Through some unusual connections at work and even more unusual
circumstances by email, I landed an opportunity to meet with the head
of the rigging department for the Cirque Du Soleil Show – Corteo.
They’re currently based in Portland, and I happened to be visiting
friends in nearby Vancouver, so he agreed to take me on a backstage
First off, I should confess, I thought I had a fairly good
understanding of rigging for climbing and mountaineering, and I’ve
been exposed to several search-and-rescue clinics and seminars.
Complex rope work and sound anchors are a critical component for
multi-pitch climbing and difficult mountaineering objectives. But then
I learned the ‘Hollywood’ form of rigging, and I was bowled over.
There’s another world on the stage, and another world above that one
on the catwalk over the stage.
The Corteo show by Cirque Du Soleil is headed over to Seattle next
month – April 24th to May 25th – and it’s definitely worth it. Find
out more info here: www.cirquedusoleil.com
Cool Stuff |
Out There Monthly‘s sister publication, The Go Green Directory, was awarded the first annual Children of the Sun Spokane Peace Prize on Friday. This award honors people and organizations in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho for outstanding contributions to environmental endeavors. Other Spokane Peace Prize winners included Hearts of America Northwest, and peace activist Al Mangan.
The Go Green Directory is produced by a partnership of Bill Bloom, Juliet Sinisterra, and Jon Snyder. It grew out of OTM‘s popular Sustainable Living column and is now in it’s 4th year of publishing a guide to green and sustainable living in the Inland Northwest. Free copies are available at many locations and a free pdf version of the current edition can be downloaded at http://www.gogreendirectory.com/
Thanks to Tom Brooks and everyone who coordinated the Spokane Peace Prizes and the Spokane Essay Contest that was also awarded on Friday.
Spokane Bicycle Club members pictured L to R:
Jim Brown, Cyrus McLean, Tim Arneson, Paul Eichen, Michael Conley, Al Koscal, and Charlie Greenwood.
After an extra long and snowy winter, Spokane Bicycle Club volunteers ushered in the best sign of spring for eager bicycle riders – a workday to tune up 60 BMX bikes for Spokane Public School teachers to use in health and fitness classes. The club checks the bikes over each spring and fall so that teachers can concentrate on their students and the important safety curriculum for 4th through 6th graders.
The John P. Jundt Head Injury Foundation awarded a grant to replace worn tires and parts this year through the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. The BMX bikes have been in use since 1992, and were purchased with donations from Spokane Firefighters Local #29, Spokane Police Guide, Aurora Northwest Rotary, The Downtown Rotary Foundation, Qual-Med Health Plan and North Division Bicycle Shop.
The Jundt foundation also provided funds so that mountain bikes used in Middle School and High School physical education classes will receive a professional tune-up by North Division Bicycle Shop before spring and fall classes. The Jundt foundation has helped support the bicycle education curriculum since 2005. Children learn to fit their bike helmets, check over their bikes for mechanical soundness, practice bike handling skills, and age-appropriate traffic skills such as riding on right side of the road, hand signals, and obeying traffic laws.
In the last two years, all health and fitness instructors in Spokane Schools were offered a training program, Road I from the League of American Bicyclists, to improve their riding skills and knowledge of safe riding habits. Training was due to a unique grant that was received with the cooperation of the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, Spokane Regional Transportation Council and Spokane Public Schools.
Submitted by Eileen Hyatt
The view of Lake C’dA as seen from Tubbs Hill at 8AM, Friday 3/14. // Photo By jon Snyder
The Centennial Trail is now snow-free to Coeur d’Alene—except for a short patch at the rest stop right before the Northwest Blvd. exit! Why not get out your bike and go?
I did Thursday and Friday and had a great time. I learned a few things on the trail:
• If you want to do an overnight ride to C’dA and stay in a motel now is the time. I got a room at the Budget Saver on Sherman for $37.50! (High season rate $89!)
• Very few people on the trail on weekday in March. I found out why when I was caught in a wicked sideways hailstorm out by Barker Road on the way home.
• If you see a dark shape that looks like a moose in the river it might actually be a guy in waders fly fishing.
• The Post Falls Outlet Mall is on it’s last legs.
• The Centennial Trail takes tricky twists and turns in Post Falls. Watch the sign hardcore and make sure to cross Seltice Way at Highway 41 in order to pick up the stretch of trail that runs next to I-90.
• Mt. View Cyclery’s Post Falls store is right on trail off of Spokane St. Great for picking up trip supplies.
• If you are feeling hungry going west past State Line you can take a Liberty Lake City Trail on the south bank of the river and ride into LL for some eats.
• Power Grips are real cool alternative to clip-in pedals for longer trips.
• C’dA is pretty good city to ride a bike in but I only saw one other bike on the street the two days I was there.
• Takara Japanese restaurant on Lakeside has a great cold sake selection served in the square wood cups.
• Some bozos destroyed the drinking fountain on the trail in Mission Park.
This quick trip was a blast. Next up; Reardan? Davenport?
OTM wanted to get opinions on the proposed Mt. Spokane expansion, so we asked the former county commissioner John Roskelley if we could reprint a few emails he sent out detailing his position. We hope to publish a response from someone who supports the expansion. Please send us your comments on this important issue. Here are Roskelley’s emails:
“Fellow Environmentalists, Conservationists and Skiers (which most of us are):
I have been involved in the effort to prevent Mt. Spokane 2000 from expanding into the PASEA (north side) since the beginning. The issue has unfortunately pitted the environmental community, many of whom ski, against the non-profit Mt. Spokane 2000 group, skiers community-wide, and a variety of user groups. The Mt. Spokane 2000 group believes additional ski terrain will solve their financial woes. It won’t. The expense of expansion is in the millions, money they don’t have. The ski area is drawing from a finite quantity of skiers, who have the choice of skiing at four other quality facilities within a one to two hour drive. Mt. Spokane needs to upgrade their present facility, not expand. The area needs a new lodge, upgraded and newer chairs, replacement of failing septic systems, major renovation of its parking and storm water control, and a variety of improvements to other facilities. What Mt. Spokane needs to bring in additional skiers is a quality experience, not quantity. (more…)
News | 4
The inaugural 2008 Flying Irish Running Club turnout surprised
everyone last Thursday. No one anticipated such a crowd. [Could it have something to do with the article in the current issue of OTM? - ed.]One Flying
Irish runner felt this turnout was three times greater than the 2007
Cool yet calm evening weather and some grassroots fanfare contributed
to the turnout, however rough estimates suggest that about 20% of the
runners were ‘Flying Irish virgins’. Peter Breach launched the event
by having everyone fill out a nametag so that when they returned from
their run each person took a different nametag and needed to find that
person in order to buy them a quality O’Doherty’s brew. The plan
wasn’t flawless, but it did create a lot of new introductions.
Only 1 person was ‘shirted’ on Thursday. His Irish Joke rated 3 out 4
stars – something about two nuns and a bottle of whiskey. He should
also be credited with laying the groundwork for a lot more laughter to
come at future Flying Irish gatherings.
- Jon Jonckers
Yet another in our series of outdoor recreation album covers. The late Porter Wagoner loved fishing so much he put this photo on the cover of his 1970 album. Includes the hit “Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff.” Record came courtesy of Jon Jonckers.
Cool Stuff |
A loyal reader named Kara sent this response to our recent editorial:
“Your Outside Magazine rant was right-on & mimicked thoughts that I had when I received my monthly edition in the mail. The lack of attention regarding Sir Edmund Hillary (one of my heroes) appalled myself as well, especially when the current issue bragged of being “the green issue.” If I remember correctly Sir Edmund Hillary was quite the greenie himself, it would have been far more appropriate if Hillary graced the cover than the surf-pop king Jack Johnson whose blaringly white teeth burned my retinas upon first glance. To continue my rant I would like to further touch on the fact that David Beckham and Sienna Miller were included in the issue, as I’m sure they were in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. If I wanted to read about Sienna and “Bend it like Beckham” himself, I would have told my grandfather to get me Us Weekly for Christmas instead. The amount of attractive people in the current issue and gracing the covers lately is distracting. (more…)
Even though I’ve always been fond of referring to Out There Monthly as a “regional version of Outside magazine,” nobody is going mistake me for a hardcore backwoods hardman. I won’t be giving Mark Jenkins or Hampton Sides a run for their money anytime soon. Grizzy Adams-types out there probably gave up on Outside years ago and switched to more dignified vessels for wilderness adventure like Mountain Gazzette.
I read Outside because it is the standard bearer for the entire outdoor industry, and historically they’ve had terrific writers. (Including the Inland Northwest’s own Nick Heil, former editor of the Sandpoint based precursor to OTM called Pursuit.) The magazine has always had a knack for publishing articles depicting how the great issues of our time play out in our outdoor pursuits. Last year’s piece on partying and pollution at Everest base camp is a great example.
But with the March 2008 issue Outside is starting to get silly. For years the magazine has been inserting more Men’s Health-style orgasms and aftershave content. Now Outside has unapologetically crossed over to being a male version of Cosmopolitan with more nature photography and slightly less ad pages.
On the cover is Kelly Slater. No Jack Johnson. Kelly Johnson, Jack Slater-can the United States produce enough surf-rock/rock surf stars to fill the remaining 9 of Outside‘s 2008 covers? Hopefully surfer Laird Hamilton will have to win a Nobel Peace Prize or marry Eddie Vedder before they can justify his fourth cover appearance. When did all these pretty surfers become the pinnacle of outdoor endeavor?
But don’t judge a magazine by it’s cover. On the inside six pages after telling me which hybrid SUV to buy (a Toyota Highlander), Outside has peak oil author Bill McKibbon telling me buying an SUV is not enough. Sustainable practices need to permeate every aspect of our lives and I applaud Outside for it’s green coverage but are they just trying assuage that their guilty conscience from all the full page ads they run from automakers and the Beef Council?
And how is it that the passing of one of the twentieth century’s great adventurer’s, Sir Edmund Hillary, rates just a paragraph in the new issue while an interview with two young fashion designers and their “style empire” gets a whole page?
I haven’t stopped reading Outside. Yet. I’m just asking the editors to use a smaller ladle to drip the cheese.
RAISE A PINT LADS. The Flying Irish Running Club is at it again. On March 6th, just a wee bit before St Patrick’s Day, the soon-to-be world famous Spokane running club will commence their third season, rain or shine, in front of O’Doherty’s Irish Grille.
For sure, the Flying Irish title is misleading. You don’t need to be Irish to join. No dues, no penalties, no age minimums or maximums, and no ivy green uniforms. You don’t even need to run. Basically, the Flying Irish creed centers on these three elements: 1.) We run every Thursday. Meet at 5:45 PM and run at 6:00 PM. Walk, jog, slog, or fly for about three miles. 2.) Show-up six times and you are awarded, via some sort of pseudo-ritualistic ceremony, the world famous Flying Irish Running Club Shirt. 3.) The coveted shirt is good for O’Doherty’s food and drink specials after the run.
The club founder, Peter Breach, credits the idea to an Irish running club in Pensacola, Florida, which in turn spawned other Irish running clubs across the country. Peter ducks praise, and dutifully points to the generous sponsors that make the Flying Irish possible. However, most participants agree that his genius has taken the friendly gathering to a whole other level.
Avid participant Chris Wells points out one of the most appreciated adjustments, “These aren’t just cotton T-shirts. Runners have dresser drawers FULL of cotton t-shirts from road races. This is a real, technical fabric, wicking t-shirt that a real runner would wear.”
Peter also deserves credit for pinpointing the best location possible. O’Doherty’s sits right across the street from the south side of Riverfront Park and the treasured Centennial Trail. It also falls midway between the fitness-minded Spokane Club and the athlete/athlete-enthusiasts of Gonzaga and the other U-District campuses. Best of all, Spokane’s leading runner-focused retailer, the Runners Soul, is barely a block away.
The success of the Flying Irish Running Club focuses on four aspects that attract over a hundred runners each week. First, the location plays a significant role, not just in convenience and demographics, but also in promoting Downtown Spokane and paying tribute to the beloved running statues on the southwest corner of Riverfront Park. Second, the exercise benefits are a no-brainer; who can argue with a modest 5k outing? Third, the social factor is a huge part of the club. Many of the Flying Irish train for additional races, marathons or even team relays throughout the year – and this gathering easily lends itself to pooling information, finding training partners, or unwinding a little bit before the weekend kicks off. Fourth, there’s no denying the tangible incentives -a FREE shirt, great beer and great food specials, and all the Irish jokes you can take.
Peter reiterates, “The most common question I get is ‘Does it cost anything’? and I always tell people ‘It only costs time. You show up six times and you earn a free shirt. What other exercise club offers free clothing, half-price food & drink, and a chance to make new friends at no monetary cost?”
So far, over 800 people have shown up, and with 100 plus runners and walkers a week over 250 have been ‘shirted’. The club is roughly 60% female, by ‘shirts’ and by sign up. Roughly half the people participate for a shirt and then fade away, but that doesn’t bother Peter one bit. So long as people sign a waiver, and they’re respectful to other runners, the fun is endless. Just check out their website for the photo galleries of costumes and holiday celebrations. You’ll find them at www.flyingirish.org
No doubt, the Flying Irish exhibits every fitness level imaginable from walking, to jogging with a stroller, to guys flat-out racing each other. Routinely, The Flying Irish give away entries to Bloomsday Road Runner Club (BRRC) events and they work with the BRRC to promote long-distance running across the area. Breach adds. “We have walkers who’ve started running and runners who have used our group to step up and run their first marathons.”
All in all, the Flying Irish Running Club is 50% running and 50% Tom Foolery. No shamrocks or coveted luck necessary, just your running shoes and a smile. Hope to see you March 6th.
Magazine Article |