Employee Spotlight: Kristina Fischer

"I grew up on the Seacoast of New Hampshire where I got to enjoy the beautiful, but cold, Atlantic Ocean as well as the White Mountains. My love for the outdoors started when I was very young. You would always find me outside whether it was climbing trees, catching frogs, riding bikes, or just being outside for the fun of it. I always looked forward to our family camping trips up in the White Mountains; right off the Kancamangus Highway to be exact. Those by far are some of my favorite childhood memories. I went to college in Burlington, Vermont where I picked up my love for climbing (and became a true hippy J). Even though I love New England the west was always calling. Right after graduating I moved out to Salt Lake where I have fallen in love with the endless amount of outdoor fun."

Name: Kristina Fischer
Number of years working for Liberty Mountain: Almost 1!
Job title: Buyer
Short description of what you do at Liberty Mountain: I select and buy items for several categories
What do you like most about your job? Getting to see all the new gear and items and the people!

Active in the following sports/activities/hobbies: Climbing, Skiing, Mountain Biking, Ice climbing, Hiking, Camping, Knitting, Gardening
Favorite activity: Hmm, that depends on the season…I would have to say skiing now.
Favorite outdoor areas: Too many! Some are White Mountains, The Sawtooths, San Juan Islands, Indian Creek
Piece of outdoor gear you most wish you had: Does a bike rack count?

Most interesting place ever lived: Madrid, Spain
Least interesting place ever lived: They are all interesting in their own way J
Top-five favorite movies: Gladiator, Home Alone 2, Harry Potter Series, The Pianist, Toy Story
Top-five favorite books: Blink, Harry Potter (all of them), The Blue Notebook, Kite Runner, Into the Wild

Top-five favorite bands: Ray LaMontange, Trampled by Turtles, Dave Matthews Band, Shakey Graves, The Tallest Man on Earth
Inspirational Hero: Corny, but my Dad.

Dream vacation: Right now it would be New Zealand.
Cake or pie: Pie
Dogs or Cats: I grew up with cats but have a dog now, so I like both, but am more inclined to dogs.


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Valandre Shocking Blue Tested by Alpinist Magazine

Photo: Alpinist.com

Over the past few months, Drew Thayer, a reviewer for Alpinist magazine has had the opportunity to put the Valandre Shocking Blue Neo sleeping bag to the test in some extreme conditions. The Shocking Blue is engineered with one of the most advanced draft collar systems on the market and is designed to eliminate drafts, even when used as a high alpine bivy. The entire bag is designed to fit an expedition weight suit and thus provides plenty of room for finding a comfortable sleep position. 

In his review, Thayer calls the bag "a heavy hitter in its weight class" and adds that "it really does seal in warmth and keep every breath of wind out."

Read the full review here

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Gear Review: Cypher Vesta Sport

The Cypher Vesta Sport quickdraw was recently reviewed by Gif over at Rock Climber Life. Comparing it to the previous version of the Vesta Sport, he says "The dogbone is totally different and a huge improvement.  It’s super stiff and perfect for hard sport climbing."

Check out the full lineup of Cypher products here.


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Employee Spotlight: Leslie Borzea

I was born and raised here in Salt Lake, Cottonwood Heights, to be exact. I am the youngest of five kids (two brothers and two sisters). I met and married my soulmate, Ryan, five years ago. I have five kids, ranging in age from seven to nineteen years old. Yes, I changed diapers for 15 straight years…gah! My love for the outdoors began when I was a young lady, fishing nearly every weekend with my Dad, mostly at Flaming Gorge. Those were by far the best memories of my childhood. I earned my basic and advanced EMT certification a few years ago and got to experience a couple of ride-alongs with the fire department and, ya know, safe a few lives.  I absolutely love every aspect of the outdoors and the feeling of peace and purpose whenever I am there. I’ve loved working here at LM and getting to know like-minded people!

Name: Leslie Borzea

Number of years working for Liberty Mountain: Just over one year

Job title: Buyer’s Assistant

Short description of what you do at Liberty Mountain: I basically keep all of the buyers in line…just kidding! I confirm orders, backorders and such.

Active in the following sports/activities/hobbies: Hiking (specifically peak bagging), backpacking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, fishing, photographing, kid-raising and cooking with a pinch of crafting.

Favorite activity: Laughing!

Favorite outdoor areas: Take me to the mountains…any of them!

Most interesting place ever lived: Utah! I. Will. NEVER. Leave.

Least interesting place ever lived: The only other place I’ve ever “lived” is Bellingham, WA, which was cool…but definitely not even close to the cool we have here in Utah.

Top-five favorite movies: Burn After Reading, Alive, A Bronx Tale, Tarzan & Inside Out

Top-five favorite books: The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, The Lorax, I’ll read the other two as soon as my kids are all in college and I have time to read again. 

Top- five six favorite bands: Kacey Musgraves, Blind Pilot, Ray Lamontagne, Alabama Shakes, Don Williams & Mumford and Sons

Inspirational Hero:  Dr. Seuss and Bob Marley

Inspirational quote: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive, that is youer than you!” –Dr. Seuss  “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” – Bob Marley

Dream vacation: Switzerland

Cake or pie: Cake, pie…I’ll take a few of each!

Dogs or Cats: Being that I have one of each, I’d be such a jerk if I picked one over the other.


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Vaude's Transparent Global Supply Chain

Global responsibility – down to the last detail
Globalization also has a dark side. It often goes hand in hand with environmental pollution and unfair working conditions. The outdoor outfitter VAUDE – with production involving the global supply chain – is convinced that companies both can and should make a positive contribution toward meeting these challenges. With this in mind, the company not only implements sustainable goals at its headquarters in southern Germany, but also at the production facilities that manufacture products on behalf of VAUDE throughout the world. As a pioneer in the field, VAUDE is taking this process one step further and has also started working with its suppliers to achieve high environmental and social standards. The company wants to ensure that VAUDE products are manufactured ecologically and fairly – throughout the entire global supply chain.
One year ago, VAUDE launched the project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain", to raise its suppliers’ awareness of environmental and social issues and to provide them with the know-how they need to implement change. Over the next two years, VAUDE will offer training sessions for the suppliers of its product materials in Asia.  Knowledge and experience will be shared enabling local stakeholders to make progress toward their own sustainable development – a pioneering approach with great potential as a model for future projects.   
An outdoor jacket consists of approximately 50 components, such as linings, membranes, laminates, zippers, drawcords, buttons, thread and labels. These items are manufactured by many different and delivered to production facilities which then use them to assemble jackets for VAUDE.
Supporting and challenging
VAUDE maintains direct business relationships with its production facilities and has long worked to ensure that they are operating in accordance with strict social and environmental standards. One example – VAUDE so consistently pursued Leader Status in the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), that 99 percent of its production volume is now made in facilities that have been audited under the strict criteria of the FWF. Approximately 80 percent of the VAUDE Apparel Collection features environmentally friendly production that meets the Green Shape criteria – made from sustainable materials as well as resource-conserving and fair production. In addition, the majority of its material suppliers are already certified in accordance with the bluesign® System, which is like an "Ecological Purity Law" – permitting only approved materials. Now VAUDE is going one step further and is committed to implementing comprehensive environmental and social standards among the suppliers of its materials and components. The aim is to ensure clean production processes and safe workplaces for these suppliers as well, and to avoid environmental pollution of local areas.
As a pioneer, VAUDE is providing concrete assistance to its suppliers, thereby creating not only more transparency, but also promoting sustainable development. The company is voluntarily committed to offering consumers a scrupulously clean and fair product.  

Helping people help themselves
VAUDE, together with external experts for environmental, chemical and job safety management, is addressing this self-imposed task at the local level. With training courses and workshops, VAUDE is working together with the major suppliers of its production operations to develop viable solutions. In addition, the facilities are receiving concrete assistance in implementing measures for environmental protection and occupational safety as well as social standards and the efficient use of resources in their operations. At the same time, suppliers are also recognizing that such measures can often reduce operating costs, which is a further incentive for management.
Role model as a result of consistency  
Thanks to the voluntary participation of suppliers, 80% by volume of the primary and lining materials that VAUDE processes have already been included in the project. The goal is to roll out the project over the next few years for all material suppliers. But the matter doesn’t end here; as a founding member of the "Alliance for Sustainable Textile" VAUDE is using this project to act as a role model for best practices, which could provide momentum for the entire textile industry. VAUDE is a founding member of this alliance, which brings together industry associations, civil society, government and many manufacturers of the textile industry. The project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) within the "develoPPP.de" program.

VAUDE’s ecological and social commitment in the Sustainability Report: http://csr-report.vaude.com/
More on the pilot project:


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VAUDE Takes on Responsibility - from the thread to the finished jacket

How can we ensure that our products are absolutely environmentally-friendly and made under good working conditions? By scrutinizing the entire supply chain down to the last detail – including all materials, small components, manufacturing processes and working conditions. VAUDE has been dedicated to this goal for years, allocating significant resources to its accomplishment. Today, 99 percent of its production volume is manufactured in facilities that have been audited by the Fair Wear Foundation. Approximately 80 percent of the company’s apparel collection features environmentally-friendly production that meets the VAUDE Green Shape criteria. When it comes to our product materials, a large percentage is also certified in accordance with the strict bluesign® System environmental standard. Now VAUDE is delving even deeper into the supply chain and putting its material suppliers under the microscope. The company has launched a pilot project to ensure environmentally-friendly production processes and safe working conditions among suppliers. Experts from NGOs, government and industry who met for a stakeholders' workshop at VAUDE in September see great opportunities for the entire textile industry in this approach.

This project is an important step toward meeting VAUDE’s goal of making the global supply chain environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and transparent. The supply chain can be divided into two levels: Producers (Tier 1), that fabricate VAUDE products, and Material Suppliers (Tier 2 and beyond) that provide the components for these products.

High standards for producers established
An outdoor jacket consists of approximately 50 components such as linings, membranes, laminates, zippers, drawcords, buttons, thread and labels. In the production plants that turn these components into finished products, VAUDE has established high environmental and social standards with external partners in recent years. For example, 99% of production volume is manufactured in facilities that have been audited by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF). VAUDE has received Leader Status with the FWF due to its exemplary level of commitment. Approximately 80 percent of the VAUDE Apparel Collection consists of environmentally friendly Green Shape products – made from sustainable materials, resource-conserving and fair production. "Now that we have achieved our goal of all Tier 1 Production featuring eco-friendly manufacturing under fair working conditions, we are turning our attention to ensuring that the components in our products are consistently produced with environmentally friendly and fair manufacturing as well," said Antje von Dewitz, VAUDE CEO. The majority of VAUDE’s material suppliers are certified in accordance with the strict bluesign® System environmental standard, which is like an "Ecological Purity Law" that permits only approved materials. Currently, VAUDE has a limited ability to influence the manufacturers of component parts for its production processes since it has no direct relationship with these suppliers – especially in the upstream stages of production. The manufacturing steps of spinning, weaving or dyeing are often very resource-intensive and harmful to the environment. It is therefore important to VAUDE to implement high environmental and social standards in this area as well. "This is a huge task that we are now tackling as part of the pilot project," said Antje von Dewitz.
Providing expertise and raising awareness
One year ago, VAUDE launched the project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain", which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and funded by the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) within the "develoPPP.de" program. What is unique about this program is that expertise and an awareness of environmental and sustainability issues is transmitted directly to suppliers. Together with external experts, VAUDE will be training its main Asian suppliers intensively in the fields of environmental, chemical and safety management and social standards over a period of two years. The suppliers will become empowered and motivated to autonomously implement measures in these areas. This can often reduce operating costs, which provides further incentive for management. Participating companies, accounting for approximately 80% of the material volume at VAUDE, are gladly welcoming this support. Bettina Roth, Head of Quality and Chemicals Management at VAUDE explains: "In our experience, when suppliers develop an understanding and awareness of pollution prevention and environmental protection, they implement new practices thoroughly. This is a long-term, sustainable approach that works much better than mere testing of products."

Best Practices for the textile industry
The project is intended as an example of "best practices" which will be presented to the "Alliance for Sustainable Textiles" and provide momentum for the whole textile industry. VAUDE is a founding member of this alliance, which brings industry associations, civil society, government and many manufacturers in the textile industry together. "We want to use this project to demonstrate how the upstream stages of production can be clean and responsible. If enough manufacturers follow suit, we can establish significantly higher environmental and social standards throughout the textile industry," said Antje von Dewitz.
Stakeholder Workshop at VAUDE
In September, VAUDE invited experts from the field of politics, research, the outdoor industry, and specialized journalists to participate in a discourse of this project. Present were representatives of the Federal Environmental Ministry, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany’s Investment and Development Company (DEG), as well as Nicole Espey, Executive Director of the Federation of German Sporting Goods Industry and Pamela Ravasio, CSR Manager from the industry association, European Outdoor Group. "This project precisely identifies sticking points in the supply chain: building awareness and competence in the Far East. Together, we should tackle this issue in the industry. VAUDE deserves great credit for being a pioneer in this issue,” said Nicole Espey. The DEG, which is supporting the project financially, is also convinced: "We believe that the combination of knowledge transfer and awareness of environmental and sustainability issues are instrumental for improving working conditions in one of the largest and most important industries in developing countries. We are pleased to be supporting VAUDE in this pilot project," said Yvonne Veth, Investment Manager DEG. Antje von Dewitz also gave a positive verdict on the stakeholder meeting: "We invited important stakeholders to the table and received very positive feedback and valuable impetus for further development of the project. It is clear that fostering dialogue on strategic issues makes sense because by working together, we can achieve a lot more."

The ecological and social commitment at VAUDE in its Sustainability Report: http://csr-report.vaude.com/
More on the pilot project:

Winter Hiking Tips

Maybe they call it fall because that’s what happens to the leaves, or maybe it’s for an entirely different reason. Either way, leaves on the ground is usually a sign that winter is just around the corner. For many mountain lovers, especially hikers, this means that they will soon be trapped indoors until the snow melts and they can return to the hills. Fortunately this doesn’t have to be the case. With the right equipment and a bit of planning, the mountains can be enjoyed year round. Here are 5 tips that will help you stay active on the trails, even when they’re covered in snow.

1. Wear the right clothes

You’ll be a lot warmer when you’re trudging uphill than when you’re resting or going down. Dressing in layers allows you to easily regulate your temperature by adding or removing a layer of clothing as needed. The essentials are a base layer next to your skin, a layer of insulation (fleece, down, or a synthetic puffy), and then a protective shell in case the weather gets nasty.

2. Stay Hydrated

Because you’re generally not sweating as much, it’s easy to forget to drink water during winter workouts.  Sweating and breathing still use up your body’s water supply so make sure to bring liquids, whether in a hydration pack or water bottle. It’s always better to bring more water than you think you’ll need, just in case.

3. Think About Traction

It goes without saying that trails might be a bit icy and possibly even covered in fresh snow during the winter, but we’ll say it anyway. Be sure that you have a general idea of what trail conditions will be like so that you can bring the right traction device. Sometimes boots or even trail runners will be enough, but other times you’ll want to bring a pair of Yaktrax or a similar device that attaches to the bottom of shoes or boots. When the conditions include recent snowfall or your journey takes you off trail, snowshoes are helpful not only in providing traction, but also keeping you on top of the snow.

4. Watch the Weather

It’s important to check the weather forecast before embarking on any winter adventure, especially ones far away from home. Conditions can quickly change, particularly near mountain peaks, so you’ll need to be ready for anything the weather could throw your way. Don’t be afraid to turn around when things look grim or the conditions reach an unsafe level.

5. Bring the Right Gear

Nothing takes the fun out of winter hiking like cold hands and wet feet. Luckily there are plenty of solutions to keeping your fingers, toes, and ears dry and ready for adventure. Outdoor Designs creates products specifically to keep you warm and comfortable while enjoying the outdoors. The Skyline Gaitersare an excellent option for keeping mud and snow from getting inside your boots, and the Diablo GTTgloves provide the perfect balance of protection and breathability for high output winter activities. Check out thefull lineup here.

If you plan on heading to the mountains this winter, be sure to follow these tips to stay warm, dry, safe, and happy.