Dispatches from the Mountainside

Aaron Theisen
20180819 Livingston Cover

Cover image: The Oboz Livingston Low works hard and plays hard. All images: Aaron Theisen.

The life of a travel writer and photographer tends to be one of idle relaxation (those cocktails are for article research purposes, I swear) followed by intense flurries of activity. Sometimes those flurries come unexpectedly, as the unpredictable schedules of both mountain athletes and mountain weather line up.Livingston


I recently toured the Okanagan of south-central British Columbia, on a magazine assignment to cover the bike parks in what is considered the birthplace of freeriding. I’d shattered my clavicle in a mountain biking mishap a few weeks prior, so cycling is strictly a spectator sport for now.Livingston action

When it came time to photograph the riders, there was no time to change shoes. Turns out Aaron's Oboz Livingstons were ideal for the job. 

One morning, at Big White Bike Park, near Kelowna, I was sipping coffee in the day lodge when a patroller approached me and said that my riding models were heading to the chairlift.

I wasn’t planning to leave the village that morning, so this was unexpected. I was dressed casually—jeans, hoodie, and my new Oboz Livingston slip-ons—but there was no time to delay.

Time, and photo subjects, wait for no man. I grabbed my camera backpack and coffee and ran.

Mountain biking photography involves a lot of walking. Double-black downhill trails are no less sketchy on two feet than on two wheels. And getting the right shot often means bushwhacking well off trail, on steep, log-strewn sidehills.

(I sincerely hope the orthopedic surgeon who screwed my clavicle back together isn’t reading this.)downhillrampAn hour or two into the shoot, I stepped down off the trail onto a wobbly, shrub-obscured log, and then to solid ground. It was then that I realized I’d been wearing my Livingstons the whole time. Comfortable enough on the foot and confident enough on the trail that you forget you have them on: that’s the hallmark of a hard-working shoe.

In life, as in photography, opportunities arrive as surprises, whether it’s a last-minute after-work hike or a round of drinks with friends. The Livingston is a do-it-all shoe that handles both work and play—or livelihoods, like mine, where work is play—with easy style. And it looks good while sipping cocktails too.

Aaron Theisen is a professional writer and photographer based in Spokane, Wash. Follow him on social media: @whiskeygingermedia.

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