Basics of Wrestling

Wrestling has to be one of the hardest sports around. There are many factors that make up a good wrestler, however, there are many traits that are shared by all wrestlers no matter what their skill level is. To be a good wrestler, you will need to be as strong as football players, have the body awareness of gymnasts, conditioning of marathoners, speed of sprinters, and the mental toughness of the marines.

Dan Gable (who is a legend in the sport) was once quoted as saying that “Once you wrestle everything else is easy.” This couldn’t be truer. Wrestling is a sport that makes everything look easy in comparison. One of the reason for this because of weight cutting. Most sports will allow you to be able to eat normally before a competition. Wrestling on the other hand requires you to keep your weight under control. If you ever fail to make your weight class then you are not allowed to wrestler.

It can take many years for wrestlers to be able develop and really gel in the sport. However, this can be shorted by working out in the summer time. Since it is a winter sport, you can make up a lot of ground, by working out and training all year. This isn’t mandatory, but it is required if you want to be truly successful. There are summer camps all over the nation. In fact with a little research online, it would not be too hard to find a wrestling camp that is right near your house. Wrestling in tournaments all summer long is another way for you to really develop.

One way that will really help you develop your skills in the summer time is to make sure that you write down what you have learned at the camps. Bring pen and a notebook when going to a wrestling camp. This is because during these camps you will be shown many, many moves and will not be able to remember them all. When you write them all down you will be able to remember all of them, or at the very minimum you will remember more than you would have ever been able to without writing them down.

A person will only need a few pieces of gear in order to practice and compete. You will need to have wrestling shoes, a headgear, and a singlet. A singlet is the wrestling uniform that you might have seen before… it is the spandex. A few optional things that you can wear when you are wrestling are mouth guards and knee pads.

There are many different places competitions will take place but a good majority of them will take place in school gyms. This is because most wrestling events will take place between one or more schools. State and national tournaments are often held in stadiums due to the size requirements that necessary. A lot of space is needed for more than four to five mats. Some state tournaments have 10 or more mats because of the amount of wrestlers that they have. If they didn’t have all those mats then the event would take weeks to finish.

Wrestling is a great sport and it teaches many different life lessons. It not only teaches you how to be part of team but it also teaches you skills such as discipline, determination, and persistence. All of these skills are great for life.

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Enjoying Your All-Inclusive Holiday in Austria

Many tourists flock to Austria each year, and this just grows in number during the holidays. Austria is a beautiful country that is rich is history, sights to see, and it is home to exquisite traditions that many travelers dream to take part of. This, among many others, is also the reason why it is one of the most-booked all-inclusive holiday deals. If you are looking into traveling the country for the holidays, you might want to include the following spots in your itinerary.

Austria’s skiing centers. Austria is considered the winter sports capital of Europe and it would be a shame not to get a taste of this while you are in the country. The skiing center in Seefeld, Tyrol is one of the most popular skiing spots not only because it hosted the Winter Olympics twice, but the beautiful landscape allows fun for beginner and intermediate skiers alike. If you are looking for a more difficult terrain, though, you should consider visiting the St Anton am skiing resort in Arlberg – it is a famous destination for daredevil skiers due to its testing landscape.

Austria’s palaces and castles. No tour in Austria is complete without visiting at least two palaces. This is part of most holiday packages. Known to be the Austrian counterpart of the Versailles, the Schonbrunn Palace is definitely a must-see. The grand palace houses many attractions including the Privy Garden, a maze and labyrinth to complete the mystical feel of the palace, and the oldest zoo oldest zoo in the world. If you liked your tour of the Schonbrunn, you should also pay a visit to the Horfburg Imperial Palace and the Hohensalzburg Castle.

Austria’s breath-taking views. The panoramic view that’s abundant in Austria is also a sight that every tourist must bask on during their stay. The views in the country and the mountain side are popular spots for sightseeing. If you are up for a little road trip, drive along the Glosslockner Alpine road for a view of Austria’s highest mountain. It is especially magnificent during the winter because of its pristine snow caps. A trip to Austria’s quaint villages is also a popular tourist activity, and for this one, you should see the Hallstatt, a baroque village in Salzkammergut. The village’s history is rooted to it being a famous salt producer, and through the years, it only produced a settlement that looks like it is taken out of a setting of a classic novel.

Bonus: If you are willing to go outside of Austria, you can very much do so. Austria is a landlocked country that is surrounded by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and other European countries. It is very easy to travel by land, and a lot of all-inclusive holiday deals could accommodate a side trip or two. So, if your time and budget allows you, then your wanderlust is definitely in for a treat.

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Skadi, the Goddess of Shadows, Injuries, Pain and Casualties

Skadi is a Norse Goddess. She is known also as Skadhi, Skade, Scathe and Skajoi. Her names means “damage”, “harm” or “injury”. It is the word from which English has got the words shadows, scathe and scythe.

Skadi was an ice giantess, not a Goddess, but when the Aesir killed her father, they compensated her by giving her a divine spouse and powers. She was in love with Balder, but the Aesir didn’t allow her to choose just anyone of them. They made her choose her spouse by the naked feet of the Gods. Skadi thought that the most beautiful God must also have the most beautiful foot, but she was wrong. The most beautiful feet belonged to the sea God Njord. Their marriage wasn’t a very happy one, as Skadi couldn’t sleep with the seagulls screaming in Njord’s ocean home, and Njord couldn’t sleep with the wolves howling in Skadi’s icy castle on the mountains. They managed to organize the relationship so that it worked, and Skadi has always had good relationship with all the Aesir.

The relationship between her father and her was also close and dear, so Skadi was made the Goddess of ancestors heritage, family relationships and roots.

Human beings are social animals and we learned to speak to strengthen the social bonds. Winter is the time to come together and tell stories. Because of this Skadi is also the Goddess of knowledge, storytelling and learning from elders.

Skadi is the Goddess of bridges. She joins the God world with the Primordial Forces, being an ice giantess who become a Goddess. She joins the sweet water from melting ice with Njord’s salty sea water. Scandinavia is the home of the Baltic Sea, world’s largest pool of brackish water. (All brackish water in the world is dedicated to a Goddess.)

Skadi is archetypal yang woman, married to a yin man, an example of how to preserve the freedom and wildness, but still be able to fulfill the duties and expectations. You do what YOU know is right, not what OTHERS tell you to do. Skadi is the Goddess of balanced, self-secure, independent women. She runs with wolves.

“A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving”

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Skadi is the Goddess of justice, vengeance and righteous anger. Her coming to the Aesirs to demand justice for her father, and accepting the compensation, gives her this right. Later all the Aesir came to her to find protection, advice, ruling and judgment in different matters, even Loke did this. In this She reminds of Hekate, the Greek Goddess of liminal spaces, who is the final judge among the Olympian Gods.

Like Hekate, Skadi is also the Goddess of Magic. She stands for darkness and coldness of winter just as much as the soft, protecting snow. She is like ice, hard and cold, but ice can also keep people sheltered and warm in shape of igloos.

Skadi is a huntress. She hunts with a bow, accompanied by white wolves. Skadi gives the hunters the skills of hunting, so if you are a good archer, thank Skadi. She is called the White Wolf Goddess and all wolves, not only the white ones, are her animals, but also other white Nordic animals, like Polar bears and white reindeer are hers. She moves in the winter landscape on skis, snowshoes or skates, and knows these winter sports better than anyone. Sports are holy to her. Skadi is in many ways similar to another sporting huntress, Diana-Artemis. Diana’s favorite sport was running, and when the snow melts, Skadi runs too. She is believed to be in the rivers and rapids during summer, and thus is also the Goddess of rapid running and long distance running. You can honor her by engaging in these sports and martial arts. She is also the Goddess of mountains, so she covers all extreme and endurance sports.

Skadi gives people the ability to communicate with nature, animals, plants and minerals.

In the legend of Skadi’s father, his eyes were told to be raised to the sky, as stars, to watch over Skadi. Skadi is therefore also the Goddess of stars and all star related activities, like astronomy and astrology. Here in Scandinavia (named after Skadi) the summers are so light that the stars don’t show well. We need to wait for Skadi’s season, the winter, to begin, to see the stars.

Skadi is not a silver blond white woman, but looks like any Northern Native woman. Her hair is dark, almost black, and long. It is sometimes tied up in a single knot. Her skin is brown and worn by weather, as every winter sporting woman’s skin is, and her hands are a working woman’s hands. Her eyes are blue grey and her teeth are very, very white. She wears always white clothes, decorated with white fur, and this is why she is called the White Lady of Winter. She carries along a white staff of winter, a large staff of her height, decorated with bone and fur, stone and metal. She wears bone jewelry and animal teeth and claws. She is sometimes depicted with her white snake, Gemheil, twisted around her wrist or neck. Skadi is the mistress of snakes too, and when Loke caused Balder’s death, it was Skadi who hanged the venom dripping snake over his face, causing him to shake and tremble as the poison hurt him.

Skadi is a shapeshifter, so you can expect to see her as anything. She is often in form of a white animal, like snowy owl, white snake or arctic fox.

Skadi lives on pears and game, especially reindeer. Her flowers are all white flowers, but especially those that flourish in snow, like Christmas rose, Snowdrops and Catkins. All black and white stones are dedicated to her, especially clear quartz crystals, called “mountain crystals” in Finnish and “ice stones” in German. If you wish to make her an offering, offer your blood, filtered water or vodka, pears or white flowers. Do not offer her salt, because the smell of salt reminds her of her husband’s ocean home and the screaming seagulls. Traditionally, Skadi was given offers at Imbolc (Candlemass).

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USA Olympic Nordic Team and Professional Cross Country Skier, Andy Newell

Andrew Newell – Professional Cross Country Skier, US National Nordic Team, 2006 & 2010 US Olympian

Sponsors: US Ski Team, Salomon, SMS, Swix, Fischer, Bank of Bennington, Karhu, Rudy Project, Power Bar, New England Nordic Ski Association, T2 Foundation

Vermont native Andrew Newell brings a whole different light to the sport of Cross Country Skiing. He is one of a kind, pushing the limits of what can be done on XC Skis. He skateboards, surfs, mountain bikes and produces extreme XC Ski films; not what you would think of as a typical XC Skier. On the course, Andrew holds in his trophy case 3 World Cup podiums, 2-time US Olympian (2006, 2010) and is internationally recognized for his sprinting abilities. I recently got the opportunity to catch up with Andy while he was on the road and pick his brain a little on the present and future.

Q. What was your inspiration or driving factors that made you begin to think about X Ski Films and extreme XC Skiing?

A. Well I started X Ski Films over 10 years ago when I first started training with the US Ski Team. Then and now my goal was to show people in the US what XC ski racing was all about and to capture the excitement of skiing. It’s one of the most popular winter sports in the world but it’s not really seen in the mainstream media here in the states. It was always funny to fly to Europe where there are 70,000 people in attendance at races and skiers are considered celebrities, and then to come back to the US where most people think it’s just a sport that old people do in the woods. In addition to the ski racing I tried to capture the life of an XC skier, the fact that we’re out training is tough but we always have fun with it. All of the tricks and extreme skiing on XC skis was just kind of my personality coming out in the films. I always grew up trying to go as fast as I could on the down hills or as big as I could off jumps and to me that’s what XC skiing is all about. It’s about being able to concur the uphills, descents, corners, jumps, and all kinds of terrain in all types of conditions. Cross-country skiing was meant to be the ultimate outdoor adventure. X Ski films kind of found a niche at the time because although every race was televised live all around Europe, finding world cup ski racing in North America was tough. Nowadays all the fans of skiing can tune into all the races by streaming them online or watching them on Universal Sports but that wasn’t the case back then. So now X Ski Films is more or less out of production, aside from short videos online when I have time to post them, but the X Ski Films lifestyle always lives on!

Q. How do you envision the future of Cross Country Skiing and Team USA Nordic Skiing?

A. Right now is an exciting time to be part of XC skiing on the US team. We’ve gone from being one of the underdogs on the world cup circuit to one of the most successful teams in a fairly short period of time. In 2006 I reached the podium for the first time in a world cup sprint race, which at the time was the best result in over 25 years for the US. Since then our team size has tripled, we’ve won World Championship medals and we’ve established ourselves as a team that can accomplish anything. It’s cool to see how the momentum can build from year to year and how we’ve grown as a team while having tons of fun pushing each other. When I was a kid it was a huge goal to make the Olympics, but that was basically because we didn’t know what was possible. We didn’t have fast US skiers to look up to. Now young skiers in the US grow up motivated not only to go the Olympics but that it’s possible to win and be the best in the world. It’s been amazing to be part of that process.

Q. Could you provide the general public a glimpse of the training regime for an elite XC skier?

A. Being a world-class skier for sure takes a lot of endurance training, strength, and technical work. Just like most endurance sports like cycling or triathlon we log the majority of our training hours in the off-season, which is why skiing is such a full time job. In the summer months we are training twice a day working out for several hours a day on roller skis and a lot of running. Because we race such a variety of competitive distances, everything from sprints to marathons, we also need to constantly be working on intervals, building our Vo2max and speed training. So even during the summer we have to do intervals and hard training pretty often. We will typically get on snow several times throughout the summer in New Zealand or Europe but we are also lucky that we get to do a lot of cross training. We’re not stuck doing laps in a pool or spinning laps around a track we get to enjoy different modes of training like running in the mountains, biking, weightlifting, we keep exercise interesting. When you need to log between 800-900 hours of training in the year it’s important to keep it fun.

During the winter, all of our training is on skis but we also taper a lot and don’t put in too many hours. In a typical season I will race up to 40 times in 15 different countries, so with all the travel we focus on building our fitness through intervals and most of all racing.

Q. What type of technologies are you incorporating into your training and racing?

A. Technology is always pushing our sport not only in how we train but also in our equipment. Training theories are always evolving and we use a lot of technology to test our bodies and make sure the training we are doing is having a positive effect. At the US Ski Team training center in Utah we have treadmills that we can ski on and they measure how our lungs and heart are working at high intensity. Having a high Vo2max is really important in cross country skiing but also studying what kind of technique and movements to use at certain speeds. We also use machines to measure our blood volume and hemoglobin mass and are constantly keeping track of how many red blood cells we’re building throughout the training year. We also use very basic technologies like heart rate monitors and lactic acid testing on a daily basis to make sure we’re getting the most out of each workout.

The technology behind equipment is mind-blowing, so I wont even get into it. But a very cool side of XC skiing that most people don’t see is what goes into the race skis and the waxing of skis. Each country on the world cup has their own staff of anywhere from 5-15 wax technicians who’s job it is to test different types of skis and different types of wax for the bases. Because snow conditions can be different at every venue and constantly changing throughout the day wax techs are basically like scientists trying to find us the best combinations of wax and grinds (which is the structure that is pressed into the base of the skis). When I travel I usually have around 30 skis in my quiver at a given time. The days leading up to the races I work together with my wax tech to pick the skis with the best flex and base for the snow conditions and then they apply the race wax which has tested best before the race begins. It’s incredibly complicated so I’m glad I just have to focus on racing most of the time.

Q. How do you believe other sports you participate in like skateboarding, surfing, trail running and mountain biking contribute to your success on the snow?

A. I’ve always been drawn to sports like skateboarding and surfing because of how addicting and fun they are. That’s what I grew up doing and I still love skating. I think I enjoy sports like that because of how non-competitive they are and because of the style and flow you feel when riding a wave or a half pipe. Realistically though sports like skateboarding and mountain biking are great for skiing. Typically athletes who are drawn to endurance sports like running, road cycling, and cross country skiing lack athleticism. And people give me a ton of crap when I say that but it’s true. Endurance athletes are incredibly fit and strong but that doesn’t mean we have great ‘athleticism’; meaning agility, body awareness, speed, things like that. I think playing sports like soccer are great for building agility and of course sports like surfing and skating are great keeping up balance and learning to move your body in a specific way. Things like that haven’t necessarily helped my fitness over the years, but it’s improved my athleticism and has made me better at adapting my ski technique and learning how to move in an efficient way.

Q. Do you believe there are any other sports as physically demanding in regards to stamina as cross-country skiing?

A. There are a lot of tough sports out there for sure, and there are a lot of sports out there where athletes cross the finish line in complete exhaustion just like in ski racing. I think XC skiing is special because it is a unique combination of power and efficiency. We have races that last anywhere from over 2 hours, to as short as 3 minutes, so developing endurance and speed is important to being successful. Skiing is also a full body exercise which requires the use of literally every muscle in the body so the feeling you get after a hard race is pretty amazing.

Q. If you could only grab a couple items from the pantry before race day, what would they be?

A. On race day I keep it pretty basic with things like oatmeal, bananas, peanut butter things like that are what I like to eat before a race. When you travel for competitions as much as we do it’s definitely hard to be too picky about what you eat. I’ve adopted some pretty strange Euro eating habits like salmon fish paste on bread for breakfast or Norwegian brown cheese to list some of my favorites.

Q. What’s on the agenda in the coming years for Andrew Newell?

A. The big focus is on the Olympics in Feb. 2014 in Sochi Russia. To win an Olympic medal would be a dream come true for me and the whole XC skiing community in the US, so that is always a driving goal. It’s funny how a lot of sports truly revolve around the Olympics, I think a lot of athletes can get to caught up in the 4 year cycle of the Olympics and have too much of a one track mind. To me XC skiing is a lifestyle and that just doesn’t come around once every 4 years. We have an incredible world cup tour and we race as hard as we can each weekend on behalf of the USA. So yes the Olympics are very important, but I there is a lot more that goes into being a ski racer and I’ll continue to enjoy that lifestyle as long as it’s still fun.

Q. Could you share some of your favorite places to XC Ski and X Ski?

A. In the US I really like the skiing around home in Vermont. VT has a ton of small local ski areas that have some sweet old school winding trails. There is this one place near Stratton called Wild Wings that is a classic skiing only trail system. All the trails are super narrow and rolling and it’s great to go out with the buddies and hammer through the woods. Prospect Mountain outside Bennington VT is the ski area I grew up at and that’s also one of my favorites when I’m in the States. When it comes to Europe its hard to beat the amazing sun and mountains of skiing in Switzerland or Italy around the Alps. We spend a lot of time training and racing around Davos Switzerland and it’s incredible there. Finland, Norway and Sweden for sure have some of the biggest ski areas since XC skiing is such a part of their culture. Skiing around Oslo is awesome because there are so many trails connecting all the different towns. Holmenkollen ski stadium is right outside of Oslo and it’s kind of the home of skiing and has some of the coolest and most challenging terrain.

Q. What’s the vibe like on race day?

A. Race days on the world cup are what I live for because all of the pressure and excitement of racing on behalf of your country. One thing I didn’t realize about XC ski racing until I came to Europe, was how intense the fans are and the kind of atmosphere created by 80 thousand spectators around the ski stadium. Sprint races especially bring in the big crowds and you start to realize that, in a way, we are involved in the entertainment industry as much as the sport aspect of skiing which makes racing even more fun. Things like betting on ski races is hugely popular in Europe and with how unpredictable sprint racing can be it’s pretty exciting for the fans. Some of the rowdiest race venues are usually my favorites to compete at. Each year we have several sprints in downtown cities like Oslo or Stockholm where they lay down snow on the streets for us to race on. In a way it’s brought ski racing to the people and the urban sprints have a pretty incredible atmosphere.

Q. Lastly, A few tips for those wanting to progress in cross country skiing?

A. I would encourage anyone who’s up for an adventure and interested in staying fit to try cross country skiing. Even for folks who aren’t into the racing side of things can go out and have a good time on skis and enjoy the outdoors in a healthy way. For the skiers interested in pushing their limits and speed in the racing scene, I would encourage them to stick with it and not give up on the technical side of skiing. XC skiing tends to have a much slower learning curve than say a sport like cycling because of the balance and movements are more complicated. It’s easy for people to buy a fancy bike, put on a jersey, and all of a sudden feel like they’re ready for the Tour de France; but with skiing the technique can be as much a limiting factor as the fitness. So for people looking to progress, sometimes the best thing to do is break the movements down into sections. First work on the lower body movements and balance by skiing without poles, and then spend some workouts just practicing the upper body and poling motions. This is the best way to dial in your technique and also build strength.

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Snowboarding: A Sport You Must Take Part In

There is no end to excitement and you can always have something that will keep your adrenaline levels pumped up. One other way of doing that, and in a very efficient manner is snowboarding. Cutting through snow-covered slopes with a board attached to your feet, performing tricks while airborne, moving faster than the mountain wind, this sport is something you don’t want to miss.

The sport

Whether you are a novice or an avid snowboarder, the idea of going snowboarding is a pretty cool one. Clad in a snowboarding outfit from tip to toe, you will be exploring the mountains in a whole new fashion. The way you will be working out your path through the downhills, lifts, and other plenty of rails, rollers, and jumps will send shivers down the spine even to your onlookers. There is no telling how much you are going to enjoy it yourself.

The style

Since the inception of this winter sport, various styles has been developed from time to time which had made it even more intriguing and challenging for core skateboarders. The way you snowboard, the maneuvers you perform, and everything fall into a classification. Free riding is ubiquitously the most general term that covers all-around snowboarding styles. Other most famous styles are freestyle, alpine, slopestyle, rail-jam, etcetera.

The game attracts a huge quantum of people from around the world. What makes this sport extraordinary is the risk that the players take. Performing the stunts require a great amount of skills and practice and any simple mistake might turn into a big accident. There are some really important spots around the world known for their highly challenging tracks that attract snowboarders from different walks of life. These championships are held once in a year and is visited by competitors from all parts of the world. The sport is as great to watch as play.

All you need for this sport is a skin-tight suit, few snowboarding gears, and a fearless attitude. There are many famous names who have made big in this sport one of which is Darren Powell, an Australian who holds a Guinness record for attaining the highest speed of 125 mph on a snowboard.

Who knows you might have the ability to break this record and be the next Powell. There is one way though. Put on your snowboarding shoes, play your favorite jam full volume on an iPod, reach the crest of the snowhill and descend.

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A Guide to the Three Layers of Snowboard Clothing

One of the main appeals of snowboarding is the fact that you are taking part in an activity in some of the most dramatically beautiful landscapes on earth, but spending time in mountain regions also exposes you to changeable and potentially harmful climates. As a result it is vitally important that before heading out onto the slopes that you have the correct clothing and equipment to keep you warm, protected and ultimately able to enjoy snowboarding for longer. Ideally your snowboarding clothing should keep you warm, be lightweight and keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your skin. The best way to achieve this is be using the layering method which allows you to react to sudden drops in temperature by adding layers or increases in temperature by taking a layer off. The three layer system is applicable for most winter sports with the base layer trapping warmth and wicking moisture away from your skin, the middle layer, which is usually a clothing or fleece jacket providing additional insulation and the outer layer protecting against the wind and rain. Below is a short guide to what each layer consists of and why it is important in your overall snowboarding equipment.

Base Layer

The base is the layer that is in contact with your skin and is there to trap a layer of air and remove moisture from your skin to keep you both warm and dry. The base layer should cover you from head to toe and as such consist of a long sleeved top, full length leggings and socks made from a moisture wicking material such as polypropylene. Avoid wool combination materials if you are have a low itch tolerance and cotton altogether as it loses all its thermal properties if it gets wet.

Base layer check list:

Thermal Body Shirt – Must have long sleeves and will ideally be made of polypropylene to ensure moisture is transferred away from your skin.

Thermal underwear – Again opt for polypropylene as this will not itch and provides great thermal and anti moisture properties.

Snowboarding Socks – There’s nothing worse than having cold feet and protecting your extremities in freezing conditions is of vital importance. Good quality snowboarding socks will not only keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable but also improve the fit of your snowboarding boots and protect against impacts. Your socks should come half way up your calf and shouldn’t be too thick as this will encourage sweating.

Second or Middle Layer

The job of the second layer is to trap warm air as you ride and transfer moisture further away from your body as your ride, it can also be used as the outer, protective layer on warmer days. Commonly used materials include wool and fleece with fleece being particular popular due to its lightweight properties and breathable properties which draws moisture towards the outer layer of clothing.

Second layer check list:

Jacket or sweater – Made of either wool or preferably fleece, this should be lightweight and breathable allowing moisture to evaporate through the material. It will not however protect against wind or rain.

Snowboarding Pants – Placed over the top of your base layer, snowboarding pants should have a nice, roomy fit and provide additional warmth and moisture protection with padded areas in the knees and backside area for impact protection and to prevent melting snow seeping through to your base layer.

Snowboarding Boots – Available in regular shoe sizes, snowboarding boots are the link between your snowboard and your feet. As such fit around your feet and ankles is highly important. Take time to try a number of pairs to ensure you get a comfortable and secure fit as a decent pair will last you a while.

Outer Layer

The outer layer of your snowboarding equipment is there to protect you from wind, rain and impacts, prevent moisture from entering and allows moisture to escape from the inner layers.

Outer Layer Checklist:

Beanie, Hat or Helmet – Whatever you use make sure it covers your ears and for impact protection opt for a specialist snowboarding helmet.

Snowboarding Goggles – Snowboarding goggles should protect your eyes from wind, snow, rain and UV. Lenses vary in terms of their light transmission capabilities with different lenses available for different light conditions.

Snowboarding goggle lenses should also have a scratch resistant coating, anti fog coating and 100% UV protection. The goggle frame should fit comfortably to your face with a cushioned foam surround that also removes moisture from your face improving comfort and reducing fogging. Snowboarding goggles have a broad head strap that should fit snugly holding the goggles firmly to your face.

Snowboarding Jacket – Your jacket is your final protective layer against the elements and as such should be wind proof and water repellent. As with the rest of your snowboarding clothing your jacket should be breathable allowing moisture to escape.

Snowboard – Snowboarding is pretty difficult without one but make sure you get a snowboard that is suitable for your dimensions, riding style, experience and budget. Snowboards vary in terms of construction materials, camber, flex, dimensions, effective edge and sidecut so again make sure you try a number out and discuss your requirements with a snowboard supplier before taking the plunge.

Snowboard bindings – Good quality sturdy snowboard bindings are important to ensure your boots are firmly attached to your board. Available in small, medium and large sizes your bindings should be bought in combination with your boots to ensure the most secure fit.

Snowboarding Gloves – Use specifically designed snowboarding gloves with fleece insulated glove liners to protect your hands from snow, ice and impacts. They should be waterproof and have padded and reinforced palms and fingers which are both high impact areas.

When buying any snowboarding apparel ensure that it fits well to prevent chafing and to maintain the breathable nature of the fabrics. Your snowboarding clothing is there to keep you warm, safe and comfortable over long periods in the winter climate and as a result it is worth spending the time and money to ensure you get the best possible equipment.

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Snowboarding Gear – Do You Know What You Need?

Snowboarding is a fun sport that is popular among many winter sports enthusiasts. Maybe it’s something you are planning to undertake this year. You can have a lot of fun snowboarding but it’s important to keep in mind that it is an extreme sport with a high risk of injuries. You can reduce the risk of injury by wearing the appropriate snowboarding gear.

Let’s start with snowboard boots since they are one of the most important elements in snowboarding. The boots, together with snowboard bindings, aid in the transfer of the snowboarder’s energy from the feet to the board and provide support for the boarder. The boots and bindings are paramount in determining the manner of control of the snowboard. Good boots should keep your feet warm, protect your feet from the pressures of the high speed turns, and give you maximum control over your snowboard. The bindings should tightly attach the boots to the board.

Safety is of paramount importance in snowboarding and, to this end, the helmet is an essential piece of gear. Many snowboarders suffer from head injuries, an occurrence easily preventable by wearing a helmet which is specially designed to help protect against head injuries in collisions. When looking to purchase a helmet, make sure you choose one that fits you well and is comfortable.

Another critical item when snowboarding is a reliable pair of goggles. When you are barreling down the mountain on your snowboard, goggles protect your eyes and part of your face from the icy snow and cold wind that will be hitting you. Snowboarding goggles also protect the eyes from the harmful sun’s rays, either directly or reflecting off of the snow. Some options to consider when you are choosing your goggles are anti-scratch coating, as goggles tend to scratch easily, double lenses, anti-fog coating, colored lenses to help with vision, and even interchangeable lenses that can easily be switched based on visibility. Most importantly, make sure the goggles fit you well and are comfortable. Goggles are so critical that you might want to buy two pairs and take both with you when you go boarding in case one is lost or broken.

The next essential piece of snowboarding gear is the snowboarding jacket, specially designed for outdoor activities and made for the particular needs of the snowboarder. Snowboard jackets have added functionality with a three-layer system. The third layer helps to make the jacket waterproof and windproof while improving breathability.

Now you can go out and have a great time snowboarding. With the proper snowboarding gear you will know that you’ve properly prepared for safety and comfort.

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2014 Guide to Emergency Survival in America

“The most important part of survival, is the mental attitude of the survivor. Without the will to survive, all your preparations are useless.”

This guide is a basic document. A place to start in constructing your survival plan. Follow this guide and in an emergency, you and those you care about will have ready access the things needed to live. Along the way, you will be making modifications to fit your specific needs. Use the formulas included to calculate the specific quantities, of food, water and other supplies you will need. The result will be a unique short term emergency survival kit, suitable for either a rural, or urban environment.

ABOUT ME: I was a law enforcement officer for more than thirty years. First in the southwestern United States and later in the southeast. I took part in search and rescue operations in the mountains and deserts of the southwest and assisted survivors of tornadoes and hurricanes in the southeast. As a teen, growing up in rural northern Michigan, I participated in most every outdoor sports activity around at the time. From hunting and fishing, to some of the more extreme outdoor winter sports. Between growing up in Michigan and becoming a law enforcement officer, the United States government provided me with a brief, but thorough education on surviving as a combat infantryman in Southeast Asia.

With experience surviving in four extremely different environments under my belt, I know a few things about survival. However, to insure that this guide is as current and thorough as possible, I have also included some recommendations of recognized survival experts and information from the latest U.S. Government FEMA 72 hour preparedness guide.

According to FEMA, “The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient – able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones – for at least three days following a disaster.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: During and after a natural or weather related disaster. You may find that travel is impossible. Downed trees, live power lines, and flooded roads may make it impossible to evacuate. Strong winds rip shingles and boards from homes, spreading tire piercing nails everywhere. You and your family will need to remain in a safe place.

WHAT IS A SAFE PLACE? The safe place you choose must be a structurally sound room or area near, or within you home or place of employment. It must be of large enough and strong enough to protect you and other survivors from exposure and allow your supplies to be accessible. If you live in an area susceptible to flooding, the safe area must be at an elevation which offers protection from rising water. If tornadoes are the concern, the area must be without windows and structurally capable of withstanding sustained high winds. For hurricanes, you may need both wind resistance and elevation. In some cases an upstairs interior windowless room, or an underground cellar might be ideal. (Appropriate safe areas for defensive and longer term survival will be addressed in a later article.)

WHAT SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT ARE NEEDED? Maintain these items in a cool dry place and rotate at least every six to twelve months:

a. Non perishable food: Maintain enough canned, freeze dried or dehydrated food to allow 2500 calories per person, per day. Remember to store food for infants and cooking and eating utensils.

b. Water: At least one gallon, potable water, per person, per day. Store in airtight containers, replace every 6 months. For longer survival periods, or if space is a problem, store as much water as you have space for and supplement using a commercial water purification device and/or use an adequate home made method, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach. Avoid scented bleaches and those with additives. Use no more than 8 drops per gallon to treat water. NOTE: In extremely hot climates, or with infants or nursing mothers, add extra water. Also consider the special needs of any elderly person in your care.

c. First aid kit: Large enough to tend all survivors, In addition to antibiotics and disinfectants, stock plenty of bandages. Don’t forget necessary prescription medications, sunscreen, insect repellent and snake bite treatment supplies.

d. Fire extinguisher: Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all survivors how to use it.

e. Crank powered flashlights – candles and matches: After an emergency, Do not use matches or candles until you are certain there are no gas leaks.

f. Rechargeable alternative power and communication devices: In emergencies cellphone towers may be destroyed, or the systems overwhelmed with anxious relatives attempting to reach persons in stricken areas. The highest emergency communications priority always goes to first-responders. All non-official calls may be temporarily blocked. A crank rechargeable National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, GMRS two-way portable radio may be your best communication and information resource. Some devices are capable of also generating enough power to recharge other small electrical devices, like cell phones. Also keep a small whistle for signaling rescuers if necessary.

g. Personal items: Keep moist towlettes, toilet paper and garbage bags in your kit. Depending on the season and the climate, store rain gear, extra blankets, clothing, diapers and shoes. Avoid athletic type shoes. The soft soles can be easily penetrated by nails, glass and metal debris. Personal care items like, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, sanitary napkins and contact lens solutions, should also be in the kit. ATMs may not work. Keep some cash on hand.

h. Alternative cooking resources: A barbecue grill, hiking or camping stove should be sufficient. Remember to store sufficient fuel for whichever, cooking device you choose. Also insure that there is adequate ventilation and there are no gas leaks before you use any kind of fire. Read and follow appliance instructions.

i. Pets: Stock adequate food, water and supplies for pets/livestock. If appropriate, work out a care plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Consider a means of identifying your pets, either with tags or micro chips in case you are separated from them during the emergency. Consider making arrangements with a veterinarian or a kennel to care for your pets, during an emergency.

j. Tools: Keep a small tool kit available. As a minimum you should have:

1. Adjustable pipe wrench and pliers for turning off utilities.

2. Shovel and broom for cleaning up.

3. Axe and Saw for clearing downed trees and debris.

4. Pocket knife, hammer and screw drivers for misc. minor re pairs.

5. Tape and Tarp or plastic sheeting for shelter and repairs.

6. Dust mask to help filter contaminated air.

7. Can opener (non-electric)

k. Optional Miscellaneous Items:

1. Generator and fuel

2. Chain saw

3. Heavy duty rope or nylon tow straps.

4. GPS or EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon)

5. Survival Knife with fire starter.

6. Satellite phone

7. Large cloth backpack or “Go” bag.

8. Books, playing cards and board games, to pass the time.

Modify this list as necessary. Watch for my next article on building a long term survival kit and defensive techniques. Read more of my articles on Self Defense Products and Emergency Survival

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What Makes Snowboarding Such Fun?

Whether it’s the speed of going downhill, hitting the ultimate flip spin, the snow, or just trying to avoid falling over and staying on your board, snowboarding has become an extremely popular winter sport. It’s a fun way to spend any snow day off from school.

Snowboarding has become more and more popular, especially among those living in states where it actually does snow (although people from the southern states also follow the sport), mainly because of the coverage it has been getting on TV.

From the Winter Olympics to the X Games, individuals who watch their favorite snowboarder hit a move, are looking to mimic it the next day.

Snowboarding is a fun sport to participate in because you can do it by yourself, or you can go out with a group of friends, or even complete strangers at a ski resort, and still have a good time.

The sport is also fairly appealing to all skill levels, because it is pretty easy to learn with the right training and instruction. It is the kind of sport that the worst athlete, or the best athlete, can succeed in and perform well, if they put in a little bit of time and work. It is a thrill going downhill at such high speeds, and the fact that you are doing it on one board, and are able to manipulate speed and direction with just the turn of your feet, is a great thrill for anyone who has participated in snowboarding.

It can even be fun for those who are constantly falling, and just learning the sport. Once they finally make it downhill, without a fall, it only gets better each time they hit the slopes. Many individuals also love the sport because it is an alternative to skiing. You can get the same speeds racing downhill, on one board, rather than two skis. It is something different and unique, therefore it draws all kinds of individuals. It’s also a great way to get a workout in; if you don’t like going to the gym, snowboarding is an extremely fun way to get that workout, and not have to hit the gym for an hour a day; you can hit the slopes, and do something you have fun with instead.

No matter what the reason is that you love snowboarding, one of the major reasons it is so fun and popular, is that because anyone can learn how to properly snowboard; with a little practice and effort, it is possible for any individual to master it.

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Have You Ever Tried Snowboarding?

The long, cold winter months can make it hard to keep your family active and entertained. It’s all too easy to let kids while away the hours in front of the television or video game console when their warm-weather outdoor activities aren’t available. A vacation to the beach or somewhere else warm certainly has its appeals, but that can mean a long, expensive trip just to sit on a crowded patch of sand.

Why not try something different this winter? If you’re willing to embrace the cold and explore your winter sport options, you just may discover your family’s new favorite pastime.

A vacation to the mountains in winter offers countless opportunities for fun, entertainment and exercise. The most popular endeavors, of course, are skiing and snowboarding. A day on the slopes is about as great as it gets; the wind in your hair as you glide over the straight-aways, the crunch of snow under your boots as you carve down the bumpy runs, the mountain sun on your face and the breathtaking valley vistas at your feet come together to make a day you won’t soon forget. A drink at the base and a soak in your hotel’s hot tub is the perfect end cap in the evening, easing tired muscles so you can relax and rest – and do it all again in the morning.

If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, don’t fret: most ski resorts offer combination lessons and equipment rental at reasonable rates, so you can try it out without emptying your wallet. Some communities even offer a free child’s lift ticket with the purchase of an adult’s, so be sure to ask about the current deals if you’re taking the whole family.

An athletic day on the slopes isn’t all the snow-covered mountains have to offer, however. When you’re looking for something a bit lower-energy, mountain communities offer a wealth of nature and history for you to enjoy. A hot-air balloon ride to awe at the magnificent alpine panoramas, a tour on horseback of an Old West ranch, and an afternoon luxuriating in natural hot springs (complete with waterslides, in some cases) are just a few of the opportunities awaiting you and your family once you reach altitude.

So pack your coat and boots – and your SPF and swimsuit – and bring your family to the mountains next winter for a vacation that will leave you wishing it snowed all year long.

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