PlanetSKI’s Winter Gear Review – Part Two
12th January 2022 | Alf Alderson - Gear & Equipment Editor
Last modified on January 18th, 2022
Our Gear & Equipment Editor has been testing the latest collection of ski jackets. Check out his selection for January 2022.
PICTURE FOLDER XPORE JACKET £500
Picture describe the Folder Xpore as ‘the most technical eco-friendly jacket’ in their range, which given the company’s intense focus on manufacturing eco-friendly products is quite a claim to make, so how does it stack up?
Well, the Folder uses bio-sourced materials for the face fabric made from a sugarcane waste derivative unsuitable for human consumption, with PFC -free DWR treatment and a waterproof, breathable and windproof Xpore membrane made from recyclable polyolefin.
The membrane’s nanopores (which allow it to ‘breathe’) are created through a process of mechanical stretching that does not require the use solvents or PFCs, a major difference when compared to more traditional methods.
In addition, you get hybrid body-mapping construction and strategically placed performance materials, with tough, textured fabrics for more protection on areas such as the shoulders, combined with stretch fabric for freedom of movement.
Plus, Xpore is incredibly lightweight, all of which means that in use you’ve got an extremely effective, lightweight and comfortable barrier against the elements whether you’re hooning down a powder field or schlepping up one in search of fresh tracks.
The fit is very loose so you can easily layer up beneath it, whilst the hood is helmet compatible and a high collar helps to keep cold winds and snow off your face.
If you decide to ski without a backpack there’s plenty of storage space for kit – five zippered outer pockets plus an inner mesh stash pocket and zippered security pocket along with a lift pass pocket on the left sleeve.
It’s all rounded off with adjustable wrist gaiters and a removable snow skirt, making for a well-designed, good-looking ski jacket that also has all the green credentials you could want.
VERDICT – Good looking, practical and eco-friendly; what’s not to like?
MONTANE FIREBALL JACKET £200
Warm, comfortable, highly breathable and stylish, the Fireball is a versatile jacket I’d have no hesitation in using year-round.
In winter it’s a great mid-layer, whilst when it gets warmer you can use it as an outer layer.
Constructed from super breathable and stretchy, 55 per cent recycled synthetic insulation, it offers excellent core body temperature regulation, whilst if you wear it as an outer layer the water repellent finish sheds light rain, ensuring comfort and protection in changeable conditions.
The Fireball has all the essential features to keep you comfortable including an under-helmet insulated hood, a zippered chest pocket and two zippered hand pockets, adjustable hem and elasticated cuffs; it’s a piece of kit you’ll find yourself using for everything from skiing to summer hiking, making it excellent value.
VERDICT – Versatile, comfortable and perfect for year-round use.
MARMOT FREERIDER JACKET £250
The Freerider is a really well-designed ski jacket with a heap of well-considered features that will appeal to skiers who want all the essentials and no unnecessary add-ons.
Constructed from waterproof, breathable two-layer Gore-tex fabric with 100 per cent taped seams it keeps you warm and dry in the harshest of conditions, whilst a soft, lightweight lining adds insulation without increasing bulk and weight too much.
There’s also an environmentally sustainable PFC-free DWR (Durable Water-Repellent) finish to keep wet snow and rain at bay.
An adjustable, helmet-compatible hood sits above a two-way, water-resistant, centre-front zipper, which combined with a water-resistant neck gusset zipper means you can adjust the collar for a better fit depending on how many layers you’re wearing underneath – a small thing, but I found it really useful for ensuring comfort and reducing cold draughts in a variety of weather conditions.
You also get smooth running pit zips for additional temperature regulation, and plenty of storage space in the form of two rucksack-compatible, zippered side pockets, a zippered internal security pocket, large internal mesh stash pocket and a lift pass pocket on the left sleeve.
Additional protection from the elements comes in the form of a powder skirt, adjustable hem and large Velcro cuff flaps, and the Freerider also incorporates a Recco reflector for added safety.
VERDICT – An excellent, good-looking ski jacket with all the essential features, and at a good price.
POC ROUSE SHIRT £130
The Rouse shirt is actually designed for mountain biking rather than skiing, but I found that it works equally well worn under a ski jacket, and at the same time its good looks allow you to cut a bit of a dash in the bar at the end of the day.
The fit is quite loose so it’s easy to layer up underneath it, and it’s constructed in a single layer twill from a highly durable polyamide with stretch properties to enhance freedom of movement. Also, if you wear body armour when you ride, you’ll find that the sleeves are large enough for elbow protectors to be worn underneath.
The plain, simple design adds to the attraction of the Rouse, with just a single chest pocket on the right and a sunglasses holder on the opposite side, and snap button closures ensure you can get it on and off quickly and easily.
When the weather warms up it can be worn as an outer layer since it has a fluorocarbon free DWR treatment to keep light rain showers and wet snow at bay, and, of course, once the ski season is over you’ve got a comfortable, great looking shirt for mountain biking or just hanging out.
VERDICT – A cool-looking outdoor shirt for year-round use.
Have a look at Alf’s Gear Review featured on PlanetSKI in early January 2022.
All photographs supplied by Alf Alderson.