There’s something to be said about feeling limitless. That mountain peak over there? Sure, I can climb that. But what if it was covered in six feet of fresh powder? That feeling of being limitless might dwindle a little. Lucky for you, there is a solution. This, my friends, is a snowbike.
Simply put, you take a conventional motocross bike, swap the rear wheel for a track, the front wheel for a ski, and you’re left with what appears to be someone’s home built frankenstein motorcycle pipe dream. You think to yourself, “this was clearly built by a devoted member of the Church of the Less Than Immaculate Garage Floor.” Rest assured though, these machines are tough and are more than capable of handling extreme snow conditions.
So what’s the catch? Why not just buy a snowmobile? Same thing, right? Not exactly. First and foremost, what do you do with your snowmobile when the snow melts? Snowbikes easily swap back to a motorcycle, ready for you to enjoy during the warm summer months. Second, snowmobiles can easily cost upwards of $15,000. A motocross bike generally comes in around $8,000. After purchasing a snowbike kit, you’ve spent about $13,000. When you factor in that you can enjoy this vehicle 12 months out of the year, a snowbike purchase starts to make sense. When it comes to the actual ride, snowbikes are vastly different from snowmobiles. Snowmobiles make almost three times the power of a snowbike, and generally weigh about 100 pounds more than one. As a result, snowmobiles can easily get stuck. They also do not lean like a snowbike does, So they are unable to wind their way through tight trees like a snowbike can.
You might argue, “yeah but now I need a trailer to get this thing to the mountain!” Well, take it from me, these snowbikes will fit in the back of a truck, no problem. With that said, don’t go it alone. With the help of two ramps, a dolley, a piece of carpet, a beer, and a very eclectic use of my vocabulary, I was able to load one in a truck without the help of another human. There’s a learning curve for everything, c’mon guys. You shouldn’t be riding these machines alone anyway, in case your bike breaks down or you injure yourself in the backcountry. Don’t load one alone either. Once out on the snow however, turning that throttle for the first time, it’s guaranteed to make you smile. As long as there is snow on the ground, there isn’t a single place you can’t reach.
Over the years there have been a countless number of incredible basketball shoes released. From signature lines donned by greats such as MJ, Lebron and Kobe; to shoes designed for big men like Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Shawn Kemp; not to forget kicks sported by great guards like Scottie Pippen, Gary Payton, and Penny Hardaway. There is no way I could have compiled a list of top ten best shoes of all time. Instead, here is a list of the most memorable shoes of my time, as seen through my eyes. Ranking is in no particular order, as each shoe could easily make an argument for the top spot.
Nike Air Jordan 1
Even though I wasn’t born at the time of this shoe’s release, I’ve got to give credit to the shoe (and legend) that started it all. Designed for MJ in ’84, these shoes were outlawed by NBA commish David Stern for not having enough white in the original black and red colorway. Just as exhibited my MJ’s style of play, nothing could stop His Airness, and he chose to sport the shoes anyways despite a $5,000 fine per game (paid by Nike). The following season a new colorway was created, allowing MJ to wear his signature kicks fine-free.
Adidas T-Mac 2
These beautiful kicks were sported by one of the best young players to ever play the game, and one of the few to make the jump from high school successfully. T-Mac’s career was sadly cut short due to knee injuries, but the 7-time All-star was dominant during his time. Early on in his career it was even debated whether he was a greater talent than young Kobe. I remember wearing these through my middle school basketball career, hoping they would zap a little of the future HOF’s greatness into my lackluster scoring game.
Nike Shox BB4
Vinsanity’s ability to jam on any man, woman or child who stood in his way may have contributed to the amazement of this shoe, and the introduction of Shox technology to a basketball shoe. Every basketball fan dreamed of dunking like Vince, and instead of trying to do the man justice with the use of words, here’s a link to a clip of his nasty slams.
Nike Air Penny 1
Stepping up to fill the void left by Air Jordan’s absence, Penny and Shaq nabbed the attention of many NBA fans young and old. These are the first basketball shoes I can remember putting on my feet at a young age. The Air Penny 1 inspired Nike’s Uptempo line for versatile players. The Uptempo line was a happy-medium between Nike’s Flight line, designed for guards looking to increase agility, and Force line for bigs requiring a little extra support down low. If you’d like a refresher to remember how talented Penny was, check out the 30-for-30 titled, This Magic Moment.
And1 Tai Chi
At the peak of And1’s streetball popularity and trash-talking apparel, these eye-catching shoes were the talk of many teenagers when released in the early 2000’s. Whether spotted on the feet of Hot Sauce while breaking the ankles of helpless defenders, or Vince Carter during his 2000 Dunk Contest victory, these striking shoes and colorways were the talk of many basketball fans. Despite their drop in brand popularity, these shoes have recently made a comeback due to their attractive design.
Reebok The Answer IV DMX
The choice between AI’s Questions and Answer IVs (also the 5s are SO sweet!) was not one made easily. Captivated by Allen Iverson’s unique style of play, and proof that anyone can be competitive despite their size, the Answer IVs are possibly my favorite shoes ever. The design was worn by the greatest undersized guard of all-time during his run to an MVP trophy and Finals appearance. They were re-released recently, and sadly I didn’t jump on the chance to buy the amazing shoe that now I wouldn’t outgrow within a year.
D-Rose took the NBA by storm, using his explosive athleticism and slashing ability to win a Rookie of the Year in 2009 and MVP in 2010-11. Rose is a Chicago native who inspires many with his style of play. Just kidding, I wouldn’t recommend these shoes unless you feel like blowing out your knees.
Air Jordan XI
This list wouldn’t feel complete without another pair of J’s. While just about all of them could be included on the list, I had to force myself to choose just two. The XIs were the first basketball shoe to feature patent leather and is regarded by many as best shoe of all time. Not only that, but Jordan wore them in the greatest movie ever, Space Jam, giving them a few added points in my book. The GOAT also wore them en route to his 10th All-Star appearance, 8th scoring title, another MVP and 4th NBA title.
Nike Zoom Lebron II
Along with Air Jordans, the list wouldn’t be complete without including a pair of shoes designed for a King. These shoes were designed for The Akron Hammer early in his career and were nabbed by just about any basketball fan who could get their hands on them. Just about every one of Lebron’s signature shoes could have made the list, this pair has always just been my personal favorite. The shoe included increased Zoom Air support for larger players, detailed laser-graphics, and a removable ankle strap to suit each player’s unique needs.
I’m not certain about the performance aspect of the Sprees, but who really cares, they have spinning rims on the sides. These shoes are almost as questionable as making Latrell Sprewell the face of your brand, despite the fact that he once choked his own coach in 1997. These weren’t a pair of shoes I ever had a desire to wear, but they sure as hell caught my eye when seen on the feet of others. Rumor has it they may even be making a comeback.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Have to give a shout out to the basketball shoe that truly started it all. First available prior to the Great Depression. With the assistance of a few modifications, the canvas shoe with rubber soles was the most popular basketball shoe through much of the ‘60s. Although these shoes don’t meet performance standards required by today’s athletes, they are still worn by many as casual sneakers.
Kobe Bryant Signature Shoes
The Black Mamba has tons of great shoes, whether early in his career when sponsored by Adidas, or for the many years he donned the Nike Swoosh. Kobe was the face of the NBA for as long as I have been a fan, and the game has been forever changed as a result of his greatness. Sadly, I cannot say that I have ever sported a pair of Kobe’s shoes, mainly due to their high price point (and my heart’s soft spot for MJ’s).
Made famous by Dee Brown during the 1991 Dunk Contest, these shoes with pumps on the tongues are basketball shoes of legend. Designed to inflate around the ankle for improved support, these beautiful shoes are ones that no basketball fan should forget.
Trimming this list down to 10 leaves me feeling like I have done many great shoes an injustice. To give every shoe the proper respect they deserve, I think the list would have been closer to 150, especially if colorways were included. Share a picture and a comment to shine the spotlight on your favorite pair of shoes and help me to do the world of kicks the justice they deserve.
Portland, OR and Missoula, MT have many similarities. From the craft breweries, bike craze, Birkenstocks, outdoors-men, organic foods, diverse restaurants.. Portland Oregon and Missoula Montana have a lot in common. Here are ten reasons, and counting, why these two cities are so similar, and what makes them such great places to live.
Portland and Missoula are listed in the top ten cities for beer drinkers. Portland beats out Missoula at 3rd place to Missoula’s 8th, but that recognition alone shows how much both cities love beer. There are nearly ten breweries in Missoula alone and Portland has 58 within the city limits.
Biking & Pedestrians:
Bikers always win in Portland. There are these green bike boxes downtown that allow bikes to wait in-front of cars while at a stop light. If you work downtown, chances are you bike to work and are well familiar with the many bikers all over the roads. In Missoula, there are many bikers as well thanks to the large selection of bike paths in the city, and downtown you can find elevated sidewalks only for biker use.
The Good Food Store, Missoula Fresh Market, Natural Grocers.. Missoula has many options for organic and natural foods and like Portland boasts farmers markets throughout the summer and fall seasons.
Montana roots gear is extremely popular in Montana, and in Missoula. Locals sport this clothing to show how much they love this state. Much like Portlander’s and Oregonians wearing the ironic “put a bird on it” shirts and their willingness to show their love for their hometown.
Hiking, Biking, Skiing:
Missoula is home to great hiking, biking, and skiing trails. You don’t have to go far to see the incredible places this city has to show you. There isn’t a time when there arent people exploring and hiking the “M trail” about the UM campus. Portlanders need to travel a bit further for hiking or skiing, but they are still favored weekend activities. There are also parks within the city, like Forest Park, where you can spend a whole day exploring and enjoying nature.
In Portland, you could eat your way through the city with any kind of food you are looking for. There are incredible and unique restaurants all over the city, not to forget the food carts around downtown that have their own unique food scenes. Missoula has great choices for food as well. Being a college town, you can find great burgers, pizza, and brunch.
A river runs through it:
Portland has the Willamette river. Missoula has the Clark Fork. Both rivers run through the middle of the city and are used for recreation. Dragon boats, kayaks, and rowers can be seen on the Willamette, especially during the summer months. A favorite summer time activity of Missoula is floating down the Clark Fork on inter-tubes. The Clark Fork is smaller than the Willamette and makes it easier for fishing and walking along it.
It snows in Missoula, and it rains in Portland. Both cities are often covered by gloomy gray clouds and have very temperamental and changing weather. While Missoula is well equipped for snow, Portland tends to shut down for less than two inches of snow. Even in April, the mountains around Missoula are covered with a light dusting of snow.
Griz games are huge in Missoula. Timbers soccer games are huge in Portland. Portland and Missoula both have huge support for their sports teams and if thousands of screaming fans doesn’t show this I don’t know what does.
Portland and Missoula are both incredible cities. Living in Missoula reminds me so much of Portland, which is home for me, has been incredible. These are two cities that are great to live and work in.
Montana winters are often portrayed with ten feet of snow and a guy covered in furs (somewhat reminiscent of Leo in The Revenant) but the Big Sky Country has a lot more to offer. Thanks to being in close proximity to a number of mountain ranges, ski slopes cover Montana. This portrayal is quickly turned into life changing experiences and truly exposes the tremendous potential Montana has. There are some recreational activities and some particular resorts that really help stereotype Montana but the list of resorts below are some “hidden gems” that many people might not have ever been to or even heard of. They are all experiences that a Montana lover must try!
5. Montana Snowbowl
Snowbowl is a smaller resort located about 15 miles from Missoula making it the perfect destination for a simple day ski or for last minute ski plans.
Despite being a smaller mountain, Snowbowl gets optimal snow, has reasonable prices, and is great for any level of skier.
When Snowbowl shuts down the lifts for summer, its focus turns to weddings, concert series, and other events.
4. Red Lodge Mountain
With the closest Montana “city” to Red Lodge being Billings, this ski resort is often overlooked and considered to be an underrated mountain.
Red Lodge is actually a bigger Montana ski hill despite its location and is a very nice resort to take vacations to or to just simply ski for the day and enjoy the nice little town of Red Lodge.
Red Lodge is great for skiers of any skill level with a “top half” and “back side” of the mountain that provides a lot more space for many skiers to freely roam without feeling crowded.
The mountain hosts a series of different events, has live music at the lodge, and turns its focus to the Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course when the weather permits.
3. Bridger Bowl
Less than an hour away from Bozeman, Bridger Bowl is great for day trips to hit some serious powder (gnar bro).
Even though Big Sky Resort casts a big shadow for the Montana ski industry, Bridger Bowl does a great job of making a name for themselves keeping a considerable reputation.
Bridger has a great atmosphere made for skiers of any skill level and is considerably priced (about half of Big Sky Resort).
If you have an avalanche beacon and guts of steel, Bridger Bowl offers the opportunities to put your skills to the test.
2. Lookout Pass
Lookout has the most optimal location for a ski resort being a stones throw off the interstate at the top of Lookout Pass.
One of the most unique experiences is being able ski on both the Montana side and the Idaho side of this ski resort since it lies on the Montana-Idaho border.
Even though Lookout is located on a busy interstate, it is still big enough to enjoy skiing without feeling crowded by fellow skiers.
Lookout is constantly putting on events and in the warm summer months serves as the central hub for taking a bike ride on the Hiawatha trail (which is an amazing experience).
2016 reached the 80 year mark of Showdown and I swear it gets better every year.
Although a smaller mountain, Showdown is the perfect hill for skiers/boarders of any skill level.
2 chairlifts take you directly to the top of the mountain so you don’t have to worry about switching chairs at midway.
Showdown offers everything from the “bunny hill” to terrain parks and even advanced skiing such as cliffs and moguls.
Hosts a lot of fun events and competitions throughout the year such as the popular mannequin jump.
After a long day of skiing, enjoy local beer and live music at the “Hole in the Wall Saloon” located in the lodge on the hill.
The goal of this blog post was to hopefully bring awareness to anyone who enjoys skiing in Montana looking to try something new. The true Montana outdoor experience isn’t a fancy experience with all the bells and whistles. The best way to experience Montana’s beauty is to escape from the world and simply enjoy the little things in life. Given the proper settings these “gems” will not disappoint anyone looking for a new Montana skiing experience.
The amount of times I have heard “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not built like a runner, therefore I can’t run” has really started to piss me off and honestly, whoever I walked by this weekend saying these things, thank you for the inspiration to prove you all wrong.
I’ll start by being completely candid, I am a bit biased to the whole physical activity hoorah. I grew up playing competitive soccer up until the day I left for college. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of running and disciplined conditioning, but I never had to run longer than 3-4 miles at a time in those 15 years of playing. I should also add that each of those miles had to be in 7 minutes or less (the struggle was totally real).
Once college started, all concepts of physical activity went out the window and I was now struggling to run 1 mile, on a Sunday, while trying not to gag over the smell of Captain Morgan and Fireball seeping through my pores. Cool.
Freshman year ended and those attractive 15 pounds needed to go (this isn’t where running saved my life, I just got cut off of my campus meal plan when I moved out of the dorms). Exercise became important again and I was back in shape but I still couldn’t run more than 2 agonizing miles, maybe 3 on a good day.
Come Junior year I accepted an offer for an internship in Seattle and decided I should find things to do that would let me see the city in a unique way. This is where running made my life great. I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, by myself. Turns out I wasn’t alone, a few of my friends had already signed up and planned on taking a road trip to run as well. Training became fun as we increased our distance by one mile each Sunday and spent the majority of our runs singing and talking in very breathy sentences. Come race day, 13.1 miles never seemed so doable.
To make a long story longer, I caught the running bug. Since my first half in Seattle, I have completed two more half marathons, improving my time each time.
The point of this was to show that anyone can lace up some shoes and hit the pavement. I can’t lie like some Pinterest post and say it’s as easy as that. Running is an investment in your time, your body, and your wallet. Ugly running shoes changed the way I felt about running. YOU MUST INVEST IN UGLY RUNNING SHOES. My GPS watch complimented my competitive drive by keeping my pace (so that I wasn’t trying to run 7 minute miles for 13.1 miles straight) and my running belt was crucial for holding my phone, keys and ID. Looking the part makes performing the part so much easier.
I’m not saying go sign up for five half marathons or to start out running 9 miles at a time. I challenge every one of you to start by going outside (weather is a horrible argument), plug in some pump-up tunes or grab a friend to distract you, and start off slow. If 1 mile is all you’ve got, then it’s one more mile than those sitting on the couch. Happy Running 🙂
*Serious about it? Comment below for more tips and help on joining a world wide community.