Patagonia Mixed Guide Hoody and Patagonia Merino Wool

All Fall 2012 including reviewed pieces on sale now (up to 60% off) at

Blaze orange and loving it. While this jacket is specifically made for ice climbers, I have found it to be a fantastic jacket to layer underneath as needed for dropping temperatures and at the same time a great shell in virtually every season.

Mixed Guide Hoody-PaintbrushRed

What I love about this piece:

The hybrid soft shell material and Patagonia H2No® Performance 3-layer nylon ripstop fabric with a waterproof, breathable barrier, bright color, lightweight, and range of use and range of temperatures. The soft-shell areas are made of highly breathable, wind resistant Polartec® Power Shield® keeping you cool at all times.

The hood itself is large enough to slide over a ski helmet as needed and the draw cords are well done.  the best thing about the hood is your vision is not impacted in the slightest. It moves with your moves…a rare but stellar attribute in a hood. A great pick up for year round utility.

What to wear under this shell? Fear not Patagonia has an impressive lineup of Merino Wool to keep you regulated no matter your activity.

Here is my go to baselayer on a cold day: Patagonia Merino 3 Midweight Zip-Neck Shirt – Wool…great for any multi sport activity of just under a sweater at the office.

Merino 2Pataagonia Merino 3 MidWeight Zip Neck

Patagonia Merino 2 Lightweight Crew Shirt – Wool…another excellent base layer that is great to wear alone next to your skin. Patagonia Merino 1 SW Crew – Long-Sleeve – a wonderful lightweight merino shirt that welcomes any training session.

While Patagonia has become a leading outdoor brand they have also become a leader in world wide conservation efforts. The companies commitment to sustainability is not only window dressing but common practice for employees and devout followers of the brand. This is demonstrated by the Uncommon Threads Initiative  partnership with eBay to make buying their brand more sustainable. Have you taken the pledge yet? 

Ibex Winter Warming Event Recap

An excellent night was had by all that attended the Winter Warming event at the recently opened Ibex store located at 303 Newbury Street.  Many folks were taking advantage of the 20% off the entire store last night.  I meant to pick up a very nice piece for my wife, Leigh, but I got caught in the moment and left without it….boo.

I met some great people last night and reconnected with others. It was a pleasure to meet Julie (@verdejulie) from Verde PR as she did an excellent job packing the store. Although, having American Flatbread Pizza with their mobile brick oven parked out front didn’t hurt along with the VT beers flowing and of course Hot Toddies. Anyone have a photo of the oven set up to share? If  so,  please add to comments.

Many faces from the Ibex family including the Top Sheep himself graced the store with their presence and their welcome smiles. The social media presence was also well represented and pictured below: @swimmykimy (Kim), @bostontweet (Tom), Ally, @foodtorunfor (Liz), @boloco (Sara-in background) amongst other I may have not met.

I suggest you drop into the store before your shopping is complete for the Holidays. If you are anything like me…I tend to buy gifts that will last many years and Ibex is no doubt an investment that keeps giving back for years.

Thank you to Ibex for hosting such a great event with fun people and local VT food and drink.

sidenote:  This time I made it home without hitting the pavement.

Après Ski Themed Party: Kick off the Winter Season with Ibex

Please join me in celebrating the coming of Winter Thursday, December 2nd at the Ibex Flagship store, 303 Newbury Street. Be there for your chance to win a weekend for two at Stowe or score the $500 Ibex gear upgrade. Local beer and wine to be served along with American Flatbread Pizza bringing their tastiness down from VT.  Great opportunity to pick up a holiday gift that will be around for many more holiday seasons. Ibex is generously offering 20% off the entire store which includes merino wool and organic cotton product lines from 5-8pm.

Boston Ski and Snow Expo

I went to check out the Boston Ski and Snow Expo more to get excited about the upcoming season than anything else. There were some solid deals on models from last season and the best deal I did see was on a pair of LINE Prophets for just under $400….which seems to be the ultimate East Coast one ski quiver for all mountain ski anything ski.

The downside of buying at such an event is that the Ski Reps are planted in front of all sale ski’s protecting them from the masses as opposed to actually selling. I can bet you that if one these guys engaged me in the slightest I would have been justifying another pair for the quiver. However, the reps working the booths set up with the new lines were great to talk to about the their new ski’s.  The Volkl lineup looked great with the return of the twin tipped, rocker Gotma, the Mantra and a new offering, the Volkl Kendo, that has the same dimensions as the Mantra except a little bit narrower underfoot at 88mm. Too bad Made in the USA upstarts like Icelantic weren’t there showing off their amazing ski’s. I’m all about Icelantic and just placed another order with them last week…can’t wait for their arrival!

This is not the place for a crazy deal on a new pair of boards but more to see what is new for this year. Think wider and more rocker tip then ever. Some of the best new boards were clearly made for those that are lucky enough to spend a majority of their days in the true powder….out West or up at Jay Peak. What I thought was one of the more visually pleasing booths and with knowledgeable reps was from Dalbello/Elan.

After stopping by and chatting it up I happened to be in the right spot to meet Glen Plake before he started his autograph session.  I had no idea he would be there so that was a bonus and a signed poster for my nephew which takes care of his Christmas gift.

Glenn is sitting in a custom made chair for the event by a fun company,, which makes recycled ski chairs, benches, coat racks, and wine bottle holders. Thanks to Mike for hooking me up with a new wine rack!

All of the mountains from New England and beyond were well represented but most had really lame booths. A couple stood out (Crotched Mountain w/a dart prize dart board) from the pack better then others but overall  these resorts need to get more creative for these shows and have better lift ticket deals specific to the show to lure me through the ski resort gauntlet. Most of the folks seemed bored but it’s because their set up was boring and weren’t creating any buzz. The other mountain that stood out was Wildcat as they were also engaging folks via Twitter throughout the weekend. The smaller mountains won out from my perspective…they need to be creative and were effective in doing so.

Columbia…out with the old in with the old

The Columbia we have come to know is nothing out of the ordinary or a brand that seems like a must have. Although the company was established in 1938, it put itself back on the map in the mid-80’s with the innovative Bugaboo parka which was the first jacket to utilize the zip in mid layers. Well, that was a long time ago and Columbia has taken upon a culture shift to get back to their innovative ways by developing some really out of the ordinary technologies such as Omni-Heat. This thermel technology functions on three levels: electric, reflective, and insulated across the line from base layers to outer layers.

I attended their media event this past week in NYC which provided a further glimpse into the excitement they feel about the resurgence of a revitalized product offering.  I had a conversation with Dan Hanson-VP of Marketing during which he noted that they had rested on their laurels and have truly embraced change to propel the company’s development to the next level. I couldn’t help but think how so many companies have been “innovating” recently by going back to the roots of their original success. Columbia is truly innovating while embracing their roots. You may have noticed other companies follow this pattern in the last year such as Woolrich, Levi’s, Eddie Bauer (hired a historian), and LL Bean- Signature Collection…another post for another day.  As a company, Columbia holds themselves responsible for not giving the person with a 10 year old jacket a good reason to replace it for something new.

The shift Columbia made was driven by getting out to hear what customers thought of their product, listening to their feedback and understanding their placement in the retail market worldwide. The new line has been creating a buzz; outdoor industry folks are taking note. I didn’t get a chance to stand in their touring freezer set at -20°F  but I did get to try out the gloves that utilize OutDry membrane to keep things dry, and they were up to task pulling beers out of the cold ice water. That there  is some solid product testing.

While Columbia is starting to get back into the game with their Omni Heat line up, they still feel that companies like lululemon athletica  are a visible threat in the sportswear market and they intend to charge forward to reestablish themselves as a sportswear industry leader.

The jury is still out on the success of the Columbia campaign but they are most certainly making waves. I do look forward to revisiting this post in Spring 2011.

“Keep Your Head Out of the Gutter”

I attended  a very well received event at the Ibex flagship store located at 303 Newbury Street.  Boston Cyclists’ Union , Boloco (@boloco), Harpoon , and Ibex collaborated to host  an event, A Cyclists Guide to Safely Navigating Boston.

Pete Stidman, a founder of the union gave us insight to their mission and current campaigns which include: creating a city wide bike network, connecting the Haborwalk trail to the Neponset River trail which will become the Dorchester Coast Trail, also making a safe passage via cycletrack  stretching from the Harborwalk to the  Esplanade, other campaigns are focused on improvements along the SW Corridor and other parts of the Emerald Necklace.

We were then entertained by other cycling advocates that led a presentation on safe cycling in the city.  The acronym used to kick things off:  BLEEP- Be A Boy Scout. Love thy Neighbor. Expect the Disaster. Empower Yourself. Predictive Actions.

Be a Boy Scout- lights are a must, helmets, a bell, and maintain air pressure, brakes, chain, and quick releases.

Love Thy Neighbor- establishing a respected bike culture in Boston by obeying road rules, red lights, and staying off sidewalks.  At least stopping at a red light to make sure it’s clear before crossing intersection..which is a topic for another day…i..e . Idaho Stop Law.

Expect the Disaster: always be ready for the left cross and right hook, riding out of “dooring” zone, always expecting people to make wrong move, ride like your invisible.

Empower Yourself: If you lack the confidence at first use the cross walk in busier intersections. Don’t be afraid to take over the lane as you have a right to that lane just a car does.

Predictable Actions: Use hand signals, riding a straight line, no salmoning (riding opposing traffic), and staying away from curb

Important numbers for cyclists in Boston: Bad Bus Driver- 617.222.3200, Drivers- 617.343.4475


It was great to see so many folks interested in learning more about bike safety in an urban environment. Ibex had quite a bit of performance based merino wool spread out for attendees to shop with 15% of  each sale going back to Boston Cyclists Union. Many thanks to Boston Cyclists Union, Boloco, Harpoon, and the friendly Ibex staff  for hosting in their new digs and providing sweet Meru Hats to all in attendance.

Side note: I haven’t hit the pavement for quite sometime but then I do on the way home from a safe cycling presentation…ironic?