Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, as Kevin Bacon urged us in Footloose, let’s dance our asses off. Can we go ahead and stop taking ourselves so damn seriously, please? Sure, we do some serious things in them mountains. We ski sketchy faces, we climb overhanging walls, we raft class V whitewater, we bike on knife ridges, but that doesn’t mean we have to wear a mean mug the entire time. At their core, all mountain sports and experiences are about getting a smile on our face. So do yourself a favor, get the Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro speaker, dance off your pants off, and prepare to grin until it hurts.
Until this ski season, I have been a strict “no music while slooshing” guy. Headphones are rude and dangerous. They keep you separated from the group you’re with, turn you into the silent weird dude on the chairlift, and, to me, make skiers unaware of their surroundings. But my eyes, or rather my ears, have been opened to a new mountain music experience, the Bluetooth speaker.
Now, this is not new tech. But speaker quality, battery life, and portability have drastically improved. A few years ago, my friend Tanya broke out her speaker for a campfire dance party during a Westwater float. We grooved and boogied in flip-flops and board shorts under a star-speckled Utah sky. But when her football-sized speaker died after a few hours, everyone either went to bed or spaced out while staring into the fire, aka caveman T.V.
The Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro has kept the mountain party alive for me. Its Bluetooth range is 32 feet. On/off, play/pause, volume control, and track skipping are all controlled by three easy-to-use buttons. There is a built-in microphone/speakerphone for chitchatting and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery is good for 10 hours of play. Plus, it comes with a flashlight attachment. And for a unit that fits into my palm, it packs a serious punch when it comes to sound quality and volume.
The BP is water resistant, and has a tough, rubberized, sleek design that easily fits in a pocket or, like my most recent excursions, the cinched-up hood of a ski jacket. It also comes with a bicycle handlebar mount accessory—a rubber band on steroids—that I have used to secure the speaker to my belt and backpack for general mountain activities, as well as on my townie’s handlebars almost everyday to improve my Main Street cruises. Chores, coffee runs, grocery pickups; just about everything is better with a soundtrack.
Not to get too out there, but I believe the mountains hold a sacred rhythm for us. They beg to be danced with. And dancing adds to the party atmosphere of mountain experiences, helps unify our collective outdoor community consciousness, and easily breaks down walls to connect mountain folks from differing backgrounds. Ok, that was kinda out there. But I grooved to Whitney Houston with complete strangers at Sun Valley. I saw a hardened Swedish mountain guide smiling and dancing to Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven on Earth” in Norway. I’ve watched the group dynamic during brutal uphill marches transform into an ascending dance party filled with laughter and smiles, rather than curse words and sweaty sadness. All it took was a little Huey Lewis and a dash of Mariah Carey. Don’t believe me? Cue up some lady pop or 80s synth or new whompy dance music, press play, and see what happens, my friend. I bet you’ll wiggle, jiggle, and giggle in them mountains.
$80 • BUY
Or keep the party going with these options
The Ultimate Ears Roll 2 is light, water-resistant, shock-resistant, looks cool, and sounds terrific. Available for as low as $55.
Great sound, bombproof build and decent battery life makes the Nixon Mini Blaster a personal favorite. You can pair two of them up for bluetooth stereo too. $80
Tiny, with a carabiner to clip it to whatever you like, and waterproof, the JBL Clip 2 is an affordable speaker at about $50.