How Does GDPR Affect Me and How to Prepare My Website

Are you suddenly receiving a ton of emails about how to prepare for GDPR?  What about emails from your favorite brands- Amazon, Patagonia or Google asking you to review and accept their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies?

Finally, do any of these ring true?

  • I sell products or services and use online advertising
  • I have a website and ask people to give me their email address
  • I work with people's data- name, email address, financials, or data via social networks

If you answered yes to any of these, well then GDPR affects you! 

 In today's data-driven world, I want to be protected, even when working from this remote office on a beach in Costa Rica. 

In today's data-driven world, I want to be protected, even when working from this remote office on a beach in Costa Rica. 

GDPR quick facts:

  • GDPR stands for General Data Privacy Regulation
  • It's a regulation in the EU (European Union) that gives more control to individuals in regards to their personal data, and aims to simplify regulations for international businesses.
  • Adopted into law on April 14, 2016 and became enforceable on May 25, 2018.
  • If you're collecting or processing data on EU citizens, even if you're a U.S. based company, you are affected by GDPR.

value of personal data

The value of personal data is on the rise, whether it be your name, email address, shopping habits or posts on social networks. 

This, combined with the recent Cambridge Analytica - Facebook debacle, and people are beginning to wonder not only how secure their online activity really is, but also how they are being marketed to without their consent.

If you are like me, and work with people's personal data, even if it's just an email address, you need to know about GDPR and what actions you can take to protect yourself and your company. 

 Your photos, videos and even your social posts are considered your personal data. 

Your photos, videos and even your social posts are considered your personal data. 

changes you will see thanks to gdpr

As a consumer, and especially if you are an EU citizen, here's some of the changes you might see from your favorite brands in their updated Privacy Policies and Terms of Service: 

  1. Right of Access. You can request to see the personal data collected on you and how it is being used.
  2. Right to Change or Delete Personal Data. You also have the right to revise or remove personal data. Yes, you can request to be deleted forever.
  3.  Right to Opt-Out. Not feeling all the love from your favorite brand these days? You can opt-out of all email and direct mail communications.

how to prepare for gdpr

As a business, here's a few quick steps you can take to be in compliance with GDPR:

    1. Prepare Your Website for GDPR. Whether you use Squarespace, Shopify, Wordpress or another host site, here's some quick links on how to prepare your website for GDPR:

     An example of how our client TASCO MTB has changed to their Mailchimp opt-in form to be in compliance with GDPR.

    An example of how our client TASCO MTB has changed to their Mailchimp opt-in form to be in compliance with GDPR.

    2. Ensure Third Party Apps are GDPR Compliant. If your website is now in compliance with GDPR, but you use an email marketing platform such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp to collect email addresses, you are responsible for ensuring these third party apps are in compliance as well.

    Here's more about setting up your MailChimp and Constant Contact to comply with new GDPR regulations:


    Constant Contact:

    How about Google AdWords, Google Analytics or Facebook Ads? Yup, all of these 3rd party apps need to be set up to meet the GDPR regulations.

    More 3rd party apps you may be using:

    We'll be updating this blog as new information becomes available on GPDR. 

    To learn more about what we do on the regular, follow Top Rope Media's adventures on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. Or you can check out our latest projects.

    Now get outside and enjoy that sunshine!

    - Meredith McConvill


    Summer Backpacking Trip Ideas: Wind River Range, Wyoming

    Thinking about a backpacking trip this summer? Are these must-haves on your checklist:

    • Great hiking and fishing

    • Camping with majestic scenery

    • Wildlife viewing

    • Will not include sitting in hours of tourist traffic (sorry Yosemite, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone)

    Well then the peaceful and scenic Wind River Range in Wyoming might be just the spot! 

    The Wind River Range is a 100-mile long chain of towering granite peaks, pristine alpine lakes and glacier-carved meadows. It remains a special place for those seeking adventure off the beaten path.

    Whether you are fishing, camping or rock climbing, we've included everything to help you prep for your summer backpacking adventure in the Winds, as they're commonly called. 

     Photographer's Point, Wind River Range

    Photographer's Point, Wind River Range

    Highlights of the Winds

    • Cirque of the Towers– a stunning semi-circle of 12,000 foot peaks
    • Gannett Peak– the tallest mountain in Wyoming at 13,804 feet
    • Titcomb Basin– a picturesque valley surrounded by lakes and mountains
    • Skyline Scenic Drive- If you are not up for carrying a backpack and hiking some good miles into the wilderness, you can still get a taste of what the Wind River Range has to offer. The Skyline Scenic Drive takes you 17 miles outside of Pinedale, ending at the Elkhart Park Trailhead.
    • Alpine Rock Climbing- Are you looking to scramble up some of the tallest peaks outside of Colorado? The Winds provide access to incredible trad and alpine climbing in both Titcomb Basin and Cirque of the Towers. You'll also find both single-pitch and multi-pitch climbing with a wide range of grades from 5.6 to 5.13c.
     Owls watching over our campsite in the Winds.

    Owls watching over our campsite in the Winds.


    Wildlife sightings may include bighorn sheep, owls, deer, elk and eagles. In addition, the headwaters of the Green River, along with hundreds of lakes and streams, are teeming with rainbow and cutthroat trout.

    Both black bears and grizzly bears can be found in the Wind River Range, and although sightings are rare, be prepared. Keep your campsite clean and store food properly (see our Tips below). 

     Fly fishing for dinner on the Green River.

    Fly fishing for dinner on the Green River.

    Getting There

    The most common starting points are either the Big Sandy trailhead or the Elkhart Park trailhead. The Big Sandy is the southernmost trail that leads into the Wind River Range and provides access to the Cirque of the Towers and Pyramid Lake. Located 54 miles south of Pinedale, you will need to drive on a mix of paved and dirt roads to reach the trailhead. This approach may not be suitable for RVs.

    The Elkhart Park Trailhead is at the end of Skyline Scenic Drive, a paved 17-mile road that starts near Pinedale. This trail provides access to Gannett Peak and the Titcomb Basin.

    As you may have guessed, Pinedale is the closest town, and the best place to stock up on food, bug spray and anything you may have left behind. This scenic mountain town is filled with shops, restaurants and plenty of accommodations should you choose not to camp.

    If you are flying into the area, the closest major airports to the Wind River Range are either Jackson Hole, Wyoming or Salt Lake City, Utah.  

     Hundreds of streams and unnamed lakes dot the Wind River Range.

    Hundreds of streams and unnamed lakes dot the Wind River Range.

    Hiring an Adventure Guide

    Thinking about hiring a guide or booking your trip through an outfitter? This will ensure you are well-prepared for your summer backpacking adventure.

    In addition, they can take care of most of the heavy-lifting and even load your packs on horseback for the hike in. This means you can do most of your hiking with a light daypack, which in our book is well worth the added expense! 

    Many guiding services provide everything from tents and meals, to round trip transportation from Jackson Hole. Highly recommended outfitters include:

     Panoramic views of Titcomb Basin on the hike in.

    Panoramic views of Titcomb Basin on the hike in.

    More Tips For Your Adventure

    • Map reading: Know how to use a compass and read a topographic map, especially if you will not be hiring a guide. Trails are not well-marked and most see very light traffic throughout the summer.
    • Camping Locations and Fees: There are no entrance fees at the Winds, however there are campgrounds fees. You may camp at either trailhead and do day hikes into the Winds. You may also camp once in the Wind River Range. Camps should be set up 200 feet from lakes or streams, and 100 feet from the road or trail.
    • Weather: The best time to visit the Wind Rivers is July through mid-September, however keep in mind chilly nights can be common at 9,000 feet. Snowfall can also occur year-round. Always be prepared and bring gear for cold and rainy weather and check the latest conditions before your departure.
    • Hiking preparedness: For the best experience in the Winds, make sure you are comfortable carrying a mid-sized pack and hiking several miles a day. Don't forget to break in your hiking shoes well before your trip. Remember, this is a remote area and access to shops that sell camping equipment, as well as medical services, are located back in Pinedale. 
    • Packing: Learn how to pack a backpack and determine what essentials you’ll need based on your type of trip. REI has a great checklist of the 10 Essentials for camping and hiking.
    • Water: There is easy access to water from lakes and streams, however you will need to purify the water by boiling, filtering or using chemical tablets. Outdoor Gear Lab recently reviewed some of the best water filters on the market.
    • Altitude: The low end of the Wind River Range is still above 9,000 feet, so make sure to spend a day or two acclimating to higher altitudes in Pinedale or at the trailhead campgrounds. 
    • Approach by car: A 4-wheel drive vehicle, or at least one you’re comfortable taking on bumpy dirt roads, may be necessary to reach the Big Sandy Trailhead. The Elkhart Trailhead is at the end of a paved road.
    • Bear Safety and Food Storage: Learn how to tie up your food and bring secure food canisters to keep the critters out. There are no bearproof food storage boxes located in the Winds. Packing bear spray is not a bad idea. Read more about the U.S. Forest Service food storage basics.
    • Bugs: Mosquitos and other bugs are plentiful in the summer months so make sure to pack bug spray.
    • Fishing and Hunting: A valid license from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is required for fishing or hunting in the Wind River Range.
    • Campfires: There are campfires permitted in certain areas of the Winds. Check the latest fire regulations before departing.
    • Leave No Trace: Be respectful of wild places and ensure that whatever your pack in you must carry out.
     Beneath the surface these mountain streams are filled with rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout.

    Beneath the surface these mountain streams are filled with rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout.

    There’s definitely a lot to think about, and we hope this gets you excited for summer travel! We also invite you to share your stories with us of where you'll be backpacking and camping this summer.

    To learn more about what we do on the regular, follow Top Rope Media's adventures on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

    Until next time, happy adventuring! 

    - Meredith McConvill

    All photos taken by Barbara McConvill. Parts of this post were originally written for Outdoor Outreach's Latest Happenings blog.

    Top 5 Reasons to Attend Adventure Sports Events and Festivals

    Are you searching for ways to get your brand seen by more people? Do you want to make more connections in the outdoor industry? Are you seeking corporate sponsorship so you can keep riding, climbing or surfing?

    If you answered yes to any of these, then you probably already know about outdoor industry shows like Interbike, ICAST and Outdoor Retailer. The recent OR Show in Denver was fantastic and we can't wait for Interbike in Reno this year!

    Although these industry events are a great place to network, if you're a small startup brand or an athlete seeking sponsorship, you probably can't afford the steep entrance and exhibitor fees.

    Well we have a suggestion- save some cash and have even more fun by attending adventure sports events and festivals. 


    Be outside, instead of talking about it

    When I show up at networking events, I’m not there to hand out business cards, grab a glass of wine, maybe score a free sticker and roll out. I go to learn about new products, make connections, practice my pitch and find potential clients.

    As a small business owner, my marketing budget is tiny. I need to be careful about which events I attend, and so going to industry trade shows like Outdoor Retailer is a huge chunk of change. I'd also much rather conduct business while pedaling 50 miles anyways.

    Speaking of pedaling, when I ride my mountain bike I feel awkward, heavy and slow. Very turtle-like. But I'm still smiling at the end of every ride.

    So why travel to an event like the Sedona MTB Festival where it's all about riding in the dirt? Yes, I'm always 'looking' for a new mountain bike, but that's not why I went.

     Hanging at the Sedona MTB Festival with the  TASCO Tribe.

    Hanging at the Sedona MTB Festival with the TASCO Tribe.

    I work with athletes and outdoor brands, and even if I do not have an athlete in tow, or a brand exhibiting at the event, I still find huge benefits in attending.  Here's my top 5 reasons why I attend adventure sports events and festivals, and why you should be there too!

    Top 5 Reasons to Attend adventure sports events and Festivals

    1. Adventure Travel

    So our main goal, and one of the reasons for starting Top Rope Media, was to spend more time outdoors enjoying wild places. Being able to work from the road is a huge advantage of owning your own company.

    Yes, I often find myself working on the weekends, or creating a client's email campaign after dinnertime. However, I make time during the day for exercise and I have the opportunity to explore- whether by hiking, biking or rock climbing while on the road.

    Are you searching for an event where you can participate in, or even just the place itself is a destination you've always wanted to travel to? Well here's some upcoming adventure sports events and festivals in beautiful places:

     Hiking along the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon during the Sedona MTB Festival.

    Hiking along the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon during the Sedona MTB Festival.

    2.  preview and demo outdoor gear

    Events and festivals not only have an expo area where vendors actually have time to talk with you, you can typically demo their latest gear right there.

    Of course, if you're in the market for a new bicycle, you can take a few different ones out for a spin at a cycling event. In addition, there's also outdoor brands like Osprey Packs, who not only let you touch and feel their newest backpacks, you can take one out on your next ride! 

     Taking a  Why Cycles  mountain bike for a spin!

    Taking a Why Cycles mountain bike for a spin!

    3.  Brand awareness

    Attending adventure sports events and festivals are helpful if you are:

    • A new face or new brand in the outdoor space
    • New at your company, even if you have worked in the outdoor industry for years
    • A journalist, blogger or new media
    • Seeking corporate sponsorships or distribution partners

    Most of my clients and corporate partnerships have come through people I already have relationships with. I'm a one-woman show, and not many people in the outdoor industry have heard of Top Rope Media, so I always need to be out there sharing my story. 

     I got creative and embroidered some beanies with the help of  Eisbär  for the Sedona MTB Festival.

    I got creative and embroidered some beanies with the help of Eisbär for the Sedona MTB Festival.

    4. Opportunities for Networking and Corporate PartnersHIPs

    Compared to Outdoor Retailer, where you often need to score a meeting in order to get some face time with the brand manager or sponsorship coordinator, at an adventure sports event or festival you can roll right up and shake their hand.

    At the Sedona MTB Festival, I had the opportunity to meet Adam Miller, Founder of Why Cycles. They're one of the newer brands, but Adam is not new to the industry. In addition, with all the brands to choose from, I probably wouldn't have found Why Cycles, especially because I do not live near Carbondale, Colorado, where the company is based.

    I didn't even bring pedals, shoes or a chamois, but I did bring my helmet! I fell in love with Why Cycles R+ titanium gravel bike and just kept pedaling. The Founder of EnduroBites, Brian Maslach, joined me for the ride and probably had no idea what he was in for. 

    The wide-eyed looks I got from fellow mountain bikers were pretty hilarious. When I pedaled up past the tourists climbing to Devil's Bridge, then shouldered the bike to get to the very top of the bridge, that was epic.

    Maybe I need a gravel bike and not a new mountain bike after all? Maybe both? Hmmm...either way, that was fun.


    5. free food + beer + MUSIC

    One thing we noticed at the Sedona MTB Festival was the opportunity to sample coffee, beer, craft cocktails and even pizza, all the while learning about a new product.

    If you've ever been to Interbike, you'll know that trying to get a beer during happy hour at the show is nearly impossible. It's also a big expense for exhibitors to distribute beer at their booth. 

    Of course there was plenty of food trucks at the Sedona MTB Festival, however the more creative brands had partnered with a local coffee roaster, or craft beer brewery. Having Bad Sea Coffee brew me an espresso while I was standing in the TASCO tent, oh and it was 45 degrees out, well that felt luxurious. This also kept me energized and engaged, and in their booth longer. 

    There were also local bands playing on-site throughout the day. If you tried to get out to any of the music shows at Outdoor Retailer, you'll be thankful to hear that most of these outdoor festivals bring the music to you!

     Enjoying music and a beer with girlfriends at the Sedona MTB Festival.

    Enjoying music and a beer with girlfriends at the Sedona MTB Festival.

    What's the saying, "people may not remember what you said, but how you made them feel." Well, when I'm happily fed, with a good beer in hand and some music, I'm definitely more likely to stick around. And to come back next year.

    To learn more about what we do on the regular, follow Top Rope Media's adventures on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

    Until next time, happy adventuring!

    - Meredith McConvill




    10 Tips for Avalanche Safety and Keeping Your Stoke High on Backcountry Adventures

    I didn't think I would ever get caught in an avalanche. I bet the kid sitting next to me at the top of the 9990 Lift, just past the backcountry access gate outside of Canyons- Park City Resort, didn't think so either.

    He begins to crank down the straps on his snowboard. He's ready to drop into thousands of acres of powder. Just before leaving the ridge line, he turns to his buddy and says, "Hey, don't let me die today bro." 


    The good news- he made it down safely. We all did. The bad news:

    •  In 90% of avalanche accidents, the victim or someone in the victims party triggers the avalanche
    • Most avalanche fatalities in recent decades have been males, highly skilled skiers or snowboarders, and between the ages of 18-40
    • Avalanche victims rescued within about 15 minutes have a high survival rate, almost 91%. The survival rate drops to 34% after 20 minutes of being buried under the snow. This means those in your party are likely to be the ones who rescue you. Not ski patrol or search and rescue. 

    backcountry travel is on the rise

    With an increase of heli and cat ski operations, more powerful snowmobiles and advanced touring skis and snowboard technology,  coupled with a decrease in snowfall in most ski areas, backcountry travel is on the rise. In addition, accessing backcountry terrain from resorts and skiing just beyond the resort boundaries has become more popular.

    Everyone wants the fresh tracks, that beautiful line coming down through the glades. The chance to capture it all on film and be a GoPro Hero or Insta famous? Yeah, that to.

     Heading out the gates at Snowbasin Resort, Utah.

    Heading out the gates at Snowbasin Resort, Utah.

    lack of avalanche education

    The signs at many of these backcountry gates clearly say, "YOU CAN DIE", some even say, "Are you beeping?" so you can check that your beacon is working.  But all too often, as it was on that morning in Park City, the party next to me had no beacons, no avy gear, and just the trust of their friends that they would arrive at the bottom safe.

    Avalanches during snowy winters in Utah's Wasatch mountains are almost a daily occurrence. If you enjoy getting into the backcountry in Big Cottonwood or Little Cottonwood Canyon, significant avalanche terrain looms above the most popular routes as you skin up to the ridge line. These backcountry routes are not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for novices, but all too often we go anyway.

     Heading down the Minturn Mile. All smiles, but not a single person with avalanche gear.

    Heading down the Minturn Mile. All smiles, but not a single person with avalanche gear.

    It's not only in Utah that we see adventures into the backcountry by novice skiers and snowboarders. After a short hike, you can scoot out the backcountry gates at the top of Vail Mountain and head for the Minturn Mile. This route gives you backcountry access to those powder stashes in between the trees, and finishes with a toboggan-like chute into the old mining town of Minturn.

    How convenient that our last run of the day dropped off at the famous Minturn Saloon, where you can grab a beer with friends and share the stoke of your epic adventure. The Midturn Mile is a great way to end the day, but we were exhausted, and if there was a slide, no one in my party was prepared.

    If this sounds like you, then I have a few tips to help you travel through the backcountry more safely. These recommendations are based off my notes from an American Avalanche Institute Avy 1 Class, along with a Know Before You Go presentation by the Utah Avalanche Center.

    10 tips for winter backcountry travel

    1. Get the Gear

    Most of your local ski and snowboarding shops may not carry your basic avy gear- beacon, shovel and probe, so look to places like REI or to pick up the gear, plus a pack to keep it all in. Yes, we know it's a big expense, and we know you already have 4 backpacks, but how much is your life worth?

    We've also found its better to have one pack to keep all your avy gear in, so you never forget anything on your way out the door. Companies like Black Diamond and Backcountry Access (BCA) also make lightweight packs designed specifically to carry your avy gear in separate, easy-to-access compartments, plus have added features, like the avalung or an airbag.

    Keep mind if an avalanche occurs, you want to have other items with you to help you and your party make it to safety, or survive long enough for help to arrive. We also carry a headlamp, a first aid kit, two-way radios, emergency blanket, snow study kit, snow saw, collapsable water bottle, snacks and warm layers- beanie, buff, extra puffy and glove liners.


    2. does Your Gear Work for You?

    Based on that list above, you want to make sure you can comfortably carry all of your gear when you skin up and then ski or ride down. Try skiing with a pack next time you're heading to the resort, getting on and off the lifts become a bit more complicated, and your balance is challenged, especially on a snowboard.

    If you can get to an REI or a shop that carries avy gear, try before you buy, especially the beacon, to make sure it will work for you. You also want a shovel with an extendable handle. A super-lightweight shovel is great, but if you can't actually shovel snow efficiently, don't buy it. 

    It wasn't until after our Avy 1 class that we realized what gear actually worked best for us under avalanche conditions. If you can test it beforehand, this will save you some money, and extra trips to REI.

    3. Practice with your gear

     We can't stress this one enough. Within minutes of our first time out in the field we realized quickly that it's very different trying to get your skins off when you're standing on top of a ridge line with the wind howling. It's also a lot harder to find and retrieve a beacon, and the effort needed to shovel hard packed snow is exhausting.  

    Also try using your gear with the gloves or mittens you're planning to ski or ride with. I quickly learned that my mittens kept me warm, but I could not operate my beacon with them on. I could barely unzip my backpack!

     Recommended reading includes Snow Sense and Avalanche Essentials.

    Recommended reading includes Snow Sense and Avalanche Essentials.

    4. Get the training

    First we picked up some books. Then we watched a few videos. After all that, we signed up for classes. There's so much you can learn, at no cost, that will help you prepare for backcountry adventures. Check out or the Utah Avalanche Center for more information and online tutorials. 

    We recommend taking an AVY 1 class AFTER you've had your avy and touring gear for a bit and have practiced with it. If you show up to the class with rental touring skis and never having put your skins on before, you're in for a rough few days.

    There are however a few classes that you can take beforehand, like Backcountry 101 or AIARE's Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain

    Search and rescue practice with our beacons during an Avy 1 class with the American Avalanche Institute.

    5. Get the Forecast

    Knowing the current and recent conditions in the backcountry area you plan on traveling thru is a key step in the Know Before You Go process. Start looking at the forecast well before your trip to become more familiar with the area and to spot patterns in the weather and terrain conditions.

    As we spend most of our time in Utah's Wasatch Mountains, the Utah Avalanche Center's website is bookmarked in our browser window. Visit to find your local avalanche center and then bookmark it. We'll wait for ya.

    Learn how to read the forecast, and pay attention to avalanche conditions in areas that have the same aspect (the compass direction a slope faces) and slope angle as the place you may be heading.  

     6. Create a Plan

    Set objectives for your trip, have backup plan, and be okay with not being able to ski a line if the conditions are not in your favor. 

    Does everyone in your party have avy gear and know how to use it? Maybe do a practice beacon search altogether outside your rental house or hotel before you go. Make it fun - the one who finds the buried avy pack first gets a beer.

    Don't be swayed by the expert halo, and choose routes that are well within the capabilities of your entire party. Speaking of parties, you may want to limit your group to 3-4 people, or divide a larger group into smaller groups. Keep in mind, 90% of avalanches are triggered by you or someone in your party.

    Also let someone outside of your group know your plans for the day. Having cell service is great, but be prepared to have no contact with the outside world once you set off from the trailhead. Having long range two-way radios are helpful, not only to call for help, but most have channels that broadcast the NOAA weather observations in your area.

    As we mentioned earlier, in the event of an avalanche, the people in your party are going to be the ones to rescue you, so pick your backcountry companions wisely.

     Trailhead signage that allows you to check that your beacon is on and sending a signal.

    Trailhead signage that allows you to check that your beacon is on and sending a signal.

    7. Once on-site, Get the Picture

    Do the conditions match what was forecasted? Have they changed?

    Do unstable conditions exist- recent avalanches, new snow, fog, recent warming, wind, cracking or collapsing snow (that cool 'thump' sound isn't so cool anymore).

    Does everyone in your group have all their avy gear? What about googles, helmet, food and water?

    Before leaving the parking lot, do a beacon test to ensure everyone in your party can send and receive. This is often where you catch a beacon with low batteries or one that is not functioning properly. 

    8. Testing. testing.

    Perform your tests on areas with similar slope angle, elevation and aspect. If you skin up a North-facing open slope, testing along the way, and all signs are good, do you think it's safe to then ski down the adjacent East-facing slope that's covered in trees? Although the tree-filled glade may seem like a safe place, you haven't tested that aspect or slope angle, and trees can be a huge terrain trap.

    Dig a snow pit, and do sample testing along the way. Yes, we know it takes forever sometimes to dig a good pit, but you'd be surprised how many times we dug a pit and got no results, and then dug another pit a few dozen feet higher, or on a different slope angle or aspect, and got full propagation.

    Snow Pit tests include an Extended Column Test or ECT- with the results ECT-P 13 on December 29, 2017 on a Northeast facing slope at 33 degrees.

    9. Assess Group dynamics

    You've made a plan, everyone is on board and prepared. You get to the trailhead, your friends are stoked and looking forward to freshies. 30 minutes in, one of the members of your party is falling behind. Someone has a wardrobe malfunction. Another is voicing concerns- "that slopes looks much steeper up close." 

    Pay close attention to group dynamics at the beginning, middle and end of your trip. Remember, if one person is not feeling comfortable with the agreed descent, identify safer terrain and minimize your exposure. 

    Select a leader for your party, but ensure everyone in your group has a voice and communicates openly. It's not fun to get to the top of a climb and then have to hike all the way back down, but it's definitely better than pushing someone out of their comfort zone and creating a dangerous situation.

    Most of us spend a lot of hard-earned cash on gear, travel and accommodations to get to that backcountry trailhead. However, we all want to live to ski another day, and we want to keep those friendships for a long time to come. 

    10. Get Out of Harm's Way

    There I was, slowly descending the planned route in Big Cottonwood Canyon and getting into knee-deep powder. I'm stoked, my smile is big, this is what I've been waiting for all day! Then I lose my edge and go down. I spend almost 30 seconds trying to get upright again. I'm starting to breathe heavily as I know the bowl to my left is filled with fresh snow, on an unstable base layer, and can be triggered remotely. I look around for my companions. They are not dropping in to help me! Hello?? I'm over here. What the hell is going on!!

    I learned my lesson the hard way. In avalanche terrain my partners were safer waiting for me to pull myself up and get moving again than to drop in and try to help. 

    Other tips we learned: Practice moving one at a time across steep and unstable terrain. Always be watching for signs, listening. Leave your headphones at home. 

    We know your want those selfies with the beautiful mountains in the background, but wait until you're out of harms way to record your Insta story. 


    This blog post is by no means a substitute for taking a class, practicing with your own gear and with your backcountry partner. Also keep in mind, education is an ongoing process. 

    We want to thank the American Avalanche Institute, including our instructors Mike Ruth, Patrick Reddish and Cameron Banko, along with the Utah Avalanche Center.  They provided us with practical skills and hands-on demonstrations in real life avalanche conditions, yet all the while keeping us safe and our stoke level high.

    To read more about Top Rope Media's adventures, follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Happy adventuring!

    - Meredith McConvill


    Creative Mornings San Diego: Meredith McConvill

    Thrilled to be part of the Creative Mornings crew to close out 2017! We were asked to share our story, keeping in mind the global theme of Context. I've included my slides below the video. Sorry mom and Tyla, the octopus bikini pic is too cute not to share. 

    If you're feeling impatient, skip to 18:35 in the video. Enjoy!

    Creative Mornings San Diego, December 2017. Alberto Barron, Lauren Fleming, Alexis Diller, Samuel Li, and Meredith McConvill all speak on their take on this month's global theme of Context.

    Meredith McConvill's Slideshow

    Need help putting together your next presentation? Send up a smoke signal.

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    10 Tips for Adventure Sports Athletes to Secure Corporate Sponsorship

    It's that time of year again when adventure sports athletes and outdoor brands begin courting one another.

    The goal for the athlete is to lock in sponsorship dollars to help them cover the cost of their adventures. Everything from travel, food and accommodations to race entries, equipment and apparel to make it through another season.

    The goal for the outdoor brand is to find the right athletes that will represent their company and help drive both brand awareness and revenue. 

     Rocking our TASCO MTB hats on last week's road trip.

    Rocking our TASCO MTB hats on last week's road trip.

    Where to Make a Connection

    This dance happens at big industry events and trade shows. Here's a few to check out in the U.S.: 

     Tradeshows are perfect places to connect with potential sponsors.

    Tradeshows are perfect places to connect with potential sponsors.

    A more intimate courtship also happens at local coffee shops, in the gondola ride up the mountain, while paddling out to the lineup or during a bike ride down the coast. The smart athletes become aware that all of their chance meetings could lead to potential partners who could fund their next project.

    Therefore, we begrudgingly take off the stretchy pants, throw on a fancy dress and heels, and attend that Factor Bikes VIP party or the local Women in Sports and Entertainment (WISE) networking event. We decide its time to start tweeting again, or dust off that Facebook Business page and post a photo from our most recent group ride. 

     Post a photo in your sponsored gear and let them know you appreciate them.

    Post a photo in your sponsored gear and let them know you appreciate them.

    If this sounds like you, or someone you know, here's some tips to help find those coveted sponsorships, and keep them for years to come. 

    10 Tips to help you secure corporate sponsorships

    1. Do Your Homework. Does the brand you're seeking sponsorship from support individual athletes or teams? Do they have an established brand ambassador program? Do you meet the requirements?
    2. What Do You Have in Common? First, do you actually use their products or services? Do you live in the same town where their corporate headquarters is located? Do you both give back to the same charities? Do you know someone at the company that could make an introduction for you?
    3. Follow them on Social Media. Are you connected with the brand you’re seeking sponsorship from on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? If not, get on it. In addition to the follow or like, start to read their content. Respond and engage with them. Get to know more about the brand and what their interests are. 
    4. Start looking at your data. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make it easier than ever to view your Insights and audience demographics. If you are not using a Facebook Business page, set one up now. Same goes for Instagram. Transition to an Instagram business page. These take a few minutes to set up, and are essential to tracking your reach and engagement, which is what a potential sponsor would be interested in.  
    5. Develop a proposal or media kit. Be clear about who you are and the impact supporting you will have on a broader scale. Outline your action plan and ways in which your potential sponsor will benefit from the partnership. If content writing and graphic design are not something you want to spend your time on, hire a content writer and designer. Better yet, send up a smoke signal today, and let ushelp you create a beautiful media kit!
    6. Make the Cold Call or Cold Email. If you're looking for something more than just a discount on gear, you will need to do more than simply apply for their brand ambassador program. If you already have a connection with the brand, this part is easy. If not, do some research, make the cold call, or cold email, and find out who manages marketing and sponsorships. Say hello but keep it simple. Share your media kit and a bio. Ask if you can have 15 minutes of their time. This is a great way to make a connection and get a meeting on the calendar, so that at big events like Outdoor Retailer, you're not just wandering the aisles. 
    7.  Build relationships. Keep in mind, this is about building a long-term relationship. Not about short-term cash and product. It's easier to keep a sponsorship you already have for another season than to find a brand new one. 
    8. Follow-up. They agreed to your call or meeting. Now it’s up to you to be prepared and follow up. Send the proposal, share your media kit and be on time for the meeting. Having a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in place can help you track who you've spoken with, where you're at in the relationship, and what the next steps are. If you need help finding a CRM that will work best for your needs and your budget, give us a shout and we'll help you get organized!
    9. Always be closing. After all this work, at some point you need to make the ask. Move your project forward by asking for what you need, and then shut up. Seriously. The negative self talk after you've submitted your ask, or the "and if you can't do $5,000 then maybe you can just do a case of granola bars each month..." Just stop. Be confident in yourself and what you can accomplish with their support. Structure a deal that adds value to both you as a brand and your corporate sponsor. Get it in writing whenever possible.
    10. Surprise and Delight. Congratulations on making the ask and securing a corporate sponsor! Remember, this is a long-term relationship, so check-in with them on a regular basis. Surprise and delight your sponsors with one of these:
    • thank you note with a photo
    • tag 'em in your Insta story
    • monthly e-newsletter where you share project updates
    • mention your sponsor and tag them in a quick video at your next event 
    • suggest a meet n' greet at one of their events
    • host a happy hour to show off their products

    Ensure you are meeting the terms of your agreement with each sponsor and help them impress their bosses. Make it easy for them to say yes next year!

    Need more ideas? Check out our Facebook or LinkedIn posts. Or sign up for our newsletter below.

     Capture authentic images that make people smile.

    Capture authentic images that make people smile.