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August 24, 2014: How to Survive a Deadly Avalanche, Remembering Fallen War Reporters in Song and More

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below!

Hour 1

Professional skier Elyse Saugstad was leading a tour in the backcountry at Stevens Pass, WA when disaster struck. One of the members of her group triggered a slide. Elyse and four other skiers were below. And for a few horrifying seconds, she tumbled 2600 feet without knowing which end was up. Fortunately, Saugstad had a inflatable backpack that helped float her to the top. She tells Boyd about the experience.

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Professional sports teams in North America carry a large carbon footprint. The size of the leagues and their rigorous travel schedules require a lot of flights. But five years ago, Andrew Ference helped lead 500 NHL players to purchase carbon credits to offset their footprint. The “eco-warrior” stars in National Geographic’s web series Beyond the Puck, which shows how Ference and his family live an environmentally friendly life.

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Before the Incans built Machu Picchu, the Peruvian Andes were controlled by the Moche civilization—a society of people whose city-states dotted the mountains from the 2nd to 9th centuries A.D. Luis Jaime Castillo has spent he last two decades excavating Moche tombs and villages. He says that high-ranking women acted in many cases as heads of state who determined political allegiances among the separate towns.

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Hour 2


Many musicians write songs that have a personal meaning—love, loss, and lust have all driven creativity for centuries. But Clarence Bucaro was so moved by some recent events that he wrote several songs for his new CD. Photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed last year in Libya while covering that country’s civil war, inspiring Bucaro to write “Two Men Down” for his new CD, Walls of the World, which he performed in National Geographic Weekend’s studio.

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To see a city as a local is to truly know it. Patricia Marx took that bit of conventional wisdom to an extreme, when she logged on to Couch Surfing’s website. She stayed in the homes of strangers in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Iowa City, and Bermuda, and says that while she might not travel that way again, she had a positive experience and met nice and normal people.

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The life of a reindeer-herder is not easy. Their commitment to the animals that rely upon them is a difficult relationship that requires living away from people on the frozen Russian tundra. Russian director Aleksei Vakhrushev provides a glimpse into the life of these nomads who struggle to get their children interested in following in their reindeer skins. His new movie, The Tundra Book: A Tale of Vukvukai—the Little Rock, shows that once the children leave for boarding school and bigger cities, they often do not return.

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Evolution felt the crocodile was complete 85 million years ago. The lizard’s powerful jaws have kept it in business unchanged. Crocs have a bite force that is the most powerful ever recorded: 3,700 pounds of pressure. Once its jaws clamp shut, National Geographic grantee Greg Erickson tells Boyd, there isn’t an option to let go. He tells about how he tests the bites of these animals and why his was a study that he isn’t eager to replicate.

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In this week’s Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares his own experiences with tornadoes growing up in West Texas and how fears of nuclear war with Russia also helped folks dodge tornadoes.

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