Marmot: 40 Years of Product Innovation

Marmot: 40 Years of Product Innovation

In 1974, three young mountaineers opened a rental and retail shop in Grand Junction, CO, called Marmot Mountain Works. Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley were friends from UC Santa Cruz, where they made prototypes of down-filled products in their dorm room. Tom Boyce, who had met Reynolds climbing on the Grand Teton, completed the team. The company’s first big break came after Boyce met adventure filmmaker Mike Hoover in Peru. When 20th Century Fox needed 108 “very puffy jackets” for an upcoming film, The Eiger Sanction, a 1975 blockbuster starring Clint Eastwood, Hoover recommended Marmot, and the company quickly fulfilled its biggest order.

In 1976, Reynolds met Joe Tanner of WL Gore & Associates and learned about a laminate called Gore- Tex. Marmot employees sewed prototype sleeping bags using the new fabric and spent seven nights in a commercial meat locker with fire sprinklers, testing different bags. They immediately changed everything in the line to Gore-Tex fabrications. Today, Marmot is the oldest customer of WL Gore in the world outdoor market.

By the time the company focused on snow sports as a major initiative in the mid-2000s, it was already well established as one of the most legitimate backcountry skiing brands in the industry. In the early 90s, the company began working with Exum Mountain Guides and the late ski mountaineering legend, Doug Coombs, who became the company’s premier snow sports athlete. Marmot has evolved along with the snow sports market, expanding its athlete team to include big-mountain skiers such as Jackson-based Hadley Hammer, who placed sixth overall on the Freeride World Tour last year.


Jake Cohn in the deep. Photo by Gabe Rogel

“Marmot aligns with the Jackson lifestyle,” says 28-year- old Hammer. “I like how it’s never too cool. Marmot is what it is. The brand is understated and just makes really good apparel.”

In the 80s, Marmot developed the first 8,000-meter insulated suits, used by alpinists in the most extreme environments in the world. The company also started producing tents and packs in the 90s, the same decade it moved headquarters to Northern California, where it remains today.

“A lot of companies emphasize their marketing over their products” says Jordan Campbell, director of public relations for Marmot. “We’re steeped in a timeless tradition to pioneer sophisticated, top-of-the-line technologies, and land it in our apparel.”

This fall, the focus is on Marmot NanoPro, a new technology providing superior comfort and extraordinarily durable weather protection. Leading the NanoPro collection is Marmot’s Boot Pack jacket which retails for $275. The jacket comes 100-percent seam taped and includes skier-friendly features such as a helmet-compatible hood, powder skirt, and plentiful pockets.“It’s so breathable and so air permeable, it doesn’t even need pit zips,” says Campbell of the two- layer fabric. “Crank up the intensity and you probably won’t need to peel your shell off.”


Jake Cohn. Photo by Gabe Rogel

Marmot’s new Megawatt jacket features Polartec Alpha, a new synthetic “active insulation” with a layer of 800-fill- power goose down, strategically placed in the torso and the adjustable hood.

“With hybrid construction, you normally think of mosaic paneling,” says Campbell. “This Alpha insulation is next- to-body, and another light layer of down over the top warms your core.”

When you think of such a technically advanced company, you would expect to pay top dollar for innovative products like the ones mentioned here. But Marmot’s ability to produce these garments and technologies at an affordable price keeps customers coming back year after year.

Marmot Randonnee Jacket


“A technician of the most daunting downhill, the Marmot Randonnee ski jacket is one of Marmot’s core ski pieces. Made with a waterproof and breathable…” Click for full review.

Marmot Megawatt Jacket


“Double down on the new world order — the Marmot Megawatt ski jacket has the unique feature of double the insulation for active use in cold conditions. This hybrid jacket boasts the supreme thermal regulation…” Click for full review.

Marmot Boot Pack Jacket


“Slogging uphill or blasting down, the Marmot Boot Pack ski jacket has state-of-the-art fabrics and construction are hardy, rugged and steeped in Marmot’s heritage designs…” Click for full review.

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