Photography by Bruno Long
What started in 1996 as a tiny operation selling avalanche beacons out of a Park City garage is now one of the outdoor industry’s leading retailers. Still headquartered in Park City, and just steps from the Wasatch Mountains, Backcountry is dedicated to providing the best outdoor gear for anything from camping, climbing, trail running and mountain biking to alpine, Nordic and freestyle skiing. Backcountry’s extensively stocked website touts over 1,500 well-known brands including Black Diamond, The North Face and Osprey—and this year they’re adding their own line of “Gearhead-certified” outerwear to the mix.
Gearheads are outdoor experts hand-picked and hired by Backcountry to communicate with customers on a daily basis. Throughout the entire design process, Gearheads made sure customer feedback–as well as their own–was integrated into each of the alpine touring-specific products developed in collaboration with Flylow, Smartwool, Black Diamond and DPS Skis, totaling a dozen pieces in the men’s and women’s collections. The apparel includes a variety of layering pieces, socks, gloves and outerwear shells. When designing the shell kits with the Denver-based outerwear brand Flylow, Backcountry combined its expansive knowledge on touring-specific gear and consumer habits with Flylow’s reputation for creating stylish and amazingly functional skiwear. The result: male- and female-specific kits that not only stand up to the demands of backcountry skiing but will keep you looking fly all the way into après.
The Grizzly Gulch Jacket and Mill D Bib kit (pictured above, left) is made for the guys who like to work for their turns. Constructed with Polartec Neoshell, one of the lightest, most breathable fabrics on the planet, the Grizzly Gulch jacket is an ace at preventing overheating–which is extremely beneficial when you’re working up a sweat on the skin track. Two oversized, waterproof, exterior chest pockets and one interior chest pocket provide enough storage for your climbing skins and other accessories when hot lapping backcountry zones and 12-inch pit zippers allow you to dump heat when your core temperature soars.
As for the Mill D Bib, it’s made of Polartec Neoshell, treated with DWR and fully seam taped, giving you all the coverage without all of the bulk and weight. Effortlessly simple, the Mill D features dual pockets in the bib and three more on the pant for ample pocket-bacon storage. Full-length outer thigh vents make it easy to cool off and a softshell bib top provides freedom of movement for the long ascents and grueling downhills.
Onto the ladies’ kit—named after two iconic peaks in the Wasatch Range—the Pfeifferhorn and Patsey Marley kit (pictured below) should appeal to female backcountry skiers everywhere. The Pfeifferhorn is the perfect touring jacket for women thanks to its ultra-lightweight, breathable Polartec Neoshell fabric and durable DWR treament. Articulated shoulders and sleeves give you room to move while dual chest pockets provide storage for skins and their placement allows for easy access with a backpack on. A helmet-compatible hood gives you extra protection when the weather shifts and 10-inch pit zippers keep you cool when your body temperature rises.
Finally, the Patsey Marley boasts an athletic fit and softshell bib top that promotes the freedom to move when you’re on the skin track, peaking ascents and crushing couloirs. Outer thigh vents make for efficient heat dumping and two thigh pockets give you easy access to your touring accessories–even with a backpack on. Made of ultra-breathable Polartec Neoshell fabric with a high-performance DWR treatment and fully taped seams, these bibs will keep you warm and dry. No matter what the weather outside is like, you’ll never fear the spanking of Mother Nature again with this kit.
In its first Touring Collection, Backcountry hits the mark with its men’s and women’s alpine touring-specific kits, created in collaboration with Flylow. Built for long days exploring the backcountry, the technical features yet simplistic design of these kits will help make for many incredible days exploring off-piste.