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Finally, the shell.
I’ve never owned a hard shell. I’ve always gone for the insulated jacket, mostly because it’s a dual-purpose item you can wear on the street. The Silvretta jacket, in a pretty raspberry color, is the lightest and most-breathable shell in the Mountain Hardwear collection.Also made from the same Conduit laminate as the Tierra pants, the Silvretta features welded, waterproof zWeld seams that stretch for mobility. Its got a streamlined, feminine cut suitable for women who don’t want a lot of bulk, and with its enhanced AFX DWR finish (five times more durable than conventional DWR treatments), this baby will double as a lightweight raincoat.
In short, I feel (and look) like a badass. Now, it’s time to ski like one.
My skiing partner and I start the day in Morningside Park, a kind of upper-intermediate back bowl area at the top of Mt. Werner. Thick with trees, Morningside Park is ungroomed but not too steep or long—a nice way to ease into sidecountry skiing at Steamboat. After a few runs through the trees, I’m overheating and my hands are sweating. Time to unzip my pit zips. Much better.
Now, we’re ready to move on to more serious stuff: Steamboat’s famous chutes. Sidecountry is the lazy man’s backcountry, and it’s perfect for those who want the powder, trees, and exhilaration of the steeps, without all the exertion of skinning for miles to get there. After a short traverse, we pass through the gate into Chute 3.Steep and narrow, you’re forced to make quick turns in thick powder. I’m wary. I’ve been sticking to the groomed stuff lately and this is definitely a challenge.But inspired by my hard shell that screams “backcountry skier,” I go for it.
Finally, we’re ready to stop for lunch. I’m debating on whether to remove my midlayer because I’m so warm, but after ten minutes sitting outside enjoying the panoramic view at the Four Points Hut, I’ve cooled down. My microclimate is under control and I’m feeling fine.