Mammut Pischa HS Jacket
Size Tested: Medium
Stated Weight (size M): 560 grams
Construction: 70D GORE-TEX C-Knit
- Jersey backing for comfortable fit
- Pre-shaped, three-sided adjustable, helmet-compatible hood
- Extra-long 2-way underarm zipper for optimum ventilation and roll-up sleeves
- Pre-shaped sleeves with Velcro closures
- Extra wide cuffs allowing sufficient space for gloves
- Comfortable Lycra® hand gaiters
- Roomy internal zipped pocket for ski goggles with microfiber cleaning cloth
- Multimedia-compatible inner detail
- Detachable snow skirt tailored to the female figure
- Loops with press buttons to attach the jacket to the pants
- 2 higher positioned front pockets, accessible even when wearing a backpack
- 1 wrist pocket for ski pass
- 1 interior mesh pocket
- 1 internal media pocket
Reviewer: 5’8″, 135 lbs
Days Tested: 20
Test Locations: Beartooth Mountains, Cooke City, Bridger Bowl, MT
The Mammut Pischa HS jacket is a lightweight ski jacket geared toward freeride ski touring. The GoreTex C- Knit construction makes it very comfortable and breathable, and the jacket’s features are well thought out and useful for skiing as well as four season use in wet climates.
I did have some issues with the fit of this jacket (which I’ll detail below), but if the Pischa’s fit works better for you, there is a lot to like about this jacket.
C-Knit is a 3 layer waterproof / breathable membrane, similar to Gore-Tex Pro. What sets C-Knit apart is its backing. Most Gore-Tex materials are backed by a woven protective barrier, but the C-Knit is backed with a stretchy knit material, which allows for a bit of stretch in the jacket. It is also quieter and has a less “crinkly” feel to it.
I have not worn this jacket in a downpour yet, but I haven’t run into any waterproofing issues in a couple of wet snow storms. So far, the breathability seems to be as good as or better than any other GoreTex jacket I have worn, even with the pit zips closed. For another look at C-Knit (including comparisons) check out Paul Forward’s review of the Patagonia Refugitive Jacket.
The 70-denier outer fabric definitely isn’t as burly as many dedicated hard shell ski jackets out there, but the features of this jacket are better suited for backcountry skiing than 100 days a year at the resort anyway. So far I’ve used it in a good mix of situations, from snowmobiling to backcountry skiing and resort skiing and it shows very little wear and tear, especially for how lightweight it is.
Hood: The Pischa has one of the best hoods I have seen on a women’s hardshell jacket. It easily covers all the way to the front of my ski helmet, and has enough room for layers and neck gaiters underneath. I can easily turn my head with it on. The adjustability is very good, but not that easily accessible with gloves on.
Powder Skirt: The powder skirt is removable, which is great for a jacket this light, because it can easily become your summer rain jacket for hiking, backpacking, climbing, etc. There are loops with snaps on the powder skirt, to mate with your Pischa pants should you choose to buy the set.
Pockets: The Pischa jacket features five pockets: two front hand pockets, an internal mesh goggle pocket, a left forearm pocket, and an internal zipped pocket with media port. I can’t say I’ve ever found a good use for the arm pocket, but some people may like to put their ski passes in there.
The mesh goggle pocket has a handy little goggle sponge attached on a bungee. Overall I think the pockets are adequate, but I’d prefer two large mesh internal pockets so I can put gloves, skins, goggles, or even a small water bottle in them. The hand pockets are positioned nice and high and are easy to get to while wearing a pack. They are big enough to fit your hands and other small items, but not big enough for skins.
Pit Zips: The pit zips on this jacket are massive! They provide excellent ventilation while skinning. According to Mammut, one of the reasons they are so large is because they are meant to allow the sleeves to be rolled up and secured by some sort of small bungee, essentially turning the jacket into a vest. I was never able to actually make this part of the jacket work, but even if I did, I doubt that I would take the time to fiddle with it rather than just take the jacket off and stuff it in my pack.
I did, however, love that I could just stick my arms out the vents and let the jacket arms dangle, allowing for quick and easy ventilation while simultaneously looking like some sort of crazy Hindu god with too many arms. I found myself using this feature a lot while hiking and skinning, and really appreciated it.
Sleeve Cuffs: The sleeves have an internal gaiter with a thumb hole. I was excited about this until I realized that they were so short that they are not only completely useless, but also uncomfortable.
Two-way main zipper: I’m a big fan of two way zippers. They’re great for ski mountaineering with a harness, accessing your bibs, etc.
I found this jacket to suffer from a problem that I’ve had with many women’s jackets: the arms are too short. I don’t really understand why I have this issue. I’m not excessively tall (somewhere between 5’7” and 5’8”, 135 lbs) and I have an ape index of -4 (definitely on the shorter side).
Again, this problem is not unique to this particular jacket, nor to Mammut jackets in general, nor just to me. I know many athletic women who have difficulty finding outerwear from any company that fits their shoulders and arms without needling to buy an XL. As a result, I almost always end up buying a Men’s Small instead.
The hand gaiters with thumb holes on the Pischa HS are a nice idea, but with outstretched arms (e.g., buckling ski boots, poleplanting, etc.), they pull back hard on my thumbs and are very uncomfortable. So I end up not using them at all. The velcro cuffs, however, are very large and fit over ski gloves easily.
Another drawback of the short arms / lack of shoulder room is that when I raise my arms above my head, the powder skirt goes nearly up to my belly button, rendering it totally useless in an unexpected tumble on a powder day. I suppose this might be remedied by using the snap tabs that mate with the Mammut Pischa pants (and possibly your existing pants’ belt loops, depending on their position), but… do you really want to undo all those snaps (or the zipper) and redo them every time you have to pee?
The hem of the jacket feels just a little too short as well, falling around the top of my butt. I have a 19” torso (measured from C7 to Iliac crest), which is pretty average for someone of my height. I prefer my ski jackets to be longer and hit below the butt for more weather protection.
It might seem from this description that the jacket is too small for me, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s roomy enough that I can easily fit a base layer, a fleece layer, and a puffy jacket underneath, and a Large would be extremely baggy in the waist, and the powder skirt would be even looser. Sadly, the fit just didn’t work for me — but it should be fine for someone who’s a little shorter.
I’ll admit that the first thing that drew me to this jacket was the color: I’m a big fan of the green and maroon / purple. It’s an excellent balance between dull and boring dark colors and Euroskittle. If that’s not your thing, it also comes in a grey / blue color.
At $625, the Pischa is on the higher end of the price range hardshell ski jackets. While I personally was unimpressed by the fit, if its fit works for you, the features make it a great choice for a backcountry-biased skier.
I really wanted to love the Mammut Pischa HS jacket because, for the most part, it has excellent features that are well executed and useful without being excessive or making the jacket too heavy. It could be a great jacket with some revisions in the fit, or for someone with a much shorter torso and arms. I think it would work well for skiers looking for a jacket they can use in the backcountry, at the resort, and even as a rain jacket in other seasons.