Nicky USA logoIn celebration of 25 years as the premier butcher and purveyor of specialty game and high quality meat in the Pacific Northwest, Nicky USA is reliving their history through a special dinner benefitting The Portland Kitchen on their Aurora Ore. ranch, Nicky Farm, on Saturday, June 27th. Portland chef Chris Carriker of 23 Hoyt, and Seattle chef Jonathan Sundstrom of Lark, will prepare a menu outdoors featuring Nicky Farms protein such as rabbit, quail, goat, venison, and elk, while guests sip local wines from Andrew Rich Wines and Union Wine Company. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the farm with the founders of Nicky USA and Nicky Farms, Geoff and Melody Latham.
Acquired in 2014, Nicky Farms represents a return to Geoff Latham’s roots as a farmer, and has distinguished Nicky USA as the only Northwest meat distributor to also raises its own stock. The 35.9-acre Nicky Farm is located along the Pudding River, providing an ideal habitat for many different animals. It is currently home to flocks of wild geese, coveys of quail, rabbits, goats, cattle, a century old farmhouse, and views of Mt. Hood.
Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Nicky USA’s non-profit partner, The Portland Kitchen whose mission is to empower urban youth to graduate high school with culinary job skills and improved eating habits. The Portland Kitchen offers free, comprehensive culinary after school and summer programming to Portland high school youth. Through this partnership, Nicky USA teaches butchering skills, leads workshops and offers mentoring opportunities to teens. Nicky USA will donate a minimum of $1000 from this event.
Throughout the month of June, Nicky Farms will also donate $0.50 to the Portland Kitchen from every pack of Nicky Farms  game meats sold at all Portland-area New Seasons Markets. Portlanders can elevate their cooking and support the community by purchasing any of the following Nicky Farms products: Rabbit, Venison, Elk, Wild Boar, Goat and Buffalo.
Tickets for Nicky USA’s anniversary dinner on Saturday, June 27th, from 5-9 p.m. at Nicky Farms in Aurora Ore. are be available for purchase at (type in “Nicky” to search), and are $125 per person.
About Nicky USA:
Founded in 1990, Nicky USA is a Northwest butcher and purveyor of specialty game and high quality meat. The Portland-based company has forged relationships with local and international ranchers, as well as James Beard Award-winning chefs in an effort to make game a mainstay of specialty markets and fine restaurants. Nicky USA recently developed a specialty line of products under their Nicky Farms brand, featuring Northwest raised rabbit, quail, elk, fallow venison, goose, water buffalo, and American bison. With the recent purchase of their very own 35.9-acre farm in Aurora, Ore, owner Geoff Latham is now able to raise game for Nicky USA and host friends and customers. The company has built one of the nation’s only mobile processing units (MPU) for the sustainable and humane processing of animals, specially designed to process both poultry and hooved animals, making it the only USDA-compliant unit of its kind allowing complete control of the process from field to table. Aside from selling specialty game and high quality meat, Nicky USA hosts Wild About Game, an annual head-to-head cooking competition and the meatiest culinary celebration in the Northwest, celebrating high quality meat and specialty game. Nicky USA expanded in 2013 with a second location in Seattle. Orders for either location can be made by calling 1.800.469.4162. For more information, visit Follow @NickyUSA on Twitter and Facebook, and @Nicky.USA on Instagram, as well as #NickyFarms on all channels.



World Ski & Snowboard Festival 2015 Whistler BCWHISTLER, BC April 7, 2015 – The World Skiing Invitational (WSI) / Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Tour Finals and the Monster Energy Shred Show will both return to the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) this spring. As always, the events will draw the top ski and snowboard athletes from around the world to Whistler but spectators should take note, both events will see some major schedule changes for 2015.

“For the first time in three years we will have Men and Women’s Halfpipe as part of the WSI / AFP World Tour Finals,” says Sue Eckersley, Event Director for the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. “We are really excited to have all three ski disciplines back on the WSSF schedule for 2015. Other changes to note, the Gibbons Big Air (ski) has been relocated to the terrain park on Blackcomb Mountain due to the challenging snow conditions at lower elevations, which have prevented us from being able to host the Big Air in Skier’s Plaza as we usually do.”

The WSI / AFP World Tour Finals will take place on Blackcomb Mountain from April 10 to 12, with Slopestyle scheduled for April 10, the Gibbons Big Air on April 11 and the Halfpipe and Superhit events on April 12. More information, including a detailed schedule, event formats and the selection criteria is available at

With the Gibbons Big Air happening during Whistler Blackcomb’s operating hours, WSSF has introduced Gibbons Plazapalooza, a new event designed to bring the same energy and excitement people have come to love and expect in Skier’s Plaza on the first Saturday night of the festival. Gibbons Plazapalooza will take place between 8pm and 10pm and will include a replay of the Gibbons Big Air broadcast on the Main Stage big screens hosted by legendary emcee, Brad Jay, as well as dancing, fire spinners, a drum line and a DJ set from Mat The Alien. Plus, Neph and Swollen Members will perform in Skier’s Plaza leading up to Gibbons Plazapalooza beginning at 6pm.

The Monster Energy Shred Show will also see some schedule changes this year at WSSF. The Boarderstyle, which pits four riders against each other in a head-to-head boardercross-style race integrated with slopestyle terrain features, is scheduled for April 17 in the terrain park on Blackcomb Mountain. The event is open to anyone, with registration currently available online through to April 14. New this year, the Boarderstyle will see a separate Women’s category and there is $6,500 in total prize money to be won at the event. The Monster Energy Shred Show Invitational Slopestyle will take place on April 18, also in the Blackcomb terrain park.

The Monster Energy Shred Show will not include a Big Air event this year. Instead, Monster will be keeping the energy high in Skier’s Plaza on the second Saturday night of WSSF with a motocross show at the base of Whistler Mountain. There will also be free concerts from Jazz Cartier and YelaWolf on the Main Stage beginning at 7:30pm.

More information about the Monster Energy Shred Show, including a detailed scheduled and the list of confirmed athletes is available at


Tickets to the evening gala events are now available for purchase at

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The World Ski & Snowboard Festival has a brand new mobile app called WSSF Live. It is available for FREE in the App Store and Google Play Store for Apple and Android phones.

All-New Jaguar XF to be Revealed in a Dramatic High-Wire Drive Ahead of New York Auto Show Debut

The all-new Jaguar XF will make an extraordinary journey across London on March 24, one week ahead of its public motor show debut in New York.
Jaguar have teamed up with expert British stuntman Jim Dowdall, veteran of dramatic action stunts in movies including Bond, Bourne and Indiana Jones, to perform the world’s longest high-wire water crossing in the all-new Jaguar XF.

[Read more…]

Whistler Blackcomb to End Season with World Ski & Snowboard Festival

World Ski & Snowboard Festival 2015 Whistler BCThe END at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC is the ultimate ski season sendoff. Taking place in the Whistler Conference Centre on Saturday, April 18, The END is an electrifying late-night dance party featuring lightshows, sensory overloading sound and an incredible line up of DJs. This year, The END at WSSF will be headlined by AutoErotique, ETC!ETC! and Torro Torro.


Originally hailing from Toronto, Canada, AutoErotique broke into the music scene in 2009 when they caught the attention of DJ/producer/label owner, Steve Aoki. [Read more…]

Lego Overtakes Ferrari as the World’s Most Powerful Brand

Every year, leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance puts thousands of the world’s top brands to the test. They are evaluated to determine which are the most powerful, and the most valuable.

‘Everything is Awesome’ for Lego

Lego is the World’s most powerful brand. It scores highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index such as familiarity, loyalty, promotion, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation. Lego is a uniquely creative and immersive toy; children love the ability to construct their own worlds that it provides. In a tech-saturated world, parents approve of the back-to-basics creativity it encourages and have a lingering nostalgia for the brand long after their own childhoods. The Lego Movie perfectly captured this cross-generational appeal. It was a critical and commercial success, taking nearly US$500m since its release a year ago. It has helped propel Lego from a well-loved, strong brand to the World’s most powerful.

Ferrari Stalls

Lego has overtaken Ferrari, last year’s most powerful brand. Ferrari remains a very strong brand but its power is slowly diminishing. It has now gone several years without an F1 title and last season struggled even to mount a challenge. The sheen of glory from its 1990s golden era is beginning to wear thin. Meanwhile the departure of Luca di Montezemolo heralds a slight change in strategy at Ferrari’s road car division. Montezemolo kept a strict cap on production to maintain the exclusivity of the brand. Since his departure, Chairman Sergio Marchionne has suggested that this policy will be relaxed to boost revenues.

Many Ferrari owners and aspiring owners are extremely brand-conscious, making the loss of the ‘world’s most powerful brand’ accolade, which Ferrari has held for several years, a particularly heavy blow. Brand Finance CEO David Haigh comments, “Ferrari is still in a strong position and its brand value has actually increased 18% this year to $4.7 billion. The new strategy to capitalise on the brand will certainly drive short term value but over-exploitation risks lasting damage.”

The World’s Most Powerful Brands
Brand Industry Group Domicile Brand Strength Index Score (/100) Brand Rating 2015 Brand Value 2015 (USDm)
Lego Toys Denmark 93.4 AAA+ 3,890
PWC Pro. Services US 91.8 AAA+ 17,330
Red Bull Beverages Austria 91.1 AAA+ 7,389
McKinsey Pro. Services US 90.1 AAA+ 4,127
Unilever Food UK 90.1 AAA+ 4,844
L’Oréal Cosmetics France 89.7 AAA+ 12,480
Burberry Apparel UK 89.7 AAA+ 4,612
Rolex Apparel Switzerland 89.7 AAA+ 5,493
Ferrari Automobiles Italy 89.6 AAA+ 4,747
Nike Apparel US 89.6 AAA+ 24,118

Apple Sets Another Record

The power of a brand is just one component of Brand Finance’s analysis. The company combines the information on a brand’s strength with financial data, to calculate its commercial value. When brand values are calculated, Apple comes out on top. Though not quite on a par with Ferrari or Lego in terms of brand strength, Apple still has a very powerful brand. What sets it apart is ability to monetize that brand. Apple has a remarkable knack for using its brand to popularise and hence monetize existing technology, as it did so successfully first with the mp3 player, smart phone and later the tablet. Critics have been silenced by the success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Consumers have snapped latest models in their droves, helping Apple set records for quarterly profits ($18bn) and company value ($710bn).

David Haigh continues, “The Apple brand is worth US$128 billion. That value is huge not just in its own terms but also as a proportion of Apple’s record-breaking corporate valuation. It goes to show how valuable brands are as business assets and how important it is to manage them well.”


Twitter is the fastest growing brand; it has almost tripled its brand value in a year, increasing from $1.5 billion in early 2014 to $4.4 billion now. Fellow tech giants Baidu and Facebook have also grown strongly, by 161% and 146% respectively. The three appear to be more effectively managing the transition to mobile advertising than other tech players such as Google, boosting expectations of the financial potential of their brands.

Chipotle stands out among the many successes from the tech and telecoms sectors this year. Its brand value is up 124%. It is eating into McDonalds’ market share by positioning itself as a healthier, tastier and more ethical alternative. McDonalds’ iconic brand has lost $4bn in value this year.

Brand values for hundreds of the world’s top brands from all industries can be found on Brand Finance’s website. The full Global 500 table can be found here and infographics, further insight and analysis in the Brand Finance Global 500 report.

The World’s Most Valuable Brands
Brand Industry Group Domicile Brand Value 2015 (USDm) Brand Value Change (%) Brand Value 2014 (USDm) Brand Rating 2015 Brand Rating 2014
Apple Tech US 128,303 23% 104,680 AAA AAA
Samsung Conglomerate South Korea 81,716 4% 78,752 AAA- AAA
Google Tech US 76,683 12% 68,620 AAA AAA+
Microsoft Tech US 67,060 7% 62,783 AAA AAA
Verizon Telecoms US 59,843 12% 53,466 AAA- AAA-
AT&T Telecoms US 58,820 30% 45,410 AA+ AA Tech US 56,124 24% 45,147 AAA- AAA-
General Electric Tech US 48,019 -9% 52,533 AA+ AA+
China Mobile Telecoms China 47,916 50% 31,845 AAA- AA+
Walmart Retail US 46,737 4% 44,779 AA+ AA+
 Click here for the full table
The World’s Fastest Growing Brands
Brand Industry Group Domicile Brand Value Change (%) Brand Value 2015 (USDm) Brand Value 2014 (USDm) Brand Rating 2015 Brand Rating 2018
Twitter Tech US 185% 4,366 1,533 AAA- AAA-
Baidu Tech China 161% 13,284 5,092 AA+ AA-
Facebook Tech US 146% 24,180 9,819 AAA- AA+
Chipotle Mexican Fast Food US 124% 3,147 1,403 AA+ AA
Humana Healthcare US 99% 4,810 2,413 AA- AA Tech US 97% 3,956 2,006 AA+ AA
Alibaba Tech China 90% 11,377 6,000 AA+ AA+
Lego Toys Denmark 69% 3,890 2,308 AAA+ AAA-
China Merchants Bank Banks China 65% 8,880 5,390 AAA- AA
HCL Tech India 63% 3,148 1,925 AA AA