At every ski resort, there’s always some old guy wearing jeans and a tattered shell in protest of all the ridiculously expensive ski gear that is available. I feel that guy; jackets aren’t cheap. There were points when I had considered doing the same until I tried the Mountain Hardwear Maximalist Jacket. Now I understand why people pay for premium shells like this. It won’t make you a professional level skier, but it will take away the distraction of being wet and clammy, allowing you to focus on the sport.
Just for reference, Gore-Tex is great and I had my questions about Dry.Q Elite. But not anymore. Dry.Q Elite performs much better than I thought it would, and it’s just as good if not better than all the Gore-Tex out there.
Dry.Q Elite is a technology that is put on hard shells. The claim is that it outperforms Gore-Tex because the jacket doesn’t need to heat up to breath. I wouldn’t know which is better because either way, both Dry.Q Elite and Gore-Tex seem to keep you completely dry so I’m not completely sure what the difference is.
The zipper goes all the way up and there is another zipper at the chin that zips sidewise at an angle so the jacket isn’t so constricting around the neck. This is possibly the best feature about the jacket (for those without facial hair at least) since it’s nice to duck your nose and mouth under the protection of your jacket when the winds pick up. The pit zips are convenient and relatively easy to zip and the front chest pocket serves its purpose to hold maps and random trinkets. The hood is helmet compatable but probably the best part, again, is the secondary zipper. This zipper, when down, allows you to easily slip your hood on over your helmet. There is also a thumb loop on the sleeves that makes it easy to put gloves on over the jacket’s sleeve. Beside’s all that, there are the standard inside pocket for goggles, velcro cuffs and a removable powder skirt.
I finally found a medium sized jacket that actually fits very well. Most ski jackets are designed for wiry climbers. Thing is, most skier are not wiry climbers. Most of us have a more athletic build and that’s how they designed this jacket. It’s made to fit the vast majority of athletic skiers. If you go a size down, I’m sure wiry climbers will still fit this jacket.