As a kid growing up in the 80s, there were few things I wanted more than a MA-1 flight jacket. What exactly provoked this desire, I couldn’t say, but at the Army Navy Surplus where I would invariably drag my parents, the MA-1 always stood out as the one piece of gear I just had to have. Fortunately, unlike the Atari console that evoked a similar pre-teen lust, I was lucky enough to actually get my hands on one. The MA-1 began life as a new lightweight flight jacket designed to replace the heavy leather bomber jackets used in World War Two. Made from the now readily available nylon fabric, the MA-1 was a perfect compliment to the technologic innovations of the jet age. Sleek and warm, the jacket was issued to air force pilots and naval aviators of many countries and saw widespread use in the decades between the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Interest in the jacket from the private sector, driven initially by the military surplus and black markets, spurred manufacturers Alpha Industries and later Rothco to begin supplying the MA-1 to commercial customers. Owing to the significant presence of US military forces there, the jacket first became fashionable throughout Europe and Japan in the 70s, largely with punk and other subcultures. By the time I was sporting one in the mid-80s, the design had become popularized, if not ubiquitous.
Still, there is no denying it’s fashion chops. Stylish, functional, and with more than ample street cred, it’s no wonder you find the likes of Bradley Cooper and Gigi Hadid wearing one. Both bootleg and bespoke versions abound, but we challenge you to find any better than this example from our friends at Coldsmoke.
Coldsmoke is a core apparel company born, like the MA-1, out of a real need, in this case high quality technical gear for heliski guides in British Columbia. The crew at Coldsmoke took this experience and leveraged it into a clothing line for the total landscape, meticulously designed and consciously manufactured with their close-knit clientele in mind. Using short runs and direct marketing to remain nimble and unfettered, Coldsmoke deftly bridges the gap between technical performance and fashionable good looks. What better to exemplify this philosophy than a MA-1?
Stepping off from their already preeminently qualified standard issue construction, the crew at Coldsmoke has just dropped a new MA-1 in navy using dead-stock Japanese flight cloth. Only 28 of these remarkable jackets are in existence, meaning that they are rarer than a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider. Only a hell of a lot more obtainable.
It’s a hardwired fact – we have no control over the difficulties life decides to throw our way. But while we are all vulnerable and powerless to this force, it doesn’t mean we don’t have the power to choose how we react. When you learn to go with the flow, simply allow life to happen as it will, and enjoy every moment with those surrounding you, less emphasis is placed on the past or future and more appreciation is placed on the only thing that’s real – the now. The resulting sensation could almost be described as “swimming headless,” a phrase originated by philosopher Alan Watts and the title of this piece.
Inspired by Watts’ teachings, photographer Kellen Mohr (the subject of this short documentary) navigated through an impossibly difficult hardship by maintaining a calm center, taking it a day at a time, and somehow always keeping a smile on his face. He’s an inspiration and a legend, and we count ourselves lucky to have had the chance to hang with him through the process of making this film.
It was a pleasure digging through the thousands of beautiful photographs in search of this season’s winner. I landed on lens assassin Thaddeus Cooke as this year’s #COLDSTOKED winner! I based my choice on several criteria, the first of which is location. Thaddeus gets after it in the wilds of Vermont; a place we don’t see on our feed quite as often as the PNW or Alberta or British Columbia, and his trips to remote plane-access-only Alaskan glaciers are icing on the cake. Second, and this should go without saying; his photos are a jaw-droppingly good mix of clean, well-composed landscapes, perfectly timed action shots, portraits of good friends, and snapshots of great times in dreamy locales. Third, his photos are powerfully evocative – the soft colors, thanks in part to his preference for 35mm film, harken back to simpler times when the experience was valued more than the shot, and they have the feeling of a memory. All of this combines to create a vision of a cool cat staying true to his roots; one that we are more than happy to cloak in some Coldsmoke gear for whatever adventures his future holds. At home in cold environments and always stoked – Thaddeus Cooke is this seasons #COLDSTOKED winner!
Last week we headed up to Powder Mountain in Whistler B.C., the birthplace of Coldsmoke Apparel, for a few days of Catskiing. Three feet of fresh powder, good friends, and the right gear, made for an absolutely epic time.
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Million dollar views for a few thousand swiss franks. Photos by Swiss Photographer Christian Neuenschwander
Coldsmoke advocate Scotty Vine and friends from the Arbor Collective ride the Tetons.
Some great animal shots from the #coldstoked feed!
What do you get when you mix top freeriders like Ingrid Blackstrom and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa with veteran mountaineers such as Conrad Anchor and Emilio Prevetali on the highest mountain in North America? The story of the trip of lifetime for some, and some delicious humble pie for all.
Free-rider Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and big mountain snowboarder Lucas Debari step out of their elements and make an attempt to climb, ski and snowboard Denali. Sage and Lucas get a helping hand from a huge cast of seasoned and professional climbers and ski mountaineers from the North Face Athlete Team, including Hilaree O’Neill, Conrad Anker, Ingrid Backstrom, Jim Zellers, Emilio Previtali and Giulia Monego, as the two embark on the hardest expedition of their lives.
This short brings the reality of climbing/skiing at 20,000 ft into focus, and is full of hilarious humble moments as the vets of the team pass along their experience to the next generation. What’s next? Will we get to see Conrad Anker ski an AK spine line with Sage?
Director : Jimmy Chin
Cinematographers : Jimmy Chin, Matt Irving, Adam Clark
Editor: Renan Ozturk
Motion Graphics: Barry Thompson, Eric Bucy, Marty Blumen
Additional Media: Teton Gravity Research, Absinthe Films, Colby Coombs, Renan, Sage and Lucas
Color: Anson Fogel
Produced by: Camp 4 Collective“In a lot of ways, this is the antithesis of the modern ski porn flick. A lot of rock star skiers and not much skiing! Ha! Well, hopefully having a narrative helps the piece along. It was a tough piece to put together with all the different characters. I decided to focus the story on Sage and Lucas and was hoping the piece would give people a sense of who those two characters are besides being rock star skiers/snowboarders. I often feel like the whole process of skiing and who the skiers actually are gets lost in most of the films today.” ~jimmy chin
TGR’s latest installment of their on-going quest for the gnarliest riding possible in single season. Anchored in theme of a modern winter road trip, and told through the audible lens of a mountain old-timer’s voice connecting the dots from Montenegro to Jackson Hole.
Produced by: Teton Gravity Research
Josh Dueck was an aspiring skier and coach until a ski accident in 2004 changed his life for good. After coming to the realization that he would never walk again, Josh made a conscious decision to make the best of a terrible situation. Within 1 year he was back on snow doing what he loved, and shortly after, his determination took him to the top of the podium in the sport of Sit-skiing. Despite his success in the world of competitive skiing, he wasn’t satisfied as a skier. Josh’s dream is to tackle the backcountry, and the steepest and wildest mountains in the world. In ‘The Freedom Chair’, it’s a dream fulfilled.
Produced and directed by: Mike Douglas, 2011