When it comes to my ski attire in the backcountry I expect my gear to be waterproof, windproof, breathable, and comfortable. The women’s Snowtastic Jacket by Mountain Hardwear hits all of those points and does it with style.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is softshell material, so it’s not as light as wearing a hardshell, but the benefits to wearing a softshell are that they tend to be more breathable and more comfortable. Mountain Hardwear’s Dry. Q Elite technology is used on their premium products, such as this jacket, and provides breathability that also keeps you dry. Dry. Q Elite also provides great windproof protection on really windy days. The Snowtastic softshell is definitely a little heavier material than I’m used to wearing for alpine skiing, but the surprisingly breathable, waterproof material makes up for my issues with the weight.
Although it’s a simple feature, the hem around the cuffs was one of my favorite features. The cuffs are contoured, wide, and fit easily over gloves. The velcro cinches down around the gloves, and the soft “butter jersey” cuffs, as Mountain Hardwear calls it, have thumbs holes that help prevent the snow from going up the jacket or into the glove. These soft wrist cuffs don’t cause issues when wearing gloves and also add a little extra warmth. I also really liked the longer arm length, but that’s something to consider if you’re shorter.
Another great feature of the Snowtastic jacket is the drop-hood—meaning the hood is separate from the collar. The collar is tall and provides protection to the lower half of the face when zipped up, and the micro-chamois lined chin guard makes wearing the collar zipped up comfortable. When the hood is zipped up with the collar, the jacket provides a ton of protection and the 3-way adjustments tighten the hood securely around the face. The hood fits over a helmet and stays put, especially when cinched down.
There are four exterior pockets: one chest pocket, with soft lining inside—perfect for a phone, two waist pockets—backpack or harness compatible, and one small pocket on the left lower arm—for a resort pass. Another simple feature that we consider a benefit to this jacket, is the bright color options. It’s easier to locate your ski partner in a crowded resort and in the backcountry when wearing bright colors. Mountain Hardwear also included a RECCO reflector, which can be used by many ski resorts or rescue teams to help locate you if you’re buried in an avalanche.
Between the extra length on the back of the hem and the removable powder skirt, this jacket does a great job of preventing wind and snow from entering your backside. If you choose to match your jacket to the Snowtastic softshell pants, you can snap the powder skirt to the pants for even more protection. This jacket has a feminine cut, but runs a little large, so I would recommend sizing down. The main issue I had with this jacket was the zippers. The zippers often got jammed when trying to zip up—which can be frustrating when you’re cold and forced to take your gloves off to fix the issue. I also found that although the waist pockets open up to large compartments, the pockets are somewhat small and difficult to get your hand into, especially while wearing gloves. Despite some issues, the zippers and waist pockets weren’t a deal breaker for me.
It’s clear the Mountain Hardwear put a lot of thought into the materials and details of this jacket. The Snowtastic jacket is a solid, durable option for serious skiers headed into the backcountry or to the resort.
Color: Mayan Green (as seen), Bright Rose
Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
Best used for: backcountry and in-bounds ski days