The drive towards sustainability continues to dominate as we move towards 2021 with many brands making uncompromising and positive strides to improve their manufacturing and production processes.
We’ll kick off with Helly Hansen’s Elevation Infinity Shell – a next level freeride ski jacket featuring the brand’s proprietary chemical-free waterproofing – Lifa Infinity Pro. With 20K/20K waterproof-breathable performance, a built-in removable balaclava, Aerogel Life Pocket to help preserve smartphone battery life, it’s a feature laden jacket that used 75% less water than the standard dyeing process.
Onwards to Picture Organic Clothing where the stand-out stories for 2021 are the new Demain Jacket (a 3-layer, 25K/20K waterproof, breathable, technical solvent-free and PFC-free shell made from Xpore – a polyester bio-based membrane made from sugarcane waste) and the double Slide and ISPO award-winning Welcome Jacket (the brand’s first bio-sourced jacket with a bio-based membrane made from castor oil).
Over at Patagonia there’s two new sustainable ski touring specific ranges to get excited about next winter. The new stretchy, breathable softshell Upstride series made from 100% recycled face fabric looks ideal for rapid mountain adventures and spring missions. The more rugged waterproof hardshell Stormstride jacket and pants are made from 3-layer stretch 54% recycled face fabric.
Jack Wolfskin claim their new Solitude Mountain Jacket provides ‘sustainable protection against the elements’. The 3-layer jacket makes up part of their new Felix Neureuther Signature Series and features Texapore Ecosphere Future Dye Stretch made from recycled materials.
If you’re looking to bring your best freeride game to the big mountains next winter then you need to put Mammut’s new Jérémie Heitz-inspired ‘La Liste’ collection on your…ahem…list. The high end, robust, instantly memorable technical 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro jacket comes with numerous freeride-specific features including skin stash pockets and the matching bib pants come with an integrated Barryvox-compatible pocket.
Other industry pro skier collabs of note include Mountain Hardwear’s super cool, ‘all the bells and whistles mon frere’ Vivian Bruchez signature outfit – The Viv Gore-Tex Pro jacket and bib pant. Designed and directed by the legendary steep skier and mountain guide himself, this ultra-light, waterproof, breathable, durable combo comes with loads of clever features optimised for big mountain skiing.
When it comes to big mountains, British brand Rab certainly know what they’re doing so we were delighted to discover that they have decided to take their established mountaineering heritage and channel it into a new backcountry and ski mountaineering line. The new Khroma series is made up of the Khroma GTX Jacket and Bib Pant (technical waterproof, breathable, durable with Gore-Tex Pro Most Rugged), the Khroma Kinetic Jacket and Pants (best described as ‘soft’ hardshell), the Khroma Karve synthetic insulated jacket with Gore-Tex Infinium outer, and Khroma Tour softshell pants. All of the above are also available in women’s models. The collection also features three new Khroma gloves – the bright orange GTX glove, cozy looking mitt and lower profile skinning glove with Gore-Tex Infinium.
All in all, a very impressive looking start – nice work.Mountain Equipment is another British brand bringing out some seriously impressive ski touring kit next winter. The new lightweight Quiver Jacket and Pants are two new technical, packable Gore-Tex Pro ski mountaineering pieces to keep your eyes out for in 2021.
Continuing the Gore-Tex Pro theme is the new Archangel jacket and bib pant from Outdoor Research. With super stretchy panels in the upper back, lower hood, knees and bib gusset, this mega waterproof and breathable combo won’t slow you down when you’re ready to charge. Other OR products to watch out for next winter include the super durable 800-fill Helium Down Hooded Jacket with Pertex Shell Diamond Fuse and new in-bounds oriented Carbide jackets, bibs and gloves designed in collaboration with Arcade Belts.
The sisterhood of shred will be excited to hear that Verbier-based FW will be expanding its entire collection next winter and will include some seriously stand-out kit for women. We’ve been mega impressed by the men’s offerings we’ve had on test this winter and have high hopes for the new women’s-specific Manifest 2L Jacket and Bib Pants we had a sneak preview of at Slide. Other tasty FW morsels to be sampled include the all-new men’s Manifest Tour Jacket, Bib and our absolute fave – the Hybrid Pant (3/4 length tight with insulated shorts).
One particular women’s-specific outfit that made a massive impression on us at ISPO this year was the epic-looking Incendia onesie from Arc’teryx. This utterly legit technical 3-layer waterproof, windproof and breathable all-in-one is guaranteed to light up loads of freeride flames. Fave feature? The Quick Release System for ‘easy bathroom breaks’.
Other bits and pieces that caught our eye include the aforementioned Ride Free Black Ops style collection from Rossignol, Planks’s 2021 workwear-inspired Woodsy Signature Series, the ISPO award-winning lightweight Berinno jacket from Ortovox with OWP merino wool, Scott’s new sustainable and super cozy Ultimate GTX Infinium Down Jacket for men, and The North Face’s new 50/50 down construction which promises to deliver breathable insulation with less bulk.
And finally, having been on crutches for the whole of the tradeshow season, we’re understandably intrigued by Salewa’s new smart fabric Responsive technology (that claims to aid recovery by recycling energy back to the body. Say what? Yup, apparently the blend of natural minerals in Responsive absorb heat emitted by your body and recycles into infrared light that penetrates your muscle tissue, resulting in greater energy, more efficient thermoregulation, increased blood flow, enhanced cellular performance, and higher oxygen levels, which in turn improves physical performance and cognitive focus.
Now if only it could guarantee us a lifetime of bluebird power days and help resolve global pandemics….
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