Apps make the smartphone, so features make a jacket. In a perfect world, what would a perfect jacket look like? Our SNEWS® Youth Team Reporter Lorin Paley picked her fave parts for what she called her “Frankenjacket.” See what she said.
When an experienced outdoors person walks into a retail store, they put on a jacket and imagine the worst-case scenario. Can frozen hands or gloves open this zipper? Will I be able to access my iPod quickly with one hand once the pre-teens on the cramped ski tram have started singing? Will my Velcro ski straps stick to the inside of my pocket? Will I sweat while hiking up and then freeze to death while descending? As an experienced telemark skier, I'm pretty picky as to what features my perfect jacket should have. If I had the sewing ability, these would be the features that I would put into my very own FrankenJacket.
Keeping with its sailing origins, all Helly Hansen ski coats have seaworthy collars. In the Verglas Softshell Jacket (image right) for women, the high collar even has breathing holes to prevent freezing while it protects your baby face.
I would pair this collar with the offset zipper in Bergan’s Isogaisa Jacket (image left), so I won't get zipper-shaped frostbite on my chin anymore.
To go with my anti-frostbite zipper, I would incorporate the technology in Mamut’s Felsturn Jacket for the zipper. The zipper coil is welded directly to the waterproof layer, making it in my opinion the smoothest waterproof zipper on the market right now.
My personal pet peeve is when I remove my gloves from my pocket after taking a picture of my fresh tracks stretching up the hill, and the Velcro pulls my pocket inside out, dumping my phone into the snow. The sleeping bag-like material used inside the pockets of the North Face Super Zephyrus Hoody prevents ‘Velcro-grab’ and any future backcountry meltdowns. Or embarrassments.
To cover my gloves and prevent snow from going up to my elbows when I gracefully pile drive, Fjallraven’s sleeve closures on its Tur Jacket do the trick. The closure is strong enough to stay together even when I yank the sleeve over the glove by the closure tab.
If that wide Velcro strap does fail, I like to have a backup: Mountain Hardwear's super soft cuffs are quick drying and have thumb holes to prevent snow entry during even the most spectacular face plant. Not as if I know anything about face plants, of course.
The Flowdown insulation system by Helly Hansen (image left) is the perfect insulation system for people who shred. It contains hexagonal down compartments that allow for airflow when I work, then traps the warm air when sitting (OK, I do sit too) to enjoy a beer and appreciate the cliff I just stomped. Wait, did I say beer? Nope, neeeever meant I’d have a beer. Just kidding. Ginger ale. Yup.
Not every day is a cliff-stomping, yahoo-helling sunny day. The weather can turn gnarly, and that's why my jacket would include the kidney pockets from Canada Goose’s Snow Bantra Jacket. When HotHands are inserted into these pockets, warm kidneys keep the core warmer much longer. The bonus is that they work well when you're teaching your cousin how to do a pizza. Ha. He’ll never learn.
For those moments when you're doing your aunt a favor or you need to keep your non-beer (oops, ginger ale) hand warm, the hand warmer slits in the Snow Bantra will do the trick. Couple that with inside of pocket waterproofing from Rab’s Neoshell and you won't have to worry about snow melting in your pockets.
I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten my gator on a seriously chilly day. It may be warm at the base, but 3,000 feet higher there can be a whole different mix of clouds, temperature and wind. Loki is genius for attaching a gator directly to the jacket. On top of that, the attached Scuba Gator has breathing channels to keep moisture out of my goggles, preventing fogging and freezing.
Flylow’s iPod pocket in its Queen Hoody is simplicity perfected. The mesh cradled pocket on the inside of the coat is see through and fine enough that the control wheel still works, so I can change songs without disassembling my cool outfit.
A ski coat for youth is never just a ski coat. The thing will go camping, to town, to work and to school. Helly Hansen’s reinforced backpack support on the Odin Jacket prevents school pack straps from wearing out the colors.
Now if only I had Dr. Frankenstein's magic to bring my fantasy jacket to life!
--Lorin Paley, SNEWS Youth Advisory & Reporting Team/2009 Telemark World Junior Champion
The SNEWS® Youth Team has been made possible in part by the generous support of Vibram, with additional support from Confluence Watersports: