Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze Ski Apparel Made For The Slopes
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The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze Line
Right now, when it comes to ski apparel, the Jack Wolfskin brand is not too common of a name in North America. I honestly haven’t seen it all that much out on the slopes. However, they are definitely making in-roads. Jack Wolfskin’s been making outdoor apparel since the 1980’s. Founded by Ulrich Dausien and headquartered in Germany, they lay claim to bringing the first 3-in-1 jacket to market. An interesting factoid!
Having said that, I had the pleasure of testing a mid-layer puffy jacket by Jack Wolfskin Hybrid Jacket a few years ago (HERE). I still enjoy wearing this coat today, and it has held up nicely. I hope I’ll be able to say the same for my Alpspitze skiing ensemble after several seasons. To that point, I am testing the Alpspitze 3L ski pants and jacket along with the Down hoody. Aside from some base layers, I feel like this get-up will definitely work well for my downhill skiing adventures.
The Alps are in Jack Wolfskin’s backyard. One of these days, I’ll hopefully have the pleasure of skiing those majestic peaks and slopes. However, for now, the Rocky Mountains in my very own backyard will have to suffice. Having secured my Epic Pass, I will be zooming down the slopes at Crested Butte, Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, and Keystone this season.
First Impressions Of The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze Ski Ensemble
The outer pant and jacket shell layers certainly look the part. They have a rugged exterior with the appropriate padding, hood, seamless zippers, plenty of pockets, and those lovely ventilation side zippers for temperature control. The fabric feels very smooth and the overall look comes together nicely with clean design lines. The Alpspitze Down Hoody is incredibly lightweight, but has a certain fluffiness to it that I hope will play a solid role when it comes to insulation and warmth.
The Down Hoody
I figured we would start here as this is piece that can make or break a ski day. Most people these days do have a puffy or mid layer that will suffice, but I do like sticking within the Jack Wolfskin family for this ski ensemble.
First of all, it’s an 800-fill down jacket which means it packs a punch on the heat index scale. The terminology in the outdoor gear industry has gotten a bit out of control in my opinion as everyone has come up with their own unique and next level coating, insulation, etc. That said, Jack Wolfskin has partnered with Allied Feather, and created ExpeDry down. This is a 10% hydrophobic down technology that actually takes nanoparticles of gold that aids in expelling water. The cool thing is that they took that gold from recycled electronics versus the traditional route of using chemicals to do that job. Now, that’s kind of nifty, and I can appreciate that.
Secondly, the exterior has what they call a TEXASHIELD PRO. A 100% windproof outer fabric that eliminates the wind chill, and keeps one warm even in damp conditions. I have yet to play in wet and damp conditions, but I can definitely speak to the warmth factor in frigid single digit temperatures with a ton of snow dumping down on us. Add to that, 30+ mph descents, and you quickly find out if your gear is doing its job. Check out all those various individual down filled pockets in the photo above. They have meticulously designed each and every compartment or panel of the coat for optimal comfort and warmth.
I am always deathly afraid of snags and the wood stove burn potential for what seems like such a delicate outer layer. The aforementioned TEXASHIELD PRO has a 10D Mini Rip High Tenacity shield to hopefully curtail any or much damage if a blemish were to occur. The burning ember concern or (in my case) when I accidentally touch the wood burning stove has marred several of my favorite pieces. I will chalk that up to user error, and will need to proceed with more caution going forth.
Lastly, the specific details and features play a vital role. The two exterior side pockets are a good size, and served me well to hold all the necessary snacks for the family. The bonus interior pockets are ginormous. I mean they are absolutely spacious and allow you to slide in any valuables, like keys, wallet, phone, apres-ski drink, you name it. It didn’t really take anything extra for Jack Wolfskin to add this aside from a couple of thin pieces of fabric and some stitching. They are deep enough that no extra buttons or zippers are needed to ensure nothing will fall out. I love this feature!
There is a stuff sack included in one of the pockets. It is attached with a loop, but can be removed if so desired. I have kind of just kept it in there for now. The adjustable waist band hem worked well as I tightened it ever so slightly to keep the downhill winds from creeping in.
In turn, the adjustable hood is really a key feature here as it is nice and big. The thing I’ve always experienced with ski apparel hoods that are intended to go over helmets is that they are usually not large enough. Nor do they have the freedom or mobility to maintain a wider range of head swivel and vision. Not the case here! This hood worked like a charm. It also served its purpose for when the temperatures were a bit more moderate. I had removed my balaclava, but do still need some face protection at certain times. The hood when completely zipped up provided that perfect coverage.
For as light and thin as this puffy coat feels, the warmth from the 800-fill white goose down is downright toasty. I will sweat if the effort goes beyond shushing down the hill. The ski patrol at Crested Butte opened up some new terrain as I was skiing by. Instantly, I veered over to experience some untouched and un-groomed terrain. It was a deeper powder layer that had sat for a few days. Hence, it was thicker and more of a mash potato consistency which was a quad burner for sure. Not having had to lean back much the previous ski days, the work was intense. I realized my effort as I got to the bottom, and immediately opened the pant and jacket vents a little to get airflow to cool me down.
I wore this as my main mid layer for 6 straight days of skiing. Quite cold in the mornings with temperatures in the low teens. The afternoons brought sunshine and mid 30’s which is toasty warm for skiing. I never even gave my core upper body a second thought. The afternoon warmth along with some harder efforts does create a heat pocket. Hence, I had to work the zippers to allow for some airflow.
There was a bit of an odor to the Jacket. Nothing bad or overly offense. I ignored it at first, but I have to be honest after my wife called it out, I also noticed it. The hydrophobic down technology is likely the reason, or maybe due to the first time using it with a bit of sweating going on. I went the route of washing this jacket in the gentle cycle to see if that would do the trick. I am always super careful when washing any of my technical gear, so I advise you to follow the instructions closely.
The smell was not as noticeable, but it was still there. Id’ say, if you are hyper sensitive on the smell side, maybe give if a whiff before you buy. The hoody did come out clean as a whistle after doing so. I’ll keep an eye (and nose) on it going forth, and can report back later.
For more details on the Down Hoody or purchasing, visit www.us.jackwolfskin.com
The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze 3L Jacket
The Alpspitze 3L Jacket is a sweet piece of gear. Simplistic in design mixed with enough bells and whistles to provide that function when out on the slopes. It is rather lightweight, so once again, I questioned the ability to keep me warm and protected from the high alpine winter elements. And yet again, I was proven wrong. In addition, it is also a handy compact packable shell.
The exterior layer has Pertex® Shield Air technology. In short, it’s extremely breathable while also being waterproof. The technical lingo is that it has an air-permeable nano-fibre membrane which must be why it feels so silky smooth.
A couple of my favorite elements of this jacket are the front pockets. The exterior chest pocket is ideal for the phone for easy access on or off the lift. I don’t recommend pulling out the phone on the lift as one slip will likely cause you to loose that fancy phone. However, it slides in quite nicely and can be accessed easily. The interior pocket is where my wallet goes, but could also serve as a more tucked away phone storage option.
The freedom of movement was evident when walking to and from the lifts, as well as skate skiing a considerable uphill portion to cross over to one of the Vail bowls. I have yet to take them on an uphill skin, but feel confident that they will provide flexibility and breathability throughout. I can speak to the downhill, and it being able to withstand and re-direct the wind at nearly 40 miles per hour on a few fast runs.
Furthermore, the key features are definitely worthy of pointing out. The hood gets used less then you’d think. Hence, it sits back there most of the time, but it was never in the way or a nuisance. When the wind and snow needed to be kept out, the hood slipped right over my helmet. I usually hold off to put my hood on, because it limits my visibility and side to side head mobility. Just like the Down Hoody, the head swivel mobility was evident in the jacket. It was a natural progression to be able to keep skiing without any hindrance.
The ski pass pocket almost goes unnoticed on the left arm sleeve, but once I added my pass, it became one of my favorite features. I just leave my pass in there at all time, and can forget about, and it’s one less thing to worry about when packing up for a day of skiing. The underarm zippers have not seen too much use as of yet. I am usually a first thing on the mountain kind of guy, and the weather has been frigid. I am sure these will see more action as the Spring comes around. In addition, these are great for backcountry skin adventures.
Sitting on that first chair with a dusting of frozen morning dew did not penetrate through, and kept my behind dry. I’d call that a success.
For more details, please see www.us.jackwolfskin.com
The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze 3L Pants
Aside from all the technological additions that make up a piece of ski gear, there are usually two things that will make or break a product. The zippers being one, and in the case of these pants, the built-in gaiters. These are YKK zippers, so from my experience, in theory they will last a good while. Time will tell, but I feel confident that I see many years of use out of these pants.
The buttons that tighten the liners inside the pants over the boots to keep any snow out are an important feature. In this case, I did have a bit of a snafu. Ski gear needs to be rugged and able to withstand some abuse. It’s usually cold, getting boots on, working the buckles, carrying skis from the car to the gondola, etc. are all reasons that enforce the fact that ski clothing needs to be bulletproof. One of the snap buttons on the gaiter popped loose. I think it needs to be reinforced a little more, and I hope they make that adjustment. I’ll be able to fix mine, so no worries there.
The front snaps and slide connector keeps the pants buttoned nicely. The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze pants do have belt loops should you want to add one. There is an elastic band on each side which does help in tightening the pants to a point. For me, I may add the belt, because the velcro doesn’t quite make the fit super tight. The two front leg pockets have seen everything from snacks to keys and my wallet. The bulk of my stashed goodies have gone into the hoody and jacket, but these can serve the smaller flatter items quite well.
I have really come to appreciate the freedom of movement, and the way I slice and carve down the mountain. They have proven to be wind proof on some fast windy descents, and handle knee deep powder.
More info on the pants can be found at www.us.jackwolfskin.com.
You can certainly spend upwards of $2k for a high-end ski apparel package. Conversely, you can also find more moderately priced brands for $500 bucks. This Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze line of touring gear will set you back well over a grand, but I do feel there is value to paying extra for a higher performing kit. The quality is exceptional, and I can appreciate the balance of rugged toughness with smooth and streamlined design and function.
At first, I was not quite sold on the rather vibrant color scheme of this Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze ensemble. Although, with time, I got to actually like the more visible aspects of my pants and jacket. My family found it easy to spot me as we made our way down the mountain. With that said, I have grown to appreciate the design and color palette that’s highlighting this year’s line. And of course, there is also the Lime color choice if you’d like.
Final Thoughts On The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze Ski Apparel Outfit
I have felt protected form some fierce winds, and intense cold temperatures. I have to say, that aside from my toes and fingers, I never got chilled, nor did the wind penetrate anywhere. The Jack Wolfskin Alpspitze Ski apparel package is an investment in your comfort, performance, and enjoyment out on the slopes. Throughout my time testing this ski gear apparel line, I have felt and looked good. The numerous key features of all three pieces have proven capable of handling the various conditions the mountains and weather has thrown at me. I give Jack Wolfskin a big thumbs up, and can’t wait to see more of their products out on my mountain expeditions. For more details and purchase on this and any other Jack Wolfskin pieces, please visit www.us.jackwolfskin.com.