RR, RR (Radical Reels, Roots Rated)

My life of late has been ruled by two pairs of Rs: Radical Reels and Roots Rated.

Radical Reels Tour 2012: Every year, the best action sports films submitted to the acclaimed Banff Mountain Film Festival go on tour. This year, the tour stops in Chapel Hill — tonight, in fact. I’ve written about the Radical Reels Tour and its offerings for Great Outdoor Provision Co. (read that here) and I interviewed one of the filmmakers, Rush Sturges, in this space a couple weeks back.

The Tour appears at the Varsity tonight at 7 p.m., box office opens at 6:30, advance tickets are available at the Chapel Hill GOPC. Advance tickets are $15, $17 at the theater. I’ve seen some or all of the 11 films to be shown; well worth the price of admission.

Roots Rated: Also as part of my sponsorship agreement with Great Outdoor Provision Co., I’ve been working with them on a new Web site called Roots Rated. I’m banking that Roots Rated could soon be key to your active outdoor life. The quick backstory:

Fresh out of school, Fynn Glover of Chattanooga was working in the financial industry and wasn’t crazy about it —
“I was hating it,” Glover clarified in a phone chat yesterday.

— so Glover was working in the financial industry and hating it. He was curious about how his fellow Gen Yers were dealing with the real world, so last summer he hit the road looking for answers. He drove 16,000 miles, interviewing college students along the way.

He didn’t find the meaning of life, but he did discover something interesting.

“I’d get to a town and want to go trail running, but I didn’t know where to go,” says Glover, who played collegiate soccer at the University of Richmond and “did a little of everything when I was a teen.”

Back in Chattanooga he struck up a conversation with Dawson Wheeler, co-owner of Rock/Creek outfitters. Rock/Creek is the Tennessee version of Great Outdoor Provision, with stores throughout the state. Also like GOPC, Rock/Creek belongs to the Grassroots Outdoors Alliance, a nationwide consortium of independent outdoor retailers.

Glover expressed his frustration, said he’d always appreciated being able to walk into Rock/Creek and get the direction he needed — not just for buying stuff but for were to go with the stuff he bought. Valuable information, they both agreed.
The discussion blossomed and Roots Rated was born, launched earlier this summer.

Roots Rated is a database of great places to go and do … whatever. The home page is simple: Click on an activity (climbing, cycling, flat water paddling, hiking, mountain biking, trail running and whitewater paddling are the main categories so far; more will be added), click on a location, click “Go” and voila! — options!

One key difference between Roots Rated and similar venue sites: whereas the vast majority of other sites are crowd sourced (anyone can make an entry), Roots Rated has authors vetted for their knowledge of the subject. (I refrain from referring to these authors as “experts” because I am one and I am no expert on any of the topics covered. I do get around, however.) If you’re curious about the person writing the recommendation, click on “author” and you’re taken to the scribe’s bio.

So far, 12 locations are included in Roots Rated, from Aspen to Tucson. Glover expects that number to double by mid-fall. The entries are being driven by members of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, which includes 40 outfitters in 80 communities.
“Eventually, we plan to be nationwide,” says Glover.

As for North Carolina, Chuck Millsaps with Great Outdoor Provision Co. says they’ll be rolling out content throughout the fall, beginning with hiking. The North Carolina hiking component will include five hikes each in each of the outfitter’s seven markets: Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Other topics to be covered in each market: flatwater paddling, trail running, climbing, whitewater paddling and fishing.

That’s a total of 210 entries for North Carolina. For you, the outdoor-activist consumer, that means a lot of options to choose from. For me, the creator of those 210 entries, that means something else:

A lotta work. Gotta go.

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