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Outside Podcast

PRX

Outside's longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will entertain, inspire, and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since added three additional series, The Outside Interview, which has editor Christopher Keyes interrogating the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, Dispatches, a diverse range of stories on newsworthy topics, and Sweat Science, which explores the outer limits of athletic performance.

Outside's longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will entertain, inspire, and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since added three additional series, The Outside Interview, which has editor Christopher Keyes interrogating the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, Dispatches, a diverse range of stories on newsworthy topics, and Sweat Science, which explores the outer limits of athletic performance.

Location:

United States

Networks:

PRX

Description:

Outside's longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will entertain, inspire, and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since added three additional series, The Outside Interview, which has editor Christopher Keyes interrogating the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, Dispatches, a diverse range of stories on newsworthy topics, and Sweat Science, which explores the outer limits of athletic performance.

Language:

English


Episodes

When the Tornado Chased the Storm Chaser

5/4/2021
Jennifer Brindley Ubl had become obsessed with tracking down something that most of us hope never to see: tornados. Every spring, she would close up her portrait photography business in Milwaukee and head off to capture images of what she calls “beautiful storm systems.” Seeing a twister left her in awe—and always wanting more. Then, one day, she found herself fleeing for her life from the largest tornado ever recorded. In this episode of our Wild Files series, we hear the story of how the...

Duration:00:33:23

A Journey to the Strange World Beyond Our Screens

4/30/2021
After more than a year of pandemic living, our lives have migrated online to a remarkable degree: we Zoom and tweet and Slack all day, then Netflix and Hulu ourselves to sleep. Now, as we emerge into a hopeful spring and summer, our challenge is to awaken the adventurous sides of ourselves that have gone dormant. In this episode, Chris Colin, author of the brilliantly funny new book Off: The Day the Internet Died, puts forth a simple solution: just start talking about all the awesome...

Duration:00:33:07

An Elite Adventurer Reckons with Risk

4/27/2021
Professional outdoor athletes can seem invincible—like no matter what crazy thing they do next, they’ll come out the other side alive (and probably smiling). But if you actually ask these athletes about their relationship with risk, they’ll likely be quick to tell you about the moment they realized that no matter how good they are at their sport, sometimes bad things happen. For the latest episode of the Wild Files, we share the story of photographer, filmmaker, and climber Savannah Cummins,...

Duration:00:32:51

An Appalachian Trail Horror Story

4/23/2021
When we venture into the wilderness, we accept that there are certain dangers, like bears and snakes and crazy weather. Truth be told, a bit of risk is what attracts many people to the backcountry (even if normal urban life is much riskier). But there are times when the usual natural threats are replaced by something far more menacing: an aggressive human. In this gripping story from our friends at Backpacker’s Out Alive podcast, we hear the tragic tale of a group of hikers who found...

Duration:00:56:13

Biking the Iditarod in Search of Pain

4/20/2021
Among people who spend a lot of time in the wilderness, there’s a notion that the trail is our teacher. And if you talk to serious outdoor adventurers, you quickly realize just how powerful trail lessons can be. Take the case of professional endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, who was schooled over the last several winters while riding a bike across the Alaska Range as a racer in the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational. Rusch has long been lauded for her ability to push through the most...

Duration:00:33:29

Life and Death Among the Polar Bears

4/13/2021
There are few places on earth where humans aren’t at the top of the food chain, but the Arctic sea ice is one of them. Photographer Kiliii Yuyan saw this firsthand while documenting the Inupiat people’s spring whale hunt. A hungry polar bear began stalking the party, forcing the hunters to defend themselves. The dramatic experience was a harsh lesson in the realities of survival in a truly wild place, but Yuyan was even more impacted by what he witnessed in the aftermath. As the Inupiat...

Duration:00:28:31

A Bold Plan to Make Pro Cycling Cool Again

4/9/2021
American road racing has struggled in the past decade. Following the downfall of Lance Armstrong, road racing became almost synonymous with doping, sponsors walked away, and fans became disenchanted. But new energy is emerging again in the longtime American discipline of crit racing, or criterium, which has riders hammering out laps on courses through city streets. It’s fast, rowdy, and full of crashes—cycling’s version of Nascar. “If you love football, if you like watching people get...

Duration:00:27:10

When an Athlete Refuses to Be Broken

4/6/2021
For survivors of harrowing events, the most challenging part of the saga often comes after they’ve lived through what seemed like an impossible scenario. Such was the case of Joe Stone, who was a high-flying athlete addicted to the thrills of sports like skydiving and BASE jumping before a brutal accident left him paralyzed from the chest down and with limited fine motor skills in his hands. And so he faced a giant question: What am I supposed to do now? His answer was to do things that...

Duration:00:48:19

Embracing a Fear of Falling

3/24/2021
If you’re a climber, the risk of falling is always there—it's an essential fact about the sport. And for a lot of climbers, this is actually part of the appeal. That was definitely how Brendan Leonard saw it. Today Leonard is best known as a trail runner and the creator of Semi-Rad, where he publishes essays and illustrations about life as a nonprofessional athlete. But back in his twenties, climber was the identity Leonard latched on to while he was recovering from alcohol addiction and...

Duration:00:31:11

How the Ski Bum Was Made

3/17/2021
It’s the ultimate mountain-town caricature: the shaggy semi-athlete who lives in a van (or truck or crowded apartment), works a number of crappy jobs (pizza delivery, barback, liftie), and skis 100 days every winter. This is the ski bum: a hero to some, a loser to others, and an enigma to everyone—until now. In this episode, bona fide ski bum Paddy “Paddy O” O’Connell presents irrefutable evidence that the campy ski flicks of the eighties and nineties—cult classics like Hot Dog, Ski Patrol,...

Duration:00:31:15

A Desperate Need for the Mountains

3/3/2021
People are drawn to the mountains for all kinds of reasons—the desire to challenge themselves physically or emotionally, a hunger for risk or perhaps solitude, the need for a sense of accomplishment. But for some, the appeal is both deeper and far more complicated. So it is with Sequoia Schmidt, whose father and brother died on K2, the world’s second-tallest and most dangerous peak. That tragedy ultimately propelled her into the mountains herself—to, as she says, “find my soul.” In this...

Duration:00:42:29

“It Was a Way to Keep His Spirit Alive”

2/24/2021
In 2001, when Caroline Gleich was 15 years old, her half-brother Martin died in an avalanche while skiing in the Utah backcountry. That tragedy didn’t prevent Gleich from becoming a professional skier—quite the opposite—but it has led her to develop a unique approach to managing risk. The truth is, avalanches are largely predictable: they only occur on certain slopes and under certain conditions. The problem is that such slopes and conditions coincide almost perfectly with the most fun...

Duration:00:27:15

Buried Alive—and Running Out of Time

2/17/2021
It was a glorious powder day in the Sierra Nevada when three friends set off into the backcountry at dawn. They had tons of experience and all the essential emergency gear, so they were unfazed by the fact that the local avalanche center had listed the danger that day as considerable. As the trio saw it, if you wanted to enjoy good skiing conditions in the backcountry, you had to accept some risk. But then, in an instant, a slide buried one of them and the other two began a frantic search to...

Duration:00:33:41

A Climbing Disaster Interrupted by a Love Story

2/10/2021
When a groups of friends in their twenties set out to climb Mount Rainier, they felt like they were ready for anything. But on the upper slopes of the peak, trouble found them. A storm moved in, and members of the party began to suffer from altitude sickness and dehydration. As climbers began turning around, two decided to push on: an aggressive military athlete who was on a quest for the summit and a first-time mountaineer who wanted to prove herself. It didn’t take long for them to end up...

Duration:00:38:11

The Pure Joy of Bionic Skiing

2/3/2021
It sounds like something out of a James Bond film: a robotic exoskeleton that helps you ski better. But the real thing exists. A San Francisco–based startup called Roam has developed a breakthrough device that pairs clever mechanics with artificial intelligence to give your lower body a boost when you need it most. For able-bodied skiers, it’s a performance-enhancement tool that will let you ignore your creaky knees. And for athletes who’ve suffered debilitating injuries, it’s a chance to...

Duration:00:32:38

A Veteran Surfer’s Big-Wave Nightmare

1/27/2021
It began as every surfer’s dream: an empty point break, a rising swell, and a good friend to share the rides. But what happens when you’re out there and the waves just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger? So it went for William Finnegan at a break off the Portuguese island of Madeira. This happened decades ago, back when surfers had to more or less guess at the conditions they’d encounter on any given day. In this episode, Finnegan, whose surfing memoir Barbarian Days won the Pulitzer...

Duration:00:26:53

How a Surfer Survived Being Stranded in the Open Sea

1/20/2021
Serious surfers train themselves to be ready for difficult moments: a brutal wipeout, being held down underwater by waves, losing a board and being forced swim a mile to shore. Then there are the kinds of experiences that nobody is really prepared for, like getting pushed out to sea by winds or currents and set adrift where nobody can see you. To get through that scenario alive, you need extraordinary fortitude. In this episode, we revisit one of the most surprising tales we’ve ever told on...

Duration:00:34:53

Why Learning a New Skill Is So Good for You

1/13/2021
As it turns out, being a grown-up novice offers all kinds of surprising benefits. Just ask journalist Tom Vanderbilt, who spent a year attempting to pick up a variety of challenging skills, from surfing to singing to drawing. Ultimately, he didn’t become amazing at any of these things, but his humble quest taught him something far more valuable: that despite your age or how busy you think you are, introducing yourself to a new skill is one of the most life-enhancing things you can do....

Duration:00:41:49

Inside Emily Harrington's Triumph on El Capitan

12/23/2020
Serious athletes are used to digging deep. But there’s pushing yourself, and then there’s what climber Emily Harrington did on November 4, when she became the first woman, and the fourth person ever, to free-climb the Golden Gate route up Yosemite’s El Capitan in a single day. It was an insanely challenging endeavor: a 3,200-foot ascent up the sheer granite wall using only her hands and feet. For Harrington, it was the culmination of a long effort that included a fall on El Cap in 2019,...

Duration:00:31:42

Life Lessons from Elite Explorers

12/16/2020
Ask a professional adventurer to share the most important lesson they’ve learned from their time in the wild, and you’re bound to get a good story. Which is exactly why we posed this question to Steven Rinella, host of the Netflix series MeatEater, and Krystle Wright, an adventure photographer based in Australia. For Rinella, a dangerous decision on a trip to Alaska’s Arctic made him see how being steadfastly committed to a goal is a kind of recklessness. On a footloose pilgrimage to the...

Duration:00:31:25