X-Wear Blog: News, Tips, and Tricks for What Inspires You

Vermonter Mikaela Shiffrin Wins World Cup in Vermont!

05 December, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffren wins World Cup in Vermont

During life’s good moments, we want our family members there to help celebrate. That’s exactly what happened at the end of last month when 21-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin won her 22nd World Cup race in Killington, Vermont.

Joining the skiing phenom were dozens of family and friends, including her 95-year-old grandmother, Pauline Condron, who had never seen Mikaela ski in a World Cup race before. The event also served another important purpose: it marked a return to the East Coast for the World Cup series which was last in the region in 1991.

Clearly, grandma picked a great time to watch Mikaela’s first race. Those familiar with the sport know she is a budding superstar who arrived on the scene three years ago, becoming the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history, garnering a gold medal in Sochi, Russia, just three weeks shy of her 19th birthday.

Born in Colorado, Mikaela’s youth was split between that Rocky Mountain State and New Hampshire. She also spent several years in Vermont where she honed her talents as a skier. She made her World Cup debut in the spring of 2011, becoming the youngest American ski racer to win the U.S. National Championship at the age of 16.

She has garnered two world championships and 22 wins on the World Cup circuit, dominating the sport at a young age. Despite her success, she remains humble, all while maintaining an exuberant passion that has endeared her to fans.

In a recent Denver Post story, former World Cup star Alexandra Meissnitzer had high praise for Mikaela: “What I especially like is the way she skis. The technique is totally perfect. It’s so precise. And now, it’s cool that she is doing the speed events, too. You in the U.S., you have Lindsey [Vonn] and now you get Mika, who can also break record after record.”

At X-Wear, we view Mikaela as the perfect ambassador for skiing, serving as the heir apparent for Lindsey Vonn. We are excited to see what the future has in store for her, not only this season, but in 2018 at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

As we celebrate Mikaela’s accomplishments, we urge you to follow her lead. The Killington race signaled the essential start to the skiing season. While our stores in Cape Cod, Boston and Newport have been spared of snow, the nearby mountains in New Hampshire, Vermont and Central and Western Massachusetts have not. And they are calling you.

Ski and Snowboard New England and Beyond

Whether you’re on the East Coast, West Coast or in between, we have all your ski and snowboard needs covered. Click here to find our snow gear which includes the top brands in ski goggles, including this pair from Wiley X and this more colorful pair from Smith.

Add to the fun with a GoPro camera. Click here for our full lineup of GoPro gear which includes a variety of accessories including head and chest mounts that allow you to get one-of-a-kind perspectives of your downhill rides. Before you make your purchase, make sure to read our two GoPro blogs, one on the best settings for your GoPro and the other detailing the best accessories for your camera.

SHOP The Adventure

28 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Shop the Adventure on X-Wear.com

This holiday season, we at X-Wear hope you choose adventure.

Not the kind of adventure in trying to find a parking spot at your local mall. But the kind of adventure that encourages your husband, wife, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew to get outdoors and connect with nature. The kind of adventure that tests the limits of what your body and mind can do (see New Hampshire’s Andrew Drummond). And the kind of adventure that provides you with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that leave you invigorated, inspiring you to tackle the next challenge that comes your way.

At X-Wear, we can help you and your loved ones embark on these types of adventures with a checklist of items that will ensure your holiday season is a gratifying one, not just for 2016, but for years to come.

Winter Adventures

Colder temperatures means one thing: snow can’t be far behind. And with snow, comes skiing, snowboarding and skating. At X-Wear, we can help you get the most out of those winter adventures with our snow gear that includes this pair of heavy duty Wiley X goggles as well as this slightly more stylish pair from Smith; whatever brand you choose, you can ensure that your eyes will be protected and your vision will not be compromised as you hit the slopes this winter.

Our line of winter jackets include such popular brands as Volcom, Billabong, Reef and Salty Crew that will turn heads, all while keeping you warm when the temps dip below freezing. #stoked

Summer Adventures

Technically, summer isn’t for another seven months, but we know many of you have tropical adventures planned. Whether it’s to Florida, the Caribbean or the West Coast, having the best gear will allow you to get the most out of your vacation. And it will allow you to get a head start on next summer. #superstoked

Where to start? How about sunglasses which are vital for shielding your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, all while providing a little boost of confidence with a new look for your warm weather travels. We offer shades for golfers, runners and those (boaters, fishermen and beachgoers) who spend a lot of time on or near the water. Some of the most popular brands we sell are Maui Jim and Costa (fishermen), Oakleys (runners) and Ray-Ban and Quay (beachgoers). If you’re traveling with little ones, make sure to check out our Babiators because sunglasses are more important for your kid’s health than anyone else.

Next, you’ll want to check out our surf gear which includes O’Neill wetsuits and Quiksilver paddle jackets as well as Zap skimboards and a Softech surfboard, perfect for those wanting to learn how to ride the waves.

If you want to add some fun to your beach adventures, bring along one of these Bluetooth waterproof speakers so the music (Daft Punk, twenty one pilots, X Ambassadors, Drake and Timberlake) sets the stage for you to dominate in paddle ball and Frisbee.

Finally, make sure to maximize your vacation (and summer) comfortability with a pair of new beach sandals from X-Wear. With a lineup that includes Olukai, Reef, O’Neill, Oofos, Sanuk and Rainbow, we’ll make sure you and your loved ones put your best foot forward this holiday season.

Chronicle Your Adventures

Whether it’s skiing New England’s majestic mountains or snorkeling Bermuda’s breathtaking waters, your friends and family will want to capture those adventures so you can remember them for years to come. With the GoPro camera, you can do just that, all under the most extreme weather conditions.

Our GoPro accessories (mounts, batteries, wall chargers and more) will only add to those memories. Earlier this year, we connected with Matt Rissell, a videographer on Cape Cod whose work can be seen on the Outdoor Channel. He provided us with some tips on the best settings and the best accessories that will help you get the most out of your GoPro.

Here’s to a holiday season filled with adventure!

Capturing the Xtreme

14 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Dan Brown Kapitol Photography

When it comes to sports, there are athletes and there are fans. And then there are those like Dan Brown, a hybrid of the two. Yes, he’s an athlete, but he’s also a fan. And as a professional photographer, he has served as a bridge between the two sides helping connect fans with extreme athletes by capturing images of the top skiers in the world doing what they do best.

In the process, he has provided inspiration for those who want to conquer their own mountains.

We recently caught up with Brown, who is the creative genius behind Kapitol Photography, as his passion for the outdoors aligns with the spirit of X-Wear. And that is to not only encourage, but embrace physical activity, whether it be golfing, bicycling, surfing or Stand Up Paddleboarding in the summer or skiing, snowboarding or hiking in the winter.

“Well, for one, you’re not staring at a screen,” Brown told us as to why he loves skiing, adding that, “For as much as a group sport it can be, no matter what you’re still out there alone on a hill… Ultimately, you’re in control, outside of gravity. You’re skiing on pieces of wood. It’s such a simple form of fun.”

It would not be until the 32-year-old Brown was an adult that he started capturing that fun in digital form.

A 2006 graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT, Brown had always toyed with cameras, but an Intro to Dark Room course his senior year led to him pursuing it as a career. “In college, I really enjoyed poetry and the way people are able to capture a scene in short, concise sentences in such a beautiful way,” Brown told us. “That is kind of how I approach photography.”

Brown’s “graduate schooling” occurred on Cape Cod (home of X-Wear), as a paid photographer for The Enterprise Newspapers in Falmouth. It was his first job out of college, learning under then-editor Janice Walford as well as colleagues and fellow photographers Teri Stanley and Don Parkinson. “I think that really refined my skill set where I was able to quickly assess what was going on around me and be able to get in and document an ongoing story and bring to life some of the words that were going to accompany the photograph,” Brown said.

A few years into his stint at The Enterprise, Brown felt a longing for Vermont. So he returned, initially settling for a job as a copy editor for a publishing company before moving onto Vermont Teddy Bear where he was a studio assistant, helping with photo shoots for the company’s catalogs and web campaigns.

Branching Out on His Own

With his longtime girlfriend living in Boston, Brown had a choice to make. She won out and Brown moved to the Massachusetts capital where he found his own niche. “I wanted to strike out on my own so, at that point, I was passionate about photography I thought I might as well make a go of it professionally,” Brown said.

On the commercial side, Brown’s clients included Bose, Gordini and Kombi. He balanced that with shooting editorial for Ski Magazine and Newschoolers.com. “The ski industry doesn’t pay photographers as much as they should, but it’s still a bunch of fun and provided a lot of great opportunities to get outside, work with a bunch of talented skiers and document the sport as I saw it and as it was unfolding in the Northeast,” he said.

The highlights of his freelance work included a trip to Le Massif for a shoot with former Olympian Jean-Luc Brassard, Jeff Curry and Erik Olson. That led to Brown’s first published photo in Ski Magazine in January 2009.

“I still have my first cover image for The Enterprise framed as that was my first published photo,” Brown said. “But there’s something uniquely different about getting published in a national ski magazine. They have the same kind of pages I would tear out each winter and hang on my bedroom wall as a kid. To think what you might be able to provide images that grace the wall of young skiers who are kind of just as passionate about skiing as you were is awesome.”

His favorite image during that time is one that Brown said “is uniquely Vermont.” It shows LJ Strenio in mid-flight completing a double cork 1080 over two granite statues of whale’s tails that can be seen off I-89. The photo found its way onto the cover of Ski Magazine in Germany.

Brown’s first trip to Europe was courtesy of Newschoolers.com to cover the Jon Olsson Super Sessions where the media and the pro athletes “were given a key that symbolizes you literally have the key to the city, the right to go into every bar, get a bunch of free drinks. You’re literally a rock star,” he laughed.

These days, Brown is living a more subdued life as the father of a 10-month-old with his wife Jessica in New Jersey where he is the content marketing manager for Full Tilt and a consultant for Line Skis. The opportunity arose directly as the result of his work as a respected and accomplished action sports photographer. 

Photography for Brown, who purchased a Hasselblad film camera when he turned 30, has reverted back to where he started: “I’m trying to show that one moment, that one unique image in as little words as possible.” 

As for his advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps, he suggested working on your craft and developing your own style. “I think one of the great things about photographers in the industry is they are now all bringing their own unique look and their take about how passionate they are about skiing and snowboarding,” he said.

FishingRods ✔ Bait ✔ Boat ✔...Sunglasses??

07 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Tyler McAllister on X-Wear.com

When it comes to nature, there may be no setting more relaxing than the ocean. It is there that Mattapoiset’s Tyler Macallister is most comfortable. “It is peaceful, in general,” he told X-Wear recently. “When you’re tuna fishing you see a lot of whales and different kinds of life. The other day there was a very friendly harbor seal that decided it wanted to hang around the boat and show off. It literally spent two hours hanging around us.”

Since he “could barely walk,” Macallister said he has had a connection to the water thanks to his grandfather who lived on a pond off Wequaquet Lake in Barnstable. It is there that Macallister would fish for perch and bass. “There isn’t much I don’t like about fishing,” he said. “There’s obviously the thrill of catching my own fish, tying my own flies and building my own rods.”

He has maintained a passion for fishing ever since, though these days he is reeling in much bigger fish. Macallister is an occasional charter boat fishing captain and a full-time commercial fisherman, based out of Sandwich. You can often find him and his crew aboard the F/V Cynthia C, a 35’ Duffy that is used as a harpoon boat to catch bluefin tuna. He also operates the F/V Cynthia C2, a 38’ boat that snags tuna using rod and reel.

This season, the biggest tuna he caught was 115 inches and just under 900 pounds. On a good day, he may bring back as many as five bluefins.

He goes, he said, “where the fish go” which means as close as three miles off the East end of the Cape Cod Canal to as far away as 30 miles out into Georges Bank. “Tuna is a very mobile fishery,” he said. “They’re always moving.”

Macallister’s year typically begins in May, when he will start fishing for black sea bass with his daughter Alexandra and run charters until the second week of June. That’s when his focus shifts to tuna; the season is close to winding down.

Need for Sunglasses

Harpooning, he said, requires the use of a spotter pilot who is responsible for locating the fish that Macallister is chasing. “The number one item you need is sunglasses,” Macallister said. “I started harpooning in 1985 so this is my 31st season fishing for giant bluefin and I’ve used different lenses, different shades.”

He and his crew rely on sunglasses both for comfort – “we get a lot of eye strain over the course of the day,” he said – and for clarity. “You’re trying to see into the water and differentiate colors,” Macallister explained. “Sunglasses are the most important thing, especially when you’re working with an airplane spotter pilot. My pilot Dan will tell you the same thing when he’s in the air.”

You can find X-Wear’s line of fishing and boating sunglasses here. They include such top, outdoor brands as Costa, Maui Jim and Smith, all of which are durable, rugged and employ the best in polarized technology that give fishermen like Macallister a competitive advantage when searching for fish in the open sea.

Benefits of GoPros

With training as a marine biologist – he holds a degree in marine biology and biology from UMass Dartmouth – Macallister is not only trying to catch bluefin tuna, but interested in their health as well. Along the Northeast, he is finding the species has made a rebound after nearly being listed as endangered. “I can tell you that tuna has not only recovered, but is flourishing,” he said. “We have seen more fish, starting about 2009.”

His boats are equipped with a high-end video camera as well as multiple GoPros. He uses them to chronicle his trips that are mix of both work and pleasure. Not only have his cameras captured his bluefin exploits, they have also recorded the many other animals he has encountered over the years, including great white sharks. In 2014 he taped a great white for 14 minutes as it cruised around his boat. The animal was later named by shark researchers after Macallister’s daughter.

“You never know, every day, you just don’t know what kind of experience you’re going to have out there,” he said, summing up the thrill of being on the water.

X-Wear sells GoPros (click here) as well as a number of accessories (click here), from mounts to extra batteries to chargers that will ensure you get the most out of your camera.  

You can learn more about Tyler Macallister by visiting his website www.fvcynthiac.com and liking his company’s Facebook page here.

The Boys of October...um, November 2016!

03 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Cubs and X-Wear.com

October brings us Hockey, Football and Basketball ...but it also gives us the last vestiges of the year's Baseball season...and last night was an ending for the history books!  

Everyone knows by now that the Cubs - under the tutelage of our own curse-breaking former GM, Theo Epstein, broke their 107 year World Series drought by bringing home the championship to Wrigley Field.  Due to the outstanding efforts on both teams, the Boys of October became the Boys of November!

The weather cooperated by giving the fans unseasonably warmer November temperatures and held off the worst of the rain until the regulation 9 innings had been played.  Only thing is, They needed 10 innings to do it.  

But Mother Nature was listening and gave the players just a little bit of a respite...allowing Jason Heyward the opportunity to gather his teammates around and tell them `We’re the best team in baseball for a reason. Continue to play our game, support one another. These are your brothers here, fight for your brothers, lift them up, continue to stay positive. We’ve been doing this all year so continue to be us.’  And that's all it took!

For Red Sox baseball fans, if we weren't vying for the title, we don't think there would have been two better teams to watch battling it out to bring home the title.

Both teams, playing their best to end their decades-long World Series drought like we had, with many of the players from our beloved sox...Theo, Jon Lester, John Lackey, David Ross on the Cubs against Terry Francona, Andrew Miller, Coco Crisp and Mike Napoli on the Indians. 

If you couldn't #GetOutThereAndDoSomething last night...then watching this nail-biter of a World Series was a great alternative.

Our congratulations to the Cubs on their monumental win...and the Indians for giving us a great series!  

 

"A Hiking We Will Go..." with Andrew Drummond

17 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Andrew Drummond Hiking with X-Wear.com

When it comes to outdoor sports, there’s not much New Hampshire’s Andrew Drummond doesn’t do. He skis. He surfs. He runs. He kayaks. He bikes. But there is one activity, hiking, where he has truly made his mark, showing what one can accomplish when they put their mind to it.

At the end of July, the 35-year-old Drummond hiked the White Mountain Direttissima – all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers – in 5 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes. And he documented it on social media, allowing friends, family and complete strangers to follow his progress as he shattered the previous record of eight days.

“I got the idea of doing all the 4,000 footers in one hike in the summer of 2015,” he said. “It’s something I thought about for over a year. I planned for it. I put a big spotlight on myself by gaining exposure to news outlets, magazines, brands and sponsors. I had a lot of people watching me because I wanted exposure for the White Mountains. For this project, I had a deep-rooted motivation for me to keep moving.”

Drummond’s passion for the outdoors was formed when he was a kid growing up in Conway, New Hampshire. In the summer, he hiked. In the winter and spring, he skied.

That changed after he graduated from Colby College in Maine, and moved to San Diego where he worked as an environmental consultant. During the downtime, he learned how to surf. His hiking was limited to vacations when he visited his parents in New Hampshire or his brother in Yosemite.

He eventually returned to the East Coast in 2014. The time away made him appreciate the natural beauty that exists in this part of the country. “When I moved back here, it was fun to reconnect with the mountains and trails and all the things I had done as a kid, but be in control and really get the lay of the land,” he told us.

That interest expanded to something much more. He began to test his physical limits, starting with short races, first 5Ks, then 10Ks and eventually half marathons. He continued to hike. He jumped into backcountry skiing.

Endurance Racing

All of that was preparation for the 2015 Tuckerman Inferno, a five-sport adventure race that starts with an 8.3-mile run, followed by a 6-mile kayak, 18-mile bike ride and a 3-mile hike up Tuckerman Trail. The Inferno concludes with a 1-mile ski down Tuckerman Ravine. With a time of 3:40:52, Drummond came in first in the elite men’s category. He repeated as champion this spring.  

That race served as a precursor to what he was able to accomplish this summer. His only competition this time was himself. “The hardest part for me was the sleep deprivation,” he said. “I thought my body would break down, my knees would hurt and the physical pain would be too much. But my mind overpowered all of that stuff. I felt good as the days went by. I’m not sure if it was my mind or body adapting.”

The highlights, he said, “were giving yourself an opportunity to see amazing things.” The most spectacular of those occurred on the second day as he ascended Bondcliff. “It was raining in the distance and went from overcast to the clouds breaking up and rainbows and beautiful sunrays coming through the clouds,” he recalled. “If you’re not out there, you don’t have the opportunity to experience that. That is primarily the reason people hike: to get above the tree line and experience these views.”

Utilizing Snapchat and Facebook, Drummond was able to maintain a direct connection to those interested in following his journey. “It’s really fun. Basically, I was able to let people see me before I started, how I was preparing, as it was happening. I had pictures going out. I did live video. There was a tracker. People knew when I laid down to sleep, when I was back up and moving, if I was summiting a peak,” he said. “It was very inclusive and transparent… You get a sense of a real-time adventure and storytelling.”

It compelled a complete stranger, monitoring Drummond’s progression online, to meet up with him near Mount Cabot as he was completing the Direttissima. “I got to share a few miles with him,” Drummond said. “That was really special.”

It is just one way Drummond has helped shine a bright light on the outdoors, and specifically, the wonders of the White Mountains. His goal is to compel others to follow in his footsteps. “Everyone has their own experience in the mountains,” he said. “For me, it is the sights, the smells, being outdoors and being in the wilderness. It is something I think leaves everybody better off. It brings me a deep sense of joy and I want others to experience that same feeling.”

START YOUR JOURNEY

So what are you waiting for? At X-Wear, we carry equipment for hikers of all ages and skill levels. A good place to start is our line of polarized sunglasses that are durable, rugged and can withstand the elements. Click here for brands like Hobie, Maui Jim, Oakley, Native and Wiley X that are perfect for a hike in the White Mountains. We also recommend a sturdy backpack.Our collection of bags include several that meet this requirement such as this one from Quiksilver as well as the Smith Heyburn and Smith Borah backpacks. 

And follow Drummond’s lead by capturing your own adventures, using the GoPro. The camera is well-suited for the outdoor environment, all while shooting the best in high definition video. And check out these GoPro accessories – batteries, mounts and tripods – that will help you get the most out of your new camera.

If you want more mountain escapades, read about Cape Cod’s Jack Scanlon who is in the process of scaling the best New Hampshire has to offer. And meet Colorado’s equivalent of Drummond, Andrew Hamilton, in this blog that highlighted the incredible feat he accomplished last summer.

You can keep track of Drummond’s latest exploits by liking his Facebook page and visiting his website Ski The Whites.

Fall Sunglasses for Her (X-Wear)

13 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

There is never a wrong time to buy sunglasses, but fall may be the perfect season to do so. Whereas summer is all about showcasing your style and flair, there is a refined subtlety to autumn. Yes, we want to look good, but we like to do so with an understated elegance.

With that in mind, here are five pairs that capture that ideal for women looking to upgrade their eyewear.

Michael Kors MK2019

These cateyes from fashion designer Michael Kors are playful without going overboard. A popular style, this pair offers a sophistication perfect for an elegant night out or a fun day shopping around town (think Boston’s Newbury Street, New York’s Fifth Avenue or Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive).

Celine CL41076S

When it comes to sophistication, you can’t go wrong with Celine. This sleek, no frills look is just one example of what this brand does right. It’s simple. And beautiful. And that’s exactly what you want out of a pair of sunglasses.

Marc Jacobs MMJ

Big and round, this Marc Jacobs pair represents the perfect segue from summer to fall. They are fun to wear on a sunny, crisp autumn day, all while retaining a modesty that reflects this time of year. And at a relatively low price, they are a great way to enhance your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Coach Emma

Put on this pair and you will turn heads wherever you go. For a more subdued approach go with the black frames. For a bolder look, blue is our choice. 

Miu Miu 110S

This brand embodies all the qualities of its founder, Miuccia Prada, the Italian designer who is known for the fashion line Prada that she created more than three decades ago. Yes, Miu Mius are sleek and stylish. But they are also fun.

Slightly less uninhibited as others in the line (click here to see Miu Miu’s other styles), this pair does have some playful options when it comes to frame color. Choose black for a more sophisticated look or havana if you want to hold onto the last harbingers of summer.

🎶 Climb Every Mountain 🎶 ........................ At Least Every 4000 Footer in NE!

12 September, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Jack Scanlon on X-Wear.com

 

On the first Friday of this month, 68-year-old Jack Scanlon was where he is most at peace - scaling a New England mountain.

It was the latest in his ongoing list of peaks he is looking to conquer in this part of the country. The Falmouth native explained his passion for hiking is tied to his love of the outdoors; it keeps him fit and healthy; and then there’s the ultimate payoff, which are the views.

His most recent conquest was Mount Crawford in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. As he stood at the summit, he said, “I could probably see eight to 10 of the 4,000 footers I did. I was sitting there trying to remember which ones were which… That gives me satisfaction. Then I was looking at some on my list I still want to do. The views are unbelievable. That’s why it is worth it.”

While Scanlon has always enjoyed hiking – his first climb was popular Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, while still a high school student in 1964 – he started becoming serious about the activity in 1994. That is when he embarked on the task of climbing all 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire.

He achieved that goal in November 2007, doing the last with his daughter Martha. During that 13-year stretch, he overcame several odds that included cancer, diabetes and arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He has since climbed all 67 mountains over 4,000 feet in New England, finishing that list in 2010.

His latest endeavor is the 52 With-A-View in New Hampshire. He is more than halfway there, scaling 32 with 20 remaining. “These 52 are more casual,” he said. “I’m not killing myself to get it done.”

For Scanlon, who also skis in the winter, mountains are a place to celebrate life. In fact, on his 50th birthday he hiked Mount Katahdin in Maine. When he turned 60, he hiked Saddleback, which is also in Maine. “I’ll do something when I turn 70,” he promised.

Scanlon epitomizes the X-Wear philosophy of embracing the outdoors, regardless of one’s age. For those looking to follow in his footsteps, he provided some additional advice on starting your own New England adventure.

AMC GUIDEBOOKS – According to Scanlon, these are must haves for anyone hiking the region’s mountains as they provide detailed trail descriptions and safety tips that are useful for those of any skill level.

NEW ENGLAND TRAIL CONDITIONS (www.newenglandtrailconditions.com) – This website provides up-to-date conditions on mountains and trails, serving as a great reference point prior to tackling any of the peaks in the region.

MOUNTAINS – When it comes to his favorite mountains, Mount Katahdin is at the top of Scanlon’s list though it comes with a warning – it is strenuous. What makes it worth it, he said, are the views “which are incredible… It’s also the end of the Appalachian Trail so some people are finishing their hikes. It’s exciting because families are meeting them with bottles of champagne.”

For those starting out, he recommended Mount Crawford; Hedgehog Mountain in Conway, New Hampshire; and Mount Moosilauke in Benton, New Hamsphire. The first two will take roughly 4 hours, round trip, he said, while the last is between 6-7 hours.

TIMING – Scanlon recommended hikers begin their ascent in the morning; he usually departs on his treks by 8 am. Because there is still snow in the spring and black flies and mosquitoes are prevalent from May to early June, he does not begin hiking until the middle of June, continuing until around Columbus Day.

HIKING ALONE VERSUS WITH FRIENDS – Scanlon has done both. When he is with friends or family, there is time to talk and socialize. When he is alone, he tends to go slower, pacing himself so he does not get hurt.

WILDLIFE – During his hikes, Scanlon has encountered deer, moose and even a fisher cat. All of his encounters have been benign.

EQUIPMENT – Proper hiking shoes, a first aid kit, compass, rope, backpack and rain gear are just a few of the items Scanlon brings with him on his hikes. He also packs as much water and food as he can.

If you’re looking for gear to start your mountain adventures, you can begin with our water bottles. Our line of Herschel hats are ideal for those fall, winter and spring hikes in colder weather. At X-Wear, we have an assortment of backpacks which you can find here; we recommend our Quiksilver Sea Locker and Smith Borah Travel Pack, which comes in black or grey, as they have plenty of storage space for all your hiking gear.

Every hiker should consider a good pair of polarized sunglasses that are durable, rugged and can properly withstand the elements. Our line of performance brands, which includes Maui Jim, Native, Oakley and Wiley X, are a good place to start.

Finally, if you want to chronicle your hiking experiences consider a GoPro camera which captures the highest quality video, at an affordable price. If you buy one, make sure to check out this blog on GoPro settings and this one on GoPro accessories that will help you get the most out of your camera.

And if you want to read more about hiking, check out this blog we wrote last year when we caught up with Andrew Hamilton to talk about his incredible feat in which he climbed all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains in less than 10 days.

A Great Big THANK YOU From Us To You

06 September, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Thank you from X-Wear.com

 

Yesterday, there was a procession of cars departing two seaside communities – Cape Cod and Newport, Rhode Island – where we operate several retail stores. And so marks the unofficial end of summer and the end of our peak retail season.

Like many small businesses in these communities, we not only rely on year-round residents, but tourists to sustain us. And so we wanted to take a moment to say something we sometimes forget to say during the height of the busiest time of the year for us - thank you.

Thank you for a wonderful summer. Thank you for visiting two of what we consider the most beautiful places on either coast. And thank you for stopping in our stores and trusting us with your business.

Because of you, we consider ourselves lucky. We have the privilege of employing a small, dedicated staff of full-time employees, allowing them to live and thrive here. And we get to employ part-time seasonal workers, some who are local and others who came from overseas to experience a summer in Newport, Provincetown, Chatham, Mashpee and Falmouth.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve said farewell to many of them as they return to high school and college. It’s a bittersweet time of year for us. Yes, the crowds are smaller and traffic is less hectic, but it’s also a little less vibrant, a little less colorful. Summer on Cape Cod and Newport is a party that we wish would never end. But of course, it does. And when it does, you can’t wait for the next one to start.

In the meantime, we hope that you consider returning to Cape Cod and Newport in the fall, winter and spring. There’s a special magic to these times of year in both places. And if you do visit, make sure to stop in our stores (click here and scroll down to see the exact locations) and say hello.

As a way to say thank you to our loyal customers, we are having end-of-summer sales on clothing in our Board Stiff stores in Provincetown and Falmouth and in-store sales on sunglasses (buy one pair, get the second half off) at all of our locations over the next few weeks. 

Wishing you all an enjoyable September! Until next summer!

Skateboard Mom and the Sisters of Shred

22 August, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment


Skateboarders come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. Some are young, performing air defying stunts that make us shake our head in wonder. Some are older, like Ben Jaeger-Thomas, taking to the sport in an effort to learn new tricks. And some are in between, like Kilian Martin, using skateboarding less for utility or for thrill seeking and more as a form of artistic expression.

In many respects Laguna Beach’s Barbara Odanaka is a combination of all of these. Yes, she’s 53, returning to the sport a little less than two decades ago as a way to recapture her youth. Today, she continues to skate – at least once or twice a week – most often at skateparks (Etnies in Lake Forest; Vans in Huntington Beach; and Alex Road in Oceanside) near her hometown.

 Her interests range from cruising to slalom to going on skate adventures in ditches and pipes found in popular places like Mt. Baldy. Her exploits have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, by espnW and on NPR. AARP produced this short video featuring Odanaka and friends as part of their “Fearless at 50” campaign.

Yes, Odanaka is not alone in her pursuit of breaking down barriers when it comes to skateboarding, bringing mothers and women like her along for the ride through her nonprofit Skateboard Moms & Sisters of Shred. She epitomizes everything that X-Wear stands for, so we decided to track her down to learn more about her passion for skating.

X-Wear: You returned to skateboarding later in life. What is it that drew you back in? 

Barbara Odanaka: Motherhood! After I had my son, who was quite colicky, I was feeling overwhelmed and sought advice from a counselor. She told me my “homework” was to think of one thing I used to love to do before I became a mom, then do that every day for 10 minutes. I had my answer in an instant: skateboarding. A week later, my husband bought me a new board for my 35th birthday. Once I stepped on that board, I was suddenly 10 years old again. It was the perfect therapy! And it just grew from there. Some might call it an obsession, but really it was an awakening. I realized if you really love something, there is no reason not to pursue it. Who cares what others think? 

XW: There’s a real sense that you’re shattering stereotypes related to both gender and age when it comes to skateboarding. Can you talk about what that means to you and why it’s important to show that older females can, and should, get on a board and embrace the sport.  

Odanaka: When I first started our nonprofit (Skateboard Moms & Sisters of Shred), it was really because I wanted to find other females to skate with. Well, that and I wanted to promote my first children’s book, “Skateboard Mom.” But as time went on and more and more women joined us, I realized it was bigger than that. Women who had skated as kids were really excited to get on a board again. And some women who had never been athletic in their entire lives suddenly wanted to learn to skate. Suddenly, we had this growing sisterhood of women who wanted to talk about wheels and trucks and skateparks and how to drop in, and of course meet up to skate together which is a whole lot easier when you’re not the only woman at the skatepark.

Initially, I guess I was amused by it, but then more and more women starting telling me how skateboarding had literally changed their lives. Skateboarding empowered them like nothing else. It gave some an identity of their own for the first time. And in some cases, skateboarding helped them develop enough self-confidence to leave abusive relationships. At this point, I was the one being inspired, not the other way around. Skateboarding at a middle age can be really challenging—and painful, as all skaters know. But no matter what your age or stage, learning a new trick - or just surviving a long session without a broken bone - gives you a buzz that lasts all day or longer. And once you feel that, it’s pretty tough to give up! 

XW: You often wear sunglasses when skateboarding. Why?

Odanaka: I’ve always been sensitive to glare, and most skateparks are like solar ovens with all that white concrete. I have a tough time skating without sunglasses, though I am careful to wear the kinds that are designed not to break on impact — knock on wood! My favorites are the wraparound styles to better block the glare.

XW: What advice would you have for someone – regardless of age, gender or ability – thinking about taking up the sport?

Odanaka: I think getting some basic coaching always helps. Beginners tend to have some pretty bad falls, and starting out with someone who knows what they’re doing can go a long way in preventing that.

I also think the first “trick” skaters should learn is how to fall as safely as possible. Learning knee slides and other falls can go a long way in keeping you skating for years to come. After that, it’s really up to the individual on how fast or far to push themselves. Some people are naturally adept and learn quickly; others progress at a much slower pace. It really doesn’t matter. The way I look at it, it’s all about having fun. 

XW: When it comes to skateboarding, what’s next for Barbara Odanaka? 

Odanaka: Our nonprofit just started a program called Skate Pals, where we mentor children rescued from human trafficking here in Orange County. We give the kids skate lessons and outfit them with all new boards and gear. We also put on the annual Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama; 2017 will be our 14th year.

Other than that, I’m hoping to go on my annual skatepark road trip with some of my friends in the Sisters of Shred and I hope to do a weekend with the girls at Woodward West, the Disneyland of skateparks. On a professional note, I will be donning my inflatable cow costume once again this fall. I am a children’s book author and one of my characters is Skateboard Cow. I go to schools and do assemblies where I skate in a cow costume. Life is never boring! 

To learn more about Barbara Odanaka visit her website, www.barbaraodanaka.com. And make sure to check out our skate gear – we have everything from actual boards to trucks to wheels to bearings – that will help you get started on skate adventures of your own. And if you’re looking for sunglasses, these ones  are ideal for protecting your eyes during a long day at the skatepark.

 

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