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Pack less, Travel Further

“I’ve never heard of anyone going to El Salvador” was the common response when Ben and I informed friends and family of our upcoming vacation. That didn’t put much confidence in our travel choice, well, that along with the travel warning received by the US government when we bought our tickets. What we did know was a friend visited a surfing hostel there and said it was a vacation of a lifetime. We were looking for the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation and now that our time in the surf has come to an end, I can say that we accomplished just that.

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El Zonte, El Salvador

We flew into the small airport and were instructed to meet at the “Pizza Hut” upon arrival. Great, I’m thinking as neither of us speak much Spanish and we had no idea who was picking us up or where this pizza place was. After stepping off the plane, we where directed to customs (which is nothing like in the US). Our line was short, as we were the only non-natives, and we were in and out in less than 5 minutes. We walked out of the airport and sure enough, there were two tanned surfer-looking guys holding a sign with our names.

That evening at the hostel, we were greeted by a friendly woman named Isabel with ice cold cerveza’s in hand. She was known as the ‘hostel mom’ and showed us around before we hit the hay. As we awake the next morning, we’re able to see the beauty of where we are. The town itself “Playa el Zonte” is nothing more than a few hostels and couple of shacks and that’s exactly what we were looking for. That morning we have our first surf lesson. With our lack of Spanish and their lack of English, I feel it went pretty well. During the next few days we accomplished the perfect combination of surfing and hammock laying, as there is not much else to do in Zonte.

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On the third night we met another Gringo Willi from CO, he clued us in to a trip up to “Ruta de Las Flores” which is the volcanic coffee area of the country.  As it turns out this trip was simply a quick vacation for a local tour guide named Rivas, which we were lucky enough to get in on.   This region is quite a bit different in elevation and climate than the coast, and we weren’t sure that we were prepared for the weather.

Our first stop was a food festival which occurs every weekend in the town of Concepcion de Ataco. We ate traditional Salvadorian food and moved on. We stayed in a town called Juayua, which has the look of an old conquistador inspired village. Our guide, Rivas, chauffeured us along to his favourite spots, which of course, were owned by friends of his.  Our first stop in the morning was a coffee tour where we met a roaster named Cesar. We roasted our own batch of coffee and learned all about the different coffee types and were able to enjoy the perfectly brewed cup we prepared.

Our next stop was the natural hot springs, which was basically the essence of relaxation and rejuvenation. This was followed up with a zipline tour through the canopy before headed back to the beach. This mini trip within our vacation was amazing, and luckily the one change of clothes we brought on the trip were our Icebreaker base layers and T-shirts which worked amazingly well for both climates and all of the activities we could get ourselves into.

At Icebreaker we say “pack less, travel further” and that’s not just a tagline. Our Icebreaker gear allowed us to be agile and spontaneous since we had no restrictions based on what we did or didn’t pack.

-Ashley Stuart, Icebreaker Digital Marketing Coordinator

Merino Movement for Meaningful Change

“We’re trying to be at the very forefront in this evolution of the supply chain and as a consequence create the cleanest and most technically advanced product in the world.” – Icebreaker Founder, Jeremy Moon

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Since our very beginning, Icebreaker has been about nature and sustainability. We fully believe in transparency and our goal is to make products with deep integrity. Our US Headquarters Team in Portland, Oregon recently had the pleasure of sharing this commitment to sustainability with a like-minded group of executives and entrepreneurs from the textile industry who were in town for the First Stop Portland Textile Program hosted by Portland State University and Sustainable Hub.Texbrasil icebreaker (1)

Portland’s First Lady Nancy Hales, wife of Mayor Charlie Hales, is an Icebreaker enthusiast and wanted to share her love of merino wool with program attendees. She hosted the group at Icebreaker’s Portland TouchLab store for a meet-and-greet on November 8th. The night was filled with discussion on the different ways we’ve continue to evolve and improve our products throughout our 20 year history.

Christy Evans, Head of Icebreaker Product Operations, was on hand to share Icebreaker’s dedication to design a sustainable, low-impact, ethical supply chain. She provided the group with a look at our Fall/Winter 2014 collection. This season is a true testament of Icebreaker’s innovation, sustainability and respect for nature, which includes our new MerinoLOFT insulated jackets and hoodies that are made with recycled merino. The idea of the visit was to better understand what are the challenges and also the opportunities that Icebreaker is building internationally using its sustainable DNA. Marcelo Torres, co-founder of Sustainable Hub said, “The Icebreaker visit and discussions were one of the best experiences the group had throughout their week in Portland.”

The night was a huge success – the audience left with a comprehensive understanding of how Icebreaker has continued to make sustainable choices within the textile industry. You can also learn more about Icebreaker’s ethics and supply chain here.

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Icebreaker’s Head of Product Operations, Christy Evans (shown far left), showing attendees our newest product innovations.


Incredible Patterns in Nature

With nature as his canvas, Simon Beck creates works of transcendent beauty. Beck is a British nature artist who draws breathtaking artworks in snow and sand. His meticulously patterned tracks are each perfectly timed and designed using not much more than a compass, grid paper, and either snowshoes or a rake.

“I love creating art, engraving it into nature and sharing it with people” – Simon Beck

Respect Nature.
Simon is the first partner in Icebreaker’s #ArtOfNature seasonal collaboration with artists who respect nature, work in nature, and use objects found in nature. Beck’s intricate, gigantic, awe-inspiring snow and sand drawings have been captured as designs on Icebreaker merino wool to symbolize our commitment to the environment and to helping solve climate change. A portion of the proceeds from the collection will also be donated to Protect Our Winters, an environmental non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness around the impact of climate change.

Simon Beck mapping design Photo credit: Alex Buschor

Simon Beck mapping design Photo credit: Alex Buschor


Work in Nature.
Working for 5-10 hours a day, Beck creates artworks that are typically the size of three soccer fields. The geometric forms range in mathematical patterns and shapes that make stunning designs when viewed from higher levels. Beck starts by measuring outwards from the center of his pieces, forming straight lines by using a compass and walking directly towards a point in the distance. When the primary straight lines and curves have been made, points are measured along them, using pace counting for distance measurement, and the shaded areas are filled in.

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Beck’s incredible snow patterns can take up to three days to complete, and require trudging through up to 25cm of snow in snowshoes. The designs only last a couple of days before fresh snow falls, laying a blank canvas over the finished work. Most of Beck’s designs are created on frozen lakes in Les Arcs, France, where local skiers can spot them from the chairlifts, but can’t ski over them. This Icebreaker-inspired merino ram’s horn was created at Bachalp Lake in the Swiss Alps. More here.

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Beck recently started to explore other landscapes for his art, including sand. He uses a rake to draw the darker shades and, just as with his snow art, the designs exists for a limited time only. Typically as he is putting the finishing touches on an awe-inspiring sand artwork, it’s washed away by the tide. Last week, Beck spent nearly six hours on the beaches of Maori Bay raking out this brilliant rosette for our #‎ArtOfNature‬ Collection.‬


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Photos: Rafael Bonatto.

Check out the designs and shop the Simon Beck collection.