By Maria Lovely
If you’re familiar with ski touring, you understand the concept of hot and cold. Your body temperature feels perfect as you pull up to the trailhead in your warm vehicle, then cold as you switch into your ski boots, pack your backpack, and click into your skis, only to be hot and sweaty soon after you start skinning. During water breaks, while switching to downhill mode, or as the wind picks up and the weather worsens, you suddenly find yourself freezing again.
Without layers that help you adjust, you repeat this hot and cold cycle throughout the day as you move up and down the mountain. I did just that, prior to discovering FORLOH’s ThermoNeutral Down layering pieces, which provides insulation & protection without compromising breathability.
As someone who spends the majority of the winter with skis strapped to my feet, I have been faced with figuring out how to stay warm and be more comfortable while adventuring in the snow. Throughout this process, I transitioned through a few stages which might seem familiar.
Being the person who has to stop every 10 minutes to re-adjust, shedding layers as you get too hot and sweaty … only to put them back on when you’re moving at a slower pace or when a breeze picks up, lowering the wind chill factor. Plus, more time adjusting layers on the trail means less time skiing fresh snow.
After the struggle and embarrassment of phase one, you muster up the courage and decide to tough it out - hence, you move into the ‘be bold and start cold’ phase. Here, you find yourself leaving the trailhead with minimal clothing on and hurrying up the mountain in angst, working hard to get your blood pumping so you can finally start to feel your toes again. In this stage you have figured out how to save time, but with that comes misery. It’s a lot easier to have fun when you are not cold.
Through the testing of a myriad of clothing and lots of trial and error, I moved through these stages and discovered which layering pieces were the most effective. FORLOH’s ThermoNeutral Down Vest and Jacket feature a combination of water-resistant and breathable technologies that makes them the ideal backcountry mid-layer, even during extended periods of activity and in extreme cold.
FORLOH’s gear stands out because their team is reinventing what it means to make technical apparel. Instead of partnering with a single technology provider, FORLOH is partnering with multiple technology providers across different industries (outside of the usual “outdoor” channels) to offer technologies never before seen in technical outdoor apparel. In some cases they are building their fabrics from scratch, creating their own technologies, all made in America.
The profound technology of these down clothing items makes this layering system the ultimate choice.
FORLOH’s baselayer is made with Trizar, a NASA certified space technology that keeps you warm, perfect for the time at the trailhead before setting off.
Then I layer my favorite, the insulation layer. Here FORLOH’s 650 fil Thermoneutral Down, keeps me warm, but also dry thanks to the Activ-dri™ down, which is treated to reduce moisture absorption by up to 60% compared to untreated down. This fluorine-free and bluesign® approved system is ideal for keeping you warm in variable, rugged and even wet conditions and also dries more quickly when it does get wet.
The final insulation technology, a FORLOH exclusive which is the most unique of the technologies, is FORLOH’s Perf-Weld™. These tiny perforations increase breathability by letting out excess heat and moisture when physical demands, such as climbing up the mountain, cause body temperature to rise. Perf-Weld™ keeps your body temperature neutral, allowing you to go further and at higher intensity.
The system is completed with their AllClima protection outer layer - powered by Airadigm™. Airadigm™ instantly repels water and wind from the outside, while allowing the body to release heat and sweat from the inside. You know that ‘hot and cold’ thing we were talking about? This new technology eliminates that issue, working to keep you dry and balanced regardless of your activity level or the environmental conditions.
Like hunting, ski touring is so rewarding, but does not come without challenge. It’s important to thoroughly prepare and learn how to properly manage cold conditions. My old layers served their purpose, but this new technology is out of this world. After replacing them with the ThermoNeutral Down Vest and Jacket I find that I do not have to be as concerned about overheating, collecting moisture, only to have that moisture result in getting cold. I’m left with a clearer mind to focus on avalanche awareness, and more time to breathe in the fresh air, take in my surroundings, and enjoy the day. That is what being outdoors is all about.