Tuesday, January 26

airports and trade-shows

For the frequent lay-over-er, killing time in an airport can become something of an art form. After my 18th flight in the last 2 months, and unquestionably the worst lay-over of my life (11.5 hours in the middle of a 40 hour international), I feel that my airport time killing technique is getting quite honed. Here, I've revealed a few of my best secrets, some of which were developed just days ago on my return from a two month trip to Asia.. 1) Internet- the ultimate time waster. This one seems like nothing of a secret but in-fact finding FREE internet can be quite tricky.. I've found that many of the VIP lounges offer free internet that often manages to seep through the fancy brushed glass doors- post up outside and freely facebook for days. Another cheap (not free) option is to head to the local coffee spot and buy the cheapest thing on the menu (typically an apple or a cup of tea which can still run $3.75+ depending on the airport) they will have an internet code and you will be golden for hours. 2) Sleep. Finding a quiet, semi-comfortable spot is not easy, you will have to wander a while- but remember we are trying to kill time so wandering shouldn't be frowned upon. Empty gates are always a good bet, and shoes can make surprisingly good pillows. If you need something to take the edge off first, the kind people at Ever Rich Duty Free would be more than happy to help you sample 5 varieties of Johnny Walker.. it's called the duty free night cap- don't be ashamed. 3) Magazines. If you don't mind standing for a bit, you can post up in a news shop for a good 45min+ before being asked to purchase or leave (has happened to me many-a-time), but don't fear, within a hundred yards you'll surely find that very same issue of Home and Garden. Remember.. every airport has its own lay-over secrets as well. You would do right to ask a local about what time wasting resources may exist.

Needless to say, it feels good to be home. I clocked more flying time in the last two months than I typically do in two years, but, looking back on a killer solo trip to Asia while the front range was in the deep freeze is not such a bad thing. As soon as I got in (literally), I turned back west to Salt Lake City for the Winter Outdoor Retailer. Nothing like some bright fluorescent lights and an overwhelming amount of socializing to help you through a 14 hour time change.

There is always a handful of friends and interesting characters at the show that I would otherwise rarely see- which is often reason enough to attend. In addition however, I got a chance to catch up with my sponsors as well as support Paige on her way to a third place finish at SCS Nationals. She has proven herself yet again in the comp scene, taking another podium position despite her ever-growing interest in climbing outside (and with it, a waning interest in comps). While she managed to remain shockingly calm under pressure, I was on the sidelines sweating, biting my nails and bellowing nervous laughter.. truly not cut out for competition- Stoked for Paige though.

Among notable industry news.. the unstoppable minds at Arcteryx have developed the most advanced glove system on the planet (sounds dorky, but I'm 100% serious) and we have got a completely re-designed base layer system for 2010- including underwear! The Atom jacket is a light weight, super packable, well priced insulating layer that I've been using and loving for months- it's available in three cuts and four colors. La Sportiva is releasing a women version of the super versatile Miura VS and a brand new running shoe with sticky rubber that is perhaps the coolest looking shoe ever created by mortals, the Raptor. Sterling Rope is making the slim Nano in 7 colors now, including extension cord orange and barbie doll pink (PSYCHED). Metolius has got a new helmet that actually covers your whole brain basket and is super comfortable. Innate Gear continues to kick Bisphenol A (BPA) to the curb while making simple, yet elegant vacuum bottles and food containers- I'm a self-proclaimed thermos critic and I must say the Kaze warrants 5 stars all day.

Now I'm back in Boulder town, happily un-packed and enjoying my own bed. I've got a refridge full of goodies and a hot shower with water pressure to spare... mmmm.. comforts.. I'm excited to train, set some routes and enjoy the crisp temps on some front range sandstone. My plans for the next few months are rapidly solidifying and despite some reluctance regarding ever setting foot in another airport, I'm STOKED on the near future. stay tuned for details.

Speaking of stoked, I am extremely honored to receive the Golden Piton Award for my climbing efforts in 2009. Every year I diligently read through the January Climbing Magazine, admiring all of the athletes fit for the award while shaking my head at the scale of their achievements. I've always enjoyed this issue, and quite honestly I never, ever imagined I would personally receive one. I'm very proud of how much I've grown as a rock climber over the last few years and 2009 unquestionably represents a breakthrough year for me. I'm super humbled to accept the award among such talent and forever thankful to my community of friends and family whom I climb, eat, sleep, bullshit and relax with (among other activities). Thank you Climbing Magazine!