Let’s Meet Along the Powder Highway

Why a road trip with a full serving of snowflakes is good for you

Article by guest blogger Powder Matt.

The snow is falling again. Faces with powder crumbs – a normal look – highlighted by colourful toques line up for rides up to Fernie Alpine Resort. It’s the first stop on our week-long road trip to four deep ski destinations dotting the aptly named Powder Highway.

This famed stretch of pavement threads its way through forested valleys and over jaw-dropping alpine passes, making every powder aficionado drool as they land in one historic and homey mountain town after another.

Get ready because your Insta account will be filled with photos of you being silly and playful – kind of like those college road trips you used to take.

Here’s what a skier or rider’s holiday looks like.

First base: Fernie, B.C.

We take an evening stroll along the snow-filled streets of downtown Fernie, minutes from the ski resort of the same name. Music spills out onto street, accompanied by the occasional blasts of the freight train, as we checked into the iconic Brickhouse. Beer has been poured here for many decades to fuel the thirsty miners and now skiers, who enjoy pints of Fresh Trax, made by the Fernie Brewing Co.

Next morning, we get up early from your secluded slope-side Snow Creek Cabin, to make the first chair, on the “old side” as locals call it. This is where our powder safari begins across five bowls, starting with Cedar Bowl. We hit up the perfectly spaced trees somewhere off to the skier’s left. (Just ask a local if you can’t locate it.) We end our day with last chair to a sharp rocky point, Polar Peak. This is a milestone for advanced skiers and riders, where you stare down your slot, turn after turn of thigh-burning fun, all the way to base and beers at the famous Griz Bar.

Powder tip. Pick a ski resort that offers ski-in and ski-out convenience. That means no need to pack up each morning and more time on the slopes or just relaxing. Our stay was sweet and easy with your own private cabin, at Snow Creek Cabin and taking a dip at the full-service Lizard Creek Lodge, complete with slopeside pool. There’s no need to get up too early when you’re just 50 feet from the lift.

Second base: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, B.C.

The following morning, fueled up with coffee from the Valley Social, we head north up the big valley, sculpted by glaciers and cut by two rivers named the Kootenay and Columbia. Forested sides give way to jagged peaks on both sides as we descend into Golden, B.C., home of loggers, railroaders, hard working folk, ski bums, mountain guides and adventure seekers. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort rises above town, with large runs cutting across nature’s canvas. This bucking horse has the fourth largest vertical in North America, at more than 4,000 feet. Lifted to the summit by the Eagles Eye Gondola, we slide skier’s left to the Stairway to Heaven Chair. Up a short stair case, we’ve reached the ridge top and drop in. Honking it down Whitewall’s steep goodness we reach the base and are ready for another lap. Later, we try a run called Crazy Legs, accessed from the top of Terminator 2 Peak. A stop at the Whitetooth Brewing Co., delivers Blower Pow a fresh and lively pale ale, the perfect match for fire-side hot tub, and cabin in the snowy woods from Lush Mountain Accommodations.

Powder tip. You can enhance your skills on these big mountains by taking a clinic. Try the Big Mountain Clinics led by all-mountain professionals at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

Third base: Red Mountain, Rossland, B.C.

Rossland is just shy of a three-hour drive over Kootenay Pass from Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, B.C. (WestJet is adding service in early March). It’s easy to allow your mind to wander and dream at Red Mountain.  We head right up to the north side of Grey Mountain and buckle up. We’re about to dig into a buffet of tree-lined chutes and powder. If that doesn’t fire up your quads, then take another lap on the next one over. Rossland offers plenty of apres ski and dining options along its main street. Check out ski-in and ski-out lodging right at the base of the mountain.

Powder tip. Don’t forget skiing and riding with a helmet is safer, warmer and more comfortable. New models come with lighter and stronger materials, like the Smith Quantum Helmet, using Koroyd (a kind of crushable plastic). The helmet also has removable ear pads.

Powder tips. Add the Max Pass to your Blue Mountain season pass and get five free days of skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Keep your craft beer cool with the Yeti Hopper for the hot tub celebrations. Wet boots are no fun, so keep that DryGuy handy for easy after-ski drying. Walk the main streets in comfort, Kootenay style, with one of Bog’s Tall Boots so your feet stay warm while you dance under the street lights and snowflakes.

You can fly into Canadian Rockies International Airport, in Cranbrook. From there, rent a car and journey along a giant loop, from Fernie to Golden (Kicking Horse) and then onto Red Mountain with a free ferry ride across massive Arrow Lake, to Rossland and then east back to the airport.

Read more on SnowSeekers.ca and Powder Matt’s recent adventure:
http://www.snowseekers.ca/story/pursuit-powder-bcs-famed-ski-playground

If You Go:
Fernie Alpine Resort
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Red Mountain
Start planning your BC Powder Highway ski holiday here.

PowderMatt-250x300Powder Matt is hooked on Powder! Skiing has been part of his life for 40yrs! From ski racing to backcountry touring there is not a part of skiing that he does not like- in fact he will often say that spending a day in the mountains ‘Life is good when you do what you enjoy’ or refer you to his motto Eat.Sleep.Ski . He has been working in the Ski Resort business for over 20 years. He is the Senior Vice President, Resort Experience, at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. He looks forward to your comments. Make it a Powder Day! www.powdermatt.com

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A Week With The NCOST

This month, Eric Bernard from Sporting Life Ottawa had the opportunity to spend a week with the National Capital Outaouais Ski Team (NCOST). He represented the Sporting Life Race Department as an assistant for on-hill training and learned from the best of the best. Below is his daily log from his experience working with NCOST elite athletes!

Day 1

This is an excellent opportunity for me to assist the team in their journey through the season as well as further my understandings of the ski racing world. The athletes had grins ear to ear seeing me show up at the airport this morning. The weather on the other hand wasn’t too pleased to see me go. From the moment I rolled out of bed to takeoff at YOW; big, fat, white gold making its way down. Luckily we were able to takeoff on time. The flight went well, got a chance to finally watch the sequel to one of my favourite movies (Bon Cop Bad Cop 2). Definitely worth the watch. Skis, tools and equipment made it through the unforgiving hands of the baggage handlers OK. We got settled in to our rooms at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge. Skis were unloaded and prepped for training tomorrow. We’re starting things off nice and easy tomorrow with some GS freeskiing. Getting down to business with some lane space and gates in the ground in the afternoon. I can’t wait to see these kids shred some gates and slay some arcs. After slaving over their equipment since July I’m curious to see it perform on the snow.

Day 2

First day of training was off to a good start. Woke up to the most extravagant of sunrises I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Mountain peaks, sunshine, snow.. What more can a skier as for? With vans packed and athletes still half asleep, we left for Nakiska. We arrive to the pleasant sight of 30 fresh centimeters of white gold.

Err.. Well.. Pleasant for me!.. Not so much for the 80 odd some racers occupying the mountain alongside me. These guys need hardpacked and groomed conditions to truly perform. Luckily we had a dedicated training lane on the upper mountain in the afternoon and not the morning. Leaving all the snow clearing and hard work to the Italian team in the AM. We had a couple laps on the lower mountain. Athletes attempting to carve through the crud on their race skis whilst I was cruising and shredding with ease on a demo pair of Rossi EXP 88’s. After having lunch with few of our friends over on the Ontario FIS team, we head out to set for the afternoon. Boy oh boy do I not miss schlepping bundles of gates. As we set our way down the mountain Joey (coach of the team) was getting increasingly worried about the ruts left by the Italian Super-G course. Finally with gates in the ground and sore legs from slipping, the course was ready for racing. One by one athletes made their way down the mountain. The first few runs were rough. Athletes looking flustered trying to work the new GS skis around the gates. Fog settled in, as did frustration with a few athletes. Most disappointed in their skiing performance. Luckily a few breakthroughs were made towards the end of the training session to raise morale. Tear down was clockwork, working with experienced athletes makes a world of difference. Kids knowing to roll up gate panels, or bungeeing bundles made Joey’s work easy.

Back to the base of the mountain we went. Gear off, vans packed we head home for the evening. Back at the lodge a few bindings needed inspections. Exhausted I wrote this email, now it’s time for bed.

Day 3

Day two of training was off to a later start today. We had our training lane in the afternoon again so we figured we would let the athletes sleep in a little longer.

Faire la grasse matinée as we say in French. Yesterday was a long one. Vans again loaded with racing equipment and groggy racers, we made our way to the hill.

Morning free skiing was a hit, snow was stellar and the kids were skiing well. Over lunch, Joey worked some of his socializing magic and scored us the course the Albertan team had set in the AM. No need to set gates for us! A bit of slipping and adjusting gates and the course was ready to race. The athletes were tearing up the course run after run. I spent most of my afternoon slipping and standing on the sideline listening to Joey’s critiquing of the young racers. Mostly repeating the same thing. These athletes all seem to suffer from the same technique failures. Incomplete turn shapes forcing them to step to the next turn. Video footage was taken by Joey’s assistant in order to help the athletes understand the crucial changes they need to make to their skiing. Once we were back at the lodge, Joey proceeded to take the athletes aside, one by one to go over the footage. During this time I had the chance to spend some time in the tuning room with the athletes as they prepared skis for the next training day. This granted me the opportunity to correct a few tuning misconceptions, adjust some bindings and make sure the skis I worked so hard to make fast stay that way! With skis ready to race and athletes eager to work on their skiing, I now make my way to bed.

I’m curious to see how the athletes will ski tomorrow after the video feedback.

Day 4

Day three of training was an interesting one. The weather seemed promising on the way to the hill. The sunshine was peeking its way through the Rockies. The morning’s freeskiing session went smooth as athletes were adjusting to the soft and warm snow. Once we got up to the summit for the afternoon was when the tables turned. A cold front had made its way to the hill and flipped the conditions for the worse. Rain was starting to come down on the mountain making the soft snow even softer. This had far worse repercussions than anticipated. Due to the extra-soft snow, ruts starting forming at speeds faster than we could work them out. As a result, one of the athletes skied off the race line and into a rut, only to get bucked and bent the tip of his ski. After that, we called it a day and pulled the course. Things were getting too hairy to keep racing. Once back at the lodge Joey  attempted to bend the ski back into shape with no success. I fortunately was able to get a hold of our Volkl rep and got him to send out a replacement pair for the athlete. The athletes and I spent the evening in the tuning room going over tool maintenance and equipment maintenance as well. Cleaning files, keeping base brushes clean, regularly checking bindings, tightening boot buckles. The forecast for tomorrow isn’t very inspiring either. Rain day in and out.

Keeping my fingers crossed the rain turns to snow in the altitude of the mountain.

Day 5 & 6

Day four of training was not much to write home about. The non-stop rain had Nakiska underwater and closed for the day. So the athletes and I took advantage of the opportunity to go over the skis, make sure all edges were sharp and bindings well adjusted. Day five on the other hand, was an awesome day of training.

We showed up to the hill with a few cm of new snow on the ground. Freeskiing in the morning was great. The athletes were skiing well and the sun poked out of the clouds to soften the hard choppy snow under the powder at the base of the mountain. After lunch we took the training to the reserved lane at the summit. The conditions there were spectacular. The new snow had been blown clean off the mountain by heavy gusts. Leaving only the rock solid man made tarmac to race on. Ideal conditions for peak performance. Now that the athletes were on familiar snow, they really started to shine. Some talent that had been held back since the beginning of the camp was starting to become apparent. With gates in the ground and timing set up the competitive atmosphere was booming. Athletes were huddled up at the finish of the course waiting as their teammates made their way down. Comparing times, discussing different skiing tactics, approach lines and such. It was fascinating to see how skiing performance drastically changed when timed runs were thrown into the mix. At the end of the day, high-fives were exchanged by all followed by laughs and a lot of “I’ll get you next time!”‘s.

The ski racing happening up the road from us has the kids stoked and really in a racing mood. Can’t wait to see our Canadian Cowboys race Lake Louise tomorrow! Go team Canada!!

Day 7

Day six of training was like none other we’ve had all week. No skiing was to be done. Dreams and goal setting on the other hand was the theme of the day. We got to Lake Louise just as the racers of the day were warming up for the race. Until today, I’d never had the pleasure of attending a World Cup ski race. This is no U14 local race. The men out here are charging for the podium. As start time approached, the NCO athletes and I strategically posted ourselves in the finish corral with good view of the race track. Chris Powers’s and Fuzzy’s athletes got the chance to run the track as forerunners. An excellent opportunity for them to get some World Cup grade speed skiing under their belts. After the they made their way down the crowd was humming in anticipation for the first racers. The atmosphere was electric. I can’t imagine what it was like at the other end of the track. One by one, the racers hauled their way down the race track. Steep right out of the gate. Two pushes from the gate and these guys were cooking. Crouching the tucks as aerodynamic as possible through the Sunset Flats, anything to hold on to that precious speed. Flying around Coaches, hanging on with every inch of ski edge they had. Only to get thrown from one side of the hill to the other on the Fallaway. You could hear the crowd hold their breath every time someone came buzzing around that corner. Banging out of the Gun Barrel with ludicrous speeds.

Finally the racers would come into view at Claire’s Corner. Flat out tuck to the finish to a roaring crowd. Every time one of these guys crossed the line, the only thought that crossed my mind was such. This is racing. The podium was as follows, Beat Feuz 1st, Mathias Meyer 2nd and Aksel Lund Svindal 3rd. There was one performance that stood out from all the others. Broderick Thompson climbed his way into the scoring field of the race from starting bib 38 finishing 23rd.

An impressive result given the quickly deteriorating track conditions. After the award ceremony everyone made their way to the Chateau Fairmont for the bib draw for the SG tomorrow. Food, cocktails and ski racing. Now that’s a party. I got the chance to catch up with my Race Dpt teammates, coworkers and mentors, Chris and Fuzzy. I ran into a lot more Ottawa folks than I expected. As the night went on, the racers were called up to the stage one by one to pick their starting position for the next race. Chris and I were trying to guess who would pick what number, what strategy they would go with. We were surprised to see bib 1 left to the last racer. With the start list ready for tomorrow, we called it a night and head back to Canmore.

I can’t wait to go see another one of these races. Never have I felt so much thrill watching these people stare danger right in the face and conquer.

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New From Burton: The Step-On System

The moment you’re ready, it’s time to ride.

This season, Burton is introducing the ultimate throwback for snowboarders. Leave your memories of step-in bindings behind – 2017 is the year of the Step-On. Not only is this new system convenient, it is both simple and secure for use on the whole mountain. Check it out:

Five years in the making, this new binding system is a novel alternative to the traditional strap-in approach. Using them is easy: Slide your heel into a connection point at the back, then click into loops on both sides of the toes. The result is a light, comfortable apparatus that’s almost as responsive as the high-performing straps and buckles—but happily won’t compel you to sit down in the cold snow to strap yourself in.”Popular Science

  • Simple, Safe, Secure – Step-On bindings have three connection points for locking security: two by the toe, and one by the heel. This ensures that your foot will stay secure no matter what your riding style.
  • Dual Zone Boa – With no straps and no laces, Boa makes the Step-On system even easier. It is the world’s fastest and most adjustable closure system!
  • Universal Compatibility – Not sure if Step-On will work with your mounting system? No worries – Step-On is compatible with all current systems, including 4×4, 3D and The Channel.
  • Easy In, Easy Out – A quick release lever allows you to easily pop your boot out of the binding. Once disengaged, the lock is reset for hands-free re-entry. It’s as simple as that!

Burton has assembled a series of tutorials to make Step-On even easier (as if that’s possible!) You can find tutorials on their website for lessons such as mounting your bindings, adjusting the gas pedal, adjusting forward lean, getting in, getting out, and more.

What are you waiting for? Step into the newest innovation from Burton.

via Burton

Available November 2, 2017 at select Sporting Life locations.

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A Guide to Custom Boot Fitting

Your ski boots provide control, steering, balance and comfort. With each of these, you’ll be skiing as effectively as you possibly can! Our in-store custom boot fitting services are perfect for skiers of any level, whether this is your first or fifth pair of boots.

When a ski boot doesn’t fit properly or the shape isn’t quite right, your foot loses its battle against the boot. Our boot-fitting expert Cam compares custom boot fitting to finding the fourth leg for a 3-legged table – the goal is stability!

We’ve laid out a few common problems associated with ill-fitting ski boots. Our boot fitting technicians would be happy to sit down with you and address any issues you may have, whether they are listed here or not. Visit your nearest Sporting Life and find the perfect fit!

boot fitting wall
boot fitting
Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are the result of your foot banging against the shell time and time again, causing grievances to your foot. The body builds up calcium in that area as a natural band-aid, but this can cause long term pain.

To relieve the tenderness associated with bone spurs, our technicians will often dremmel out a small crevice in the shell, and pad the area around the spur. We will also ensure that you have a properly made footbed to reduce rubbing on the spur.

Cold Feet

There are a variety of reasons that your feet could be cold while skiing…the biggest misconception is that cold feet come from a boot that touches your toes. In fact, if your toe isn’t touching the boot, there is dead air space in the boot which will reduce the overall temperature.

The best way to prevent cold feet is clean, dry socks. ONE PAIR ONLY! Two pairs of socks interferes with a proper fit, which is the best way to keep warm. Instead of choosing a chunky, padded sock that won’t wick away moisture, choose a thin sock that keeps your boot fitting properly.

Another way to keep your feet warm in your ski boot is with a heater. Heated socks and liners come in many different styles which suit different styles of skier. While a ski racer may prefer a streamlined heated sock – such as a pair by Lenz with Bluetooth capabilities- any skier would fare well with the Conformable Pro Set Remote Foot-Warming System. It may ring in at a higher price point, but your toes will thank you after a full day on the mountain!

Shin Bang

“Shin bang” is exactly that – a bruise on the shin due to banging against the boot! The most common problem is that the boot is too big, and that pressure is not evenly distributed on the leg as the boot flexes. This can also be due to a lack of proper footbed – the angle of the leg changes, causing the shin to bang against the boot.

Aside from selecting a boot in the correct size, a booster strap can often fix the problem of shin bang. This dynamic power strap replaces the existing strap on your ski boot. Not only will a booster strap prevent your shin from banging against the front of your boot, but it will also lead to better ski performance & control and better shock absorption within the boot.

Toes Falling Asleep

If your toes are falling asleep, that means your boots are too tight, right? Not necessarily!

While our technicians will check the toe box to ensure that your toes aren’t being squeezed, the typical cause of toes falling asleep is an improper footbed. With an ill-fitting foot bed, the foot’s circulation is being cut off in an area where you may not feel it (i.e. inside the ankle or near your arch).

A proper footbed is key to a well-fitted boot. Our technicians will remove your sock and measure both of your feet while sitting and standing. This will ensure that your footbed allows for the collapse of your foot arch as your ankle bends. Our go-to brand of insole is Superfeet; these insoles are low volume, thinner, and are perfect for someone skiing less than 100 days a year.

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Brand Spotlight: Woolrich John Rich & Bros

Featured: Women’s Teton Parka

As a part of the historical Woolrich family stemming back to the early 19th century, the Woolrich John Rich & Bros line presents classic American fashion but with a twist of modern style. The company has come a long way since John Rich II first opened the Woolrich Woolen Mills in Pennsylvania nearly two centuries ago. After decades of catering to the outdoor lifestyle of the average blue-collar citizen, John Rich & Bros (JRB) helps to breathe new life into a remarkable heritage brand where practicality meets style. With a focus on adding a touch of sophistication to the style of daily life, the brand still manages to maintain the defining aspects of the Woolrich identity that was first created for American pioneers.

via Woolrich.

We can’t be the only ones who love Buffalo Check for fall – did you know that Woolrich was the first to release this iconic print? Introduced to the collection in 1850, Buffalo Check has become a worldwide staple for a heritage look. Legend has it that the designer of this fabric owned a herd of buffalo, so he named the fabric after his beloved herd. When worn with the matching printed pant, a “Pennsylvania Tracksuit” is born – this just might rival the denim on denim “Canadian Tuxedo!”

Another quintessential style from JRB is the Arctic Parka, which was designed and produced in the early 1970s. Created to outfit workers constructing the Alaska pipeline, this down-insulated parka remains a staple of the modern collection.

Having recently celebrated their 185th anniversary, Woolrich John Rich & Bros is a brand that seems to be getting better with age. As a true lover of fashion paired with function, Sporting Life is proud to provide a home for heritage pieces that stand the test of time.

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Brand Spotlight: Fjallraven

Featured: Men’s Canada Shirt, Men’s Keb Pant

Aside from their iconic Kånken backpack that we love oh-so-much, Fjällräven has spent more than 50 years leading the apparel industry in serving nature.

“To leave no trace is a motto among outdoor enthusiasts. And just as we would like to leave last night’s campsite so that the next visitors can enjoy undisturbed nature, we would also like Fjällräven as a company to have as small an environmental footprint as possible.” Fjallraven responsibility

Created in a tiny cellar in Örnsköldsvik, Fjällräven has emerged as a popular brand all over the world. Åke Nordin, an outdoorsman and scout, didn’t find that the backpacks of the time were very comfortable or fun. The bags were certainly not the same kind of backpack we use today; they hung shapelessly and forced you to walk doubled over.

Åke had read that if you were going to carry anything heavy, the weight should be positioned high up and close to the back. It was in the aforementioned cellar that he created a wooden frame. Using his mother’s sewing machine, he sewed a bag out of strong cotton material which he fastened to the frame using leather straps.

While in Ranger school, Åke realized that there was a market for functional,hard-wearing outdoor equipment. When he founded Fjällräven 10 years later, this backpack was the start of it all. Founded at his family’s home just outside Örnsköldsvik, the first backpacks with aluminum frames were created, and eventually the “condensation-free, lightweight tents, functional outdoor clothing and revolutionary sleeping bags which would come to be loved by a growing corps of outdoor enthusiasts around the world.”

As a company, Fjällräven is all about 3 things:

  • Developing durable, timeless and functional outdoor equipment
  • Acting responsibly towards people, animals and nature
  • Awakening and maintaining an interest in outdoor life

The 2017 collection from Fjällräven features sustainable apparel for those who don’t want to feel the cold. Through their Down Promise, Swedish Wool Project and developments in synthetic insulation, Fjällräven will keep you warm on nature’s terms.

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Brand Spotlight: Icebreaker

“A chance meeting with a merino sheep farmer had sparked something inside me, a passion. From that moment on I was hooked on the possibilities of natural solutions to technical apparel.”Jeremy Moon, Founder of Icebreaker

Founded in New Zealand in 1995, Icebreaker immediately emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the outdoor apparel world. While all other performance clothing was manufactured with synthetic fabrics, Icebreaker was a breath of fresh air: the company was (and is) committed to working with nature to develop a new kind of outdoor performance apparel.

It seems so simple. Merino sheep manage to thrive through the coldest winters and the hottest summers; why couldn’t that principle be applied to outdoor clothing?

“Whereas most companies start with the fabric, we start with the fiber.”
Pictured: Vertex Flurry Top, Vertex Flurry Legging

Created from natural, raw, super fine merino wool, Icebreaker apparel is biodegradable, annually renewable, ethically sourced and 100% made from nature. The brand contracts directly from the best wool-growers and shares their commitment to nurture and respect the land and animals. The company only uses what they need; the raw fiber is consciously transformed into fabric in a way that minimizes energy and water usage. Reducing the environmental impact is of the utmost importance!

Icebreaker remains a “merino pioneer” – they were the first to see the potential of this natural material that was capable of outperforming synthetics and plastics. Learn more about why they choose merino here.

Icebreaker only ever designs products that serve a purpose. Whether it’s keeping people warm or making them comfortable, Icebreaker creates products that people actually want and that are made to last.

We don’t know about you, but ethically sourced activewear that lives up to its promise of performance sounds like a dream come true.

We are fans in particular of 3 of Icebreaker’s design innovations: BodyfitZONE, Cool-lite, and MerinoLOFT. Layered up, these make for the perfect storm of performance apparel.

  • BodyfitZONE – an innovative technology that uses fine merino yarns blended with Lycra to bring natural warmth and body fit to enhance muscular performance and recovery. Strategically placed zone mesh panels create natural thermal dumping zones for optimal temperature regulation, breathability and next-to-skin softness.
  • Cool-lite – combines merino with Tencel, a natural fiber sourced from sustainable eucalyptus, that helps heat dumping and wicking to enhance cooling in the heat of the day. The merino component resists odor, breathes and regulates temperature when it turns cooler.
  • MerinoLOFT – a natural, intelligent alternative to synthetic insulation and duck down – MerinoLOFT is a machine-washable, wool blend, that provides highly breathable, super lightweight insulation even when wet.

Sporting Life and Icebreaker have teamed up to send you and your family to New Zealand – experience nature at its best! Learn more and sign up here, or visit us in store to fill out a ballot.

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Brand Spotlight: Parajumpers

Parajumpers designer Massimo Rossetti has successfully built one of the world’s leading outerwear brands. The first collection from Parajumpers had only 3 garments each for men and women, and the brand continues to succeed with a handful of immaculately designed pieces.

In a taped interview, Rossetti provides a glimpse into his creative mind. This intriguing designer finds inspiration in the seemingly most unlikely of places. The huge pocket found on many PJs styles was inspired by a research trip to Alaska; Rossetti saw a fireman’s jacket that had a pocket large enough to fit a helmet. This new and different design is one of many that sets Parajumpers apart.

The ultimate form of inspiration for Rossetti came from a chance meeting with a Parajumper. Parajumpers are a small group of people who train twice as hard as Navy Seals, however they are trained to save and not to kill. These heroes intervene all over the world and have been on thousands of operations that are unknown to most people. When Rossetti was asked to bring forward new ideas, it is clear that he needed to look no further than the image of a Parajumper. Rossetti’s designs are largely influenced by a backpack with nylon, zips and hooks, and now all PJs styles are full of such hardware. The signature hook on all jackets comes from a quick release parachutist hook, which has contributed to the creation of the Parajumpers image.

The original PJs collection consisted of identical jackets made of one fabric in four colours for men and women. These first styles were the Gobi, Kodiak and Denali. The Gobi features a two way zip that opens at the top and bottom. The bright yellow tab serves as a nod to Parajumpers, as yellow is a signal to find a person in a difficult situation. The jacket also includes an iPod pocket, cell phone pocket, and cargo pocket for whatever the wearer wishes to store. The men’s and women’s styles are nearly identical, with the exception of a removable interior in the men’s jacket.

In Rossetti’s own words; “we are a guiding light.” Parajumpers has proven itself to be an innovative and functional brand, and we can’t wait to see what new designs Rossetti has up his sleeve. We highly suggest watching the video clip below in which Rossetti details this brand history in his own words, and keep scrolling to browse the PJs styles that Sporting Life has to offer.

We are pleased to offer exciting new styles for fall – these lightweight, insulated jackets and vests are the ideal pairing of fashion and function. Shop fresh new jackets along with our favourite classic styles below.

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Why Your Child Needs a Helmet This Winter

Kids-Helmet

We all know the importance of wearing a helmet when you ride a bike – pavement is no joke! However, we often forget that a helmet is just as important for snow sports. Any time you hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard, you need to protect your head from unexpected impact. Even the most experienced skiers take a tumble once in a while! We stressed this idea last season for adults, but we feel as though we need to drive the point home for parents of kids just learning how to ski.

Even if a skier isn’t moving very quickly, a fall on snow can lead to some gnarly head injuries. According to a report from the New York Times, wearing a helmet when skiing has reduced head injuries such as fractured skulls, facial lacerations, and head lacerations by as much as 50%! Helmets also protect your neck from whiplash. Hit a bump and went down hard? Your helmet is what kept your neck from taking the brunt of the impact!

The last thing you want is a scary injury putting an end to a fun, carefree day in the snow – be prepared!

When choosing a helmet for your child, you need to be sure that it fits just right. A helmet is not something to “grow into” – in order to be safe, it needs to fit properly right away. It shouldn’t wobble from side to side, it should be snug, and the chin strap should secure comfortably without being too tight. After you have figured out the right fit, you can move on to aesthetics! Helmets come in all kinds of fun colours to keep your look fresh on the hill.

While many ski resorts do not require helmets, we do not recommend stepping out onto the mountain without one. Our experienced staff at our stores would be more than happy to help you in picking out the perfect helmet for your child’s head.

Along with a helmet, goggles are a must for safety when hitting the slopes. Paired together, a helmet and goggles will keep sun and snow out of your eyes. A helmet also helps goggles fit better; a good fit means less wind and moisture can get in! For busy ski parents, try this new helmet from Salomon – the built in visor will keep you from hunting for lost goggles, perfect for the little skiier on the go!

During our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter ski & snowboard event, junior helmets, goggles & ski poles are buy one get one 50% off!

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Wax On, Wax Off: The Barbour Wax Jacket

When it comes to heritage and fashion forward brands, there is nothing quite like Barbour. Founded in England in 1894, Barbour continues to produce quality apparel for men and women. One of our favourite pieces from Barbour- and one of their most famed- is the wax jacket. Designed to protect the wearer from the elements, the history of this iconic piece proves that it will last a lifetime.

The wax jacket’s history begins in 1910 with Uncle Harry’s coat. This coat was a double breasted outdoor coat that protected the wearer against foul weather. This coat has been passed down from generation to generation and still resides within the Barbour family. From a completely weatherproof wax cape in the 1920s to a motorcycle all-in-one suit in 1936, wax has made a name for itself in every Barbour collection. With a history in police and motorcycle wear, the wax jacket is designed to perform.

bedale-1980One of Barbour’s signature and most popular jackets, the Bedale, was introduced in 1980. This jacket is lightweight and short in length, and was designed by Chairman Dame Margaret Barbour as an equestrian jacket. This short length was perfect for riding, making it the ideal country coat! This jacket serves as the transition piece between countrywear and city style: this jacket paved the way for Barbour to become a fashion statement in an urban setting.

Barbour’s signature elements can be found in many wax jackets: 100% weatherproof, big bellow pockets, a large pull ring, two way zip and a corduroy collar. Today, waxed jackets are available in a range of styles and finishes from heavy and tough to antique and distressed. The wax jacket is perfectly described by Barbour themselves: “[the] wax jacket…is now as comfortable in the urban jungle as it is in the country.”

Shop all Barbour jackets at Sporting Life, or see some of our waxed favourites below.

SHOP WOMENS

SHOP MENS

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