Daily Dirt: Great Outdoor Provision Co. Opening, Epic Antarctic Trek, and the End of Snow?

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This week’s Daily Dirt for February 12th, the day Mattel announced that “Barbie” and “Ken” were officially breaking up:


Charlottesville outdoor enthusiasts: get excited.

This spring, Great Outdoor Provision Co. will bring their first Virginia store to Barracks Road Shopping Center. Founded in 1972, the independent retailer is known for their unique brand of active outdoor retail.

“We’re flatted to join this community with its incredible history and appreciation for the outdoors,” said co-owner Chuck Millsaps. “Charlottesville was a natural choice for our first location in Virginia. We share this region’s love for the active outdoor lifestyle along with the commitment to protecting the open spaces that make adventure possible.”

The company’s seven other locations in North Carolina frequently partner with local organizations to support youth, trails, and local conservation initiatives. The recipient of Backpacker Magazine‘s 2010 Retailer of the Year Award for Conservation, Great Outdoor Provision Co. prides themselves on conscious conservation efforts while servicing their customer’s drive for adventure. We look forward to their arrival in Charlottesville.


Over 100 years ago, Sir Robert Falcon Scott and his team set off on a frigid journey through Antarctica. The five men reached the South Pole on January 17th, 1912, but all died of hunger and exhaustion on their return.

On Monday morning, Ben Saunders, 36, and former rugby player Tarka L’Herpiniere, 32, became the first people in history to ever complete the nearly 1,800-mile trek that Scott attempted years ago. Pulling sleds with more than 440 pounds of gear, the men hiked through wind chills as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The two frosty explorers were suited in modern gear from Intel and managed a blog throughout the tundra. You can read their blog here.


On Sunday, Porter Fox posted an editorial to the New York Times outlining some of the most recent estimates of worldwide snowmelt in the wake of complaints about slope conditions in Sochi. Due to high temperatures last year, 16 million cubic feet of snow was stored under insulated blankets to ensure decent levels for Olympics this month. Snow-making guns have been firing non-stop to maintain courses.

These facts, coupled with long-range estimates that project dwindling snow-averages, certainly raise an alarm for skiers and boarders.  The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, leading to greater snow melts. Over the past 47 years, the northern hemisphere has lost over a million square miles of spring snow cover.

While you may be one that hesitates about long term predictions and figures, the daunting idea of closing ski resorts would bum out any powder aficionado. Some estimates project that Europe will lose two-thirds of its resorts by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. In the United States, more than half of the 103 resorts in the Northeast may be unusable in 30 years.

Fox raises some interesting notions. No skier wants to see brown peaks. We all want our kids to experience the same joy of deep powder, long runs, and beautiful landscape. We’ve just got to figure out a way to make it happen.

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