Sig Series 4 Vestas: Why They’re the Best Ever

Trail runners around Utah (and all over the country on Instagram) know Tara Warren, the ultra-enthusiastic, always-on-the-move mom who, in any weather (good, bad or ugly), shows the world what it takes to be a committed athlete. A multiyear UD ambassador, Tara has put endless miles and development feedback into our vests. Now with the release of the Signature Series 4 Vestas, Tara has identified four aspects (and a recommendation) that make these vests our best ever.

By: Tara Warren

Your gear should be the last thing you worry about when you are out on a training run or pushing the pace on race day. Ultimate Direction launched the new Signature Series 4 vests and vestas in February and I have been testing out these pieces this past October. Here are a few things I’ve learned and want to share.

Custom Fit

The most notable change for me was the new cinching mechanism (Comfort Cinch!) embedded in the back of the vest. In previous models, there were buckle cinches or velcro tabs where you could get a tight fit and improve the feel and ride of the vests.

Each of this year’s Signature Series 4 vests and vestas come with this unique Comfort Cinch technology where you can loosen or tighten the main part of the vest on the go by just yanking the cords. This is super easy and extremely useful for when you have on extra layers of clothes or may need to adjust the ride because you’re carrying more gear …or if you’ve eaten too many quesadillas.

Signature Series 4 Ultra Vesta

Improved Adjustability

Along with Comfort Cinch, these vests are even more customizable with the sliding sternum straps. These two straps are placed on rails where you can change the position of the straps based on your body type (i.e. chest size) and level of comfort.

The buckles allow you to pull the straps down tighter or let it ride a little more loosely. If your Signature Series 4 Vesta doesn’t have the slide rail sternum straps, it will have adjustable T-hooks. To change the position of the T-hooks you simply remove the front two straps and reposition them in any of the holes.

Each of the new style vests has a bungee cord system on the back. With the seasons transitioning, I’ll throw a rain jacket, shirt or hat in these cords so I can reach around and grab it without slowing down. Or, this bungee can be used to used to tighten down your load giving you an additional option for adjustments.

Signature Series 4 Ultra Vesta

No Jostling

For me, one of the most important things about the new Signature Series 4 vests is the ability to customize the fit for each run. At a race a few weeks back, I was shuffling behind a racer who’s pack was bouncing around like a basketball on their back. It bobbled from side to side and looked totally uncomfortable. But, if that’s all you’ve known about hydration packs, you might think that it’s normal movement… it’s not. I have even heard some people mention that you need to “break in a pack.” Bouncing packs not only can chaffe your back, pits, and neck, it’s an energy zapper. You can load up these packs, use the custom fitting and cruise around without any jostling.

Signature Series 4 Ultra Vesta

Lightweight, Four Way Stretch Material

One of the first things I noticed when I pulled out my new vest from the box was how light it was. It’s a new four-way stretch material that ultimately decreases the vest’s weight by almost 20% from last year’s packs. That’s a HUGE benefit if you’re toting around 5-10 pounds of gear for a 100 mile race, weekend adventure in the desert or quick training run around your neighborhood trails.

With the lighter weight vests more pockets/outside storage was added. You will find multiple storage pockets and pouches in each of the men’s and women’s options. Because of the four-way stretch material many of those pockets can hold so much more than you would ever believe.

In my Ultra Vesta left lower front pocket I have: two gels, a pack of gum, chapstick, gloves and a baggie full of s-caps. In my right lower front pocket I can fit my iPhone 7 in a large Mophie case.

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Which Vest do I Recommend?

All of them! If your budget will allow only one of the new Signature Series 4 vests this year, I would pick the Adventure Vest or Vesta (male or female specific). Why get the larger one? With this vest you have exactly what you need for training and race day. You get the two new style Body Bottle 500’s (which I swear are now leak-proof) and you get the customization that goes along with the larger vest. Headed out on a 10 miler and don’t really need a vest but want to carry your phone, GoPro and maybe water? Cinch the vest down and make it compatible to what you need. Deciding on what to carry during your next hundred miler? No biggie. The Adventure Vests are dreamy with the multiple pockets to stay organized with killer storage for anything else you can imagine. There’s also a separate compartment to add a water reservoir (purchased separately).

With the springtime weather happening and more miles on the horizon, feel confident that you are buying a durable, athlete-friendly-and tested product with the new Signature Series 4. Have a wonderful and successful year!

Find Tara on Instagram.

 

The 5 Pieces of Gear to Bring on a Fastpacking Trip

Many of us are searching for an adventure on our own two feet. Maybe it’s a race, maybe it isn’t. In the end what we want is exploration, challenge and a good time. Here’s where fastpacking comes in. The “Highest Hundred” project’s Justin Simoni calls fastpacking “the space between ultra running and backpacking.” A strong resolve and endurance are requisite but how about gear; what’s the right mix for being prepared, safe and happy without being so burdened that you lose speed and fun? Today’s blog post author–UD ambassador Jen Segger–has been planning and executing fastpacking trips for years. Here are five items, in Jen’s words, that will help you get started on multi-day fastpacking trips.

1. Pack Choice
“I’ve been using the Ultimate Direction FastPack 35 for 3 years now and it gets me through a 3 day trip with comfort. Sometimes I will opt for my FastPack 45 when more space is needed. I always recommend a 2 bottle system (or even just 1 pending your location and water access) instead of a bladder as filling in streams is much easier. One bottle can be purifying while the other is for drinking. The pockets on UD Fastpacks holds bottles perfectly. I love the large mesh external pockets for carrying all the essentials that you need quick access to (jacket, food, map, In-Reach, hat etc.).”

Tony Krupicka wears the UD Fastpack

Photo: Fred Marmsater

2. Sleeping Bag & Thermapad
“Look for a lightweight, warm and yet compressible sleeping bag. Don’t go so lightweight that you will freeze at night. Remember that your body has been working hard all day so you will sleep colder and will still be burning calories. My current thermapad is the Exped Downmat HL Winter which we used to cross Baffin Island two years ago during a winter expedition. For a sleeping bag I use a -7 C degree bag because I sleep ‘cold.'”

Jen Segger Fastpacking

3. Bivy & Tarp
“After using an alpine bivy that was good for all elements, I wanted to find a lighter weight option that wouldn’t take up as much space in my bag. I was very excited when Ultimate Direction came out with the new FK Bivy. It’s super lightweight, taking up virtually no pack space. I also appreciate the fact that the fabric will not sit right on your head. The quick set up bubble is perfect for good sleep. Pair this with the FK Tarp for a super quick and easy set up in bad weather. And get this, you can use your trekking poles (I use the Black Diamond Z) to stand it up.”

Fred Marmsater UD Fastpack

Photo: Fred Marmsater

4. Cooking & Food Prep
“The only way to go (in my opinion) is a JetBoil for heating water. The JetBoil makes the most sense with the boil time being anywhere from 2-3 minutes. Carrying only 1 canister of fuel and using the JetBoil as the pot is perfect. You can even use the Jetboil as a coffee press (most come with this attachment). For food, my main meals are eaten right out of dehydrated bags and I carry a small mug that can be used for drinking or eating. A “spork” is all you need to complete your fastpack kitchen. I’ve recently spent time looking to see what new food products are out on the market that are healthy and NOT full of crap. Here are two brands that you might want to look at: Good Too-Go and Nomad Nutrition. Both are tasty and you will feel good about what you are consuming.”

Jen Segger UD Fastpacking

5. Lighting
I don’t mess around with lighting on any adventure. In fact, I consider it to be one of the essential items for success and safety so whatever you do, DO NOT skimp of having a reliable light. If you run a disposable battery unit, of course be sure to bring extra batteries. I’m in love with Lupine Lights; I’ve come to rely on their incredible 1200+ lumen output for fast movement on the trails during the night. I use the Piko set-up and love it (it’s lightweight and waterproof and pumps out huge light.) I always carry 2 batteries with me on any outing.”

Jen Segger UD Fastpacking

Spring Classics: Riding the White Rim Trail In a Day

New UD ambassador Kyle Richardson is a young, hungry athlete who spends more time running Boulder’s Green Mountain and scrambling the First Flatiron (and many more Flatiron classics) than nearly anyone else in town. He’s motivated by the big, classic routes, whether on foot, on rock, or by bike. Last month Kyle took on a real cycling test piece: the White Rim in a Day. With a new Signature Series 4 Ultimate Direction Race Belt and just a few additional pieces of gear, he laid down a stout time, getting a feel for the landscape and appreciating the process. Here’s Kyle’s first person account. 

On March 30th, I decided to do what is known as the White Rim in a Day (WRIAD for short). The White Rim trail is a 100 mile loop in Canyonlands National Park that circumnavigates the Island in the Sky Mesa.

The “White Rim in a Day” (WRAID) has been a classic for mountain bikers since it was first done (probably) by Buzz Burrell (Ultimate Direction Vice President) in the mid-1980s. The trail is most commonly done as a bikepack or with a sag wagon and broken up into a 2 to 3 day outing. The White Rim has been completed on a unicycle , single speed, and even hand cranked.

Kyle Richardson White Rim in a Day

Kyle sets out for the White Rim in a Day (p: Elliot Whitehead)

The White Rim has been completed by bike in just under 6 hours by Andy Dorais, which is mind blowing and truly heroic in comparison to my 9hr 38 min effort.

I forget who said this first, but “The best bike is the one you have”. I’d surely would of opted for a hard tail 29er if I had it at my disposal, but this wasn’t an option. My tried and true gravel grinder would do the trick just fine.

IMG_4785-2

The terrain around the White Rim is fairly tame in terms of technicality. In reality, it’s just a jeep road with the rockiest sections lying between the Whitecrack and Airport campgrounds (east side of the loop). There were a couple sand traps, but they were practically all ridable and the longest stretch lasted only a couple hundred feet. That being said, I didn’t care how rocky or sandy things would get. I wanted to explore the landscape and would hike-a-bike if thats what it ended up taking.

I rode the loop counter clockwise, which starts with 9 miles of road heading North and then a long 15 mile descent to Mineral Bottom and finishes with a 5 mile – 1,300 foot climb up the Shafer Trail.

Kyle Richardson White Rim in a Day

Reflecting on the ride, I can’t help but have a deep sense of appreciation for the landscape. A yearning to go back and explore every nook and cranny; to learn a place even more. My imagination flows through the many twists and turns of the landscape, dreaming of the next exploration. The desert is truly magnificent.

Gear:

  • Ultimate Direction Race Belt
  • Bike: Fuji Tread 2.0
  • Tires: WTB Nano 40s
  • Oveja Negra Frame Bag (water), Revelate Designs JerryCan (food), Timbuk 2 saddle bag (bike tool, co2s, etc.)
  • 2 hard bottles, 1 reservoir, 2 soft flasks
  • Patagonia Houdini

Where to find Kyle:

Ultimate Direction sponsors Barkley Marathons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 1, 2018

Ultimate Direction announces sponsorship of the Barkley Marathons
Boulder, CO:  Ultimate Direction, a market-leading manufacturer of gear for runners, hikers, and skiers, is proud to announce a new partnership with the Barkley Marathons.
BarkleyThis legendary race, held sometime in the spring at Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee, has grown in stature, with entries coming in from all over the United States as well as 8 countries, and has become the subject of a new film seemingly every year.
“The Barkley Marathons need to keep up with the times”, announced Gary Cantrell, Race Director, when asked if pressure from a huge corporate entity such as Ultimate Direction would mandate any changes.  “However, what you know and have come to love will not change”.
He then announced the Entry Fee would be increased from $1.60, to $5,000.00 per person.
“We believe this slight increase will ensure a better experience for all participants” noted Gary, speaking from his new home in the south of France.  “Plus, now that Amelia Boone is in it, I can charge anything; people will show up no matter what.”
In keeping with the well known idiosyncrasy’s of the event, the Entry Fee is actually $1,000 per lap. Entrants who expect to finish one lap will only pay $1,000, but can only start the number of laps paid for in advance.  Since only 5 people finished two laps this year and just 1 person three laps, reporters speculated that no one would be dumb enough to pay the $5,000, so the Entry Fee’s might not support the RD’s new lifestyle.
“No problem at all”, said Gary, demonstrating once again his legendary insights into human nature, or at least ultra-runner nature.  “Won’t make a difference.  Everyone is convinced they can do it.  Rationality has not, is not, and never will be part of the Barkley Marathons.”
Experienced participants were quick to agree with this assessment.
“Certainly.  $5,000 is no problem,” stated Gary Robbins, super good guy and outstanding ultra-runner.  “I’ve already sold my house in order to train for this, so all I have to do now is sell my car and the clothes off my back.  I’ll be there.”
Jamil Coury, Race Director, multiple HR100 Finisher, and aspiring filmmaker, fully agreed.  “This year, on my fourth try, I managed to hike more miles at Barkley than I did getting from the airport gate to the rental car parking lot.  That’s progress.  I totally got this.”
Buzz Burrell, figure-head for Ultimate Direction and various other public endeavors he performs no actual work for, was expressed excitement. “Barkley is a natural fit for UD.  It has already been demonstrated by the last three finishers that the only way to finish is to wear our PB Adventure Vest.  That, and maybe a torn-up plastic garbage bag and weird orange stocking cap.”
John
Co-Sponsors of the event include Men’s Journal, and Eli Lilly and Company, developer of Prozac.
“Once we heard that numerous well-known people associated with the race have categorically stated, “No woman will ever be able to finish Barkley”, we were in”, said Myke M. Sogonist, chief publicist, Mens Journal.
Past Finishers were generally supportive as well.
David Horton, holder of more long-trail and heart-bypass records than anyone still alive, and for impromptu invocations that totally mesmerize anyone standing within a 20’ radius, felt the sprit of Barkley would not change.  “It’s still the hardest race there is. There’s nothing like it. It’s far, far longer than 100 miles. And by the way, that wasn’t me who said, ‘No woman is tough enough to finish Barkley’”.
Blake Wood, one of the best all-around runners and home-brewers ever, and designer of the HR100 lottery system as well as hydrogen bombs, said, “This is a fair system.  Even I can’t understand it, but Gary somehow tricks people into finding meaning by emphasizing lack of meaning, so it works.”
Jared Campbell, formerly an extremely well respected and liked runner, now secretly resented for finishing Barkley so many times he’s caused the course to be made so hard nobody else can finish it, was out running his daily 10k (measured vertically, not horizontally) on Grandeur Peak, and was not available for comment.
Jared

What You Need to Know About Ski Mountaineering

It’s the eve of the Grand Traverse, a classic backcountry skiing race from the bottom of Crested Butte Mountain Resort to the bottom of Aspen Mountain.

The course travels the Elk Mountains Range with around 8,000 feet of climbing over 40 miles.

As a sponsor of the Grand Traverse and fanatic of the sport, we asked UD ski mountaineering ambassadors for advice on how to race, how it differs from running and the one piece of advice they wished they had known before getting into racing.

Our team has had a great 2017-18 season:

  • Max Taam (a former Grand Traverse winner) recently set a course record at the brutal Power of Four.
  • U.S. Ski Mountaineering Team member Eric Carter has not only raced super strongly this season, he launched and directed a brand new skimo race in Canada called “Sea to Sky.”
  • Jessie Young has taken a break this season due to pregnancy (the baby is due any day now!).
  • Brand new UD Ambassador and Hardrock 100 legend, Adam Campbell, has continued honing his ski mountaineering and alpine climbing skills this winter in Canada.

If you have additional ski mountaineering advice for our readers, leave a comment.

Sea To Sky Skimo

HOW DO YOU PACE YOURSELF IN A SKI MOUNTAINEERING RACE? IS IT SIMILAR TO RUNNING?

Max Taam: I am pretty evenly paced throughout the race. I don’t usually “red-line” the start unless there is a choke early in the race (like if there is technical skinning or a boot pack early on). It’s different in Europe because the fields are bigger and the starts are incredibly fast.

Eric Carter: I think it is much more common to see athletes red-line at the start and then fade from the front where the best athletes will gradually pick up places throughout the entire race. Very rarely is it critical to be at the front of the pack right at the start. Races are long enough and generally you have the ability to pass throughout. Start at a manageable pace and increase throughout.

Jessie Young: I typically break the course down by climb and try to stay at the same intensity for each climb regardless of the terrain. The one place where I think it pays to push the pace is at the start and before a skin-track section to make sure you are not being held back by skiers around you.

Adam: You have to measure out your effort. I am amazed at how fast people start only to fade later. If the race starts with a narrow section where you will have a hard time passing people, then you need to press a bit earlier, but ideally it is best to be focused on finishing strong. I always look at a race course map, or, better yet, try to ski the course prior to the event to get a sense of which sections may present the biggest challenge.

UD Ambassador Eric Carter

UD Ambassador Eric Carter

FOR SOMEONE’S FIRST SEASON OF SKI MOUNTAINEERING, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE?

Max: Train on your race gear! Don’t train on the heavy stuff. By training on race gear you will quickly get better at skiing on it. If you are training on a ski area, make sure you get off the groomers and challenge yourself on the difficult terrain and snow.

Eric: Wind briefs are a life-saver. And ride the lifts! Practicing skiing downhill is critical.

Jessie: I think the biggest jump from racing “to finish” to racing “to win” was starting the race as strong as possible to get a good position.

Adam: If you plan on racing get out on your race skis as much as possible. If you’re training in the backcountry or off-resort take the time to do avalanche awareness courses. The more informed you are about proper terrain selection the better and safer your backcountry experience will be!

UD Ambassador Max Taam

UD Ambassador Max Taam

WHAT IS YOUR NUTRITION PLAN FOR SKI MOUNTAINEERING?

Max: Make sure you pick foods that don’t get too hard when cold and make sure your hydration source (bottles, reservoir) doesn’t freeze.

Eric: It’s similar to running but presents different challenges (cold temps make eating/drinking difficult, poles and equipment make handling food difficult, etc…). I like gels mixed with hot water into a soft-flask.

Jessie: A lot of typical energy food including chews and gels freeze – so it’s good to keep them close to your body rather than in a pack pocket to make sure they are edible and won’t break your teeth!

Adam: Your bottles might freeze in cold conditions so keep the “nipple” of the bottle covered. What you can digest and what you crave in the cold can be very different than in warm temperatures. In skimo training, especially on long days, I tend to bring higher calorie foods like trail mix. I also often bring warm tea since it can be nice to have a warm drink and warm up my hands.

Ultimate Direction and Carmichael Training Systems Form Exclusive Partnership

Ultimate Direction’s new Signature Series 4.0 trail running vests and Adventure Collection Fastpacks will be used exclusively by Carmichael Training Systems’ (CTS) coaches during the organization’s ultrarunning training camps and “Bucket List” events this year.

Kelly Wolf (center) with CTS Executive Director Jason Koop (left) on the podium at UTMB's CCC.

Kelly Wolf with CTS Director of Coaching Jason Koop (left) on the podium at UTMB’s CCC.

CTS is one of the premier endurance sports coaching companies in the world and this partnership deepens the connection between both brands, as several UD-sponsored athletes, including 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon winner Kelly Wolf, Skyrunning champion Hillary Allen, and Adidas professional Abby Mitchell are coached by CTS.

I am extremely picky about running gear. Ultimate Direction vests meet my every need as a mountain runner so I’m really excited to share UD at our training camps and through testimonials we’ll give to our international community.

–Jason Koop, CTS Director of Coaching and author of Training Essentials for Ultrarunning.

CTS training camps gives attendees the opportunity to eat, sleep, and train like a full-time athlete under the guidance of a professional coaching staff. Ultimate Direction will team up with CTS at camps in Lake Tahoe, Colorado Springs, Pisgah National Forest, Mont Blanc and more.

Kelly Wolf, 2018 Tarawera Ultra winner is a CTS-coached athlete

Kelly Wolf, 2018 Tarawera Ultra winner, is a CTS-coached athlete

Father and Son Summits: How to Have a Big Adventure with Your Kids

Do you share your passion for adventure with your children? Longtime Ultimate Direction Ambassador Thomas Reiss is recently back from summiting Mount Kilimanjaro with his 12-year-old son, Luke. In this interview we ask both father and son how to prepare for and execute a big adventure together. What does training consist of? What are some tips for getting along together through adversity? Read it all here.

Leave a comment if you have additional advice for parents and their kids.

You recently summited  Mount Kilimanjaro; what was the genesis of this project? 

Thomas: I got into mountains (besides running ultras) with backcountry hiking a few years ago to have another thing to share with my kids (Dylan, 14 and Luke, 12). After several multi-day backcountry trips in California we got more into bigger mountains. Luke is fascinated with the 7 summits, so we thought it would be fun to do one of them and see what we think.

Luke: I always loved running on trails/track and running in general and anything to do with the outdoors and when my dad introduced backpacking to me a few years ago I loved it. I always wanted to accomplish more and so I started to broaden my horizon and in 2017 we went to Mount Everest Base Camp. I loved the diversity of a new country and decided I wanted more and so we decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as my first of the 7 summits.

Thomas Reiss

Thomas (left) and son Luke (12 years old) bivouac

What was involved in the preparation; what was the most challenging detail our audience could learn from? 

Thomas: We kept up our usual running training. Luke runs about 15-20 miles per week during the season and runs track and cross country at his middle school. The most challenging aspect was coordinating it with our family Christmas plans and school; we already had all the needed immunizations from our Everest Base Camp trip in Nepal earlier in the year.

Luke: For me the most challenging part was to coordinate the trip with my school, I missed one week of school and had a lot of work that I had to make up before and after the trip.  

what was it like bringINg someone that young along on a high altitude objective?

Thomas: It was amazing to accomplish this together. He has done many things like this before (like Mount Baker, Everest Base Camp, multi-day backpacking trips in the Sierras) but you never know with high altitude. This was the highest either one of us has been but his oxygen levels where great even better than mine almost every day. We never had less than 88/89% even at base camp at 15,300 feet the night of the summit climb. Adults tend to overthink things; kids don’t really do that. 

Luke: This is the highest I have ever been but I am very active and run a lot so I felt I was well prepared fitness wise but with elevation you can never know how you will react.  

Thomas Reiss

Were people skeptical that he would be able to accomplish it with you?  

Thomas: I don’t think so. Our friends and family have learned by now that if he wants to do it he will. I got a little nervous during the summit attempt since we had way more snow than usual and it was a complete white out with 30 mile winds and temps down in the low teens. But he never doubted us making it to the summit. 

Luke: Nobody was skeptical of me making it. Afterwards on the way down our guide told us that our porters were very skeptical of me making it but they were very happy when they found out I did make it. 

How is it for you, a dad, to be adventuring with someone less strong or experienced than you in high mountains? Is it frustrating at times? 

Thomas: Very seldom is it frustrating. As far as experience level we are roughly the same, of course I am stronger physically, but sometimes I think his naivety helps mentally. On this trip I had plenty of times where I was thinking the weather (rain/hail/snow) sucks and he would be just, “whatever, no big deal, it’s raining.” 

Luke: Kids are stronger than people think. I believe that just because someone is older and maybe physically more fit than you that doesn’t mean they want it more, and that is what matters most. 

Thomas Reiss

WHAT CAN YOU TELL OTHER PARENTS ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO CHASE BIG GOALS WITH A YOUNG KID?  

Thomas: I learned from both of my kids that they are more able to do things than we give them credit. As long as it is safe–and they have the desire to do it–the sky is the limit. 

Luke: As a kid climbing these mountains, I believe that it has most to do with you wanting it. A lot of parents push kids too far to do things that they do not want to accomplish. 

WHAT IS NEXT?

Thomas: Mount Elbrus. We just started planning our trip for this summer. The cool thing about my son Luke is that he really enjoys the cultural aspect of meeting locals and immersing himself in the local culture. He always makes friends with the guides and porters and stays in touch with some afterwards.

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Editor’s note:

Here is a list of Thomas and Luke’s impressive mountain resume.

  • Multi-day trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail (age 9) 
  • Multi-day trip in Yosemite with summit before sunrise of Half Dome (age 10) 
  • Multi-day trip in Yosemite with summit of Half Dome (age 11) 
  • Multi-day trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail (age 11) 
  • Multi-day trip in the Sierra Nevada High Country with 12k/13k passes
  • Mt. Whitney (14,508) summit (age 11)
  • 3 week Nepal trek with 2 nights at Mt. Everest Base camp at 17,500 feet; highest point on the trek was about 18k (age 12)
  • Multi day trip at Mt. Baker (10,781 feet) in Washington with a 10 hour summit climb, 10 hours in Crampons, rope and ice axe over the Easton Glacier. (age 12) 
  • Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, (19,341 feet) (age 12)

Mountain Running Icon Anna Frost Joins Ultimate Direction Team

We are VERY excited to announce that mountain running icon Anna Frost has joined the Ultimate Direction ambassador team. She needs little introduction, but just in case: Anna is one of the world’s most accomplished mountain and ultra trail runners who has, in the past few years, transitioned into a yoga and meditation practice to complement her passion for exploring and racing in the mountains.

ANNA FROST

She carved a place with prior sponsors as a contributor to product design and development and she will offer the same to us. Anna will be using a variety of our vests and packs, including the new Signature Series 4.0 Vestas and Fastpacks.

“My greatest joy has been to make a life in the big mountains of the world. Sharing this passion with people, especially women and young girls, while developing other healthful practices has become my calling.”

For more information on Anna’s global retreats, racing plans and product insights, please visit www.trailrunadventures.com.

ANNA FROST

OCR Champion Amelia Boone Joins Ultimate Direction

Did you see the January/February 2018 cover of Outside magazine? If so, you’ll recognize our newest ambassador; it’s Spartan Race World Champion and World’s Toughest Mudder winner Amelia Boone!

Amelia Boone

Amelia is known for a commanding string of wins and podium finishes in obstacle course races (OCR) and ultramarathons and she joins our team with a full 2018 racing calendar ahead of her and a few to-be-named adventures. She has proven her mettle on fast, flat courses but where Boone shines the most is in races where suffering over long distances is paramount. “I always tell people, ‘the more gnarly and hard the race is, the better suited I am to succeed.'”

After a couple seasons set back by injury, Amelia is fully recovered and healthy and ready to shine in races where suffering over long distances is paramount.

“I always tell people, ‘the more gnarly and hard the race is, the better suited I am to succeed.'”

Amelia Boone

Amelia will bring incredible knowledge to our designs as we launch new products specifically for obstacle course racing–an OCR vest and an OCR belt–in Fall 2018.

For more on Amelia Boone’s racing, training and product insights visit ameliabooneracing.com.

 

Watch: Fastest Known Time of the Year Q&A

Buzz Burrell and Peter Bakwin sit down to discuss some key themes that emerged in the 2017 Fastest Known Time voting process. Learn about some issues that affected voters’ decision-making along with some personal anecdotes from these two FKT legends.

Click over to Buzz’s FKT of the Year Announcement to see which man and woman came away with the title.

1. What is the FKT of the Year Award?

2. Where in the country are some FKT hidden gems?

3. Which 2017 FKT of the Year nominations do you think will remain unbeaten for the longest time?

4. Is there a single theme you can pick out from this year’s nominations?

5. Which nominated route would be most challenging for each of you personally?

6. What is the most contentious theme since the FKT nominees were announced?

7. What does FKT of the Year represent to you?