How We #OptOutside: Honey Stinger Black Friday Traditions


At Honey Stinger we have a daily #OptOutside culture, so Black Friday is no exception.  This year we joined forces with REI to get the word out.  We decided to compile stories and pictures from our staff to give you a little taste of where we’ll be and what our traditions consist of.  We hope that you will join us in ditching the lines to enjoy the fresh air!

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, we head to the slopes to ski as a family.  Our Black Friday is more like a Bluebird Friday on the mountain.saras-fam  Fresh air, good chairlift conversations and testing the ski legs is how I will #OptOutside again this year.” -Sara

In our household Black Friday is usually a day where the morning is spent with a little R&R, which then turns into afternoon activities outdoors.  Whether it be family basketball scrimmages or cross country skiing with friends, it’s a day to reflect, be grateful and enjoy the outdoors.”

tandem-rideMy girlfriend and I make the trip to Southern Colorado to spend time with family.  For the past four years, we have made it a tradition to go for a ride around town on her family’s tandem bike. It is always fun to #OptOutside the day after Thanksgiving!” 

My wife, friends and I have a Black Friday tradition of going skiing.  Anyone who complains of being too full from Thanksgiving shenanigans gets harassed by the entire group until they are up and out on the snow.”

rox-sledding-treeThe day after Thanksgiving, we kick off the holiday season by heading into the back country with friends to cut down our family Christmas tree.  We also manage to get in some skiing and sledding in the process!”

Our tradition is to get out for a cross-country ski on Rabbit Ears to burn off our Turkey Dinner and enjoy the fresh air.”

Our Black Friday tradition has been to get up super early and skin up the ski mountain to catch the sunrise.  Last year we were lucky enough to do this from Jackson Hole, WY with our little bun in the oven!  This year, snow permitting, we plan on making it another great skin up the mountain and our son’s first ski down (in the backpack that is).”

erin-optoutsideThe Black Friday tradition in my household is to start prepping for Christmas!  My husband and I load up the dog and the snowshoes and head out for a good old fashioned Christmas tree hunt.  Nothing beats dragging a tree out of a foot of snow to get you in the holiday spirit!  Burning off the turkey calories by trudging through the snow searching for the perfect tree is how I will #OptOutside next Friday.”



Will you go out with us?

The Honey Stinger Crew 



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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know Leslie Stratton

Leslie Stratton

Home base:
Born and raised in New Hampshire but currently training in Park City, Utah.

Main sport:

What is Skeleton?
Skeleton is headfirst ice sliding. We go down a bobsled track at over 80 mph with our head inches off the ice, feeling up to six times the force of gravity or G’s in any given turn. Each track is about a mile long, and we go down on a sled that looks like an expensive lunch tray.

How did you get in to the sport?
I graduated from St. Lawrence University (Here we go Saints!) in 2014 and was invited back to coach and work in admissions. St. Lawrence is close to Lake Placid, NY, and one day when my dad came to visit we ended up taking a tour of the bobsled track. The wonderful lady who gave us the tour had a connection with the USA Bobsled Coach (5-time Olympian), and long story short I was in Lake Placid for rookie camp the following week. Two months later, I was racing in my first race for USA Bobsled! I ended up quitting both my jobs and committing to the sport. In December of that year, I was in Park City, Utah while there was a skeleton school. I signed up, fell in love with skeleton immediately and knew I was going to switch. I finished the year off with bobsled while sneaking in some days of skeleton along the way.

NumLeslie Stratton Team USA Calgary (002)ber of years you have been participating in your sport:
Going into my 2nd full season.

Do you compete for a team or for sponsors?
Team USA

Athlete you look up to and why?
Missy Franklin! For starters, she is a swimmer and swimming is the coolest (even though my swimming is more like flopping). Most importantly, she has been so successful by being happy and being herself. We are similar ages and I love following her journey.

Word of wisdom:
Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from pursuing your goals. I’ve tried to live my life that way, in the sense of trying everything and taking every opportunity I can. Its gotten me where I am today.

Favorite Stinger fuel:
I have to pick just one? Lame. But if I had to, probably the Peanut Butta Protein Bars. I’m a sucker for the chocolate-peanut butter combo.

Fueling tip – when do you eat your Stinger?
I eat Stinger so much. Usually various Stinger products before workouts and a protein bar after. Waffles are my snack to give me energy throughout the day.

What is your absolute favorite food splurge?
Donuts. Literally all of the donuts.

Random fact about yourself:
I won the New Hampshire State Jump Roping Championships in 2nd grade, and I worked for the publishing company in London, UK, who published Harry Potter.

Stay connected with Leslie…

Instagram: @lesliestrat
Twitter: @lesliestrat

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Honey Stinger Extends Nutrition Partnerships to Four NCAA Colleges

We are excited to announce that Honey Stinger has partnered with four NCAA universities for the 2016-2017 school year. We will continue our partnership with the University of Denver (DU) and will add Colorado State University (CSU), the University of Wyoming (UW) and Southern Methodist University (SMU) to our roster of sponsored universities. As an official sports nutrition partner, Honey Stinger will fuel each university’s student athletes and receive signage, marketing and product sampling opportunities.

“Honey Stinger is excited to add more NCAA partnerships and expand our reach to even more student athletes,” said Len Zanni, Honey Stinger’s chief marketing officer. “Whether it’s fueling students while using their universities’ training facilities or varsity athletes during competition, we are thrilled to help support collegiate athletics with our nutritional products.”

Honey Stinger will activate with a variety of on-campus opportunities. Signage will be on display at various home sporting events and in athletic facilities at the universities. Students will have the opportunity to enjoy product sampling at select home games and events. Honey Stinger will also have a digital presence on the athletics homepages of DU (, CSU (, UW ( and SMU ( Student athletes will have access to Honey Stinger products in training facilities and various locations on campus.


About DU Athletics
University of Denver, the only Division I program in Denver, Colo., has won 8 of the last 9 NCAA IAAA Directors’ Cups and sponsors 17 sports. More information about Denver Athletics and its coaches, student-athletes and teams is available at

About UW Athletics
University of Wyoming, the only Division I athletics program in the state of Wyoming, sponsors 17 sports. More information about Wyoming and its coaches, student-athletes and teams is available at

About CSU Athletics
Colorado State University, located in Fort Collins, Colo., sponsors 16 sports. More information about CSU and its coaches, student-athletes and teams is available at

About SMU Athletics
SMU, the only Division I athletics program in Dallas, TX, sponsors 17 sports. More information about SMU and its coaches, student-athletes and teams is available at

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Honey Stinger Opens Hive Program to US Based Athletes

Hive athlete Brett Denney racing to a 2nd place Men’s Duo finish in the Steamboat Stinger.                                         Photo credit: Noah Wetzel

We are pleased to announce that the Hive Program is now open to athletes for the 2016-17 season. Since 2005, the Hive Program has supported loyal Honey Stinger athletes, teams, and brand ambassadors.

“We’re thrilled to see the number of athletes and sport disciplines grow each year, as that speaks to the success of our program and our products,” said Jordan Edwards, Honey Stinger Sponsorship and Media Specialist. “Year after year, we look forward to working with passionate individuals who not only excel at their sport but also positively impact their communities.”

Honey Stinger will accept applicants ranging from ambassador to elite level athletes for Hive sponsorship. To be selected into the program, athletes must be leaders in their sport and possess strong nutritional values that align with the brand. Community involvement and a well-developed social media presence are also contributing factors. Applicants must be based in the United States, be 18 years or older, and have no conflicting sponsors.

Last year, thousands of individual athletes and hundreds of teams participated in Honey Stinger’s Hive program. Athletes interested in sponsorship may apply by completing the form on the Honey Stinger website. Honey Stinger is also accepting applications on the sponsorship platform, Hookit.

To learn more about the Hive Program, please visit

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Honey Stinger Introduces Gluten Free Waffle Flavor, Wildflower Honey

We are excited to announce the addition of a new flavor, Wildflower Honey, to our Gluten Free Organic Waffle gf-wfhoneylineup. The new Wildflower Honey waffle will hit shelves on November 21, alongside the existing Gluten Free Cinnamon Waffle and Salted Caramel Flavored Waffles.

“We are excited to introduce a new flavor, Wildflower Honey, to our Gluten Free Organic Waffle product line,” said Bill Gamber, Honey Stinger co-founder and president. “For years, honey has been a consumer favorite in our Organic Waffle lineup and sales have been strong. For those looking for more gluten free options, Wildflower Honey is sure to be a welcome addition.”

Honey Stinger introduced the first individually-wrapped Gluten Free waffle in January in response to increasing demand from consumers for a Gluten Free option of their popular Organic Stinger Waffle. Waffles are available for purchase in boxes of 16 (MSRP $23.84) or individually (MSRP $1.49) at specialty running, cycling, outdoor and natural foods retailers nationwide, and on starting in late November.

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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know Steamboat Women’s Rugby

Steamboat Women’s Rugby

Home base:
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Main sport:

Short team description:
We are an adult, all-women’s Rugby club based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We play full contact, tackle rugby (same as the boys) and compete during the summer season.

Interesting team fact:
We are the first and only Colorado ski town women’s rugby club. There are not many other adult clubs like ours.   The best thing about being on a team like rugby is that you are representing the community of Steamboat when you travel and play.  Rather than just an in-town league, we play teams from all over Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho and beyond.

Goal for the future:
Our goal is to influence other Colorado towns to build adult women’s teams and play 15’s, traditional union style rugby. We currently play tournaments with shorter games. For example, traditional Union rugby is played with 15 players on each team, the games are 80 minutes long, played in 40 minute halves. For the sake of time, tournaments are usually shorter time games with less people. We usually play 10’s- 10 people per team, playing 10 minute halves. Our overall goal and long term vision is to be the premier team of a women’s mountain league.

Memorable team moment:
Last year we played at a tournament in Missoula, Montana, while celebrating a teammate’s bachelorette party. We played in bridesmaids dresses while the bachelorette had on a wedding dress. It was definitely a memorable moment watching her sprint past the other team and score a try in a wedding dress!  The combination of fun and competition is something that makes this team great.

Favorite Honey Stinger fuel:
Dark Chocolate Mocha Cherry Protein Bar, Pomegranate Passion Energy Chews, and the classic Organic Honey Waffle

When do you eat your Stinger?
A waffle pre-game, chews during and between games, and a protein bar after. We typically play in hot weather with only an hour or so between games. The chews are light and refreshing and provide the perfect amount of energy before the next game.

Piece of wisdom to pass on:
Practice tired!  By getting a little conditioning in before practice, you are forced to hone your skills while you are tired.  This can help during the game when you have to stay on point even when you feel exhausted.

What animal best describes the team?
COWS! Our team nickname is “The Charging Heifers.” A lot of that roots from our foundation from the men’s rugby team and our legendary tournament- the Cowpie Classic. Its name roots from the history of the tournament which used to be played, literally, in the rodeo grounds amongst the Cowpies. The winner of the tournament receives a framed Cowpie to bring home with them!

Other team sponsors:
Old Town Pub, Vertical Arts ArchitectureMountain West Insurance 

Stay connected with Steamboat Women’s Rugby…

Instagram: @steamboatwomensrugby

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Honey Stinger Taps Industry Veteran Christian Johnson to Lead Sales, Adds Key New Hires

Today we are proud to announce several new hires and promotions within the company’s sales, marketing and grocery departments.

Christian Johnson, former vice president of sales and marketing at GU, joins Honey Stinger as vice president of sales, effective Sept. 12. Johnson spent more than a decade at GU, where he guided the company to its peak sales, with significant expansion of domestic and international business across multiple channels.  Johnson also brings experience in strategic sales, marketing, product development and product management from his prior roles with Bonk Breaker, Toad & Co., Eastern Mountain Sports and PUR.

christian-johnson-head-shot“We are thrilled to add Christian to the team to build on our brand’s incredible momentum,” said Bill Gamber, Honey Stinger co-founder and president.  “Not only does he bring a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to the company, but he also brings a passion for the outdoors that we share throughout our team.”

“I’m very impressed with the culture and camaraderie of the team at Honey Stinger, which is not only energetic and charismatic, but also grounded in great business values,” said Johnson. “Honey Stinger is a leader in the sports nutrition space, with an exceptional range of high quality, natural and great-tasting performance food that meets the increasing demands of athletes. Their continued growth in specialty sports and natural grocers demonstrates a tremendous opportunity.”

J.D. Robinson transitions to national grocery category manager from his previous role as Western key account representative for the grocery division. Robinson has been instrumental in growing the grocery business for Honey Stinger during the past three years and will now oversee Honey Stinger’s nationwide distribution in the category. Roxanne Gerstell has been promoted to the newly created position of international sales manager. An avid runner, Gerstell is constantly product testing while training for her next marathon. Lene Dennis will also transition roles within the sales team as the independent run and triathlon specialty sales representative.

Sara Tlamka has been promoted to the newly created role of marketing manager. Tlamka will oversee daily marketing activities, working closely with the marketing staff and other departments to grow sales, build brand awareness and support the sales team. Rounding out the new hires and transitions are Greg Medinilla and Andy Comeau, who recently joined the sales team as California and Colorado field representatives, respectively.


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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know Mohamed Hrezi

Mohamed Hrezi

Home base:
Rochester Hills, Michigan

Main sport:
Long distance running

Do you compete on a team or for sponsors?
I run for Brooks – Run Happy!

How did you get into the sport?
I got cut from the basketball team sophomore year of high school and walked straight out to the track. The track coach told me that would be the best decision I ever made, and he was right!

Greatest personal accomplishment:
As of now, I would say being an Olympian is my biggest accomplishment. It’s always been a dream of mine to run in the Olympics, but it was a dream that always seemed so far away. I still can’t believe that I am able to accomplish it at such a young age (24).

Do you have any habits, routines, or superstitions?
I am definitely a slave to routine. I don’t think I have anything really weird or out of the ordinary. But I do the same thing before every workout, the same thing before every race. I eat the same thing, at the same time, with a set warm up routine (including the mandatory port-a-john stop).

How did you hear about Honey Stinger?
Ever since being introduced to Honey Stinger at the local Hansons Running Shop, I’ve been all about Honey Stinger’s products which promise to fuel the run with natural ingredients!

Favorite Stinger fuel:
Dark Chocolate Mint Almond Protein Bar

Fueling tip – when do you eat your Stinger?
Before. During. After. I snack on some chews or a waffle 15 minutes before my run. I take gels during long runs and hard efforts. I eat a protein bar immediately after my run on my drive home to help my muscle recovery.

What is your absolute favorite meal and/or food splurge?
Pizza. I can eat pizza every day and be okay with it!

Random fact about yourself:
I was the student speaker at my undergraduate graduation ceremony.

*Mohamed competed for the Olympic gold in the Men’s Marathon on Sunday, August 21st, 2016.

Stay connected with Mohamed..

Instagram: @mhrezi
Twitter: @mo_hrezi

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Colorado Racers Standout at Steamboat Stinger – Sixth Annual Event Raises Funds for Local Non-Profits

Racers returned to Steamboat Springs this past weekend for the sixth annual Steamboat Stinger, Honey Stinger’s two-day mountain bike and trail running race. This year drew the event’s biggest crowd yet across both the mountain bike and trail running races, with Colorado and local Steamboat athletes dominating the competition. 

“We’re thrilled to see the Steamboat Stinger grow into a highly-regarded event within the mountain bike and running communities with more and more racers coming out each year,” says Honey Stinger chief marketing officer, Len Zanni. “A big thanks goes out to the Honey Stinger and Big Agnes employees and all of our local volunteers who invest so much time and energy to make this event a success. The best thing about the event is that we make an impact within the community with our continued support of local non-profits Partners in Routt County, and local IMBA chapter, Routt County Riders.” Partners in Routt County logoRoutt County Riders logo

Saturday’s mountain bike race challenged competitors to complete the 50-mile course in two laps or in a duo team with racers alternating laps. Megan Carrington of Denver took first for Solo Pro Women with a time of 4:57:04 and Chris Baddick of Boulder took first for the Solo Pro Men with a time of 4:10:28.

For the duo teams, Honey Stinger/Bontrager team members Ken Benese and Trevor Walz dominated the men’s field with a combined time of 4:10:45. Melanie Henson and Rebecca Howland finished first for women with a total time of 5:27:35, and Honey Stinger Hive athletes Brad Bingham and Hannah Williams took first for the coed division with a time of 4:29:22.

The trail marathon and half marathon took place Sunday, with the marathon utilizing the same route as the mountain bike race and the half marathon utilizing a portion of the route. Golden’s Matthew Kempton won the men’s marathon with a time of 3:12:02, and Jordan Jones, also of Golden, finished first for the men’s half marathon in 1:27:04. Emily Harrison of Flagstaff, Ariz. dominated the women’s marathon with a time of 3:30:53, and Sarah Pizzo of Denver took first for the women’s half marathon with a time of 1:39:39.

The biggest feat of the weekend was not the 50-mile ride or the marathon, but a combination of the two—an accomplishment so great that the winner with the fastest combined time is crowned King Sting or Queen Bee. Steamboat’s Kelly Boniface took the title of Queen Bee, finishing in a total time of 9:38:18. Boulder’s Huybert Groenendaal was crowned King Sting, finishing in a total time of 8:44:53.

The 2016 Steamboat Stinger concluded the Colorado Mountain Town Series, a summer-long series that combines the three classic Colorado mountain bike races including the Gunnison Growler, Firecracker 50 and the Steamboat Stinger.

Honey Stinger/Bontrager Mountain Bike Team rider Liz Carrington rips down the course (Photo by Noah Wetzel)

Honey Stinger/Bontrager Mountain Bike Team rider Liz Carrington rips down the Steamboat Stinger course (Photo by Noah Wetzel)

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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know Kaci Lickteig

Kace Lickteig WS finish

Kaci winning the 2016 Western States 100 (Photo: Melissa Middleton)


Kaci Lickteig

Home base:
Omaha, Nebraska

Main sport:
Running – trail, ultra, road.

How did you get into the sport?
My best friend in high-school asked me to be on the cross country team with her. Then my mom, who stopped smoking, took up running and we started making it ‘our’ time to enjoy together. I haven’t stopped since!

Do you compete on a team or for sponsors?
I am on the Nike Trail Team. I am sponsored by Honey Stinger and CarboPro.

Greatest personal accomplishment:
Winning the 2016 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race.

Training tip:
Be flexible. Your running schedule should not rule you. As long as you get the key runs in, don’t fret if it isn’t on the scheduled day. Make sure you account for life and stress.

Event on your bucket list:
Hardrock 100 Mile Ultra. It is something that intrigues me because of the difficulty, history, and beauty the trail holds. It is something that would be completely out of my comfort zone, and I love that kind of challenge

Favorite Stinger fuel:
Gluten Free Cinnamon Waffle and Lime-Ade Energy Chews.

Fueling tip – when do you eat your Stinger?
I practice eating my Stinger waffles and chews during my training runs. Your stomach is a muscle, and if you don’t train it to process your fuel it won’t be efficient during your key event.

Weirdest training or racing moment:
On a training run with a friend, we encountered an undercover police operation. We were running down a street when suddenly all these undercover cops ran up to a house with guns cocked! We bailed off the street and took cover. It was scary!

Random fact about yourself:
I am a huge Seinfeld fan!

Kaci winning the 2016 Western States 100            (Photo: Melissa Middleton)

Stay connected with Kaci..

Instagram: @ultrarunnerkc
Twitter: @runner_kc

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