Ketchup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look inside your fridge. I bet you have all the basic condiments – ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.  While these are great for barbecuing, they serve many other purposes.

With just these three condiments, normally made for consumption, you can have a spa day or clean your house.

Ketchup

This condiment, most commonly used on French fries, contains a high amount of sodium, making it great for shinning pots, pans and auto parts.

It can also be used to correct the green highlights that blondes can get in their hair from spending a lot of time in chlorinated water.  Just wash your hair with ketchup instead of shampoo next time you shower.

If you’re out of shaving cream, you can use ketchup as a replacement. Just be sure to throw out the razor once you’re finished.

 

English: 48-ounce (1.42 l) jar of Duke's Mayon...

English: 48-ounce (1.42 l) jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayonnaise

Mayo is packed with fatty oils, which can be good for your skin and hair or removing sticky stuff.

If you have dry, brittle hair, try moisturizing it will mayo as a cheap alternative to hair products. Comb about a tablespoon of mayo through your scalp and leave it in for one hour. Wash it out with only a little bit of shampoo, as to not strip your hair of the moisture the mayo added.

You can also exfoliate your dry skin with mayonnaise. Put it on wherever necessary and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mayonnaise will also strengthen fingernails, making you hang-nail-free.

Mayo has the power to clean crayon marks off of walls and floors, as well as removing stickers and glue.  It will even clean water rings off wooden tables, so you can say bye-bye to the coasters.

Mustard

Plain yellow mustard has medicinal properties in it that can heal muscles and aches, as well as getting rid of bad smells.

A bottle of French's Classic Yellow Mustard

A bottle of French’s Classic Yellow Mustard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mustard can be used to deodorize water bottles. Simply mix a little mustard with hot water, swoosh it around in the bottle, and rinse clean. This miracle condiment will also get rid of skunk stench.

Adding mustard into a warm bath can soothe sore muscles. The same affect applies to healing headaches through soaking your feet in warm mustard water for 15 minutes.

If you have a cold, mix a squirt of mustard, lemon juice and honey in a glass of warm water to sooth a sore throat. You can also apply mustard to your chest and place a hot towel over it to ease chest decongestion.

Student Abroad: Appreciation

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Nov 082012
 

Author: Anna Palmer

For the past couple of days, I’ve been feeling this ever-familiar feeling of no motivation coupled with the ever-destructive feeling of not caring. As finals are approaching, I find myself with little to no motivation to study. A part of me would like to say “screw it” and just not even try, but another part urges me to buckle down or else I am going to be kicking myself for it later. As finals here are worth 50 percent of my final grade, I find myself in a panic, full of anxiety about not being able to tackle this seemingly huge feat in front of me. I find myself in fear, fearful of not passing my classes, which would be not only devastating but a pretty big waste of time and money. Sure, I am abroad and have had all of these amazing experiences but my parents are paying lots of money for me to go to school here too. Inevitably, all of this stress and fear of failing is combining and resulting in a feeling of almost paralyzing and overwhelming fear.

This semester, I know I have not been the typical “A” student I have been in the past and I’ve justified this by saying that school is not my focus while I am abroad. But I’m realizing I may have taken this too far and I know now that though my time abroad has been a lot about discovering myself and having all these awesome adventures, it wouldn’t be a true study abroad experience without the actual “study” aspect. This whole semester has been a blur of amazing experiences, but with this there has come somewhat of a price to pay. It feels like I honestly have not done any schoolwork since I’ve been in New Zealand. Now, that isn’t the case, but compared to the amount of work I would have back home it’s nothing. I’ve managed to pass all my assignments but just passing has left me with the added pressure of having to do fairly well on all my final exams. I feel like I’m playing catch-up for the entire semester and having to actually learn all this material in a matter of weeks. And the fact that a whole month is dedicated for finals adds to my procrastination and makes the stress and anxiety endure much longer than I would like.

It’s always been hard for me to focus on one thing at a time and to not get overwhelmed with everything I have to do. When I lose my focus and get wrapped up in a whirlwind of all the material I have yet to study, I literally want to curl up into a ball and attempt to shut out and forget about what I have to do. I inevitably end up sabotaging myself in the process and end up more stressed. I know that if I just take it one topic, one subject at a time I will be much more successful than getting overwhelmed with all the material I have yet to learn. And at the end of the day, I know all I can do is my best. I know it is my fear of failure that makes me believe I am destined to fail but realistically I know if I simply put the work in I will be successful.

I know that the stress and anxiety does nothing but make things worse and I also know that in order to relieve these feelings, I need to actually sit down and start chipping away at studying. So that is what I have been doing, but I am struggling to actually retain the information. My first final is in less than one week and even though I have done a good amount of studying for it, I still feel as though I am nowhere near prepared. You’d think this lack of preparation would urge me to sit down and study more but it in fact has had the opposite effect. This lack of motivation, though it hasn’t had severe consequences yet, has been hugely affecting my work ethic. But it’s time I stop putting off the inevitable and really crack down on studying.

I need to keep reminding myself that even though studies have not been my top priority abroad, this is still a very important aspect of my time abroad. I came here to learn both in and outside the classroom and I need to pass these classes not only for the transfer credit but for my own peace of mind. I want to succeed and I want to do well and in order to do so I know I need to start putting in this work. With this, I know that I cannot work myself into a frenzy and sacrifice my own sanity, so I need to balance this work with periodic breaks, whether that be a short walk or just taking a moment to breathe and meditate. My sanity and well-being is way more important than how well I do in school but I also know how much I do care about school.

Everything is a balancing act, balancing work with keeping a sane and peaceful state of mind, balancing lack of motivation with the reminder that it will all be worth it in the end, and balancing the lack of care with the reminder that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and to not care is to let this experience pass me by. I came to New Zealand to discover myself, and I would like to say that I’ve done that but if I am going to be honest, it hasn’t quite happened the way I’ve wanted it to. It’s been a process and being abroad has dramatically changed a lot of things in my life but I am realizing that everything, every challenge every struggle is truly a process and going to some foreign country may not rid me of that but it has forced me to deal with and work through them. I know I struggle to fully appreciate everything I have at a given moment and maybe that’s the key to this whole school thing, truly appreciating this opportunity to learn just for the sake of learning and in a foreign and beautiful place, like New Zealand, nonetheless.

Souled Out: The pursuit of indelible equality

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Nov 052012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

I’d like to take a look at the word feminism. The definition of feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

The topic of chick power is a rather broad one.

To narrow it down, chicks in the snowboarding industry are progressing unlike ever before.

So why are they being cut from contests such as the Dew Tour? Or only allowed eight spots at the X-games? Is there a reason they’re making less money off contests than men?

The pursuit of indelible skiing moments is at the heart of professional riders such as Spencer O’Brien, Jamie Anderson and Kelly Clark. They’re at the forefront of competitive riding with no signs of slowing down; throwing tricks with the best of them.

Furthermore, they’ve gained the respect of their male counterparts.

I reject the concept of physical build or neurological “confidence” being the deciding factor for female riders. If they can hit the jumps and clear the landings, they deserve the right to ride.

And ride they shall.

Pro-snowers such as Kimmy Fanasi have found ways around gender gaps and onto male crews. The experience has only fueled her flame and opened the door to some of the most epic lines of her life. “With more and more women pushing their limits, it’s clear we’re trying hard to progress,” says Fasani in an interview conducted by Transworld Snowboarding.

Women are climbing the ladder as the level of competition continues to rise. Landing double corks has reignited a push from the ladies.

A sport evolved from a passion for the snow shouldn’t be divided by gender. It should be about encouraging people to push themselves and to do their best. “As long as each girl’s goal is to progress the sport, we’re all working towards the same thing,” said Fanasi.

Women in snowboarding, this is a call to arms. To shred hard against the stereotype that women are not as athletic as men and to mend the divide.

Credit: bridging-the-gap-the-next-wave-of-womens-snowboarding

For more information on women in the industry check out this link. Transworld Snowboarding has a lot to offer the ladies.

Souled Out: Walking in a winter wonder career

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Nov 022012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

I cannot be the only person who seeks to ditch the norm of a nine to five desk job. The thought of being stuck indoors day-after-day while the seasons change around you, going unnoticed except for the brief morning commute, simply will not suffice.

Luckily, there are always options in life. So what careers exist for the wanderlust souls?

1)   Heli-ski Guide: What’s more exuberating then flying and hitting some of the most epic untracked steeps in desolately, breathtaking places such as Alaska? Of course you’ll have to be trained in avalanche courses, first aid and mountain guiding, but that will be well worth it when you’re the only soul in sight for miles.

2)   Photographer: You’ll need to have an eye and passion for the industry. Owning your own equipment and being familiar with editing software is also important to breaking out as a freelance photographer. “It’s absolutely incredible to get paid to travel and ski the most incredible places on earth,” said Ian Coble, a self-taught photographer who has shot editorial spreads for ESPN, Backcountry, Powder, Skiing, and more.

3)   Ski Resort Social Media Manager: Duties consist of updating websites, skiing, checking twitter, skiing, meeting professional athletes, skiing… you catch my drift? A job where people work hard and ski harder… where do I sign up?

4)   Ski shop employee: You may be taking a pay cut on this one; however, the discounts on gear and free mountain pass could quite possibly make amends. I’d recommend picking an epic resort to work at such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming or Park City, Utah.

The opportunities in this field are endless.

This industry is forever evolving and will always be driven by creative minds. Take a leap of faith into the wintery unknown; it just might become the best decision of your life.

Too School for Cool: Your ideal facial hair for no-shave-November

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Nov 022012
 

Author: Allison LeCain

November is upon us, which means it’s time to throw away those razors and let your facial hair hang low.

To all those manly men out there that are brave enough to withstand the challenge that is no-shave November, it is important to decide what type of facial hair you will conquer. Some men can pull off the full-on beard; some can only grow a little caterpillar above their lip.

No matter what hair growing abilities you may have, there is a facial hair style that is right for you.

 

English: My friend in his sweet beard

The Lumberjack

For those of you that are physically able to grow a full-faced beard, The Lumberjack is the right style for you. Many men are not able to pull this is off, so if you can grow it, show it! The ladies will be impressed with your manly hair (this is Colorado, people) and the extra layer will keep your face nice and toasty for the cold winter to come. The Lumberjack also requires the least amount of maintenance out of all possible facial hair options, holding true to the no shaving rule of November. You literally just let it grow, no trimming or grooming necessary. You also might want to invest in a plaid shirt.

 

 

 

The Ladies ManSide goatee!

If the hair on your cheeks appears a bit patchy, go for The Ladies Man look. This is more of a goatee style that looks snazzy and sleek.  It keeps your cheeks smooth, making the ladies want to come and touch. The Ladies Man requires a bit of upkeep, as you must shave off the patches that may appear on your cheeks after a few days, but still proves to be an overall laid-back look that will drive the women wild. Side effects may include appearing older and more dignified looking. Pair it will a fedora and you may have the honeys flocking your way.

 

 

 

English: Man with short, dark mustache.The Caterpillar

Some men are not as well endowed with hair, making a beard nearly impossible to grow. Never fear, for there is still a facial hair style out there for you.  The Caterpillar consists of a simple mustache, perched delicately above your lip. This classy look has been in style for centuries, so why not give it a try? It requires a bit of trimming and shaving any patches that form outside the lines. You may want to buy a mustache comb to ensure that you and your new facial hair always look dapper.