26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, The Mountaineers is sending a message of thanks to its community. As the marketing manager, I'm primarily responsible for crafting and distributing this message. While I didn't come up with the beautiful design below (kudos to Suzanne for that), we used my picture and words. I feel moved by the way it turned out.

Working for a company whose mission statement so closely resembles my personal ethos makes me thankful every day. On this special day I want to say that I, too, am thankful for you - my amazing community. May you continue to enjoy our outdoor playgrounds to explore and learn and discover and connect and restore your body and your spirit. Happy Thanksgiving!

19 November 2015

What's Yours Like?

While on a hut trip in Canada, I learned of this amazing game called "What's yours like?" Incredibly simple and requiring zero accoutrements to play, "What's Yours Like?" is both an amazing get-to-know-you and disturbing get-to-know-your-mind-you-sick-bastard kind of a game. I highly recommend it to anyone with 5 or more friends looking to pass the time.

Alice playing What's Yours Like?
Because you cannot do it without a pickle flask. 
How it works:

  1. Designate one person - the "guesser" - to sequester themselves out of earshot.
  2. Pick a topic. The remaining people pick something: this could be your favorite car, your first memory, you least favorite food, the color of your underpants..... the topic is not really important, you just all have to agree.
  3. Ask the question. The guesser returns and starts asking people, one at a time, "What's yours like?". Then that person has to answer, in the vaguest possible way. Kimmy might say, "It is off-white." Johnny might answer with, "Mine is on the sour side." Leonard could say, "I don't like it when it gets in my nose."
  4. Guess! At any point, the guesser can ask, "Are you talking about your least favorite food?". In this case, she would be wrong, because obviously Kimmy, Johnny, and Leonard are discussing their underpants (no, we do NOT want more explanation on Johnny's "sour" comment).
  5. You win! Play again! Once the guesser picks the right answer, the game is over and a new guesser is designated.
This might sound like a lame game, but I assure you, outside of Cards Against Humanity, this is by far the funniest game I've ever played. And it's transportable - you don't need anything! And you can keep it as G-Rated or PG-13 (or R-Rated...I'm looking at you Nick!) as you want. 

To give you a little taste, let's play right here, right now. Here are my three clues to you - can you figure out what I'm talking about?
  1. I like that it can hide-out.
  2. It feels like rubber.
  3. It's green.
Keith's Hut Trip Group. Still my favorite rainbow picture of all time. Coincidence? I think NOT! 

12 November 2015

Why I Heart Jim Whittaker

My job is pretty incredible, and getting to hang out with Jim Whittaker in his living room a few weeks ago to make this film ranks up there on my list of all-time best life experiences.

He's such an accomplished man who approaches his achievements with a humble respect. He loves the environment and is passionate about climbing, sailing, conservation, and his family. He grew up in the Pacific Northwest and, together with his twin brother Lou, learned how to climb with The Mountaineers.

As the first American to climb Everest, Jim used his fame to raise awareness about our environmental impact. He organized a Peace Climb during the Cold War to show the unifying power of climbing to unite fighting nations. After successfully summiting, those same climbers worked together to remove more than 2 tons of waste from the Himalayan Peak - the first cleanup effort in Everest's history.

Jim continues to fight for the future in our own Pacific Northwest. I hope you watch and share this video, and take his message to heart. Part of my mission at work every day is to make sure future adventurers will enjoy the same outdoor playgrounds available today. I'm excited to have the likes of Jim Whittaker by my side.

If you're not yet a member and are interested in supporting The Mountaineers and Jim, consider joining or making a donation today.

04 November 2015

Your Name. In Print.

I consider myself very lucky. I've found a job that I love, and one of the things it's afforded me is the ability to write "professionally". Not only do I publish blogs for work on a pretty regular basis, I also get to write for our Mountaineer magazine, which comes out every-other-month. I get giddy every time a new magazine comes out with one of my articles, and I anxiously await my next opportunity to write another feature.

I've also worked myself into this little "outdoor niche" where - for some reason - people see me as an outdoor expert, at least when it comes to skiing (in a tutu). Recently I was contacted by a few reporters who featured me in stories in the Everett Herald and Seattle Weekly. Speaking as an "expert" on things like skiing year round, I had no idea if the reporters would use my words or if they thought I sounded like a complete idiot. They could exclude me from the article or, worse yet, "out" me as an idiot for everyone to see....

The beauty of being interviewed, though, is that you have no idea what the article will say or when it will come out. It has this surprise factor which is unmatched. So you can imagine my excitement when I walked into work last week to hear from 3 colleagues that they liked my Seattle Weekly feature. Wait...what??? I didn't even know that had come out! The print version even had a (terribly grainy) photo of me in it! It's a long article but well worth reading, or you can hop to the last five paragraphs to see quotes from me:

Chin up, ski lovers: It’s not all bad. Winters like these present opportunities, too. “Skiing was almost nonexistent this year in the front country,” says Matthew Palubinskas, mountaineer and longtime member of the Snoqualmie Pass ski patrol. But even though May conditions in 2015 were like mid-August’s conditions in previous years, “In the backcountry, I was out all year.”
As was backcountry zealot Kristina Ciari—she has been backcountry skiing in Washington every single month for the past 47 months (often in a tutu). Her goal, she says, “is to get to 100,” but really, “I’ll do it until I don’t love it anymore.”
Read the full Seattle Weekly article here.

I was equally stoked for the article from the Everett Herald. When the opening lines are "Kristina Ciari does things in style," you know it's going to be good! Seriously though, I was super excited to see this story in print, and honored to be included in the ranks of other great backcountry enthusiasts who I personally admire.


Kristina Ciari does things in style. When she climbed Mount Rainier in 2013, she saved herself the effort of hoofing it back down the mountain. Instead, she stepped into her skis and bombed down the tallest volcano in Washington state. While wearing a pink tutu.

Ciari, the membership and marketing director for The Mountaineers, has been skiing since she was 3. When she isn't at work, her enthusiasm for skiing keeps her looking for snow all year.

She's not alone. Ciari, along with other ski enthusiasts, keeps track of her trips on Turns All Year, a website devoted to backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
Read the full Everett Herald article here.