Why we love Fresh Air Experience!
By: Team XC Ottawa (2014/02/06)
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve already heard of Fresh Air Experience. Many of you probably go there often for all of your skiing and biking needs. Some of you, however, may be wondering what a Fresh Air Experience is, so let me explain.
Fresh Air Experience is a ski and bike shop, located at 1291 Wellington Street in Ottawa. And they’re our favorite ski and bike shop. Why is that? There are a few reasons:
The first reason is because they care about the skiing world and the skiing community in Ottawa. If you’ve been out to a ski race in Ottawa, you’ve likely seen their logo floating around. They sponsor almost every race that happens in the area, which is a great thing – having recently been a part of the organization of the XC Ottawa Duathlon, I can say that these things are a lot of work to organize and difficult to pull off financially without sponsors.
They also organize a lot of their own events, which helps bring visibility to the sport. For the past few years they’ve held a “Rollerski World Record Attempt” where they try to organize together the largest possible number of rollerskiers in one place. Rollerskiing being a surprisingly common sport in Ottawa, the turnout numbers were high.
The second reason is that they are sponsors of many of the ski clubs in the region, ourselves included. This is great for the sport in this area, and helps out the athletes a lot. Nakkertok Nordique, XC Chelsea Masters, Carleton University Ravens, as well as XC Ottawa (that’s us) are all sponsored by Fresh Air. If you’ve skied around at Nakkertok South at night, you’ll be glad that there is a full set of lights lighting the way on the main trails. Fresh Air Experience helped out a lot with the setup of these poles.
On top of being a great support to skiing in Ottawa, they’re also a great store to buy your ski gear at. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, and they’ve got great prices and very good stock. If you were to look at Fresh Air from the outside, you probably wouldn’t realize it – but this is one of the biggest cross-country ski shops in Canada. There’s a good reason too – they know their stuff, and their prices are very good.
For example, Fresh Air was one of the first stores in Canada to start using more advanced ski testing methods for ski selection, to test midflex and pressure distributions on the skis, whereas before much more basic tests were done. This allows them to choose skis that will work well for your weight, and the types of snow (powder, hard packed, slush, etc…) that the skis would be used in.
The staff members there are also great people who love to help out. On any given day you’ll get a different mix of staff, but here are some of the people you’ll see the most:
Ski Department Manager
Duncan is the head of the ski department at Fresh Air, and has been in the business for a while. He knows just about everything you need to know about skiing, and comes from a background of road bike racing, so he knows that field inside out as well.
Hidden talent: Duncan can do a very accurate bird imitation.
Bike Department Manager
Steph has also been at Fresh Air for a long time – over 20 years! He runs the bike department, and is great at setting you up with a new bike. He also does all the special orders and parts – so if they’re some spare part or special bike you can’t find anywhere else, Steph might be able to help you out.
Also known as “King Dan” and/or “Dan the Man”. Dan knows his way around all the aspects of the store, but specializes in mountain biking and race ski fitting. He also loves tattoos, and just got a new one on his arm!
Charlotte is in charge of the clothing department at Fresh Air. She knows the swimming/triathlon gear inside out, so she can set you up with wetsuits and the rest. Charlotte also is seen out training quite often, and word is she knits gloves at home.
Vic is the head mechanic at Fresh Air, and runs the small army of mechanics who do all the fixing and building in the basement. Vic is self-described as “loving to disassemble and reassemble things – especially fast things. With 2 wheels, or more.” He is a very knowledgeable guy.
Sales and Ski Testing/Selection
Nathan is part of the sales team at Fresh Air. He sells bikes, skis, and does repairs. He also does a ton of sports, and well. Nathan is probably one of the people I bump into the most out skiing, biking on the parkways, biking to work, etc…
Maggie is another member of the sales team at Fresh Air. She likes to take the time to do things right, get the perfect fit of ski or clothing for the customers. She’s also studying physics and math at Carleton University, is a self-described closet nerd.
Jon and Ali you may not see as often, but they do all the behind the scenes work of the store! You may however see their 3 young boys restocking the extensive wax shelves in the store!
Note: Unfortunately the whole Fresh Air Team wasn’t there when I was, so I’m missing many people here. Here are a couple of the part time staff that were in when I visisted!
Skis very well, and helps coach a ski team as well. He also plays the accordion!
Colin is a super nice guy, and apparently a very good cook too.
Jenny is studying chemistry, and is a great person to talk to, especially if you want to know more about the carbon nanotube lattice in ski poles, or the hydrophobic properties of high end ski waxes.
All in all, Fresh Air is a great store to buy your stuff. We wrote this article because we wanted to show our appreciation of the support they give us, as well as other team, athletes, and to the sport in Ottawa in general. This kind of support completely necessary for athletes to be able to continue to compete, and we definitely think its something to consider when you decide where to go for your ski equipment.
You can check out Fresh Air at the corner of Wellington St. and Smirle Ave, in Westboro, or visit them online at http://freshairexp.com/