Retro ‘Extreme!’ Steep Tech Line Lives on at TNF

Extreeeeme! Remember Scott Schmidt and the early ’90s? Man, that dude was my extreme-skiing hero! Skinny K2 skis. Raichle “front-entry” boots. And, of course, Schmidt’s yellow/black “Steep Tech” suit from The North Face. These were his signature pieces, and as a proto gear junkie skiing groomers in Minnesota I drooled over the thought of hop-turning on an icy, high mountain face in a getup that mimicked Schmidt in full.

Looks like my wish could now come true. The North Face still sells Schmidt-esque outerwear and a full line of Steep Tech gear. The company calls the line “a throwback to the rugged flair of extreme skiing pioneers.” The line has men’s and women’s jackets built for skiing and with designs that span from modern and subdued to gaudy with full-on ’90s flair.

Scott Schmidt shreds in a classic TNF Steep Tech suit

I like the Steep Tech Transformer Jacket, a belt-equipped parka that costs $379. This looks like what Scott Schmidt wore in “Blizzard of Ahhs” or another one of those old cult ski movies, where techy Schmidt shredded alongside the Mohawk-equipped free spirit Glen Plake. Squaw Valley, look out!

Serious business: Steep Tech Transformer Jacket

The new-release Transformer reserves a lot of the look from ski days of yore. It also preserves some wild and “extreme” features, including a low profile, snap-off backpack on back (for reals!). There’s an internal goggle pocket and elbow padding. Its rugged build screams “where’s my couloir!”

See the whole line here, and click “buy now” if want to drop some cash on nostalgia and relive a Schmidt-inspired powder dream. See you at Squaw Valley. Meet me at the cliff’s edge. I’ll be the man in yellow tapping snow with a pole edge to test the cornice before I jump.

—Stephen Regenold is editor of Connect with Regenold at or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.

Extreme terrain demands extreme style! Scott Schmidt lays it down

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.