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IT’S HERE! ICEBREAKER NAPIER

New Zealand’s coastal city of Napier is synonymous with both adventure and design.  A love for the outdoors and a great appreciation for nature and natural products is shared by locals and those passing through, making it a perfect home for Icebreaker. And so this week our doors opened for the first time in Napier’s bustling city center shopping area.

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We sat down with Amanda Salama, Icebreaker’s Global Retail Marketing Manager, and one of the many minds behind our latest store, and asked her for a behind-the-scenes look at the new location:

LOCATION
Napier, located in Hawke’s Bay on the eastern coast of the North Island, is known for its 1930s art deco and Spanish mission style buildings. In addition to amazing architecture and quaint shops, the area also has a reputation for outdoors activities such as fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, and parasailing (all of which Icebreaker clothing is perfect for!).

DESIGN
Each community is unique, and each Icebreaker store is uniquely designed to tell the Icebreaker story in the most engaging way. Upon entering the Napier store, customers are met by a “mountain” display that demonstrates how the Icebreaker layering system works. New Zealand merino sheep stations, where all of our Icebreakers are born, served as inspiration for the materials and textures featured throughout the store – everything from the natural woods for the walls, fitting rooms, floor fixtures and shelving to the natural steel incorporated into the design of the tables and floor hang bars. Finally, a community hub/library provides a space to spark conversation and discovery about Icebreaker’s heritage and brand. Our designers also have combined creative lighting with natural materials (like wood and stone) to evoke the feeling of being in nature.

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CELEBRATION
Come in and say hello during our grand opening party on Thursday, October 9th. Jeremy Moon, Icebreaker’s founder, will be there to welcome everyone – and to invite you to explore our latest collection and take advantage of exclusive grand opening specials while enjoying nibbles and Terra Sancta wines. Be one of the first 50 to flock through our doors and receive a complimentary gift bag of Icebreaker goodies. Plus, be in to win $1000 worth of Icebreaker! RSVP here.

Icebreaker Napier
Hours: Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm | Sun: 10am-4pm
Location: 65 Emerson Street Napier S | Napier 4110

Looking for Icebreaker in your area? Icebreaker can be found in more than 3,000 stores and 44 countries around the world. Find the closest one here.

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Preparing for the Race Ahead

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The Big Kahuna. The gnarliest mutha. The French/Italian/Swiss butt whooping. Whatever you call it, we are talking about the same thing: the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) 100-mile trail race.  First, let me tell you how I got here and what the heck all this means:

My name is Sydney Pitt. I work for Icebreaker as the Account Manager for the South US. Before I came aboard the flock, I was an Icebreaker lover. Always wore it, always loved it. One of the very best things is being able to wear the pieces multiple times without washing (travel, anyone?!). As true Icebreaker die-hards know, our mantra is “Adventure in Nature.” Having always been the outdoorsy type, as well as a runner, I feel pretty connected to the whole “Adventure in Nature” thing. For the past 4 years, I’ve really been loving the trail running scene.  Friendly folks, gorgeous views, and pain for days!  After getting a few 100 mile trail races under my belt, UTMB became even more attractive. High mountain views, friendly European villages to welcome the runners, running alongside Killian and Anton and Rory (oh my!), and really just the allure of the event. Unlike other races, this one isn’t just the type one can sign up for. One must accrue points over a period of time to qualify to even be in the lottery, to then have the chance to be drawn for the race.  On January 15th this year, after I’d spent many hours day dreaming of this moment, my name was drawn. Dang! I couldn’t believe I got in. Ultra marathoners all around the world hold UTMB in high regard. Firstly, it is the largest 100 miler in the world (roughly 2,600 entrants), the race passes through three of Europe’s most scenic countries, and has the most elevation change of any 100 in the world (70,000 feet).

Training started shortly after the draw. Hills for breakfast, hills for lunch, hills for dinner, hills for snack. You get the idea. Living in Austin, Texas (while fabulous), isn’t the most conducive place to train for a mountain race. I’ve been able to go up to Colorado a few times this summer to do some trail races and mountain training, but I’ve been spending a lot of time on the incline treadmill at the Pure Austin, a local fitness club that is an Austin institution. Sleep and recovery are the other most important components of training, and I’ve been trying to keep up with those as well.

Ok, I’ll try to answer the questions I’m most commonly asked.  The time limit is 46 hours. No, we do not sleep. Well, I guess we could stop in one of the little villages and catch a few minutes of shut eye, but that’s not really my style. Do we stop? No, not really. Except to eat…and eat we do! The race has well stocked aid stations about every 10-12k or so. In UTMB you will find things like dried meats (think Prosciutto), baguette, soft cheeses, chocolate, candies, coffee, coke, cookies, etc.  Hell, I’d pay just to go to this ‘buffet’!  Where do we go to the bathroom? Does a bear squat in the woods? Yes, so do trail runners. Unless we are at one of the little villages where toilets are at the ready, the outside is our toilet. Lastly, why.  Why am I doing this?  Ultra runners have a hard time explaining the allure of vomit, cramps, fatigue, hallucinations, and more to those who do not relate and don’t want to taste it themselves.  Running started out as a way to maintain fitness and allow me to eat Fois Gras and Ribeyes like the world is ending, but it has really become a hobby and a way I like to travel the world. The vistas and sites I will be privy to in this race are only available to those who work our way to each peak and valley. The fact that I can do these things is my motivation. Why not?  A wise woman once told me to never live a life I am less capable of, and I won’t!

An event like this takes dedication, but I’m not the type to take these things so seriously that I forget to have fun. Race week we will be celebrating my Mom’s 62nd birthday in Chamonix with bottles of champagne and delicious steak tartare. I guess what I mean is the best life is a balanced life. So I believe in the work hard-play hard mentality.  I just happen to take my hobbies to the extreme.

So, the big race day is almost here (August 29th). All the training is in the books. Now I’m just trying to maintain my fitness and not go crazy. After the race my awesomely supportive boyfriend and a few friends and I will be vacationing in Europe while we eat delicious food (my other hobby) and relax. Oh who am I kidding, and HIKE in those alps. Stay tuned for a post-race summary with photos, tears, and reviews of the best Merino apparel anyone could wear for an adventure in nature, Icebreaker.

- Sydney Pitt, Icebreaker Account Manager

Merino under the Microscope

Paul Sokoloff, a botany research assistant at the Canadian Museum of Nature, recently took part in a four-week expedition in the Canadian Arctic. Paul sent us this recap of his adventures:

When you spend a month conducting fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic, your priorities get a bit re-ordered. For instance: are you being stalked by a polar bear? No? Good. How about getting enough calories for the day’s hike, sparing little thought for your slim scientific figure (ha, I wish). Are you dressed for daily weather fluctuations that range from snowing to scorching? Most importantly, how do you smell – are you repelling even your hardiest co-worker?

Fortunately for us here at the Canadian Museum of Nature, our good friends at Icebreaker stepped in to cover those last two points by providing fantastic base layers, hoodies, and socks for our 2014 Botany Expedition to the Coppermine River in western Nunavut.

Photo credit: Roger Bull

Our team of three intrepid explorers – Dr. Jeff Saarela, Roger Bull, and myself, traveled along the Coppermine River Valley, sampling and recording all of the plants we encountered as we journeyed from the treeline to the shores of the Northwest Passage. Very little botanical exploration had taken place here previously; the vast expanses of shrubby tundra, windswept granite mountains and glistening meadows were truly a botanical terra incognita. All our poking around yielded hundreds of recorded species for the area – data that will serve as a useful baseline for monitoring climate change at the treeline, and serve as a solid foundation for Arctic science and exploration for a century to come.

As you might imagine, when you’re pushing back the frontiers of knowledge, there’s little time for bathing or laundry. Fortunately for us, our Icebreaker gear saved the day! Even when our socks were stiff from accumulated grime (gross…), they hardly smelled. 2014 was a particularly hot and dry summer in the Arctic, and our merino wool base layers handled us three sweaty biologists like a champ. Even better, after a month without so much as a rinse, one wash of my T-shirt got out all the accumulated DEET and sweat, and I was clean enough to travel south – sparing my fellow passengers from the smells of adventure. Without a doubt, Icebreaker merino is definitely our new go-to gear for Arctic fieldwork. Thanks Icebreaker for keeping us cool and scent-free (and please let us know when the technology for bear-proof sweaters becomes available.

To learn more about the Canadian Museum of Nature’s work in the Arctic, check out their website Extraordinary Arctic and follow them on Twitter.

Cheers, Paul Sokoloff

 

Have you been up a mountain, down a waterfall, or around the world in your Icebreaker? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us about your Icebreaker adventures and share your views, questions, and suggestions about our gear. Email us now at sm@icebreaker.com, share on Instagram and Twitter with #ShareYourNature, or simply comment on our posts.