Born and raised in northern Alberta, I know cold. I’ve thrown boiling water into the air and watched it evaporate before a drop hit the deck. I’ve seen a thermometer read negative 50. I have a photo of me in a snowsuit going to watch the Canada Day fireworks. Yeah, in July.
As someone very familiar with winter, I know how important it is to have quality outdoors clothing. Since that old photo in a snowsuit, I’ve always been on the lookout for the best winter gear. And now, even though I live in the Lower Mainland where the climate is much more forgiving, I still dress in layers and carry a toque in my backpack—just in case.
Most people are surprised when I admit how easily I catch a chill. “But you’re from Grande Prairie,” they protest, as if being born in the cold makes me impervious to it.
“And I know how to dress for it,” is my typical reply.
One of the best ways to regulate temperature and stay warm and comfortable is layering. It all starts with what's underneath: a tightly woven base layer. Icebreaker has made a name for itself as an industry leader in base layers, and this year, they’re launching their redefined original. Their material of choice? Natural, ethically sourced merino wool.
Their new product line includes three Bodyfit Base Layers that are specially made for different outdoor activities: Training (off-road running, urban fitness, biking), Adventure (hiking, multi-adventures, snow sports) and Life (urban, travel, commuting). The 150, 200 and 260 Base Layers all offer softness, breathability and odor management.
I tested out icebreaker’s new natural originals on a recent adventure near my hometown—just one day before the seasonal snowfall turned the world white.
Grande Prairie Nordic Trails
My best friend Chelsea and I arrived at the Wapiti Nordic Ski Trails for an afternoon of hiking and leaf-throwing. Posted signs warned of a bear in the area, so we packed a pouch full of bear bangers.
There were a few other explorers wandering the trails that day, as well as a family photoshoot taking place. The weather was quite mild for autumn in Alberta, so I ventured out in my icebreaker leggings, long-sleeve top and a down jacket to explore the copper-crimson forest.
I’ve never been a huge fan of wool, as I often find it makes my skin itch. But the icebreaker layers against my bare skin didn’t bug me. The size medium fit easily, even considering I’m nearly six-feet tall (the new styles feature longer sleeves).
As we trekked through the trails, keeping a keen eye out for black fur moving amongst the softly falling leaves, I was pleasantly comfortable in my new base layers. Similar to the fabled Goldilocks on her own adventure, I was not too hot, not too cold—but just right.
And luckily, unlike Goldilocks, we didn’t stumble upon a bear family.
These icebreaker base layers will be ideal for more outdoor adventures once snow falls where I live, from snowshoeing to snowboarding to cross-country skiing. My plan is to layer up, starting with nature against my skin in these merino wool base layers, and make the most of this winter.
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