Looking to expand beyond its casual-clothing image, Eddie Bauer launched its First Ascent high-performance line this season. Judging by the Paradise Zip ($49), that’s great news. The reasonably priced Paradise is lightweight, with the right amount of spandex for full range of motion without being overly snug. And unlike some base layers, it’s soft and comfortable. The First Ascent line is designed as a system: Insulating layers and outerwear are cut so that the body and sleeve lengths of each successive layer are slightly longer than the previous one.
Wearing Sierra Designs' new Flex Down Jacket is like walking around in your comfiest, warmest sleeping bag, except you won't look half as silly. In fact, the goose down puffy incorporates Sierra's patented sleeping bag "Flex Technology," meaning the jacket moves with you while adapting to your shape to increase heat retention by reducing air space between you and your jacket. Fleece lined pockets up the cozy factor.
The “NADA” in Merrell’s NADA Nanuk jacket stands for “Not Any Dye Applied.” From the fabric down the zippers, there’s not a drop of dye in this garment, resulting in major reductions in water, energy and chemical use during production. Aside from the environmental impact, the absence of dyes gives the jacket a sleek, monochromatic look.
We love puffy jackets. We just wish they didn’t make us feel so, well, puffy. Therein lies the brilliance of Patagonia’s new barely there Nano pullover ($150). Three ounces lighter than Patagonia’s Down Sweater—a SKI staff favorite we were sure would never be unseated—the Nano’s synthetic PrimaLoft insulation retains heat even when wet. The wind- and moisture-resistant polyester shell is 100 percent recycled material and recyclable through Patagonia’s Common Threads program.
Apparel multitasking is a requirement, not a choice, for today’s traveling skiers. GoLite’s Star Lite slip-on ($90) does the trick. We like the convenience of its open back, whether for repeatedly de-shoeing at airport security lines or slipping our feet into something comfy after prying off our ski boots. The moderately nubbed sole strikes a good balance between ease of walking and slush protection on the way back to the condo. golite-footwear.com