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.
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!
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 GearJunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.