Your Guide to Outerwear

On a rainy Fall morning I was sipping tea and chatting with a friend when I mentioned that I had been searching all over Canada for a specific Fjällräven backpack and how surprised I was to walk into The Guide’s Hut to see it sitting right there on the shelf. I had no idea that Fjällräven was even in Fernie. How’d I miss that!? My friend asked what was so good about the backpack and I replied, ‘They’re iconic.’ They’re the kind of backpack you get as a kid and then keep forever. They’re just cool.

That tells you something about me. If I love it, I have to have it, and I don’t look too much into the price (unless it’s the Balenciaga Zipped Nylon Logo jacket - I see you there in my online cart with no intention of ever pressing purchase). In saying that, I’m also a sucker for a good deal. So, because I like to help a sister out, I’ve rounded up my best affordable, mid-range, and luxe outdoor apparel items available in Fernie. Mix and match, spend what you can, figure out what’s worth the extra cash, and what’s not, and throw your money down there.

Affordable doesn’t mean cheap. If you can buy it in a gear shop in Fernie then you know it’s going to do its job. The owners (and staff) know what they’re on about and if they bring it into their store, there’s a reason. As Paul from Boardstiff told me, “We try to bring in brands that are designed in Canada by those who are in the know. They’re compatible with our conditions and are good value for money.” I also noticed a HUGE move to a more sustainable, recycled and chemical free product even at a lower price point. That’s exciting!

For a little more of your dollar, you get a little more tech. Features start popping up everywhere. Cool things that will have you saying, ‘Wow, I never knew how much I needed that!’ Like the Roxy Essence jacket with its stretch fixed powder skirt designed to hug your hips so no snow will be going up your back on those big powder days. (It also includes a neck warmer that protects, calms and cares for skin - whaaat!?) You’ll also start seeing a lot more Gore-Tex, which is the leader in waterproof, breathable fabric.

What does Luxe in snow sports mean to you? If you think Arc’teryx and their ‘high performance, high quality and built to last’ mantra, then you’re on the right track. You may balk your eyes at a $700 jacket but what if that one jacket means that you won’t have to replace it any time soon, possibly saving you money in the long run and also, keeping the landfill just a little bit lighter? Of course, other brands have high-end clothing too, Rab are doing awesome things with a technical, movement-focused design, and you will fall in love with Hestra's Power Heater Glove. They are hard to go past when you consider that cold hands on a chairlift will be a thing of the past.

So figure out your budget and what’s important to you. Is it cost, performance, style, environment? (It’s hard to compete with Patagonia’s unparalleled social and environmental efforts – the leader in the industry.)

Next, head into your local snowboard/ski shop. You will be met by friendly, knowledgeable staff who will have you kitted out in the perfect outerwear in time for the next big snowfall.*

*Tip - Keep an eye out for a hazy pink sky at night, that’s when you know it’s coming.