The wind is howling so loud I can’t even hear myself think. I take a couple more steps before ducking under an oversized pine tree to shield myself from the hostile atmosphere. Despite the snow that’s pummeling me from all sides, when I take inventory I realize that I’m actually surprisingly comfortable. I’ve been skinning uphill for about two hours and despite my legs starting to fatigue a bit, my body temperature is in a rare state of equilibrium. It’s 15 degrees fahrenheit and my Arc’teryx Ryze Hoody has kept me perfectly regulated on my slow climb up Albright Peak in Grand Teton National Park.
Some garments are no-brainers when I get ready for a ski tour—baselayers are easy, and my hardshell is usually already stuffed in my pack, ready to save the day when the skies open up. What goes in between the two always stumps me and I’m constantly on the lookout for the one-size-fits-all-occasions midlayer. I tend to run cold, which is a tricky monster to tackle when you’re climbing uphill for hours at a time. Since I got my hands on the Arc’teryx Ryze Hoody last February, I haven’t gone out for a ski day without it. It ticks all the boxes, blending the right amount of insulation with protection from wind and snow.
Pros: I love how lightweight the Ryze feels. It has a relatively slim fit which I always appreciate when I’m wearing it with a pack or harness and the Ryze has a really natural feel. The pocket seams don’t drop all the way down to the hem, instead hitting right above where a harness or waist belt hits. They’re the perfect size to keep a phone or GPS on one side and a full load of snacks on the other. I like to keep my phone in one of the zippered pockets when I’m navigating—it stays nice and warm since it’s so close to my body, and it’s also really easy to reach in and out of the pockets. While the jacket isn’t fully waterproof, it sheds most snowfall and I’ve never been totally soaked wearing it without a shell. That being said, the insulation is synthetic and hydrophobic, so it stays warm and doesn’t get soggy even if you get caught in the rain.
Cons: The only thing that I haven’t been over the moon about surrounding this jacket is the hood. It’s nice to have a low-profile hood when you’re climbing, but whenever I ski inbounds and want to pull up my hood, I end up with a mess of outerwear. This one can’t fit over my helmet, but my shell does, so there’s always this weird hood buildup floating in between.
Where I Took It: Ski touring in Grand Teton National Park, couloir hunting in the Austrian Alps, storm skiing in Whistler, trail running in the Wasatch, and a chilly mountain bike ride in the Northwest.