In Search of Powder Days: Every U.S. State’s Snowiest Ski Resort (Infographic)

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"Boston just got five feet of snow," a long time trip partner of mine lamented a few weeks ago, "and at Fernie, they're reporting the worst conditions in 20 years." If you're into skiing and snowboarding, you know you're often at the mercy of Mother Nature. On a trip to Revelstoke Mountain Resort several years ago, my trip mates and I found more snow than we knew what to do with. The same year, we left Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks after a few hours of skiing because the majority of our favorite runs were, at best, steeply sloping skating rinks.

Some years, the fluffy white stuff falls freely at just the right time, and other years, all we can do is make the best of what we've got, or rely on mad-made snow. If you frequently travel in search of powder days, though snowfall is unpredictable, there are states and resorts in those states that get more snowfall than others. Suburban Chicago-based Williams Ski and Patio compiled data around natural snowfall totals for states that get enough inches of snow to tally. They also looked at the snowiest resorts across the country, and here's what they found.*

Gear Review and Coupon Code: Jambu Women's Blossom Shoes

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When it comes to casual footwear, finding the perfect balance between comfort, style, and functionality can be a challenge. Heels aren't ideal for walking around in, and athletic shoes or hiking boots you've spent hours breaking in aren't ideal for time spent out on the town.

The team behind Manhattan-based Jambu footwear aims to bring comfort and practicality to the forefront of shoe design without sacrificing style. The company's footwear products are inspired by the Jambu tree, by the beauty of the rainforest, and the concept that all of life is an adventure. Of course, every adventurer needs the right footwear.  

Enter the Women's Blossom, a classic Mary Jane-style pair of shoes designed for active women looking for cute, casual, and functional footwear.

Trip Report: Winter Hiking at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

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Entering Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, trails covered in ice and snow.
One of my favorite things about winter hiking is, more often than not, trails that are crowded during the hiking high season are almost entirely deserted. The forest is quieter, familiar terrain becomes slightly unfamiliar, and everything looks completely different.

A few weekends ago, I paid a visit to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania for a first-time winter hike. According to the organization's website, the sanctuary itself is part scientific research center, part conservation training site, part eco-tourism destination, and one of the best places in northeastern North America to view the annual autumn hawk migration. It's also "the world's largest member-supported raptor conservation organization." (Source.)

#ORInsightLab Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Trailbreaker Pants

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Out playing in the snow in Vermont.
(L. Bender)
When I consider a new pair of pants for winter outdoor adventures, my list of requirements is pretty significant. They have to keep me warm, but not too warm. They have to move with me. They have to be comfortable, fit well, and look decent. They have to serve multiple purposes, including giving me space to store small things I need quick access to. And they have to be able to take a beating. Not too bad, right?

As part of this winter's #ORInsightLab, I got to test the Outdoor Research Women's Trailbreaker Pants, a pair of knickers designed to give you freedom of movement while ski touring, and more. I took them out in the snow in Pennslvania and Vermont to see if they could meet my not-too-bad list of criteria for winter lower body apparel.

The Trailbreaker Pants aren't new to the market; they've evolved since their initial release. What does this mean for those of us who like to play in the snow? It means, for one thing, we can trust that every seam, every piece of fabric, every pocket, and every zipper has a purpose. (I love the concept of working to improve an existing design rather than creating  a new one; kudos to the OR team.) Up until recently, the company didn't have a ski touring-specific collection, and as skiing is one of their core sports, creating one made sense.

Book Review and Giveaway: The Kindness Diaries, by Leon Logothetis

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The colorful cover speaks volumes about what's inside.
If you're human, you've probably had a dream. A crazy, ridiculous, hair-brained, why-on-earth-would-anyone-ever-think-this-would-happen kind of dream. A dream that you might doubt is reasonable or even possible as you begin to think it through, and even when you're in the middle of chasing it.

Leon Logothesis's story, chronicled in The Kindness Diaries, begins in a way that sounds familiar. Many people I've met or read about find themselves with wanderlust as their affliction because they're determined to break out of what most of us would deem a successful existence in search of something more meaningful. People who seem to have everything figured out, and who've followed traditional paths that brought them wealth, stability and/or fame. Existential crisis after existential crisis leaves Leon in a desperate search for human connection, and we meet him in The Kindness Diaries after he's explored a unique way to medicate his wanderlust - through kindness.