Last year we got to ski in Mountain Hardwear’s heated Radiance jacket months before it hit shelves and kept effortlessly warm on a frigid, blustery day. We felt lucky. This season? The dice have also been rolling in our favor. Enter the Dauphine jacket and pant–no heating elements or battery packs involved. Instead, simply the clean lines and solid construction Mountain Hardwear is known for.
We recently skied on a cool, clear morning at Deer Valley, and wore only a shirt beneath the jacket. Normally, we layer up with wool, turtlenecks and fleece. To our surprise, the Dauphine jacket kept us toasty and dry the entire time.
At first glance, the Dauphine looked a little ‘frou frou’ for our taste. (Even though we’re of the female variety, we like our skiwear no-nonsense and technical. After all, there’s powder to shred.) The feminine lines and icy light-blue color threw us off. But the technical mojo is all there–complete with a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable outer shell and soft, flexible Primaloft insulation. Taped seams, zippers and a removable helmet-compatible hood add to the high-tech effect. There are also thumb loops to keep the sleeves down, and the asymmetrical front ‘flap’ we at first weren’t sure of actually has a higher purpose than fashion: It doubles over to help keep the snow out on deep days.
The matching pants were equally enjoyable to wear–lightweight yet warm and breathable. We especially liked the adjustable waist and gators, which felt nearly as soft as silk.
Look for the Dauphine to hit shelves in Fall 2010. For the record, the light blue shade of our jacket grew on us within a matter of minutes, but if it’s not your thing, there are five other colors to choose from.