Three Sportiva Ski Touring Clothing Items

Post by blogger | December 18, 2017      
La Sportiva clothing layers 2017 2018

A small selection of La Sportiva clothing layers available 2017 2018, from left to right: Stratosphere Hoody, Ionosphere, Hyperspace; another option provisionally named “Dilithium” is still in development.

You know those European clothing styles? Trim fitting, colorful, not so much about arctic insulation but about athletic spirit? La Sportiva invokes that more than just about anyone. When I’m feeling fit and fast, I like their stuff. When I’m not feeling strong, I wear it to fool myself. Either way, it works. Same for my friend Bill, who has embraced European ski touring clothing style and for whom the following fractured song was written.

Sing karaoke to the tune of “Gone Country” by Alan Jackson:

He’s been playing on the park snow for ten long years in Aspen
Every night he looks in the mirror and thinks he’s a has-been
He’s been readin’ bout skimo and all the gear people buyin’
Says, I can do that myself, grew up bike ridin’
He’s gone skimo, look at them boots
He’s gone Euro, back to his roots
He’s gone skimo, a new kind of suit
He’s gone Euro, here he comes!

Yes, Bill has gone Euro and he’s loving every minute of it. He says he’s faster, and even his social life has picked up. What’s he sporting? Check it out.

Sportiva Stratosphere Hoody.

Sportiva Stratosphere Hoody.

First up, Stratosphere Hoody. Honestly, not a whole lot different than similar items made by just about any technical clothing company, but a few things make the Stratosphere nice. Reflective patch on right shoulder is something all layers might be good with in these days of dawn patrols and night skiing. Backpack shoulder strap might cover this on occasion, making me wonder why it’s not on the upper sleeve, but it’s located to the outside of the shoulder so a normal width pack strap secured by your chest strap lets the light shine forth. Best feature, surprisingly stretchy fabric is 40% wool mixed with 60% synthetic, resulting in a moisture friendly garment boasting natural odor control. Shop for Stratosphere at

La Sportiva Ionosphere

La Sportiva Ionosphere

Next up in my layer testing kit, Sportiva Ionosphere. This non hooded item is somewhat similar to the Stratosphere — can be used as a next-to-skin layer or for stacking, though you’ll end up with a zipper pile of you use this over the Stratosphere. For those who run hot, it would work as a second layer over a super thin baselayer. It’s made of wool mix fabrics, and is said to have body mapped “fleece” panels though these are so thin as to be more of a psychological warmth increase than anything significant. The turtle neck collar was too big for my pencil neck, leaving a nicely configured snow funnel I’d swear was designed to direct icy rivulets down my spine. Your mileage will vary on that one; thick neck, better fit. Moosejaw has Ionosphere, be sure you’re a thick necked bruser if you opt for it.

Hyperspace jacket La Sportiva

Hyperspace jacket La Sportiva

On top (or under lightweight hard shell if you’re in a weather battle), consider Sportiva Hyperspace. This highly technical insulating layer boasts Primaloft Silver, resulting in more warmth than its low bulk would indicate (though this isn’t a belay jacket by any measure). Fit is good for me, size medium sleeves match my gangly arms, the collar zips up comfortably snug, hood has a clever elastic forehead band that obviates the need for drawstrings (I hate hood drawstrings, so good).

Note the Hyperspace hood is not “helmet compatible” as it doesn’t fit over _over_ your hardhat, but instead is low bulk enough to function underneath, while you use your hardshell hood to go over if severe weather requires. Large waist pockets are appreciated — if you’re going to have pockets, roomy is better. Lack of exterior chest pocket bothered me, I’m used to those and would rather have one large vest pouch instead of waist pockets that don’t function with a pack belt. Hyperspace hem is reasonably low and drops at the rear, with a band of high friction material around the inside to stabilize from the dreaded “jacket ride up syndrome’ ruining ski photos worldwide. Best feature? Large drop-in pockets at interior waist. We love drop-in pockets. Overall, Hyperspace is well appointed and will be a go-to piece for me this winter. Shop for Hyperspace at Moosejaw.


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15 Responses to “Three Sportiva Ski Touring Clothing Items”

  1. DJ December 18th, 2017 8:48 am

    Since none of those pieces featured have a chest pocket, they all fail for me. Even when Euro clothing brands do include a chest pocket, it is usually too small for my big ‘merican phone, especially with a water proof case. Too bad because I have seen a lot of nice pieces from Sportiva, Ortovox, and Norrona this season that I almost bought until I realized the lack of a chest pocket meant my all essential phone/GPS/music player/camera had no home.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 December 18th, 2017 9:03 am

    Agree, once you’re in the habit of having the vest pocket (or better, pockets) hard to get used to not having them! I use a Galaxy Note with an aftermarket battery, huge. So if I do have vest pocket it does need to be large… I did sit next to a person once at a Swiss hut who had a Galaxy Note, I was amazed to see that (smile). Lou

  3. Kristian December 18th, 2017 9:12 am

    +1 Chest Pockets!

  4. wtofd December 18th, 2017 9:44 am

    So much of my regular kit has pockets that dropping the chest pocket isn’t a deal breaker for me. I like the look of the Stratosphere hoody. Anybody use it and can attest to the wool not smelling awful after skinning?

  5. See December 18th, 2017 7:22 pm

    Look at them boots. I don’t know, but I have the impression that Italy is where boots come from. Kind of interesting in this day and age.

  6. Rar0 December 20th, 2017 12:55 am

    Chest pocket is to close to avy beacon to be useful for a phone IMHO.
    Of course you can put your beacon in your trouser pockets, but that’s uncomfy…

    Don’t forget euro style = alpine style : leave unnecessary gear at home ! Of course that’s a subjective matter…

  7. Al December 20th, 2017 8:34 am

    The term skimo is used in your post. I’d like to advocate another : Uphill Downhill skiing. Yes

  8. Jim Knight December 21st, 2017 7:59 pm

    Stratosphere hoody is one of my most favored layer items. No, they don’t smell even after a week of touring. I have 2 sizes of them, one as a base layer and another to go over it, or as a slouch or casual top. I added nifty stretch pockets from Underfuse. ( – these things are awesome and I have added them to many garments)

  9. Kristian December 21st, 2017 8:01 pm

    Iron on pockets! Brilliant and thank you!

  10. Brian December 22nd, 2017 12:13 pm

    Jim or Lou, how would you compare the fabric weight/warmth of the stratosphere to a base layer in the Smartwool lineup? I tend to run very warm and prefer my base to be light (200 weight or less).

  11. Hafjell December 24th, 2017 9:40 am

    Jim K. thank you. Very helpful.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 December 24th, 2017 9:56 am

    Brian, I wouldn’t call Stratosphere a “light” baselayer, when I’m fit and run hot, especially during a warm day, I’d want something a bit thinner, but during cooler weather when moving at average pace, it’s perfect. Lou

  13. Hafjell December 25th, 2017 1:26 pm

    Lou or Jim K, how long is the stratosphere? Does it tuck in like an R1 hoody?

  14. Joe John December 25th, 2017 2:54 pm

    Merry Christmas!

  15. Jim Knight January 4th, 2018 6:49 pm

    Hi Hafjell, I can’t speak from experience on fit of an R1, but like most Euro clothing the difference (for me) between sizing is greater in the length than in width or girth of US sizing. I’m 6’1″ and I wear a Strato XL on the outside of my L, which I tuck and use as a baselayer. My secret weapon under all wool is a LS v-neck modal fabric tee. Wicks, works, feels and smells better than anything I have used. YMMV, good luck.

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