We visit Red Bull Battle Grounds, a two-day tournament in which eight of the world’s best Starcraft II players send angry virtual military units across a digital landscape to destroy their enemy’s virtual bases. Does this event (and the many others like it) signal a shift in gaming’s social legitimacy? Read on for an exploration and a photo essay of the event.
Part II of III in The Mountain Series
For alpinists everywhere, including those confined to armchairs, the name, “Eiger” conjures up excitement, fear and dread. Considered the most daunting climb in the Alps, the mountain’s north face, the “Nordwand”, is a 6,000-foot sheer wall of crumbling, often ice-coated, rock that is continually scoured by rockfalls and avalanches. First climbed in 1938, it has been the scene of countless adventures, tragedies and one Clint Eastwood movie. The name and the image of the Eiger were etched in my brain for years, and I read everything I could about the mountain. So to see it there, across the valley from the sundeck of the Berggasthaus First, seemed like a dream; I could hardly take my eyes off it.
Incredible Design for a Notable Charity
Collaborating with Bono and Bobby Shriver for the (RED) charity, Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson have personally curated a collection that celebrates the best in design and innovation. If you appreciate design, engineering, space, music or style and are itching to liquidate your family’s trust fund, then ready your paddle. On a kind invitation from the folks at Sotheby’s, we made our way to a private viewing of the collection before its auction.
Robotics engineers and industrial designers, rapid prototyping and 3D printing, adroit methodology and open workflow — sounds like a Silicon Valley tech startup, right? But things aren’t always as they seem. In the case of Pittsburgh-based company 4Moms, this business model is being applied to baby products that leave the status quo in the dust. We went to their headquarters to get a behind-the-scenes look at a few products poised to change things up in the baby world once again.
In [hot] vino veritas
Mulled wine is the perfect drink for the holiday season: just pleasant and alcoholic enough to warm everyone up, but not like handing out rounds of high-octane Manhattans that could turn Thanksgiving dinner into an episode worthy of Jenny Jones. We tapped the expertise of Jane Elkins, former and current barkeep at some of New York City’s best cocktail haunts, for three variations of mulled wine, each rooted in tradition and brushed up with ingenuity from behind her bar.
Carving a Winner
The Thanksgiving turkey is the one dish each year that’s make or break, and it’s all yours. Get the turkey right and you’ll be giving warm handshakes and sipping bourbon all night; dry it out and you’ve brought a dark cloud over the extended family. The good news is, roasting the big bird is easier than running the fumblerooski against the in-laws — and that works every year. To find the most direct route to turkey perfection, we consulted with chef Harold Moore for his foolproof recipe.
Climb, Splash, Repeat
Imagine cranking your way up an unforgiving rock face, no ropes or safety protection, just your fingers and wits pitted against every crimpy, stretched out, exposed move. At the hardest moment your grip finally gives out and you plunge more than thirty feet — to a splash landing in the Olympic Training Pool in Park City, Utah. For some, this kind of climbing, called deep water soloing, is the stuff of nightmares. For the few dozen professional climbers and thousands of spectators at the recent Psicobloc Masters Series, it’s a progression of the sport unparalleled in its difficulty and exhilaration. We captured the action from the pool deck.
Two marathons in the mountains
It was around around mile 23 of the Vermont 50 that I thought about the duck. I’d read in On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee that the common green-headed mallard stores as much as a third of its carcass weight in fat for fuel and insulation so it can fly continuously for hundreds of miles. As I sipped from the sports nutrition mix in my bottle, I thought of what could have been if only I had taken to heart the experience of migratory birds. I had eaten but one slice of apple pie after dinner the night before.
2013 USA Pro Challenge Proves We're On The Way Up
It seemed in the summer of 2012 that American cycling had passed its nadir. Lance Armstrong and scores of other prominent American cyclists of the last decade had admitted to doping and all news coverage of the sport revolved around illicit drugs. The future looked grim.
But in the same 2012 when all hell seemed to break loose for cycling’s old guard, there was a renaissance of new talent. We witnessed evidence of this rebirth firsthand at the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, a seven-day, seven-stage epic that wound its way through 573 miles of Colorado.
Flying on water
Back in June, we went out to San Francisco for a glimpse inside preparations for the 34th America’s Cup from the perspective of challenger Emirates Team New Zealand and its timekeeping partner, OMEGA. We were out in the city by the bay again recently, this time as a guest of TAG Heuer, a sponsor of the reigning America’s Cup Defender, Team Oracle USA. Finally, the focus was on the sailing
King of the Underworld
If the Rolex Submariner was the original sports watch, then the Explorer II was the original extreme sports watch. Introduced in 1971 as a timepiece for cave and polar exploration, the Explorer II remains a favorite of ours thanks to its purpose-built design, intended use and legendary Rolex build quality. Singular in purpose and entirely uncompromising, the Explorer II was a pure tool. We got our hands on a new Explorer II and an ancestor, a rare, straight-handed reference 1655 from 1972.
Ketch of the Day
The nautical lifestyle, with its mix of refinement, adventure and expensive equipment, makes a natural fit for luxury timepieces. Officine Panerai does things a little differently than other brands. Rather than go for the cutting-edge carbon fiber multi-hull racing scene, the storied Italian watchmaker takes a more nostalgic view on sailing by sponsoring a series of classic yacht regattas up and down New England. We were invited to the first of the three American regattas, the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, in the charming maritime port town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was a proper mix of flapping Dacron, wooden-hulled 12-meter yachts and cocktails at no less than three proper blue-blood yacht clubs. Oh, and there were a few cool watches, too. Read on for the full photo essay.
Two wheels to greatness
Though the riders participating in MotoGP races are the best in the world, it’s taken a while for this style of racing to gain traction in the United States. After having the chance to see the MotoGP World Championship at The Circuit of the Americas thanks to Ducati, we easily count ourselves among its growing fan base. Read on to see our photo essay of the insane speed on two wheels.
Celebrating Adventure Sports in Vail, CO
Somewhere between my third (or possibly fourth) spill off my paddle board into Gore Creek and my first lung-busting lap up the mountain bike course, it finally sunk in that the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO was so much more than just the suffering I was subjecting myself to. Featuring adventure and mountain sports like freestyle kayaking, bouldering (think rock climbing 25-foot walls with no rope), mountain biking, a dock dogs competition, and slacklining, the Games has a competition for just about everyone. That’s not to mention the carnival of fun one-offs: the gear expo, open air concerts, a mountain film festival and demos of new bikes and boards. See everything the Games had to offer in this photo essay.
A Complicated Beauty
We’ll never own a watch like the A. Lange & Söhne Double Split, the world’s only mechanical split seconds and split minutes chronograph. Not many people will. But just wearing it for a month was a privilege, like taking a lap in a vintage Aston Martin DBR or sipping a dram of 1962 Macallan. To try to distill down its essence to a mere hands-on review seems almost blasphemous. So we won’t. This is a watch to be gazed on and lingered over. Enjoy the photos.
Come June, those of us in the northern latitudes leave the hearth behind and burst into the sunlight to savor a precious few months of warmth, pressed for time before the days grow short again. This often entails going yet farther north, and in Minnesota, “up north” often means the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We spent a long weekend in a cabin outside of Ely (“Ee-lee”), a gateway town to the BWCA.
Challenger of Record
If you’re a sailing nut, or if you’ve just been following the news lately, you’ll know that this year’s America’s Cup is in a bit of trouble. Fortunately, we still get to enjoy the special edition timepieces put forward by watch brand sponsors. First up is the OMEGA Seamaster Emirates Team New Zealand Limited Edition. We were invited to OMEGA’s launch of the new timepiece and also got to watch the Emirates Team New Zealand boat launch for a training run in the bay.
Automotive time travel
The Mille Miglia, or “thousand miles” race, in Brescia, Italy is an automotive mecca of sorts. A direct descendant of the legendary race that occurred from 1927 to 1957, the event now showcases some of the legends of automotive racing. No longer carrying the stigma of a race that killed 56 people over its 30-year span, the current iteration brings the likes of vintage Ferraris, Alfas, BMWs and Aston Martins to the world stage for a few days of glory. We were there to capture it all in an inspiring photo essay.
A pre-dawn mission up stolen chimney
The sun still hadn’t crested the Colorado River when our dust-covered van pulled into the Fisher Towers trailhead parking lot. Many of the desert climbs that Moab, Utah is famous for are packed from the early season until the first snow begins falling in November, but our pre-dawn mission to climb the Stolen Chimney route up Ancient Art Tower had been precisely timed to avoid spring crowds on the rock; after a few light storms the previous days and an ungodly wake-up call, we had the crag to ourselves. Read on to see the full photo essay.
From Geneva with Love
Patek Philippe has a well-earned reputation as one of the premiere watch manufactures in the world, and their recent exhibition in New York City underscored this fact with what can only be described as a shock-and-awe campaign of stunning effectiveness. We would know — we were there. Read on for our photo essay of the event.
Hot laps in the Brooklyn Navy Yard
It’s 6pm on Saturday, June 8, and what’s been a very rainy spring has broken just in time for an event best described as a cross between a Formula 1 race and a playful reenactment of the The Breakfast Club: the Red Hook Criterium, Brooklyn Navy Yard edition. We were on hand to document the bicycle race for our week of cycling.
A Photo Essay
It started with an email from my buddy.
Meet you in the lobby of the Islazul Gran Hotel De Camaguey @8am on March 18th, 2013. I will be in touch – Peregrine.
Actually, we’d talked about the possibility of a Cuba trip when Mycah — his name isn’t always Peregrine — and his wife found out the she’d been awarded a fellowship to study urban agriculture there. I had not booked my tickets. I wasn’t really sure I’d go because it was near a grand between the flight to Cancun and the next one to Havana, plus I’d been traveling a lot the past year. I told him it was 50/50. Then in early March I was offered a quick business trip to Cancun ending in mid-March. You don’t balk when serendipity tugs at your Johnson, so I shot off a quick email reply: F*ck it. Tickets booked. See you there.
Bike Geek Spoken Here
The annual traveling circus known as the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) is the high point of the year for the arcane world of custom crafted bikes. I connected with the 2013 edition of the show in Denver a few weeks ago, and I was damn lucky to have my bike-geek daughter along as an interpreter.
On the slopes with ski patrol
The call comes on the radio almost as soon as Belle and her handler, Gerald, reach to top of the Snake Creek lift. There’s been an avalanche in the resort boundary. Two skiers are buried. They spring into action, the tension and excitement apparent in Belle as the two head along the Snake Creek Bowl traverse to the slide area. Within seconds, Belle has caught the scent of a victim and barrels across the snow field, letting the ski patrol members know where to follow with her eager barking. Her nose leads here directly to the first buried skier, whom she helps dig out. Read on to find out what it’s like to spend a day on the slopes with an avalanche rescue squad.
Baggage for a lifetime
It’s no secret that it’s boom time for American-made heritage products, and companies as diverse as Stormy Kromer, LL Bean and Randolph Engineering are making the most of it. Even within this resurgence of handmade Americana, there is a further niche: Minnesota-made. Maybe it’s the popularity of the urban lumberjack aesthetic or a just a fondness for Midwestern honesty, but there’s no denying that brands from America’s icebox are hotter than ever.
We’ve highlighted some Minnesota companies before — Red Wing Shoes, Duluth Pack and Faribault Woolen Mills — but we recently got a chance to visit another venerable company nestled right in the gritty urban heart of Minnesota’s capital, St. Paul: J.W. Hulme. We stopped in, hoping to see what this bespoke baggage maker is all about.
Biscotti, Pavarotti, Maserati
Maserati’s singular focus on high-end beautiful Italian machinery has made them masters. The GranTurismo, GranTurismo Convertible and the Quattroporte are all essentially a variant on one auto. They’re vehicles with gorgeous lines and roaring V8s; each is designed to be (Maserati vernacular) “a good host” (however, as Olivia Munn and Mario Lopez demonstrate, good hosts…
Putting the Town Car days in the rear view
For city slickers, Lincoln is the company car to a midtown meeting. The recently discontinued Town Car was easily the most recognizable Lincoln: the car of choice for livery cab drivers and Warren Buffett. This wasn’t sustainable. Not too long ago, parent company Ford and primary competitor Cadillac faced a similar problem. How do you…
Four on the floor
With fresh changes to design language inside and outside of recent models like the XC60 and C30, Volvo has impressed buyers in the luxury/European markets, tempting some potential German-made owners to their (safe) side of the road. In hopes of continuing that trend, Volvo’s released an affordable AWD option for their entry-level, 2.5L engine 2013…
A horological candy store comes to New York City
If you live in New York City and have even a passing interest in watches, then you were probably at TimeCrafters, held at the Park Avenue Armory this past weekend. If you weren’t, don’t worry. Gear Patrol dispatched photographer Jae Yoon to capture every interesting tick and tock. You can see his photos after the…
Lone Star Lovin'
Sometimes we wonder, given the job prospects and varying degrees of instability, if writing auto reviews was the right decision for our lives. But then we realize that if Fate had wanted us to be anything else, we wouldn’t look so dang good behind the wheel. And so it goes, saddling up our horses we…