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Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell Review

One of the most protective piece of ski clothing we have ever tried.
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Price:  $699 List | $559.16 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Drum tight weather protection, lightweight
Cons:  Expensive, few pockets, light fabric isn’t super durable
Manufacturer:   Norrona
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Warmth - 20% 3
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 10
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7
  • Ventilation - 15% 9
  • Style - 15% 6
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The majority of 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. For you fine folks, we present the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell and a few others. 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. For superior style points and weather protection, check out our review of the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Pants. Pairing these two pieces together creates an outcome greater than the sum of its parts, and we can't recommend them highly enough.

Color Updates Since Testing

This jacket has seen some color updates since we last tested it. Though the colors have changed, the features remain the same.

October 2019


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Drum tight weather protection, lightweightExcellent performance in every category, durableImpeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protectionVery warm, great weather resistance, high quality constructionCompletely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride style
Cons Expensive, few pockets, light fabric isn’t super durableMore snug fit than other optionsSuper expensive, too warm for some applicationsBoxy fit, unremarkable style, expensiveExpensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry use
Bottom Line A lightweight hard shell jacket that provides excellent weather protection.We can't picture a better all-around jacket for skiing.Arc'teryx pulls no punches and creates a spectacular jacket in the process.A warm and durable jacket with a high price tag.With weather resistance, style, and ventilation, this is the total package for a ski shell.
Rating Categories Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft Arc'teryx Macai Patagonia Primo Puff Arc'teryx Sabre AR Jacket
Warmth (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
4
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
Comfort And Fit (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ventilation (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
Style (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
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8
10
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6
10
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8
Features (10%)
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5
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10
10
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9
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5
Specs Lofoten Gore-Tex... Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Macai Patagonia Primo Puff Arc'teryx Sabre AR...
Main Fabric GORE-TEX Pro 2-layer stretch polyester N40p-X GORE-TEX 2-layer, 4-oz 75-denier 100% recycled polyester N80p-X GORE-TEX
Insulation None LifaLoft synthetic Coreloft 100, Coreloft Compact, and 750 fill goose down PlumaFill synthetic Light flannel backer
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 handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 1 chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal chest 2 hand, 1 chest, 2 interior 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal
Weight (pounds) 1.50 lbs 2.56 lbs 2.64 lbs 2.54 lbs 1.66 lbs
Waterproofing Gore-Tex Helly Tech Professional 3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell Gore-Tex Gore-Tex
Hood Option? Adjustable Adjustable and removable Adjustabe and Removable Adjustable Adjustable
Pit-Zips? Open Mesh-backed Mesh-backed Open Open
Cuff construction Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs Velcro Velcro Velcro
Ski Features Removable powder skirt, zips to matching pants Powder skirt, fixed goggle wipe, high visibility brim, pass pocket Removable powder skirt, attached/removable goggle wipe, pass pocket Pass pocket, powder skirt attaches to Patagonia pants Fixed powder skirt buttons to matching pants, pass pocket
RECCO? No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Lofoten 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.

Performance Comparison



The Norrona Lofoten in action on a powder day. For protection from the rowdiest weather  the Norrona is unmatched.
The Norrona Lofoten in action on a powder day. For protection from the rowdiest weather, the Norrona is unmatched.

Warmth


The Lofoten'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, for those interested in a piece-by-piece layering system for skiing, this is not a problem. 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 are signing up to put some thought into your layering system each day to keep warm.

Weather Resistance


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 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 can be zipped securely to dedicated pants (we also tested the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Pants. The two together make an excellent combination).

Weather protection comes from both materials and overall design. The hood tailoring of the Norrona is among the best in our test.
Weather protection comes from both materials and overall design. The hood tailoring of the Norrona is among the best in our test.

Ventilation


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 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.

Ski Features


To keep the design clean and light, Norrona forsakes some ski-specific attributes. 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.

In some ways  the Norrona could be mistaken for a climbing or hiking shell jacket. However  its cut and some of the features belie the ski design. The internal wrist gaiters  powder skirt  and plethora of pockets tell the ski story.
In some ways, the Norrona could be mistaken for a climbing or hiking shell jacket. However, its cut and some of the features belie the ski design. The internal wrist gaiters, powder skirt, and plethora of pockets tell the ski story.

Fit and Comfort


Everyone loved the fit and feel of the Lofoten. 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 is made of. Thin fabric like this allows free movement.

The Lofoten's internal wrist gaiters are built in. Most dig these. If you don't like them  you can cut them out. They are hard to ignore otherwise.
The Lofoten's internal wrist gaiters are built in. Most dig these. If you don't like them, you can cut them out. They are hard to ignore otherwise.

Style


The Lofoten 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 is a great style that we hope sticks around.

Value


Gore-Tex shells are invariably expensive, and they also require additional layers underneath to provide any warmth at skiing temperatures. Considering that the Norrona requires at least one separate insulating layer, it is hard to make a case for the value of the Norrona. This is a niche piece for users who need the absolute best in weather protection at any price.

Conclusion


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. This jacket is not for everyone, but if you need a shell jacket that will keep you dry no matter what, consider the Lofoten a contender.


Jediah Porter