Few skiers who have tried it will question the effectiveness of merino. Nothing we wear manages moisture and temperature regulation (and smells) better. When Jeff Russell worked at Armada, he noticed athletes refused to wear anything but the fine wool. The problem? It can be pretty expensive. Not many skiers can afford spending $100 on fancy underwear. So when Russell left the company, he and his wife, Susan, started Ridge Merino out of their California home. They sell direct to consumers, which allows them to provide merino that is less expensive.
The Ridge Inversion midweight layers, available in both men’s and women’s cuts (pictured), are made of 18.5 microns in diameter of wool hair from Australian sheep. The layers are soft to the skin with high-end performance. Perhaps most notably, the tops are $60 while the bottoms cost $50. They also aren’t leotard tight. I wear the gray with black sleeves not just as a baselayer but as a really comfortable shirt: a pretty affordable, really comfortable, high-performance, nice-looking shirt.
Skiing Hot: The fit. Nobody will notice you’re essentially wearing underwear to dinner. Also, the company joined 1% For the Planet, so you can feel better about your purchase.
Skiing Not: The company is very new, so styles and colorways are limited.
Marquee image: JOHN CLARY DAVIES