The MK Project


The best project you can ever work on is you.  And that is exactly what Mackenzie Phillips has done. Mackenzie, or MK as we like to call her, has always been pretty active.  She can tear up the backcountry snowboarding, excels at cross fit, and even has time to do yoga.  Earlier this year she decided to turn it up a notch and began training for her very first body building competition. 

This weekend MK will be competing in the first of two regional competitions, both sponsored by The National Physique Committee of Illinois. It is a body building show that both men and women compete in.  There are different divisions for women including physique, figure, bodybuilding, and bikini.  MK will be competing in the bikini division. The bikini division requires a softer look, but contestants still need to have muscle definition, but not as much vascularity and muscular build as in some of the other women’s divisions that will be competing.  MK is 37 so she will be competing in the Masters category (35 years or greater), and she will be in Class B (5’4”-5’6”) for her height of 5’4”. We sat down earlier this week with MK to learn more about her bodybuilding journey.

FSF: What made you want to become a bikini competitor?

MK: I never had any grand plans of becoming a competitor.  I had no idea about the world of bodybuilding, or the level of training it requires.  In October of last year, I was feeling a little down because of lower back issues. I compressed a disc in my lower back and was having issues with simple tasks such as bending over for about 6-8 months.  It was prohibiting me from being as active as I use to be.  I joined a local gym with the hope of maybe taking a class here and there and using the pool.  Through joining the gym I met a trainer who is now my competition coach, Cristina Walterman.  When we had our first training session, she thought I would be a great fit for competing.  I thought about it for a couple of months, did some research, and I decided to go for it.  Anybody that knows me knows that I love a good challenge.  And I really wanted to do something that was just for me something that I could hone in on my own self-improvement in a physical way.  

FSF: How long have you been training for this? And what’s the average training time for a competition?

MK: My training started January 2nd of this year.  The recommended prep time for a competition is approximately 3 months.  It really depends on your fitness level and how your body reacts to the training regimen.

FSF: Who or What keeps you motivated?

MK: With my type of personality, it’s all about setting a goal that really gets my blood going.  It keeps me motivated and focused on the end result.   Also, getting positive feedback from those who are coaching me.  Knowing that my coach had the faith and confidence in me to do well, really keeps me going.   You also have to be your own motivation.  A number of life challenges have come up along this physical journey and I think the structure and knowing there is an end goal in sight is helpful to keep me going.

FSF: Do you follow a meal plan? If so, what does it consist of?

MK: I follow a nutrition plan that is designed and customized for me.  There is a regimen that most body builders adhere to, having at least 5-6 meals a day.  I eat 6 meals a day that include protein, carbohydrates, and fat that my coach customizes based on where I’m at in my training program.  Some people retain more fat, some people can’t keep enough fat.  Depending on my weight and my muscle formation, the meals can vary week to week.  As I am getting closer to the competition, it will change daily.

FSF: What are/is your biggest challenge(s)? 

MK: I do consider myself a foodie, so the diet was pretty challenging.  Although I did eat pretty healthy before I started training, passing on the occasional sweets at work and my favorite pizza was challenging. Finding a way to eat clean and make things taste really delicious requires you to be creative, which can be pretty challenging.

FSF: Out of the meals you’ve created, what’s your favorite?

MK: Sweet potato pancakes, which consists of sweet potatoes, egg whites, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a dash of salt.  They are delicious and taste just like pancakes! Even if I weren’t training I would still eat them.

FSF Describe a week or day in the life of MK, as you prep for your competition.

MK: It depends on what my coach prescribes for me to do.  Four out of the seven days I lift anywhere from 30-60 minutes.  I get up in the a.m.; I weigh myself, take my vitamins and supplements (creatine and glutamine), and prepare my breakfast.  I then go workout.  I usually have my meals prepped for the week. I eat every 2.5-3 hours, if get hungry in between I eat vegetables.  On the days that I have cardio the day would be different.  If it is a low intensity steady state cardio day (LISS), I wake up and do a fasting cardio for 30 minutes.  If it is a day that I am doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), which takes 15 minutes, I do this after I lift.

FSF: Is there any workout that you dread or find difficult?

MK: Prior to training, I dreaded all of it.  Before I had my back injury I used to do yoga.  And my yoga instructor would say, “just show up to the mat.”  And I think the same applies to working out.  Just show up to the gym and once youre there you will get moving.  As I saw more results, I got so excited about the progress that I stopped dreading it.  But there is one workout I have a love / hate relationship with; it’s called inchworm push-ups.  They are horrible, Google it, try it, and you will see why!

FSF: What changes have you seen?

MK: The physical change is the most obvious.  The mental change of working through the challenges of pushing yourself. And the mental strength of challenging your body in ways you never have before.

FSF: What are some myths related to being a fitness competitor? 

MK: I haven’t heard too many, however there have been some women who say they don’t want to get bulky.  With the right combination of diet and exercise you can carve your body into anything you want.  Some women think you’re going to have a higher level of testosterone, or your body parts will grow weird, none of these things have happened to me.

FSF: How do you balance your personal life and training for this competition?

MK: If you are really resolute about setting goals for yourself, nothing is impossible.  Organization is key; if you don’t have your food prepared or if you don’t get enough sleep, it will be chaos and not work for you.

FSF: What would it mean to you to win this competition?

MK: It would be pretty awesome.  At the end of the day, I have won already, because I have managed to fight through a number of life’s challenges.  This training is hard. Knowing you set a goal for yourself and met it is winning.

FSF: After your competition what next? Is this a lifestyle change for you?

MK: I would like to better understand the process of my training and how my diet works.  I may seek some education in those topics, and possibly obtain my personal training certification.  I think it will be beneficial to have the background and a fundamental understanding of what you’re doing and why you are doing it.  My coach will help me transition into an off-season plan to help me maintain my physique, but with more flexibility.  I can start having some of the things I’ve been missing these last few months.

FSF: Do you have any advice for our readers that may be interested in becoming a bikini competitor?

MK: Don’t do this on your own.  Find a good coach or trainer that can guide you on both your fitness and nutrition, because they are both very closely linked.  Your diet is what helps you maintain your physique.  And if the trainer has been a competitor, they can give you firsthand information on what to expect, and empathize with you during your training.  And remember to have fun and be patient with the process.  It is a journey and you will get through it!

FSF: How can people get in contact with you or follow what you are up to?

MK: Instagram @mkphilli, Twitter @mackenziekat, Tumbler, and Facebook- MK Phillips

Mackenzie is Flipside Fresh’s first sponsored athlete.  We are truly honored to sponsor her for her competitions.  Preparing for these competitions is not an easy feat. She has definitely proven that strong can also be beautiful.  Mackenzie will be going into this competition at 112.8lbs and approximately12% body fat. We are so proud of her progress and determination.  Mackenzie will be competing two weekends in a row.  We wish her much success; she is already a champion in our eyes!  We will recap the competitions in the next few weeks…  

And by the way MK you’ve just made our FRESH LIST!

Hidden Powder in Japan

In less than 48 hours FSF and 102 other individuals are heading to one of the top ski resorts in the world...Niseko, Japan!  Niseko is located in Hokkaido Japan, 100km southwest of Sapporo. Niseko is situated near Mt Yōtei (the "Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido") in a perfect spot to capture all the snow.  Niseko is made up of 5 different resorts: Annupuri, Higashiyama, Hirafu, Hanazono and Moiwa.  Hokkaido is probably the most famous Japan resort amongst international skiers and boarders. For those that love powder, Niseko Japan is the number one pick because it seems to constantly snow, and the deep, deep powder is way too enticing. Niseko the snow factory is one big powder playground!

Niseko Statistics:

 Ski Season: Dec - May

 Mountain Elevation: 1308m

 Steepest Run: 37 Degrees

 Longest Run: 5600m

 Number of Courses: 61

 Number of lifts: 27 chairs, 3 Gondolas

 Terrain Beginner: 30%, Intermediate: 40%, Advanced 30%


  • What sets Niseko apart from other Japanese ski resorts is the fabulous powder that falls in abundance (49-50 feet per season on average).
  • Niseko is a large resort and off-piste and sidecountry riding is permitted, so there’s plenty of terrain variety.
  • Niseko makes a great base to explore nearby ski resorts and there’s also nearby cat skiing and backcountry tours.
  • Niseko is one of only a few Japanese ski resorts that offer a range of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, houses and backpackers. 


  • Niseko is no longer a hidden gem. The ski area is often very crowded (especially over Xmas and during January) and freshies in-bounds don’t last for long, but with the snow factory frequently pumping out more snow, another powder day is never far away.
  • Many of the chair lifts are antiquated, which is surprising considering the number of lift tickets they sell.
  • Proportionally there isn’t that much ski-in ski-out accommodation. 

So there you have it, a little 411 on Niseko, Japan.  We will be reporting back with pics, footage, and recap on our return.  See you on the slopes!


A Trip of A Lifetime RECAP

Four months ago, we posted a story about four friends heading to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. September 13, 2013, they departed to Tanzania to do just that.  We caught up with Misty, one of the members of the group, to talk about her experience.

Flipside Fresh: Welcome home Misty. How does it feel to be back?

Misty: Thanks! Honestly, it feels weird not waking up to hike all day.  We got so use to the regimen so quickly, now I don’t know what to do with myself.

FF: How was the experience overall?  

Misty: Indescribable.  It really is so hard to put into words.  This was a life-changing trip.  I’m still processing what just happened.  We really did hike one of the tallest mountains in the world.  We beat the odds and made it all the way to the top. We hiked between 6-8 hours every day for six days.  It was one of the most difficult adventures I’ve done thus far.  During that time we made an incredible connection with our guides and some of our porters.  They made more of an impact in those six days than most people have made in our whole lives.  They truly treated us like family, I will never forget them!

FF: What is the success rate for reaching summit? 

Misty: With the route we took, the Machame Route, it was only a 40% chance we would make it.  And that is calculated from people who made it in both 6 and 7 days, not just six.  The percentage is much lower for six days.

FF:Wow that’s pretty tough odds. How was the trekking company you chose? 

Misty: It was awesome.  Gladys Adventure and Safari is the trekking company we went with. Their guides and porters were amazing.  We had 19 guides and porters in total.  They really took care of us, and most importantly they got us to the top of Mt. Kili and back down safely. The trekking company is based out of Moshi Tanzania, which was really important to us when we made our final choice.  If anyone is planning on going use Gladys Adventure, ask for Caspar as your lead guide.  He assembled a great team of porters and other guides for us and he has made it to summit 178 times. Only three of his clients failed to make it to Uhuru Peak.

FF: How was the food? 

Misty: Actually, the food was pretty good.  Faustine, our cook, made some magic happen on that mountain.  The food was tasty and hardy.  Breakfast included eggs, toast, and porridge.  Lunch and Dinner included soup, pasta, chicken, fish, beef and sandwiches. Faustine checked on us every day to make sure the food was up to par.  Unfortunately, my appetite was not the best, so I couldn’t eat as much as I would have liked, but what I did eat was very good.

FF: Did you all have altitude sickness? 

Misty: I would say yes, some worse than others.  Everybody had at minimal a headache and extreme fatigue.  I had the whole shebang--rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.  Fun times…

FF: Ouch, sorry to hear that, were there any surprises on the trip? 

Misty: Yes, there were a few.  The crazy climate changes--it went from summer to winter all in one day!  It’s hard to believe, but very true.  There were female porters from other groups smaller than me carrying huge packs up the mountain.  I don’t know how they did it, but they were flying right past us.  We thought there would be more rest between the end of our daily hike and the ascent to summit.  That really took us by surprise. And we didn’t realize how fatigued the altitude would make us.  I didn’t think the altitude sickness would kick my butt as hard as it did.  Lastly, the most surprising thing about the mountain was the glacier at the top.  A glacier in Africa sounds so crazy, but it’s there, or I should say, what’s left.  It is estimated by 2042, the glacier will no longer exsist.  I am happy we got a chance to see it. It was my first one. 

FF: Describe to me what happened the day you all made it to Uhuru Peak. 

Misty: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Let’s see, where to begin… After hiking for 8 hours on the fourth day, we made it to Barafu Hut Base Camp at 4:30pm.  We had dinner at 6pm along with a briefing of what to expect later that night.  We were to start our ascent up to Uhuru Peak at 11pm.  After dinner we all went to sleep, or I guess you can say we all took a nap.  We were drinking so much water, that we had to continuously keep getting up to use the bathroom.  At 11pm Joseph, one of our porters, came to wake us up.  We got changed into our warmest layers: 2 tops, our snowboarding jackets, two base layer pants, and our snowboarding pants.  We also had our mittens, gaiters, windbreakers, balaclavas, headlamps, and snowboarding goggles on standby. 

I had a pretty rough day already.  I was quite fatigued from the earlier 8-hour hike, and I was having severe symptoms of altitude sickness.  My resting heart rate on a daily basis was 120-130.  When we started the hike that night, I felt like I was on a never ending run even though we were walking as slow as molasses.  Caspar felt it was best to give everybody a fair shot at getting to the top, and the only way to do that was by splitting up.  Donzel and Carl went ahead with Gabriel, one of our summit guides, and Kiesha and I stayed together.  After a while, I lost track of the guy’s headlamps as they moved off into the dark.  I was so tired and I started to feel waves of nausea with every few steps.  Eventually, Caspar took Kiesha ahead, and I stayed with Julius, the assistant guide.  It wasn’t looking too promising for me at this point.  I felt like I could do it, but my body needed more rest.  Soon after, my nausea turned into me vomiting on the trail, Exorcist style.  I just knew at this point Julius was going to tell me we had to go back to camp.  He gave me a one-armed hug and said, “Good, now you’ll have more energy!”  I smiled--I really thought my dreams were about to be shattered.  He told me, “Don’t worry Misty. You’ll make it to the top.”  I replied, “Yeah?”  And he said, “Why not?”

After that, my fear went away. It was quite obvious that we picked the right trekking company to get us to the top.  Julius was extremely patient the whole time.  We sat on the side of the mountain to watch the sun rise. It was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen.  Every time I’d get really tired, Julius would sit me down, and he would sit behind me guiding me to breathe through the fatigue, like a lamaze coach.  Once the sun rose, I felt like I had an extra boost of energy. I could see Kiesha and Caspar, and I kept waving to them to let them know I was still on my way.  The one thing about hiking that mountain is that it’s deceiving.  Everything seemed close, but when I’d ask Julius he would say it was further than I thought.  I dry heaved a couple more times hiking up the mountain.  After sunrise, people that already made it to the top were starting to come back down.  Some of the guides would stop to talk to Julius and give him updates on how the rest of the group was doing.  We were the only Black Americans in Mt. Kilimanjaro that week.  So word spread like wildfire, and they were all rooting for “Team Obama” to finish.  One guide came to talk to me and tried to help me up the mountain, leaving his client behind.  I had to sit down after about 20 steps.  He said to me, “Don’t give up, you’ll make it.”  I responded, “Don’t worry, I won’t.”  When I got to Stella Point, it was probably around 10am.  I was so exhausted; I decided to lie down for about 10 minutes.  Stella Point is the second highest point on the mountain.  I decided that second-best would not do; we had to go for the gold, Uhuru Peak.  I felt as long as Julius was still willing to guide me up, then I would go for it.  So we started our way towards Uhuru Peak. Julius estimated us getting to the top in about 45 minutes.  On the way, I ran into Donzel and Carl.  I found out from one of the guides earlier that Donzel was also having a rough time with the altitude.  He was vomiting on the trail, too.  When I saw them, they looked like I felt.  I could see the fatigue in their eyes.  I asked if they were up to waiting so that we could all take a picture, but the altitude was giving them both extreme headaches.  A few minutes later, I ran into Kiesha. We took a few pictures together, and she headed down the mountain too.  When I made it over to Uhuru Peak, I was so relieved.  All of the hard work had paid off.  I took a few pictures and we started to head down the hill.  When we got to Stella Point, I took a few more pictures, and it started to snow heavily.  Julius informed me at that point that it would take 2 hours to get down to base camp.  I didn’t think I had any strength to walk five minutes, yet alone two hours.  Two of the rescue porters came up to help me down.  The dirt under the snow was pretty loose, so we slipped and slid down the mountain for almost two hours.  When we got back to base camp, Caspar informed me that we could rest for two hours, then we would have to head down to the Millennium Camp site, which was two hours away.  I heard Kiesha, Donzel, and Carl in unison say, “Noooo!”  It was quite clear from their reaction that everybody was extremely exhausted; there was no way we were going to make it down.  It didn’t matter what Caspar tried to tell us; we just couldn’t go any further.  I had been up since 11pm and it was now 2:30pm the following day. I was completely wiped out.  All I wanted to do was sleep, but couldn’t because I was too excited that we made it to the top, and my heart rate was pumping really fast -- around 120 beats per minute!

FF: That’s amazing! It seemed like there were a lot of “not- so-much-fun” parts of the trek, but what was fun about the trek?

Misty: Day 4, climbing Barranco Wall.  We were climbing up the side of this steep wall like Spiderman.  I felt like a little kid rock climbing.  But, I guess I should have been more worried, since one false step would have sent me falling to my death.  Also, getting to know our porters and guides-- they typically don’t see Black Americans climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.  We were only the third Black group from America that used our trekking company.  All the guides and porters from other groups seemed to take a liking to us, and they nicknamed us “Team Obama.”  It was great to interact with them and have them root us on to the top. Our assistant/waiter, Joseph, likes Rick Ross, so we played it for him during our dinnertime.  Rick Ross…who would have thought?!

FF: Would you do it again? 

Misty: I think I can safely say no.  I think it was a once in a lifetime experience, not to be repeated!

FF: In the last interview, you said you guys would either be best of friends or worst enemies after this hike.  So what’s the verdict? 

Misty: We will definitely be best of friends.  Going through such a major life changing event, we will always have a deep connection.  Hiking quickly became a team sport during those six days.  We all looked out for each other.  We literally had each other’s backs, ensuring no one fell of the mountain.  I’m really happy I had this experience with the people that came on this trip.  It was definitely a great crew to be a part of.

FF: Is there anything you would have done differently

Misty: I would have been on a Stairmaster with a 20-pound weight vest for at least an hour, three to four times a week up until the trek.  Also, I would have collected tons of men’s winter gear, to give to all the porters.  These guys go up this mountain  two to three times a month, so they are always in need of more gear.  Because of this we are going to coordinate a gear and money drive this winter.  As soon as we have all the information, we will post how you can get involved.

FF: What is your advice for other’s interested in doing the hike

Misty: Portable toilet!  I am so thankful we got that toilet.  Outhouses were scarce and extremely dirty.  It was a luxury to have our very own port-a-potty. Do the seven, eight, or nine-day route only.  That will give you better chances of making it to the top, because of the extra days to acclimate.  Take in your surroundings, and take plenty of pictures.  You get so focused on getting to the end that you forget to enjoy the natural beauty around you. Also, support local Tanzanian businesses.  There are a lot of trekking companies out there, but only a few that are owned and operated by Tanzanians.  Gladys Mushi is the owner of the trekking company we used, Gladys Adventure and Safari.  She is a single mother of two children, and started the business from the ground up.  It was pretty awesome to hear her story.  And lastly, support the Mt. Kilimanjaro porters.  They risk their lives every time they go up that mountain to ensure you get to the top and back safely.  They are always in need of more gear, so bring extra if you have...both male and female.  And remember to tip them well.  They only get paid at most 10 shillings a day, which is approximately only $6.25.

FF: So what’s next for “Team Obama”? 

Misty: Although the group is banning any type of hiking activities, there have been talks of triathlons, ultra marathons, kayaking, river rafting, and of course snowboarding season is around the corner.  But, there is one more adventure trip on my list that I hope I make happen soon. It includes a place called Tibet and a little mountain called Everest.

FF: You want to climb Mt. Everest? 

Misty: Oh no, I will leave that one to the experts. I don’t think my heart and lungs could take that beating.  But, I would like to climb up to Everest Base Camp, which is 17,000 feet.

Congratulations “Team Obama” on beating the odds and making it to the top!  We look forward to seeing the next adventure you guys have in store!

 (Click on the picture below to see more)

A Trip Of A Lifetime

It’s not often that a trip of a lifetime comes around, but when it does you have to get on it.  This September four friends will be embarking on what is bound to be the most memorable trip of their lives.  Misty, Kiesha, Carl, and Donzel will be giving their snowboards a break and heading to Tanzania, Africa to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro. We caught up with Misty to get a run down on this epic adventure, but before we speak with Misty, let’s take a quick look at the trip and participants:

Mountain:  Mt. Kilimanjaro aka “Mt. Kili” or what we like to call “MT. KIL”!

Elevation: 19,620ft

Total Distance: 37miles/62km

Hours per day of hiking: 5-6 hrs

Average daily Altitude: Anywhere from 3,000 meters- 5,895 meters

Trail: Machame Route (6 day-option)

Trekking Company: Gladys Adventures



Misty Casseus (bottom right of picture) resides in L.A., she is a nurse, fashion stylist, and the co-owner of the clothing line, Flipside Fresh. Misty always tries to incorporate a little adventure on every trip she goes on.  This time will be no different.  Misty has literally been around the world and back. Her passport stamp collection is pretty impressive. Living in L.A., Misty has the advantage of having local mountains to hike in upwards of 10,000 ft of elevation.  I guess that crazy L.A. rent comes with some great amenities.

Kiesha Earle (top left of picture) resides in Philly, but is a NYC girl at heart.  She is a Senior Investment Analyst for Vanguard.  Kiesha describes herself as pretty easy breezy and is all about checking adventures off her bucket list.  Back in the day Kiesha would crush numerous guy’s hopes and dreams  on the basketball court, and take their lunch money in the process.  Now she focuses on being one of the baddest chicks in Cross Fit.  Like Misty, Kiesha has a pretty impressive passport stamp collection and is hoping to link up with Misty in L.A. for some trek training.  Kiesha’s funniest quote about this trip thus far, “Are there going to be toilets and showers on this hike?”

Carl Foulks (bottom left of picture) resides in N.C and is a Gastroenterologist.  He is also a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.  Carl is no stranger to adventure and challenges.  He participated in the Ironman competition in 2010, numerous Half Ironman competitions, and triathlons. He loves mountain biking during the summer and has a few races on deck. Carl considers himself an adrenaline junkie, that will try any crazy feat at least once.  Carl’s motto is “Not exercising is incompatible with life.” Dr. Foulks has been volunteered to assume the task of making sure everyone’s GI system is in tip-top condition on the trail; stomach bugs are no bueno.

Donzel Johnson (top right of picture) resides in Louisville, KY.  Donzel is a chemical engineer for General Electric. Mr. Johnson has one objective in life: going fast, whether carving the slopes on his snowboard or on his mountain bike.  And in a few weeks he will be fulfilling his dream of driving a racecar around the Kentucky Speedway.  Ironically, Donzel hates hiking, but Mt. Kilimanjaro was on his bucket list, so he couldn’t turn down the opportunity.  He is still secretly hoping they will allow him to ride his bike down the mountain. We will see what happens (thankfully there’s a nurse and doctor on the trip).

Now for the interview:

How did this trip come about?  I was speaking with Kiesha on the phone one day about possible trips.  We were going back and forth about the places we’ve been and places we wanted to go.  I ran across a link to Living Social for a trip to Tanzania, and we both decided that was going to be our trip for 2013.  We were so excited, but we knew in order for it to be fun, we needed to invite more people, but you can’t just go on a trip of this magnitude with just anyone. We started going through our mental rolodexes of friends and came up with a total of 6 people that we could see ourselves being with on such a long trek.  But, as often is the case with group trips, the list quickly shrank because of finances, or vacation conflicts.  Thankfully, Carl and Donzel had no conflicts and immediately said they were in.  Kiesha and I have known them both for quite a while through various snowboarding trips, but we didn’t get to really know them until we all went to Park City earlier this year. They both are so easy-going and a lot of fun to hang out with. 

How did you decide on a trekking company? TheLiving Social deal we found was going to take us on the Marangu Route, and through research I found out that trail doesn’t have a good success rate.   So instead we decided to build a trip on our own.  In the process we came across Gladys Adventures, a boutique trekking company based out of Moshi, Africa with a 96% success rate.  Gladys also donates money to the Tanzania Porter program called the Partner for Responsible Travel Program, which ensures fair treatment of mountain crews on treks.  This is something that is very important to us; we wanted to make sure that our porters would be taken care of appropriately.

Is this your first long hike?  No it’s not; I hiked the Inca Trail for 4 days to Machu Picchu.  This will be everyone else’s first hike, but hopefully not their last!

What are the dates of the trip?  September 13th- September 27th.  We are heading to Turkey for a few days after the trek to soak up some sun and rest from the strenuous hike.

What kind of training regimen have you been doing?  I’ve been doing a little bit of everything.  I have been hiking once a week, incorporating yoga, Pilates and weights.  The guys are always in the gym, but they are about to start their mountain bike season shortly.  Kiesha is no stranger to the gym; she is all about her Cross Fit.

What is your biggest fear climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro? My biggest fear is our entire group not making it to the summit. I know we’ll be physically ready, but altitude sickness could be our downfall.  Altitude sickness has stopped many people from reaching the top and chances are we all will have a bit of it at some point on the trail.  As I mentioned before, certain routes have very low success rates—some routes only have a 20-25% success rate. Unfortunately, it is hard to duplicate altitude sickness in our training routine, but our group is determined to make it to the top. We are preparing ourselves physically and mentally for this tough adventure.

Do you need to check in with your doctor before going?  Yes, we all need to make sure our shots are up to date.  I know I need yellow fever and I probably will get a tetanus shot prior to leaving.  Carl has asthma, so he is going to make sure he has everything he needs, as the air gets thinner the higher you go.  And all of us have some sort of orthopedic issue that we need to make sure is straight before we really deep dive into training next month… getting older is no joke.

Are you worried about the personality dynamics on this trip?  No, not really.  We all joke around saying that we either are going to be friends for life after this trip or hate each other’s guts by the end.  I believe that everyone chose wisely to come on this trip.  Everyone has been so low maintenance throughout the planning process, and that is usually half the battle right there.  It has made my job as coordinator a lot easier.

Do you guys have any other adventures planned?  We do, it seems the Fab 4 has decided to head to Japan in February to snowboard.  And I am hoping my schedule will allow for it.  Snowboarding in Japan, who would have thought?! Our snowboarding buddy Fanon is planning the whole trip. It’s going to be awesome!

Do you have any advice for others wanting to hike Mt. Kil?  I probably should wait until after the hike to give advice.  But as far as the planning aspect, I would say research, research, and research some more.  The cheapest option is not always the best.  Pick a good group of people to go, it will make the adventure that much more memorable.  Give yourself enough time to train before departing because it’s not an easy walk in the park.  Most websites recommend a minimum of three months of training.  And have a positive outlook on the trip, 70% of this trip is mental.  Having a good attitude and a supportive team around you will help you accomplish anything you put your mind to!

Wow, Misty…this is about to be some trip!  We can’t wait to see the pictures and hear how it turned out.  You guys have an awesome time, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Oh and by the way Fab 4, you guys just made our FRESH LIST!!


THE FSF MOBILE is heading to ASPEN!!

Check out what we are offering Feb 23- Feb.28th...


Pre-order and get your Flipside Fresh T-shirts delivered directly to your door in ASPEN!  How does this work?

1) Simply go to our on-line shop and order your favorite FRESH Tee(s). 

2) Enter in your ASPEN address under the shipping address.

3) Then pick the option APSEN FSF Car Delivery Service, to have your t-shirts delivered to your door.

4)  Put your cell number in the notes to seller, and we will then text you to coordinate a good time to deliver your t-shirt.

5) Rock your FSF tees all week long at Summit!!

Worried about the fit, don't worry the FSF mobile travels with alternate size options and designs.


There is also the option to Pre-order your t-shirt and pick-up at one of the many Happy Hours we will be selling at. 

1) Go on-line and order your favorite FRESH Tee(s).

2) Enter your billing address and check below ship to same address (don't worry, it won't be placed in the mail)

3) On the next screen, pick the event and date you will be there.

4) Come to the Happy Hour show us your ID, and your t-shirt(s) will be pre-packaged and ready for you.

5) Rock your FSF tees all week long at Summit!!


Avoid the long lines at summit, browse our website for your favorite tees, and have them ready for you upon your arrival to ASPEN!


Stay tuned more from ASPEN SOON...


Hawaiian Icee

Ludia Kochan is a 31-year old Registered Nurse, photographer, and avid snowboarder and rock climber who currently lives in Southern California. I recently sat down with this Hawaiian native and had a Q&A session, in which we talked about her newfound hobby of ice climbing, the extreme sport of climbing inclined ice formations such as glaciers, frozen water falls or the blocks of ice topping the mountains.[1]


Flipside Fresh:  How long have you been ice climbing?

Ludia Kochan:  My first time was at the Ouray Ice Climbing Festival this year.

FF:  How did you get into it?

LK:  I saw beautiful pictures I’d never seen before of people ice climbing, and ever since then, that’s what I wanted to do.

FF:  Any advice for people interested in getting into ice climbing?

LK:  My advice would be to look into any of the ice climbing festivals. There’s a few of them out there. That would be the cheapest way to get a guide and to teach you the basics and fundamentals of ice climbing. You can also demo ice climbing gear, which is in itself really expensive. For example, the boots that I wore were $600 alone. You need boots, you need crampons, you need ice tools, and the gear that you have to wear alone is expensive – the down jackets, the different layers you have to get, the rope, the harness. All that is expensive. But at the ice climbing festival, all the different high-end brands will come, and you’ll be able to demo all their gear.

FF:  You mentioned some of the gear needed in this sport. Can you tell us more about that, as well as some good places to buy this gear?

LK:  First of all, you’ll need a harness, a rope, your ice tools, an ice climbing boot, your crampons, and a helmet. These are your basic tools that you will need, but these are for beginners that will not be climbing on their own. When you’re completely out in the wilderness climbing on your own, you’re gonna need a whole lot more gear, and it’s gonna get a whole lot more expensive because you’re gonna need the nuts, bolts, and all these different tools to anchor in to the actual ice. So, the best way to do it, like I said, would be to go to the ice climbing festival because all the different name brands will be there, with their tents and their gear, and you can talk to them – talk about the different gears and qualities, and you can refer to your guide who will give you a lot of direction in which way to go and why one tool is better than another. For example, your ice tools, there are so many different shapes and sizes of your ice tools, so you wouldn’t even know which one to buy. You’d really need to talk to an expert about it.

FF:  What did you do to prepare for that trip (training), and what kind of preparation have you done to prepare yourself physically and mentally for this sport in general, such as exercise routines, other sports, diets?

LK:  We do a lot of rock climbing (my husband and our partner, Jason), and it’s very similar in the sense that you need to know your fundamentals of your rope, your gear…You’re using the same type of fundamentals. So, I was prepared in that sense. I’m used to rope work and the lingo with the whole climbing experience.

FF:  So would you say that somebody who wants to get into ice climbing would need a background in rock climbing?

LK:  No, absolutely not. For example, at these ice climbing festivals, there were some people who’d never rock climbed in their life or who’d never done anything (extreme) in their life! And they just get out there and go for it. So, it really just depends on your mental preparedness. Because we’d be rock climbing, I’m used to the height, the X-Factor. Don’t get me wrong – when I first started rock climbing, I was extremely afraid of heights! I didn’t want to let go of the rope. I didn’t know if the rope was gonna protect my life, but you have to learn to trust your gear, your placements, your anchors. If you don’t, that’s gonna loom over your head, and that stress could also cause you to fall.

FF:  So, you said you’d been to Ouray, Colorado for ice climbing. What other places would you would like to explore?

LK:  Oh, I would love to go anywhere where there’s ice, basically! Alaska, Canada…

FF:  What feelings and emotions go through you as you make that climb up the ice?

LK:  To me, I thought it was a lot harder than it looks because the professionals that go before you (the guides) make it look so easy. I thought I’d be scared the first time I did it, but actually your mind is so involved in the actual climb, that you don’t think about being scared.

FF:  In your opinion, what are the best and worst parts about the sport of ice climbing?

LK:  Well, it’s a sport where you get to be outdoors. Yeah I get cold easily, but I love being in the outdoors, and being out there in the wilderness – it’s awesome! You get to enjoy the outdoors and take beautiful pictures. It’s such a peaceful environment, and that’s what I love about ice climbing. 

FF:  What other exhilarating sports do you do?

LK: Besides rock climbing? I snowboard. When I moved from Hawaii to Las Vegas and picked up a snowboard, I never let it go…I never put it down. 

FF:  Did you just teach yourself, or did you take lessons?

LK:  I taught myself and went with friends who were better than me. I think that’s really important because your expectations are a lot higher. If you’re constantly going with someone who’s also learning, it’s harder to grow because your limit is a lot lower than if you went with someone who’s a professional. Their limit for you is a lot higher, and you’re able to see “Oh, that’s what that’s supposed to look like!”

FF:  It kind of sets the bar for something for you to achieve.

LK: Exactly! And it’s also about determination and time, and how much effort you’re willing to put into a sport. For example, when I first started snowboarding, I went three or four times a week. There’s only one mountain – Mount Charleston. It’s a really small mountain and is a good mountain for beginners to learn on in Vegas.

FF:  So, you're about to go on an ice-climbing trip. What is the one thing you won't leave home without?

LK:  My camera.

FF:  Oh, cuz you also do photography, right? How long have you been doing this for?

LK:  Well, I see photography as my hobby, and I’ve been doing it for maybe a couple years now, but more seriously within the last year.

FF:  Are you self-taught, or have you taken classes?

LK:  No classes yet. Everything is self-taught. I do a lot of research and read a lot of photography magazines. It’s basically just about research. You know the phrase, “Google it?” I use and have used that!

FF:  Didn’t the Los Angeles Times feature one of your photographs on their website?

LK: They did. It was an amateur photography contest. You submitted your photo about your summer experience, and out of 1,500 photos submitted, my picture got picked as #4. It was printed in the Sunday Times, which was really amazing to me because as a photographer, your work is really out there for people to see. 

FF:  How do you balance being a nurse, photographer, wife, and friend with your sports hobbies?

LK:  My work schedule allows me to have so much time off, and I got really lucky that I found someone who can share and enjoy every experience with me. We started in these hobbies together and also grew in our experiences together. 

FF:  You document your experiences and trips (climbing, snowboarding, etc.) by taking very beautiful pictures and videos, as seen here on the Flipside Fresh website. Where else can we see your photography?

LK:  I started a picture blog. It’s called “Us + 2 malte-poos” at, and you can follow me there!

FF:  Great! Thanks, Ludia! It was fun interviewing you, and hopefully people who are reading this will be motivated enough to at least research the next ice climbing festival or just look at ice climbing pictures.

LK: You’re welcome!

FF:  And by the way Ludia, you just made our FRESH LIST!!


(Picture that Ludia took that placed her 4th in the Amateur Photography contest with the L.A. Times)

[1] Hassam (2013). Ice climbing equipment and techniques.

2013 Winter X- Games

The 2013 Winter X Games will soon take place for the twelfth year in Aspen, Colorado from January 24, 2013 to January 27, 2013. The winter action sports competition will feature 12 categories within the snowsports of Snowboard, Ski, and Snowmobile. Two hundred of the world’s best snowsports athletes will participate, and of these 200 participants, 62 will represent the US, of which 11 are women. All of the competitions will take place on the Buttermilk Ski Resort.

Now, some would say that there is a lack of ethnic variety within the X Games itself, but the X Games, Winter X Games, and snowsports are no strangers to diversity. Check out Russell Winfield, the first American pro snowboarder who paved the way for others in the sport, and James Stewart, Jr., a Summer X Games Supercross Champion. Snowboarder Ben Hinkley proved he could ride with the best, participating in multiple X Games in the Big Air category and achieving double front flips in the 2000 X Games. And then there’s Sal Masekela who, up until last year, hosted the X Games and Winter X Games on ESPN for 13 years…a good 13 years at that!

Two-thousand-thirteen should also prove to be an eventful year for the X Games on the resort, but for those who’ve never been to Aspen or better yet, the Buttermilk slopes, you might be wondering what it’s all about. The resort primarily caters to snowboarders and beginning skiers, but has runs for all levels. It is located three miles outside of Aspen and is open from mid-December to early April. More information on the Buttermilk Ski Resort is available on, and you can read more about Aspen’s culture, nightlife, history, and to-do’s on

 So, if you are looking for something fun to do this January, take a trip out to Aspen and the Buttermilk Ski Resort, and check out this year’s Winter X Games!


Happy New Year!

This past year we started our company, and within the first month we surpassed our sales goal. It was at that moment that we realized we had started something truly special.  With your help and support we were able to meet our Kickstarter goal. That money helped with our startup costs and maintaining our new business.  Last year our Hoods to Woods "Gear-Drive" was a huge success.  We were able to send some great gear to a group of kids that are going to shred up the mountain this year!  From now through the end of March we will continue with our "Gear-Drive" for Hoods to Woods.  Please check out our "Flip it Fwd" page on our website for more information.

In two weeks we will be launching our much awaited sophomore collection.  We are truly excited for you to see all of our new designs.  With the help of our wonderful Graphic Artist David Garzon, we've come up with a super FRESH collection.  Ladies we listened to your feedback regarding our sizes, and this year we will offer three new sizes: petite, curvy, and voluptuous!  Our sophomore collection will be launched during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The launch will be held on January 17th, during a private viewing party.  Our new collection will also be available to order online the same day.

Our staff at Flipside Fresh know without your help we wouldn't be here today. And we want to thank you for all of your continued support.  We are looking forward to another amazing year.

Here's to keeping it FRESH in 2013!


Misty Casseus

Co-Owner & Creative Director

TRI, TRI, again... Nicole Tucker

Now that we've all packed up all our snowgear, it's time for all the summer activities to begin.  FSF is back to report on all the summer fun.  First up is La La Land's very own Nicole Tucker.  We caught up with Nicole in the midst of training for yet another triathlon.

Full Name: Nicole Tucker

Hometown: Los Angeles

Resides in: Los Angeles 


How many triathlons have you participated in? I have completed 4 triathlons and 1 marathon.

What does a full triathlon consist of?  1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run

How did you get started with Triathalons? Triathlons were on my bucket list for years and then I went on a ski trip and met someone who had done several races. He inspired me, and also became my coach. I immediately bought a road bike and found a local cycling group that I joined on rides each Saturday. I still ride with this group 1-3 times a week. My coach, Maurice Wills, put me on a training schedule. Basically, I had one off day per week. I rode twice a week, ran 3 times a week and swam twice a week. Some days combining swim/bike  or bike/run.
When I first began, it seemed like a lot to prepare for. But, over time it became part of my weekly lifestyle. It naturally changed my nutrition habits because I had to get the proper balanced diet in order to sustain my energy for long workouts. I usually start the day off with fresh fruit smoothies with super green food supplement or a bowl of granola and vitamins. Throughout the day, I generally eat lots of vegetables, salads and some fish. On my long workouts, I generally take cliff bars and gatorade for energy.

How did you begin your Triathlon Club?  About three months ago, I was running in my neighborhood and got stopped by several people who asked what I was training for. I told them I was training for triathlons. Each one of them said that they too wanted to do triathlons but did not know how to begin. So that day, I started a group called "Nicole's Triathlon Club." I figured that I could help others aspire to their triathlon goals with direction and training. And for me, I would have a new a group of friends to do races with me.  It has been such a great project. On June 10th, I have  7 people in the group doing their first triathlon. I am very proud of all of them. 

What advice would you have for anyone intersted in participating in triathlons? First I would say join a group. Triathlon training can be overwhelming to do alone. In a group, you find support and inspiration that you might receive on your own. Team In Training is probably the most popular group, but there are local groups such as LA Tri Club or my own, Nicole's Triathlon Club on Facebook.


Any last words? I just want to say that triathlons are for ANYONE, athletic or non-athletic. You just have to want to do it, and go for it. One of my newbie triathletes called me the other day and said, "Nicole, this triathlon thing is expensive."  I said," Yes, a little bit." And he said, "No, you don't understand. I have lost 30lbs, and I had to get a whole new wardrobe!"...And his journey begins.

Thanks Nicole for the great insight about triathlon training!  We all will be rooting for you and your club this weekend at the Redondo Beach Triathlon! If you happen to be in the So Cal area, and would like to root Nicole and her Triathlon Club on, please hit her up on Facebook.  Or, if you are ready to cross triathlons off your bucket list, contact Nicole's Triathlon Club for their training schedule.

Nicole you're one bad chick!  And of course you've just made our Fresh List!



Light Up The Night- Pamela Pickens

Flipside Fresh believes in giving back to the community.  We like to call it “Flipping it Forward.”  Take a look at how Pam Pickens did just that in Haiti this past February.  Pam is avid wakeboarder, longboard skateboarder, and just recently certified Snowboarding Instructor. She took time out of her snowboarding schedule Feb 20-25th, and went to Haiti to help out in a very interesting way.  Find out what she was doing with Solar Puffs below...

Name: Pamela Allison Pickens

Nickname: Pam

Hometown: NYC

Residing: NYC

What were you doing in Haiti? I was on a mission trip with the Global Syndicate Haiti Project.  We were delivering solar puffs. We gave demonstration lamps to certain areas of the country to test out for 90 days.   Our goal is to get 10,000 prepared for mass distribution later this year.

What are Solar Puffs?
A Solar Puff is a patented solar light product that was invented by Alice Min Soo Chun, the Co- Founder of FAARM. The Solar Puff folds and is easily inflatable with one puff of air, hence the name Solar Puff. Designed to provide safe and high-quality lighting options for outdoor and in-door use. It is bright enough to read by and work by.

What are the benefits of having a Solar Puff?
A quarter of humanity lives with out electricity.  Most low-income families use kerosene-based lamps, which can contribute to lung disease, respiratory problems, and eye-related issues. Having light is vital to safety for women and children in areas with out a grid. The Solar Puff provides light for 8-10 hours after 4-5 hours of charging in direct sunlight, and can light up to 100 square feet. It is lightweight and easily transported in a purse or pocket, and can be easily packed by the hundreds for emergency relief situations. Also, the Solar Puff provides considerable savings over the continuous purchase of kerosene and batteries for flashlights. After the initial purchase of the Solar Puff, lighting is free for a whole year. Here is a link to a video to explain the project more in depth: Solar Puff Promo

Who was the coordinator of this trip? Jacque Philippe Piviger, of the Global Syndicate Haiti Project.

What was the best part of the trip? We were on our way to Jacmel from Port-au-Prince,  and we wanted to stop at a waterfall along the way. We were on a bus and it couldn't make it down the street because of the damage from the earthquake.  We decided to get out and walk. Some of locals came out and started walking with us.  Many of the children didn't have appropriate clothes or shoes.  We walked, held hands, and sang songs. They were all very friendly and affectionate.  One of the children I saw had shoes that only covered half of the bottom of his feet.  I gave him a pair of my flip-flops, and they just so happen to be the perfect fit.  It made my day being able to provide something much needed to a child. 

How can people get involved? Go to: The Global Syndicate Project Haiti and donate $10, which will pay for one solar puff to be made for families in Haiti.  Also take a look at The Solar Puff Project on

We are very happy that you took time out of your busy schedule to do something as FRESH as this!  Keep shining Pam!  And of course you just made our FRESH LIST!!!


Ice, Ice, Toni!!

While many of us are finalizing our upcoming snowboarding trips, one of us has a very different agenda.  I caught up with our very own "Busy Bee Extraordinaire" Toni Wilson, as she prepares for an adventure of a lifetime! She is about to travel to a place that NONE of us have ever traveled to before…ANTARTICA (yes, you read that correctly!)  And not only will she be touring there, she has been chosen to be one of the few individuals this year that will be running the official Antarctica Marathon!


Legal name?  Anthanette Wilson

Nickname? Toni

Hometown? Stockton, California

Residing?  New York, New York

Describe this race?  Antarctica Marathon is being held on March 9, 2012. This is a 26.2 mile marathon held on King George Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula. The start and finish is at Bellingshausen Station (the Russian base), and the course passes the Artigas Base (Uruguayan base), the Frei Base (Chilean base) and the Great Wall Base (Chinese base). The course follows an ice-covered road that connects the bases, including running up and down Collins Glacier. Runners can expect to see penguins, skuas and fur seals on the course.

How do you even get to Antarctica?  This is my first time to the "White Continent." Runners in this race hail from around the globe. We will meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there we will take a flight to Ushuaia, Chile, the southern most city in the world. From Ushuaia the group will take an ice barge through the Beagle Channel and the Drake Passage to King George's Island in Antarctica. The race will be held on March 9th. After the marathon our group is going on a 3-day sightseeing tour in Antarctica to places such as Paradise Bay. We will be visiting other international research stations, cruising amongst the fjords, visiting various Arctic islands, penguin watching and whale watching in zodiacs. We will also be kayaking in Arctic waters. It is certainly going to be a trip of a lifetime!

How do people sign-up for this race? Due to environmental concerns, there are only a limited number of runners allowed per year. I have been on the wait-list for 3 years. I know people on the wait-list for 4-5 years. Marathon Tours is the company that puts on this race.

Describe the training and diet that goes into this type of race? Currently, I am at the height of my training schedule. I have long runs on the weekends (15-20 miles), 7-10 mile short runs during the week, a weekly track workout for speed training, and three weekly gym works for strength training. I need to consume a lot of calories to keep my body fueled, so I drink protein shakes after my workouts and replace my electrolytes with Gatorade. I do not have a special diet, but I tend to eat a lot of pasta and salad to load up on carbohydrates. I tend to be very hungry after my long runs, so a cheeseburger is my protein of choice. I also eat bowls of cereal in the middle of the night because I am always hungry. Sleep is my secret training tool. Training really takes a lot out of me physically. For me, sleep helps my body recover, keeps my brain calm, and keeps me injury free. Listen to your kindergarten teacher... take naps! It will keep you looking and feeling young!

I'm sure it gets pretty cold in Antarctica, what will you be wearing during the race?
The temperatures in Antarctica during mid-March can range from 0 - 30 degrees/Fahrenheit. I have low body fat and tend to get cold very, very easily. Initially, I was going to wear a thermal running suit much like a triathlon suit, but it did not feel comfortable. The temperature on race day will ultimately dictate how many layers I will need, but I plan on wearing two layers of Nike cold weather and wind proof running tights, UnderArmor top base layer, thermal running fleece, North Face wind proof running jacket, waterproof running gloves insulated up to 0 degrees/F, Nike thermal running hat, polarized sunglasses, waterproof socks, and North Face trail running shoes. I will also have ice traction cleats to put over my trail running shoes. My goal is to stay dry and warm and avoid hypothermia.

How long have you been running?  I have been competing my whole life. I come from a family of professional runners. The first race I remember was in kindergarten. A boy said he was the fastest. I said I could beat him. We raced on the gravel playground. I won. Afterwards, he pushed me down and I skinned my knee. I was hooked ever since. I also ran in college on a Division I track/cross-country scholarship, and briefly ran professionally during law school. 

What number marathon is this for you?  I am relatively new to the sport of marathoning. This is number 10 for me.

What is your ultimate goal with doing all of these marathons? To snag a Guinness World Record by becoming the first Black woman to run a marathon on every continent. Regardless if I gain the title, I love traveling and seeing the world through my passion for running. That is really why I do these adventure marathons.

We would love to hear about your journey and see you plan on creating a blog? My running blog is still under construction, but my Seven Continents adventures will be posted at:


Unfortunately, Toni will not be attending the NBS Summit this year, due to conflicting travel plans with the marathon.  She will definitely be missed, but I know we all will be rooting for her on March 9th!  We are so proud of you Toni! We know you will represent!!! From everyone here at FSF we wish you safe travels, and enjoy every minute of your adventure!

...And of course you just made our FRESH LIST!!

Spotlight: MK Phillips

Full Name: Mackenzie K. Phillips

Nickname:  MK

Hometown:  Chicago, Illinois

Residing: Chi

Snowboarder or Skier: Currently a Snowboarder, but started skiing at 4-yrs. old (secretly a double threat!)

How many seasons have you been riding:  I’ve been snowboarding now for 7 seasons.  I learned for the first painful three days in 2005 at Vail.

Type of Board: GNU B-PRO 149

Ride Type: Regular 

What’s your terrain: Blacks, bumps, and decently open trees

Favorite Mountain:  Steamboat

What is the best thing about boarding?  The freedom you feel while riding. The mountain air is amazing!

What do you when you’re not boarding? Ashtanga Yoga, snuggling up with my dog Bella

What is your fondest mountain memory? This is hard because there are so many.  As a child, I loved going on family vacations out west to ski. Being in the villa or "billa" as my brother used to call it, was always magical.  As an adult, I love the camaraderie of riding with others who love to be on the mountain, having interesting conversations on the chairlifts, etc. You really get to know a person in those "moments of play." I do think you learn more about a person in an hour of play, than in a year of conversation.  I look forward to every hour of play.

Congratulations just made the FRESH LIST!

Backcountry 101

Fresh powder is something we all love to look for!  And where you find the freshest powder is away from the groomers, in backcountry.  But, before you start heading in to uncharted terrain, we put together a guide to assist you in the backcountry. 

Avalanches: Are caused by variable weather, unstable snowpack, and steep terrain, backcountry avalanches claim an average of 25 lives a year in the United States. Your first safety step: Brush up on the basics below. Next, take a course accredited by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education

Equipment to Pack

Avalanche beacon: This GPS-size transceiver sends a signal that other transceivers can detect. If a skier/rider is buried by a slide, his companions switch their beacons to “receive” and zero in on the victim. Wear the beacon near your body (beneath insulating layers). Need to brush up on your skills? Many ski areas have hide-and-seek-style parks where you can practice homing in on the signal.

Shovel: Use a metal-edged shovel. An aluminum shovel is a top pick because it is both sturdy and lightweight.  Find one  with an extendable shaft (go long for leverage, short for tight spaces.)

Telescoping probe: Poke these 80- to 128-inch-long poles into debris to pinpoint an avalanche victim. One cubic meter of snow can weigh more than 880 pounds, so the more precisely you can locate a victim, the better.

Inclinometer: Most people misjudge angles, but a precise slope estimate may indicate increased (or decreased) avalanche risk. Measure steepness by aligning this compass-like tool with the hillside.

Tips from the Pros

Communicate: Each group member will notice, and call attention to different risks.

Make small groups: Cap crews at five, and split big groups according to skill level and goals.

Be flexible: Have several alternate route plans to avoid taking single- minded risks.

Stay consistent: Hold a sustainable effort, but snack often and break for at least 10 minutes every hour. Strong skiers may climb 1,000 feet per hour and ski up to 2.5 mph across flats.

Swap layers: Add warmth when resting and shed layers to climb.

Ultimately, always, always, ALWAYS, practice SAFETY FIRST!!

FSF Takes Over Whistler!

January 12-17th Flipside Fresh was in Whistler, British Columbia for Winter Carnival, and the official "Fresh Launch."  The launch consisted of a "Sip-N-See" January 12th, and a "Fresh Hour"  at Garibaldi Lift Co. (GLC), January 14th.  And of course a lot of networking and fun on the slopes. Take a look at our sideshow below:


Up Next...

Join us in Breckenridge, Colorado this upcoming weekend for Winter Soulfest. Stop by our booth, and check out our collection...and of course you can buy a few to take home with you!!  Also, if you have any gently used snowboarding or skiing gear, you can drop it off at any of the events below for the FSF Gear-Drive (please only SOFT gear at this time i.e. pants, jackets, mittens) all gear will be donated to the Hoods to Woods Organization!


FSF will be at the following events:

Thursday, Jan. 26th

3-7pm at Cecilia's

9pm-2am at Cecilia's

Friday, Jan. 27th

2pm-5pm at the T-BAR

Saturday, Jan. 28th

3-7pm at Cecilia's

9pm-2am at Cecilia's

We'll see YOU there!!


Spotlight: Jason Jones

Full Name:  Jason Jones

Nickname:   J Jones

Hometown:  Detroit

Residing:   Detroit

Snowboarder or Skier: Skier

How many seasons have you been riding:  11 seasons

Type of Skis:  Line Chronic Blends (178L) (90M)

Signature Style on the mountain:  My style is simple. I want my technical gear to look JUST like my street clothes. Thin, not too bulky, bright or subdued (whichever is in current fashion), but the most important element is that when I walk into happy hour, no one knows if I’ve been on the hill or not.

What’s your terrain: Blacks, Double Blacks, and the near backcountry.

Favorite Mountain:  Vail

What is the best thing about skiing:  Being away from the hustle and bustle in clean crisp air, loving nature, and riding with a great crew of folks who challenge you to be better than you are on and off the mountain.

What do you when you’re not skiing?   I play tennis, flag football, and lift weights. Other than that, I enjoy living life to the fullest with good friends.

What is your fondest mountain memory?  The moment that I became a junkie, was the last ride of my rookie season. It was almost pitch black, I met a brotha on the lift who was clearly better than I, but he asked if I would ride with him as he too was solo. When he reached the bottom of the hill (albeit while traveling 60 miles an hour at dusk over terrain I had no business on), he looked back uphill, surprised to see me standing there on his heels he said, “OH, you’re still here?!?”. I said, “Yep, still here.” …and I’ve been here ever since. 

Congrats J just made the FRESH LIST!


Name of Organization: SOULBOARDERS  

Year Founded: 2007

Purpose: SOULBOARDERS is a social organization of eclectic Black snowboarders with the goal of bringing awareness to the Black snowboarding experience and creating community on the slopes with other Black boarders. We are affiliated with the National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS). Our riders hail from across the country and come from all walks of life. Together we embrace the unique community and party experiences of being Black on the slopes. In short, we are a social organization for Black snowboarders...and the people who love them. Got Soul?

What is the demographic: The crew is made up of ride or die boarders, plus a few really dope skiers.

Membership cost: There is no membership application or fees. All we ask is that you if you call your self a SOULBOARDER, be a part of our community.

Where will we see your organization at this year: 
Check out the "EVENTS" page on our website:

How can we contact you:

Hoods to Woods Foundation

Name of Organization:
Hoods to Woods

Year Founded:

Executive Director:
Brian Deka Paupaw

Number of children that participate:

To expose teens in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn to the out doors with through year-round activities such as snowboarding, indoor rock climbing, camping, hiking. Using environmental awareness, writing and the use of new media tools that allow youth to document their outdoor experience, the program is designed to build confidence and facilitate individual discovery.

What is the demographic:
Boys and Girls ages 13- 19

What do you have planned for the kids this year:
We plan to have another successful year of programming. Our Snowboarding program is very popular and most of the teens participating will already be on their third season and have progressed to freestyle snowboarding. It's very exciting to see it happen every year.

How can we help out?
People can donate at

Where can we learn more about your organization? (Our Website), Hoods to Woods on Twitter (Twitter), and H2Foundation on YouTube (YouTube).

Anything else you would like to add?
We have partnered with Humanity Snowboards to create a limited edition Hoods to Woods Snowboard. 30% of the proceeds go back into our outdoor programs. You can order it at Humanity Snowboards.

Check out what we are doing for Hoods to Woods this season under our Flip it Forward page!

Spotlight: Misty Casseus

Full Name:
Misty Casseus


Virginia Beach

La La Land

Snowboarder or Skier:

How many seasons:

Ride Style:

Board Type:  Burton Feelgood 152

Signature Style:  
Denim snowboarding pants and my Haitian flag scarf “SAK PASSE!”

What’s your terrain
Blue, with some black sprinkled in.

Favorite Mountain:
Jackson Hole, Wyoming…you’re bound to see a mousse on the trail.

What is the best thing about snowboarding:
Always having a way to challenge yourself, and the great people you meet along the way.

What do you when you’re not on the mountain?
I have done everything from skydiving to sandboarding and everything in between.  I have traveled around the world, and I still have a little space left for some more stamps in my passport.  During my 9-5 I save lives. My second career/passion is being a Fashion Stylist.  And I am the co-founder of Flipside Fresh!

What is your fondest mountain memory? 
It was an hour ‘til closing in Homestay at Tahoe. I was learning how to connect my turns and after falling all day long, I finally connected 3 turns in a row. Thanks Rodney for giving up your day of boarding, to help me get to the next level.