The Lofoten jacket is a unique hybrid of ultralight, svelte alpine shell design and purpose-built ski resort features. It has the weight and feel of a light alpine climbing shell jacket, with ski-specific pant integration and overall fit.
The Norrona Lofoten in action on a powder day. For protection from the rowdiest weather, the Norrona is unmatched.
The Lofoten's thin shell fabric offers little to no insulating value, nor does it claim to. This fact costs the jacket some in overall scoring. However, for those interested in a piece-by-piece layering system for skiing, this is not a problem. Other shell jackets have thicker fabrics that block the wind a little bit better and keep marginally more heat inside. If you use this jacket, you are signing up to put some thought into your layering system each day to keep warm.
With excellent Gore-Tex fabric, immaculate construction, generous hood and sleeves, interior wrist "gaiters," and a powder skirt/pants integration that is unparalleled, the Lofoten jacket is one of the most weather resistant jackets in our test. It is the only shell jacket in our test that has internal wrist cuffs, and the only jacket of any kind that can be zipped securely to dedicated pants (we also tested the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Pants. The two together make an excellent combination).
Weather protection comes from both materials and overall design. The hood tailoring of the Norrona is among the best in our test.
Ventilation is important in a ski jacket. Resort skiing and snowboarding takes place in an ever-changing environment and within a wide spectrum of exertion levels. Adjusting your suit to accommodate is very important. Hardshell jackets can be stuffy, so the Lofoten includes long pit vents without any mesh lining to help dump heat. We found the Gore-Tex fabric used in this jacket to be moderately breathable, on par with other Gore-Tex jackets.
To keep the design clean and light, Norrona forsakes some ski-specific attributes. Notably, it has the fewest pockets of any jacket in our test. There are no handwarmer pockets, but there are two large chest pockets. There is also no headphone routing nor any Recco reflector. There is a goggle wipe, a pass pocket, and, as already mentioned, a few options for attaching the jacket to associated pants. If you are the type of skier who stuffs every pocket full of trail maps, lip balm, M&M's, and pocket change, check out one with more features.
In some ways, the Norrona could be mistaken for a climbing or hiking shell jacket. However, its cut and some of the features belie the ski design. The internal wrist gaiters, powder skirt, and plethora of pockets tell the ski story.
Fit and Comfort
Everyone loved the fit and feel of the Lofoten. The cut is close, much like an alpine climbing shell jacket. There's just enough room underneath for insulating layers for all but the most arctic cold conditions. Much of the comfort can be attributed to the lightweight, flexible fabric the Lofoten is made of. Thin fabric like this allows free movement.
The Lofoten's internal wrist gaiters are built in. Most dig these. If you don't like them, you can cut them out. They are hard to ignore otherwise.
The Lofoten is only available in colorful styles, which could be a problem for some. Beyond the bright colors, testers appreciated the trim fit and clean design. The lack of pockets and the easy draping fabric appeared svelte and uncluttered. This is a great style that we hope sticks around.
Gore-Tex shells are invariably expensive, and they also require additional layers underneath to provide any warmth at skiing temperatures. Considering that the Norrona requires at least one separate insulating layer, it is hard to make a case for the value of the Norrona. This is a niche piece for users who need the absolute best in weather protection at any price.
The Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell is one of the most weather resistant jackets we have ever reviewed, but it does not keep the user warm or provide many useful ski features. This jacket is not for everyone, but if you need a shell jacket that will keep you dry no matter what, consider the Lofoten a contender.