Name: Matthew Irvin
Date and Place of Birth: December 16th 1990, Vancouver BC
Current Profession: Stumböck Ski Guide and Designer of Colorshape Clothing
Where is “home” for you?:
Home will always be in Kimberley, where I grew up; however, in the past years, there have been many places in the Kootenays that have been home and that hold a dear place in my heart.
What are your favorite sports?
Skiing has been my number 1 for as long as I can remember. Biking comes in at a close second…first downhill, then cross country. Table sports (table tennis, tischfussball, and billiard sports) are always a really good way to spend time when not skiing or biking. I guess I should mention swimming too. I was a competitive swimmer for the majority of my life so far and I still enjoy getting in the water here and there.
What is it you like most about skiing?
This question has diverse answers. Skiing is a special activity. Most of us ski for the pure enjoyment and fun we get out of it. It is, quite simply, a superbly fun thing to do. Anything that can bring us to screaming, yodelling, hooting, hollering, laughing, and smiles ear to ear must be a really good time. If I had to narrow it down to my absolute favorite part about skiing, skiing deep powder absolutely, without question is the winner. But I feel like I should mention that being in nature, being with friends, pushing my body and mind to perform at their best, and dropping cliffs are all things that bring me great joy and fulfillment.
What’s your favorite place to go skiing? Do you have a favorite resort, favorite runs?
For me, I prefer steep and technical terrain. The resort that meets those requirements the most is Kicking Horse in Golden BC. It has so many in bounds chutes. The terrain really makes you think about your skiing and presents many challenges. Many of the runs have lots of rock exposure, tight entrances, and cliff possibilities. Kicking Horse has 3 peaks and ridges that require you to hike to, all of which boast amazing terrain that I love to ski down. Whitewall, accessed by Stairway to Heaven, is steep and challenging with many rock features. And the Terminator 1 Peak has a few runs off the north side called Truth, Dare, and Consequence that are tricky and attract few people; therefor having good snow.
My home mountain, Kimberley Alpine Resort, is the most highly underrated ski resort I know of. Every time I ski there I have a really good day. The terrain is super playful and the tree skiing is epic.
I started skiing when I was 4 with my mom and dad at our local resort. They skied until I was maybe 10. I remember riding the lift with my dad and eating chocolate bars that he always brought with him for a treat.
I was in the Nancy Greene ski program for a few years…a Canadian Classic. After that I was in a program called “Bumps and Jumps” that introduced kids to moguls and being in the air. When I was a teenager I joined the local freestyle team. We trained moguls and in the terrain park on the weekends and during night skiing. We also trained indoors at the local gymnastic center on the trampolines, foam pits, and floor. After a few years we (other friends in the team) started to travel around British Columbia to various competitions. We competed in Moguls, Dual Moguls, Halfpipe, and Big Air (Kicker). We all learned a lot from the coaching and competing and I can say without hesitation that we all became technical skiers in that time.
Unfortunately, in 2008, the company that owns our ski resort, removed all man made features, meaning that there were no more jumps or moguls to train in, and our team collapsed. In High School, my skier friends and I were in a special program that allowed us to ski in the afternoons a few days a week and make up the school work at different times. This was a really good time as we felt like we were skipping school, and the school work we had to do was on our own and we cheated through it all. It was almost too good to be true.
Growing up in a ski town with a ski hill a few minutes away from home was one of the pleasures of my life. We used to spend a ton of time up there. Sometimes we would ski from 9-4, sit in the cafeteria and eat instant noodles that we would cook in the microwave while we waited for night skiing at 5:30, and then ski until 9. It was in those years of childhood and being a teenager, spending countless hours in the terrain park pushing eachother and generally causing a ruckus that taught us all a lot about skiing and shaped us into a group of high performance skiers. The memories from those times remain dear to me.
Now, I am lucky enough to ski as a profession. Another pleasure of my life. The stars alligned in order to get this job. I had the right skill set and certificates and my love for skiing was very strong at the time. Working as a guide has been greater than I ever imagined. It allows me to travel around British Columbia and Alberta skiing at a variety of different resorts and operations…dreamy! I learned early in this job that if I’m not having fun, the guests probably aren’t having fun, so I ski the terrain I want to ski and the zones I find the most fun. Sometimes it can be a bit much for some guests, but everyone gets down the mountain somehow.
What kind of work do you do during summer?
Work can be tricky here in the Kootenays. There isn’t a ton of work, but the lifestyle is way worth it. I’ve worked a bunch of different jobs to make by here. I worked as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and swim coach for a few years. That was my only “real” job that I can remember. I left that to move to Revelstoke to ski all winter and work my first season for Stumböck. One of the best decisions of my life! In summer I work side jobs as a landscaper, gardener, garden builder, and handyman. I hold a certificate for Personal Training, so sometimes I take in clients or teach classes. Sometimes I teach at the local yoga studio. I’ve done some ridiculously hard labor jobs, but as long as it pays the bills and lets me ski and bike all year then it’s cool with me. I also have my own clothing line that we will talk more about.
When did you come up with the idea to set up your own clothing line?
5 years ago I started sewing my own clothes. I thought I could make cooler stuff for cheaper than in stores. Since then it organically grew and started generating interest and clients who wanted custom clothing.
What is it called?
It had a few names early on, but has been Colorshape Clothing for the last few years.
What kind of clothes do you design and produce?
Mostly I’ve been sewing hoodies and jackets. They are in the highest demand. I also make scarves and shawls and the occasional pair of pants. I design and sew everything myself. It’s a lengthy process and materials are expensive, but it brings me joy, allows me to have a creative outlet, makes people smile, and brings in a little money.
In summer, I do my best to have a decent number of things in stock, as we travel to music festivals and sell there. Otherwise, it’s a long list of custom orders. It’s an amazing feeling to help people take ideas from their head and make them into a real piece of clothing. I get all sorts of requests for different kinds of pockets, crazy detailed stitching …
How would you describe the style of your company’s clothes? What makes your clothes so special?
Proportions are a big bonus of ordering custom made clothing.
After that, the focus is on color matching and unique line work…both between different fabrics and also with stitching.
Hand and custom made clothes coming straight from BC!
For more infor contact Matt directly via
How do you get in shape for Winter? And do you have any advice for someone coming to Canada for a week of skiing?
I stay active all year round, so that is the main factor in being able to ski all winter. We bike all summer, go on hikes, swim in lakes, walk the dogs. Come fall though, I start to do a bit more intensive leg work. I hike the ski hill a couple times a week and try to always beat my previous time. Yoga and stretching for joint mobility is huge for me. Skiing is a mix of being fit and also being loose. Being loose prevents injury in my world.
My tip for people coming on week to 2 week ski trips in Canada would be to get on a bike, do some kind of cardio, and to stretch. Doesn’t have to be crazy workouts, but do some work so that you can enjoy our epic terrain and snow while you’re here.
What’s your favorite dish? Would you share the recipe?
We have a pretty amazing borscht recipe in our friend group. Ill share it…i guess 🙂
- 10 cups (2.5 L) vegetable stock
- 30-50g dried mushrooms (I prefer Porcini)
- 4 medium red beets
- 2 carrots
- 30-50ml oil or butter
- 1 large diced onion
- 2 bay leaves
- Half of 1 red cabbage, chopped (or more)
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- Juice of 1 half lemon
- 40-50ml chopped fresh dill
- 50ml balsamic vinegar
- Sour cream, salt, and pepper as garnish
Heat the vege stock, and once hot, pour some into a bowl and soak the dried mushrooms while you cook the rest.
In a large pan or wok, melt the oil/butter. Sautee onions until transparent. Add carrots, cabbage, and beets, cooking for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Now add it all to the vege stock. Simmer until veges are soft.
Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and test for salt content. Simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes.
Before serving, add lemon juice, fresh ground pepper, sour cream as garnish.
Goes great with a piece of sourdough bread with lots of butter!
Serves 6-8 people. I usually use half the recipe. Healthy, delicious, vegan if you leave out the sour cream.
Thanks for this interview, Matt!