Spyder Sanction GTX Gore-Tex Pro Shell Jacket
Days Tested: ~20
- Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 Ibs
- Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, 175 Ibs
- Sam Shaheen: 5’10”, 145 Ibs
Size Tested: Medium
Blister’s Measured Weight (size Medium): 601 grams
- Chest, Back, Hood: 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro w/ ripstop nylon face fabric
- Lower Torso, Elbows, Back Shoulders: 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro w/ stretch nylon face fabric
- Recco® avalanche rescue system
- Fixed helmet compatible hood with adjustable opening
- Storage management system within large dump pockets
- All seams taped
- Watertight YKK® Aquaguard® center front, hand, and data card pocket zippers
- Underarm ventilation system with watertight YKK® Aquaguard® zippers
- Removable powder skirt with snaps, gripper elastic and stretch panel
- Internal zippered pocket and mesh goggle pocket
- Drawcord adjustable hem
- 2 exterior hand pockets (zippered)
- 1 exterior forearm pocket (zippered)
- 1 interior chest pocket (zippered)
- 2 interior drop-in pockets
MSRP: $750 (currently on sale for $525)
Earlier this season, we reviewed the Spyder Turret GTX Pants, which are a part of Spyder’s recently resurrected Freeski lineup. The Freeski collection combines high-end materials with a pretty different aesthetic (for Spyder), and Spyder has signed a ton of the best and up-and-coming skiers to their Freeski team over the course of this season.
The Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket is one of the top-tier shells in the Freeski collection, and Jonathan Ellsworth, Sam Shaheen, and I have all been spending time in it this season. Here’s our take:
The Sanction GTX Jacket has what I’d call a pretty “regular” or “standard” fit for a resort shell. It isn’t as long as something like the Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Jacket or Open Wear Open One 3L Shell Jacket, but not as short as some touring-oriented shells like the Norrona Lyngen Hybrid or Amundsen Peak Anorak.
In terms of volume, the Sanction GTX offers plenty of room in the torso for pretty bulky layers, but it does taper significantly at the waist, so it doesn’t actually look super roomy.
Sam and I typically wear size Medium shells, and both of us were very happy with the size Medium Sanction GTX Jacket. Jonathan can wear Mediums or Larges in shells, and the Sanction fits him well, though it’s a bit on the slim side (particularly around the waist).
The Sanction is fairly minimal when it comes to pockets.
It has two very large (34 cm / ~13.4 in) handwarmer pockets that would fit most skins, and the top of the pockets are positioned high enough so that I can still reach them when wearing a backpack. And since the pocket opening is so large, they’re still pretty comfortable to throw your hands in when not wearing a pack (something that’s rare with pack-compatible handwarmer pockets).
The other exterior pocket is on the forearm, pretty close to the wrist, and is nice for a pass, lip balm, credit card, or other small, lightweight items.
Inside, there are two mesh, drop-in pockets and a zippered interior chest pocket with a media port.
The Sanction GTX Jacket has a pretty standard, non-removable, helmet-compatible hood. It has cord-lock adjustments at either side of the chin, which do a pretty good job of securing the hood over a helmet, hat, or bare head. The cords are routed internally, which keeps them from slapping me in the face when skiing fast.
The Sanction also comes with a removable powder skirt that has snaps that can connect it to a pair of Spyder’s pants, and it has snaps near the center front that let you keep the powder skirt out of the way when not in use. I normally take off / cut out powder skirts right away, but the Sanction’s is surprisingly not very noticeable, so I’ve left it on.
The velcro cuffs of the Sanction work fine, though the maximum width is not all that big, so if you’re someone who likes to put your jacket cuffs over really bulky gloves and mittens, you might have a hard time. But with all of the gloves and mittens I’ve been using, the cuffs of the Sanction fit fine over them.
To finish it off, Spyder added 27.5 cm / ~11 in underarm vents. They’re definitely on the smaller end of the spectrum, but do help shed a bit of warmth when needed.
At a measured weight of 601 grams for the size Medium, the Sanction is fairly light for a resort shell, and fairly heavy for a touring shell. Packed down, it’s around the size of a cantaloupe.
364 g Black Diamond Helio Active Shell, size Medium
366 g Patagonia Ascensionist Jacket, size Medium
435 g Arc’teryx Rush LT Jacket, size Medium
518 g Flylow Cooper Jacket, size Medium
544 g Outdoor Research Hemispheres Jacket, size Medium
563 g Rab Sharp Edge Jacket, size Medium
574 g Amundsen Peak Anorak, size Medium
590 g Flylow Higgins Coat 2.1, size Large
593 g Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket, size Large
598 g The North Face Freethinker Jacket, size Medium
601 g Spyder Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket, size Medium
605 g Patagonia Descensionist Jacket, size Medium
610 g Strafe Cham Jacket, size Large
615 g Patagonia SnowDrifter Jacket, size Medium
626 g Arc’teryx Sabre LT Jacket, size Medium
635 g Mammut Alvier Armor Hardshell Jacket, size Medium
665 g Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Jacket, size Medium
726 g Holden M-51 Fishtail 3 Layer Jacket, size Medium
825 g The North Face Ceptor Jacket, size Medium
841 g Strafe Pyramid Jacket, size Large
848 g Open Wear Open One 3L Shell Jacket, size Medium
1047 g FW Manifest 3L Jacket, size Large
The Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket features — wait for it — a Gore-Tex Pro membrane. As with all Gore Pro shells, it’s a 3-layer membrane with Gore’s proprietary backer. The Sanction uses two different face fabrics in the Sanction. It features ripstop nylon (light red on our test jacket) in the hood, upper shoulders, back, and on the inside of the cuffs, and then a stretch plain-weave nylon (dark red) in the lower-front torso, lower shoulders, and through most of the arms.
The fabric on the Sanction feels pretty average in terms of thickness and overall heft; not as burly as the Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Jacket, Patagonia Untracked Jacket, or Black Diamond Mission Shell, but not nearly as thin as touring-oriented shells like the Patagonia Ascensionist, Patagonia Stormstride, or Black Diamond Helio Active Shell.
Like all Gore-Tex Pro jackets we’ve used, the Sanction’s fabric has a pretty traditional, crinkly, “hardshell feel.” It’s not a very supple or soft fabric, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a Gore Pro piece.
This is a Gore-Tex Pro jacket — it’s completely waterproof. I spent some time in the Sanction during some of the wettest storms we’ve had in Crested Butte this year, and never had a hint of moisture penetrating all the way through the fabric.
The DWR on the Sanction seems pretty typical — it beads up water for a bit, but will eventually be overwhelmed if you’re out in the rain or super wet snow all day. But again, we’ve never had any water actually get through the entirety of the 3-layer laminate (just some wetting out of the face fabric).
As with other Gore-Tex Pro shells, the Sanction is a bit above average when it comes to breathability, but there are more breathable options out there (most of which feature air-permeable membranes).
I’ve done some short uphill skins in the Sanction and done plenty of bootpacks in it, and I’d say it’s fine for those sorts of things. If you’re looking for a dedicated touring shell and prioritize breathability over waterproofing, you’ve got plenty of better options.
But if you’re looking for a resort shell, a 50/50 shell, or you tour in a climate that tends to be super wet, the Sanction GTX Jacket definitely warrants consideration. It breathes as well as any other Gore Pro jacket I’ve used and slightly better than most lower-price-point shells.
Not much to say here. The Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket is just that — a shell. It offers almost no insulation. I would say it’s totally normal for what you’d expect of a shell jacket — neither above- or below-average in terms of warmth. I used my standard baselayer and midlayer system underneath the Sanction and was just as comfortable as I am in nearly every other shell.
After about 20 days in the shell between the three of us, we have no issues to report. No tearing, no scratches, nothing.
Given the Sanction’s middle-of-the-road fabric weight, I suspect it’ll be pretty average in terms of durability. You can find some burlier options like the Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Jacket and Black Diamond Mission Ski Shell, but I don’t expect anything out of the ordinary when it comes to the Sanction’s durability.
The Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket retails for $750, which is, well, really expensive. For example, that’s the same price as Arc’teryx’s top-of-the-line ski shell, the Sidewinder SV, which also features a Gore-Tex Pro laminate but has a burlier face fabric and more features.
That said, the Sanction is currently on sale for $525, and I’d say that price is pretty reasonable compared to the rest of the market. The Gore-Tex Pro laminate is expensive, and I do think the overall quality of the Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket is pretty in-line with its high-end price.
Who’s It For?
Skiers & snowboarders who want maximum, reliable weather protection in a shell jacket with a moderate fit and fairly minimal feature set.
If you love tons of pockets, you’ve got better options. Same goes for those who prefer longer, baggier, “freeride” fits, and those who prioritize breathability over weather resistance.
But if you want a jacket that will keep you dry, breathes fairly well, and that keeps the features most people need without adding others (and more bulk), the Sanction GTX Pro Shell should be on your list. Plus, I personally think it’s one of the better-looking shells that Spyder has put out in the past several years.
The Spyder Sanction GTX Pro Shell Jacket compares very competitively to other high-end ski & snowboard shells. It uses Gore-Tex Pro, which is always a safe bet for those looking for a fully waterproof, durable, and fairly breathable waterproof fabric, and it packages that into a silhouette that we think will work for a wide range of people.