The Fulton from Pop Outerwear.

The Concept

The style of snowboarding has been there and back again. The snowboarding culture began as a cool, punk-rock revolt against the neon headband skiers of yore. And by yore, I mean the 1980s. The style and culture were as much about attitude as the sport and being on the snow. First, it was grunge on the hill. Then it was get the baggiest gear available in the brightest colors. Now it’s back to skinny, almost obscenely so in some cases.

From chain wallets to gang bandanas, the “us against them” mind-set still remains, although with the acceptance of knuckle-draggers into (almost all) resorts around the country, those feelings are gradually eroding.

As we have seen through the world’s social evolution, as different cultures begin to blend, so do the styles. The two sects begin to accept and borrow the best traits from each other. This is what we are seeing now on the slopes. You used to be able to tell skiers and snowboarders apart without even looking at their boots. Now, it is virtually impossible to judge that book by its cover. Denim, onesies, flare, saggy pants: steeze drips off of everything and everybody.

But what about the 9 to 5’er who is into snowboarding but maybe not quite ready to buy into the rah-rah of the youth driven retail marketplace?

Enter Pop Outerwear, a boutique jacket and pants outfit based in San Francisco geared specifically toward snowboarders – the term skiing or skier does not appear on their website. Pop aims to bring a street-smart style into the world of snowboard outerwear. Self-proclaimed nerds, their website claims their products are “built for the snow, but designed for the city.” Basically, being urban dwellers, they want to build a product line that people can rock in a cold climate city, like San Fran, but be confident enough to take up to Tahoe and stay dry when it dumps. A solid plan, if there ever was one.

The Execution

The men’s Fulton Jacket is one of two men’s jackets in Pop’s line.

First, the Fulton is a functionally solid piece of outerwear. It boasts 10k waterproof, windproof, and breathable shell with just enough insulation to drop a layer and still keep you cozy on the hill. It has fully tapered seams, pit zips and powder skirt along with a very neat zippered adjustable hood to accommodate a large brain bucket. Hand warmer, audio chest and drop-in internal pockets are standard issue these days, and the Fulton has them.

It also has wrist gaiters, which I find to be essential and would never buy a jacket without them, although I know opinions vary on this particular feature. But why would you not want them, you crazy people?

Now, on to what separates Pop from the competition. The Fulton is certainly fashion forward. It has a distinct military tailoring that fits nicely with the technical aspects of the jacket. The collar features an overlap that can be worn down or buttoned up against the cold. The slightly slimmed down and elongated torso and arms combined with the magnet and button combo up the front give it very clean lines. Side note: love magnets! Whoever thought of replacing buttons with magnets is a super-genius on par with Plato, Newton, Jobs, La Russa, or Burton (Jake, not Tim).

The Fulton comes in a dark green (sticking with the military theme) and a navy blue; solid colors that make it reasonable to wear day to day.

The Verdict

Pop Outerwear set out to not only be functional and fashionable on the slopes (a fickle beast) but in the city as well (an even fickler beast). They have done this by bringing their nerdy-chic style to technical fabric and producing a product equally at home on a black diamond slope as a four-diamond hotel lobby.

Do not be fooled, however, into thinking this is a brand for old fogies with a shaking fist, “kids these days” mindset. Nay, this is a piece for the mature rider, the rider who values function first, but form a very close second, and wants to represent on the street without blowing out eardrums with the volume of their threads. The founders are true shredders, get after it (evidence) and know what they want. They were dissatisfied with what was available so in the true American spirit they started making their own in the style they wanted and have succeeded in filling a much needed niche in the snowboard industry.

Pop also makes men’s and women’s snowboard pants, along with accessories like hats and scarves. They have a showroom in San Francisco if you are ever in the neighborhood.