The Triple C: An epic coat for an epic winter |

The Triple C: An epic coat for an epic winter

Sara Garton
Aspen Times Weekly

My sturdy, well-worn jackets are no match for this record-breaking winter. The snowstorms and frigid temperatures were beating me up, as I walk more than a mile to and from work at The Aspen Times. Two years ago I invested in an expensive pair of knee-high, wool-lined boots with gripping lug soles from Roots (snow tires for the feet, as I refer to them), and they have been worth every penny. However, my butt and legs didn’t stay warm, and this winter’s winds seemed to pierce through every garment I wrapped around me.

Then I noticed a woman on the mall during the subzero holidays, happily chatting on her cell phone while wrapped from head to toe in chocolate-hued warmth. An insignia on the rear shoulder of her attractive down coat read The North Face.

After the holiday hordes dispersed and it was safe to go shopping again, I hightailed it to The North Face store on the Cooper Avenue mall with Christmas gift money in hand.

“We can’t keep them in stock,” the salesperson replied to my inquiry about the company’s ankle-length, down-filled coat. “During Christmas, women from Chicago and Manhattan were fighting over them, claiming this coat was their only protection against pelting snow and winds lashing around skyscrapers. Who would want to live a climate like that?” she mused.

I explained that even I was having a hard time staying warm in Aspen this winter, and she agreed The North Face Triple C (Triple C stands for tri-climate ” perhaps snow, rain and wind?) could do the job.

I chose the identical ankle-length coat in rich brown that I had spotted on the mall ” it is also available in black at the store and in white on the Internet. The $299 price tag is palatable because this down coat is more serviceable than either mink, sable or lynx, which would certainly cost more than my affordable housing apartment; plus, it’s in acceptable range on my ethical-choice meter.

The down rating is 700-fill, as warm as a mummy sleeping bag. Several features I like are the detachable, insulated hood; a double bottom-to-top zipper covered with a snapped flap, good for freeing my legs when sitting on a bus or staying wrapped but unrestrained in Aspen’s under-heated movie theaters; the soft micro-fleece band inside the collar and cuffs; an inside security pocket, roomy enough for a wallet; the lightness of the coat; and, finally, its contoured shape (although as warm as a sleeping bag, it doesn’t look like I’m wearing one!).

A few cautionary points: I hang my full-length coat in the closet, not on the coat rack above a baseboard electric heater. I have developed a radar for metal projections onto sidewalks from Aspen’s countless construction sites and for overhanging branches that might snag the fabric.

Entering our building, I shoo away our batch of Aspen Times puppies with needle teeth and claws until my North Face Triple C is off me and on the hook. Then I can happily and warmly distribute their good-morning dog biscuits.

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