Fully powder-coated: Northern Lights’ snow bike

Inspired by early mountaineering and motorcycle eyewear, Northern Lights Optics founder Orion Anthony felt he needed something unique to kick-start his new premium sunglasses brand; so he created the Yamaha ‘NL’ 500…

Alpine blast

A keen snowmobiler, Anthony lives in the coastal mountain range of Canada just north of Whistler, BC. He’s worked in product design and branding for almost 30 years and has recently launched a high-end sunglasses concept, named Northern Lights Optics. “I believe that branding is an art form; a medium to communicate ideas and provoke feelings. A great product is very important, but it also needs to have a great story behind it so that people really feel it.”

Snow fun

To tell the story, Anthony decided to combine his love for snowmobiles with his love for motorbikes, creating a one-of-a-kind classic snow bike in the process that, in our eyes, is even cooler than the range of sunglasses. After sourcing a 1979 Yamaha HL500, Anthony contacted Rob Phillips at Husky Restorations in New York, and after some enthusiastic phone calls, the project took off.

Seeing the light

Renamed the ‘NL (for Northern Lights) 500’, the finished machine was shipped to Milan to support the brand’s MIDO Eyewear exhibition. Anthony also made an outing to the mountains: “My day riding into the Alps for the first time on a throaty sounding beast of a snow bike was unforgettable. But the highlight of the day was pulling up on the NL500 Snow Bike in front of ‘Ristoro Pasini’, the Alpine restaurant & bar. The reaction from the people sunning themselves on the patio was priceless.”

Photos: Claudio Bader