Tag Archives: skiing

Best Men’s Patagonia Ski Gear 2017

Let me preface by saying that, as a reader of my blog, you know I don’t bullshit around here. If I’m calling something the “best” then it’s a piece of gear I use, trust, and rely on. As a full time ski instructor at Deer Valley Resort, I spend more than 100 days on skis every year and my cold weather gear either keeps up with me or gets donated to the second hand store.

This isn’t another Amazon affiliate review from Joe Schmoe’s website – this is the real deal. Real advice from a backpacking guide and ski instructor you can count on to cut to the chase. So let’s get to it:

Patagonia Men’s R1 Fleece Pullover

Made from polyester, this excellent winter insulation layer is perfect for several reasons.

Patagonia's R1 Pullover

Patagonia’s R1 Pullover

First, Patagonia was one of the earliest makers of “waffle” pattern polyester insulation layers in this fashion. The inner fabric of the R1 fleece line is made of raised square grids which significantly improve the insulative value of the garment.

Second, Patagonia’s style fits my slender, longer frame quite well so it’s great for any of you “athletic” fit people out there.

After years of owning and using the R1 pullover, I have yet to see any wear or degrading of materials. I’ve taken this thing on so many trips I can’t even count and I’m not sure if it’s 4 or 7 years old at this point… I do know it’s still kicking strong and I doubt I’ll need to replace it any time soon.

To top this all off, they offer it in several variations and, while I own the R1 Pullover, if I could go back and buy the “right one” I would have gone with the R1 Fleece Hoody.

Patagonia Men’s Nano Puff Jacket

This one is offered in two different flavors – synthetic or down (the down version is called a Down Sweater).

In case you’re not already aware of the difference here are the major points:


  • More Expensive
  • Most compressible
  • Higher insulation value
  • Loses almost all insulation value when wet


  • Less expensive
  • Slightly less compressible
  • Slightly lower insulation value
  • Loses less insulation value when wet

For mid-winter skiing there’s nothing wrong with down… I just opted for synthetic at the time because I wanted to save money and have more flexibility in using it for backpacking in the cold rainy off seasons.

Nano Puff Jacket

Nano Puff Jacket

I LOVE the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket for its absurd warmth. The jacket is comfy, highly durable, and warmer than it should be. This jacket lets absolutely no wind through (due to nylon outer and inner shells). Paired with a moderate helping of synthetic insulation this jacket will keep you roasting!

If money weren’t an obstacle and I could snag another jacket, I would grab the Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket and give it a try. Though I must say, the Patagonia Men’s Nano Puff Hoody would be great for the added hood option.

Final Notes

If I had unlimited cash, I would most definitely try many other Patagonia ski apparel products. Even with access to great industry deals, I have to choose when and where to buy their often pricey gear.

At the right price, and after carefully considering what apparel I need, however, Patagonia gear has never let me down.

Maybe some day I’ll get the chance to test some of their other awesome looking goodies!

I usually use the R1 and Nano Puff with a hard shell jacket (I own several from various brands) as my full layering system for mid winter personal skiing and have never had a problem with this set up. It’s versatile, usually way too warm, and highly adaptable.


How to Get Hired as a Ski Instructor (With No Ski Experience)

Impossible, you say?

Nay says I!

Prior to the 2012-’13 winter season I could count the number of times I had skied at a resort on one hand. On the other hand I could count the number of times I had backcountry skied. I think it’s fair to say that I had only enough ski experience to know I enjoyed it and wanted a job doing just that: skiing all day!


A strong wind picks up on Bald Mountain at Deer Valley Ski Resort.

It’s actually possible to start your first season in the ski industry as an instructor even with little to no prior experience. Don’t let people tell you that you have to start by bussing tables and earn your way to the top.

This article will give you some insight and inspiration on how to become a ski instructor with little or no time on skis.

The first key to success is to have experience teaching in the outdoors. Your resume needs to key in on your prior teaching experience, since the skiing creds are going to be little to none.

The second key to success is to find “apprentice” ski instructor jobs or entry level jobs teaching kids. Many resorts have instructor positions open to novice skiers as long as you’re willing to work hard to improve your skiing and teaching.

The third key to success is to really play to your strengths in the interview. For example you could tell your prospective employer “I have a lot of experience teaching in an outdoor setting, I am able to ski green runs, and greatly look forward to improving myself as a skier and instructor.” My guide on How to Phone Interview for an Outdoor Job should help a lot.

The final key to success is to be honest about your abilities, apply to as many positions as possible, and be ready and willing to go wherever work is available. That means you may have to move somewhere for the winter season in order to get that dream job.

Let me tell you, there is no better, or faster way to learn how to ski than to jump right in to it. If you have tried skiing and know you love it, get yourself in to the industry and you’ll improve rapidly! Plus you get to ski every day for work, and you can ski the mountain on your days off as much as you want.

Read more about the outdoor industry here.