Eider Niseko Jacket

Photo of the Eider Niseko Jacket, Blister Gear Review.2012-2013 Eider Niseko Jacket

Size: Large

Weight (size large): 1300 grams

FEATURES:

  • Alpine ski fit
  • Adjustable and removable hood with “Plug-in system”: A technical removable hood with a comfortable and smooth collar.
  • Full front opening with waterproof zip: Protection against bad weather conditions guaranteed.
  • Powder skirt with nonslip band: To stop cold and snow infiltration.
  • Lycra cuffs with thumb holes: To create a seal around the wrist.
  • Chest and hand pockets with waterproof zips: Waterproof pockets.
  • Bottom sleeve ski pass pocket with zip under flap: Smart and waterproof pocket.
  • Under arms ventilation with zips under piping: For an efficient moisture transfer.
  • Preshaped elbows: For a higher freedom of movement.

Lining

  • Defender® 4-way Stretch 2 Layers: A 4-way stretchy membrane that allows high freedom of movement. Abrasion and tear resistant with a matt look.

Insulation

  • Thermal Control System Premium Stretch: Top-of-the-range lining. Mix of Primaloft Sport, Ultra Soft velvet and Cormax fabrics for an optimum heat balance in the different body areas.

Filling

  • Thermoceram: Exclusive thermo-regulating lining used in areas susceptible to cold and humidity, such as the back and the lower back.
  • Nylon 210T: Treated lining to prevent moisture rise.
  • Stretch knit: For a higher freedom of movement.
  • Primaloft Eco 133g, 100g, 60g: Combination of recycled fabrics and of Primaloft wool. Light and insulating, it’s lightweight and very breathable.

MSRP: $529 USD

Test Locations: Niseko, Taos, Alta

Days Skied: 25

We’ve reviewed a lot of good gear from a lot of interesting companies this season, but if I had to single out a company that surprised me the most this past year, it would be Eider.

Not that Eider is new to the scene (they’ve been around since 1962), I’m just showing up really late to this party.

In fact, it wasn’t until this past January’s SIA that I stopped by the Eider booth, largely because our reviewer Garrett Altmann told me I should. So I did, and I was impressed. First, their stuff looked great. Second, the attention to detail on the first couple of jackets I closely inspected was as good as I’ve seen. (Wait, who are these guys?)

Turns out one of those jackets that particularly impressed me was Eider’s “Niseko” jacket, one of their top of the line jackets named after the place we were heading immediately after SIA, so it seemed like this would be a pretty ideal scenario to examine what Eider was up to.

FIRST IMPRESSION: MANIACAL ATTENTION TO DETAIL

In order to save time here, go back up and read the Feature list. Then, picture that each of those stated features is designed about as well as you could possibly imagine. That was basically my first impression of the Niseko, and after 25 days of skiing in it, that is now my established opinion of it.

To provide a relatively random point of comparison, the Arc’Teryx Micon pants were the only other product I used this past season that felt this dialed. I’m not sure how much fun it would be to hang out with the people who design Eider’s high end stuff (I have no experience with their price point stuff) because they must reek of obsessive-compulsive disorder. But they can design my technical gear any time.

Photo of Jonathan Ellsworth in the Eider Niseko Jacket.

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Eider Niseko jacket, Niseko Village.

A few examples: lycra cuffs with thumb holes always seem like a good idea with jackets, yet I never actually make use of them because they feel weird—by which I mean annoying and uncomfortable. Not the Niseko jacket. Maybe this is pure luck, but with the Niseko, when I’d throw my arm through the sleeve, at least 9 times out of 10 my hand would slide right into the lycra cuff and my thumb through the thumb hole. The cuffs aren’t too tight, the thumb holes aren’t uncomfortably small or too big (so that they are bunching up around my glove and creating a bad fit between the cuff of my glove and the cuff of the jacket.

I usually don’t like removable hoods because they never seem to sync or attach as well as a jacket with a fixed hood. This one does, and the details of the hood attachment are excellent.

The front collar of the Niseko jacket is nice and stiff, perfect for when you’re getting hammered by sleet or wind. And beyond that, there are thin cutouts on the inside of that collar, right in front of your mouth. When I was getting pummeled by sleet and blasted by high winds, I could pull the collar up high, sink my head down and tuck my chin a bit, and breathe through that collar without fogging up either the Smith I/O goggles or the POC Iris goggles that I was wearing—which would have truly sucked.

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