April 07, 2021
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How did we get here? Climbing, cycling, chasing a polaroid along the Columbia River Gorge in the middle of a pandemic? All to commemorate 30 years of Polartec peaks, of course.

Started with a song

Just like with many Polartec projects, people thought we were crazy. "I thought it was a prank." Tim Wenzel said, referring to Polartec reaching out to license his Picture of You song. "I was like, 'there’s no way someone's heard of our band.' But here I am with a message on Bandcamp from Polartec asking to use it."

Like many Portlanders, Tim works in the coffee industry and plays music. He’s the Creative Producer for local roastery Stumptown Coffee, where he makes fun commercials — going as far as to produce the catchy music himself and with his band White Glove.

"Polartec came to me with the campaign concept: outdoor lovers finding their old photos for a Family Album. And I said, ‘wow, I guess my Pictures of You song kind of fits that perfectly, doesn’t it.'" Once Tim realized we weren't pranking him, he was on board as director, star, and music producer for the video.

Making The Legend

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The concept began as an idea to get people to search for their photos, but when Tim joined, it turned into, "what if there was a weird wizard-y mountain man who's just been up there for way too long. And he's there controlling the wind and leading our adventurists to the Family Album.

"We call him The Legend. He's a master of fleece and wind. He rocks awesome hair. He conjures photos with his magic and has been Peaking Since '91. Not only did Tim create The Legend, he became The Legend.

"Polartec came back with, 'how about a Jerry Garcia vibe?' and I was like 'Awesome. I freakin' love The Grateful Dead.'" Tim tried on several costumes, put on crazy wig after crazy wig, before finally settling on the last option. "When I sent the look, Polartec was like 'That’s the one!' Which is so cool. It's funny because as a creative, sometimes I have these wild and wacky ideas that don't always resonate, and folks are like, 'oh, that's actually not funny a tall.' But everyone was down with the look, the eyes, the wig, the leaf blower, the fan, everything.

The Gorgeous Gorge

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What better place to film an outdoor tribute than The Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest? The perfect backdrop for honoring the sports Polartec fabrics have supported for years. As scenic as it is, it’s not always the friendliest in Autumn. "We lucked out with no rain. It was super windy, though, but I think that just added to the mystique of The Legend. It was a huge shot list, a two-day production; we were just going and going.

"But going in a pandemic isn't so easy. You have to give that extra effort, make sure the crew is safe and follow guidelines. But in a year where we stayed inside, filming was that little bit of escape we all needed. "I hadn't been outside for that long since even before the pandemic," Tim said. "To just work for two days from sunup to sundown, it was just magical.

"Though our production isn't exactly Hollywood, our talent can method act with the best of them. We had a brilliant cast of true outdoor adventurers, Jen Yih, Jacqueline Rogers, Michael Valdez; All were given the challenging task of real paddling, cycling, and climbing. It wasn't fake, it wasn't special effects, it was an authentic performance that real athletes can appreciate.

Peaking Since ‘91

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When our heroes reach the top of the peak to find the Legend controlling their picture, here the music shifts from "Picture of You" to a mystical tune and original song from Tim, with the lyric, I've been Peaking Since 1991. "That resonates with me. I instantly get it," he said. "I have two young kids now, so I've been adjusting to being a father, but I like to get out and explore. For me, Peaking was being young, having fun, and living that life. I was all about that."

Polartec has been all about that life to this day. We've been outfitting adventurers with premium fabrics since 1991, but the Family Album lets us celebrate everyone who's been with us no matter the era. "Watching all these young folks come up and add to the Family Album, it's like a passing of the torch to the next generation of outdoors folk. It's pretty awesome."

Credits

Director: Tim Wenzel
DP:
Jon Humphries
Creative Director:
David Karstad
Art Director:
Sarah Gensert
Editors:
Tim Wenzel & Jon Humpries
Colorist:
George Costakis at Piñata Post
Video Effects:
Mike Barnett at Novelty Hat
Project Manager:
Fara Heath
Graphic Designer:
Veronica Newell
Administrative Assistant:
Jacqueline Clayton
1st AC:
Jared Rogers
2nd AC:
Peggy Knoebel
Gaffer:
Kevin McGee
GRIP:
Jeff Hehlen
Actor:
Jen Yih
Actor:
Jacqueline Rogers
Actor:
Michael Valdez
Actor "The Legend":
Tim Wenzel
Art Department:
Tobin Robinson
Art Department:
Molly Grebens
Stylist:
Nancy Wright
Production/Location:
Dustin Kimsey
Producer:
Karen Beck

Music: Intro song "Summertime" - White Glove
Main song "Picture of You" - White Glove
Last Song "Peaking Since 1991" - Tim Wenzel

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