Developer Behind Kansas Coal-Fired Project Says Plant Stands Little Chance Now of Being Built, Will Write Off $93 Million Loss

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Lawrence Journal-World:In an August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association described as “remote” the chances that it will ever build the plant, and it said the company is writing off as a loss more than $93 million it has already spent on the project.That statement came just five months after the Kansas Supreme Court cleared the way to proceed with construction, rejecting a challenge from environmental groups to an air permit issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.The plant had been in the works for more than a decade, however, and by the time that court decision came down, there were new federal regulations in place making it more difficult to build new coal-fired power plants, and the economics of renewable energy had changed significantly.Tri-State and Sunflower Electric Cooperative based in Hays first proposed to expand an existing coal-fired plant in Holcomb in 2007In its filing with the SEC, Tri-State said its board of directors had not yet decided how it plans to recover the $93 million loss, but it said it would not attempt to recover it through rates it charges its customers.More: Holcomb power plant unlikely to be built, company says; $93 million already spent Developer Behind Kansas Coal-Fired Project Says Plant Stands Little Chance Now of Being Built, Will Write Off $93 Million Losslast_img read more

Analysis shows U.S. corporate renewable energy purchases will smash record this year

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享North American Windpower:Corporate renewable energy procurement in the U.S. is continuing to blossom, outlines a new report from the Business Renewables Center (BRC), a membership program at Rocky Mountain Institute.In its updated tracker for corporate-backed renewable energy procurement, BRC says the U.S. renewables market has almost doubled its annual total of corporate off-site deals since its prior high point in 2015. Further, the number of new entrants in the market has doubled since then.As of Dec. 14, publicly announced contracted capacity from corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs), green power purchases, green tariffs and outright project ownership in the U.S. cumulatively reached an annual high of 6.43 GW. Facebook, AT&T, Walmart, ExxonMobil and Microsoft are leading the clean energy acceleration with the top five highest volume in deals. Facebook leads the year in highest capacity, with several deals totaling 1,849.5 MW; it also breaks every buyer’s cumulative annual procurement record since BRC began tracking the deals in 2013.“The record number of companies successfully pursuing renewable energy this year sends a clear signal that environmental sustainability is a serious priority for business leaders across the economy,” says Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “These companies aren’t going to wait for public policy on climate issues to catch up – they are taking the initiative to accelerate toward a prosperous, low-carbon economy.”BRC’s deal tracker emphasizes the growth of corporate renewable energy purchasing in the U.S., reaching over 15 GW cumulatively since 2013.“Large-scale buyers of clean and renewable energy continue to accelerate their power to drive the zero-carbon future they want,” comments Miranda Ballentine, CEO of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. “We are impressed with the growth and expansion in the corporate renewables marketplace, from a broadening sector diversity and increasingly supportive policy conditions to utilities and developers rising to meet customer demand and reducing their own generation emissions. At this pace, we anticipate a fourfold increase in corporate renewables procurement by 2025. There is a tremendous amount of good work yet to be done, and we are counting on the power of partnership to get there.”More: Report: 2018 a ‘record-breaking’ year for corporate renewable energy deals Analysis shows U.S. corporate renewable energy purchases will smash record this yearlast_img read more

Government-backed study advocates stopping new coal plant construction in China

first_imgGovernment-backed study advocates stopping new coal plant construction in China FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Public Finance International:China’s “unprecedented challenge” to decarbonise its energy production could be met if the government is ambitious enough, researchers have argued.A new report, partly written by the government-backed National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has outlined how phasing out coal power could help China meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement.“Achieving deep decarbonisation and zero carbon in China’s power generation within the next 30 years or even earlier will be an unprecedented challenge,” said the report’s co-lead author Jiang Kejun, from the Energy Research Institute – part of the NDRC.He said the report, which looked at 3,000 existing coal power generation units, “provides valuable information” for decision-makers hoping to achieve this lofty goal, particularly while China prepares its next five-year plan.To achieve results compatible with limiting global warming to 2 degrees C – the commitment enshrined in the Paris Agreement – China would need to follow a “three-principle strategy,” the report argued. These principles are: no new coal plant construction, rapid shutdown of older and inefficient plants (about one in five existing plants), and a shift of coal generation from baseload to peak load in China’s power system (i.e. relying on it only during times of high power usage, rather than for supplying the minimum demands of the grid at any given time).“[The report] shows that a sustainable coal power phase-out in China is possible, through rapid retirements of the low-hanging fruit and gradually reduced operating hours of the remaining plants,” Jiang said. “Well-designed policies can help lower the cost of coal power deep decarbonisation, contribute to a sustainable transition of existing coal plants, and reduce the potential impact on employment.”[Calum Rutter]More: China’s coal power phase-out ‘feasible but challenging’last_img read more

Japanese firms see rising risk of stranded investment as tide turns against coal worldwide

first_imgJapanese firms see rising risk of stranded investment as tide turns against coal worldwide FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Marubeni Corp’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said on Monday it is increasingly difficult to sell stakes in coal-fired power plants due to growing criticism of the power stations which emit high levels of carbon dioxide.“To sum up, it is becoming harder to sell stakes in coal power plants as coal has run into a lot of flak,” Masumi Kakinoki told an analyst meeting, when asked about attitudes towards coal power amid global efforts to tackle climate change.Marubeni pledged in 2018 to halve its net coal power generating capacity of about 3 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions. As of March 2020, it held 2.7 GW net coal power capacity.“The best solution is to stop and scrap the plants, but we need to sell our stakes to parties with an interest in owning them as there are many power stations that are still valuable and needed for regions or countries,” Kakinoki said. However, he added that the company needed to avoid selling the stakes at a large loss, or to buyers who may resell them quickly.Last week, peer Sumitomo Corp booked a special loss of 25 billion yen ($241 million) in its April-September half year on its stake and lending in the Bluewaters coal power station in Australia.Mitsui & Co Ltd CEO Tatsuo Yasunaga also said last month that the company plans to sell its remaining stakes in coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade as it aims to achieve its 2050 net zero emission target.[Yuka Obayashi]More: Marubeni CEO says becoming harder to sell stakes in coal power plantslast_img read more

Stand with that Mountain

first_imgJay Leutze teamed up with locals near Roan Mountain to stop a gravel quarry from destroying a scenic peak in Southern Appalachia. Photo courtesy of John ManuelAuthor fights for his beloved Blue Ridge in a page-turning bestseller Jay Erskine Leutze was living a simple life in the mountains of western North Carolina when he was drawn into a battle against the operators of a proposed gravel quarry very close to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the Roan Highlands near his home. He chronicles the genesis of the fight and his subsequent four years in the state court system in the recently published Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail. It integrates comprehensive legal details into a gripping storyline that includes a plethora of authentic characters, from colorful residents of the small mountain town to distinguished lawyers in Raleigh to dyed-in-the-wool environmental activists. In this era of environmental calamity everywhere we look, Stand Up That Mountain is a refreshing and optimistic perspective on the power of people to speak up for places they love. I spoke with Leutze the morning after he gave a public talk in Asheville for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the A.T.Give us an overview of what happens in the book.The conflict surrounded a private mining enterprise that was forced to move from its current location, and they went looking for places to mine for gravel. They managed to get a permit to mine 151 acres including the summit of a 4,400 foot peak called Belview Mountain. One day, I got a telephone call from a very articulate woman who told me that the Mining Act of 1971 was being violated behind her house. She said she had photographs that she would share with me. So I went to meet her and that’s when I learned she was a 14-year-old girl named Ashley Cook. She was being homeschooled by her Aunt Ollie and her Uncle Curly in their home, which was a defunct auto-repair shop, a cinderblock building on the side of the road. She asked me to help her because she knew I had been to law school. I felt very drawn in by their passion and the fear that they had. What followed was a four-year legal battle between a private citizens group, and public interest law firms, and two national conservation organizations, the A.T. Conservancy and the National Parks Conservation Association.How did you decide to write a book about your experience?By the time we were filing the lawsuit, I knew I was living in a story that was rich with characters. I knew I was in the middle of a remarkable story with people who were confronted with conflicts, which is what makes stories move. Stories are powerful because they mimic our lives. My life had become a script for a hell of a movie. One of the joys of this story has been watching local people have an opportunity to stand up for the things they care the most about. This story is providing a lot of inspiration to people who see natural gas companies coming into their communities to do hydraulic fracturing and people who are facing threats in a nation with a growing population where we are bumping up against each other more and more.What was the relationship like between the local community and the conservation organizations you were working with?There was a lot of distrust in the local community of the A.T. community. The trail is placed in the most remote locations that can be found, so there’s almost no contact between hikers and these communities until the trail crosses a road. So Ollie and Ashley and Curly didn’t really have any realization that there was a National Park unit behind their house. Ollie called it “that little dirt path up on the hill.” So it took some convincing to build some trust. What are you working on now?I buy land for the Southern Appalachian HighlandsConservancy in Asheville. The landscape that my land trust was founded to protect was the Roan Highlands. A lot of people asked me if I was going to practice environmental law after this case. Instead, I started working with the land trust community, working with willing landowners who wanted to protect their own land and badly needed tools to do that. That’s what land trusts provide. The land trust movement has protected more land over the last six or seven years using voluntary conservation easements and land acquisition than land that was lost to sprawl. I wanted to be in the middle of that. One of our recent successes was partnering on the acquisition of the 10,000-acre Rocky Fork in East Tennessee.What do you love about the Southern Appalachians?I live in a very sparsely populated landscape where people are still getting lost. Several times a year on foggy days the word goes out that a small group of hikers is lost in the Roan. I think it’s amazing that in this fast-growing state that there are still places where reasonably competent outdoor enthusiasts can get lost. That inspires me. I love crossing a ridge and standing in a place where I’m quite confident that nobody has stood in a very long time, if ever. We can secure that experience for future generations, not only in a beautiful landscape, but in a landscape of remarkable biodiversity. A lot of my love is connected to fishing and clean water. I love drinking right out of my spring. I live at the top of my watershed, and so many people live downstream of me. We need to figure out a way to ensure that everybody’s got clean water.Is there anyone you’ve turned to as a role model in your own work and life?Mark Twain. I find something relevant in Twain every time I pick up his writing. Of course I love Wendell Berry, a lot of nature writers, a lot of southern writers too. But I pick up Twain first. He gets me in a framework of diabolical creativity.Jay Leutze will be speaking about Stand Up That Mountain on February 25 at Lynchburg College.last_img read more

Weekend Pick: The Gamut at Carvins Cove

first_imgThe Virginia Endurance Series is putting on The Gamut at Carvins Cove, a mountain bike race, this Sunday, January 12th at 9am in Roanoke, Virginia. This marks the first VES event of 2014 and is free to all participants! Please note: this is not for the faint at heart. The course consists of biking every trail, 40+ miles, at Carvins Cove in a single day. Whose new year’s resolution was to get in shape and be more active? Now’s your chance!Riders can meet up at the Bennett Springs Parking Area for the start. Carvins Cove trail system is the 2nd largest municpal park in the nation. Think of it as paradise for any mountain biker and hiker. The trails are full of both relatively flat, low-lying trails and steep climbs with awesome descents. Be ready for a mixed bag. That makes it more entertaining, right?The cold snap is over and the forecast is looking perfect for a day of biking. Oh, and how could I forget, The Gamut is part of the BRO 100 – our list of the ultimate Blue Ridge activities. Get after it!last_img read more

Snowshoe Mountain Expands In Promise of Maintaining Reputation as a Top Resort

first_imgRated as a 2015 Top Ten Resort in the East by SKI magazine for lodging and the après-ski experience, Snowshoe Mountain looks to open an array of additions to its resort experience this season for every age-group and personality. With 1,500 vertical feet, 250 acres of terrain, 100-percent snowmaking, and improvements to lodging, dining, and entertainment, the new Snowshoe Mountain is now going above and beyond for families and skiers of all types.Increased snow making early in the season promises great skiing by the just-announced opening date of November 26; with a season the resort says will run through April 5. The resort plans to offer a vacation-like atmosphere all season to skiers and non-skiers alike.McLennan_Snow Shoe_winter_14_0210Located at the top of the Powder Monkey chairlift, and across the street from Snowshoe’s famous Western Territory, the Corduroy Inn—brand new for the 2015 season—will provide an elegant hotel setting with a rustic edge, offering studios, lofts, and 1-bedroom plus loft suites. These Wi-Fi enabled units include luxury bathrooms, heated tile flooring, granite kitchens, HD televisions, and stone fireplaces perfect for the winter atmosphere. A Tuscan chophouse is attached to the hotel—the Alpine Ristorante—as well as a 3,600 sq. ft. spa perfect for the parent seeking pampering.For a more private — and unique — dining experience, book an evening in the Sunrise Backcountry Hut, accessed via the Cheat Mountain Ridge trail. This idyllic cabin deep within the wilderness can accommodate up to 20 people. It’s surrounded by views of nature otherwise inaccessible to the majority of guests. Nearby evening tours by snowmobile or snow cat are also available for the more adventurous. Guests are treated to a hearty meal all prepared on-site by the cabin’s Hutmaster.Additionally, Snowshoe Mountain has promised increased measures of comfort for its beginning skiers or snowboarders. The National Ski Area Association shared recently that 85 percent of first time skiers and snowboarders do not return for a second visit. As a reactionary measure, Snowshoe is expanding the 2015 Terrain Based Learning program. This program seeks to provide a more comfortable and fun experience for learning beginners, removing discomfort or fear associated with the sports. The resort has once again asked the original developers of the program to expand and build out an additional Terrain Based Learning park at Silver Creek, Snowshoe’s second distinct ski area.McLennan_Snowshoe_winter_2013_201Teenagers were not forgotten in Snowshoe’s new plan. 20 Below—a teen-only center—sounds promising in its offer of games, movies, dancing, and even a social media center to teenagers.For those above 21, the attached Connection Nightclub adds a friendly environment for singles and those looking to let loose. Nationally known artists scheduled to play at Beats on the Basin this winter season include The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller-Williams, Passafire and Rusted Root.Covering a total area of 11,000 acres, the new Snowshoe Mountain really does have it all. Snowshoe has introduced variable pricing discounts to lift ticket purchases online. For more information on ticketing, lodging prices, visit The Intrawest Passport will offer children 12 and under free skiing, and includes six days of skiing at each of six participating North American Intrawest ski resorts. Full offer details can be found at read more

Where are They Now?

first_img JESSICA TOMASSIN CHRIS EATOUGH Dan ‘Wingfoot’ Bruce completed seven A.T. thru-hikes and published an authoritative series of A.T. guidebooks. He also worked tirelessly to preserve the trail he loved.Favorite memories?Of all the A.T. thru-hikes I did, I would have to say the very first one was the most memorable. It was like falling in love for the first time. You never forget that.I hiked over 25,000 miles of hikes in my day, but the highlight of it all was the service and the environmental activism. I helped conserve 25 miles of land bordering the A.T., a large swath of land on Max Patch near the northern end of the Smoky Mountains, and Saddleback Mountain in Maine which was being threatened by a gravel quarry at the time.What are you doing today?I left Hot Springs, N.C., and the Appalachian Trail community and stopped maintaining my guidebooks in 2007. I left because I didn’t like the way that interactive technologies like cell phones were changing the nature of the trail, and I just preferred to remember it as it was before all of that. Now I am the primary caregiver for my 99-year-old mother. I am also working on a book about my many Appalachian Trail adventures called Walking with Wingfoot.Biggest changes or discoveries?Sadly, I have lost my urge to fight for the environment. It pains me to say it, but I believe that, worldwide, the fight for the environment is lost. What I’ve learned is this: If hiking the A.T. is not the most important thing to you at that very moment, then go do what is. If it is, then immerse yourself in it completely with passion and fervor. Bettina Freese was BRO’s very first mountain biking correspondent. Bettina recently published an article in Yoga magazine and is currently working on one for Massage & Bodywork. She as an instructor at the Asheville School of Massage & Yoga and is expanding her business as a continuing education provider. She is compiling a book based on her mother’s demise to Alzheimer’s. Her love is still for mountain biking, but more with her kids. Watching them ride makes her cry in gratitude. She runs the mountain bike club at Evergreen Charter School. Her outdoor adventures are mainly with her kids, who love Moab and the Pisgah National Forest. They spend their summer weekends in a tent. She took up running, which has led her to weekends of raucous laughter doing relay races clad in leopard print.Favorite memories?When I was doing a monthly column for BRO, biking was a creative space. Every time I was on my bike, I saw the world differently. To me it was slightly amusing that I could get paid to do something I loved so much.What are you doing today?Now that my kids are in school and I can occasionally get 15 minutes to myself, I’m cultivating my writing career again—but not just outdoor writing. I’m just trying to send things out and see where it will take me next, and I’m actively working on a book.Biggest changes or discoveries?I still feel like I am 10 years old, and sometimes I’m amazed at the level of responsibility I’m allowed. Inside I’m just the same adventurous person I was when I first started writing for BRO. These days I ride motorcycles, teach an adult gymnastics class, and do a running relay with a leopard print clad group called the Pussyfooters. I guess I just like to keep it fresh. One of the biggest things I try to focus on is living in the moment and not building too much on the past. Be present and it will open the new doors for you. There are new doors opening every day. Chris Hipgrave, hailing from Purely, England, is a whitewater legend. A former USA Wildwater Team athlete with 38 years of whitewater experience, Hipgrave now plays an important role in the kayak instruction programs at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in Western North Carolina.Favorite memories?Representing the USA at my first Wildwater World Championships and World Cups was incredibly heavy and a moment I am very proud of. I ended up representing the USA Wildwater Team for 11 consecutive years and raced all over the globe on some amazing whitewater and with some great people.What are you doing today?I’m the Paddlesports and Outdoor Schools General Manager at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The NOC was one of the major draws to this area when I moved from England back in 1991, so it’s fitting that I would end up here. The NOC team is so passionate about introducing people to the outdoors and over the years I’ve seen that passion positively change so many lives.Biggest changes or discoveries?My love for all things paddling is unwavering, but I appreciate other disciplines and aspects of the sport more now rather than my narrow whitewater focus of the past. The lure of surfski paddling has been a particularly fun journey that I never would have imagined I’d embark on. I hope I can keep charging ahead to create new amazing adventures. If I leave this world with $1 to my name but a mind full of great memories, that’s just fine with me. DAVOD HORTON LAIRD NIGHT LECKY HALLER David Horton was the East’s ultrarunning pioneer. He set several speed records and won multiple 100-mile ultra marathons, including two victories at the Hardrock 100.Favorite memories?Setting the speed record on the A.T., being the first American finisher of the Barkley 100 Miler, directing 80 ultras, and most recently, finishing the 2,700-mile Tour Divide Mountain Bike race.What are you doing today?These days I have switched my focus from ultra running to mountain biking, and I plan on doing the Tour Divide in this summer. I had a seven-way open heart bypass surgery two years ago, and a total knee replacement just 7 months ago. I am in my 35th year of teaching at Liberty University and still directing three ultramarathons.Biggest changes or discoveries?One thing I’ve learned is that once you make a commitment, you have to fulfill that commitment. Another is that life goes on. I am now a mountain biker and not running at all. JEB TILLYcenter_img In MemoriamBill IrwinIn 1990 Bill Irwin became the first and only blind adventurer to ever complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail without human assistance. He did have assistance from his seeing eye dog, a German shepherd appropriately named Orient, but had no GPS, no map, and no compass.After his historic hike, Irwin retired to Maine with his wife Bebra where they lived on 72 acres with a view of Katahdin. He also published a book, now in its eleventh printing and still selling copies, called Blind Courage, in which he chronicled the events that brought him to the culmination of his nine-month journey.Sadly, Irwin lost his battle with prostate cancer in March 2014.Shannon ChristyElite kayaker Shannon Christy was only 23 years old when she embarked on her final paddle down the Potomac River. Just like any other whitewater expert, she knew her chosen craft was fraught with peril, but she didn’t live in fear of the consequences.Chirsty, who set off from Greenville, S.C. to compete in the Potomac River Festival’s Great Falls Race in July 2013, became pinned underwater and drowned in one of the race’s most treacherous sections.“I really believe that her faith in her future diminished any fear that she had in any area of her life,” said her mother, Kim Christy in an interview with The Washington Post. “She didn’t fear the future; she didn’t fear the river.”“Cookie Lady” Jane CurryDuring the 1976 Bike-centennial, when thousands of bikers embarked on a cross-country journey from Virginia to Oregon along the now infamous Trans-America trail, Afton, Virginia resident Jane Curry emerged as a steadfast friend to trail-weary bikers. Her hospitality often included a hot shower and always came with fresh-baked cookies. Over the span of some three decades, she attained legendary status in guidebooks and through word of mouth within road cycling circles. By the time she passed away in June 2012 at the age of 91, she had baked cookies for more 13,000 cyclists from around the world. Chris Eatough came to the United States from England in the early 90s. After attending Clemson University, he went on to pilot an impressive professional mountain biking career that includes six 24-hour Solo World Championships and five 24-hour Solo National Championships. In addition, he is the 2007 24 Hour of Moab Champion and the winner of ten 100-mile mountain bike races.Favorite memories?Traveling, riding, racing, and hanging out in amazing locations all over the world and sharing it with teammates.What are you doing today?I live in Howard County, Md., with my wife, Allison, and two kids. I work for the county as the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. It’s a great place to live and I enjoy adding to the quality of life by making our area more bike- and walk-friendly. Of course, I still ride bikes just about every day.Biggest changes or discoveries?I am less extreme now. I used to push the limits of endurance with training and racing to see how far I could go and to get the very best out of myself. I still consider honesty to be very important. I always raced hard but fair. Now I value honesty more than ever, especially with my family. Balance is important and winning isn’t everything. I had some great success with racing, but I was always able to walk away with my health and my reputation intact. Lecky Haller, one of Western North Carolina’s most heralded and accomplished canoeists, is known for an impressive whitewater career that lasted from the early 80s to the early 2000s and included four medals—one gold, two silver, and one bronze—at the International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championships.Favorite memories?In canoe slalom, I got to race in two Olympic Games, narrowly missing a medal with Jamie McEwan in 1992 in Barcelona. Other memorable moments were closer to home: night mountain bike rides in Bent Creek; paddling up to the castle and back on the French Broad; a snowy winter day on top of Black Balsams; canoe camping on the Chattooga.What are you doing today?I have been a football, cross country, wrestling, skiing, lacrosse, and weightlifting coach, and I am introducing my two wonderful 9- and 13-year-old daughters to as many of the great things that nature can teach them as possible.Biggest changes OR discoveries?I’m mostly the same. I marvel daily over all the incredible things in nature and the outdoors. I maybe used to be a little more nationalistic as in the US will kick your butt. Now I think we really need to all pitch in to save this earth of ours. It’s not who wins; it’s how we win.The biggest lesson in life is maybe to just be nice. Nice to yourself and nice to others and try to understand where we all come from and what others are going through. Don’t be selfish—except maybe every once in a while if the ice cream is really good. DAN BRUCE Jessica Tomasin was BRO’s first climbing columnist. These days, she works in the music business and was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.Favorite memories?Climbing in the New River Gorge and the Red River Gorge for the first time.What are you doing today?I have been managing the Echo Mountain Recording Studio for the last eight years, and I have my own production company that produces events and festivals.Biggest changes or discoveries?An injury sidelined me for several years. I’m finally just getting back to running and climbing. But instead of spending every minute outdoors, I am also a mentor to a family, growing my business, more involved in projects that benefit my community as a whole. I’ve learned that you don’t have to go full speed to have a great adventure, and to trust where your path leads you. Slow and steady wins the race. CHRIS HARGRAVE BETTINA FREESE Laird Knight. Twenty-four hour mountain bike racing began with this guy. Knight created the first race in Canaan Valley, W.Va., back in 1992, which eventually led to his induction into the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame.Favorite memories?My first ride on a mountain bike in 1983. I had seen mountain bikes in stores, but there was no way as a college kid that I could afford one. It wasn’t until I moved to Davis, W.Va., and started Blackwater Bikes that I finally got to ride one. I was not disappointed. What a ride. What a day. I’ll never forget it.In 2002, I learned that I was going to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. I remember thinking, “Wait, I’m not done yet!”What are you doing today?I married and moved to Morgantown, W.Va., and my wife and I adopted three siblings from Ethiopia. Being a dad to these three kids has been the most meaningful and joyful experience of my life. My new sport-love is soccer. I play in two adult leagues, coach a team, and all my kids play soccer at a very high level.Biggest changes or discoveries?There is a certain wisdom that comes with age and it’s delicious. I take more responsibility for my life. I don’t blame others or my past. I’m more grateful than I’ve ever been. I’m enjoying life at a whole new level. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I can’t do it all myself, that I need other people. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, and I’ve made some big ones. I didn’t capitalize on the success of 24-hour racing right off the bat, and I let copycat competitors move in. The most inspirational thing that I’ve learned and experienced in all my endeavors is this: When you know where you want to go, people will help you get there. It’s just amazing to me how, all along the way, people put a shoulder into my vision. Graham AverillGraham Averill was a staff writer for Blue Ridge Outdoors and continues to write freelance for BRO and other regional and national outdoor publications.Favorite memories?I took telemark camp at Whitegrass, hunted Bigfoot in Virginia, and got way lost in the Smokies. A few times.What are you doing today?Now I’m freelancing full time, writing for a handful of national adventure titles. I’m still writing for BRO too. I just took over the gear page, which I’m really excited about. I also spend a lot of time hanging out with my kids. They’re becoming little adventurers themselves.Biggest changes or discoveries?Well, when I started working at BRO, I didn’t have any kids, so my life is nothing like it used to be. There’s definitely more balance now, and I have to think about what taking an assignment that might be dangerous would mean for my family. Maybe that means I’m more mature now? Probably not. From BRO’s very first writers and editors to record-setting, trail running legends and thru-hiking gurus, we’ve compiled the latest and greatest info on some of the region’s biggest outdoor personalities.Jeb Tilly was one of BRO’s first editors, and the work he put in during the magazine’s earliest years formed a foundation for what it would become twenty years later.Favorite memories?I’ll never forget sleeping on the rim of Ambassador Buttress in the New in the early 90s, and meeting the tiny group of people who’d discovered climbing there when the place was still pretty much terra incognita to the rest of the world.What I remember most about BRO is the pleasure of creating something totally new. In 1995 the vibe and energy in outdoor sport was mostly a Western thing. In the East, there were little pockets of people who had passion for climbing, bouldering, ultrarunning, hang gliding, mountain biking, cross-country and telemark skiing and all that. My job was to seek those people out. It was the best job ever: go interview John Markwell about the origins of the Gendarme at Seneca Rocks. Go spend a weekend with Gene and Maura Kistler and see what’s new at the New. Check in on Thomas Jenkins and the Hugh Jass guys. We were pulling the little tribes together, bringing their stories to life.Back then Rob Jiranek and I sold the ads, wrote the stories, took the photos, and delivered the mag in an old white Ford van to all the little markets in the Shenandoah Valley. We’d literally take a copy to people’s door and say, “Here’s the piece we wrote about you.” It was great.What are you doing today?I live in the mountains above Boulder, Colo. and run my own brand strategy company. Brand positioning, innovation, advertising —that kind of stuff. I have a seven-week-old kid named Woods and a wife named Ashley, who was head of sales at Blue Ridge Outdoors in the late 90s, so maybe my most memorable BRO moment was meeting my wife.Biggest changes OR discoveries?I don’t wander as much as I used to, which is a shame because I think there’s a lot of value in wandering. The pace of life and social media make it harder these days. I still firmly believe in the power of understanding and bringing to life people’s stories. My business is based on it.It’s a lot more important and meaningful to be present in the experiences I have than it is to be prepared for them. I’ve spent tons of time training for stuff and of course I see value in that, too. But in the end it’s really about being there, whether it’s a long route in the mountains or a diaper change. Even if you totally f*ck it up.last_img read more

Pairing Beer with Music

first_imgI grew up in the South, so I spent a lot of my youth drinking in the back of a pickup truck that was parked in a random field off the side of a gravel road. There really wasn’t anything else to do. The trucks had lawn chairs, so it was nice. This was the ‘90s, so we sat in those fields listening to gangster rap and drinking really shitty beer, usually Busch Light in the can. If we had some extra money, or were feeling fancy, we’d splurge for MGD. And it all sort of went well together; Gangster rap and Busch Light are the perfect beer pairing. You know what’s not a good beer pairing? Hank Williams III and a fruity gose. If you’re not familiar with Hank III, he sings about three things: whiskey, cocaine and loaded shotguns. His best songs have all three references tucked neatly into the chorus somewhere. I was listening to some Hank III during a bike ride recently and I kept my headphones on while cracking a post-ride beer out of my fridge. The beer was Wicked Weed’s passionfruit gose, a slightly sour, fruity beer that’s about as delicate as you can get. And it was an awkward pairing with the lyrics running through my headphones about punching, fighting and f$%&ing. I think there was a line in there about stealing cars too. You can’t listen to a song about stealing cars and punching strangers while drinking a passionfruit gose. You have to pair a delicate beer like that with a delicate song. Something by Art Garfunkel. I’m not sure what beer goes best with Hank III. Budweiser with a shot of Jack? A lager sprinkled with methamphetamines? I don’t know. But I’ll be more careful in my beer/music pairings in the future.last_img read more

Good news for survivors, bad news for cheaters: Everest climbers to be tracked by GPS

first_imgThis year, hundreds of high altitude climbers will be making their way to Kathmandu, Nepal to scale the south side of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak. And for the first time, the Nepalese government will require several climbers to keep GPS locators on them for the entirety of their climb. If this pilot project is successful, Nepal may require all Everest summit-seekers to carry GPS. The government hopes that these GPS devices could help rescuers locate climbers more precisely in case of an emergency.Other climbers hope the addition of GPS trackers will stop people from falsely claiming to have summited the 29,035-foot mountain. All that is needed to prove to mountaineering authorities is a photo of you on the summit and confirmation from your team’s liaison officer, who are often not on the mountain.Last year an Indian couple claimed to have summited Everest and received all the official certificates, however, it was later determined the photo had been altered; this was a huge embarrassment to the Nepalese mountaineering authorities.After this year’s GPS pilot project, the Neplase government will decide whether or not to require GPS for all climbers.last_img read more