A few weeks ago I posted that I’d been chosen as a member of this season’s Columbia Sportswear’s Omniten team. To put it mildly, this doesn’t suck. Columbia sends me boxes of great gear, and they’re taking me on a trip to Park City in January. It’s like Christmas, but I don’t have to buy presents for anyone else. Not bad.
One of the first things they sent me was their Millennium Blur jacket. I’ve worn it skiing about seven or eight times now, so I think I’m finally ready to give it a review.
First, take a look. This is one gorgeous jacket, isn’t it? They sent it to me in what they call “Red Hibiscus” (how’d they knew red was my favorite color?), though it also comes in “Hyper Purple” and “Abyss” (black).
Right off you can see there are a lot of things to like. The fabric is delicious — a nice stretchy soft-shell that looks and feels fantastic. It actually moves with you when you ski. And it’s water- and wind-proof, which are both important out on the hill. There are also five exterior pockets — two on each side, two chest pockets, and a small pocket between the wrist and the elbow on one of the sleeves. All this is A-plus, in my book. There’s also a nice, roomy hood, which I promptly removed (I’m not a big hood person, though some are), and a high collar lined with fleece, which you can zip waaaaaaaay up to keep your chin nice and warm. Another feature: it has those stretchy-inner-sleeves-that-come-down-over-your-wrist-and-have-thumbholes (is there a name for that?). Whatever they’re called, I love them.
Something else that I think is a must for any ski jacket: underarm zips. No ski jacket should be without them, and you got ‘em here. These are great thermal regulators. If you get too hot, just unzip. Instant relief.
On the inside, LOTS more pockets (gets better and better, doesn’t it?), and a powder skirt to keep the warm air in (and the snow out). And see those little silver dots? That’s Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology. It’s supposed to help regulate your temperature by reflecting and retaining the warmth your body generates. There’s also 60g of polyester insulation.
So what’d you think, Ski Diva?
I love this jacket. I’m a bit of a nut about pockets, so that’s a big plus with me. Plus I love the way it feels when I move. It’s not restricting in any way. I also like the way it’s cut — it doesn’t look big or boxy, so I don’t feel like I look like a refrigerator. Also good: it fits true to size (I take a small) — not too tight, not too big. And the length is good too.
So I’m sure you’re all wondering about the Omni-Heat technology (otherwise known as ‘the little silver dots on the inside’). Does it keep me toasty warm? Is it the warmest jacket I own? No. That honor goes to a hefty down jacket I wear when it’s in the single digits. Maybe it would be, if it had even more insulation. Still, this is a jacket that’s fine for most ski days. Yes, I still need to layer up underneath. But I live and ski in Vermont. It’s cold, and I’m a person who gets cold easily. And it’s not just any cold: it’s a damp, bone-chilling cold. Staying warm is an art form.
My rating? Two Ski Poles up! But I think you can tell that from the big smile on my face, right?