The Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) is the world’s longest winter ultramarathon by mountain bike, foot and ski. It follows the historic Iditarod Trail from Knik, AK, over the Alaska Range to McGrath and on to Nome. If you like to run and ride in severe winter conditions and sleep outside in the frozen tundra, then this is the race for you.
Because their flavor profiles range from hearty to downright bacon-filled savoriness, Rauchbiers — especially smoked porters — are the perfect winter beer, sipped alone or paired with charred meats. Crack one of these five in your living room in front of a roaring fire; if you don’t have a fireplace, it won’t be hard to imagine one.
Raising the Bar
As a greater number of athletes experiment with more natural fuel sources, nutrition bars have followed suit with ingredients heavy on nuts, berries, dates, chia seeds and agave syrup. Many are organic and gluten-free. The result is a better bar for athletes, one easier to digest than ever before. Here are a handful we’re eating now.
The Mountain Series ~ Part I of III
From the Archives: The rotor wash from a Bell 212 helicopter is startlingly strong. Though I was getting used to the pick up and drop off routine — kneel, huddle together, cover your face — every time the helicopter landed I was nearly blown off my feet. Peering out the side window as we lifted straight up from a postage-stamp-sized rock atop a peak called “Kickoff”, I noticed that getting blown over here would have meant a very long fall. Note to self: don’t be the guy at the back of the huddle.
60, 61, 75, 90, 120, Floor
Though Dogfish Head currently produces 33 beers, 65 percent of their sales come from their five “continuously hopped” IPAs — the 60, Sixty-One, 75, 90 and 120 Minute. We tasted them all, in numerical order, and learned much more about Dogfish Head, and craft beer in general, than we expected.
Love Knows No Boundaries
The argument has sound logic: your wife was technically on vacation when she came along to provide support during your last attempt at Leadville. She used up her vacation time, after all, and you did book a couples massage. But there’s nothing romantic or decent about compression socks and 3 a.m. wake-up calls. You’ve got to take a real vacation. We’ve got three suggestions for romantic destinations that may not have been on your list.
Insight from our man on the ground
I’m in Sochi this week, and guess what? I haven’t been blown up, my phone hasn’t been hacked, my hotel room is quite nice and the water from the taps isn’t brown. Instead I’ve seen some amazing athletes doing some amazing things on the ice and snow and had my preconceptions sincerely rattled.
The Fat Kid's Guide to Decent Snacking
Decrying the snack a week after the Super Bowl might seem heretical, but look: if you don’t stop your addictions to croissants or lard-chips or the ungodly delicious class of “puffed” snacks, one of these days you’re going to need a triple bypass, and there’s no use blaming genetics. So rather than even considering cutting down or stopping entirely, I’ve decided to head off cholesterol at the pass with some healthier snacking alternatives. Be strong, friend.
Low Hanging Fruit
For anyone uncomfortable with pills, powders, shots and gels, Mother Nature offers an alternative way to stay healthy this winter. We’re talking berries, those tart little packets of juicy goodness. But beware: not all berries are created equal, and some go together better than others. Our resident fruitarian breaks down some of the most popular options.
A Dram of Tam
Founded in 1923, Cutty Sark originally made a name for itself by offering an accessibly priced blended cocktail Scotch. By the 1960s, Cutty Sark produced the best-selling Scotch whisky in the United States; then it disappeared. In 2010, The Edrington Group bought Cutty with hopes of reviving the dying brand. The brand’s new line now consists of six whiskies, three of which are available in the United States.
To Russia We Fly
Packing for a trip to Russia for the Sochi Olympics is no small feat. There’s weather, international travel, technology and a desire to stay light on our feet to consider. Gear needs to be tough, functional, lightweight and understated. Here’s a sampling of what we’re packing to use on a normal day in Sochi.
Go, Speed, Go!
One of the most iconic cars the world has ever seen doesn’t even exist. It’s sleek, has a three-pointed front end, a huge red M emblazoned on the hood, myriad gadgets like saw blades and a periscope and sometimes has a little kid and a crazy chimpanzee in the trunk. It’s Speed Racer’s Mach 5, and both the car and its super-skinny driver made an indelible impression on me as a boy. More than candy and snow days, I longed for the next episode of Speed Racer with its high drama, fast cars and peril on and off the track.
You might think: packing for the Sundance Film Festival, all I need are my spectacles, some comfy corduroys and a family box of Goobers chocolate-coated peanuts. That might be fine if you’re heading to Smitty’s Cinema in Tilton, NH, to watch That Awkward Moment with your friend Dennis, but not for America’s premiere independent film festival. This is Sundance, baby. This is A-list. This is Redford country. We had boots on the ground this year, and we packed to work remotely, hit Main Street in (relative) style and take the edge off back at the condo.
Precious metals, mountain gem
Park City’s reputation as a winter resort is outsized: It was the home of skiing and snowboarding events during the 2002 Winter Olympics in nearby Salt Lake City; it remains the training grounds for the United States Ski Team; and it plays host to the Sundance Film Festival. We came for the latter, but we found an idyllic mountain town where the sun shines almost every day, an unironic trolley rambles along Main Street and beautiful women wear leggings and fur vests. Need a little help planning a long weekend there? We’ve got you covered.
Nurture Your Independent Streak
Scan the news coming from the movers and shakers in the movie press, and you’ll be sure Sundance 2014 was a bust. Money (surprise!) is apparently the new measuring stick for the festival. We can thank the Little Miss Sunshine VW bandwagon for that. It’s true that studios and Weinsteins of the world kept their wallets generally cheekside — who isn’t these days — but plenty of standout films were still shared with audiences throughout the week in Park City. Of the 121 in the lineup, here are some standouts worth hunting down in 2014.
Seeking the Reel Deal
This year was the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival, when Park City, UT, becomes the center of the celluloid universe and nearly 50,000 people descend on a mountain town of 7,500 inhabitants. Sundance is widely considered the most important film festival in the U.S., the incubator for films that resonate deeply in American popular culture. What’s more, the festival makes for a raucous week in the Wasatch Range. We were on hand this year to see how it all works. Here’s our guide on where to stay, what to eat and, most importantly, how to go about your festival week.
Be Safe and Have Fun
You’re going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and you’re going to be fine. Still, you should always reduce risk. The following tips minimize your exposure to terrorist activity and will also offer protection against criminal elements during your stay.
Because You Can't Bobsled 24/7
When the Winter Olympics kick off on February 7th, we’ll have a correspondent on the ground, leaving the rest of us at the GP HQ to wonder why we can’t take a week off to watch sports, while the weather in Russia — Russia! — is warmer than New York City. We’re not bitter. In fact, to keep him safe, entertained and entirely prepared we’ve put together a quick pocket guide to Sochi.
Blowing $25 million at the 30th anniversary of the Breeders' Cup
Ask any casual fan what the Superbowl of horse racing is and they’ll answer the Kentucky Derby. Pose the same question to a member of the horse racing community and they’ll quickly point to the Breeders’ Cup. Deciding who’s right depends on the measuring stick. History, attendance records and cultural recognition easily favor the Derby. But when it comes to cold hard cash, the Breeders’ Cup is clearly king.
We were invited to experience the scene for ourselves during the 30th anniversary of the lauded event at historic Santa Anita park, California’s oldest race track.
Think First Shoot Later
Here they are. Not this one. That would be thriller, singular. We’re talking about thrillers, the action genre’s brainer little brother, and the subject of the tenth and final installment in our Definitive Men’s Movie Collection. Like actions, thrillers get your blood pumping, though they use more subtle tactics — suspense over pyrotechnics. We’ve heard it said that with thrillers, you don’t need to pay for your whole seat — just the edge. That’s silly, because most theaters make you pay for your whole seat regardless, but we understand the sentiment. Have we saved the best for last? You decide.
Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival
Trevor Groth first visited the Sundance Film Festival in 1989 at the age of 17. The experience changed his life, eventually leading him to a job as Director of Programming at Sundance, presiding over the strategic planning and selection process of the now-iconic film festival. Translation? He’s paid to watch and discuss movies produced by the planet’s most talented filmmakers and then picks which movies the world should definitely see. We caught up him in the middle of the 2013 festival to pick his brain about his process, how to experience the festival right and the state of the indie film scene at large.
Limited Release, 13-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey
Drinking alone gets a bad rap, but there’s having a drink alone and then there’s really drinking alone, getting after it, sitting on a creaky chair the garage with a case of Keystone and no real plans to speak of except to power through it. Be careful with that. But in the first scenario a man reaches beneath his desk around 6:00 p.m., puts The Best of Dean Martin on the phonograph, starts nodding to the music, and pours himself a measure of something good and strong. During a recent six o’clock hour we opened up a bottle of Lock Stock & Barrel ($118) straight rye whiskey — and it’s just about as smooth and rich as Dino’s voice.
In Vino We Trust
For a long time we’ve been put off by wine — its rules and regulations, its esoteric language, its arcane, Old-World naming regimes. Then the floodgates opened and there was two-dollar wine, highbrow boxed wine, wines that could be chilled and others that could be warmed. And guess what? It was all still pretty confusing.
But the truth is that no other drink pairs so exceptionally with food as wine does, and then, the drink has romance and mystery, too; it carries a certain tradition and importance that’s undeniable, indeed, biblical; it has fun pastimes like stomping grapes, sabering bottles and having important conversations about literature. So we’ve done what we should have done all along: created a guide to everything there is to know about wine, an extensive flight of wine knowledge. It begins with a layman’s guide to understanding the varietals.
Around the World in 50 Movies
When most of us hear the word “movie”, we think of Hollywood — fair, given the global domination of Hollywood-produced Spielberg and Harry Potter films, but perhaps a tad ignorant, considering India’s Bollywood produces twice Hollywood’s output every year and reaches a larger audience. As demonstrated by the quality of the films in the Streaming Cinephile piece that we posted a while back, foreign films deserve a place in the spotlight. But while that list only featured foreign language films available for streaming on Netflix, this list features the top foreign language films, period.
What to See, Read and Hear
There’s too much damn information floating around these days: interesting things to read, beautiful places to see, impressive figures to remember. Lucky for you, your weekly digest of culture starts right here. This week, it’s all about the ever-burgeoning film-festival-meets-ski-bunnies: Sundance.
In 1923, a pharmaceutical representative named Shinjiro Torii built a distillery in Yamazaki with the dream of creating a Japanese whisky for the Japanese people. His original distillery evolved into Suntory, a holding company that recently made a $13.62 billion cash play for Beam, Inc., makers of Jim Beam brand spirits, Old Crow, and Maker’s Mark, among others. If it goes through, Suntory will become the third largest whiskey company by volume in the world. What does this mean for the whiskey (and whisky) world?
A look inside New York's first ever Bourbon
On a brisk Manhattan morning, we met with Ralph Erenzo of Hudson Whiskey for a taste test. He introduced us to Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey ($45), the first bourbon whiskey ever made in New York, and the first legal pot-distilled whiskey made in New York since prohibition. Made from 100 percent New York corn and aged in American Oak barrels, it proves that not all good bourbon needs to come from the South.
All's Fair in Love and Films
You know the one I’m talking about. The first. The one that made you say, “oh, so this is what everyone’s on about.” When she smiled, you wanted to laugh, and when she laughed, you wanted to laugh, too. That’s l’amour. Love, for you non-francophiles. Nothing like it in the world. Nothing can bring you so high, and then drop you so low.
Romance movies aim to capture this ride — the highs of love found, the lows of love lost, and everything in between. They help us see that the elusive (feeling? emotion? noun?) happens to everyone — sometimes when we least expect it — and makes us do and say crazy things. They prove to us that we’re not alone; love shapes our lives, changing everyone it touches, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. We feel you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We know your pain.
Cold weather, cold smoke, cold beers.
Most of us calculate Paid Time Off based on formulas that are too sad to enumerate. Suffice it to say those hours rarely add up to week-long ski vacations at our leisure. But parse them out just so and you can be taking long weekends whenever the heavens open up. Make the most of it by choosing mountain resorts with bankable terrain and close proximity to an airport — like any of these 10 world-class ski areas.
Outdoor adventure in Kyrgyzstan
Combine partial nudity and breathtaking landscapes and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty good movie; throw in world-class alpinist Kyle Dempster, a bicycle and the Kyrgyzstan wilderness, well, then you get an unexpected and touching adventure film. Dempster set out in 2011 for a six-week trip in the Central Asian country, armed with a bicycle for transportation and a bag of climbing gear for soloing unclimbed alpine rock and mixed routes. The result is an award-winning film, The Road from Karakol, that’s raw, funny and insightful.