While a lot of outdoor brands are athlete-driven, being athlete-owned is something that sets Strafe apart from its competitors. Created and operated by twin brothers and elite athletes Pete and John Gaston, the Aspen-based company tests its products in the backyard—the famed Highland Bowl and the surrounding Elk Mountains.
“Regardless of the weather, location, or even the season, we want to be out there exploring the mountains and improving our product,” says Pete Gaston. “The products we make are designed to be as diverse as our team and fulfill the needs of the modern day skier who is spinning lift laps one day, and on a dawn patrol ski tour the next.”
Strafe’s diverse team ranges from big- mountain skiers like Thayne Rich and Freeride World Tour competitor Jake Teuton to adventure photographers like Bruno Long, ski guides like Joe Schwartz and ski mountaineers like Andrew McNab.
For the latest collection, Strafe uses the industry’s best air-permeable fabrics throughout its outerwear (eVent and Polartec NeoShell), insulation (Polartec Alpha) and mid layers (Polartec Power Dry high efficient). The fabric change was athlete driven.
“I had some long, wet days in Whistler and I never got wet,” says Rich, who wore the new Nomad kit last winter while sledding and touring in BC, filming with Sweetgrass Productions. “It’s just as waterproof as Gore, but lighter, more breathable and really durable.”
While most waterproof breathable fabrics only breathe after you’ve built up enough pressure difference for water vapor to penetrate the membrane (translation: you’re hot and sweaty), eVent and Polartec NeoShell also breathe through diffusion, or a constant two-way air exchange.
“Air permeable basically means more comfortable,” says John, North American Ski Mountaineering Champion. “Even when you aren’t working hard, your body is releasing water vapor. These fabrics constantly release that hot air and help your body maintain its natural temperature.”
Strafe is one of first brands to use the NeoShell technology in ski specific apparel (think: looser, longer, modern fit) and the company uses a much lighter version than most “to bring out the potential that an air permeable fabric like NeoShell offers,” says John.
Strafe’s new Cham series uses Polartec NeoShell and features a minimalist design for avid backcountry skiers and modern-day ski mountaineers. John enjoyed all of his 10,000+ foot ski-mo training days in the kit last winter, while Pete put his Cham outfit to use on multiple ski mountaineering trips in the Alps.
The company’s Nomad series is better suited for lift-accessed skiing and emphasizes shelter and protection from the elements. The fourth generation Nomad pant and jacket features eVENT and is once again re-designed for a slightly looser fit with pockets right where you need them.
Strafe’s insulated Gamma Ray Jacket using Polartec Alpha and its midlayers, like the Base Camp Hoody and Tech Crew that use two different types of Polartec Power Dry, round out a comprehensive collection to outfit everyone from weekend warriors to backcountry adventurers.
“An innovative take on the traditional lightweight, puffy jacket, Strafe used an air-permeable, ripstop nylon face and Polartec Alpha…” Click for full review.
“A modern day mountain space suit designed for deep snow exploration in the most extreme conditions. eVent shell and YKK zippers will keep you dry…” Click for full review.
“Designed with input from the brand’s Freeride World Tour athletes, the Nomad is its premier big-mountain jacket. Versatility reigns…” Click for full review.