It sometimes that seems ski gear only resides within two realms: completely outrageous or glaringly dull. Are fur-trimmed hoods necessary or do they block peripheral vision whilst diving down a double black? My take is the latter. Which is why I became hopelessly excited when I discovered Aspen born-and-bred ski brand, Aztech Mountain.
Founded by David Roth and Heifara Rutgers, Aspenites with New York cred that includes Rutgers’s 10 years at LVMH, Aztech is co-owned by Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller and installed Mugler’s creative director, Casey Cadwallader, as head of design, to create a line that balances style and purpose.
These avid skiers pushed Aztech to a place where performance is non-negotiable, materials are sumptuous and unpretentious style is key. Sans logos or in-your-face design, the brand is favored by the if you know, you know set on the slopes. Aztech Mountain simply does what you need it to and looks like you want it to.
I was initially attracted to the sleek silhouettes, rich mid-layer offerings and variety of colors and prints that range from sublime to lively. Even more, Aztech’s coats don’t scream “ski” so can be worn on frigid New York streets as easily as in Aspen. But it is the fabrics, fit and technical details that really won me over.
First things first: Ski clothes have to perform. They have to stretch, breathe, resist water, move and wick away moisture. Aztech is engineered to do all these things at peak levels thanks to things like 4-way stretch fabric that responds to every movement, impenetrable sealed seams and adjustable pant waists high enough to keep snow out and low enough to look on-point—all packed into silhouettes that cut a line.
The most luscious aspect is the collection’s pure softness. The materials are smooth and plush to the touch and Aztech pays as much attention to interior materials as exterior ones, like the baby-soft fleece that lines pockets and pants or the down filling that’s a 90-10 down-to-feather ratio (100 percent traceable and all-white, to boot). Even the powder gaiter has a satin-like finish, which translates to maximum movement. Also, it’s just cozy.
But don’t let all that softness belie Aztech’s durability and performance. Breathable nylon Dermizax EV is the brand’s material of choice; it combines water- and wind-proofing with high breathability to keep the warmth-to-dryness quotient high for even the most aggressive skier. Plus, hoods fit over helmets, zips are easy to open and close, pockets are in all the right places and there’s a hidden lens cloth for foggy goggles. Of course, everything is vented to circulate air after hard and fast runs.
I spent five days on Aspen’s mountains decked out in the Nuke Suit coat and Team Aztech ski pant and they fulfilled the technical-meets-style promise of the brand. The hood over my helmet was a lifesaver on cold lift rides. I especially loved the inner sleeves of the jacket, which extended to fit around my hand as tight, fingerless wristlets, keeping sleeves firmly in place and impenetrable to stray snow. After taking some killer falls, most notably one that had me sliding down an icy black diamond on my arse, the pants were unscathed and still looked like a million bucks.
I wore the pants without base layers and was shocked at how soft the liners were. But it’s no suprise—everything is supremely comfortable; the coat is like being cocooned in a warm cloud. As for style and cut, when I wore the black and white Aspen leaf leopard set, I was stopped every 15 feet by someone who wanted to know what I was wearing. The best part, though: The sharp fit actually made me look like I had a figure (not the case with most ski clothes) and I was hit on several times on the mountain, which was definitely a welcome first.
What all this really translates to on the mountain is keeping warm, dry days—the only way to truly enjoy a day on the slopes. Plus, you’re guaranteed to not end up on @microwavesofaspen.