All The Difference

Discovering awesome local products and services that might just inspire you to look at something or do something in a whole new way.

Living sports, Looking street

Can you go from slope or trail to pub or party and look great even if you’re caught in a downpour along the way? Adam Laurin, owner of Commit, thinks so. He and friends at Colorado-based CG Habitat co-designed a new kind of shirt, taking all of last year to get the three-layer, engineered textile construction just right. The result is a remarkably light topper that looks made of denim with an impressive 10k/5k waterproof/breathability rating. Laurin explained, “In the ski world, we tend to see a lot of the same look and concept. In our minds, we wanted to produce functional fashion.” Creating the mash-up of sportswear and street wear started with practical considerations. “We’re in a pretty rainy place. This is about making garments for the place where we live,” said Laurin. But it was more than Fernie’s weather that inspired the final design. Local artist Josh Lloyd created the black-on-black print on the back and a discrete “CG” logo was kept, Laurin explained, in memory of legendary Fernie athlete Connor Gliege. Female readers, take note: Laurin admits his wife snapped up the shirt for herself. Is there a women’s collection on the horizon? Said Laurin, “We’re definitely working on that.”

Black Denim Work Shirt, $109, at Commit Snow & Skate, 462A 2nd Avenue, and online (starting January 15) at 

Refreshed Jewellery
Fixing jewellery is one thing. Subtly transforming a broken piece is something else. I watched as artist Kate Moran did just that – deftly repairing a broken gold chain necklace using fine wire and a tiny, uncut diamond to make a new link. “They’re discreet and sparkle only in the right light,” she explained. Tapping into her experience as a wire-wrapping artist, Moran has evolved techniques that produce finely wrought work but she’s no snob when it comes to the value of a piece or the type of repair. “I’ll restring plastic pearls or pearls worth thousands of dollars,” she said with a smile. And a fix can be just the beginning. A single strand necklace can be doubled, embellishments (real or faux) added to a bracelet or an earring, missing its twin, can morph into a new pair. You can think of it as recycling or reinventing. But the next time you look at your broken or forgotten pieces of fine or fashion jewellery, think of the possibilities.

Jewellery repairs start at $10. A link repair to a fine chain using a diamond is $20. (No, that’s not a typo.) Repair orders accepted at Coal Town, 591B 2nd Ave. For more info, go to

Snurf that Pow
The thought of shredding the gnar got you yawning? You need a change. A big one. How about setting those feet free and pow surfing? Yup. Binder-less. Also known as snurfing or NoBoarding, it’s actually a throwback to the original concept of snowboarding started in the Sixties. Warning #1: Be prepared for a really steep learning curve. Local resident Eric Nicolson of Snow Valley Surf Sticks, a ten-year veteran of the sport, said it took him about a year to get the hang of literally surfing powder. Now he makes binding-free boards of birch and poplar in his Fernie workshop. Nicolson explained to me that it’s a great alternative for “boarders trying to get into low-impact sports. Pow surfing can make mellow terrain fun again.” Warning #2: Backcountry untracked snow is best for this style of boarding so a pal with a snowmobile comes in real handy. But, hey, isn’t freedom meant to be shared?

A custom-made board (average price $400.) takes Nicolson about a week to craft. Contact him on Instagram @snowvalleysurfsticks.

Eric Nicolson with his son and some of his handcrafted boards and a work-in-progress.