While Patagonia has been a ground breaking force in the development of technologies in both outerwear and layering, historically its cuts and styling have relegated it to an alpine niche, and while many riders hungered for the technology the brand brings to their winter playground, they weren’t willing to let their steeze suffer to the extent of looking more like they were summiting an ice fall than the next backcountry line.
But that has all changed. Over the last several winters, Patagonia has redoubled its efforts to evolve its outerwear and layering programs, and its Fall 2013 line marks the culmination of a complete reset of the brand’s styling along with next level technologies in every piece from your base to your shell.
As part of its evolution from an alpine to an “active freeride” focus, Patagonia has assembled an all star team. Leading the charge is action sports industry vet and Business Unit Director Tyler LaMotte, whose background includes stints at Salomon/Bonfire and adidas Skateboarding. Joining LaMotte is Product Line Merchandiser for Snow Sports Paisley Stout, whose extensive résumé includes The Clymb, Nike, and US Outdoor Store, and Product Designer-Wetsuits and Snow Outerwear Glen Morden, who has been cutting cloth for years, beginning his career with Mountain Equipment Co-op. In addition to their job experience, they are all hardened shreds, and this crew has brought to bear a new philosophy for Patagonia’s winter program.
TransWorld Business had the opportunity to put the new line through its paces on an early January trip to Niseko, Japan and caught up with the trio to learn more about the line after a long day on the hill before a soak in the onsen.
In addition to getting a first-hand opportunity to test the gear in some of the best conditions we’ve ever seen, and finding it equal to everything Mother Nature’s Japanese spirit threw at us, we went through the line to learn more about what goes into each garment and has consistently put Patagonia in a realm of its own for over 40 years--its attention to detail, environmental stewardship, quality, and ethos.
Here’s a look at the line, the trip, and a preview of the future of Patagonia’s winter world from the land of the rising sun.