Ski, Ski, Ski. That is how we tested these. We tested over multiple winters in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the slopes of British Columbia, as well as at resorts in Colorado's central mountains. We got out during all kinds of weather and snow conditions. We skied a lot of runs, sat on a lot of chairlifts, and even went for an overnight ski trip in the backcountry to put these through the paces.
We worked hard skiing deep powder and shredded perfect corduroy in the sun to test the jackets in all weather conditions. We loaned these out to multiple women to test the fit, function, and features, and got feedback for each one.
We systematically tested the water resistance of these models with spray tests, rolled around in the snow, and got thoroughly drenched in the rain while sitting on chairlifts. To evaluate wind resistance, we sat on the highest, windiest chairlifts and skied downhill as fast as we could. We went out to the ski hill on days we would normally stay in sipping hot chocolate lamenting about how nasty the weather was. We fiddled with every toggle on our hoods to see how effective they are and if they cover our helmets.
Comfort and Fit
We wore all the jackets and referenced our testers dimensions to that of the manufacturer's specs. This helped us gauge a baseline to let our readers know which jackets are on the small size and which are larger so you can decide if you need to size up or down. We also evaluated the comfort of the jacket by how soft the materials are and how well the jacket moves with us while skiing.
In addition, we frequented many happy hours and ran errands around town to see how these jackets performed off the slopes. Life was rough, but someone had to do it.
This one is pretty subjective, but we measured how many compliments we received and how many women wanted to wear each jacket versus how many tried it on, but didn't want to wear it. We also checked out all the colors available and evaluated them on the selection and how stylish those options are this season.
We evaluated each jacket's fill weight and field effectiveness by sitting on cold chairlifts. We even played around with infrared cameras to check for drafty spots where heat may have been sneaking out, and to compare the effectiveness of different types of insulation. Our process involved leaving all of them outside to reach the same temperature prior to shooting, then we wore each one for one minute, then did 10 jumping jacks while wearing each one, and took a photo. This allowed us to note differences in insulation type and construction, and also to confirm our notes on the subjective warmth of each piece.
We worked hard in the deep pow to work up a sweat and then noted how clammy or dry inside we felt. We zipped and un-zipped our pits and noted how effective that was.
We opened every pocket and pit-zip and snapped every powder skirt to test for functionality. We evaluated what was really necessary, and what is just a gimmick.