I rolled into a very snowy Revelstoke marveling at the height of the snow banks. I have never seen so much snow. The piles soared over roof tops and I wondered how they could keep plowing them so high. After a long day, sipping one coffee at Starbucks, finalizing my receipts and taxes for 2017, I asked the baristas for recommendations for a local pub. The Village Idiot came as the response.
I saddled up to the bar and was taken aback when all three bartenders introduced themselves and asked my name. Not only did they get my name right without a fuss, a true sign of respect, they remembered it. No kidding, the next two times I walked into the bar, as if on Cheers, they would call out, “Hey Mahting whatcha drinking?” The bar was crowded and they seemingly did this to everyone. Now that’s great customer service.
At the bar, everyone chatted with everyone, mostly about skiing. I quickly started up a conversation with Jeff and Trevor. Jeff, a Manitoban, was visiting longtime friend and now local to Revelstoke, Trevor. Jeff, a hobbyist photographer (a damn good one), and had just finished up an Avalanche Safety course. Trevor, an entrepreneur, with an eco-friendly business making cool sewn goods. They were both as engaging as they were friendly.
Not having a ski partner for the days, I was in Revelstoke, I convinced Jeff to go touring with me off piste, just outside the ski area boundary. Unfortunately, Trevor was dealing with an injury and was not yet allowed to go skiing. Friendship grew quickly between Jeff and I as we climbing high into the alpine. The trees, ghostly in their presence and hidden by rime stiff as ice, created interesting touring conditions. Flying down the mountain we met little resistance and procured large smiles. The snow was stable and soft and copious.
Being a photographer, Jeff was glad to stop often and take lots of pictures, even going so far as to set up shots of me skiing. Pictures of me are rare as I am always behind the lens. While I know, we discussed much, I am acutely aware of how many times we just looked and it each other, grinned, fist bumped, and shared our joy over the fantastic skiing conditions. We likely could have skied more terrain had we decided faster, but there was simply so much good terrain to choose from. Jeff is not only and great photographer, great snowboarder, but also a ripper on a mountain bike. Check out his Instagram and be inspired.
Trevor was incredibly welcoming. Having used up my one night of free parking at the resort, he quickly offered up his driveway for parking the van (Pablo), and shower and fireplace. Sharing the joys of entrepreneurship, we talked long and hard about hosting solutions, websites, shipping, product creation, and marketplace adaptation.
A real source of joy for me was connecting with another entrepreneur that makes something tangible. While I appreciate the technology the pervades our life, I am put off by all the tech-based entrepreneurs who get millions of dollars of investment to create vapor-ware. Not only are they taking the money they seem to be taking the mentors as well. As soon as I mention making t-shirts and hunting to a Venture Capital investor or C-suite mentor they draw a blank stare and recede from the conversation, as if technology is the only thing we can make and sell.
Craftsmanship seems to be dying in America, as our things seem to last but one season and then fall apart. But it is certainly alive and well in Canada. Trevor’s backyard shop hosts a handful of sewing, embroidering and cutting machines. Trevor owns and operates U.S.E.D, a company focused on creating goods; bags, panniers, and other accessories from old seatbelts. Trevor goes out and collects seat belts from the junkyard, washes and repurposes them. They provide a super strong and durable material that will seemingly last forever. Imagine your Timbuk2, over the shoulder, messenger bag, but made of seatbelts. If you want to support a great guy, craftsmanship, the planet and want a unique bag go check out USED. http://recycledseatbelts.ca
Rolling into Revelstoke the piles of snow hid the town in a blanket of white. I am eternally grateful that I could uncover the generosity, kindness, and craftsmanship that resides there. Being able to tour through all that great snow was also a big bonus!