When it comes to snow sports, Aspen, in Colorado’s famous Rocky Mountains, offers a truly world-class experience. Along with its high end restaurants and boutiques, Aspen is home to some of the most spectacular slopes in the world. So when the weather started getting a little too hot in the land down under, the Michell Family decided to leave summer behind and make their way to the US for the ultimate mountain experience.
By Suzannah Michell, ioMerino Wearer (and daughter of ioFounder – David Michell).
When you get the opportunity to ski in Colorado’s world renowned Aspen, you’re going to want to make the most of it. Believe me.
We’re talking about the same Aspen that boasts more than 5,300 acres of snow terrain across its four mountains. The same Aspen that peaks at an elevation of 3,813m above sea level. And yep, you guessed it… The same Aspen that was home to the Winter X Games this year where it hosted some of the most fearless athletes from around the world. But as amazing as Aspen is, the last thing you’re going to want to be is a) cold b) uncomfortable or, c) suffocating (and sweaty!) in too many layers.
In December, my family and I were lucky enough to ‘grace’ Aspen’s slopes. Travelling from Adelaide, South Australia, where temperatures were a beautiful 35C degrees, we knew we were going to be in for a shock once we landed in Aspen. So it’s no surprise we took our ioMerino layers along for the adventure.
Our ‘go to’ thermal layers for the trip were:
Vital Long Sleeve as a second skin, very first layer.
Altitude Base Layer Tights designed with skiers and boarders in mind. No need to tuck these into boots.
Chaser Mid Weight Leggings for the colder days.
Highpoint Neck Tube, great for tucking under my helmet without the bulk.
And finishing off with the Super Comfortable Snow Socks.
We really didn’t think about our layers while we were out on the slopes. We layered up in the morning and that was it. Not once did we think about chafing, rubbing seams, scratchy zips or cold gaps that had been left exposed. THAT is what a good set of thermal layers are supposed to do – set you free on one of the most amazing landscapes in the world, over 14,000km away from home, and let you do what you went there to do: ski fast and do it all day long. Oh and don’t tumble down the slopes, but I can’t really say ioMerino helped me there. 😉
On our last day, we watched someone waddle onto the Aspen (Ajax) Gondola in a thick turtleneck sweater under their ski jacket and we shuddered. Not only did our layers keep us warm and comfortable, but prevented us from becoming ridiculously sweaty, overheated (or smelly!) which was super important in the unrelenting altitude. The longest run in Aspen/Snowmass is 8.5km long, and boy, oh, boy, can you work up a sweat over those kilometres. That turtleneck sweater girl would have been rocking some serious sweat patches and helmet hair after her home-run! We, on the other hand, were all very happy to be wearing layers that breathed, ventilated, didn’t get smelly and were light enough for us to stay active.
Whoever thought it was a good idea to create base layers out of the same material we use to make plastic bags (I’m looking at you polyester and synthetics), clearly doesn’t have sweaty friends! Our ioMerino packed down small into our suitcases alongside the rest of our luggage and didn’t need to be washed the whole time we were skiing. Plus, we even wore the gear during the rest of our trip when we were travelling or walking around exploring big cities. That’s just clever packing, really.
If you are serious about skiing and sport, or you’re just plain smart about being out in the elements, you need a base layer that’s going to work with you, not against you.