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Gear Crush: Shell Life – 2,920 Days & Counting

I bought this Arc’teryx Theta SL jacket when I was working as a bike-shop mechanic in 2005. As a full-blown ski bum, I generally went through a jacket a year, so I expected to get a season out of the jacket and replace it the following year. Eight years later, this Arc’teryx jacket is still going strong. It has outlasted three or four jobs, several addresses, six or seven cars, and at least as many girlfriends.

It has probably seen close to 600 days of skiing—many in the backcountry and many more at a smattering of resorts across the western United States. It’s been dangerously cliffed-out at least three times and has been caught in two minor avalanches. Unlike your humble narrator, this shell never showed the slightest hint of fear.

2013.10.30_Stash_DuctTapev2A couple years ago I skied too close to a pine tree with my vents wide open and snagged a tree limb. The tree won. I duct-taped the hole and threw the jacket in the dryer. Good as new. I can’t imagine officially retiring the Theta. I suppose someday it will be demoted to yard-work duty, but until then, it will be there for every chute, every tree line, and every embarrassing yard sale.

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