Throwback Thursday: Shell Shock

Eighteen years ago, a backcountry skier’s shell walked and talked a lot differently than its contemporary fellows. But one thing remains the same: waterproof breathability is still at the core of the outerwear conversation. In 1997, Rick and Kiki Sayre poignantly explained the conundrum: “In a perfect world, outerwear would be highly waterproof and highly breathable, but these requirements exist at opposite ends of the moisture spectrum and are difficult to achieve.”


A tester inspects the latest shell technology with trepidation in Issue 10, January 1997.

Common features on today’s jackets were exciting highlights to look for in ’97. Flaps over zippers, stiffened brims and hood draw cords all called for excitement. Thankfully, today’s hardshell game has changed.

We’re working toward publishing our 100th issue and celebrating 20 years of Backcountry Magazine. Can you believe it? Well, since we all can’t put our beers together with celebratory cheer, we’ve unearthed early editions of the mag, dug through them and pulled stories, photos, quotes, gear relics and more for your enjoyment. —The Editors



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