Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

A Common Barn Owl in flight
Rough Legged Hawk
If you're in the Salt lake area and looking for something different to do, go check out the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The refuge boasts over 250 species of birds that move through the area annually by the millions to rest and feed. There are plentiful opportunities for hunting, fishing, and wildlife photography. The 80,000 acre reserve is located a mere 12.5 miles from I-15 and boasts a spectacular gravely 12 mile auto tour. And don't forget to check out the new Wildlife Education Center where you can check out interactive bird exhibits, teaching lab, and the book/gift store.


Dylan Ferguson shines a little light on what it's like to be an Olympian

Amesbury, Mass native Dylan Ferguson has his bags packed for Sochi. Dylan was named to lead the U. S. Freestyle Ski Teams Aerial squad on Dec. 6th, 2013 in Park City, UT. He is looking forward to
the Sochi Games.  Ferguson was set to debut in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics but was sidelined by a very untimely bought of appendicitis. Since then Ferguson has found himself on top of many World Cup podiums and as 2011/2013 U.S. Aerials Champion. The Olympic aerials squad will be sporting newly designed uniforms from Columbia Sportswear. I caught up with Dylan just after he finished his last World Cup of the season in Lake Placid, New York. Here's what he had to say about the new uniforms and his road to Sochi.

1. As you know TryingStuff is an important value of Columbia Sportswear. How did TryingStuff help you find your career and success?

I approach most areas of my life with the “TryingStuff” motto.  Obviously in aerials and skiing in general, I am trying to progress the sport and push my boundaries as much as possible. Doing three flips and four twists forty feet in the air usually isn’t a normal person’s idea of thrill-seeking, but I see it as not just vital if I want to do well, but really fun!  If I was too afraid to try new tricks, I would definitely not be anywhere close to where I am today. I also believe in having a life that is balanced and healthy in every aspect, not just in aerials. Hiking, camping, surfing, practicing yoga- all of these things I like doing keep me balanced and stoked on life. I guess you could say I try and seek adventure and fun in all areas of my life.

2. Who inspires you most in life or as an Olympic athlete? Why?

My biggest inspiration is definitely my late teammate and good friend, Jeret “Speedy” Peterson. He has been one of the most influential people in my life, not just on the mountain but also off. He had an infectious personality and smile, and he taught me to not take things too seriously, and that whatever I do, to do it with a smile.

3. Any thoughts on the technology in the new uniforms that Columbia designed for the freestyle ski team members? i.e. Omni-Heat Reflective/ Light Rail Zippers, etc..?

I love all of the new technology in our uniforms. We go to a lot of crazy places to compete, and sometimes the temperature never gets above 0 degrees. The omni heat technology keeps me warm and makes sure my muscles are ready to pull off all of the tricks we do, even after a lot of standing around during jumps. Our sport is very technical, and we are judged purely on technique, so having a uniform like we do from columbia is perfect for showing off our form in the air.

4. What are you looking forward to the most about the Olympics in

Oh man, I am so excited for all of it! Everything- from walking in at the opening ceremonies, competing in front of a huge crowd, to going around and checking out all of the events and cheering on my friends, all of it just seems so cool. I am just so stoked to be a part of such an amazing event which will bring the entire world together for two weeks.

5. Many of us will never know what it's like to put on an Olympic uniform. Can you describe the emotions, pride, pressure..., that you feel?

Putting on the Olympic uniform was definitely a sweet moment for me. It was kind of a materialization of all of the hard work I have done over the years to get to this point. Training so hard and making so many sacrifices for my dreams can get a little tiring at times, but its moments like that when I kind of just have to stop and pinch myself, like... Is this for real? So cool!

6. Others, especially younger athletes, look up to you. What is one word of advice you would give them as inspiration?

I would give them the same advice I learned from Speedy. No matter what you do, do it with a smile. It’s so easy to get bogged down in all of the hype and drama of the sport, so if you just make sure that no matter what you are having fun, everything else will fall into place!


Columbia Sportswear = #OmniFamily

Last week was one of those unforgettable experiences. It is not everyday that 35 like minded people are brought together in a resort town to test their metal. Thats exactly what Columbia Sportswear did last week. Last week Columbia assembled 4 seasons of #OmniTen. What is #OmniTen? #OmniTen is a facet of Columbia's market strategy. In typical form of #TryingStuff, Columbia had an idea to assemble teams of ten for each summer and winter season. These ten were thought of as ambassadors per say. Every one has there own niche in the outdoor world. Many are bloggers, photographers, videographers, and all are adventurers and life livers. We basically live life to the fullest and spread the stoke about the Columbia Sportswear brand. Which is not hard because meeting the design team and trying out the gear I too am super passionate about this brand and what they do. I mean take Gert Boyle for example, that is one tough mother. And the story of her career and success is truly inspiring.

I digress, back to the #omnigames... The basic format of the games were for you and a partner chosen at random to compete in 8 events against the other 16 omni teams. The top 5 teams at the end of all the challenges win yet another life changing trip to Jordan (yes, the country.)  Every challenge was unique and tested us in different ways. There were strength, agility, balance, and intelligence testing tasks. Throughout the trip my partner Kristie Salzmann was as solid as a rock. She had the eye of the tiger while being completely joyful and encouraging to others at the same time. Her strength and determination really shined in the vertical descent ski challenge. This was admittedly one of Kristies' biggest challenges, but did she waver? No, she charged as hard as she could. In the end her pride in overcoming her challenge was tangible. I could not have chosen a better parter . With that said , I knew nothing about Kristie before we started. That in its self was another win for me. I made a great new friend. All in part of Columbia's grand plan I'm sure.

But this week was not just about the Omnigames either. This week Columbia unveiled their brand new innovative Olympic uniforms. We were treated like VIPs at the World Freestyle ski competition at Deer Valley resort. We met the designers of the USA, Canadian, and Russian team uniforms. We chatted about the new LightRail zippers, the omni-heat, and fit. I was blown away by how much time was spent in there design. These designers are passionate! But were they arrogant? No, they were the most modest people and would listen to any advice or concerns we had.

So from our stay at the Hyatt Escala, All Seasons Adventure guides, Canyons Resort, to the spread at Deer Valley and Utah Olympic Park, everything was top notch. Columbia really knows how to throw a party. It goes with out saying but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Columbia Sportswear and all your fabulous staff.

It's time for me to stop blabbing and you to watch the video. Enjoy!