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October 2015

Valhalla Pure's Founder Story

David Harley graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1976. After considering taking a corporate job, he instead hitched to California and chilled for a couple months. The SoCal beaches, combined with the jazz clubs in Hermosa and Redondo Beach were a great distraction before heading to Montreal for the summer to try to learn to speak French.

Eventually the summer faded to Fall, and like all dedicated skiers, plans for the winter needed to be made. Returning to BC [hitching across Canada once again] David stopped to work at the Banff School of Fine Arts- as a dish washer. Hiking every opportunity possible, David got into the best shape of his life. On the vertical walls of the Bow Valley, he encountered a revolutionary new product on the climbers he met from Colorado- Goretex fabrics.

Returning to his hometown of Vernon in the Okanagan Valley, including an epic hike from Sandon to Kaslo via Mt Carlyle, David set to designing and building the first Goretex clothing in Canada- using his new brand Far West Mountain Wear. First it was in the attic of his family's fabric shop, then a series of increasingly sophisticated factories in Vernon and Vancouver. The explosion in performance outdoor textiles fed the business through the 1980s. David and Far West found themselves accidental architects of what would eventually become Canada's outdoors industry.

In the early 1980s, David opened a small Far West retail shop in Vernon. Although insignificant at the time, it was the seed that soon grew to become Valhalla Pure Outfitters. Inspired by the healthy mountain lifestyle, Valhalla Pure became the go-to place for locals who loved the outdoors.

Each Valhalla Pure store is locally owned and built around the community it serves. Revelstoke, Vancouver, Nelson, and Canmore have very different local cultures. Valhalla Pure shop owners are notable outdoors people in their own right. From this diversity and expertise, grounded in BC and Alberta, our unifying theme has always been: offer authentic, cutting-edge outdoor gear and clothing in a knowledgeable and laid-back way that inspires trust.

After 40 years, David remains an active member of the team shaping the future of Valhalla Pure Outfitters. He is a backcountry skier, hiker, sailor and kite boarder, and lives with Kelley in the tiny village of New Denver- on Slocan Lake across from the Valhalla Park. He and his youngest daughter are hiking Kilimanjaro this winter. You can email him anytime