When Mountain Hardwear was acquired by Columbia Sportswear a decade ago, loyalists were worried that the brand would lose some of its top-of-the pyramid functionality. But, if the product evidenced at Winter Outdoor Retailer is any indication, MH seems to be getting better and better. And in fall 2013 they’ve renewed their focus on gear for skiing and snowboarding.
Products like the new men’s and women’s Thermostatic Jacket ($200, oictured left) make use of their new Thermal.Q technology, a proprietary, synthetic insulation that uses a down-inspired matrix of rigid stems and soft fibers to create a ridiculously light, ten-ounce jacket that’s very packable. Once for ounce, Termal.Q is 20 percent warmer than other synthetic insulation, it dries fast, and the jacket itself has a sly street-friendly fashion sense which makes it a good go-to for traveling in colder climes. The Snowtastic 3L Jacket ($550, pictured right), meanwhile, ups the ante for female skiers, with waterproof-breathable fabric treated with Dry.Q Elite technology to help vent excess heat when skinning while still keeping you dry and warm when riding the lift. The men’s Compulsion 3L Jacket ($650) stands as the male counterpart to the Snowtastic, with a soft, comfortable three-layer face with Dry.Q waterproof breathability, pack-compatible pockets, and a removable powder skirt. Mountain Hardwear will also start working with merino wool in fall 2013 with base layers like the Integral LS Zip T ($88), made of a wool/polypropylene blend that wicks, dries quickly, and keeps you warm when you’re wet or dry—and it’s machine washable.
OutDry waterproofing (a technology MH shares with Columbia) pairs with Q.Shield insulation in the Snowrilla Glove ($110), a warm, fashion-forward everyday ski/winter glove made of hybrid leather and a cordura palm. MH is also stepping up their game with winter-specific packs. The Snowtastic 18 ($100) fulfills the need for short back- and sidecountry trips, with 1,100 cubic inches of storage for safety gear, a hydration sleeve, and a single piece of connected weaving to carry your skis diagonally—one of the most secure ski-carrying systems we’ve seen. For all-day backcountry tours, step up to the Powzilla 30 ($190). This ABS Base Unit-compatible pack (the “avalanche airbag” made by various third-party vendors) has a zip-off back panel so can access the pack interior without removing your skis or board from the pack, the same continuous webbing found in the Snowtastic, a hydration sleeve, big compression wings, and plenty of room for your shovel, probe, extra layers, and food.