SNEWS best outdoor reads from around the web

Check out the SNEWS reads today, which include a story about flammable sunscreen and another about endurance athletes being at higher risk for cardiac arrest.

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

  • After chatting with Julie Popp of Verde PR a few weeks ago, we at SNEWS became a little more aware of all the chemicals in most sunscreens and promptly went to the store to try Popp’s natural sunscreen recommendation. After reading this story in the Daily Mail about a man whose barbecue lit him on fire due to the chemical-laden sunscreen spray he’d sprayed on moments before cooking, we’re planning to continue using sun protection products with the fewest chemicals possible.
  • It seems as though summiting Everest has become for climbers something like what qualifying for the Boston Marathon is for runners — a status symbol for “medal grabbers.” At least that’s what these two British climbers say in this Economist story. The story discusses how climbers impress one another by trying to do climbs faster or in unusual ways. This July, the pair, Jon Gupta and Nick Valentine, will attempt to win the Snow Leopard Award by climbing five peaks in the former Soviet Union within 40 days.
  • Our industry is no stranger to amazing feats, but somehow we at SNEWS are always amazed by amazing feats we read about every week. This story in the Guardian is about one of them: Mike Hall, 31, broke the world record for the round-the-world bicycle race on his birthday, becoming the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle. It took him 92 days.
  • We sometimes worry that conservation and commerce are at odds. Turns out those thoughts are wrong. This Wenatchee World story outlines statistics from the Outdoor Industry Association that show the outdoor recreation industry contributes $730 billion to the U.S. economy and that’s all due to conservation of public lands, which in turn supports the industry. So, are you a member of the Conservation Alliance yet?
  • Arizona retailers, looks like you’re going to have to push those bear cans to your customers after news of a black bear attacked a 74-year-old woman last Thursday. The animal ripped through the tent where she, her husband and their dog were sleeping. The woman suffered minor bruises and cuts and officials said the couple was very lucky that that’s all. Though the couple locked up their food in the cab of their truck and supposedly left nothing out to warrant the bear attack, this news, reported in multiple channels including the Huffington Post, might still make people want to buy items to protect against bear attacks. 
  • A majority of the population still uses not-so-smart-phones, but about 46 percent of Americans now have them. Around 40 percent of those smart phone and tablet users admitted to using their devices to check competitive prices while they’re in your store, and another 36 percent said they use smart phones to look at product reviews. This Internet Retailer story gives examples of retailers using the web to their advantage, including Moosejaw Mountaineering.
  • We don’t like to sound like our grandparents, but back in our day, the appeal of summer break was that we got to ride our bikes, go swimming in the river and be outside from morning to night. Now, children must schedule that “structured nature play” according to this Globe Gazette story, because of their demanding schedules (SNEWS team members have nephews with full social calendars). Read this story, which offers tips on how to structure the perfect environment for unstructured playtime.
  • As we’ve told you, SNEWS got invited to run the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run this summer, an invitation we happily accepted. Not even this scary story about how people who participate in ultra marathons, marathons, triathlons and other endurance sports are at higher risk for cardiac arrest is going to take away our excitement. If — or rather, when — we go, we want to go doing something awesome that we love. Just sayin’.
  • Face it readers. We all have a problem in this industry. We are some gear junkies. Don’t believe it? Take a walk over to your closet right now, open the door and count the number of hiking shoes and packs that are in there. Told you. Check out this Idaho Statesman story that calls out three must-have summer items and even gives a few shout outs to companies like Kelty.

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 Trujillo