Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide installment of Gear Spotlight from FREESKIER. Here, we provide a close-up look at the equipment and accessories that everyone should know about. Can’t get enough gear? Click here to see our entire 2019 Buyer’s Guide.
The Core Down Insulator, a bomber jacket-style layer from the makers at 686, provides street-worthy aesthetics in collaboration with top-of-the-line heat retention. Water-resistant DWR coats the entire jacket for increased weatherproofing, while 600 grams of Powerfill goose down built into the garment’s core ensures you’ll stay hot like a jalapeño pepper all day long. Compatible with any of 686’s Smarty 3-in-1 pieces, the Core Down Insulator will be a welcome and dapper addition to your ski wardrobe.
We all want to feel good about what we wear on the slopes, in terms of style, function and sustainability. Picture Organic Clothing is an environmentally-focused brand producing 100 percent of its products using organic, recycled, natural or bio-sourced materials, and that standard is maintained with its ultra-adaptable Undy Alpha jacket. Developed with Polartec Alpha Active Insulation and Power Stretch, the garment regulates core body temperature and wicks away moisture, while expanding your range of motion. Plus, it’s treated with PFC-free water repellent, so you can pat yourself on the back for thinking environmentally.
Since 1862, Mammut has been designing technical mountaineering and ski gear for athletes who crave high-altitude adventures. The Swiss company packs a heap of thoughtful tech into its all-new Alvier Flex Down Jacket, formulated specifically as a layering piece for skiers. This hooded full-zip has a slim, athletic fit and low-profile construction that uses thinner material on the sleeves and underarms to promote movement and manage moisture. It weighs just 470 grams—a tad more than a baseball—and is woven with an ultra-stretchy fabric for a dynamic fit.
The North Face combines street fashion with functionality in its all-new women’s specific Niche Down Vest. Styled with an asymmetrical front zipper, a tall cross-front collar that doubles as a balaclava and zipper-close pockets for all of your belongings, the Niche helps you feel confident while rocking it as your outer layer on warmer ski days or standalone in town. As a midlayer, it’ll keep you snug as a bug in a rug thanks to 550-fill down in the chest and back, complemented by 150 grams of lightweight Heatseeker insulation in the underarm and side-panels. The niche for this jacket: anywhere you want to take it.
Part of Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent line designed to perform in demanding, high-alpine conditions, the Microtherm Stretch is a truly lightweight and durable puffy midlayer. Constructed with a windproof, ultra-tough ripstop polyester shell and coated with an impressive DWR for increased moisture repellency, this piece gets its warmth from 800-fill StormDown, which retains its loft even when wet. With durability at an all-time high here, this layer works just as well on its own as it does underneath your shell of choice. So, keep it close at hand, whether you’re getting lift-accessed powder turns or earning them deep in the backcountry.
Flylow’s all-new Ronan Jacket is a half-zip, kangaroo-pouched midlayer that’s as ready for summit pushes as it is a trip to the coffee shop down the street. With a DWR-treated exterior for water resistance and 80 grams of ultra-lightweight Primaloft insulation, the Ronan can be relied upon for long, demanding backcountry missions or during cold, wet days inbounds. And, because it comes sans full zipper, it’s as cozy and comfortable as your favorite cotton sweatshirt.
Buff’s Original is a legend in the game. Offered in countless prints—highlighted here is the Vertex—and styles to match any skier’s preference, the Original is the epitome of comfortable, multi-functional headwear. Its supple polyester fabric wicks away moisture, blocks the wind and is totally odor-resistant, while the 100-percent seamless design minimizes irritation for all-day wearability. Scientists have found that the Original can be worn 12 different ways, but we’re sure the ski community can come up with a few more.
Introducing the new favorite item in your closet: the Corbeaux Mission Hoody. Made from recycled polyester, this hoody is equally breathable, quick-drying and warm, making it perfect for summiting before sunrise, running errands and everything in between. The longer body length, loose fit and deep hood also make it ideal for layering in cooler temperatures while the long chest zipper allows you to dump heat during exercise. A zippered phone pocket at the hip is a nice touch, too. This is truly an all-season hoody, so we won’t judge if you buy one for every day of the week.
This is a must-have women’s base layer for this coming winter. Not only does Kari Traa design some of the most attractive layers on the market, but this flattering Merino wool hooded top (with matching bottoms) is also a treat to wear from first chair to last. Four-way stretch and super fine threads ensure breathability, moisture wicking and odor defense, while thin side panels under the arms promote comfort and movement. If you’re looking for a garment you can strip down to for après ski shenanigans, the Rose Hood is ready to step up to the plate.
Ortovox’s light fleece merino zip neck hits shelves unchanged for the 2018-19 season. This quarter zip is built with a polyamide exterior for stretch and boasts a trim, athletic fit. It’s been a go-to for us since its introduction, and we’re still raving about its breathability and wicking prowess, achieved via sustainably produced Tasmanian merino wool, a natural fiber that neutralizes odor and regulates temperature, on the interior. Another reason we go gaga over the Fleece Light is its dry, cozy feel, even when you’re deep into your latest off-piste adventure. Its inner waffle structure significantly promotes airflow and improves moisture management, making soggy ski days a thing of the past.
First and foremost, this mid-weight, stretch hoodie from The North Face is as soft as a kitten after a bath and a blow dry. Offered in three stylish patterns, this top (and its matching bottom) features The North Face’s FlashDry wicking technology to keep you comfortable from first chair to last. The hood has a high collar, too, which doubles as a balaclava on days when the wind just won’t stop howling.
Part of Flylow’s Habitat Line designed to transition seamlessly from hill to chill, these Shreggings are the perfect companion for ladies who want to spend all day in their long underwear. The baselayer doubles as leggings for road trips, overseas flights or jaunts around town, thanks to a stylish, breathable, stretchy fabric complete with two hand and an inner waist pocket. Are they underwear? Are they leggings? Are they the most versatile long-john baselayers you’ve ever worn? We’ll let you be the judge.
Get the ultimate in versatility, performance and comfort with the Le Bent Men’s Le Base Crew. Going skiing? Hiking? Anywhere outdoors? Don’t leave this base layer at home. The signature blend–66.5 percent bamboo-derived Rayon, 30.5 percent Merino wool and 3 percent Lycra–keeps you warm, dry and stink-free through even the toughest excursions. The four-way memory stretch and recovery material moves with you, too, allowing you to get into any kind of position you need to. Le Bent? Le duh.
Like wearing your favorite worn-in pajamas, Dakine’s Kickback Lightweight top provides you the undeniable comfort you seek when hot lapping the resort. A Polygiene moisture-wicking jersey knit fabric keeps you dry and odor-free so you can spend more time chasing powder and less time at the laundromat. Flat seams, cuff thumb loops and loose, casual styling further enhance the aforementioned comfort factor.
Featured Image: Bruno Long