SNEWS best outdoor reads from around the web

The SNEWS team loves to read. And we’ve put together a list of articles and blog posts that caught our attention this week. In case you missed them, current selections include a story about an outdoor retreat for women with cancer, and a tale of a woman’s 1,000-mile hike. Check them out!

What did the SNEWS team learn this week that other outdoor industry insiders might find interesting? Well, read on to find out.

  • Nature and the outdoors can be healing in so many ways. That’s why organizations like First Descents and Camp Good Days exist. This Wayne Post article talks about Camp Good Days and its women’s oncology program, which helps women suffering from cancer by giving them a space to participate in outdoor adventures and other activities. The program is from May 18-20, so read the article to find more information.
  • Between Columbia Muddy Buddy’s, Tough Mudders, Warrior Dashes and Spartan Races, mud races and obstacle courses are getting more and more popular. Maybe it’s the fact that the events don’t take themselves too seriously, or that there’s a team element to it. Whatever the reason, this Today story is a good read on the subject.
  • With the rise in popularity of backcountry adventures and availability of equipment to make risky activities a bit safer, it’s likely people are going to be traveling with gear like avalanche airbags. Teton Gravity had this helpful post on how to avoid mishaps while flying with your avalanche airbags. 
  • With the billions of dollars in spending power kids have (thanks to influencing their parents’ purchasing decisions), it behooves our industry to get them outdoors. PBS Kids and the National Recreation and Park Association are producing on-air and online content intended to get kids outdoors and loving outdoor adventures according to this Wall Street Journal story
  • Mothers. What can’t they do? The word “mother” might as well be synonymous with “super woman.” This 5280 story gets into the mind of Sarah Bowen Shea, author of “Run Like a Mother” and “Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line — and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity.” Bowen Shea offers insight on everything from getting back into running after having a child to finding inspiration to hit the pavement.
  • Honestly, who doesn’t like a little luxury every now and then? Isn’t that why ExOfficio launched a lace collection this past Outdoor Retailer Winter Market? And while it is a desert, Joshua Tree National Park offers a little something for everybody, from climbers to food connoisseurs (check out the pizza picture in this Los Angeles Times article), to people who simply love to soak their bones. 
  • This spring follows one of the worst winters for outdoor retailers in a while, but this Washington Post article offers some hope. In Tennessee during the first two months of the year, visits to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were up 16.5 percent, and camping in February was up 24.3 percent. Alright, Tennessee outdoor retailers, keep outfitting those campers!
  • Cheryl Strayed didn’t know anything about hiking when she embarked on one of the greatest journeys of her life. The Portland, Ore.-based writer had worked at a bunch of jobs she hated, her mother passed away from cancer shortly after her diagnosis, and she and her husband got a divorce. Read this NPR story that recounts her grueling trek along the 1,000-mile Pacific Crest Trail. 
  • Outdoor manufacturers could see some relief in cotton and other apparel input costs, MarketWatch reports. Prices have fallen by more than 60 percent since March 2001. If manufacturers hold their prices steady after many raised them this spring, it could lead to higher future margins, according to Moody’s Investor Services, cited in the article.
  • When gauging how your company will adapt to future technologies in the retail industry, don’t focus on the technology, writes Mickey Alam Khan at Mobile Marketer. Instead, he argues, consider and anticipate consumer behavioral shift as a result of those technologies. Think “Consumer 2.0.”

Have you read anything interesting you’d like to share with us? Maybe we’ll include it next week’s column with a little shout out to whoever sent it to us. Send a link to the story with the subject line “SNEWS Reads” to be considered.

–Compiled by Ana Trujilloand David Clucas