How We Build Gear Based On Experience.
Every year I love starting the new design cycle in the fall for gear that will not arrive on the shelves for 24 months. It gives me the chance to reflect on the past season in the mountains using and testing the gear. I think back on all of the meetings I had with athletes, shop crews, and sales reps who are my conduits to the Flylow community. That’s when they relay their grievances, fondnesses, and wish lists for the gear to get better. Then we have a chance to make it all a little better! Or a lot better... but the line is bigger now and I know I can't change everything without driving the production department completely crazy. After getting all this feedback, I meet with the product team and we start to dream of what can be and then we do it.
New Insulation - Inspired By Seven Straight Days On A Skintrack
For this upcoming season, I was truly affected by a trip to the Hilda Hut in BC with my wife and friends for her birthday. We skied with Canadian ski guide Evan Stevens and skinned 5-6K vert per day for a week. We choked on Canadian cold smoke powder. Got pelted in the face by blowing snow. We sweat. And I studied and thought about what we needed to make the 2023/24 Flylow Winter line the best it could be. That led me first to the women’s Lynx Jacket and men’s Bear Jacket. I realized that we were missing a premium cold weather synthetic puffy. A belay jacket of sorts but made for backcountry skiing and riding. Something we would use at the top of a climb to throw over whatever we had skinned in. Something that could go under a shell on the coldest day skiing at Big Sky (and I tested it on a -14 degree day last winter ... ouch). Something that would save your life and accompany you day to day because you would love it and trust it and feel confident in it.
To do this we had to spare no expense, something I love to do. We took Pertex Quantum Air fabric (matte finished, stretchy, considerably more breathable than the standard mountaineering puffy fabric) and stuffed it with the nicest synthetic insulation money can buy, Primaloft Gold at 133 grams. We added pit zippers as we love to do on Flylow puffies (I still don’t understand why no one else does) and made them look good. Technical without looking technical. The Bear and Lynx may not pack quite as small as a General's Down or Betty Down, but they keep you a bit warmer and will continue to do so when wet ... that is why every Canadian ski guide opts for a Primalot puffy as their emergency layer. Now we have that layer and I am proud of it.
New Warmer Jackets - Oft Requested By Our Skiers In The Rockies
Continuing with the theme of warmth and sparing no expense, I was asked to make a warmer waterproof coat by the Rocky Mountain contingent of the Flylow family. This was another fun project that led us to make the all new Iceman Coat and Charlie Coat. In dreaming up a waterproof jacket that was stuffed with the finest 800 FP Goose down I knew, there was a problem with this type of coat that we had to overcome. If you overheat in a down jacket and it gets wet, you will lose some loft and warmth, which is why we created a truly breathable and waterproof down coat using our Intuitive Perm fabric as a shell and then lined the coat with Pertex Quantum Air fabric. The Perm fabric is so special because it will release heat before you start to sweat and when you get warm or find yourself in a wet snow storm the fabric will dry everything out extremely fast. The results are two jackets that reign supreme for a cold day riding lifts, heading out the gates, and strapping skis to your pack for the double booter to Four Pines at Jackson or any application where warmth and storm protection are a must.
A New Comp Vest - Freeride Has Always Been In Flylow's DNA
The Scotty Comp Vest is a nod to the freeride athletes that put Flylow on the map. The Chickering-Ayers brothers, Isaac Freeland, Eben Mond, Ross Tester, Syd Ricketts and so many others have put us on the map of serious apparel manufacturers by representing us in freeride comps around the world. We invested in them when they were younger and unproven, and they did the same for us as we aspired to earn the trust of the outdoor community as an apparel manufacturer. Over the years Flylow has been given validation that we are built by skiers and riders for skiers and riders through the support and achievements of our athlete team.
When I sponsored Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers it was because their buddy Ryan Hawks told me they would toss our logo on their converted 4x4 van, the General, that they were all three going to live in and take our gear on the Freeride World Tour in. I thought they were nuts but I loved the idea of three core skiers owning their time and chasing their dream. And then they started winning. But even more importantly they started giving me feedback. To this day I can make a phone call and let Lars give me an earful of all of the ways we can make the gear better.
So, to keep supporting the North American freeride spirit we decided to make a comp vest for all of the competitors to ride in. In a freeride comp you must carry your avalanche gear. Nothing skis better while carrying that gear than a patrol vest. We engineered the Scott Comp Vest for comp riding with waterproof fabric, tons of pockets, radio compatibility, big and tough zippers, impact foam back padding, and generally overbuilt everything. The result is a comp vest that we will be using to support freeriders this season with a push to supply all freeride teams with this key piece of equipment. And although it may not be quite as cool as skiing fast like Ross 'Boss' Tester, those of us parents out there trying to get two kids to the magic carpet while carrying snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate will appreciate the pockets and ski carry system, too!
Baker & Foxy Families Expand - New Versions Of Our Best Sellers
The New Baker and Foxy Insulated Bibs are another over-built product we added to the line. All insulated pants are not created equal. In fact, most of them are made for gentle resort riding. But that is bullshit. We wanted an insulated bib for the coldest of days riding lifts or our sleds to the trailhead that could actually take a beating. Enter the Baker and Foxy Insulated Bibs. Using everything we have learned about bomber fabrics and insulation, we created a warm and tough bib reinforced with 1000D cuffs and kneed and stuffed with 40 grams of recycled insulation.
Other highlights in the line include some key pieces that were just missing in our midlayer game like non-hooded down sweaters. So, we added the Betty Down and General’s Down sweaters. These pieces are constructed using the same high end Pertex shell fabrics and 800 FP goose down to be excellent mid layers on colder days in the mountains and your go to piece for hitting the grocery store after skiing.
With Four New Styles, Gloves Are Now A Cornerstone Of The Brand
Finally, gloves. We started making gloves 15 years ago as a way to attract store buyers and media members to our booth at the outdoor trade show. That's right, Flylow gloves were just swag to give away and make friends. We modeled them after the gloves that ski patrol were wearing and made sure they were coated with the right stuff to have water roll off them. Then the orders started rolling in and we found ourselves spending too many hours packaging gloves in the backyard on Sunday nights to ship to the stores. A few years later we heard that Flylow had “disrupted the glove market.” We were just trying to make ski patrollers a better glove to use on the hill but with consistent finger sizing for freeriders, too.
Eventually we were able to introduce completely waterproof styles like the Unicorn Mitt and Magarac Glove, but we were missing something. When you learn to make something better you are pushed to try and hit the paragon of each style. So, Chris Blum, our director of product, set out to invent a truly premium glove collection for Flylow. Again, we spared no expense. We knew we needed the best leather for holding a pole or an ice ax, so we sourced goat skin and stuffed it with recycled micro puff insulation. The secondary fabric on the gloves is an upcycled material leftover from our Baker Bib construction that is tried and tested to be the toughest material we could find. We finished with a waterproof lining and a fit that feels pre-molded to your hands right out of the bag. This winter, we give you four new styles, Wolverine and three Super D(uper) goat skin styles that again, will disrupt the market with quality, durability, and fair pricing.
I could go on. As I have been a pain in the ass for the production department and tweaked things across the whole line. And they were amazing at making their own adjustments, continuing to find more recycled and sustainable materials, introducing PFOS-free DWRs and generally kicking butt. We are a small team, we live in Tahoe and Colorado, we ski a lot, test new variations of gear everyday—and that's our special sauce.
I truly hope you enjoy the new collection. Hit us up with issues or praise, leave a review, and have a great winter.