Merino in the Mountains
Lorene, Icebreaker’s Chamonix, France Store Manager, shared this amazing paragliding adventure with us:
When we opened the first Icebreaker store in Europe more than 4 years ago, I was looking for the best outdoor group in town to test Icebreaker gear…enter PGHM − police units of the French National Gendarmerie who specialize in the relief and assistance of victims in hazardous mountain environments. These teams are dedicated to saving lives in some of the toughest conditions − they deal with snow, avalanches, ice, crevasses, glaciers, alpine environments and high altitudes.
I arranged to meet with Olivier Fernandez , Training Director at PGHM’s National Training Center Ski and Mountaineering Gendarmerie (CNISAG) in Chamonix. After I shared all the benefits of merino wool with him, we both knew this would be a great partnership. Oliver and his crew decided to put Icebreaker to the test in real mountain conditions.
Our first gear test with PGHM was with six mountain rescuers conducting a ski touring raid in the Yukon. When the group returned they reported how comfortable, breathable and warm Icebreaker merino was − even in very cold bivouac conditions. It didn’t smell sweaty and the wool didn’t retain any of the campfire smoke. After that, it was easy to convince all of the PGHM mountain rescuers to only wear Icebreaker, and from there, the word spread quickly. The Chamonix Icebreaker store now works with numerous high mountain guides along with their customers, ski instructors, and mountains rescuers.
Olivier and I then had the great idea of holding Icebreaker Glide Events. Paragliding is definitely in accordance with the spirit of Icebreaker: “All good things are wild and free.” Paragliding has become a popular activity here in Chamonix and Olivier is a great ambassador
–now a lot of people can see Icebreaker in the sky! Below are photos of the team in the mountains on a paragliding mission.