Obermeyer Straight Down Jacket - Gear Review

April 16, 2007

When you live in the Rocky Mountains, you don't really need waterproof-breathable material for the ski jacket you use at the resort. That's my opinion, anyway. The snow is so light and dry that you don't have to worry about getting all just want to STAY WARM! Hence, my love of puffy jackets and my purchase of yet another puffy in my collection -- the Obermeyer Straight Down Jacket. Now, I grew up in Seattle skiing Mt. Baker and Alpental and Crystal Mountain. That's a whole different story -- I used to wonder why companies even made puffy jackets, because I thought everyone dealt with the same wetness at some point during the season. But after years in Utah, I've realized that's not the case. For dawn patrols on skins, sure -- you'll want a shell with eVent fabric or Gore-Tex XCR. But when you have trams whisking you to the top of Snowbird with a foot of 4% water-content pow covering everything, you just want to stay warm. Even among puffy jackets there are different tiers of technical materials -- the Obermeyer Straight Down Jacket is way over on the "street" side of the spectrum. It is not compressible like many Mountain Hardwear and North Face puffies are, and it is certainly not lightweight. It doesn't just have a sleeping-bag-style material on the outside -- it's a heavy canvas-like feel. I love that feel for resort-skiing, but it gets real overheated real fast once you start bootpacking or skating through a flat runout. It is purely a lift-serviced skiing jacket -- not even a wise choice for side-country expeditions. Though there are full pit-zips, so that's how I survive and don't overheat when I head out to Catherine's at Alta. By the way, if you're considering purchasing an Obermeyer jacket you should check out this biography feature on the man..the legend...Klaus Obermeyer. Yeah, Aspen and Deer Valley might not be your style but we owe so much to these impressive heroes for bringing skiing into the mainstream of the US during the last century...and we owe a lot to Klaus himself for the invention of the short down ski parka: [youtube][/youtube] Back to the Obermeyer Straight Down jacket... The style is similar to some Canada Goose jackets, and I love it. Now, some may criticize the fur on the collar (it's faux and removeable, of course) because it looks like you have a fox riding on your shoulders. But I love it -- just keep the little fox fed well, and he won't bite you (but he does a great job fending off tail-gaters riding on your back on busy traverses). ;-) The hood is also big enough that if I unzip the collar it will fit over my helmet. And that's awesome on windy days because the fur really breaks the wind from biting your face and neck. That's also an extremely welcome feature when wearing the jacket in town (and you look so good in it, you'll be wearing it all the time). One downfall -- I have gorilla arms, and the sleeves are just a quarter-inch shorter than I would like. But for most upright primates, the sleeves are just fine. Search for the Obermeyer Straight Down Jacket, or check out several other sweet jackets and clothes for cheap at Also, some other ski jacket reviews from our sister site Moonstone Nordwand Ski Jacket Ground Radius eVent Ski Jacket Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite jacket, or if you have more questions that I haven't addressed here about the Obermeyer Straight Down Jacket. Cheers, Brig

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