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10 Amazing (and Attainable) Thru-Hikes Across the Country

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Weekend backpacking trips are one of the greatest gifts of the summer. You can get so much in just two to three days: a breathtaking vista, a serene mountain lake, a secluded old-growth forest. The only problem is that all too soon you’re back at the trailhead, preparing for the long drive home and wondering how you’ll get through five more days before your next big adventure. Usually, this is when hikers start to google “Appalachian Trail Town Guide” or “PCT Gear Checklist,” but if you aren’t quite ready to quit your job and sell your house, there are other long trail options, ones that can be squeezed in alongside life’s many other responsibilities. And since these trails don’t get the same press as the jewels of the triple crown, the odds of getting a week of breathtaking vistas all to yourself are even better. 1. Benton-Mackaye Trail A 270-foot suspension bridge crossing the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye Trail in North Georgia. Richard States: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee Season: Year round Duration: 2-4 weeks Learn more: BMTA.org The Appalachian Trail is widely considered one of the most social trails in America, and no wonder as thousands of hikers…

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Tips for Hikers on Preventing and Treating Blisters

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What’s a hiker’s worst and most common enemy? Bears? Weather? No! It’s the common, but painful, blister. Even a short day hike can seem like a death march when you have blisters, but there are ways to prevent this suffering, or at least reduce the pain. The key is to know potential pressure points where a blister can form, and to know how to recognize when one might be forming. Plus, you can take certain precautions before hitting the trail. Now, that’s not to say that you can reliably prevent all blisters from forming. But, you can definitely minimize the risk, pain, and possible infection with just a little pre-hike prep. What Causes a Blister? First, we need to know what causes blisters in the first place. There are many things that can cause a flare-up, including sunburn, mosquito and bug bites, and allergies. But the most common cause is friction. Friction can be produced in a number of ways. When your skin is wet or damp it becomes very soft, and even the normal rubbing of your socks against the skin damages cells to a greater or lesser degree. If you have a simple wrinkle in your sock or…

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Seven Essential Care Products For Your Trainers

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Keep your footwear looking and smelling box-fresh as the weather turns. Forget the weatherman. Forget your iPhone’s forecasting app. And absolutely forget your quick peek out the window and hapless attempts at predicting what the elements might throw at you today. There is a far more accurate and clearer method of predicting whether or not summer’s finally come to an end – your feet. Yep, taking a quick look at your trainers after a stomp around outside will tell you exactly how far we’ve fallen from the sunny season. Gone are the days of nonchalantly throwing on your pristine white Stan Smiths and returning them back to their home beside the door in the same box-fresh condition. Now, with autumn upon us and winter looming up behind it, you and your smart-casual kicks, running shoes and trendy trainers have wind, rain, mud mines and sludge puddles to look out for when stepping out of your front door. And we’re sorry to say, the odds are not stacked in your favour. But there are ways to level the playing field. Seven ways, in fact. Scroll down and discover our seven favourite trainer care products, all ready to extend the life of…

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The 20 Best Hikes in the United States

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From the Smokies to the Rockies, and the Everglades to the highest point in Maine—and everywhere in between—the United States is full of world-class hikes. Whether you’re a hardcore peak bagger, out for an ambitious day hike, or are obsessed with the panoramic views for your Instagram feed, there’s always something thrilling to lace your hiking boots up for. Here, we tapped RootsRated editors for intel on some of the best hikes in the United States. Use them as inspiration for your next outing—or as a reason to plan a trip. Teton Crest Trail, Wyoming The Teton Crest Trail epitomizes the splendor of the West. John Strother There are a lot of really great hikes on this list, but Wyoming’s Teton Crest Trail might just take the cake as being the most epic. For 35-45 miles (depending on your route), this slender singletrack path cuts a dwarfed, serpentine figure as it slices through the heart of one of America’s most stunning mountain ranges, linking together its very best features along the way. Over the course of two to five days, hikers will pass through wildflower-filled meadows, over airy mountain passes, past glacially-fed tarns, and across expansive basins that swallow up…

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The Top 10 Foot Injuries And Problems

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And what to do about them All injuries are quite literally a pain, but with most knocks and niggles you can at least avoid some of that pain by taking the load off the part of the body that’s suffering. It might mean avoiding the gym for a couple of weeks or sticking your arm in a sling, but at least you won’t be suffering so much on a day-to-day basis. This is not something that’s usually an option with foot pain. Unless you’re able to stay in bed until the issue goes away you are going to be using your feet every day, which means the pain is always there with you. And that’s no fun at all, so it makes sense to do your best to avoid foot injuries. The best way to do that is to identity any minor existing or potential foot issues early and take action to ensure that they don’t become major problems. This guide to identifying and fixing the ten most common foot problems will help. 1. Blisters Research by the College of Podiatry shows that 90% of foot pain is caused by footwear, and the second most common reason to seek help…

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How Skiing Has Changed Over the Years

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Ask Aspen local Tony Vagneur what he remembers most about skiing in the old days, and he answers immediately: “the cold.” Circa 1949, when Gore-Tex was a long way off, layering wool was the only way to attempt to ward off the frigid temperatures. Factor in an hour-long lift line and a 30-minute ride up what was then the world’s longest chairlift—with single seats—and idle time adds up to freezing digits. “By the end of the day, my hands would be numb and as they warmed up the pain was a killer,” Vagneur, still active on the slopes at 71, recalls. “But that was part of the game. Skiing was so much fun. We didn’t care if we were cold.” If there’s anywhere in America that showcases how skiing has evolved from its humble origins, it’s Aspen. In 1950, it was a sleepy ranching and mining town when it hosted the first worldwide skiing competition held in the United States. Today, the four resorts that make up Aspen-Snowmass have a combined 41 lifts serving 5,500 acres of terrain. But there’s a lot more about skiing that has changed, in Aspen and across the world, than just the size of the…

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The Best Skiing in Vermont: 5 Must-Visit Resorts Close to Burlington

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Winter has finally decided to show up in Vermont, and now that the temperatures have dropped and the white stuff has started to fall, the call of the slopes can be answered. Luckily, there are a handful of options within an hour’s drive of downtown Burlington. So grab your gear and figure out which mountain will keep you happiest as you shoosh through the powdery stashes you’ve been waiting for since November. 1. Cochran’s Ski Area: 15 Minutes from Downtown Big things come in small packages, and Cochran’s Ski Area is no exception. While it’s the smallest mountain on the list, Cochran’s churns out Olympic skiers and medal-winning racers like no other. The nation’s first nonprofit ski area is owned and operated by the legendary skiing family, the Cochrans, and has a mission of “no child will be denied the opportunity to ski or ride.” Located in Richmond about 20 minutes outside of downtown, Cochran’s is where most local kiddos get their start on the slopes. Cochran’s has two rope tows, night skiing, and an amazing community vibe. 2. Bolton Valley: 25 Minutes from Downtown Nestled in the middle of the mountain-top community of Bolton Valley, Bolton Valley Ski Resort…

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How to Pull off a 100-Day Ski Season with a Full-Time Job

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By the time I skied my 100th day this season—skinning up Alta at sunset after a rogue May storm dusted the mountain with a few inches of fresh snow—the outing felt both special and normal. Special because every ski day is a high-five from life. Normal because I’d spent the whole season getting re-accustomed to skiing multiple days per week like I did ski-bumming for many years. These days, I am a homeowner. I have a career; I have garden tools; I fill out weekly timesheets at work. But I found myself putting off too much of my weekly fun until Friday happy hour. Yes, I still skied every weekend and holiday, with frequent dawn patrols thrown in for good measure. But skiing, to me, is what tennis balls are to Labradors. So, realizing that my indoor days had grown a bit more frequent than my outdoor days, I felt a wistful pang in my soul. So, this season I decided to fully renew my vows with skiing and see what would happen if I balanced my full-time job with skiing 100 days, which is the elusive numeric benchmark at which a skier knows they’ve proverbially gone all-in. It meant…

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Skiing the Steeps: Pro Tips from Noah Howell

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The resort ski season may be winding down, but spring snowpack still clings to the upper heights of the Pfeifferhorn, Superior, Wolverine, and Coalpit. Spring can be prime time for hiking and booting up tall, steep lines with relatively low avalanche danger. Steep season is the new spring season. And to commemorate, we caught up with notable local pro skier Noah Howell for a steep ski clinic. Howell has made quite a name for himself by billy-goating up dangerously high and remote mountains, then descending them with a level of grace unpossessed by most mortals. He’s skied darn near everywhere, adventures he documents on his blog, but he mainly calls the Wasatch home. Over the course of a sunny afternoon on Mt. Millicent at Brighton, Howell shared a few of his go-to tips for sliding down things that scare you a little. Here are a few takeaways that just might help you up your game. Lesson 1: Steep skiing is all in your head. Howell advises starting where you’re comfortable when it comes to skiing steeps. Zach Dischner “Steep skiing” can mean quite a few things, and it’s all relative. For some of us, it means staying in control on a narrow line inbounds….

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7 Excellent Spots for the Best Spring Skiing in North America

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With the arrival of warmer temperatures and a more laid-back atmosphere, spring skiing is a magical experience: costumed characters barreling down the slopes, sundeck moments toasting the fun at all-day après, and savoring that seasonal favorite of conditions, corn. Whether you’re looking for family fun during a spring break with the kids or a spirited getaway with friends, here are seven spots in North America for the best spring skiing that deliver an experience to remember. 1. Best for Families: Park City Mountain, Utah An easy drive from Salt Lake International Airport, Park City is a delightful resort that provides plenty of on- and off-slope fun for everyone in the family. Beginners and accomplished powder junkies will find options galore on the 7,300 skiable acres of terrain. Meanwhile, daycare and private and group lessons tiered to age and abilities (and starting at a wee three years old) help little ones and older kids build the confidence to develop skills, while giving mom and dad some time of their own on the slopes. When the lifts close, the village’s cozy restaurants keep the smiles going. One of the perks of spring skiing? Après that lasts all day, like the round-the-clock party…

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