When you head into the backcountry, you crave the off-piste solitude, the big mountain landscapes, and the chance to chase partners to the steepest untouched slopes. Backcountry skiers have distinct needs, and today we’re talking about Ski Mountaineering: Trim fit and movement-enhancing fabrics for technical pursuits. Whatever your style, and however you like to explore the backcountry, we’re here to get you geared up for the season ahead. Find your favorite backcountry style in our Fall 2019 Ski Collection.

As autumn turns to winter, rock climbers retreat to the gym and desert in pursuit of dry rock. Mountaineers, on the other hand, swap their climbing boots for AT set ups, dust off their ski crampons, and keep their harness and rope packed for the winter ahead.

Year-round mountain guides like Outdoor Research Ambassador Jessica Baker make a living out of the transition from climbing season to skiing season with the artful, precision-driven sport of Ski Mountaineering. This discipline is just as much about the ascent as the descent, with skiers either skinning uphill or carrying their skis strapped to their packs while scaling a mountain, then skiing off the summit. Ski Mountaineering involves tricky terrain like glacier travel, rock climbing, and frequent transitions with both ski and boot crampons.

Technical skiing requires a technical, trim fit, which make the streamlined San Juan Jacket and Cirque Pants a perfect match for their ski mountaineering style. Since ski mountaineering relies on near-perfect weather and snow conditions, skiers aren’t likely to find themselves in heavy snow or super-cold climates. And because they’re carrying so much more climbing gear than the next backcountry skier, weight savings on apparel mean a lot.

That’s where the soft shell superpowers of the Ski Mountaineering Kit come into play. This fabric is the perfect balance of breathability to dump sweat when you’re working hard uphill, moderate weather resistance for dry-to-drizzly climates, and stretch that allows you to move quickly without feeling constricted – all essential qualities when dealing with the demands of big mountain objectives.

Need more beta? Read more on: What does soft shell mean, anyway?

New for Fall 2018, the San Juan Jacket is a ski mountaineer’s dream piece, inspired by the dry snow and high peaks of the Colorado Rockies. Built for the mountains it was named after, the San Juan is constructed with a durable 75-denier double weave soft shell fabric that wards off rough elements like ice and rock, and that’s rugged enough to trap in warmth without letting you at risk of overheating. Climbing-focused features like a helmet-compatible hood and harness-friendly pockets ensure your jacket will excel on the alpine ascents you set out for, launching from summer mountaineering objectives right into winter.


When guides like Baker are teeing up their perfect Ski Mountaineering Kit , they’re looking for outerwear, layers, and accessories complete with:

  • Trim fit and stretch: Movement-enhancing qualities that don’t get in the way of long strides or fast paces.
  • Climbing-focused features: Fine-tuned details that ensure your outerwear works with your climbing gear seamlessly.
  • Breathability and quick drying: Lightweight fabrics that release sweat, dry quickly, and keep you dry and comfortable throughout the day.
  • Weather resistance: Water repellant materials ward off drizzly weather without sacrificing warmth or breathability.

Rest assured, we’re here to stoke your journey with purpose-built gear for however you like to get out there. Discover your own perfect backcountry kit in our Fall 2019 Ski Collection.

Photos by Joey Schusler and Thomas Woodson.

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