As the Swedes say, there is no such thing as bad weather – there is only bad clothing. When the snow is pounding and the wind is howling, the difference between an epic day playing in the mountains and a day sitting listlessly by the fireplace comes down to your outerwear. To win the battle against the elements, outerwear must keep the wind and precipitation at bay, while maintaining breathability.
Aether Apparel's inaugural foray into skiwear succeeds on all fronts. During the 40 plus days we spent in the set-up at Mammoth Mountain and the surrounding backcountry, with temperatures ranging from frigid and windy to bluebird and spring-like, we stayed warm and dry. The top-of-the-line Altitude shell ($675) is built with Schoeller C Change Fabric, which is dubbed a "smart fabric" because the pores open during hard charging activities (i.e., hiking or skiing) and close during static ones (i.e., riding the chair). The Apex pants ($375) feature a tough and breathable three-layer shell. Both have sealed seams and technology that helps rescuers find you if you're trapped in an avalanche. Pit and crotch zips keep temps regulated during warm days.
Price-wise, Aether Apparel is a few bucks more than top end offerings from other manufacturers. That premium gets you gear that both performs and, unlike many other high performance pieces, garners compliments from fashion-forward folks: The cut of both pieces is athletic (a notch or two above slim) and the branding is minimal (matchbook-size logos on the hip and thigh respectively). All in all, the look is spot-on almost anywhere, whether you're ripping down the bowl at Whistler or sipping bourbon in SoHo. [aetherapparel.com]