Strafe athlete Will Dujardin skis in the backcountry of the West Elk Mountains; Pete and John Gaston (INSET) wearing Strafe Outerwear in Aspen
The Strafe Outerwear Sickbird onesie was an idea born out of necessity: 26-year-old twin brothers John and Pete Gaston are the masterminds behind the Aspen-based outerwear brand that has carved a niche with skiers since Strafe Outerwear was launched in 2009. While the Gaston brothers became business owners fairly recently, they have been top-level athletes forever, competing professionally as endurance racers, ski mountaineers, and mountain bike guides. “We came into the business 100 percent from an athlete’s standpoint,” says Pete Gaston.
It was on a trip to St. Anton, Austria, in 2009 that the Gastons noticed a glaring hole in the United States skiwear market. The European ski scene was full of high-end backcountry-oriented gear. Stateside, skiers either looked like a bratwurst stuffed into technical climbing outerwear or an X Gamer swimming in baggy park-inspired gear. As a result, Strafe Outerwear was launched, and the Gastons’ ideas of bringing technical outerwear to the US proved prescient. Since 2009, the ski world has seen many side country and backcountry skiers bedecked in Strafe Outerwear thanks to the brand’s blending of alpine and mountaineering elements with on-piste and ski-centric attributes.
The one-piece Sickbird Suit ($700) illustrates Strafe’s ability to wed function and fit. The three-layer one-piece is a breathable, four-way-stretch knit and is the only technical one-piece available in North America—appropriate for in-bounds skiing because of the freedom of movement of fit and ideal for gate-accessed or hike-to skiing because of the ventilation systems Strafe has built in. “The Sickbird Suit has been a staple for us from the beginning,” says Pete. Adds John: “Once you actually ski in it, you’ll realize that the one-piece makes sense. People come to our shop after wearing the Sickbird Suit asking, ‘Why isn’t everyone wearing this?’”
The infamous Highlands closing party used to be the only time you’d ever see diehard skier bedecked in a one-piece ski outfit. Now, with Strafe’s headquarters and showroom located at the base of Aspen Highlands, the one-piece is everywhere. 115 Boomerang Road, Ste. 5201D, 970-429-8648
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT POWER (GASTONS); TRENT BONA (STRAFE ATHLETE)