- 20,000 gr/m2/day waterproof/breathable SympaTex Performance membrane
- Critically taped seams
- Waterproof stash pocket
- Fully taped front zipper
- Pit-zip venting
- Elastin inner wrist cuffs
- Multi-task fit
- Pant to jacket connecting system
- Inner security pocket
- Inner mesh goggle pocket
- Soft-touch collar
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley; Crested Butte & Summit County, Colorado.
Days skied: 15 (Days worn: 30+)
Coreupt, a French company, has been on my radar more and more over the last couple years, for a few reasons: Kevin Rolland and Justin Dorey killed it on the U.S. and European halfpipe circuit last season; rail-slaying canadian JF Houle starred in a few recent Level 1 films; Richard Permin laid down a killer segment this year in MSP’s Attack of La Niña. All of those guys were on skis from Coreupt.
Curious, I made a point of swinging by the their booth at SIA to see what the company was up to.
Coreupt’s ski design seemed progressive and well thought out (Garrett Altmann will be weighing in soon on with a review of the Coreupt Slasher, the company’s big-mountain freestyle ski), but what had me particularly interested was their commitment to quality products at affordable prices—including outerwear and the Steep Ride Shell.
First things first: the Steep Ride retails for $250, which is a price that seems almost too good to be true for a two-layer, fully waterproof and breathable shell.
As I’ll explain, the jacket is not a full-blown technical shell with fully taped seams, familiar name brand shell materials (e.g., GORE-TEX Pro Shell) and a slim alpinist cut, but it is a high-quality product that offers a ton of performance for the price.
I’ll start with the versatility of the Steep Ride’s fit. The cut is akin to most technical shells—as far as the narrowness through the shoulders and arms is concerned—but has a freeride-style fit that is loose enough to layer underneath. I generally wear a size large in most jackets, but the U.S. Medium/EU Large I received fits well, so I’m inclined to say this jacket runs a little big. Consider sticking with your standard size if you’re looking for a truly baggy fit, but otherwise sizing down might be a good move.
The Steep Ride is marketed as a “multi-task” jacket (just like some of Patagonia’s multi-purpose shells). All I can say on this front is that you won’t look like a park goon or an overly dedicated mountaineer wearing this thing during apres ski activities. The jacket’s styling and cut hits a nice, very practical medium between dedicated technical outerwear and comfy, resort-shredding, bar-hoping threads. You’re getting more than a ski jacket, really.
Wind-, Water-, Weatherproofing
Coreupt uses SympaTex Performance, a two-layer laminate non-porous membrane, in all their outerwear products. (By the way, SympaTex is a German brand that’s been producing tech-fabrics for more than 30 years, with primary distribution in Europe.)
The shell material on the Steep Ride is softer to the touch and quieter with movement than most waterproof shells I’ve seen—almost like a simple waterproof treated fabric (which it’s not). I have to say I was somewhat surprised, and perhaps a little suspicious, upon hearing that the jacket’s waterproof and breathability ratings ring in at 20K. Comfort, breathability, good weatherproofing, all at a reasonable price? Again, it seemed too good to be true.
Given the conditions I’ve had the jacket in so far, I have no reason to doubt those numbers or to say that the Steep Ride is less waterproof and breathable than any other 20K piece of outerwear I’ve tested.
Admittedly, conditions in Colorado this spring haven’t been the wettest on record. There have, however, been a few trying days where insufficient, less-than-technical outerwear would have spelled misery on the slopes. The Steep Ride handled it all well, from multiple days of frigid, windy, graupel-blasted riding in Summit County to super warm 60-degree days at Taos and Crested Butte.
With appropriate layering on those colder, windy days, I was perfectly comfortable. The Steep Ride features a fully taped front zipper and tall collar that serve to block wind well. The pit-zip vents are not taped, though they are covered by storm flaps that adequately keep out the cold. (Production costs have to be cut somewhere to get down to $250, right?)
The front hand pockets’ zippers aren’t taped either, but there is a smaller valuables pocket on the left front chest that’s big enough to keep essentials, like your phone and wallet, secure and dry.
Trudging through wet, heavy snow and rain around campus, being bombarded with heavy graupel on the lift, and shredding late season slush, the Steep Ride kept me perfectly dry.
Because I didn’t receive the jacket till late in an already shortened season, I need more time in the shell in more serious, sustained storm riding in order to speak with complete certainty about its waterproofing capabilities.
I can say this. Water beads up and easily brushes off the material. Like many breathable shells, snow and water left sitting on the jacket do saturate the surface of the nylon to a certain degree. But, as Sam Shaheen’s Outerwear 101 will tell you, this is just a reflection of the limitations of the material’s water resistant coating (as it eventually allows moisture to saturate the shell’s outer fabric). While at times the jacket did hold moisture in this manner, I do not consider it an indication of underperformance with respect to the waterproof rating of the actual SympaTex laminate.
I fully expect the Steep Ride to perform extremely well with a just few more days of testing in wet, whiteout conditions. So far impressions are very positive.