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Best Snowboarding on the Planet: O-hi-o

Snowboarding in Ohio? Aw, c’mon. And Best on the Planet? Puh-leeze.

Give us a chance here. On one hand, you may perceive Best on the Planet as somewhere in Canada or Switzerland or France. But if you are not there at the particular moment, Best on the Planet doesn’t do much good. Really, ultimately, and yes, selfishly, Best on the Planet should be wherever YOU happen to be on any given day. It’s a state of mind.

Besides, the State of Ohio seems to decide most of our U.S. presidential elections, and therefore proper respect is due …

Ohio’s Alpine Valley, near Akron, tries so hard, advertising itself like this: “The 9 slopes at this ski hill are brilliant. The ski resort gets blanketed by so much beautiful snow, 10 feet per year, and that is an incredibly splendid coverage.”

Then comes an admission: “A 230-foot vertical drop is, of course, not that much, but Alpine Valley makes up for it with other things … Good exercise and just hanging out with our skiing palls surpasses anything.”

They have a point. To go a step farther , let’s say you are a really fly snowboarder and you come upon a place like Ohio’s Alpine Valley. There are hundreds of Alpine Valleys across the country, of course. So are you too good for Alpine Valley? Baseball and football and basketball players, even golfers and tennis stars, play at clinics in disadvantages places. Why not you?

Alpine Valley does indeed have Xtreme areas and a permanent half-pipe with rails. Stop by, show off some of your best tricks, and then greet the locals as they come a-runnin’. Offer a few pointers. You’ll feel good about yourself.

Ohio offers more than just Alpine Valley.

There’s the Big Creek Ski Area (they have snowboarding too), a half hour from Cleveland, in which the members actually own their own mountain, buy their own snowmaking equipment and so forth. This may sound more like Russia than Ohio, but it’s true, fellow traveler.

At Boston Mills Brandywine they’re getting ready for the snowboard and ski season already, prepping for the 2nd Annual OktoberSTEEZ Rail Jam, followed by a Level One Productions video premier on the Big Screen Outside.

Then there’s Mad River Mountain. Can you imagine a greater name for a snowboarding place? Alas, Wikipedia reports that “because the natural snowfall averages only 36 inches, snow is not always naturally available.”

Scoff all of you Best on the Planet snowboarders, but ask yourself this: If Mad River Mountain were the only place remaining on earth to ride your board, wouldn’t you go there?


Treacherous Climb of the Week: Cho Oyo

For some mountain climbers, altitude is everything, which is why so many attempt to climb Cho Oyu every year. Cho Oyu is located on the border between Tibet and Nepal, with an elevation of 8,201 meters. Although it is considered one of the easier of the 8,000-meter peaks, this is not a climb you want to take lightly.

Unlike many of the other mountains you might attempt to climb, the obstacles with Cho Oyu will begin long before you throw on your climbing gear. The requirements of the Chinese authorities have become more stringent over the years, and several permits are required to begin the climb.

Some climbers make it all the way to Tibet, only to discover that they can’t climb Cho Oyu at all. Talk about a wasted trip! If you’re going to initiate this climb, make sure your paperwork is in order and go through an experienced outfitter with the necessary knowledge to make sure your trek happens.

The other major problem with climbing Cho Oyu is the altitude. Ice, snow and debris aren’t as much of a concern as with other mountains, but altitude sickness is common once you’ve crested 25,000 feet. This is particularly true if you climb in the late fall when the temperatures drop precipitously.

Layers are important to toughing out the differences in temperature from the start of the climb to the finish. For ladies, a lightweight hooded sweatshirt such as the North Face Oso is great to have on underneath your down suit, just in case the sun decides to peak out from behind the clouds. For men, try the Men’s North Face SDS 1/4 Zip.

As far as preparation, you’ll need to focus on any aerobic activity you can think of. Running stairs, joining a kickboxing class, purchasing aerobic exercises DVDs and whatever you can think of to increase your lung capacity and prepare your body for the assault of climbing Cho Oyu. Since the altitude deprives your muscles of precious oxygen, you can’t prepare enough for this trek.

That said, most people who climb Cho Oyu call it a “rush,” and claim that very few mountains are as exhilarating. Just don’t forget your mother’s timeless advice: Drink plenty of fluids.

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Ban on Water Bottles!

It’s not just a color, it’s a movement that’s hitting Zappos by storm. Zappos is taking the right step in the green direction by handing out Blue, reusable water bottles out to all employees and will no longer carry disposable water bottles in our offices. From here on out, Zapponians will quench their thirst by filling up their water bottles at the several coolers posted around our Headquarters.

Way to demonstrate corporate responsibility Hopefully more corporate companies will follow in our shoe prints.

FAQs about Bottled water and its effects on the planet and you:

Q. Is Bottle water safer or healthier than Tap Water?
A. Federal regulations are nearly identical to tap water, resulting in equally safe water from the tap or from the bottle. “In fact, roughly 40 percent of bottled water begins as tap water; often the only difference is added minerals that have no marked health benefit”. –

Q. How many gallons of oil go into the manufacturing of Bottled Water?
A. The production of the 28 billion bottles of water Americans buy each year uses 1.1 million barrels of oil and releases one billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to the Container Recycling Institute.

Q. Where do my bottles go once I am finished?
A. Of the billions of water bottles Americans buy each year, 80 percent end up in landfills or incinerators, even after getting recycled. Those bottles could take anywhere between 400 and 1,000 years to degrade, the EPI estimates. –

Q. Where should I get my water?
A. Zappos will provide all employees with a reusable water bottle that you can fill up at any of the Sparkletts coolers.

Q. By reusing a bottle, how many bottles are kept out of landfills?
A. By choosing to refill a reusable cup with water from a cooler, you are saving 1900 bottles from ending up in landfills. Each jug (equivalent to 38 bottles of water) is reused 50 times, (Once the Jugs have “retired” from Offices and homes, they are recycled into things like speed bumps, park benches, and other municipal uses.) –

Q. Are any other companies not using bottled water?
A. Locally, the Levi’s distribution Center has completely banned the use of Disposable Bottled Water in their facilities. Cities such as San Francisco and Ann Arbor, Mich., have already acted on the problem by banning bottled water in city buildings. –

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Nothing brings a group of people together like a potluck! Everyone may know by now that Zappos provides lunch for its employees, which is something that few companies do. Recently Zappos is switching over from catered lunches to our own in-house kitchen – but until then, it’s soup and sandwiches for us.

Of course, we’re not complaining about Soups and sandwiches, but sometimes it’s nice to spice up your lunch break without spending money on going out to lunch. So, for this very reason, departments have been coming together in order to spice up lunch time the old fashioned community way – through potlucks. I’ve noticed at least one pot luck per week here in the Zappos HQ – and lucky for me, Zapponians are a friendly bunch, so I got to partake in quite a few. Sharing is Caring!

Keep on potluckin’ Zapponians!

KY IT Department - Powered by Trust

Mike K, IT Manager, gathered his group to build a positive family and team spirit. He asked each of them to climb 4 or 5 feet in the air and fall backwards. Trust ladder time! This great team building exercise needs nothing more than a ladder, a team, and a trusting soul.

Would you trust your team to catch you? Even I trusted the IT team (but only after seeing several people go before me:) Every team member completed the challenge, even if it took some longer to do so than others. I feel standing on the ladder several feet off the ground gave some a different point of view about height and trust. The Risk and Safety Manager, Leah M., was on stand by to ensure the team was observing safe falling conditions. I hope you get a kick out of watching the IT superheros plunge to the earth with only the arms of their fellow superheros there to save them. Please note: No one was injured during the making of this short film.

Matt T. and his Frugal Birthday

Earlier this week, our resident financial expert & host of “ Feelin’ Frugal , Matt T. had a birthday. We all got together in the days prior and brainstormed on how to make that day extra special for him. We decided that the greatest gift would be to show him that his frugality has made an impact on our lives.

So, instead of spending our hard-earned money on a cake from the market, we made him one from things that we found in the lunch room. Who doesn’t dream of blowing out their Cheetos candles on their special day? No birthday is complete without the perfect card, though… something that really says how much you mean to the people around you. So of course, we ripped out a sheet of notebook paper and came up with a little rhyme to sum up the day. Roses are red, violets are blue. You’re so frugal and your birthday is too. Happy Birthday Matt!

Stress, Stress, Stress: Good Body Maintenance Reduces Stress

It’s a fact. When people live hectic, stressful lives they tend to take better care of inanimate objects than they do themselves! Take cars, for example. Everyone knows that basic routine maintenance can keep things running smoothly and prevent major breakdowns later on. We get oil changes and tune-ups for our cars. The same basic principles apply to your body, the most important asset you have! Without a healthy body, you can’t do the things you need to do, and you’re certainly not prepared to handle stressful situations. Taking care of yourself with some routine “basic maintenance” can keep your body running smoothly and give you a solid foundation for dealing with stress.

Body Basic Maintenance #1: Get Enough Sleep
This one is important. Even if you can’t get a full eight hours, make a commitment to yourself to get as much as you can. If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxing with a relaxing bath or good book.

Body Basic Maintenance #2: Eat (And Eat Reasonably)
Sometimes, it’s not a matter of eating well – it’s a matter of remembering to eat at all! Grabbing breakfast in the morning can help energize you all day. And when you do eat, make sure that what you’re putting into your body will help it run smoothly.

Body Basic Maintenance #3: Get Moving
If a car is left in the garage for several years, it may or may not run when someone tries to start it up. The same is true for exercising your body. Try to get a little bit of exercise every day, even if it’s only walking the dog. It will help you feel better both physically and emotionally.

Body Basic Maintenance #4: Take A Daily Vitamin
If you ate a perfectly balanced diet every day, then you probably wouldn’t need a daily vitamin supplement. A daily vitamin supplement can help strengthen all of your defenses, particularly your immune system, and make up for the nutrients your day-to-day diet lacks.

Body Basic Maintenance #5: Stay Hydrated
Many people don’t drink enough liquids. Adequate hydration can help all of your body’s systems run more smoothly. Think of it like an oil change for your body. Find a healthy drink you like, such as tea or ice water, and keep it on hand at all times for maximum hydration.

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Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: Nashville, Tennessee

While you may not naturally think of Nashville, Tennessee as a skateboarding vacation destination, it actually is a great city to visit. Not only does it offer you a lot of great musical attractions, friendly people and great Southern food, this city is also dotted with skate parks and great skateboarding opportunities.

Places to Skateboard in Nashville, Tennessee
Like most cities in the world, it is a good idea to limit your skateboarding to skate parks. However, you can find a lot of low-traffic areas to skate and explore in Nashville. Just stay off of private property, don’t skate downtown and don’t skate where there are a lot of people. Like I said, your best bet is going to be the city’s skate parks.

The first option that you have is the Sixth Avenue Skate Park. This is an 11,000 square foot skate park that offers a great selection of features. It is a concrete park, which makes falling rough on the body. To minimize injuries wear a helmet, the proper skater attire and padding. Some of the features that you will find at 401 Sixth Avenue South include a 16-foot vert wall, sub walls, a ten-foot bank leading into a vert wall, ledges, hips, rails, a spine ramp and a couple of modest ovals.

The second skate park in Nashville is the Nashville Skate Park, which is located inside Wave Country. This park, found at 2320 Two Rivers Parkway, offers about 20,000 square feet of skateboarding terrain. It has bowls, vert walls, rails and obstacles for you to play on and in. Have fun at this park and then cool off in the wave pool.

Shopping for Skateboarding Equipment in Nashville, Tennessee
The best skateboard gear and paraphernalia is going to be found slightly outside of Nashville. In Mount Juliet, a few miles away, you will find Resist Skateboards. This shop is located at 11888 Labanon Road. Your second option is Imperial Skateboarding Company, found at 114 East Prince Street in Gallatin, Tennessee. If you visit this shop, bring your board as Gallatin has a brand new skate park that you won’t want to miss.