To start, I prefer our merino wool Stretch Softwool baselayers. Wool holds moisture slightly longer than synthetic, but it also retains more warmth and naturally fights odors. With these baselayers I can head straight to the lodge bar or basecamp hut without the always unpopular “Eau De Polypro.” I go with the crew over the zip neck because my neck is already covered by my other layers and I would rather have less bulk than more ventilation.
Whether I am hiking up or riding down the mountain, I am working my legs pretty hard so I rarely wear more than a shell pant over my baselayers. For that job I am a bibs man. They move comfortably since there is no waistband, they look like normal pants
when you have a jacket on, and they completely prevent the dreaded
“snow down the pants” scenario. They also offer ideal coverage and ventilation for all the other activities you find yourself doing like
shoveling snow or chopping wood. Most days I wear the Skullhorn Bib from the Freeride collection. I like that the Skullhorn has a lot of pockets, heavy duty nylon, and a steezy (read: baggy) fit. For the backcountry days when weight is of more importance, I have a little Gore-Tex Pro Shell hybrid number, but you will have to wait a year to get your hands on this style. Working in the corporate office has its advantages!
The Super Zephyrus Hoodie is my go to midlayer. I rarely leave
the house without this Swiss Army knife of a jacket. The majority of the jacket is insulated with Primaloft (the top of the line shredded polyester insulation), with a nylon ripstop shell. The nylon is virtually windproof and highly water resistant. The areas where breathability is of utmost importance: under the arms, along the sides of the body, the middle of the back, and through the hood, are built with Polartec four-way stretch fleece for venting and mobility. The piece works with the body’s sweat zones to help maintain core temperature during a variety of activity levels. The Super Zephyrus has the DNA of a midlayer jacket- a low profile and effective
insulation panels- but I often skin or hike up with this as my
outerlayer. The wind and water resistance combined with incredible breathability makes it ideal for high aerobic activities. I tend to climb, bike to work, get groceries, sit at my desk, drive, hike, watch movies and go to the bathroom in this jacket. It doesn’t layer well under my wetsuit, or I would surf in it too. The fit of the hood is unlike anything I have ever used before. It is close fitting to go under an alpine helmet but still moves with me as I look around. And the color blocking makes you look like a super hero, which is nice.
I have two outer shells I depend on in the backcountry. My primary
piece is the Kishtwar Jacket. The Kishtwar, made with Polartec Power Shield Pro, is a super light softshell that provides insane breathability and is virtually waterproof. Sustained rains will wet out the jacket, but snow and ice stand no chance. The hood is helmet compatible and the length provides ample coverage. I do a lot of riding in Tahoe, which means wet heavy snow and occasional rains are part of the deal, so when absolutely waterproof is necessary I reach for my Freethinker jacket. The feature set on this jacket reads like a novel and it has the durability and reliability of Gore-Tex Pro Shell three layer construction.
To round out the pieces I reach for the most, I have Hoback work gloves or Nuptse Mitts on my hands, Reversible North Point on my head and I have the Ninja Balaclava in a pocket in case the weather gets weird. I also don’t venture into the backcountry without the Catalyst Down Jacket in my Patrol 24 pack. I like carrying the jacket for emergencies or when I crush the rest of the team on the uphill and have to wait for them at the top.
I think that about covers my kit…good thing I did this exercise
sitting in my home in Oakland where its NOT snowing and I CAN’T run outside and make some turns.