Made By Locals 4 Locals: Clothing Edition

Skier slapping skis wearing NWT3K jacket made in USA

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Buying a snowboard or a pair of skis made in North America is a great way to support people that are passionate about the sport AND reduce your carbon footprint. But what about the stuff you wear? Are there any companies that you can pick up a made in USA jacket designed for skiing or snowboarding? The answer is YES! It seems that the ski/snowboard industry is always at the forefront of making their own goods. It must be something about earning your turns that translates into making your own stuff. Here are just a few of our favorites:

 

American Made Jackets For Skiing / Snowboarding

Before we jump into what brands offer a made in USA jacket, let’s talk about how to pick your gear. Don’t just focus on the fashion. Consider what type of weather you’ll be skiing or snowboarding in. For example, if you typically ski in places with dry snow like Colorado, waterproof rating isn’t as important. But if you normally ride in places like Tahoe or the PNW, the snow can get wet. That means picking something with at least a minimum 15,000 mm waterproof rating. If you want to learn more about waterproof ratings and other things to think about when buying ski clothing, head over to our article: 

NWT3K (Washington)

Browse NWT3K’s offerings

NWT3K jacket made in USA
Image appears courtesy: NWT3K

Pronounced “Northwest Tech”, this company is following the words of the famous poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost very seriously. Based in the Pacific Northwest, these guys are designing one-of-a-kind ski/snowboard jackets & pants that are customized “by the given rider, for the rider.” By using some of the most bomb-proof materials in the game, each piece of gear will last. The Northwest ski resorts are known for some of the craziest weather on the planet from rain to sleet to snow & back to rain again. So, this is the BEST place to test gear in the country. If it can last in this environment, it will work in ANY place you ski/ride.

Made to Order: Burger King® might say you can have it your way, but NWT3K really means it. You can pick & design the gear to how you want it.

 

Highest Quality Material: Normal ski/snowboard pants and/or jackets from major manufacturers are 10k – 15k. Not NWT3K! Their product line is assembled with 20k/20k 3-layer waterproof/breathable fabric. Talk about bomb-proof!

Last, but not in any way the least NWT3K has jumped into the mountain biking world. Taking the idea of innovative custom gear to the two wheeled universe you can rock a jersey or a pair of shorts that are exactly what you want. They even offer multiple inseam length options for their bike shorts.

One-Time 20% Off NWT3K Gear

Still on the fence? Well, our friends at NWT3K are offering our readers a chance to save BIG and look good this winter. All you have to do is click on this link and you get 20% off on any regular priced gear in your order.

Freeride Systems (Colorado)

Browse Freeride Systems Offerings

Freeride systems outerwear snowboarding on Mt Baker Ski Resort
Freeride Systems Outerwear in Action – Image Courtesy Freeride Systems

Backcountry is all about doing things yourself, from safety to planning your route & even picking the crew you go with. It makes sense that Colorado would have its own grassroots company called Freeride Systems. Based in Leadville, CO, each piece of apparel and made in USA jacket is designed, tested, and shredded at an elevation of over 10,200+ feet. If that wasn’t enough, this company also plays a very active role in philanthropy & charitable initiatives through donations & volunteer work. Many companies obscure the truth about being “Made in the USA” by sewing the label in the U.S. while the rest of it is done in China. When you buy anything from Freeride Systems, you’re helping ensure that our culture stays true.

One-Time 20% Off Freeride Systems Gear

Wanna support a Colorado brand that tests, lives, and breathes the mountains? Well, Freeride Systems is offering our readers a chance to save over 20% off on an. All you have to do is head over to Freeride Systems, pick some fresh gear and enter the code “LOCALFRESH” and voila you get 20% off gear in your order.

 

Beyond Clothing (Washington)

Browse Beyond Clothing’s USA Made Line

Ex-marine hiking in the wilderness wearing Beyond Clothing Outerwear made in USA jacket
Image appears courtesy: Beyond Clothing

The first thing you notice as soon as you visit their site is a quote by the explorer Ranulph Fiennes – “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” They take these words to heart. From a layering system that can adapt for weather -45° F to an onslaught of rain, they’re serious about allowing individuals to get out into the wilderness & push their boundaries to the edge without suffering in the elements. Based in Seattle, Beyond Clothing is a great option for anyone heading into the unknown & really wants to be prepared for anything that is thrown their way. Be aware that they have a specific line called Axios that is made in the US while the rest isn’t.

Owner Operator (New York)

Browse Owner Operator’s Offerings

Lake Tahoe backcountry skiing with Owner Operator Outerwear made in USA Jacket
Image appears courtesy: Owner Operator

Sure, having attire that can withstand the elements is awesome, but what if you want something a bit more fashionable? This is where Owner Operator comes in. Based in New York City’s garment district, this company has their thumb on the fashion industry & makes clothing that isn’t just functional but stylish as well. They aren’t some big hoity-toity corporation either. They’re a place that does it because they are passionate about it. The internet may have killed a lot of small shops, but it also allows these kinds of companies to be born. Their business model is a bit different too. Instead of getting a massive loan and going into debt, the customer’s purchase is what goes into making each piece that is sold. Also, the pricing is a fair & honest reflection of the true cost of manufacturing their goods.

 

Why Aren’t There More Companies Producing Ski Snowboard Outerwear Made In America?

Compared to hard goods, clothing is much more difficult to make happen. Why is that?

Raw material companies don’t want to deal with the small business

The textile mills that do exist don’t want to deal with a small business. They exist because the government requires their particular clothing to be made in the U.S. so unless you’re going to make a 100,000 pairs of pants, most of them won’t listen to you.

Skill of mass-sewing is almost extinct

The next big hurdle is finding someone who actually knows how to make quality clothing. Literally all the manufacturing was moved across the ocean to Asia back in the 70’s. Anyone that did know the true art of seamstress-ship is either retired or passed away. This means each of the companies has to start from scratch & learn it all over again.

 

Speak With Your Wallet

If you’re truly about the sport of skiing/snowboarding, don’t stand on the sidelines & buy some sale item from a website that could care less about you. Speak with your wallet and support one of these companies that provide a made in USA jacket! This is only a glimpse into some of the companies out there trying to defeat Goliath. We believe in this so much that we’re partnered up with NWT3K to offer YOU 20% off their gear. All you have to do is click on this link and any gear in the cart will get 20% off applied to it.

Gear Up!

Comfort is key. When it comes to skiing or snowboarding, there’s nothing worse than feeling cold, soaked, or unprepared for the elements. Head over to our gear home page to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. You’ll learn about equipment that’s made by locals for locals. Get tips on how to find the best gear for what you’ll be skiing or snowboarding. And of course make sure each part of your kit fits correctly so that you stay toasty and comfortable.

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