Pros: Lightweight, moves great, great wind block, super flattering cut
Cons: Lack of inside stash pocket, no powder skirt
Sometimes athletic girls get the short stick when it comes to outerwear. You know, girls with broad shoulders, chests and arm muscles? Often womens cuts are too slim in certain areas and guys gear is way to boxy. Westcomb hit it out of the park with this jacket. Seriously.
The shell is comprised of the super lightweight Polartec NeoShell material. Its designed to be lightweight and breathable ... something that doesn't always jive well with winter skiing. I took it to the windiest/coldest places i normally ski (Abasin for wind, Breck for cold). In both cases i used my normal layering system - under armor cold compression, a trusty midlayer, and my mountain hard wear synthetic slim puffy. Our Breck day required handwarmers, but i was never chilled. I did a couple of those "boundery pushing runs" - although I was sweating after a run down the Windows - i was never wet. The NeoShell really did breath better than some of my other options. The shell blocked the wind great too. I haven't had it out on a wet day, but the fabric is claimed to be waterproof as well - i would tend to believe this.
The construction of this jacket is solid. The jacket features a well designed helmet compatible hood, with sewn in bill support (something my Arc'teryx Stingray is missing - that piece always tries to escape!) and thoughtfully placed adjustments. It is fully seam taped and has two exterior pockets. The zippers are easy to use with gloved hands. I really like the velcro cuff adjusts. The "hook" part of the closure has some stiffness that lets me easily adjust the cuffs even with cold hands. There are no interior pockets - one of my two complaints - so i had to find a different place to store my iPhone. My only other complaint is the lack of powder skirt. I know a lot of people don't use them on a regular basis, but i do -- mostly to keep all my layers in line! There is a bungee waist adjust system provided however.
The cut makes up for both of these small issues however. You cant tell in the pictures, but there is a gorgeous slight flare at the bottom of the jacket. It is really quite flattering and a welcome change from the boxy cut jackets I usually wind up with. The fuse LT moved with me though everything -- ripping the groomers to exploring the trees. At the end of the day - its a jacket i am comfortable on and off the slopes with. Its going to be a regular in my closet.
Oh yeah ... its actually made in Canada ... and won the 2012 Editors Choice award in Backpacker's Magazine. Pretty cool huh?