Pro skier David Lesh was tired of ski apparel that didn't fit, function, or look the way he wanted it to. Fed up with trying to work with his clothing sponsors to get the right pants and jacket, in the fall of 2009, while a student at CU Boulder, Lesh decided to launch his own outerwear company. The result is Boulder, Colo.-based First Drop, named after that feeling you get when you first drop into a line.
WHAT IT IS:
First Drop makes just two outerwear items: pants and a jacket. But you can get your kit with a nearly infinite combination of colors. "The jacket and pants come in nine colors -- four solid colors and five two-tone colors," Lesh says. "And you have the ability to customize your suits -- the bibs and the sleeves zip off and you can buy extra bibs and extra sleeves to customize any color combinations you want." If you remove the bib, the pants stay up with elastic waist cinchers and belt loops. The lightly-insulated pants come with huge inner leg vents and a breathable mesh lining. The whole outfit has 16 pockets, many of which have magnetic pocket closures. "We make things technically sound but also functional and cool and with lots of pockets," Lesh adds.
WHY IT RULES:
The company's sizing chart issues a warning: "First Drop fits larger and taller than most other companies." Which is more like an invitation than a warning. "We make stuff for bigger, taller skiers in sizes that most companies don't make," says Lesh. The fit and style attracted pros like LJ Strenio, Ashley Battersby and Liam Downey (all Lesh's friends) to First Drop's team. And even though Lesh admits he's still learning about clothing design, it's his experience as a skier that has made the company successful. "I really had zero experience [in outerwear design]," admits Lesh. "But I ski every day and skiing every day, you realize little things that make a difference. I've gotten lots of good feedback from our athletes, customers, and people in the industry."
WHERE TO FIND IT:
First Drop is sold almost exclusively online at Firstdropouterwear.com. The clothes are currently on sale on their site, with pants selling for $155, the jacket for $225, and the full suit for $370.