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Active Winter Wear

By Jack Newton

It’s a common conundrum. How do you stay warm on the ski lift, yet avoid becoming overheated during the vigorous descent? Winter enthusiasts have long struggled to keep comfortable during activities that are both sedentary and energetic.

Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

You can always pull another layer from your pack to wear when you get chilly, and remove that outer shell if you’re starting to sweat. But better outdoor clothing manufacturers now offer outerwear that allows you to maintain comfort whether you’re at rest or firing on all cylinders.

Body Temperature-Regulating Outerwear

Helly Hansen’s H2Flow technology “lets you regulate temperature on the fly,” says Banff store manager John Waters. These versatile parkas and jackets have air pockets that trap body heat and provide a no-weight insulation boost. Unzip forward ‘intake’ and rear ‘exhaust’ vents to flush warm and moist air when you need to cool down.

New Patagonia Nano-Air jackets and hoodies designed for start-stop mountain sports make Outside magazine’s 2015 ‘Best Gear of the Year’ list. Revolutionary FullRange insulation provides warmth even when wet, which combined with the wind and water-resistant outer fabric offers “unparalleled stretch and breathability,” explains store manager Jenna Villemaire.

Wild Mountain associate Cindy McDougall notes that some North Face styles employ body mapping to enhance comfort during aerobic pursuits. Extra insulation is added where heat loss is greatest like shoulder tops, while very breathable quick-dry fabrics are used at sweat zones such as armpits. The company’s lightweight and compressible Thermoball insulation retains heat in small air pockets like down, and performs even when wet.

McDougall suggests, “your kit should keep up with your sport.” Fortunately, Canadian Rockies outdoor shops have the clothing and expertise to keep you comfy on slopes and trails.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

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