Spyder Eiger GTX Shell Jacket – Bomb Proof Backcountry Ski Jacket
If IronMan wore a ski jacket, it would be the Spyder Eiger GTX Shell Jacket. Only partially kidding. We met the team that designed this and went home with one. After a few months of trying to break it, here are my thoughts on this uber badass jacket.
Spyder Eiger GTX Shell Jacket – More kinds of Gore-Tex than you have ever heard of. yet.
What does that mean? Kate Agathon and I met up with the designers at Spyder’s headquarters in Boulder, to go over what goes into their upcoming gear. Let me just state that both of our heads were spinning with all that Spyder is putting into their upcoming gear. I have worked with Gore-Tex and thought I was in the “know” on all their membranes and technology. Turns out I am not! LOL.
So, after a crash course in new Gore-Tex tech, and several energized conversations about gear and backcountry skiing (and splitboarding!), Kate and I were immersed in the belly of the beast. Trying on crazy garments that may be coming out soon (we respect the embargo on all the cool trade secrets we were privy too 🙂
As far as what I thought I knew about Spyder, I was pleasantly surprised. As a snowboarder, well, splitboarder to be precise, Spyder was not really on my radar. It had always appeared to be a high-end ski clothing company. And it still is. But they are also designing gear with backcountry skiers in mind. It certainly helps that big mountain ski legend Chris Davenport has been working with them to design a kit that works as well going uphill, as it does going down it.
Seamless Tri-Densistiy Fabric Construction with Gore-Tex GTX
Now, what does that mean? Spyder was able to create a way to use different thicknesses of 3L Gore-Tex in strategic placement throughout the jacket, without using seams. So, you get a jacket that is thicker in the shoulders and arms (for abrasion and durability) thinner underarms (more ventilation) and even stretch in the lats (cause stretch is awesome!).
All of this without sewing or seams of any kind. It is really wild and something you have to feel to appreciate. The build quality of this jacket is truly next level. While we were going over the construction and technology, Kate summed it up by saying – “if Tony Stark built a ski jacket, this would be it.”
We all took a moment to let that sink in and appreciate the analogy. I think it is pretty accurate. The Eiger GTX is unlike any jacket I have tested before. And that is a lot of jackets! Heck, I even tested the version from the year before and liked that one! You can read that review here.
Review of the Spyder Eiger GTX Shell Jacket – the NEW version
I was able to get the IronMan jacket out for testing the next day. Snow conditions were good and my stoke was high. I hit up a usual area and used only a merino base layer and the Eiger jacket. Temps were in the teens and wind was steady.
The tour up was nice and gave a good base to compare this jacket to others I have used. What I noticed is that I did not need to open up the underarm pit zips to dump heat on the skin track. Usually, I do need to open them up. So that was nice.
As we did a little bushwacking, we encountered several tree branches. Usually, I would take a little more care in avoiding these. I went full berzerker with the Eiger and actively tried to skirmish with the trees. Not a good practice, as the jacket was fine, but I did sustain some scratches on my skin. This new material is burly!
I appreciate the large front pockets for a few reasons.
- They are placed high enough to be used while wearing a backpack and hip belt.
- There are clips to attache keys, camera or skins too (though I have never done that)
- They allow for ventilation as well.
More pockets. Like, a lot more.
I like jackets with a sleeve pocket. This is usually where I put my truck key. Well, the Spyder Eiger has three of these pockets! I found myself putting chapstick in one, key in the other and still had one to spare. On the inside, there are even more pockets. Drop pockets big enough for goggles or skins. There are a lot of pockets!
Hood and neck
The hood is helmet-compatible but can be sinched down for use over a hat while touring. I dig the height of the neck area. Not so low that is provides no protection, yet not so high that it gets in the way on the way down. Some jackets that I have used, have nice and high neck coverage, but it can be too much for us sideways sliding folks and blow into our face.
Not just for skiers
Now, this part is kind of new to me. As I mentioned above, I have been under the impression that Spyder is a ski company. And that is that. But, after working with them last year for the previous Eiger Jacket review, I hope I was able to show that splitboarders like skiers, and hopefully that is appreciated and reciprocated.
As a backcountry enthusiast, I help run one of the biggest backcountry ski and snowboard groups on Facebook. With around 6000 members, we have a great community of people who love to recreate in the mountains. Whether on one plank or two!
Bottom line – The Eiger GTX Shell is next level durable and functional
With all this technology and innovative construction, there comes a higher price tag. I don’t think it is out of line, given all that the jacket offers, but it certainly is not cheap. Coming in at MSRP $800, this is a super high-end jacket for the most demanding skier.