Skating outdoors on frozen ponds and lakes is a treat for any Canadian kid, but those deep freezes were few and far between for anyone growing up in Metro Vancouver.
Rarely will the winters ever be cold enough, for long enough, to turn any sizeable body of Vancouver water into an impromptu ice rink (yes, yes, we know lukewarm winters are nothing to complain about), but on the off-chance that it does happen, you’d better believe we’re lacing up in droves.
- See also:
We were recently invited out to lululemon’s second-annual Outdoor Classic, a two-day “pond” hockey event that takes place on Lake Louise, which is flanked by a stunning set of mountains and the just-as-visually impressive Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Unlike the Lake Louise Pond Hockey Classic that is held directly after lululemon’s event (which we also happened to take part in), the Outdoor Classic was populated mostly by players affiliated with the company; be it employees, brand ambassadors, or members of the media like us.
To say that skating on Lake Louise blows any other frozen pond out of the chilly water would be an understatement — it was hard to keep an eye on the puck when there was such beauty to behold just above the iceline.
A total of 22 teams took to the carefully manicured ice to vie for the elusive cup and title of victors, with Team Vancouver besting Team USA for a climactic end on the Friday afternoon.
The two-day tournament is just one of lululemon’s many annual out-of-store experiences in Canada, which include the Outdoor Classic, Vancouver’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon, and 10 km runs in Edmonton and Toronto.
The company also recently opened a store in collaboration with Barry’s Bootcamp, which operates their famous Red Room out of the custom-built, speakeasy-style basement of lululemon’s Fourth Avenue location in Calgary.
We spoke with lululemon VP of Athletes and Influencer Programs Michelle Davies in a phone interview prior to the tournament, who said that many of these events were the result of collaborations between their stores and the communities they serve.
“Our communities, our stores, really tell us what our guests are wanting,” Davies said.
“Our stores were really passionate about this opportunity. They pulled in the team and said, ‘We’ve got to do this,’ and we listened.”
And while our team may not have come out with the trophy (The “Albeauties” went a respectable 1-3, though were arguably the most charismatic with On The Bench boys Olly Postanin and Jacob Ardown lighting up the show), we couldn’t help but be dazzled by the spectacular views, stunning ice sculptures, and electrifying atmosphere of this year’s Outdoor Classic, regardless.
Because, well, come on. Just take a look at this: