Mountain Hardwear Vertical Peak Jacket Review
With winter in full swing and lots of people heading to the slopes, I hope to bring you this jacket review just in time to help your ski jacket purchase decision. Over the past few months, I’ve been testing out the Mountain Hardwear Vertical Peak Jacket while skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin. The conditions I skied in included 6 inches or powder, ice and crud, corduroy, and temperatures that ranged from 5 degrees to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Vertical Peak Jacket is a synthetic insulated and water proof jacket, so if you are looking to battle some of the harshest elements, this is a good jacket to have on your side, no pun intended. To start, the Vertical Peak has plenty of pockets to carry all your inbounds ski essentials and more. There are two side pockets that are lined with fleece to help keep your hands warm. The pockets are big enough to store a cell phone, wallet, keys, sandwich, point and shoot camera, or any other item similar in size. There is also a chest pocket on the outside of the jacket that that can hold the previous items mentioned. This pocket is a tad bit smaller than the side pockets as it should be. It also has a small hole that connects to the inside in case you want to store your mp3 player or phone and listen to music. On the inside of the jacket, there are two mesh pockets, one to hold your goggles and one to hold other valuables.
The insulation in the Mountain Hardwear Vertical Peak is lightweight and compact, so it won’t take up a lot of room, but it still ads enough warmth in most situations. In the super cold conditions, I did end up adding more layers, but since the jackets insulation didn’t have a lot of bulk, it wasn’t a problem. For the days when you are hitting big powder stashes and you want to keep the snow from getting up your back, there is a detachable powder skirt. While I really like a powder skirt in a ski jacket, I found this powder skirt to ride up past my waist often times which defeats the purpose. One thing that I am starting to see in higher end jackets is an extended cuff on the sleeve of the jacket. The Vertical Peak Jacket has this cuff with a thumb hole, but I found the thumb hole to not be in the right place, so I ended up not using it. If you have shorter arms, this might work out for you. I am 6’0 tall with normalish length arms.
For ventilation, the Mountain Hardwear Vertical Peak Jacket has pit zips on both sides of the jacket. These come in handy when the temperatures start to heat up and you need to vent a little bit. The zippers are lined with a plastic/rubber guard that helps water from seeping in, but this texture also makes it hard to open the pit zips themselves. I often have a friend or my wife help unzip them while on the chair lift. The Vertical Peak has a removable helmet compatible hood which is nice when you run into super cold windy days. If you are not a big fan of hoods, it is nice to be able to remove the hood. I haven’t removed the hood except to make sure the zipper works correctly.
Overall, a this is a good jacket, but I think there are a few things that need to be fixed to make it worth the MSRP of $400.