After a two year gap due to the pandemic, Alchemy of RIDE (AOR) designer Lynne Harrison is returning to Sun Peaks.
Harrison will be staying at the Grand, and her vibrant van stacked with artistic ski, snowboard, Nordic, bike and surf wear will be brightening up the centre of the village. On Saturday, Feb. 19, the designer plans to hold a pop up tent event on the Cahilty Creek Kitchen & Taproom patio.
From 11a.m. to 6 p.m., skiers and snowboarders can slide right up to the sale from the Gentle Giant green run off the Village Platter, or on foot from the side stairs.
A fan of Harrison’s designs, Cahilty Creek owner Yolanda Yoshy-Dye is thrilled to be part of the event.
“We love supporting local businesses as well as entrepreneurship,” she says. “Fun and different pop-up events like this are always exciting and an opportunity to bring in new business which can turn into repeat business, both for AOR and Cahilty Creek.”
Anticipating a flow of happy shoppers enjoying al fresco food and drinks, Yoshy-Dye feels the wrap-around view from the piste-side patio pairs perfectly with AOR’s panoramic prints.
“Our music theme is classic rock — that will be pumping out on the patio for an energetic and amped vibe,” she added. “It will be a busy long weekend and a great opportunity to showcase AOR’s beautiful apparel while enjoying some great local craft beers and delicious cocktails.”
The designer’s prints are inspired by her original artwork. Harrison told the Sun Peaks Independent News she calls on a lifetime of painting and drawing inspired by mountains scenery while crafting her pieces. Assiniboine, Mt Temple, Mt Hood and The Three Sisters are just some that have featured on her limited edition gear. She also offers custom designs, like making team kits for a variety of sports.
“I have brought in exercise shorts — like bike shorts with no chamois — and I’m also bringing in yoga tights and sports bras,” she explained. “My wind jackets are very utilitarian and can be used for a multitude of sports and my bike jerseys can be worn on the golf course as they have a collar.”
Founded in 2016, AOR was born from Harrison’s frustration with the lack of colourful mountain biking jerseys available. After seeing success with collections of apparel bearing her art, Harrison diversified into ski wear.
Harrison’s designs can be found in-person at her Canmore gallery, as well as in some B.C. and Alberta retail stores, but she explained her web presence has had the most significant impact since COVID.
“Online sales have increased tremendously,” she says. “The pandemic has definitely changed how people shop.” With a core market throughout North America, she is gradually expanding into Australia and the U.K.
Going on the road and hosting pop-ups is another opportunity to keep in contact with customers, Harrison added.
“I have done pop-ups at Vernon and expect to host in Whistler and Revy later in the season,” she said. “I love interacting with the public and helping them find something to wear that they are going to love.”
Face-to-face feedback is a chance for valuable research, too, yielding suggestions for zipper placements, removable hoods and other technical features.
With more Canadians than ever flocking to the ski hills, the pandemic could be fueling an increased demand for Harrison’s artsy sportswear.
“While bike apparel is the big market for me, ski apparel has really started to take off in the past couple of years,” she said. “I think people are tired of looking at another black jacket.”
Although she skis weekly at Sunshine and Lake Louise, Harrison loves to revisit Sun Peaks.
“I lived in Kamloops for seven years, my kids both learned to ski here and I have a ton of friends at the hill,” Harrison explained. “I love the village and find it to have such a wonderful welcoming atmosphere.”
“Coming back here to such a friendly family-oriented place is very fulfilling for me.”