Local Hero Brian Kahn

Can a T-shirt save the world? The creator of Locals Have More Fun talks about mountain bike trails, local pride and how we can all help correct global wierding.

What do you get when you mix a financially savvy guy with a penchant for powder and the desire to make a difference? Locals Have More Fun (localshavemorefun.com), an eco-friendly apparel company designed to promote the local lifestyle. Brian Kahn, who came up with the idea on a trail run, sells organic cotton and bamboo t-shirts, bags and beanies with a message.  With thirty five retailers in 6 states, there must be something to the idea that locals, “Climb Higher” or “Get Muddy.”  To top it off, the company donates a portion of every sale to 1% for the Planet.  We caught up with Kahn at his home in  Park City, Utah.

Locavores: Brian and Jessica Kahn soak up the good life.

What inspires a former trader/city boy to start a T-shirt company based in the mountains?
Before I was the city boy/trader, I was always the mountain guy. It just took many, many years for it to surface. I’m originally from Pittsburgh but we always took family vacations to the mountains and it didn’t take much to not want to be in Pittsburgh. I went to CU-Boulder and Vail was where we mostly hung out.  Being away from the mountains for eight years and then moving back from Chicago, it was like coming home.  This lifestyle drew me back here and that was when Locals Have More Fun came into being.

There are a lot of t-shirts out there.  What makes Locals Have More Fun special?
We focus more on the mental aspect of the sport and our goal is always green. Even though we use organic cotton, we’re not settling there.  We want to have the most sustainable clothing and manufacturing process out there. We do all of our printing in Salt Lake using a hybrid ink that doesn’t require bleaching like water-based ink.  We’re also investigating recycled fabrics.

What does it means to be a local?
Locals is a state of mind, whether you live in Chicago or Park City.  We’re not saying that locals are better than anybody else. It’s just that everyone wants to know the local knowledge. It doesn’t just have to be a mountain-town thing.

How do you play like a local?
Skiing is my passion. No doubt about it. I think about skiing ninety percent of the time, even in the summer when I’m mountain biking. They are such similar sports. You need to have a good visual, see ahead and feel the turn.

Where is your drop dead, favorite place to get outside and play?
Vail. It was my first real experience of being a local since I spent so much time there in college. That’s where I fell in love with the whole mountain thing. My local favorite there is Vendetta’s for pizza with a Fat Tire.

What is your secret to becoming a local?
I know why I moved here and why I enjoy this place.  No way would I want to raise a family in a big city.  For my psyche this is where I wanted to end up, in a small resort town. People give up a lot coming from a city to live in a place like this.  I basically gave up my career at the time to come here. What does it take to make the move? It’s not like it’s a ballsy move. It’s a better move. If you think you can do it and something is holding you back, that’s just BS.

Any stellar powder stashes that you want to share?
I’m a Mountain Host at Deer Valley and my favorite run there is Triangle Trees. It’s a nice gladed trail. People can find it on the map so it’s not super secret, but not many people ski there still.

Any lesser-known mountain biking trails?
My favorite is “Flying Dog” in Park City. The beginning is steep and hot, but the back gets undulating and gladed. There is a totally different topography on the backside with ferns growing instead of tumbleweed.

Green is the buzzword of the decade.  What does it mean to you?
Whether in business or in life, it’s making the right decisions. I want my son to enjoy the outdoors.  It is mentally and physically good for you. I’ve always been dedicated to making the right decisions, but since having our son, I’ve become more dedicated.  His life is going to be even more of a challenge than ours.

Can you explain to the average Joe and Jane how buying your product helps their communities?
Because 1% for the Planet has thousands of nonprofits, we can give back locally where every shirt is sold.  We’re also developing a new philanthropic venture that gives an additional 1% back based on nonprofits that the retailer supports.  People are buying a green product, but they are also giving a kickback to their local community from us.

What can locals do to become sustainable?
You look outside and see global wierding (drought, hurricane, whatever). Humans can do a better job of preventing more global wierding. If you want to live in a ski town, you have to be more disciplined about your decisions. For example, not idling your car.  If everybody could just take one step, it would help global wierding. Taking pride in your community is protecting your community. •

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