Words:: Feet Banks
Winter is a cruel mistress, she can freeze your toes with an arctic whisper and put your car in the ditch with the slightest brush of her icy hand. And yet, she also delivers all the pristine white beauty, silence and pow-covered perfection of the Coast Mountain backcountry. She’s wild and independent, Miss Winter, and she does what she wants. The best any of us can do is dress appropriately and enjoy the ride.
One of the perks of spending a life in the outdoor recreation industry is having good friends in high places (or high friends in good places) and I was lucky this year to receive a couple key care packages just as the thermometer started to drop.
In October my old friend/writer Jess surprised me with a care package—a 200-wieght Icebreaker bodyfit base layer. I’m a big fan of natural fabrics (my sheepskin is the warmest jacket I own) and merino wool is long proven as the best base layer going (if you can afford it) so I was stoked to get into what Icebreaker is touting as “all season versatility and comfort” and put it to the test. I basically lived in this stuff for a week.
The bottoms only came on for outdoor missions, but the top became my go-to garment for pretty much everything I did. I chopped firewood in it, hiked in it, slept in it, vacuumed the house cause my in-laws were coming, and wore it out to the bar a couple times even though I hadn’t washed it. This is possible with Icebreaker merino because it’s naturally odor repelling. (to be fair, I showered multiple times during the week, I just didn’t wash the garment.) The Bodyfit baselayer performed, keeping my body temperature regulated in almost any circumstance. Even in bed under multiple layers of cover, I didn’t overheat. This stuff is killer for everyday life, so I took it skiing. Warm, dry and smelling great!
A few weeks later, a package arrived from Cortney in Jackson Hole. She’d hooked up with the crew at Give’r, an apparel company that seems to spend most of their time shredding pow, paddling rivers, climbing mountains, tossing flies and just generally givin’r. I was immediately sold on their philosophy (givin’er as a life choice has deep roots in the Canadian wilderness), but the Ol’Faithful Midweight Pullover included in the package impressed me even more.
Just coming into production after a hugely successful kickstarter campaign, this pullover quickly became my go-to. The crew at Give’r don’t mess around and the attention to detail on this pullover is nice. The fabric is durable and moisture wicking with a cut that’s sleek without being inhibiting. The chest pocket keeps your valuables safe (I’m putting joints in there but a cellphone would fit too) and the hood is large enough that you don’t look like a turtle when you raise it. Most importantly, though the inner lining is soft like seal skin (but 100% synthetic, don’t stress animal lovers) and once I’m in this sucker I don’t want to get out.
While I generally wouldn’t consider entering the wild without a hoodie, I don’t usually wear one on the ski hill (if I tuck the hood under my jacket it looks like I have a goiter on the back of my neck, and untucked it catches snow when I eat shit) but in the honor of scientific analysis I gave the Ol’ Faithful a day in court on Blackcomb for a shred day with my kid. Guess what, it kept me warm…and I pulled a hot chick’s number at après. (just kidding, I didn’t even après cause my kid had to be home for trumpet lessons. But it would have for sure…)
The Give’r crew also makes some kick-ass looking gloves, classic pom-pom toques, and a throwback long sleeve layer that embody the true spirit of skiing, and givin’er. I’ve never been to Jackson Hole but you can bet these cats are the first people I’m calling when I get there. It’s as if a bunch of gaper-day enthusiast cowboys who hate warm beer and shitty gear got together to solve all the world’s problems… and succeeded. Give’r!!
Those were the only two packages to arrive this year and I can no-bullshit say both the Icebreaker Bodyfit and the Give’r Ol’ Faithful are in regular rotation this winter. Thanks friends!
Winter might be a cold mistress but it’s unfair to call her cruel—she’s just weeding out the weak elements and the underdressed! So to close things off I want to leave a quote I read on the Sarah Burke Foundation’s Instagram.
“If you choose to not find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.”
You can donate to Sarah’s foundation and help young kids live their dreams right here.