Lib Tech Orca Snowboard
From the roof of Mervin Manufacturing in Sequim, one can see from the Olympic mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s fitting given that the factory churns out boards (snow-, surf-, wake-, and skate-), plus some skis.
Now home to the Lib Tech, Gnu, and Roxy brands, Mervin helped invent snowboarding as it invented itself. Since the 1980s it’s pioneered technologies like camber-and-rocker combos and a wavy side cut called Magne-Traction. What’s wilder is what doesn’t come out of Sequim: hazardous waste. The factory uses water-based inks and no solvents, recycles its foam, and gives wood scraps new life as firewood for Olympic campers.
The Lib Tech Orca board debuted this fall with a deep side cut and a tail for big mountain riding, so instantly popular the factory restarted production before snow first dusted the Olympic peaks. The killer whale is the perfect mascot for a company that manages to be nimble and dominant at the same time. $600, lib-tech.com
Northwest Tech Jacket
Mount Baker regular Nick Marvik started his line of customizable, made-to-order ski and snowboard jackets so he wouldn’t accidentally twin with other skiers on the hill—now he offers more than 1,001 color combinations, all sewn in Seattle. $369, nwt3k.com
Waterproof Gore-Tex is one of the great wonders of modern gear, but for too long it’s felt stiff as a tarp. When the military production wing of SoDo’s Outdoor Research saw new Gore-Tex with Stretch Technology being worked into specialized tactical suits, they immediately knew it should be applied to the war against freezing snain (that’s snow-rain). OR fashioned the elastic fabric into panels on the Hemispheres bibs and jacket for form-fitting protection with nary a crinkle. Stretchy hardshells? With a sleek, comfy fit? That’s a game-changer. $599, outdoorresearch.com
Lithic Skis Arlo 116
The duo behind the Leavenworth-area workshop can hit pow in the morning before handcrafting skis at night, offering custom cores and flex for each made-to-order pair. Artwork from local collaborators grace each one, so the sticks are as much wall art as equipment. $959, lithicskis.com
Eye Eye Adidas Progressor C Goggles
Because the librarian look doesn’t translate to the ski hill, the Capitol Hill optical shop can create prescription lenses for ski goggles that also come with shaded lenses for various levels of sunlight. $160, eyeeye.care
K2 Verdict Helmet and Luv 100 Boots
The noggin protector from Seattle’s biggest ski brand is also bike certified, and this season’s new high-performance boot line manages to be way lighter than the concrete footwear of yesteryear. Helmet $70, boots $500, k2skis.com
Pow Empress GTX Gloves
The goatskin exteriors make every glove from the Ballard-born company soft enough to curl under your ear during lift-ride nap time, while Gore-Tex inserts keep paws toasty and dry. $100, powgloves.com