IKEA Begins Selling Solar Panels

first_imgIKEA Begins Selling Solar Panels FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Adam Vaughan for The Guardian:Solar panels will join tea lights and spider plants on sale at Ikea stores from Monday, despite huge government cuts to solar subsidies for homeowners.Shoppers will be able to order panels online and at three stores, initially Glasgow, Birmingham and Lakeside, before the so-called Solar Shops appear in all the Swedish company’s UK stores by summer’s end.Ikea’s new foray with energy company SolarCentury marks its second attempt to sell solar panels, after a two-year pilot with Chinese company Hanergy ended last year.The company maintains that despite low wholesale electricity prices and ministers’ 65% cut to solar incentives, after which new solar installations have crashed in the past two months, the technology makes sense for British householders.“Obviously the climate has been changing in the past year in the UK but, nonetheless, our research showed a third of homeowners would really like to invest in solar, and the majority of those are driven by the opportunity to save money,” said Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability at Ikea UK and Ireland.“Even though the feed-in tariff rate has come down, you’re still going to get a 6% rate of return on a solar installation, you’re not going to get that return on an ISA.” She admitted it was “depressing” to see the recent 75% fall in solar power capacity installed by homeowners but said “we see solar as the future”.Full article: Ikea starts selling solar panels in UK storeslast_img read more

France’s Crédit Agricole to stop thermal coal investments in EU, OECD by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BusinessGreen:French bank Crédit Agricole has said it will stop investing in thermal coal production in EU and OECD countries by 2030, as it pledged to align its activities with the Paris Agreement in a new strategic growth plan published yesterday.The world’s largest cooperative financial institution, which consists of almost 40 local and regional banks as well as the central Crédit Agricole institute, said it would commit all its entities to a common Paris Agreement-compliant climate strategy to be published in 2020. The strategy will be certified by an independent body and based around the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as it moves to “strengthen our commitments to financing the energy transition”, the bank said.Crédit Agricole, which manages around €1.8tr assets, will also fully phase out coal from its financing and investment portfolio by 2030 in EU and OECD countries, and will do the same by 2040 in China and by 2050 everywhere else.It promised “no new business relations with companies for which thermal coal accounts for over 25 per cent of their revenues except those that have announced plans to close their thermal coal activities or which intend to announce such plans by 2021”, as well as “no new business relations with companies developing or planning to develop new thermal coal capacity”.In addition, the bank aims to finance a third of renewable energy projects in France, double the size of its green loans portfolio to €13bn by 2022, and “promote clean and responsible investment policies” by incorporating ESG criteria in all funds managed by is asset management arm Amundi, among other new green policies.More: ‘Game changer’: French bank Crédit Agricole to ditch EU coal by 2030 France’s Crédit Agricole to stop thermal coal investments in EU, OECD by 2030last_img read more

Bangladesh, World Bank sign financing deal to develop 310MW of renewable energy generation

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享United News of Bangladesh:The government on Thursday signed a $185 million financing agreement with the World Bank to add about 310 MW renewable energy generation capacity, which will contribute to reliable, affordable electricity and cleaner air.The Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project will focus on utility scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and rooftop PV to expand new markets in renewable energy generation it the country. The project will establish the country’s first large-scale 50 MW grid-tied solar PV generation plant in Feni district, implemented by the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB),said a press release.To fill the gap in the long-term domestic financing market for renewable energy, the project will also support the Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (IDCOL) to manage a Renewable Energy Financing Facility for both rooftop and utility scale solar PV. It will also help Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) identify sites for large-scale projects and promote new net metering policy for rooftop PV.“Since the last decade, the World Bank has helped Bangladesh increase access to electricity in rural areas through renewable energy. Today, Bangladesh has one of the world’s largest domestic solar power program that serves about one-tenth of the country’s population,” said Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. “Now, we are going one step further to help Bangladesh expand renewable energy generation on a larger scale. With strong collaboration between the public and private sector, we hope the project will help meet the growing energy demands of the population.”The project will help unlock private investment and will aim to raise up to $212 million in financing from the private sector, commercial banks, and other sources.More: Govt, WB ink $185 million financing deal for renewable energy generation Bangladesh, World Bank sign financing deal to develop 310MW of renewable energy generationlast_img read more

Ørsted to study using emissions-free wind generation to produce ‘green hydrogen’

first_imgØrsted to study using emissions-free wind generation to produce ‘green hydrogen’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Danish wind farm developer Ørsted aims to invest in pilot projects that will use wind power and other renewable energy sources to make hydrogen fuel, its chief executive said.Henrik Poulsen told Danish business daily Boersen that “green hydrogen,” which is made from renewable resources rather than fossil fuel, could be used to store energy and create a renewable power source to transform transport and industry.“We are ready to invest in pilot projects and are working on finding good pilot projects,” he said, adding “green hydrogen” was a “strategic extension of both offshore and onshore wind. It is still a technology in its very early stage, which has considerable challenges regarding how to handle it,” he said in the interview published on Thursday.Ørsted and two partners secured funding in August from the British government for a “green hydrogen” project.Hydrogen gas has long been seen as a potential alternative to fossil fuels as it emits water when burnt, not CO2, the greenhouse gas emitted by coal, oil and natural gas. But making hydrogen from water by electrolysis, using renewable power, requires large amounts of electricity.Ørsted, the world’s largest offshore wind farm developer, plans to invest $30 billion in green energy up to 2025 in efforts to be become a major renewable energy firm, leading a shift away from fossil fuels. [Nikolaj Skydsgaard]More: Orsted aims to invest in ‘green hydrogen’ pilot projectslast_img read more

Head In The Clouds

first_imgClimbers Seek Access To Cloudland CanyonGeorgia’s Cloudland Canyon boasts gorge walls that rise almost 2,000 feet from the valley floor. Miles of steep sandstone cliffs and creekside boulders highlight the state park. The quality of rock has prompted the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) to start a grassroots letter writing campaign requesting climber access to Cloudland’s forbidden cliffs.“We’ve received a number of public comments, which are being discussed in upper management,” says Ryan Hilton, a ranger at Cloudland Canyon. “But climbing has been off-limits for some time, and as of right now, that’s still the policy.”The Southeastern Climbers Coalition has been successful in reversing climbing bans. They recently secured bouldering access at Panola Mountain, another Georgia state park.“The Cloudland Canyon process is only in its infancy right now,” says Brad McLeod, spokesperson for the SCC. “But it’s one more piece in the puzzle, and Cloudland would offer another climbing option near Lookout Mountain.”Cloudland Canyon sits on the western edge of Lookout, the same long, wide, rocky mountain that has given climbers classic crags like Sunset Mountain in Tennessee, Rock Town in Georgia, and Little River in Alabama. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, however, climbers shouldn’t hold their breath while waiting for access to Cloudland Canyon.“We can’t offer climbing right now at Cloudland with the current trail system in place,” says Kim Hatcher, information officer for Georgia State Parks. “The type of rock that makes up Cloudland’s cliffs breaks easily, which means there would be a significant amount of debris falling below the climbers. Right now, the trails are located beneath the rock, so it’s a safety issue. Climbing would put hikers at risk.”And forget about re-routing the hiking trails in the current economic recession. The Department of Natural Resources is in the midst of a budget crunch and doesn’t have the staff or resources to undertake a large trail-building project.Still, McLeod feels as if the letter writing campaign has laid the groundwork for a serious access discussion in the future. “It’s one of the last parks run by the Georgia DNR that still bans climbing. The fact that there’s any kind of movement on the issue is promising.”last_img read more

Snow Junkies

first_imgTHE ROOKIELINDSEA LUMPKINThe 14-year-old Georgia native began skiing at two, snowboarding at three, and competing at six. Lumpkin has traveled all around the globe and competed in countless competitions–most recently placing first in her division during 2011 USASA National Championships in Slopestyle and Halfpipe.Age: 14Food: Domino’s deep-dish cheese pizza. I’m a vegetarian.Occupation: School, snowboarding, and skateboarding are my jobs.Base camp: I recently moved out to Breckenridge, Colo., to train.What she does: I snowboard. I [ride] halfpipe, boardercross, and slopestyle. Halfpipe is my least favorite but it’s still fun. Slope is definitely my favorite because there is nothing like flying through the air off of a massive jump.Aspirations: I want to make a difference in the world. I can see myself doing humanitarian work and some environmental stuff as well. I love the world.Passion on the mountain: If I’m on my board, I’m lovin’ it McDonald’s style all the way.Passion off the mountain: Skateboarding, being with friends, and boys of course.Southeast favorites: I learned how to ride at Beech Mountain in North Carolina when I was 4. Beech was always fun.Looking forward: I’m super excited to go to Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland. Traveling is one of the best parts of winter.Life experience to remember: I almost fell off a 25-foot cliff into a tree at Vail. That was insanely scary.Heroes: I would say for snowboarders, Travis Rice and Jamie Anderson. They are both very good at what they do. Otherwise, I would say Michael Jackson, Angelina Jolie, and John Lennon. All of those people were/are activists and strive to make a difference.Music: Lately, I’ve been getting super into alternative stuff by Never Shout Never and Paradise Fears. Their stuff is upbeat and really fun to dance to and get pumped.On being young: I don’t want to grow up. I love being a kid. You learn so much and living my life is a blast. I do a lot of crazy stuff on an hourly basis. I like to joke around and just be crazy. I am very spastic and I don’t really care what other people think of me and I think that being myself is a pretty insane job. I also make really weird and random noises at awkward times.Self-description: My friends call me Lord Lumperton.THE ADVENTURERSKIP BROWNPhotographer Skip Brown lives his life on the edge—of a cliff, wave, or mogul. As a freelance photographer for National Geographic, Outside Magazine, his job has become one long list of adventures, including skate-skiing and snow-kiting in the winter.Age: 54Occupation: Freelance photographer and writer and team rider/rep for Uli Stand Up Paddle Boards.Base camp: Canaan Valley, West Virginia.What he does: Backcountry snowboarding, both regular and split boards. Nordic skate skiing and snowboard snow kiting.Aspirations: To stay in top physical shape so I can grow old with my wife and kids and recreate with them well into my 90’s. Make art. Make music. Be a better person.Passion on the mountain: Riding backcountry powder on either snowboard or skis. Snow-kiting in perfect conditions. Crust skating the backcountry.Passion off the mountain: Stand-up paddle boarding, kite-boarding, hang-gliding, mountain-biking, white-water kayaking, music, photography.Southeast favorites: Skate Skiing at Whitegrass or snowboarding the Canaan backcountry.The meaning of winter: Playing on boards in snow. Ice-skating on the canal with my kids. Sledding in my backyard. Firing up the wood stove.A backward glance: Snow-kiting in rare, near-perfect conditions the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. Backcountry skate skiing Dolly Sods.Looking forward: More snow-kite exploratory trips to the remote high meadows of West Virginia.Life experience to remember: I was ripped out of my boat during super high Potomac flood waters and stuffed under an eddy full of logs. I barely clawed my way up through the debris pile to breathe and survived. I was also part of the first successful descent of the Lower Congo River running at 1.5 million cfs (cubic feet/second). We were then held at gunpoint by bandits.Hero: No heroes. There are artists, musicians and athletes and teachers I admire. Plus my Mom and Dad.Music: Music plays a big part in my skating and riding. Most played lately list includes Nickel Creek, Richard Thompson, Sonny Rollins, Ben Harper, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.Self-description: My friends have a saying:”Skip happens.”THE BUSINESSMANANDREW WALKERThere is a hidden wildman inside of every briefcase-toting entrepreneur, especially Andrew Walker. As an outdoor retail manager at West Virginia’s Pathfinder and organizer of Morgantown’s Motown Throwdown, Walker makes sure that work and play don’t stray too far apart.Age: 28Occupation: store manager/event organizerWhat he does: Snowboarder. Totally. All the way. I’m not 100 percent park. I basically like riding the entire mountain, and finding fun and creative things to play around on.I would much rather be riding than hiking the park to ride some rail. To me, that’s not 100 percent what snowboarding is about. Snowboarding to me is about going out with your friends, trying new things, goofing off, and riding the woods and using the landscape as your playground.Aspirations: To be successful in whatever I’m doing and to take care of people while I’m doing it.Passion off the mountain: I really love music. I also like hiking, mountain biking, or fishing, backpacking—any excuse to be out in the woods, Basically my life revolves around snowboarding in the wintertime and cycling in the summertime.Southeast favorites: I like Snowshoe a lot–Cupp Run and Shay’s Revenge. Those are probably my two favorite runs in the Southeast. But Seven Springs is my favorite place to ride right now.A backward glance: The Motown Throwdown was definitely a big thing for me last year. We got Mixmaster Mike to come out last year. That was something I worked on for four months solid, and then it finally happened. So that was a big dream for me, to hang out with one of The Beastie Boys whom I grew up listening to.Looking Forward: A British Columbia and Colorado heli-ski/snowcat trip, riding nipple-deep powder with three of my friends—and a guide, so I don’t have to worry about sh*t, you know?Hero: Todd Richards.Self-description: Andrew the Kid. I get down to business when I have to, but business isn’t everything in this world.THE SALESMANDAVID LIPPUCCIDavid Lippucci is a salesman, father, golfer, and one of the Southeast’s best ski racers. During the 2011 Crescent Cup, David Lippucci proved that he was the fastest man on the mountain in combined race times.Age: 48Occupation: sales managerWhat he does: Alpine ski racing as opposed to Nordic. I train and compete in slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalomBase camp: Sugar Mountain. They usually have the best snow. The mountain knows ski racing.Aspirations: Win my age group at the Masters Nationals; podium finish at the NASTAR finals.Passion on the mountain: Skiing really big, fast and fun, in control top to bottom.Passion off the mountain: Teaching golf.Southeast favorites: Cupp Run at Snowshoe, W.Va. There is a sick GS race every February, top to bottom. Almost a two-minute big boy run.The meaning of winter: Seeing friends from other parts of the country on the slopes and après-ski. It’s also a chance to show what I have accomplished off-season on the snow. The goal is to improve year after year.Inspiration to race: There was a pretty woman who signed up with me to take race lessons.A backward glance: Out of 120 racers, I compiled the least amount of time accumulative over two days of competition for two slalom, and two runs of giant slalom at Snowshoe this past March. I won a big trophy and a pair of new Dynastar race skis.Looking forward: I will show Warren Miller’s Like There’s No Tomorrow at the Carousel Cinemas in Greensboro December 13. Plus, I’m looking forward to race camp at Copper in November.Life experience to remember: In my second year of racing (I’ve been at it about 18 years now), I put my hand through a panel gate on a dual course, ripped both gates out of the snow and finished the course with the entire assembly wrapped around my body. The race organizer gave me a ski bag.Heroes: Anyone in the U.S. Military. Selfless volunteers.Music: Rock and roll from the 70s and 80s. I hate to say it, but any disco beat that keeps my butt movin’ and groovin’.Self description: Big DieselTHE FAMILY MANCHIP CHASEChip Chase has set the bar for backcountry Nordic skiing in the Southern Appalachians. Whitegrass Resort in Tucker County, W.Va., is one of the oldest and best cross-country ski areas in the country.Age: 58Occupation: Snow farmer while operating White Grass; summer farmer of 180 head of cattle. Also house remodeler, chimney sweep, and web master. Mostly a grandfather, father, and husband.Base camp: Canaan ValleyWhat he does: I run WG and ski on medium weight soft-turny, easy-to-push Nordic gear that likes to get lost in local terrain.Aspirations: Enjoy the endless local simple joys of rural life while keeping the family healthy and strong.Passion on the mountain: In Nordic skiing to become one with balance and surrender to grace. Let the good ol’ body and skis do the work and hope the stars are lined up with your karma as you zip dangerously past solid objects in the forest.Passion off the mountain: Dance a lot and make sure my friends are invited to join us into another great wide-open adventure. Noticing the small little things that tickle your fancy and have the inclination to slow down and listen.Southeast favorites: I am still finding new areas to ski and expand our glades and trails year after year here in the Cabin Mountains. Flying down the trees with my three boys is a good way to start the season.The meaning of winter: Lots of exercise and work, mostly making sure everyone else gets outside. Pure, cold, crisp beauty.A backward glance: Skiing lightweight gear with all my Colorado buddies and finding a new tree-turning glade where we had many laughs and a few hard spills.Looking forward: Having a chance to put together the course and then race the 25K Mountain State Marathon in February, and to race the American Birkie once again and soak up all those easy goin’ Midwestern Nordic vibes.Life experience to remember: Skiing in the moonlight late at night in the super-cold fresh snow with friends. Afterwards, a sauna, a quick cooldown in the snow drifts, and then a campfire with guitars, harmonica, and voice. Lots of snacks and moonshine.Music: I have a huge selection of classic hip stuff from the late 60s and early 70s that I grew up with. I mostly listen to—and I am an active member of —WYEP out of Pittsburgh, an independent NPR station playing daily soup to nuts, and on the mellow side, tons of melodic young Beatles-sounding [tracks] and much more. My iPod takes over a year to hear everything 24/7.Self description: Stacy Kay calls me Manic/Manic… usually always up.THE VETERANBILL WITZEMANNBill Witzemann is that hard-working guy who leaves you feeling like you’ve known him all your life after five minutes of conversation. He’s a bit of a character, a family man, and a longtime cross-country skier who picked up downhill skis at age 40, leading to his discovery of telemark skiing.Age: I turned 63 years young this past summer.Occupation: Last year I retired as a stone masonry contractor after 35 years in business. I still run and maintain a backhoe and dump truck.Base Camp: We live outside of Elkins, W.Va., and spend an awful lot of time in the Canaan Valley area.What you do: I use the telemark skis and technique. I ski on a set of K2 World Piste tele-skis for resort and lift accessible off-piste adventures. And for the backcountry, Karhu 10th Mountain skis.Aspirations: To enjoy life.Passion on the mountain: In the winter, skiing fresh powder and taking in all that surrounds me.Passion off the mountain: Living in the mountains,  you’re never really off the mountain. It’s a way of life–but I do really enjoy snorkeling in the local river.Southeast favorites: We love to ski at Canaan and Whitegrass, which are connected through a series of trails. With your backcountry gear on, you can ride the lift up at Canaan or you can ski up from Whitegrass and take the cross-country trail to Weiss Knob, and if you feel adventurous you can head on out to the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. Or you can head to Bald Knob with an incredible view of the Canaan Valley and then follow groomed or non-groomed cross-country trails down into Whitegrass. The Whitegrass Cafe is second to none and features the best homemade soups, pitas, and cookies, and they have locally brewed beer.The meaning of winter: Beautiful snowfalls, burning wood, cold nights, burning wood, plowing snow, burning wood, skiing powder, snowy roads–when the roads are bad, the skiing is great! Did I mention burning wood?Why he skis: I guess I’m a recreational skier and ski for the sheer pleasure of being out there, being able to take it all in, the scenery, the conditions, the camaraderie, the exercise, the food, and the experience. Living in the moment.A backward glance: We were visiting our daughter in Salt Lake City last February and caught a 38” dump at Alta. I was literally in over my head.Looking forward: We are looking at a trip to Salt Lake and possibly an adventure up to Big Sky in Montana. But if the snowfall is good here at home with minimal warm-ups, there really is no reason to go anywhere else.Life experience to remember: I did 19 months in the Army. I got out five months early coming back from Vietnam.Hero: My Dad. He encouraged me and my brother and sister to be independent, to spread our wings, to be whatever we wanted to be and to do it well. He taught us a work ethic that has served all of us well.Music: Blues music. At this moment Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are sounding pretty good. I don’t do the music while I’m skiing.Self-description: Mr. Fixit. Skip Brown Andrew Walker Chip Chase Lindsea Lumpkincenter_img Jake Laroe Jeremy Cline Dave Lippucci From fun-loving freestyle snowboarders to white-knuckled downhill racers, here are eight Southern snowsports aficionados to inspire you this winter.THE HUMORISTJEREMY CLINETraveling to shred mountains since age 17, Jeremy Cline has been living his dream for years. The Mid-Atlantic snowboard company Monument Snowboards scooped up Cline in 2004 after his five-year run with Ride snowboards. Cline remains humorously optimistic despite a lifelong struggle with profound deafness.Age: 34Occupation: Snowboarder/digger/toe picker.Base camp: I didn’t travel as much as I used to in the past three years, so I mostly ride at the Massanutten terrain park. I also commute to Wintergreen twice a week.What he does: I just snowboard. No training or workout. I just skateboard and surf to get ready for winters. Sometimes my personal photographer shows up and shoots with me. I sometimes go on overseas shred trips. I also work in terrain parks almost every winter.Passion on the mountain: Snowboarding and building terrain parks.Passion off the mountain: Skateboarding, surfing, hiking, and swimming holes.Southeast Coast favorites: Timberline in West Virginia. You can find yourself going fast through trees in two feet of deep powder and no one is around but your friends. Perfect.The meaning of winter: Adventures, snowboarding, more coffee, fireplaces, hoodies, and hat beanies.A backward glance: Dave Tran and I went snowboarding in Japan for the first time. Amazing culture and big beautiful island with a lot of rich history.Looking forward: Filming with Danny Murawinski all over the Southeast, even in Alabama.Life experience to remember: Doing gator flips off a 40-foot tower into a lake.On competition: I made it to the finals of Vans Triple Crown Big Air in Tahoe in 2001 without warm-up runs because I didn’t know I was supposed to have a helmet on. So I never made it to the warm-up runs. And guess what? When I got to the top of the course, all of a sudden, I was called to drop in first as the contest started. That was my first pro contest as well as my last one. I was never into contests.Hero: My mother. The Rockingham County school board refused to let me into their public schools and wanted me to attend Virginia School for Deaf and Blind in Staunton; however, my mother wanted me to get the same education as everyone else. So she took them to court and won. I was the first deaf kid to have an interpreter in their public schools. Now there are a bunch of deaf people in their schools. I wouldn’t have been where I am right now without my strong-willed mother.Self-description: Deafjam.THE COMPETITORJAKE LAROEJake LaRoe is an animal. Not only is it in his blood to compete, it’s in his essence of being. Joining NASTAR at the age of nine, the Crescent Ski Council at 10, and the United States Ski Association at 13 (eventually earning the title second fastest 18-and-under skier in the Southeastern U.S.), LaRoe now focuses most of his energy at the collegiate level competing for North Carolina State University.Age: 19Occupation: Student at North Carolina State University.Base Camp: Sugar Mountain, Banner Elk, NCWhat he does: As soon as the snow hits the slopes, I’m driving up to Boone. I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and I am on the chairlift at 8 a.m. I sleep more during school nights than ski nights.What you ride: I ride Rossignol race stock skis. 165 cm for slalom, 182 cm for Giant Slalom.Aspirations: I want to be a lawyer.Passion on the mountain: Ski as fast as I can before ski patrol yells at me. Catch as much air as possible. Improve my confidence in all conditions so I can perform on race day. Skiing in the rain; it may not seem like a good idea but that’s exactly why it is: no crowds, no lines.Passion off the mountain: I love playing sports. I was a varsity football and baseball player in high school. I am an avid weightlifter and am obsessed with staying physically fit. I enjoy keeping up with politics and love a good old Constitutional discussion.The meaning of winter: Skating on the pond outside our cabin, sledding down my driveway, shoveling the steps to our porch and cutting my fingers while sharpening my skis. Winter means sitting in class on a Monday, tapping my pencil because I’m so ready for Saturday’s race.Southeast favorites: My favorite run in the South East is “Tom Terrific” linked into “Sugar Slalom” at Sugar Mountain. There’s a rock on the left side of Tom Terrific that when covered with snow, provides some very serious airtime. At this point in the run I travel close to 45-50 mph. I make a hard right over to Sugar Slalom and really focus on “laying it over,” helping to improve my technique. This run usually has very few people on it so I’m able to ski really fast.A backward glance: Winning the Dick Trundy Memorial Race at Sugar Mountain. I really only had one guy to beat that day: Erich Schmidinger. He is an employee of Sugar Mountain and he is a former US Ski Team member: he’s damn good. I’ve been trying to beat him forever and I finally did. The trophy is mine—if only for a year.Heroes: My Dad is my hero. Just in skiing alone, the amount of time and money he’s sacrificed to get me to the level I’m at is awesome. We are really close and I trust his opinion about skiing, life, and anything in between before anyone else’s.Why you race: I guess I keep racing, even after all of the terribly cold and rainy days because the feeling I get when I win is the best. I wasn’t one of the better kids when I started racing and that killed me. That fire still burns in me now, even though I’ve claimed one of the top spots in the region.last_img read more

Trail Mix August 2012

first_imgTwo things are absolutely predictable about August – muggy dog days of summer and a smokin’ hot list of music for you to grab from Trail Mix.  We have done what we can do to uphold our end of the bargain, but here’s hoping Mother Nature goes a little easy on us with the heat and humidity, as these tunes are enjoyed best on a trail somewhere and not inside in the AC . . . .Patterson Hood kicks off this month’s mix with a track from his upcoming release, Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance.  As always, the Drive-By Truckers front man delivers a gut wrenching reality check on “Come Back Little Star,” whose woeful chorus is accented by the haunting harmonies of Kelly Hogan.Also featured this month are The World Famous Headliners, featuring songwriting giants Big Al Anderson, Pat McLaughlin, and Shawn Camp.  The Headliners is Anderson’s first band since he was a member of the eclectic NRBQ, and the quintet delivers rowdy, country influenced rock and roll.The August mix is fleshed out by a heady mix of rising stars and local faves.  Check out new tunes from Shannon Whitworth & Barrett Smith, Town Mountain, and Shovels & Rope, one of the hottest bands on the acoustic scene.   C-Leb & The Kettle Black drops some Seattle based Southern rock, Radney Foster delivers an acoustic rendition of a timeless treasure, Ras Alan shares his organic Appalachian reggae, and Derek Hoke goes retro with his vintage rock and roll sound.And that’s not even it!!  New tracks from Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Illegitimate Sons, We Killed Vegas, Starroy, Toby Oler, Charlie Mars, Michael Andrews, Delta Moon, Apache Dropout, Robby Hecht, Ruby Throat, and Videotape round out a great set of music that you can download for free.  Stream it, grab it, share it.  Tell your friends.  Tell a stranger.  And get out and buy a record from these artists.  Thank them for supporting Trail Mix by throwing some money their way.Download Trail Mix August 2012 here.Click here to open the player in a new window.Download more music from month’s past here! They never go out of style.No flash player!It looks like you don’t have flash player installed. Click here to go to Macromedia download page. Powered by Flash MP3 Playerlast_img read more

Appalachian Trail Dispatch: Spring!

first_img Editor’s Note: Blue Ridge Outdoors contributor Chris Gallaway is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. He will be periodically checking in with BRO and sharing the story of his hike. This is his fifth dispatch from the A.T. Read his other dispatches from the trail: A Cold Start, Trail Magic, Difficult Winter, and Monuments.As is surely evident from previous posts, we’ve had our share of winter weather on the A.T. this year. Even after I took a two-week layover in my hometown of Asheville this March, I returned to my hike and was greeted immediately by a heavy snowstorm. One long morning climbing up to Sam’s Gap I cussed my way through a bitter wind whipping icy snow in my face and cutting through my layers. It’s times like that when you feel an illogical anger towards the Trail and the weather: you want someone to blame for how hard it feels.Fortunately, I’ve had several friends here in the Southeast who joined me on my hike and keep me company through the harder sections. My bud Josh came out to hike an 18-mile day with me that turned into a 24-mile day when we arrived at the shelter and found it full (and us without tents!). I hobbled into the Holiday Inn Express that night barely able to walk. My friend Brandon came out for what was supposed to be a mild, two-day hike into the Roan Highlands. We found the trail on Roan High Knob had become a treacherous ice chute where you could barely keep your footing. We slid our way up and down the mountain, and we spent a cold night packed into the highest shelter on the AT with numerous other thru-hikers, thankful for its four walls and door. And of course, Sunshine has been a constant companion and support, meeting me on the trail whenever she has a few days off work.Sometimes it seems like my most relentless companion has been Old Man Winter. My trail name “Frost” became a running joke with other thru-hikers—perhaps I invited this fate on us! One day it all changed at once, though, as I hiked with my trail friends Ember, Passover and Lucky. We awoke at a hostel to snow on the ground and ice sheathing the trees, and we walked through a chilly, wet morning that gradually warmed. When the air temperature hit the right point, the ice began calving off the trees and piling up on the ground, reminding me of the Robert Frost line “Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away, you’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.” By the afternoon we were walking under blue skies and stripping down to t-shirts. We’ve had warm weather for the most part ever since then, and I found myself a bit caught out with the wrong gear, all of a sudden regretting my insulated boots and zero-degree down sleeping bag.But I have been oh-so-thankful for the spring weather and the fine breeze that often spells the warm days. As Sunshine once described to me, we find ourselves dropping in and out of Spring as we hike the Trail. Up on the ridge it’s still bare winter woods, but every time we come down to a low gap or into town we see more buds on the trees and flowers pushing out of the ground. It all feels like such a gift: even my farmer’s tan is a mark of pride. last_img read more

Trail Mix | Caleb Caudle

first_imgI discovered Caleb Caudle back in 2010 during the heady days of Myspace. I was hopscotching across bands and fell upon Caleb’s page, when he was still fronting Caleb Caudle & The Bayonets. Snake River Canyon quickly became one of my favorite records of 2010, and “So Gone” and “Skeleton Tree” are tunes I still pull up from time to time.Since launching his solo career a couple years ago, Caudle’s sound has taken a departure from the crunchy, guitar driven roots rock of his Bayonet days. 2014’s Paint Another Layer On My Heart and the recently released Carolina Ghost feature a more distinct alt-country twang, with influences from songwriting compatriots like Aaron Lee Tasjan and John Moreland readily apparent. Caudle, along with Moreland and Tasjan, represent the best and brightest of the next wave of Southern songwriters.I recently caught up with Caleb to chat about the new record, hitting the road solo, and ghosts.BRO – I read a recent post from you that recalled selling all of your stuff a few years ago – save your guitar, some records and paintings, and a set of steer horns – to hit the road full time with your music. That must be a pretty special set of steer horns.CC – Yeah, but then again, all steer horns are special. My brother gave me those a few years back.BRO – Any regrets?CC – Absolutely not, except for not doing it a lot sooner. But it all played out how it was supposed to. Things are better than they’ve ever been, so I’m pretty alright with everything.BRO – You got to celebrate the release of Carolina Ghost in your hometown of Winston-Salem. That had to be a lot of fun.CC – Yeah, it was a blast. There’s always this weird pressure I put on myself with hometown shows,  but they always turn out great. The Garage is my favorite venue. I grew up in there. I’d sneak in when I was seventeen and then the owners just got to a point where they didn’t care. About four years ago, me and Jason Isbell did a show together where we both did solo sets. He broke a string on his guitar and ended up play my Gibson J-200 for his encore, which was “Decoration Day” and “Danko/Manuel,” two of my favorite tunes of his when he was in the Drive-By Truckers. It’s a good memory. The Garage rules.BRO – We are featuring “Piedmont Sky” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?CC – The song is about coming home. Not just physically, but also emotionally and figuring out what home is all about to you. I came home sober and kind of relearned my city and found all the stuff I loved about it. I learned to forgive myself and fell in love. It just felt new and fresh. The town hadn’t changed much, but I sure did. All of that sparked the whole idea for “Piedmont Sky” and I tried to incorporate some regional imagery to provide a setting.BRO – Got a favorite ghost story?CC – There was this bridge on a back road not far from my high school and the whole thing was you were supposed to get in a car and park it on the bridge and turn the engine off. At that point, a ghost was supposed to be sitting in the backseat. Not sure what he was supposed to look like. I had images of a fallen Civil War soldier floating in my head. I never saw a ghost, though. I did, however, get hungry, so I went and got a burger. Probably a Cheerwine, too.Caleb Caudle is going to busy through the rest of the month, with tour dates that take him across the Southeast before he heads west to Texas. You can catch him tomorrow night in Atlanta at Venkman’s and on Saturday night in Waverly, Alabama, at Standard Deluxe.For more information on Caleb Caudle, tour dates near you, how you can grab your very own copy of Carolina Ghost, please check out Caleb’s website.last_img read more


first_imgAmerica’s Most Celebrated Eagle calls Tennessee HomeIf you’ve attended a live professional sporting event in the last 23 years, you may have been lucky enough to watch Challenger the bald eagle take flight.He’s been a fixture at events across the country, having enjoyed hundreds of plane flights out of his home base near Nashville, via Southwest Airlines, and thousands of hours riding in a specially equipped van, en route to perform his aerial magic.Now 29, Challenger is the first bald eagle in U.S. history trained to free fly into major sports stadiums, arenas, and ballrooms during the national anthem. His first flight took place in 1995, during the Bassmaster Classic in Greensboro, N.C. Since then, he’s been an inspiring performer at more than 350 events, including five World Series, the NCAA Final Four, Celebrity Fight Nights, numerous NFL match-ups (particularly home games of the Philadelphia Eagles), and even the White House.Challenger has appeared on national talk shows, in commercials, and in educational films. Even his arrival to airport gates is greeted with an excitement and enthusiasm that rivals most celebrities. Tennesseans may also recognize his image from specialty license plates, and he boasts the unique title as the only animal to ever have a specialty coin with his image printed by the U.S. Mint. Challenger was also in attendance for a historic milestone for his species, when bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007.Perhaps his most important role is that of ambassador for the American Eagle Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1985 to protect and preserve bald eagles and other birds of prey.Located in Pigeon Forge, the AEF has served as Challenger’s home for almost three decades. He was first discovered in Louisiana at only a few weeks of age, having been blown out of his mother’s nest. For several months, Challenger was hand-raised by humans who released him back into the wild that same year, but who unknowingly kept him too long for Challenger to develop his natural survival instincts. After several unsuccessful attempts at re-introduction into the wild, he was brought to Al Cecere, the founder, president, and CEO of AEF.When Challenger, who was named for the fallen space shuttle, arrived uninjured in 1989, Cecere had an idea: why not train Challenger to free fly during the national anthem, as a way to raise awareness about the then-endangered species while also paying patriotic tribute? He and his staff began to train Challenger in falconry style, which is based on food-based rewards and positive reinforcement.After a few years, the six-pound eagle had learned the routine. Now, he performs across the country almost every week of the year except during the summer, when he is molting.Photo: Julia Cecere / American Eagle Foundation.Once an event is lined up by AEF and individual teams/organizations (which cover travel costs for Challenger and his team while also donating to AEF), five AEF staff members accompany him on the road. Challenger’s special carrier, handled by two staff members, is dark inside, to keep him calm. The interior also has a perch as well as a sliding window. Challenger’s team books the front two bulkhead coach seats for his carrier, with a staff member sitting beside him and additional team members in the rows behind and adjacent. Often, Southwest flight crews will let Cecere take the microphone to give a brief talk about Challenger once the plane is airborne.Cecere, who is 70, always travels with Challenger; Cecere’s daughter, Laura Sterbens, typically travels with him as well. “It’s amazing how many millions of people he’s inspired, not just sports fans, but military members and everyday people,” Cecere says.Wherever he is performing on a given day, Challenger typically takes flight from a higher location than ground level. It’s a path he’s familiar with, as he’s already been through several rounds of rehearsals the previous day as well as the morning of the event. The idea is for Challenger to know all of the elements, so if a singer will be standing on the field, or if fireworks will be going off, he’ll be prepared as he spreads his six-foot wingspan and takes flight. Challenger is outfitted with two GPS trackers, clipped to his tail feathers in case he decides to fly beyond the stadium, but Cecere says they have never needed them.At a baseball game, Cecere will typically stand on the pitcher’s mound, with Laura next to him, holding a lure, which is swung in a circular motion to attract Challenger’s attention. When Challenger sees the lure, he knows a treat is not far behind (he is also trained to specific whistles as well as hand motions).Once he’s released, Challenger flies either directly to Cecere or he takes one or two circles around the arena, whichever path he chooses. When he successfully lands on Cecere’s glove, Challenger earns his favorite snack: Atlantic wild-caught salmon (purchased at Whole Foods, along with bottled Fiji water). Three other handlers are positioned on the field, all wearing headsets, so if Challenger is confused about where to go, they can assist him. Because birds have to gradually descend from heights, sometimes Challenger overshoots his landing, in which case he’ll make one more loop before settling on to the trainer’s outstretched glove.After the event is over, Challenger will often pose for photos, fluffing his feathers for the camera. Then, it’s back to the hotel to rest before another flight and performance in a new city.Bald eagles can live up to 50 years or more in captivity, and Challenger shows no signs of slowing down. At the AEF, which has released over 450 eaglets into the wild through their rehabilitation and breeding programs, Challenger is flown every day for exercise and to build his stamina for when he takes the stage.“Remember what the eagle stands for—independence—and yet the eagle was almost lost because of our negligence,” Cecere says. “We came together as a country and brought it back from the brink, and now it’s flourishing across the country again. Challenger is our ambassador for what it is that we do.”last_img read more