The World’s Cutest Snowboarder

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Yeah he’s cute, but someone else has got him beat.

I hate to be a traitor to my very talented partner (who gets all the credit for turning me on to snowboarding in the first place), but another snowboarder now has my complete adoration. Her name is Sloan Henderson and she’s only one year old! Sloan’s snowboarding video is going viral and has been featured on Today, ABC News and more. Check out her first time on the slopes in the video below!


Seriously – #lifegoals. You can also check out her snowboarding progression on her YouTube channel. This girl has some seriously rad parents and natural talent for “cruisin” on her board! I hope we see more of this little lady’s adventures in the future, complete with lots and lots of smiles and high-fives!

What do you think about Sloan’s snowboarding adventures? Is it possible to watch that video without wanting to give her some major high-fives?! Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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New Year’s Eve at Owl’s Head

My partner and I decided to plan a spontaneous trip to the Adirondacks to ring in the new year with some hiking and snowboarding. We found an affordable last-minute hotel room in Lake Placid (thanks to the Maple Leaf Inn, again!) and set out first thing in the morning on New Year’s Eve.

Summit of Owl's Head

Since we pre-purchased all day lift tickets for New Year’s Day at Whiteface Mountain, we decided that a short, non-strenuous hike would be best for New Year’s Eve. We both absolutely love the high peaks, but we knew we probably would be too sore to enjoy a full day of snowboarding after climbing one, so we chose a quick hike for that afternoon at Owl’s Head in Keene, NY.

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A blue sign marks the trailhead on Owl’s Head Lane

Owl’s Head is a great short hike in the high peaks region. Located right off Route 73 in Keene, the hike begins at the trailhead on a dirt road in private property and goes a mere 0.6 mile up to the summit. The trail is mostly uphill, but not very challenging, and reaches a final elevation of 2120′.

The trail was snowy and icy on December 31st, but it was packed down enough that snowshoes weren’t necessary. I used my new Yaktrax and my partner wore a cheap, knock-off pair of Nanospikes that I use for flat, icy winter runs. This turned out to be plenty traction for our brief hike, although my Yaktrax fell off my boots TWICE and by the time we got back to the car we noticed most of the spikes had fallen off the running spikes my partner wore.

The trail has a few open areas that could be mistaken for false summits, but these spots offer some nice views on the way up. Just before reaching the actual summit, there is a very steep rocky ledge that hikers must traverse on left side. Here the trail gets quite narrow, with a steep drop off on one side which can be a little intimidating. This brief section can be a little  tricky, but shouldn’t be a problem if you move slowly and step carefully.

After a steep scramble, the open rock summit offers extraordinary views of the surrounding high peaks. We stayed up at the summit for a while, enjoying the views and watching the clouds roll over the mountains. It’s an incredibly rewarding climb that requires relatively little work.

Alli at Summit 2

After a while at the summit, the wind started to pick up and our body temperatures began to cool so we made our way back down to the trailhead. Typically when hiking in the high peaks, the descent seems to take forever. On this hike, however, it feels like it took us no time at all to reach the trailhead.

Owl's Head Pano Before Summit

We passed a group of three hikers who summited just before we began our descent, and then we passed another group just heading out as we got back to the car. There is very limited parking, mostly on the side of the road near the trailhead. When we arrived we were the only vehicle, but by the time we left the area was crowded with several more.

As someone who enjoys hiking the Adirondack High Peaks, I can’t emphasize enough just how easy and enjoyable this hike is. It is a great trek for someone who wants to experience the high peaks without putting in the work required to summit one of the tallest 46. This can be done in an afternoon, evening or even sunrise hike before exploring more of what the Adirondacks have to offer. It was the perfect hike for our trip, since we were not too sore or tired to enjoy several hours of snowboarding the next day.

Owl's Head GoPro Selfie

What did you do to ring in the new year? Any exciting outdoor adventures planned? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series – Race 2

Last Wednesday, December 30th was the second race in the 2015-2016 Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series. It was a cooler day, with high temperatures barely into the 40s (F) and even cooler by race time that night. The day started out pretty nicely, and I decided to warm up for the evening’s event by going for a short hike with a friend of mine early that afternoon.

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Map of our hike from MapMyRun. I forgot to start recording until a quarter mile into our hike.

We hiked about 4 miles through the trails of Seneca Park in the northern part of Rochester, NY. This park features great trails along the eastern side of the Genesee River gorge. The park’s location, adjacent to the zoo, also means hikers might be lucky enough to catch a peak of the elephants from one of the trails!

It was cool and cloudy during our hike, but otherwise a nice afternoon. We brought my friend’s dog along and ran into a handful of other runners, hikers, mountain bikers and dogs on the trails. All in all it was a pleasant outing and a wonderful time catching up with a fellow trail-loving friend. We both find trail time to be incredibly therapeutic!

The agreeable weather ended shortly after our hike, however, and turned into cold rain for the entire evening. So not only were us Snow Cheap runners soaking wet, but the trails were incredibly muddy and slippery. I did manage to fall pretty spectacularly early in the race.

The race was about 3.5 miles and took 2 loops through Cobbs Hill Park. Besides being muddy and slippery, this course was also notably hilly – adding yet another challenging element. My strategy for this race was slow and steady, as I repeated the mantra “Don’t get hurt, Alli. Don’t get hurt!”

12-30 Snow Cheap run map

Since we had just booked an Adirondack hiking and snowboarding getaway for the following day, which included $85 nonrefundable lift tickets, injury was simply not an option at this event. Besides my little slip-and-fall early in the first lap, my strategy paid off and I managed to stay on my feet the rest of the race. I finished with an embarrassingly slow finish time (I can imagine many runners felt that way this night!) but no injuries, making the night a success.

Thanks to the conditions that night there were more than a couple of times I seriously considered quitting – something that almost never crosses my mind mid-race. However, I stuck with it, had a couple of good laughs, and finished strong and injury-free. That’s worth more than a fast finish time in my book!

Has there ever been a time when you were close to giving up? Did you quit, or finish what you started? There’s no shame in honoring yourself and listening to your body! Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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New Gear For The New Year

After-Christmas sales and gift cards provide the perfect opportunity to gear up for adventure in the new year ahead. I took advantage of some great sales and generous gifts in order to get some things to facilitate my 2016 exploits. I can’t wait to see what new adventures await with my bargain finds!

Snowboarding

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I visited the Waterloo Premium Outlets and scored a great deal on a Columbia jacket, perfect for snowboarding and other outdoor winter activities. I also snagged a pair of Under Armour snowboarding socks from DICK’S that were discounted more than 50% off the original price. Since I wore an old pair of my partner’s snowboarding goggles last year, I was thrilled to find a nice, inexpensive pair at my local Marshalls.

Running

Fleet Feet Sports Rochester had an “end of year blowout sale” that I just had to check out. I ended up getting a nice pair of Saucony Peregrine 5 trail running sneakers. My previous pair of trail running shoes are my three-year-old Adidas Kanadia that have almost no tread left whatsoever. Needless to say, it was time for a new pair of trail runners. Since I’ve run in the Saucony Kinvara 4 and Saucony Virrata before, I knew these would be a good fit. They were on sale for $70 at Fleet Feet, and a $50 VISA gift card from my office brought my out-of-pocket total to only $20. What a steal!

Hiking

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I used a mall gift card to purchase a pair of Yaktrax Walk traction devices from DICK’S Sporting Goods. These will help me when hiking or walking in icy and snowy conditions. I checked a couple of stores to see if these were on sale anywhere, and they weren’t. I didn’t feel bad paying full price since they were only $20 and I had a gift card to use at the mall anyway.

Yoga/Gym

I picked up a few sports bras that were inexpensive at Marshalls and on clearance at DICK’S, because there’s no such thing as too many sports bras when you’re an active woman! I also found this Rochester Marathon tank top for 75% off at the Fleet Feet Sports sale. Since I ran this half marathon back in 2014 I decided it was okay to buy the cute “Run Roc Run!” tank top! I also picked up a new pair of running shoes from the Nike outlet store to help keep me motivated during treadmill season.

Did you get any new gear this holiday season? What are you most looking forward to adding to your adventures and fitness routines in 2016? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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So This Is Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve and here in Rochester, NY we broke the record high temperature with a beautiful day above 60 degrees. I’ve been complaining quite a bit lately about the lack of snow in our area (I’m aching to get back on my snowboard!) but today’s warm temperatures and sunny skies were really quite pleasant.


I decided to take advantage of this rare December weather by going for a short run – which was all I really had time for with final Christmas preparations today. I ran about a mile and a half through Turning Point Park, which was full of people and families out walking and enjoying the nice day. It was quite nice running in a short sleeve shirt and capri running pants! I even ran into my partner who was out for a bike ride in the park as well.


Yesterday I got a lovely Christmas delivery in the mail – a beautiful compass ornament from the Etsy shop She Likes Letters. The ornament was a giveaway from Dana, the blogger at Blisters and Bug Bites. Check out her blog and subscribe to follow her adventures!


How was the weather on your Christmas Eve – did you get to do anything outside? Any fun holiday plans this year? Please share in the comments below!

Warmest wishes and happy holidays,Alli Signature