Ullr Fest 2013: Get Your Snow On

By any standards, the United States boasts some truly worthwhile winter getaways, from the blue shores of Lake Tahoe, to all those East Coast resorts that try to compete with their Western counterparts yet never do. Out in Colorado, a state known for its generous mountain profile and equally epic outdoors scene, a major holding of winter locales are routinely bustling with activity and serving up satisfied customers. Bullz-Eye was given the chance to experience a few days at Breckenridge, one of the premier resorts Colorado has to offer, during one of its most enjoyable times of the year: Ullr Fest.

When I first got the email regarding Ullr (pronounced Ooler) Fest, I was in a state of complete darkness as to the meaning. In the back of my head, crude images of massive stone hammers and snowy, bearded warriors filled the void, vainly trying to conjure up any sort of applicable knowledge. It turned out my premonitions weren’t completely off, and the whole celebration was in fact Breckenridge’s way of honoring the Norse god of snow, Ullr.

All people who share a love for the outdoors have some sort of relationship with the weather. Cyclists pray for absence of rain, surfers yearn for hearty swells and so on. Snowboarders and skiers have that similar connection, yet take it to a whole other Bobby and Whitney sort of magnitude. The degree of snowfall can literally make or break half of the year for those who passionately delegate an entire season to winter sports. On a grander scale, resorts can lose significant amounts of revenue due to lackluster precipitation and the disinterested wake that follows.

So what actually happens at Ullr Fest? Are there droves of cute females walking the streets, clad only in fur bikinis and Viking helmets? Is the whole town mobilized into a party mode that rivals New Year’s Eve levels of intensity? And better yet, what does the whole experience say about Breckenridge and its ability to provide a worthwhile winter vacation? To make a long story short, the whole week was quite an epic adventure, but to adequately answer those questions, an introduction must be made about the team who participated, because seldom are the times when an individual alone is able to truly breathe in all the possibilities a new area has to offer:

Press:

Dane, Thrillist: More or less average build, with a clever and hilarious way of adding to every conversation and setting. Mannerisms similar to comedian Dane Cook.

Seth, Maxim: Nickname earned due to his uncanny facial similarity to Seth Rogen; if it weren’t for his towering height, he may actually be a full-fledged twin.

PR:

Drew: Pleasantly down-to-Earth, yet seriously extensive in her knowledge and passion for the area. Drew Barrymore doppelganger.

Daphne: Beautiful, interesting and once from Seattle. Being that Martin Crane’s physical therapist is just about the only female I know from the area, the nickname will have to stick, and yes, that was a “Frasier“ reference.
Kanye: The mastermind behind the entire organization and execution of the trip. A true professional, and much like the aforementioned rapper, Chicago raised.

Early frustrations

Do you ever have nightmares depicting missed flights or late/botched airport arrivals? Both seemed to rear their ugly heads last Tuesday when I stared in disbelief as my phone relayed a text from my “ride.”

“Shit came up, can’t give you a ride. Sorry man.”

Can’t give me a ride? Two hours ago would have been a perfect time to drop such a bomb, but not now. Oh well, I quickly thought, all is not lost – Go-Go Gadget Drive Myself. I flew down to the car and punched it aggressively for the next hour, cursing the heavily inundated 19th Avenue of San Francisco and looking at every red light as if I had never seen such an atrocity before.

As I neared the airport, the horrible realization was that I had zero time to drop my car in nearby Millbrae and instead was forced to throw up a Hail Mary. I drove straight into 2-hour parking, tossed my luggage outside, and then left forty dollars, the parking ticket, and my car keys in a tissue box deep inside the trunk. The final touch was the front door unlocked and a text message to my buddy who lived a short distance away, pleading with him to grant me this one favor.

Colorado, finally

After the day unexpectedly morphed into such a hectic beast, I was overjoyed when the plane touched down in Denver and I was soon aboard the hour and 40 minute shuttle towards Breckenridge. Something needs to be said about the drive up to Breckenridge. The road lazily tilts upward and soon you get the feeling that an ominous space mission is being made into the dark skies, ear-popping and all.

It was throughout the drive that I found myself laughing at our shuttle driver, Ted; not at him personally, but at the routine which followed whenever he chose to make but the slightest change in heater settings. He’d crank the dial ever so slightly and almost immediately, a reprieve would echo from the shadowy passengers in the rear.

“Umm, Ted, can you turn that down a hair?” or, “Ted, could you make it blow less? Like, the temperature is okay, but there is a lot of air coming out, right on my head,” and further, “Ted, the passenger in the back would like it to be a bit colder. Thanks.” This pattern repeated itself multiple times, to the point where the lady in the front seat reached over and patted his shoulder, saying, “You’re doing great, Ted.” This made me laugh.

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Testing the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival performance tire

When a company is confident about a new product, they relish the opportunity to have others compare it to the competition. That’s certainly been the attitude of the folks at BFGoodrich, who for years have been giving journalists the opportunity to test their products against the competition.

We were invited last year to test out the new BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 tire, and this year we were invited back to test the all-new BFGoodrich g-Force Rival at New Orleans Motorsport Park. The Rival was designed to fill out BFG’s product lineup in the g-Force category between its COMP-2 street tire and its pure racing tires. The Rival utilizes racing technologies which provide extreme grip on the street and on the track and is designed specifically for autocrossing and track day events. It’s a tire that will help enthusiasts race on the track, but they can drive home on the tire as well. All of the events they planned for us were designed to demonstrate the incredible grip achieved by these tires, and we were going to drive some great cars with the BMW E46 M3, Ford FR500 Mustang, Subaru WRX, and Mazda MX-5. It was going to be a great day!

The goal of the design team was to create the highest dry grip tire in the g-Force family that would be the best in class for people looking for “street tire” competition in autocross and track events. The tire can also perform fine in wet conditions, but it was specifically designed for dry surfaces. The goals included better grip around corners and better predictability for the driver in order to turn faster lap times. As I sat through the presentation, I was pretty amazed and the amount of technology that went into these tires. Here are some of the features:

Razor-sharp reflexes – The Performance Racing Core™ (PRC) with a reinforced internal structure reduces sidewall flex for instant steering response.

Designed to stick – Asymmetric tread with large, solid tread blocks on the outside shoulder to optimize cornering grip.

Raise the limit – Extreme Tread Edge (ETE) design brings tread compound farther down the shoulder for increased grip in hard cornering and predictable feedback.

Consistent grip lap after lap — Silica-infused competition compound delivers better grip from start to finish.1

Street legal with a UTQG treadwear rating of 200 so you can drive to the track and back.

The day was set up so we could feel the tire in action and compare it to the competition, along with the other tires in the BFG lineup. We got started with a skidpad test featuring the Mazda MX5 Cup. Cones were set up in a circle and each of us got the chance to test three BFG tires, starting with the COMP-2, then moving to the Rival and finally the R1 racing tire. It was fun getting up to a high speed, locking the wheel and then squealing around the track with an instructor in the passenger seat prompting us to go fast and really push the tires. The feel of the Rivals was much different than the street tire, with a huge improvement in grip, while the Rivals felt much closer to the R1 racing tires. The main different was that the Rival seemed more forgiving than the R1 racing tires. It was a great exercise that got us warmed up for some autocross.

The next stage for our group was the Subaru WRX STI autocross testing the Rivals against the Hankook Ventus R-S3 and the Toyo Proxes R1R. The course was fun and frankly there was a huge difference as the grip of the Rivals was noticeably better than the competition.

Next we got to drive the Mustang FR500 (the racing version of the Mustang) on the full NOLA track. It had been a year since I got to drive the Mustang Boss at the Miller race track in Utah, so I was pretty rusty, but this was still incredibly fun. We compared the Rivals to the Falken RT-615K in this exercise. I definitely noticed the difference in the curves.

Our last event behind the wheel was a long-course autocross in the BMW E46 M3, and here we compared the Rival to the Hankook Ventus R-S3. This event was the most fun for me, as I felt much more comfortable on the autocross as opposed to the full track with the Mustang. The course was fun and challenging, and the Rival blew away the competition here. The grip and response was superb, while the Hancock offered a much-less confidence inspiring experience.

Overall, the Rival definitely lived up to the goals of the designers. Even though I have little experience racing, I’m very confident after these tests that enthusiasts are going to be thrilled with this tire, and that was definitely the impression of other journalists at the event, many of whom had significant racing experience. The new Rival will be available for pre-order on February 1st from TireRack.com, so definitely consider checking them out if you want to improve your times at the track.

The last event of the day included “hot laps” where the pros and instructors did laps in the Mustang FR500 and we got the opportunity to ride shotgun and see how the experts did it. Here’s a video from my lap, and you can sense how much fun we had.

  

Interview with Luke Goss, aka Frankenstein, from “Death Race 3″

In “Death Race 3: Inferno,” we learn more about the development of Luke Goss’s Frankenstein character, with some interesting twists along the way. Luke discusses his character on set in South Africa with Bullz-Eye’s Paul Miller.


Luke Goss at the “Death Race 3″ premiere. Photo by Paul Miller

  

App of the Week: Stow

Developer:

Apptifica, LLC

Compatible with:
iPhone 3GS and up

iPod Touch 3rd Gen and up

iPad

Requires:
iOS 6.0 or later

Price:

$1.99

Available here

Much like Déjà vu’, that feeling that you forgot something when leaving your nest for an extended period of time is a near universal one. Almost always, it has no real bearing, but is unshakable nonetheless once it dawns upon you. While the feeling may be inescapable, with the new packing aid app “Stow”,  you can make sure that’s it’s just a phantom notion, as you can be guaranteed that everything you could possibly need is safely on hand.

Where “Stow” succeeds in an over-packed app field (pun sadly intended) is in its smart philosophy to packing. Rather than provide a grocery shopping style checklist of items, “Stow” takes a more lively approach to the subject by allowing you to account for factors like the amount of days you will be away, what the weather is going to be like during your time there, and even if laundry will be available. Only from there do you go into the checklist mode, where you are now equipped to factor in exactly what you will need, for all days, and conditions. It will even advise you as to common items you may need for individual weather conditions, and handedly provides subsections for various accessory types such as electronics and first aid, so no possible stone is left unturned.

An even more useful feature are the templates. With these, you can set a basic needs list based on what type of trip you are going on. Examples include: golf, beach, business, family, city, and more. All of them factor in essential (and handy) items for the various situations, and while they may not represent complete universal rundowns, it’s an excellent starting point. Even better is the ability to create your own templates based on common trips you take, so that you can have a “go to list” tuned exactly to your needs.

There’s more to the app of course, including abilities to factor in multiple people (useful for families), the ability to create a short list for your morning routine, you can print lists, save them as spreadsheets, share them, etc. It all comes together to create an app that feels very complete, as it accounts for so many potential aspects of such a specific task. At $1.99, its one of the more pricey apps of its kind, but for anyone that travels with any regularity, or has a serious forgetfulness problem when packing, the usefulness of “Stow” justifies it’s price immediately.

Ironically the only essential item the app can’t account for when packing is whether or not you have the app itself. Be sure to download it then and count it as the last important packing decision you’ll ever have to make on your own thanks to “Stow”, my app of the week.

 

  

Picture of the Day: Giovanna in schoolgirl outfit

Here’s an awesome shot of Giovanna in a sexy schoolgirl outfit. Check out our gallery of models dressed up in sexy schoolgirl outfits inspired by Britney Spears. It’s a classic sexy Halloween outfit.

Giovanna in schoolgirl outfit

  

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