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Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit Review

Outdoor Research sent our team their Skytour AscentShell Bib and Jacket to test. It was perfect timing because ski season had just started.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit uses a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane to provide top-of-the-line weather resistance. The Bib and Jacket combo is the most breathable water-resistant hardshell we have tested. It is comfortable to wear and stretchy. It has a lot of features, making it a great choice for backcountry skiers.

Breathability

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The Skytour AscentShell Bib and Jacket provides little warmth. The shell is thin and allows air to pass through the fabric, so that as you’re moving up through the backcountry and working up a decent sweat, warm air can escape easily. This kit needs to be paired with insulating mid- and base-layers (such as the recently reviewed Ibex Baselayers). The warmth of this bib and jacket is comparable to a pair of hiking pants or a heavy rain jacket. But this lack of warmth is ideal for anyone that is wanting to ski hard and elevate their heart rate.

It also has several vents that were easy to unzip and zip with gloves on. This provided additional breathability and didn’t compromise the waterproofness.

Waterproofing

When we tested how waterproof this product was, it held up over our half-day excursion in the backcountry. Outdoor Research’s proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane is called “AscentShell” and is built in the bib and jacket. Both products are fully seam-sealed and the zippers are waterproof. The hood on the jacket provides good coverage, but it didn’t fully cover my ski helmet. Additionally, the bib’s legs are wide enough to fully cover my ski boots while providing enough coverage so snow didn’t pack inside the leg openings.

The Fit

Many of the hardshell jacket and bibs we tested were stiff and didn’t allow for a lot of movement. During testing, we found that the Skytour AscentShell Kit didn’t have that problem. The material is soft and stretchy and the brushed interior fabric is light on the skin. On the jacket, there is a fleece-lined chin guard, which provided an extra layer of comfort.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The fit is straight-cut which was perfect for my body-size and accommodated my mid- and base-layers.

I also found that the jacket and bib weren’t noisy. When I’m out in the backcountry, I enjoy the stillness the snow brings, and crinkly and noising hardshells can easily ruin that serenity.

Skytour AscentShell Kit comes with a lot of pickets that were easy to access and use. On the jacket, the two hand pockets and two external chest pockets provided tons of storage. The jacket’s left sleeve pass pocket was useful for accessing RFID turnstiles without stalling. On the inside, it has a mesh stash pocket and another zippered chest pocket. I was able to easily store and access snacks and my iPhone.

Conclusion

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

If you’re looking for hardshell jacket or bib or both, the Skytour AscentShell Kit is a great value. It provides terrific weather and water resistance at a much lower price. Plus, it has some amazing features and storage. If you’re heading into the backcountry, this jacket and bib will be the perfect companion for you.

The Skytour AscentShell Kit is available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and I wore a large in both the bib and jacket comfortably.

Skiing in Switzerland close to Interlaken

On the train from Interlaken, to Grindelwald, Switzerland to ski the Swiss Alps.

As I spent the past four months traveling around Europe, I have developed a profound interest in exploring the world Untraveled, the most memorable travel experience being skiing in Switzerland close to Interlaken. Living in Spain and spending my weekends in surrounding countries, my appreciation for the outdoors has expanded immensely.

The beginning of our journey

It was our third weekend trip in Europe, and everything had gone pretty smoothly up until this point. We flew into Zurich, Switzerland from Barcelona, Spain, arriving at around 11:30 pm on January 31, 2019. This being one of our first trips, inevitably left us missing our connecting train from Zurich to Interlaken. This forced us to get a hotel at the Zurich Marriott Hotel for the night. Our original intentions were to catch a train once we landed, but our lack of knowledge regarding how to speak the German/French language left us stumped trying to purchase the tickets at the self-checkout.

On the first day, half of the people we met up with intended to go skydiving, while the other half had planned to go paragliding. These types of extreme sports are activities that are typically done here, due to the breathtaking views that the country has to offer. Due to the weather, midst-of-winter, both excursions were cancelled for safety reasons and pushed to a further date.

After day 1

Spending our night hanging out at a local hostel, we were able to retrieve second opinions regarding skiing in Switzerland close to Interlaken. We received nothing but good connotations regarding how unreal the experience was. This made us think how mindless of us it would be, for us to pass up the opportunity. Initially, we had planned on paragliding the second day, but ended up reversing our decision. We ended up contacting the paragliding company last minute, to switch out reservation to Sunday so we could shred Saturday.

The first few runs

Growing up in Colorado, skiing on the weekends was something that I had grown up doing. Prior to this experience, I was convinced I had seen it all. I was beyond wrong. A mixture between the mountains, fog and powder was like nothing I had ever seen nor experienced before. The mountains made Colorados look like hills, and all I could think about was how lucky I was to be there.

On the very first run at Jungfrau Ski Resort, I lost the two people I was with, taking the trail all the way to the other side of the mountain. I am convinced the sole reason behind this was due how distracting the views were. It felt as though I was looking at a green screen and that it almost did not seem real. It was soon recognizable, that I was on the completely opposite side of the mountain, but ensured the friend I was with that I would find my way back to meet up with her. At this point my phone was on 18%, but remained calm, as there could not possibly be a better place to traverse. All that mattered at the time was fresh powder, good music and the world at large.

The last few runs

Eventually, I made my way back to the people in my party, but we soon after found ourselves separated again. This time I was with two others, but had gotten separated from the remaining six. Naturally, we found ourselves at the wrong side of the mountain. This raised concern considering we were already cutting it close to the departure time.

Distracted by what this world has to offer, we found ourselves resting by a creek. We were able to drink the freshest water I firmly believe I will ever have the opportunity to taste. Using Chris’ flask, we passed around the numbing liquid, in disbelief at the chilling temperature and refreshing savor. This, all organic, was the best water I have yet to taste. Distracted by mother nature, we eventually made the executive decision that it was time to make our way back to where our train was departing from, to avoid spending another night in the wrong city.

We skied as fast as we could across the mountain in attempt to make it to the last lift that could transport us to where we were supposed to be. Fortunately, we were able to navigate back just in time, with the common event of me taking a hard fall. All-embracing, I wouldn’t have preferred this day to go any other way. A day spent in the Swiss Alps, is a day that can not go wrong. What a life it is, experiencing this world one day at a time.