Hand Gaiters / Cuffs
Before wearing the Lofoten, I’d never tried on a jacket with hand gaiters that I liked. But the gaiters on the Lofoten are thin, and my hand slid smoothly into the large thumb loops every time I put my hands in them. When I opted out of using the thumb loops, they were not bulky.
The cuffs are easy to adjust, and the opening is significantly larger than the medium-sized cuff on both pairs of gloves I was wearing. The top of the cuff extends over the back of the hand, providing a great seal.
Finally, the Velcro is oversized and easy to manipulate with bulky gloves. I never took my gloves off to adjust the cuffs, or the hood for that matter.
The pockets on the Lofoten Jacket are adequate. The double external Napoleon pockets are large enough to accommodate a pair of goggles, but not much else. I would prefer them to be a bit bigger. With a pair of goggles in one side and beanie and buff in the other side, the chest felt bulky to me.
The cloth goggle wipe in the left breast pocket is attached to a strap by a buckle, so that it can be removed to wash or share. But while sitting on the chair, the strap will stretch far enough to wipe the snow from the goggles of your friend (if, say, they take a digger trying to follow you down some sick gnar).
The single internal pocket is made of an elastic material and is just big enough to fit an iPhone or slightly larger smartphone. There is also a cable port and one loop near the neck for cable routing. While this pocket is good for warmer days, I can’t imagine that an iPod or phone would stay warm enough in this pocket when the high pressure hits Jackson and the temps drop to single digits.
Finally, there is a left upper arm pocket with an incorporated internal pass sleeve. This pocket proved perfect for the turnstyle auto scanners at Las Leñas, and I could ski straight through the machine without having to contort myself to hit the scanner.
I do wish the Lofoten had a large internal goggle or skin pocket, but because this is a lighter “minimal” shell, I can accept that it does not have the extra bells and whistles.
Waterproof / Breathability / Venting
As to be expected from Gore-Tex Pro Shell, I had no issues with the waterproofing of the Lofoten. Granted, I did not encounter PNW wetness, but on the earlier storm-skiing days of the trip to Las Leñas, I stayed dry.
The powder skirt is silicon lined to prevent it from riding up, it also has snaps that integrate with the matching Lofoten pant. For a better snow seal, the skirt can be zipped out and swapped for a separate piece that zips into the jacket on top and into the pant below, which creates a seamless suit for snorkel-deep days.
We also encountered some of the windiest conditions I have ever skied in—I’m talking death grip on the Marte chair with the bar down. On those days, when I was wishing my DINs were higher while on the chair, the Lofoten kept the wind out.
But the Lofoten is also very breathable, more so than my Arc’teryx Stingray. I tend to run hot and often take off my jacket for 20- to 30-minute hikes. In the Lofoten, I was able to keep the jacket on when we headed up Cerro Martin, a hike similar in length to Cody Peak at Jackson.
Between the breathability of the fabric and the massive pit zips, I avoided drenching myself in sweat. The pit zips extend from the waist all the way to the elbow, and as many pit zips do, they take some two-handed tugging to zip all the way up. When zipping them down, however, I could make a single, one-handed stroke to open them for full ventilation.
The Lofoten seems to be bomber for a lighter tech shell. I’ve had no problems with the stitching or taped seams so far, and the small details, like extra reinforcement around the drawcords and metal grommets where they exit the shell, make this jacket feel solid.
After 14 days of skiing, there is one tiny rip in the fabric over the left chest pocket. But I think this was a puncture from the housing of a GoPro, after I’d overloaded the pocket and stretched the shell very tight.
There isn’t any tree skiing in Las Leñas, but this is a lightweight, 3L shell, so I’d be a little hesitant to recommend this jacket if you primarily ski tight trees and do a lot of aggressive tree bashing…but we’ll see. Between the trees and pinning my skis to my shoulder in the tram line shuffle, I will put this jacket to the test this winter in Jackson and will give an update on the durability at a later point. (My Arc’teryx Stingray, for comparison, has noticeable abrasion on the shoulder from one season of walking through the tram line.)
The Norrøna Lofoten Gore Tex Pro Jacket is a simple, well-designed, high-tech ski / snowboard jacket built for big-mountain freeride. The price tag on the Lofoten jacket is pretty steep, but if you’re looking for a high end, high-tech 3L Gore Tex Pro Shell jacket, the Lofoten offers quality craftsmanship, a good fit, and all the right features and details with no unnecessary gimmicks.