- Very stretchy shell keeps down insulation from speed compression
- Great fit
- High warmth-to-weight ratio
- Welded baffles make the jacket totally waterproof
- Powder skirt and wrist gaiters seal out snow
- Extremely expensive
- Hood is a touch small for some helmets
If you don’t mind paying for a double-dose of luxury with your top-level performance, the Mountainforce Park Down delivers. It was the best performing jacket we tested, but it’s triple the cost of average jackets. The stretchy fabric is exquisite—as elastic as a rubber band. It keeps the down from being compressed and allows for a snug fit, yet never feels constrictive. It’s the best fitting ski jacket I’ve worn, and the 800-fill down keeps it light.
The outer shell is an amazingly stretchy and durable waterproof breathable fabric. It’s thick enough to resist the compression that makes a lot of down jackets look like a deflating balloon at high speeds on the slopes, which saps the insulating qualities. The fabric is so elastic that Mountainforce is able to make the Park Down’s cut fairly snug without risking it become constricting. That means the jacket is warmer without a lot of extra air to heat up. Impeccable tailoring means it’s the best fitting jacket in the batch, particularly with the stretchy fabric.
The insulation is top-shelf 800-fill down, the insulation with the highest warmth-to weight ratio. The Park Down’s baffles are welded—rather than sewn—into geometric patterns, which looks cool but more importantly ensures that the jacket is totally waterproof.
The Park Down has a full compliment of snowsports features—a zip-off powder skirt, wrist gaiters, and plenty of pockets. The hood is nicely built, though a little small to fit over some larger helmets. It does zip off, however. There’s no mechanical venting, pit zips or otherwise, so be sure you get your layering right.
How We Tested It
Six different testers skied slopes from Whistler to Utah, to Jackson Hole. Wet weather testing went down at Oregon’s Mount Hood Meadows.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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- Pit zips: none
- Waterproof: Yes
- Powder skirt: Removable
- Wrist gaskets: Yes
- Gender: Men's
- Fall 2012
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