Zeal Optics and Haa Aaní Alliance Unveil Collaborative Ski Gear with a Purpose
Haa Aaní Alliance gear sales protect free-flowing rivers and salmon spawning grounds
Zeal Optics, inpartnership with Weston, Smartwool, Pret, and MountainFLOW Eco-Wax, have joined forces with Tlingit artist Crystal Worl of Trickster Company to form the Haa Aaní Alliance and launch a collection of goggles, skis, snowboards, socks and accessories featuring Worl’s artwork, with proceeds benefiting three non-profit organizations: Yukon SalmonWild Salmon Center and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund. Zeal will donate $5 from every pair of Haa Aaní goggles sold.
“I’m thrilled to create art on outdoor gear that will bring attention to Indigenous values and knowledge around Xâat Kusteeyí, the Salmon Way of Life,” said Crystal Worl, whose art is featured across the collection. “I grew up fishing and learning how to care for and respect salmon. I also grew up skiing and spending time outdoors in Alaska. It’s been an incredible journey to live and love this land as my ancestors and family have for generations. There is much to learn from the salmon, and time is running short. I have big hopes and dreams for what my art and storytelling can do to make change.”
The central aim of this project is to protect the uninterrupted flow of rivers and vital salmon spawning grounds that are essential for the preservation of both human communities and the ecosystem, in alignment with the principles of Haa Aani and the Salmon Way of Life, Xáat Kusteeyí. For the Tlingit of Southeast Alaska, culture revolves around the land and its resources. The Tlingit believe that when they take care of the land and its inhabitants, the land, in turn, takes care of them. The Tlingit phrase “Haa Aaní” often summarizes this concept, which means “Our Land.” Animals are viewed as members of the same social universe as those beside them. Art, dance, stories, and crests reflect these relationships with nature. Xáat Kusteeyí, as an extension of Haa Aaní, focuses on utilizing salmon respectfully and sustainably. By protecting the salmon and its habitat, the salmon provide people with sustenance in return.
The Haa Aaní Collection designs are available now for Zeal’s Cloudfalland Lookoutgoggles. Visit zealoptics.com/haa-aani for more information.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Zeal Optics is a boutique brand focusing on handcrafted quality eyewear built for life outdoors. Dedicated to reducing its footprint, Zeal’s full sunglass line is designed and crafted using plant-based & recycled materials. Zeal Optics is also known for revolutionizing the goggle market with its patented polarized/photochromic “Automatic+” lens. For more info visitzealoptics.com and follow @zealoptics on Instagram and Facebook.