Editor's Note: In an ongoing series, we ask Alaska outdoorsmen and women about their favorite, or most essential, piece of gear. This week, we asked 31-year-old Cody Burns, who's in his sixth season as a ski patroller at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. He previously spent six years ski patrolling at June Mountain on the east side of the Sierras in California.
"The weather and climate at Alyeska can be particularly challenging during snow storms," Burns notes. "We get the call at 5 in the morning to come in for avalanche control, and we'll spend time outside doing routes and work runs until we open at 10:30 a.m. Once the resort is open, we spend the day assisting guests in need, transporting injured patients down the mountain, and assessing snow conditions throughout the day.
"If a chairlift breaks down and it's unable to be fixed, we are all trained to evacuate guests safely to the ground. It's a dream job if you like working hard and being outside all of the time. When I'm not working, I'm outside playing in the snow or catching trout in the backcountry."
*What: Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie. $249.
*What you like: This is by far the most versatile piece of gear I own, perfect for all seasons. I have purchased two of them in the past 12 years, and they are so durable that I still use them daily. An excellent mid-layer, it's warm, lightweight and breathable. The synthetic material is highly compressible and maintains its warmth, even when wet. It has a durable water repellent surface, so if it's raining lightly outside, you don't even need a shell.
Patagonia has a pullover version, but I prefer the zip-up version for the ease of shedding layers if needed. If it's really cold, it's easy to layer thermals underneath, and if it's raining hard, it's easy to throw a hard shell on top. It has under-the-helmet hood construction for those days it's really cold out. No doubt, it's is my go-to piece of gear whenever I head outside. Our patrol is sponsored by North Face, so I purchase my Nano Puffs as a consumer.
*Issues or concerns: Size it so you can add a few base layers underneath if needed....Read more