Getting what you’re paying for
Ski jackets are one of those items where you get what you pay for, as long as you know what you’re looking at. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, it’s easy to get rooked by a brand claiming quality for their inferior products.
Whether it’s a new or established brand doesn’t seem to matter much. There’s enough ambiguity in the industry for marketing departments to take full and unabashed advantage of when it comes to moving product to unwitting consumers. It helps to consult someone who knows what they’re talking about, or better yet taking them along with you when you’re shopping for technical apparel.
Not that lucky?
Stick with me, kid. You’re going to be alright.
I fell in love with Oakley when I was a kid, after my mom befriended a lifeguard at the community pool who wore a pair of black Frogskins. I loved that guy’s sunglasses when I was a kid. Oakley ski jackets might actually be better than their shades. Superior design makes a huge difference when it comes to technical outerwear, not so much with a pair of sunglasses.
Although their 2013/14 line has changed slightly, Oakley isn’t hyping anything new and revolutionary this year. Their jackets are always well designed, with zippers and pockets perfectly placed and easy to open even in the crappiest conditions.
Columbia’s “Omniheat” Hype
Columbia has run this commercial since 2010, and they get away with it because “Omniheat” never really catches on. If Omniheat ever becomes a big deal, Columbia won’t run the same commercial for it year-after-year like it was a new product. The reason it hasn’t caught on is because it’s all hype and little substance. And it’s not cool enough to get by on hype alone, like other brands’ products.
After watching the commercial, my girlfriend asked me if she was supposed to be looking at something other than the actor’s crotch. Ouch. Maybe steer clear of Columbia’s products if you take your winter sports seriously?
Spyder – tech through transparency
You can find out more about the technology that goes into some of the world’s finest ski jackets by clicking here. Where some brands hype products using technical-sounding brand names invented by their marketing departments, Spyder looks to manufacturers of high-quality fabrics for technical innovation. They use processes that allow them to avoid using traditional stitching to join 2 pieces of fabric. Their jackets don’t cost much more than other jackets on the market. You can’t go wrong with a jacket from Spyder, unless you’re a snowboarder. Then you’ll just look silly.
“Born by the sea – raised in the mountains” – that’s their tagline, which explains why you’ll find people wearing their kit mostly for sailing and skiing. Like Ikea, Saab, and retailer H&M, Helly Hansen makes it a point to highlight the fact that their products feature “Scandinavian design,” whatever that means. Like “German design” and “Italian beauty,” there might be more hype than truth to the phrase “Scandinavian design.” It’s more of a descriptor for a certain aesthetic than it is a mark of high quality.
Taking technical garments seriously
It’s probably not a good idea to book a condo at a ski resort only to hop on the Internet and order the first ski jacket you find in your favorite color. Take some time and go to a few ski shops. Ask questions based on what you’ve found on the Internet and by talking to your snow-sliding friends. Your good time on the mountain depends on it.
Comment on this post with facebook!