1.20.2014

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
Sochi?

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!

1.17.2014

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!


1.16.2014

Who better to be #INSPIREDBYGREATNESS than an Astronaut!

Reid Wiseman
Isn't it every little boys dream to become an Astronaut? Meet Reid Wiseman. Wiseman has been assigned to the Expedition 40 crew as a Flight Engineer and is scheduled to fly to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz 39 in June 2014. Reid is truly an inspiration and has been a joy to chat with about his journey and success. As he says below his career really took off in the right direction when he became a test pilot in the Navy. Since then he achieved many medals such Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V(4medals.) Graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Systems Engineering Degree, and was awarded various other campaign and service honors. I was lucky enough to track Wiseman down to pick his brain about living the dream and #TryingStuff. Please enjoy a few Q&A's and be inspired.

1. Have you always dreamt of being an Astronaut? If so, when did it start becoming a reality?  
This dream started to solidify early in my life, around the age of ten. Like most dreams kids have, this one was just a fantasy but I always tried to keep the door open towards this job.  When I became a test pilot in the Navy the dream became more of the "next step" in my profession.

2. As seen in my blog, #TryingStuff paved the path of my life. How would you say trying stuff played a role in your journey to being an Astronaut? 
I think some of our greatest highs come after our most demoralizing failures. If you aren't willing to take risks on something new you are destined for mediocrity. Throughout my life I have put myself into extreme positions well outside my comfort zone just to see if I could succeed. There were failures but I also gained confidence in how to recover, adjust, and try again.

3. What has been the most enjoyable part of your training? Why? 
There is so much here, I could talk for hours.  The people are amazing.  Every day is a new adventure.  Scuba, flying, engineering, survival schools, it goes on and on.  In the end though, the single greatest thing has been two flights on a zero g aircraft.  This plane gives us 20-30 seconds of weightlessness and you repeat that 30-40 times. It is an environment so foreign to a human and yet you adapt so quickly and begin to play with your new-found capabilities.  And it is beyond fun.

4. What are you looking forward to most about being shot into space?  
The launch is only 9 minutes of powered flight. At the end, we are >200km in altitude and traveling about 28000km per hour.  I am most looking forward to feeling the engines cut out...feeling weightlessness, then looking out the window at our earth below seen as only 600 people have ever seen it.
"My suit tech pulled the thermal blanket over my finger tips exposing the pressure suit beneath while I was still wearing the glove. This is all hand sewn in Dover, Delaware and withstands 4.3PSI in the vacuum of space."-Wiseman
"Unlike the fashion forward underwear Sandra Bullock sported in Gravity, this is the real stuff we wear under the spacesuit. Not classy, but the liquid cooling is wonderful"-Wiseman

5. Who inspires you the most in life or as an Astronaut? Why?  
Certainly my brother has had an enormous impact.  He is five years older than me and I grew up watching him push the limits. I think that gave me the desire to do the same.  I am still trying to catch him.

6. Many of us will never know what it's like to put on an Astronaut suit. Can you describe the emotions involved? Pride? Pressure? 
Keep going.  Fear? Nervousness? Excitement? Yes to all. It is like getting off the lift on a ski slope that is just a bit more difficult then any you have tried before. You are pretty sure you are going to crush it and love it, but at the same time your heart is racing and your senses are peaked.

7. Others, especially young dreamers, look up to you. What is one word of advice you would give them in inspiration?  
"Dream" isn't exactly right because that doesn't imply the need to actually chase the dream. I guess it would be better to say "achieve." That combines the need to set goals and then work like crazy to get there regardless of obstacles.
PC: Reid Wiseman

Columbia OmniGames

Last week Columbia Sportswear brought 40 outdoor enthusiast to Park City for the experience of their lives. We all competed in teams of 2 for 10 spots. Those 10 then win a trip Jordan (yes the country). These challenges were dubbed the #OmniGames. But it was far more than just a comp. We shared many stories, tested some new gear, and made life long friendships. We also got to be part of something much bigger then any of us. We were invited to preview the Olympic uniforms of our very own as well as Canada and Russia. We met the designers, listened to stories about their passion and their part in the road to Sochi. This has been such a magical and inspiring week. Here is a little clip of the events. Stay tuned to Kristie Salzmann and my self for more stories and videos.



What does #TryingStuff mean to you?

As you may or may not know, one of Columbia Sportwear's core values is #TryingStuff. Columbia has been trying stuff since the thirties and what started out a small hat company, now revenues over one billion dollars a year. Do you think they became so successful by simply doing what has already been done? No! They are constantly trying new things, testing new ideas and thinking outside the cube. 
Now that I have reflected on life a bit, I can confidently say that I live a life of trying stuff. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, the sports were baseball, basketball and football. I played them all and was quite good at them, but I knew there were other things out there. I began trying stuff. I fished, backpacked, climbed rocks, hiked, traveled and skied. All of these things broadened my horizons and I
became a bit of an experience collector. Then, one day, I discovered cycling. This was a life changing moment and directed the path for the rest of my life. My passion of cycling grew and grew. Soon, I quit all the traditional sports and was traveling, racing, meeting people and I was set on a totally different trajectory from my classmates. Cycling has now taken me to college by providing a scholarship; to which I otherwise may have not gone. I have traveled to all fifty states; Greece, Nepal, Greenland, Iceland, Rwanda, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, etc. And now has lead to my career in active travel and bike guiding. So, my point is with out trying stuff where would Gert Boyle be now and where would I be now?

To me, trying stuff lives within each one of us. It pushes us to step outside our norm and experience something new. The end goal may be different for each person. For myself, to grow as a person, make amazing friendships and experience the world and what is has to offer. For Gert, simply to enable people to live the dream in comfortable fashion and to be able to face the environmental challenges one may face on their journey. 

So, I boldly encourage anyone who reads this to please go out there, do something new, try something that is not in your routine. Start #TryingStuff!!

-Stay tuned for more #TryingStuff, where my teammate Kristie Salzmann and I compete in 8 unusual challenges as part of the #OmniGames
Our ride home since there is no more sea ice to travel on...
This is a loaded pulk that we traversed the sea ice with.

TryingStuff: Greenland
Tryingstuff:Canada


Dog sledding across constantly shifting sea ice in East Greenland:5 sleds and 55dogs...

TryingStuff: Nepal

TryingStuff: Rwanda


1.13.2014

A peak at the future of puffy from Columbia Sportswear

In Sept 2014 Columbia Sportswear will unleash the future of puffy. It is lighter, cheaper, and warmer than previously coveted down jackets.

"Its like down on steroids, only legal."-Gert

So why is it so awesome?
  • a feathery 350g
  • 2 layers of Omni-Heat Reflective
  • 850-fill treated (hydrophobic) down
  • a layer of moisture wicking wind proof synthetic insulation