Most skiers look for a ski jacket with insulation, which we reflected in our selection of products for this review. A smaller subset of resort riders prefers a layering system that involves a non-insulated shell. We present the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell. It's lightweight, thin, and ready for a range of conditions. No jacket we have ever used is as effective at blocking out inclement weather as the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell on March 6, 2022, with a closer look at performance versus value, and recommendations for similar products.
Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell Review
Cons: Expensive, few pockets, light fabric isn’t super durable
Compare to Similar Products
Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell
$799.00 at Backcountry
|$550.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
$700.00 at REI
$299.00 at REI
$199.00 at REI
|Pros||Drum tight weather protection, lightweight||Excellent performance in every category, durable||Completely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride style||Weather resistant, good vents, plenty of features||Inexpensive, moderately weather resistant, warm enough|
|Cons||Expensive, few pockets, light fabric isn’t super durable||More snug fit than other options||Expensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry use||Hanging liner makes it a bit warm for a shell, fit isn't perfect||Bland style, poor ventilation, generic fit|
|Bottom Line||One of the most protective piece of ski clothing we have ever tried||This excellent resort ski jacket nails all performance aspects to deserve a spot at the top of your wish list||A durable, weatherproof jacket that wins our favor among downhill ski shells on the market||A high-performance shell at a great price||An average-performance ski jacket with decent features at an affordable price|
|Rating Categories||Norrona Lofoten Gor...||Helly Hansen Alpha...||Arc'teryx Sabre Jacket||REI Co-op First Cha...||REI Co-op Powderbou...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Norrona Lofoten Gor...||Helly Hansen Alpha...||Arc'teryx Sabre Jacket||REI Co-op First Cha...||REI Co-op Powderbou...|
|Main Fabric||Gore-Tex Pro||2-layer stretch polyester||N80p-X Gore-Tex||2-layer Gore-Tex||Nylon|
|Insulation||None||LifaLoft synthetic||Thin flannel backer||Recycled polyester lining||60g polyester sleeves, 80g polyester body|
|Pockets||2 exterior chest, 1 sleeve, 1 interior zippered, 1 interior open||2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 sleeve||2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal||2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 sleeve||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 sleeve, 1 internal zippered chest, 1 internal mesh|
|Weight (size large)||1.50 lbs||2.56 lbs||1.60 lbs||1.76 lbs||1.81 lbs|
|Water Resistance||Gore-Tex||Helly Tech Professional||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||2-layer waterproof breathable laminate|
|Hood||Adjustable||Adjustable and removable||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable|
|Cuff construction||Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs||Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs||Velcro||Velcro||Interior wide hook-and-loop adjustments and external velcro|
|Powder skirt||Yes, removable||Yes||Yes||Yes, removable||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This jacket has seen some color updates since we last tested it. Though the colors have changed, the features remain the same. October 2019
The Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell 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 Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell'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, this is not a problem for those interested in a piece-by-piece layering system for skiing. 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 sign 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 Gore-Tex Pro Shell 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 you can zip securely to dedicated pants.
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 Gore-Tex Pro Shell 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.
Norrona forsakes some ski-specific attributes to keep the design clean and light. 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.
Fit and Comfort
Everyone loved the fit and feel of the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell. 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 Gore-Tex Pro Shell is made of. Thin fabric like this allows free movement.
The Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell 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 look is a great style that we hope sticks around.
Should You Buy the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell?
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. Gore-Tex shells are invariably expensive, and they also require additional layers underneath to provide any warmth at skiing temperatures. This jacket is not for everyone, but if you need a shell jacket that will keep you dry no matter what, consider the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell a contender.
What Other Ski Jackets Should You Consider?
The Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell is a niche piece for users who need the absolute best in weather protection at any price. If you are a more casual resort skier or rider, a warmer, less expensive, and feature-laden option like the The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate or Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft is likely more up your alley. The Arc'teryx Sabre AR Jacket is a more subdued option for professionals who want the technicality without the flair.
— Jediah Porter
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