Brand Spotlight: Blackyak

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This season at Sporting Life, we are welcoming a number of exciting new brands to our stores. One of these additions is the Korean outerwear brand Blackyak. Founded in 1973, Blackyak caters to the adventurous outdoorsman. Developed by mountaineers, quality and functionality are the cornerstones of this back country brand.

Why a yak, you may ask? Yaks are the most useful animal in the Himalayas. Without them, trade between Nepal and Tibet through the Himalayas would have been impossible. They can carry up to 220 lbs each, and they walk over treacherous trails and snow-covered passes. In addition to being creatures of burdon, they plough fields, provide meat, milk, butter, wool for clothing, and dung for fuel. Their bones are used to make various artifacts, and the hair of the yak is used to make rope, sacks, blankets and tents. Nothing is wasted from this incredible animal. The resilient and strong nature of the yak is what Blackyak customers strive for.

Blackyak’s ideology is based on four pillars: customer care, quality first, dedication, and rule of mountain. Customer service is at the base of everything this company does, which aligns perfectly with the ideals of Sporting Life. Everything starts from quality, and Blackyak works hard to earn their excellent reputation. This dedication to customer service and quality is what makes Blackyak an exceptional up and coming brand in Canada.

True mountaineers climb by the rule of mountain, and this can be applied to real life. From the mountain, one can learn moderation, tolerance and perseverance; Blackyak does business based on these lessons, and our customers may be inspired to live their lives the same way.

We love Blackyak for its colourful yet sophisticated nature, as well as its layering capabilities. The colour story ranges from black to bright yellow, and if you look closely at each piece, you can see the face of a yak in the design! Blackyak offers jackets and pants perfect for layering in order to create the ideal head to toe suit. Currently available in men’s styles, Blackyak is a welcome addition to Sporting Life’s outerwear department.

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Junior Ski & Snowboard Half Back Program

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Are you a member of our Lifeline program? By providing us with your name, phone number and email, you are added to our client recognition program to make your Sporting Life experience the best it can be! Once you are signed up for Lifeline, we are able to inform you of promotions as well as determine the best service for you and your lifestyle. Sign up here.

As you may have heard, our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter event is on now; this is the perfect time to take advantage of the Junior Half Back associated with our Lifeline program.

Designed for your budget and for your kids, the Half Back program ensures that your children get properly fitted for safety and performance. After purchasing a ski or snowboard package, you as a parent may return the package at the end of the season for a credit of half the value purchased to use for the following year. Allow your children to flourish in their sport with the best available equipment season after season! This is applicable to junior recreation ski and snowboard boots, skis, snowboards, and bindings.

Find amazing deals on winter equipment for your children during Kids Can’t Wait For Winter, and see what else our Lifeline program has to offer.

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Wax On, Wax Off: The Barbour Wax Jacket

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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 wax jackets at Sporting Life, or see some of our favourites below.

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This Throwback Trend is Back on Track

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It’s #TBT time, and we have the ultimate throwback for you this week.

Everyone remembers the days of Paris Hilton rocking Juicy Couture velour tracksuits in every hue, or Missy Elliott’s adidas ensembles. The tracksuit trend seems to have died out years ago and has lived on in memory of comfier times.

Well, lovers of athleisure, you’re in luck: Track is BACK and trendier than ever!

Juicy Couture has initiated the #TrackIsBack campaign to promote the resurrection of the tracksuit. Sequins and velour are no longer a thing of the past; Juicy has revived their classic designs that scream “fashletic”, and we’ve noticed that other comfort brands are following suit. If you’re still not sold on bringing back the tracksuit, look to some of today’s most fashion forward celebrities. They’re totally buying into the tracksuit trend and making us want to run out and buy velour sweats in every colour.

Comfortable, effortless style is always the end goal, and a chic tracksuit is a surefire way to get there. We are loving the fun prints offered by Adidas and EA7, and the sparkly details we know and love from Juicy Couture. Whether you’d prefer a neutral colour palette, a fun fabric, or the classic velour, brands are producing a wide variety of styles that perfectly combine style and comfort.

What do you think: will you bring track back this fall?

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The Best InVESTment for Fall

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Days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping…it looks like fall is officially here. The time has come to unlock an entire section of your wardrobe and bring out the layers! When it comes to fall fashion layering, there is one important piece that everyone should inVEST in…

You guessed it! Vests are the ultimate layering piece for autumn. We love vests because of their versatility; whether made for fashion or the outdoors, a vest is a stylish way to add warmth and dimension to any outfit. Today we’ve laid out the best 12 vests for men and women. Between fashion, outdoor and quilted pieces, dressing for style and warmth will be a breeze this fall.

Which style of vest is your favourite?

QUILTED
The hybrid vest: fashion meets function. Quilted vests will keep you warm while adding texture to an otherwise neutral outfit. Barbour offers the ultimate selection of stylish quilted outerwear, but brands such as Ralph Lauren are contenders to fight for that top spot. Get into the English look this fall; style your quilted vest with a pair of boots or a wax jacket!

FASHION
For Fall 2016, fashion brands are coming at you with trendy vests in an array of colours and fabrics. Lovers of shearling and suede, this season’s selection is calling your name! Velvet and Esprit in particular offer styles in beautiful, soft fabrics. Fashion vests are perfect for creating transitional outfits, elevating casual clothing, or adding colour to a neutral fall palette. Whether for daytime or evening, try accessorizing your outfit with a vest this season!

OUTDOOR
For a day spent hiking through the woods or apple-picking with your family, an outdoor vest will keep your core toasty warm all day long. Down vests come in varying degrees of puffiness, from slim to Michelin Man. No matter your preference, vests from brands such as Canada Goose perform well on their own or layered with other technical pieces.

 

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Brand Spotlight: Parajumpers

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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.

m_masterpiece-3In 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.

One of Parajumpers’ newer styles that has become quite popular is the Long Bear. This women’s jacket is a knee length coat with a removable hood and detachable fur. This makes the coat easily machine washable; an incredibly practical feature for a winter coat!

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.

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The Perfect Fall Jacket – Arc’teryx Atom LT

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Arc’teryx continues to be a leader in the outerwear market year after year. This fall, the Atom Series provides versatile technical insulation to support any lifestyle.

The Atom Series is designed to perform no matter the elevation, trip length or weather conditions. The fabric is weather resistant, meaning it successfully protects the wearer from precipitation and blocks the wind. This line of jackets is filled with Coreloft™, which retains warmth and resists moisture build-up.

If you’re unfamiliar with Coreloft, it is Arc’teryx’s proprietary insulation. Coreloft is a silicon treated synthetic insulation that is incredibly lightweight and breathable. Not only does it retain loft, it also remains warm when it gets damp; ideal for any outdoor activity in the upcoming colder months. Other features of the Atom Series reflect the superior design offered by Arc’teryx: No-Slip Zip to keep your coat done up all the way, vertical drawcords, and air permeable fabric to regulate your body temperature.

The Atom LT is the most versatile style in the series, and it is the sole Atom style available at Sporting Life. Sporting Life offers the Atom LT with and without a hood and in a range of beautiful colours. The insulation and weight are suitable for a range of temperatures, and this jacket serves as the perfect weather resistant outer layer. The Atom LT can be worn on a weekend trip to the mountains, or as a fashletic option to pair with a casual outfit.

The downside of the Atom LT? Making this tough decision: hood or no hood?

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Tuning Skis in Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Picture of the team's Slalom skis.
Picture of the team’s Slalom skis.

At Sporting Life, we pride ourselves on having the best of the best staff in all departments. This month, our Ottawa service shop manager Alex had the opportunity to go to Switzerland to tune skis and learn from world-class coaches and technicians. We have received quick updates from Alex on our Facebook page, and we now have a full reflection on what he gained from this incredible experience. Take it away, Alex!

Having had the opportunity to spend time in Europe with world-class athletes and techs for two weeks, I’ve gained a unique insight into the amount of equipment preparation and maintenance that goes into making sure the athletes can have a successful day on snow. Every day after training, skis get unstrapped and wiped down in order to get sharpened and waxed for the next day of training. With each athlete using 2 to 3 pairs a day, it equates to about 5-6 hours of work for two technicians each evening. That doesn’t include the time that has gone into getting each pair prepped for tuning during the summer either!

What I’ve learned most from my time here in Switzerland is that from the World Cup level right down to the club level, there is only one way to properly prepare and tune skis. While it is true that some technicians might use different tuning techniques and tools, the overall end product should always be the same. This is regardless of who is skiing on the skis and how good they might be. I have been extremely lucky to work under an experienced technician as I’ve been able to see first hand how a world class tech prepares and tunes skis. This has allowed me to compare it against the quality of my own work.  It makes me proud to say that the skis prepped and tuned at Sporting Life by my team and I can be considered nearly world class. It’s also exciting to know that the skills and tricks that I have learned here in Europe will be applied in our shop to further refine our ski preparation and make our service that much better.

View of all the Super G and Giant Slalom skis used by the team.
View of all the Super G and Giant Slalom skis used by the team.

There is a lot of work that goes into making a pair of skis ready for training or race day. All race skis are nowhere near ski or race ready when they are peeled out of the plastic for the first time and need to be prepped prior to tuning. A brand new ski has top sheet material at the tip and tail and a ridge of excess sidewall that needs to shaped/removed. The aim of a ski prep is to expose the edge along the entire length of the ski so that the file can make full contact with the edge. If the top sheet at the tip and tail has not been shaped and the sidewall has not been removed, it will be almost impossible to get the edge set to the desired angle. Once the ski has been prepped, the side edge and base edge can be sharpened using a combination of files, diamond stones and/or ceramic stones. The object is to set the side and base edge to best suit the athlete and discipline the ski is used for while getting the edge to be razor sharp and smooth. Lastly, the base needs to be hydrated by using the appropriate wax determined by looking at snow and weather conditions. It is important to use the correct type of wax, otherwise you might hinder the gliding performance of the skis. In addition, it is imperative to make sure the skis bases still have a visible grind pattern and a lovely shiny finish. After waxing, all that is left is to do is to carefully and thoroughly scrape off the excess wax and use several different types of brushes to clean and polish the base.

Image of a tail after it has been shaped and sanded smooth.
Image of a tail after it has been shaped and sanded smooth.
Image of a tip after it has been shaped and sanded smooth.
Image of a tip after it has been shaped and sanded smooth.

 

The sidewall after its excess has been removed and sanded smooth. Its important to sand the sidewall to be as smooth as possible in order to reduce friction when in contact with the snow.
The sidewall after its excess has been removed and sanded smooth. Its important to sand the sidewall to be as smooth as possible in order to reduce friction when in contact with the snow.
View of the base after it has been waxed and brushed. Notice the visible grind and glossy finish on the base. If the grind is not clear and the base is matte in colour, the base is damaged and needs to be brought in for a grind.
View of the base after it has been waxed and brushed. Notice the visible grind and glossy finish on the base. If the grind is not clear and the base is matte in colour, the base is damaged and needs to be brought in for a grind.

Having skis that are properly prepared and maintained are essential parts of an athlete’s success on the slopes. Sporting Life offers a variety of professional shop services that promises to prepare and tune all types of race skis at the highest possible quality. Our stores offer services that range from sidewall removal to full race tunes using our Wintersteiger base grinding machines. Sporting Life also offers a Pronto Race service which is basically a season’s pass to our shop, where we will prepare and maintain your race skis for the entire season. If you have any questions in regards to proper ski preparation and tuning or our services, we welcome all ski racing enthusiasts to come by the store to speak to a technician.

A former coach and mentor once said to me: “Success is where preparation meets opportunity”. This season, please let Sporting Life take care of the preparation so that your son or daughter can have the best opportunity for success!

 

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Brand Spotlight: Lazypants

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Get ready to hit comfort level 100 this fall!

Lazypants continue to be one of the most popular sweatpants on the market. Constructed from a seriously soft cotton-poly blend, these elastic-waist pants will make weekends that much better. As described by Lazypants themselves:

“We make comfy clothes for: After a long day at work, After a late night out, After a tough workout, Instead of a tough workout, After school, After the beach, After dinner, Especially after sushi, After yoga, After the game, After a bad date, After a great date (hell, during a great date). After literally anything.”

Lazypants are the perfect addition to your back to school wardrobe. They’ve got you covered for early morning classes, late night study sessions, heading to and from the gym, and movie nights with friends. Available in a variety of fun colours, Lazypants will keep you warm and cozy as winter approaches. What are you waiting for? Get Lazy!

Need some Lazy style inspo? Celebrities love this awesome comfort brand:

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