Featured Image: Andrew Maguire
Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide feature from FREESKIER. Here’s a close-up look at the best ski outerwear of the year. Click here to explore the entire 2021 FREESKIER Buyer’s Guide.
Armada Furtherance 3L GTX Anorak
Coveted 3L Gore Tex Bib & Novena 3L Bib
Armada is overhauling its apparel collection for winter 2021-22 and its unisex Furtherance anorak is the pinnacle piece. It marks a new direction for Armada’s top-of-the-line design that blends performance technology and streetwear aesthetics. Burly, three-layer Gore-Tex and YKK AquaGuard zippers protect against the elements and a slew of magnetic-closure pockets ensure everything has its place on the hill. But, let’s be real—this jacket just oozes style. You can imagine this anorak looking at home on the sidewalks of Stockholm and atop the tram in Chamonix. Armada bills the Coveted 3L Gore-Tex bib as the choice for the men; the Novena 3L Gore-Tex bib for the ladies. Although the price tag is at a premium, the Furtherance jacket comes with a lifetime warranty.
Armada Grands 3L Jacket & Emmon’s 3L Bib
The Grands jacket and Emmons bib make up a non-insulated kit that’s all about durability and clean styling. Built to withstand backcountry scrapes and everyday resort wear-and-tear, both the jacket and bib are constructed with a proprietary, completely upcycled three-layer brushed canvas ripstop fabric and offer do-anything 15K/15K waterproofing and breathability ratings with PFC-free DWR treatment. Subtle and utilitarian by design, this kit is made for freeriders who explore every corner of the mountains and let their skiing do the talking.
Patagonia Stormstride Jacket & Pant
For backcountry users who covet lightweight, fully waterproof and form-fitting outerwear, Patagonia’s all-new Stormstride jacket and Stormstride pant are the perfect pair. Everything here is Fair Trade Certified—meaning a portion of every sale goes directly to factory workers—features 54-percent recycled stretch nylon in both pieces and is stitched with a no-frills, minimalist design. Patagonia’s proprietary H2No waterproofing ensures season-after-season performance without the need to re-waterproof, and the three-layer design of the jacket and pant allow heat to escape when you’re making headway up the mountain.
Picture Track Jacket & Naikoon Pant
The Track jacket and Naikoon pant from Picture epitomize freeride style, sustainability and the payoff that occurs when a brand focuses on the details. Here’s one worth mentioning: inside the pants’ leg pockets is a drawstring that cinches up the pant legs for a more functional fit when you roll your cuffs at the end of the day. Genius. But back to the big picture—this kit features the latest innovations from Picture’s eco-first designers. The brand’s bio-sourced fabric is made from sugarcane by-products. The jacket also offers up a lightweight insulation called DryMax through the core, a waffle-pattern that retains heat without adding any noticeable bulk. Apparel manufacturing takes a toll on the environment, but this kit was developed to minimize its impact.
Picture Seen Jacket & Exa Pant
Featured in Picture’s Expedition Line designed to tackle high-alpine objectives, the Seen jacket and EXA pant are meant to leave no trace. The bio-sourced, recyclable polyester fabric is made from sugarcane by-product: Instead of piling up in landfills, the base material was specifically developed for Picture as part of its pursuit to produce high-end apparel without trashing the environment. This two-layer, 20K/20K-rated kit with chemical-free DWR treatment offers a touch of body-mapped insulation where it counts—yes, the knitted Thermal Dry insulation is made from recycled material, too—and is sure to keep you dry, warm and feeling good about your purchase. We could go on and on about Picture’s environmental initiatives, but it’s best you head over to the brand’s website to read up for yourself.
Elevenate Bec de Rosses Jacket & Pant
Skiers in the PNW, Northeast and anywhere that deals with heavy precipitation will be thankful to be skiing in Elevenate’s Bec de Rosses jacket and pant. This three-layer Gore-Tex Pro kit is made to withstand the wettest, windiest climates on Planet Earth, so don’t worry about a little three-foot dump or an afternoon spring deluge. The kit uses a combination of Gore-Tex’s most breathable and rugged fabrics to dump heat and moisture when you’re heating up, but protect you in the places you most need it. With slick features like pack- and harness-compatible pockets, a dedicated transceiver pocket on the thigh and an articulated fit, you’re sure to stay comfortable and organized. Built with backcountry skiing and multi-day tours in mind, this kit is ready for any adventure you can throw its way.
Strafe Nomad Jacket and Bib Pant
The Nomad kit is an indispensable piece in Strafe’s collection. Trusted by its athlete team, the Nomad jacket has relaxed cut and bold color-blocking design, complemented by raglan sleeves that ensure a proper fit when sporting a pack. It also features a slew of oversized pockets, microfleece-lined chin and the included powder skirt ensures your dive into the deep end doesn’t end with snow in your crotch. The Nomad bib is the perfect companion for completing the kitted-out look. The high-waisted chest pockets easily store a phone and vents along the legs effectively dump heat on a long hike. Primed for anything thanks to three-layer eVent construction and fully taped seams, the Nomad kit is a no-brainer.
Strafe Linx Pullover & Scarlett Bib
The ever-elusive Lynx, a mysterious representation of grace in the mountains. Just like you. With the Lynx Pullover, you’ll be immune to the elements and ready to pounce. Recon Elite three-layer fabric offers the coveted trifecta of breathability, waterproofing and stretch with a soft-to-the-touch liner. Seamless shoulders, easy-to-reach underarm vents and a zippered kangaroo pocket—complete with two interior media pockets—round out this anorak-style upper. The Scarlett bib offers the same weather-proof protection, complete with fully taped seams, X-back suspenders, huge leg vents and a couple extra cargo pockets to stash some party favors for the crew. We’ll let you decide what to bring, you Lynx, you.
Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Jacket & Bib Pant
You may know Backcountry as one of the best online retailers in space but it has trasnformed into so much more. Bringing its own outerwear designs to market was no easy feat three years ago, when Backcountry launched its first in-house kits: Now, the Utah-based brand introduces the ready-for-anything Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro jacket. With all the features you’ve come to expect from a high-performance freeride top—including an active, articulated fit, Gore-Tex Pro waterproofing, plenty of pockets, pit zips and more—this jacket pairs perfectly with the Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro bib to create a matching set that’s designed to last. Together, this combo is primed to tackle daily use at your local hill to bigger missions in the backcountry. Our testing squad was impressed with its clean aesthetic, comfortable fit while sporting a pack and its eye-catching color.
Flylow Dante Jacket & Firebird Bib
Skiers love Flylow. Is it the brand’s focus on ski-specific cuts and colors? Is it the backcountry-meets-resort styling and functionality? Or could it be the grassroots movement to support indie brands? For this season, Flylow is bringing its ski-specific styling to a kit that’s meant to ride the resort and stand up to long days working in the snow. The all-new Dante jacket features precise fleece and flannel insulation in the arms, as well as extra-breathable mesh in the core, to ensure you stay just the right temperature when you’re out logging laps. The Firebird bib, according to Flylow, is a “working man’s” pant—designed with an extra tough hardshell fabric and reinforced on the knees and cuffs. Designed and tested in Tahoe, it offers 10K/10K waterproofing/breathability ratings and will keep the elements at bay, even when Sierra cement is in the forecast.
Flylow Veronica Jacket & Hyde Pant
Some of us get cold feet. Some get a little cold in the arms—but don’t take it personally. We know how it feels to experience a chill when you’re riding the chair between laps. Whatever it is, Flylow’s all-new Veronica jacket, part of its resort-focused Boundary Line, features strategically placed, gridded insulation and moisture-wicking, silk-like taffeta to ensure you stay the perfect temperature. Fully taped seams, convenient pockets and the 15K/10K membrane will do the rest. But, really, there’s nothing worse than chilly cheeks during a pow day lift ride. That’s why the Hyde pant exists, with an added layer of fleece on the backside to prevent a wet and cold bum. Brilliant. Of course, these snowpants offer venting, pockets and waterproofing treatment, but all you need to know is that you’re gonna have toasty buns. What’s better than that?
Rossignol Atelier S RF Jacket & Bib Pant
Designed and manufactured in France, Rossignol’s Atelier S RF jacket and Atelier S RF bib pant will have you feeling ready to conquer the tallest peaks imaginable while looking sleek as hell in the process. Featuring a soft, three-layer, wind- and waterproof construction with fully taped seams and DWR finish, both the jacket and pant are built to prevent snow creep, and the relaxed, oversized fit matches the body’s movements while skiing and hiking. And, get this: Because both pieces are made with Sympatex fabric, the entire kit is actually recyclable. Yeah, you heard that right. This kit is sure to turn heads, and you’ll have everyone around wondering… Is that guy the best skier on the mountain?
Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket & Bib Pant
Designed to be worn by guides and skiers who need their equipment to stand up to the absolute worst weather possible, Eddie Bauer’s newly updated BC Freshline jacket and BC Freshline pant are the makeup of big-mountain body armor. Stitched with a new, three-layer, 100-percent recyled polyester stretch shell fabric, this kit is just as durable as last year’s edition, without so much petroleum byproduct. The 20K/20K rating means it’s both totally waterproof and among the most breathable jackets on the market, and really shines during high-output activities like hoofing up the bootpack or scrambling up ridgelines on the way to your sweet powder stash. Streamlined pockets and a comfortable, regular fit delivers minimalist perfection. This is Eddie Bauer’s premium jacket/pant combo.
Spyder Field Jacket & Seventy Bib
Heading into this winter, Spyder and the freeride scene are more synonymous than ever. Stacking its roster with heavy-hitting athletes like Alex Hall, Owen Leeper, Connery Lundin and Bobby Brown, this heritage brand is making serious waves. This kit, featuring the Field jacket and Seventy pant is stitched with recycled polyester, treated with chemical-free DWR, uses cozy DuPont insulation and fully taped seams throughout, and brings Spyder’s more than 50 years of outerwear expertise into the freeskiing fold. Down low you’ll find thigh vents, articulated knees and reinforced cuffs.
Scott Line Chaser 3L Anorak & Pant
Crafted for the touring-focused skier, Scott’s Line Chaser kit is a minimalist freeride pairing designed to withstand deep days, grueling ascents and big lines. Both the anorak and pant are woven with DRYOspun fabric, which uses an electrospinning process to tightly weave the threads for a lighter-weight, equally weather-proof final product. The three-layer pullover has seamless shoulders and articulated sleeves for a better fit with a pack, one chest pocket with internal organizers and an oh-so-soft chin guard; the pant is articulated in the knees, has two thigh pockets and Cordura reinforced cuffs. If the tech here isn’t enough to seal the deal, the monochromatic styling in “cosmic red” is sure to pique your interest.
Rab Khroma Volition Jacket & Pant
This season marks the first time Rab is bringing its alpine focus into the freeskiing space, translating years of mountaineering and climbing expertise into a ski-focused package. Comfort and wearability are at a premium here as Rab utilizes strategically placed Primaloft insulation in the Khroma Volition jacket and Khroma Volition pant, along with a slew of weatherproofing technology like Gore-Tex fabric, YKK AquaGuard zips and removable powder skirt to keep the spindrift and snow at bay when you’re exploring new zones deep in the wilderness. Paired together, this jacket and pant offer best-in-class protection and mobility. If Rab is a new brand on your radar, take note—the Khroma Volition kit is backed by 40 years of mountain heritage.