Yesterday morning, my teammates and I completed our first training session of the Yellowstone Ski Festival 2013. Pretty standard stuff: single-digit temperatures, tremendous classic skiing (Extra Blue), and energetic attitudes.
The remarkable thing, in hindsight, was how incredibly comfortable I was in the chilly clime. As every Nordic skier can confirm, the most pressing questions of any given day typically involve the wardrobe. It’s not uncommon to see an athlete standing over his open suitcase, two different pairs of gloves in hand, mumbling to himself.
But today, all of my problems were wondrously solved by Ibex, the Green Racing Project’s Presenting Partner. For four years now, Ibex has backed the Green Racing Project by providing us all sorts of summer and winter clothing, both for training and everyday living. All of the most recognizable GRP items – the black puffy jackets, the dark gray training clothes – are Ibex-made.
And today, more than ever before, I was thankful for their sponsorship. I was wearing what we’ve started to call a “woolen suit” – a complete Ibex outfit! I wore Ibex socks, long underwear tops and bottoms, jacket and pants, wind briefs, and gloves. Here’s more about everything I had on:
The best training clothes are clothes you don’t notice, but this is true of nothing more so than socks. Cold feet are obviously the biggest concern, but weirdos like me also have to worry about hot feet. Mine tend to sweat a lot. Ibex Crew Socks are super soft and comfortable when you first pull them on, and then I forget entirely about them once they disappear in my boots. Conclusion: Warm enough for the cold days, wicking enough for the hot ones.
Woolies 150 Bottoms
I’ve always considered my legs to be my radiators. It’s just always been the case that if my legs are the right temperature, my whole body is happy. Ibex makes two thicknesses of Woolies (or under layers), 150 and 220 g/m^2. Both are great, but I find that the Woolies 150 are sufficient for the vigor of ski training and racing. So today I had Woolies 150 Bottoms underneath my race tights, and I stayed dry and warm all morning. Conclusion: Wonderfully light and dry.
Zepher Wind Boxer
Every male cross country skier owns and uses wind briefs. No exceptions. I’m afraid Ibex didn’t produce any of their Wind Boxers in 2013, but my 2012 versions are a standby. On a really cold day I’ll wear another layer of spandex underwear underneath, but I don’t really consider that a problem. In fact, versatility is a boon when it comes to underlayers. Conclusion: A necessity that comfortably performs.
Woolies 150 Long-Sleeve
It’s a great thing when 5-degree weather requires just one shirt and one jacket. Cold temperatures are often a problem because warm clothes make you sweat, but then sweat makes you cold. The great thing about Ibex Woolies is that they pull sweat away from the body, and even when they’re doused, wool is warm when wet. Plus the fit is long and slender, just like me. Conclusion: Great fit, and warm when wet. A one-piece solution.
Point 62 Glove
“I can say, hands down, that this is the most incredible glove I’ve ever worn,” said my teammate Pete Hegman after 10 minutes of skiing today. What more needs be said? I didn’t even prompt him, I swear. I’ve got pretty wussy hands myself, and was hoping for some Ibex magic with this new pair gloves (today was their first use). And they totally delivered. My teammate Caitlin wore them today too, and the three of us couldn’t stop commenting on how warm and comfortable they were, especially given their thinness! Ibex magic, indeed. Conclusion: My new favorite pair of gloves for the cold days.
Woolies Breakaway Jacket & Pants
Among this jacket’s many virtues is the fact that it never smells bad, despite daily (often 2x daily) use from November to March. I mean… that’s incredible. The Breakaway Jacket is my favorite Ibex item I’ve ever worn, and it may be sweet enough to keep me an Ibex customer long after my racing days are over. It’s warm but breathable (think of a wool sweater that’s as soft as fleece and has a softshell exterior) and has a good-looking fit. The pants are the same material and just as versatile; today I wore mine during the first, coldest minutes of my workout and then stripped down. Conclusion: I’ll recommend this jacket to anyone anywhere.
Wool Aire Hoody
Every ski team has its parka. Ours just happens to be stuffed with lofted wool instead of goose down or synthetic insulation. It’s much thinner than your average “puffy,” but over the Breakaway Jacket is warm enough for all but the coldest days. Since it’s a little lighter, we start using it much earlier in the fall. This is what you’ll see us wearing before and after skiing, during van rides, and in the airport (all of which happened in the last two days). Conclusion: A great take on the team-issue parka.
So what did I wear that wasn’t Ibex? Funny you should ask. The remainder of my gear came from a variety of other sponsors: Xium World Cup Classic Boots from Rossignol (a personal sponsor), the Swift Toque hat from Sauce (a GRP sponsor), and Genetyk shades from Rudy Project (also a GRP sponsor).
And here I am, sitting and writing this blog in our living room, wearing my Ibex Echo Sport T and Tuck Pants, a casual outfit I’ll be sporting for much of the next two weeks of our travels. The Ibex never stops. Many thanks for the comfort and performance, day-in and day-out.