“Be bold, start cold” has long been the mantra of backcountry skiers and riders. This popular saying is backed by the idea that it is best to start a ski tour with fewer layers because one’s body heat will significantly increase after a few minutes of exertion. However, this new touring jacket may obsolete that phrase and might just solve every skier and rider’s layering predicament once and for all.
Recent Kwantlen Polytechnic University graduate, Riley Scott, has created the STRATUS Ski Touring Mid-Layer. This technical touring piece is designed to adjust insulation without any of the fuss of adding or removing layers while traveling in the backcountry. The jacket includes many of the same standard features that other ski jackets posses. Features such as zip ventilation and moisture regulation can be found on the STRATUS, but what sets this jacket apart from competitors is its genius application of adjustable baffles. The baffles can be opened or closed to adjust the insulation value of the jacket, thus allowing the user to either trap or release body heat accordingly. According to Scott, the unique baffle design was inspired by window blinds.
The STRATUS Ski Touring Mid-Layer was originally designed for Scott’s capstone project, however, since then, it has been named runner-up for the Core77 Design Awards 2020 in the Sports and Recreation category. The efficacy and utility of this piece are undeniable. With the ability to accommodate a wide array of thermal needs, the STRATUS eliminates the need to carry additional mid and base layers. This, in turn, allows backcountry enthusiasts to spend less time layering and more time earning turns with their friends. While this mid-layer has not yet hit the market, the innovative baffle design could inspire a new wave of insulation developments across the ski industry.