When you're in the high mountains, the weather can be unpredictable, and can get really ugly really fast. Choosing the right outerwear can be difficult - it needs to be waterproof, breathable, packable, and have the right fit and features for the mission at hand. In other words, there are a lot of choices, and it can come down to making some compromises. TREW's brand-new Le Skieur LW kit, developed together with Swiss ski mountaineer and IFMGA guide Gilles Sierro, is a no-compromise kit that's designed specifically for high-output light and fast skiing in big mountains with a freeride twist. Sierro isn't your typical lycra-clad skimo athlete - he's someone who combines a freeride-focused style with the highest level of modern ski alpinism, and this kit is the culmination of two years of working together with TREW's Experimental Division.
The Le Skieur LW Anorak has been stripped to the bare minimum to allow its wearer to move as effortlessly as possible through the mountains. It's a non-insulated shell anorak jacket made of TREW's LW 3L material that's designed to fit nicely under a pack, to be work with a harness, and to stash important items like a radio or skins. There's not much to it, and that's the point. Oh yeah, and it comes in purple - style points!
The material is very lightweight, but not so much so that it feels like it's made of paper. Ski mountaineering can absolutely shred gear, after all, so it's nice to see a little bit of durability-minded design implemented here. I've worn lighter jackets, but I actually like the feeling of the slightly stiffer and thicker material here, especially since it stills packs down and compresses incredibly well. For me, that's a huge factor, since my shell often spends most of the day inside my pack. The hood fits comfortably over a helmet, and the full-length side zip vent works really well to dump heat if you find yourself getting hot. On the breathability front, I found that it wasn't as breathable as a softshell jacket, but it never felt like a trash bag. I wore this on numerous ski mountaineering missions in the Tetons (during that weird time of year where it's spring in the valley but still very much stormy winter up high), and found that it was very protective from harsh alpine weather, without being hot and stuffy at much warmer lower elevations. It's a jacket you can wear all day long.
To pair with the Le Skieur Anorak, TREW created the LW Bib. In my opinion, TREW's bibs have usually felt incredibly thick and durable, almost to the point where they felt too stiff. The new LW Bib breaks that mold, using the same material as the Anorak to create a very lightweight and supple hardshell bib. As a hardshell, it's very waterproof, windproof, and protective, but it moves very nicely and doesn't feel stiff and constrictive while skinning or booting. The fit is relatively baggy, but the cuffs and their innovative Fidlock magnetic closures never got in the way of crampons or ski edges. I'm 6'0", and tested the size L, but feel like I could have gotten away with a M bib - the waist and bib pocket area is cut very wide and felt too baggy.
The Bottom Line:
It's really cool to see brands like TREW working with the kinds of riders who are incredibly particular about their gear - setting up their kit for the admittedly very specialized type of skiing they do. Like expedition-ready products we've seen from much bigger brands, TREW's Le Skieur LW kit brings something innovative to the table, combining freeride-ready style with super-functional outerwear for high-mountain adventure skiing. If you're looking for a new do-it-all kit for big missions in big mountains, no matter the time of year, give TREW's new kit a look.