A Day in the Ski Town Life: Aztech Mountain's Heifara Rutgers
Since its launch in 2013, Aztech Mountain has steadily staked its claim as the go-to for high performance men’s gear with high style. Co-founded by designer Heifara Rutgers, who was born and raised in Aspen and has a decade of experience at Marc Jacobs and LVMH, the label’s showroom is based in New York City. Rutgers’s deep industry connections have expanded the line into the legendary luxury department stores he now counts as stockists: Barney’s New York, Harrods, and Lane Crawford. Locally, you can find the line exclusively at Performance Ski, whose owners Rutgers has known his entire life.
This fall, Aztech Mountain announced a new partner in the young company, Olympic gold medalist and two-time overall alpine World Cup champion Bode Miller as its chief innovation officer. Rutgers, who splits his time between NYC and Aspen with his co-founder and life partner David Roth, says of the collaboration, “We had a crazy dream many years ago to create a performance outerwear brand that was made for discerning guys that work and live between places like Aspen and New York and who are gear, fitness, and sports obsessed. We’re both serious skiers ourselves, and to partner with an athlete of this caliber is a validation of our vision and our product.”
Miller, who discovered Aztech Mountain last summer during a ski trip to Portillo, Chile, is equally as passionate about the partnership, "From the moment I was introduced to Aztech Mountain I knew it was world class," he says. "The quality of the fabrics, construction of the jackets and pants, and attention to detail at every level is impressive."
We have a feeling this trio is in for their biggest year yet, but before they take on 2017, Rutgers is on the ground in Aspen—working, product testing, skiing, shopping, eating, drinking and celebrating the holidays. Here, he shares his itinerary for the perfect day:
I’m an early riser. And this is when I can send timely responses to our clients around the world and stay on top of our factories in Europe.
I like to start my day with an early morning skate ski at my house in Starwood. We have a private track, and I can bring my dog. Skate skiing has become one of my biggest passions of late. There is nothing like a skate up to the Maroon Bells on a bluebird day. It has also helped inform many of the design decisions we make in our collections, and it’s the only exercise that I have found that completely transforms your body in just a couple of weeks. There are over 60 miles of pristine, well maintained Nordic tracks throughout the valley.
Breakfast at Prospect in the Hotel Jerome. I love their pumpkin muffins. They also serve my favorite granola, Aspen Crunch.
Time to hit the mountain. I like to keep it varied. I love ripping down Spar [Gulch] on Aspen Mountain with David and my brother as much as I love doing laps on Highlands in the Bowl or popping down the chutes off of Hanging Valley Wall in Snowmass.
Lunch at Bonnie's or find a spot for a casual picnic. On-mountain picnics have long been a tradition for our family. Each mountain hosts a variety of locations, and the views cannot be found at any on-mountain restaurant. What is better than your own bottle of Hundred Acre, food from Meat & Cheese, and your nearest and dearest?
My time on the mountain gets cut into by “adulting" these days. I'm lucky if I get a first chair in the morning, and I'll stay on the mountain for a couple of hours. Then it’s off to visit Lee [Keating] and Tom [Bowers] at Performance Ski for gear and to check on our line. I also usually stop by McHugh Antiques for rarities and Baldwin Gallery for art (I always like to ask what Richard has in storage).
Home! Après for us is in the hot tub with a margarita!
I love to cook—it’s therapeutic for me. But I also love going out. You can usually find me at least once a week at the Woody Creek Tavern; it's like a second home. Oh, and Creperie du Village obviously. The cheese fondue with truffles is a must.
Bedtime. For special evenings, I like to go to Cache Cache or Caribou Club, but I try to keep this to a minimum for another epic day ahead in the mountains.
And since he’s also one of the best skiers in the fashion business, we asked Heifara to share his gear picks for the highest performance—most available at Performance Ski in Aspen (408 S. Hunter St., 970-925-8657; Snowmass Base Village, 970-922-0697) or online at aztechmountain.com.
- Base layer: X-Bionic compression shorts, $69; tee, Aztech Mountain Matterhorn Crew, $650
- Pants: Aztech Mountain Performance Ski Pant in Red Mountain Red, $725
- Jacket: Team Aztech Triangle Jacket in Black, $1,300
- Skis: Bomber Race (my business partner Bode Miller developed these this year and they are sick), $1,600
- Boots: Head Raptor 140 RS Pro (I like my boots really stiff), $800
- Poles: Leki Venom SL, $175
- Helmet: POC Skull Light II (Bode Miller limited-edition version), $180
- Goggle: Oakley Crowbar Snow Prizm, $130
- Gloves: Marmot Vertical Descent, $50
Thanks, Heifara and #seeyouontheslopes, Team Aztech!