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Columbia Alpine Action Omni-Heat Review

This run of the mill jacket won't see much action from our testers this winter
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Price:  $170 List | $76.50 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, warm, nice wrist gaiters
Cons:  Hood does not fit over a helmet, uncomfortable, not stylish
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 13, 2018
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47
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 5
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Ventilation - 20% 1
  • Style - 10% 4
  • Features - 10% 7

Our Verdict

This extremely popular ski jacket fell flat in our testers' opinions as we struggled to find anything remarkable about it. The Columbia Alpine Action Omni-Heat is a pretty average jacket that has what you need to function at the resort and will keep you warm, but it's not particularly stylish or comfortable. The low price from a reputable manufacturer is likely the focal point of its appeal. Ski jackets don't come cheap, and we appreciate Columbia keeping the budget-conscious in mind and at heart, but we think it's worth stepping it up and paying a bit more for a better performing ski jacket.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Alpine Action jacket isn't as exciting as it seems. We prefer most of the other models we tested over this one.

Performance Comparison


The Alpine Action is a decent choice for resort skiing that keeps moisture out on storm days.
The Alpine Action is a decent choice for resort skiing that keeps moisture out on storm days.

Weather Resistance


The Alpine Action's thick shell material seems to be quite water-resistant, is well seam-sealed, and has a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating on it. It will keep moisture out. The Omni-Heat technology (the silver dots on the interior) supposedly work to help pass moisture through, wicking sweat away from your body, so you stay dry on the inside as well.

We were disappointed with the size and fit of the Alpine Action's removable hood. It does not fit over a ski helmet, and we were unable to zip up the front of the jacket while the hood was up over our helmet. As more and more people are wearing helmets at the resort, this is a huge drawback. We also think removable hoods are silly, although this one may as well not have a hood because it not very effective.

We could not fit this jacket's hood up over our helmet and have the front collar of the jacket zipped up at the same time.
We could not fit this jacket's hood up over our helmet and have the front collar of the jacket zipped up at the same time.

Comfort and Fit


We don't find this jacket particularly comfortable. The materials feel heavy and stiff, and the fit is snug. Our testers found that this jacket fits on the small side and as we mentioned above, it's impossible to zip up all the way if you're trying to put your hood up with a helmet - or if you are wearing extra layers like a buff. We also think the hemline is quite short. This jacket may be well suited for someone who is shorter and prefers short hemlines.

Style


This is not the Alpine Action's strong suit. It is a pretty generic-looking jacket that does not have a particularly flattering cut. We prefer jackets with fun color combinations and long hemlines to cover your bottom with a flattering silhouette.

The Alpine Action's powder skirt.
The Alpine Action's powder skirt.

Warmth


The Alpine Action has a cozy 100 grams of insulation and will keep you warm out there on the slopes in most conditions. However, it loses a point because the hood is ineffective and won't keep drafts off your neck or head if you're wearing a helmet. We do, however, appreciate the Alpine Action's cozy wrist gaiters.

Ventilation


We scored this product low in this category because it doesn't have any ventilation to speak of beside the central front zip, and does not have pit-zips. You don't want to see too much action while wearing this jacket because without venting options, there is the potential to get really sweaty. The Alpine Action does have synthetic insulation, which will aid in wicking some sweat away from your body and can help keep you warm when it's wet.

The Alpine Action Jacket has Columbia's proprietary Omni Tech shell fabric and the Omni Heat silver dots on the inside  which is the only attempt at breathability or ventilation in this jacket.
The Alpine Action Jacket has Columbia's proprietary Omni Tech shell fabric and the Omni Heat silver dots on the inside, which is the only attempt at breathability or ventilation in this jacket.

Ski Features


The Alpine Action does come with all the standard ski features like a powder skirt and pass pocket. There's a pocket for goggles, plus an internal pocket with a headphone gasket if you plug in at the resort.

This model also has a pass pocket on the sleeve.
This model also has a pass pocket on the sleeve.

Value


The Alpine Action is priced low compared to other ski-specific jackets. While cost is an important consideration when buying a ski jacket, we would rather spend a little more for a jacket with better fit, function, and versatility.

Conclusion


Although it is the least expensive jacket in this review, we do not think it is the best value. The Alpine Action has decent ski features and a warm 100 grams of synthetic insulation, but the hood does not fit over a helmet which is a significant drawback. It also lacks ventilation, which is a key factor for most anyone carving turns. We also don't think this jacket deserves any accolades for comfort or style.

Jessica Haist