From the inspiring to the tragic, this is GearJunkie’s wrap on exploration and adventure news of the week. Here’s what you missed and a few things to look forward to.
Talk about a wild week at the Olympic Winter Games.
First, Swiss skier Beat Feuz (35) set a new precedent on Feb. 7 by clocking the fastest downhill ski time in Olympic history — more than 68 mph on average. His gold-winning performance of 1:42.69 outpaced French skier Johan Clarey’s by one-tenth of a second.
Clarey’s silver-medal performance was historic in its own right — at 41, he’s now the event’s oldest podium taker by 5 years. American Bode Miller held the previous record, which he set in 2014 at the age of 36.
Snowboard great and three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White wrapped up his fifth and final Olympics on Feb. 10. The Flying Tomato finished fourth in the halfpipe event, his specialty.
Despite just missing the podium, White was upbeat and said he’s looking forward to life after competitive snowboarding. Sounds like he’ll hit the ground running, too — January marked the launch of his new snowboard equipment and clothing brand, Whitespace.
On Feb. 13, Americans Lindsey Jacobellis (36) and Nick Baumgartner (40) captured gold in the Olympic debut of mixed snowboard cross. The pair of Oly veterans (it’s Jacobellis’ fourth and Baumgartner’s fifth) were the oldest team in the event. “To come out here and perform the way we did being the oldest two competitors is pretty cool,” Baumgartner told reporters.
Their victory was Team USA’s fifth gold and Jacobellis’ second in Beijing’s Winter Games; the powdersmith took first in women’s snowboard cross on Feb. 9.
In more sobering news, inclement weather in Patagonia has thwarted efforts to recover the body of alpinist Corrado ‘Korra’ Pesce. Pesce, an extremely accomplished climber and mountaineer, perished in an avalanche on the north face of Cerro Torre last month.
Fellow alpinists Matteo Della Bordella, Matteo De Zaiacomo, and David Bacci christened their newly established route on Cerro Torre ‘Brothers In Arms,’ in honor of Pesce.
View this post on Instagram
The U.S. National Toboggan Championships returned to Camden, Maine, after last year’s COVID hiatus — the first in a decades-long run. Now in its 31st iteration, the quirky toboggan competition drew 400 teams of two to four individuals and a nationwide fanbase.
Its objective is simple: teams must slide down a 440-foot chute onto a frozen pond at the base of a hill. The fastest team wins. Learn more and check out the results at camdensnowbowl.com.
In 2021, Emily Ford and her trusty sled dog Diggins forged a new path for BIPOC and women by thru-hiking the entire 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail in winter. And they’re back at it again in 2022 — this time on skis.
On Feb. 11, the expeditious pair set out from Crane Lake, Minn., for a 200-mile ski/skijor along the Minnesota-Ontario border, reports ExplorersWeb. This year’s tour will end in Grand Portage near Lake Superior, and Ford aims to complete it within 30 days’ time.
Follow @emilyontrail to keep up with their journey.
A federal judge ruled to restore Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf on Feb. 10. Those protections had been lifted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under orders from the Trump administration in 2020, reports the Washington Post.
In revoking protections, “the Service avoids analyzing these wolves by concluding, with little explanation or analysis, that wolves outside of the core populations are not necessary to the recovery of the species,” Justice Jeffrey S. White stated in the 26-page ruling.
His decision comes after 20 wolves were poached just outside of the Yellowstone National Park boundary line in Montana. The ruling does not apply to wolf populations of the Northern Rockies.
An aerial image of two widely cast fishing nets has won the Save Our Seas Foundation Marine Conservation distinction at this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year awards. The shot, taken in Vietnam by 34-year-old native Thien Nguyen Ngoc, serves as “a stark visual reminder of man’s reach and control over the surrounding habitat and its devastating effect on the natural balance,” stated awards judge, Peter Rowlands.
“Photography is a very powerful tool for me and photographers like me to deliver a conservation message to the world because the language of photography is universal,” Ngoc said.
Eddie Bauer is calling all outdoor-oriented LGBTQIA+ filmmakers to apply for its second-annual ‘One Outside’ Film Grant. In 2021, the program, which focuses on amplifying work created by members of underrepresented communities, awarded grants to BIPOC filmmakers.
This year, Eddie Bauer will provide up to six $10,000 grants to ‘One Outside’ applicants that identify as LGBTQIA+. Applications are open through March 17, 2022. Learn more and apply at eddiebauer.com/campaign/one-outside-film-grant.