Hey Neighbor

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, September 1998

Hey Neighbor

First: Get to Know the Locals. Next: Dress to Blend In. And Finally: Seize Canada
Fashion by Vicky McGarry, Photographs by Cathrine Wessel, Text by Susan Casey

It's tough to find on maps, but there's a piece of the United States dangling off western Canada, a small foothold ready for further settlement or to host a vanguard of invading troops, if things ever come to that. Called Point Roberts, it's the 4.9-square-mile tip of a Canadian peninsula hard by the Strait of Georgia, with 1,200 mostly American residents and a daily influx of Canadian "tourists" drawn by its cheap gas and convenient, if dowdy, marina. Military planners would love it, though. Both Vancouver and Whistler — Canada's most covetable properties — are within striking distance, not to mention the 75-mile ribbon of road linking the two. Known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the macadam flows among towering spruces and grizzled Douglas firs, past welcoming cliffs, and around pristine inlets that evoke the fjords of Norway. Frankly, it's the stuff of expansionist dreams. And Canada's a vast country — a 4.9-mile chunk of land here, a 75-mile stretch of road there ... who would miss it?

Actually, the locals on these pages might, since we're talking about their country and their playing field, otherwise known as the venue of their daily games: skiing, kayaking, climbing, biking, and more. Given all that, they'd probably have little time for border defense. But they'd get around to it, no doubt. National pride and all. So we'll put the invasion on hold for now, and instead just enjoy the action.

Shawn "Smiley" Nesbitt, Free Skier
Nesbitt's business card somehow fails to list housepainter along with his other vocations: "stunt skier, pro free skier, and pleasure enthusiast." Not to worry. With a recent fourth-place finish in the Pontiac International Freeskiing Challenge, and with sponsors warming up to the idea of funding a World Cup tour, it seems Nesbitt might soon be able to ditch the drop cloths and rollers. Red wool striped V-neck sweater, $70, and navy nylon Gore-Tex pants, $270, both by Burton; boots, $90, by Salomon; Nomad sunglasses, $65, by Spy.

Greg Mcmillan and Stephen Sumner, Founders, Repent Clothing
Observe the innocent cyclist, pedaling away happily in Vancouver's Stanley Park — and entirely oblivious to the flurry of fashion criticism unfolding a short distance away. "That guy needs new clothing," says Sumner. The cyclist, in fact, is wearing the usual flash biking getup: tight black shorts, noisy jersey festooned with random sponsor logos, and the ultimate horror, a mustache. McMillan shakes his head sadly. "There are a lot of people out there who need us," he says. "Us" would be Repent Clothing, a company that Sumner and McMillan formed last year and that will unveil its line this fall — a line that has its origins in the pair's futile hunt for a cycling jersey that didn't look, as Sumner gently puts it, "idiotic." On Greg: ivory down parka, $700, red fleece vest, $290, black T-shirt, $114, black nylon drawstring pants, $320, and sand suede boots, $340, all by Prada Sport. On Stephen: black quilted shell, $495, gray fleece vest, $90, ivory twill pants, $198, and black leather boots, $165, all Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren.

Chris Ladner, Owner, Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre
Consider the paddle-able waters around Vancouver: an obscene bounty of gorgeous coastline, graceful beaches, and heady surf, plus the ever-inviting Queen Charlotte Islands up the way. So is it any wonder that Canada's first ocean kayaking store should spring up in Vancouver rather than, say, Calgary? Since 1980, Ecomarine has offered charts, clothing, navigation and weather advice, lessons, and guided trips to aficionados of open-ocean kayaking, sea kayaking's more treacherous cousin. And for the truly ambitious paddler, Ladner also has seven Ecomarine outposts in Japan, just a few strokes across the Pacific. Iridescent indigo down parka, $190, orange fleece vest, $88, and khaki pants, $48, all by CK Calvin Klein Jeans.

Dick Cox and Dewey LaFavor, Kona Mountain Bikes
Out of an anonymous warehouse in Vancouver — as anonymous as a bright orange warehouse can be, anyway — Cox and LaFavor help produce Kona Mountain Bikes, among the most finely crafted and cunningly designed makes around. Case in point: the King Kahuna, a $6,000 titanium bicycle-cum-objet d'art that looks almost too beautiful to ride. Almost. "We design these bikes for ourselves," says LaFavor, Kona's head designer. This places each Kona bike before a demanding and slightly obsessed jury. How obsessed? Well, Cox, Kona's sales manager, still owns every mountain bike he's ever bought, and in case you're tempted to underestimate the level of his various devotions, check out his wedding band: bike-chain links. On Dick: ivory ribbed wool sweater, $110, white T-shirt, $29, both by Nautica by David Chu; indigo denim jeans, $50, by Nautica Marine Denim; boots, $110, by Sorel; Barakka sunglasses, $89, by Mantra. On Dewey: black chenille turtleneck, $160, by Fire & Ice; beige corduroy pants, $65, by Greg Norman Collection; boots, $80, by Nike; Barakka sunglasses, $89, by Mantra.

Mark Taylor, Sports Marketing Agent
"I wanted to build a career around my lifestyle," Taylor says, "rather than having a lifestyle around my career." Lucky him. So how's the career going? Taylor's PalmPilot entries read like a long and altogether too-ideal romp: surfing in Maui one week, boardsailing Hood River Gorge the next, a few weeks snowboarding in Europe, and on and enviably on. All this, by the way, in service of Taylor's company, which creates, markets, and operates sporting events such as World Cup snowboarding. And no, he's not hiring. Sand laminated zip-front jacket with fleece lining, $158, navy turtleneck sweater, $70, and charcoal twill cargo pants, $62, all by Kenneth Cole Sportswear.

Richie Schley, Wendy Brookbank
Omar Lundie, Michel Beaudry;
Whistler/Blackcomb Freeride Team

Forgive us if we're already dreading the inevitable Aaron Spelling series, but meet the Freeride Team, Whistler's expert-skiing version of an ambassadorial corps. Composed of the region's most accomplished all-mountain skiers and snowboarders, the 12-member team acts as on-piste guides and coaches, providing a painless entr‰e to the nastier (read "dangerous") areas of the resort's high alpine. Starting next season, the team will also offer programs that stray far from the average downhill run, such as teaching its charges to tackle the halfpipe on short skis and leading overnight ski tours complete with Mongolian yurt accommodations. Feel free to insert your own Hollywood casting choices here. On Richie: blue quilted fleece vest, $115, blue velour top, $125, and black nylon pants, $45, all by Tommy Hilfiger; Wingnut sunglasses, $95, by Smith; boots, $90, by Salomon. On Wendy: yellow quilted jacket, $170, yellow and green Dri-Fit top, $64, and black Dri-Fit tights, $75, all by Nike; sneakers, $79, by Salomon; Night Rays sunglasses, $55, by Scott. On Omar: black hooded top, $100, orange Dri-Fit top, $75, orange Storm-Fit pants, $195, and black leather boots, $80, all by Nike; Buzzsaw sunglasses, $95, by Smith. On Michel: red fleece shirt, $65, by Woodlake; black ski pants, $125, by Nautica by David Chu; boots, $90, by Salomon; Double Helix sunglasses, $89, by Killer Loop by Bausch & Lomb.

Todd Inouye, Climber
You might say that graphic designer Inouye was reeled into sport climbing the way a bass is reeled to the boat: He chased after a shiny chunk of metal. The analogous tale: Wandering through a mountaineering shop 11 years ago, Inouye glimpsed a particularly well-designed piece of climbing equipment known as a camming device. He bit. These days the only hours he doesn't spend on rock walls he spends affixed to his computer — a decidedly less risky undertaking. And one that prompts another analogy (the last, we promise): As Inouye says, "In climbing, there's no command-Z." Blue quilted parka, $135, and black tights, $59, both by The North Face; shoes, $79, by Salomon.

Steve Smart, Professional Skier
Somebody once said that the hardest teaching was the teaching of other teachers. Did you get that? Actually, it could have been Smart who said it, since the former professional freestyle skier is an instructor of both clients and other instructors; his Performance Ski Camps help downhillers make that last small yet excruciating step from very good to great. Orange down jacket, $195, orange fleece shirt, $98, and indigo denim jeans, $50, all by Tommy Hilfiger; boots, $110, by Salomon.

Christian B‰gin, Director,
Radical Films

Kranked, B‰gin's movie about extreme mountain bikers, is the Titanic of its genre: It sold 20,000 copies on video in two and a half months, making it the fastest-selling cycling flick of all time. Which means B‰gin is now king of the world, right? Well, no, but it should at least draw a little extra attention to his latest film, No Man's Land, which premieres this month. Not that it needs the buzz, since it's guaranteed to get noticed as the first major ski and snowboard movie featuring only women. Ivory fleece vest, $89, and black tights, $45, both by Nautica by David Chu; ivory ribbed turtleneck, $85, by Nautica Marine Denim. For more information, please turn to page 174.

Eric Pehota, Ski Mountaineer
Pehota has a problem. Somewhere in British Columbia is a 55-degree pitch that begs to be skied, but after seven years of trying Pehota still hasn't managed it. Which is to say no one has managed it. "I go to the base every year," he explains, "but the conditions haven't been right." Though Pehota has hundreds of first descents to his credit (don't bother to ask the exact number; he doesn't keep count), it's that one virgin face that haunts him. So he waits, and checks, and waits some more, stalking what he calls "the last big coup in the corridor." And hoping no one else finds it, lest they be able to ski it before he does. So if you're counting on watching Pehota when he finally tries the slope, well, sorry: "I can't say where it is." Burgundy polo shirt, $31, gray corduroy pants, $50, and belt, $26, all by Quiksilver; X Metal Romeo sunglasses, $250, by Oakley.

Where To Find It
Burton, 800-881-3138; CK Calvin Klein Jeans, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Dayton Hudson Stores; Fire & Ice, 802-334-6507; Greg Norman Collection, 888-667-6264; Kenneth Cole Sportswear, 800-536-2653; Killer Loop by Bausch & Lomb, 800-343-5594; Mantra, 888-626-7669; Nautica by David Chu, 800-403-7449; Nike, 800-352-6453; Oakley, 800-403-7449; Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren, Polo Sport Stores Prada Sport, 888-977-1900; Quicksilver, 800-576-4004; Salomon, 800-225-6850; Scott, 800-292-5874; Smith, 800-459-4903; Sorel, 800-667-6735; Spy, 760-752-9900; The North Face, 800-719-6678 x155; Tommy Hilfiger, Macy's, Dillard's Burdines, and Parisian's; Woodlake, 212-302-2188

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