Alchemy of Ride, Canmore

I asked one of the guides who lived in Canmore where the local hotspots were. She said, “The Wood and The Drake”, both anchor either end of the main 8th street drag. I decided I would hit The Wood, only because parking was easier. I sat at the bar and had their dry rub pork riblets. It was fair bar food. I turned to go, and saw a guy is this wild jacket. I had seen a skier at Sunshine with a similar ski outfit on. Colorful, loud, graphic, and with a retro feel. And here was this guy, sitting right behind me at the bar with this great jacket on.

I asked him about the coat—where did he get it? How could I get it? He happened to have a business card of the designer—I thought that was a little weird. I mean, who carries their clothes designer’s business card?

This fellow and I started a fun conversation. One of the other guys at his table told me he was famous. Oh, really? Yeah, who was he?

Me and the Crazy Canuck

Well, turns out the man with the coat was an original Crazy Canucks, one of four skiers from the 70s and 80s who traveled the world ski tour and Olympics. I had heard of the Crazy Canucks! This was Dave Irwin one of the original famous four! And he had the business card of the woman who designed his jacket!!

That night I also walked main street and found the Manitobah Mukluks I had discovered at Norquay. OMG, I soon was the proud owner of waterproof mukluks! I replaced my ten-year-old Ugg’s with First American (how Canadians refer to Native Americans) made lamb skin boots. I guess if I amortize the cost of the Mukluks over ten years, they aren’t THAT expensive….

I knew that the price tag on the ski clothes were probably beyond my normal budget. But I had just reposted an article on Facebook titled, “Between 65 and Death.” ( One of the points was not to save your money to give to your kids. We worked for it, we should spend it. And if we can afford it, we should buy nice things. There were about 17 other items on the list, but I can’t remember them. I only remembered the one that was relevant to me in this precise moment. And my kids are always telling me to go do stuff, anyway.

So that was the mindset I went into meeting Lynne Harrison, artist, non-profit philanthropist, creative, athlete and clothing designer.

I met with Lynne at her home. It turned out that the sly Crazy Canuck, Dave Irwin was Lynne’s husband!! Her clothing line was everything I had feared… must have, high quality, base layers, fleeced layers, technical fabrics. She had paddleboard rasher wear (which I didn’t even know what it was). I loved her “Dharma Mt. LeFoy” line and got her jacket and snow pants. I also got the “Weather Coming In” rasher (sunscreen long-sleeved T) and fleece. And I got a couple neck gaiters.  I left her home studio with more than I imagined, and I just kept saying to myself that my kids will just inherit artwear instead of money! Visit and get your own groove.

If only I skied better, being the brightest, most colorful target on the mountain wouldn’t be so bad. But the next day in my mountain guide group there were a couple guys in retro onesies ski outfits. I had a couple of those outfits back in the 80s. So cool. The three of us made for a fun, colorful wild and crazy team!

Three Targets

I was going to ski with Lynne at Sunshine the next day, but my vertigo had been triggered by my fall earlier in the week, so I had to bow out. I skied a very short day. The three of us, Dave Irwin, Lynne Harrison and I met for dinner at The Wood instead.

Dave Irwin (Crazy Canuck) Elaine Koyama, Lynne Harrison artist extraordinaire
NOTE my Manitobah Muckluks!

I loved Canmore. It’s a real town, with working people in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. My kind of town, my kind of people.


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