Sure, the ski season is almost over, but we’re still out there and there’s still gear to check out. I’m aware that we sometimes value technical features over appearance here at Engearment. Perhaps that’s a fault. Maybe we think function makes things attractive. But, sometimes you can find all the function you need in a good-looking piece of gear. Enter the Orsden Slope ski jacket.
We’d never heard of Orsden until they reached out to us and offered a jacket to test. Orsden is a relatively new company with a small, focused line of products. For the moment, they only offer the Slope jacket for men and the corresponding Lift jacket for women. The founder was astonished at prices for premium skiwear (can’t blame her there!) and set out to produce quality, high-performance products using the direct-to-consumer model we’ve seen from brands like TREW and Stio.
Orsden, however, embraces a style that’s more home at Beaver Creek or Courchevel than A-Basin or Berthoud. But, don’t run away! There’s function, too! The face fabric is a mix of 89% nylon and 11% elastane, which provides for some darn good mobility. A DWR keeps moisture off well. Under the face fabric is a 20k/20k membrane and under that you get 120g of synthetic insulation in the torso and 40g insulation in the sleeves and hood. Everything is fully seam sealed, in case you really get dunked. You get four external pockets – two hand, one chest, and one sleeve – and one internal chest pocket. You also get wrist gaiters and a zip-out powder skirt to seal things up even more. The detachable hood is decent, but is not helmet compatible as Orsden sells it.
I took the Orsden Slope jacket out to our local hill, Echo Mountain, for some night skiing to really get a feel for how the insulation would perform. With the temperature hovering around 14° on a calm night, it seemed like perfect testing conditions. I was also the only one on the slopes. It was cool.
Some issues with the jacket – Orsden uses a very slim fit. While I’m a large in most brands, an XL in the Orsden Slope is a tight-ish fit, especially in the upper back and shoulders. The stretch mitigates some of the fit issues. Also, the 120g insulation Orsden uses in the torso does not feel like 120g of warmth. I’ve worn other jackets with 120g torso and lighter sleeves that were much warmer. So, consider the Slope jacket to be more of an 80g jacket, perhaps.
Otherwise, the Slope is a spot-on insulated ski jacket. Especially when compared to similar jackets from brands like Karbon, Norrona, Arc’teryx, which can cost $400-$1000, the Orsden Slope gets the job done at a discount. It’s only available from Orsden directly. Also, keep an eye out for their new, insulated ski pants which were just crowdfunded last month.