We've always been a big fan of La Sportiva's footwear. Its running shoes, climbing shoes, and technical boots have consistently earned praise and awards here at Outside, including a Radical Design Award this fall for the company's $3000 Stratos randonee ski boot.
Now, La Sportiva is making clothes geared towards backcountry skiers that, based on their track record with footwear, we can't wait to try.
The 48 piece collection has a few $600 full face coverage Lycra rando racing suits for the crowd that skins up the nearest ski area then takes the lift down. Those will be sold in Europe.
But the large majority of the pieces in the new collection are geared towards more, ah, sane backcountry skiers, who prefer normal fitting layers, zippers you can open with one hand, and prefer not to look like a deranged super hero.
The collection, which includes everything from long underwear to insulation, is designed to be layered. For example, an outer jacket may not have hand pockets, but zips to let you access the pockets in a cozier underlayer.
"We designed every piece in this collection like we design our climbing shoes," said Jonathan Lantz, President of La Sportiva North America. "It's a specific product for a specific end use. We've used top of the line material across the board, giving skiers the features they want and the fabrics they want with an eye to keeping the pricing competitive." That means that you can expect to pay over $300 for a highly featured softshell, which is the going rate from other high-end companies. But still, the stuff won't be cheap.
The La Sportiva Adjuster Softshell Jacket, pictured above, has a Windstopper front, and a highly breathable softshell back. Pit zips that go nearly to the waist for maximum venting when you're sweating hard climbing the mountain. And panels on the shoulders keep the jacket from wearing out under your pack straps. Nice Yankee touch: unlike in other Euro brands, the zipper is on the right. Available Fall 2012, $299, lasportiva.com