When you realize teenagers are smoking you down the slopes, you have to fight back something they simply can’t match, a pocketbook. No matter how slick that 17 year old appears inverted over your head, you can take comfort knowing you are warm, dry while rocking the latest technology and fashion. Of course, if you can still stomp on the little runts, looking good only makes it that much better. Check out the cool gear that will protect you from the elements, and looking like a gaper, this season.
Holden 3L Jacket
One problem with winter wear is that it looks like, well, winter wear. The Holden outerwear company is here to fix that. Their jackets and pants make a seamless transition from the slopes to the bar. Described by ski shop retail jockeys as “street wearable”, Holden uses a variety of materials and fabrics to disguise technically sound winter gear as your everyday, walk-around jacket. Those materials are also “eco-friendlier,” including hemp and recycled polyester. Being hip never felt so guilt free. Holden outerwear also features the ability to zip your coat to your pants. Certainly not the only company to offer this feature, there are at least the most stylish, which is important since you are essentially wearing a one-piece. Check out the Anton 3L Jacket, a 3-layer, fully seam taped coat that protects you well and looks even better. [Buy it]
The North Face Three Degrees Jacket
When winter weather gets particularly chilly, many of us reach for our trusty down coats. Considering the alternative, extreme shrinkage, we don’t mind the marshmallow-man comparisons. It is tough to find really warm, technical gear that looks good. Being 2009, though, perhaps its not too much to expect a more figure-friendly method to combating the cold. Enter the North Face Company. The Men’s Three Degrees Jacket is an insulated coat designed for the slopes. For a jacket this warm and waterproof, it is very light and lacking bulk. Powered by Eco-Primaloft and Gore-Tex Performance Shell technologies, the Three Degrees can handle the harsh elements. North Face saved the best innovation, though, for when the sun comes out. Riders will enjoy the new, well-placed core vents. A terrific mesh of innovation and style. [Buy it]
Mountain Hardwear Kramer/Arcteryx Stingray
Soft shell jackets have become increasingly more popular in recent years due to their everyday look and wear-ability. The tradeoff, generally, is the ability to ward off the elements. Now, Mountain Hardware and Arcteryx are raising the bar on what a soft shell can be. Mountain Hardware’s Kramer Jacket is a hard shell/soft shell love-child that has deservedly received Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award. The Kramer is lightweight, formfitting with good breath-ability and range of motion, thanks to its soft shell mother. The hard shell father passed on waterproof panels in the places you need them most – head, shoulders and torso. The result is a versatile jacket, ready for the mountain and apres events. [Buy it]
Arcteryx also offers a best-of-both worlds option. The Stingray is made from Gore-Tex Soft Shell material, providing that soft feel and smooth appearance, while also being waterproof. Yes, waterproof. Due to that feature, some might put it in the hard shell category, but when you wear this jacket you don’t “crinkle” when you move, a decidedly soft shell feature. Once you put on the jacket, we feel you’ll find it is so fine, you won’t mind its split personality (much like that blond in Vegas). The jacket is a relaxed-fit, slightly wider than the Kramer, but that does not mean bulky. It remains light and moves nice. Grab the Stingray in mahogany for a slick looking coat that onlookers will admire without even knowing it is so technically superior to their own. [Buy it]
Naturally, you will not find any of these jackets on the budget rack, which is fine, because that somehow makes them feel that much cozier. An individual as discriminating as yourself needs to demand outerwear that has both function and fashion. Thankfully, it is available. Whether you require extreme protection or extreme style, these hybrids can deliver. Throw one in your bag this winter and don’t be surprised if you receive extra attention from the Kokanee Girls while relaxing on the deck.