A waterproof down insulated jacket for lift-accessed ski and snowboarding, the Arc’teryx Andessa might be expensive, but it delivers a knock-out punch against the cold and miserable weather. Arc‘teryx got its start by making state-of-the-art climbing harnesses and packs, and the jacket echoes the company’s dedication to innovative design, premium materials, and technology-driven construction.
The Andessa shell is made from a DWR treated 3 layer GORE-TEX fabric with taped seams for added waterproofness. The jacket is stuffed with 750-fill European goose down that’s quilted into the chest, back, and sleeves.
The bottom eight inches of the jacket contain a synthetic insulation—strategically placed so that when you sit on a chairlift (or, if you’re a rider, on the snow) the hem of the jacket doesn’t soak in moisture. In contrast to many down jackets with similar warmth and weatherproofing, the Andessa jacket manages to provide the comfort and heat of down, without the traditional Stay Puft marshmallow appearance.
Arc‘teryx uses two new technologies in this pinnacle piece. One is a patent-pending Down Contour Construction and the other Down Composite Mapping. What they mean in plain terms is that the down is thicker in spots where you need more insulation (like the chest) and thinner where you don’t (for example under the arms). What we noticed is that after six months of hard use, not one plume of down had escaped.
In terms of features, the jacket has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an $800+ jacket. The helmet-friendly hood rotates when you turn your head, and is cut wide enough around the face that it doesn’t interfere with peripheral vision, even when the jacket’s zipped up tight. Pit zippers are only 9-inches long, but the generous mesh inserts let them open wider than most, a necessary feature as the jacket is mega warm.
- Underarm gussets for excellent mobility.
- Three-part sleeve for elbow/arm articulation.
- Removable powder skirt.
- Athletic cut (minimal bulk).
- Waterproof pit zips.
- Heat welded seam construction for maximum waterproofness.
- Soft on the inside.
- Great weight to warmth ratio.
- Hood is fixed, not removable.
- No wrist sleeves.
- Fit is snug compared to most women’s mediums, especially in chest and shoulders.
- Small-side front handwarmer pockets.
Bottom Line: Purpose built for cold weather skiing and snowboarding, you will be happy you forked out the extra money for the Andessa next time your friends are having their own mini sufferfest on that cold and windy chairlift ride.
The Arc’teryx Andessa insulated jacket retails for $850 and is available now.
–Nancy Prichard Bouchard