Reviews You Can Rely On

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell - Women's Review

This technical shell is capable at the resort in spite of its backcountry-oriented materials and construction
outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review
Credit: Outdoor Research
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $379 List
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jacqueline Kearney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 13, 2023
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 15
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8.0
  • Warmth - 20% 2.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 8.0
  • Style - 10% 7.0
  • Features - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Skytour Ascentshell impressed us most with the performance of its proprietary AscenTshell fabric. This jacket excelled at breathability on our most uphill-focused days. Though it left something to be desired in terms of warmth and all-day weather protection, it certainly did not fail at transitioning from the uphill to the resort.
REASONS TO BUY
Breathable
Stretchy and comfortable
Water resistant
REASONS TO AVOID
Not very windproof
Not all zips are water resistant
Somewhat boxy fit

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $379 List
$379.00 at REI
$450 List
$450.00 at REI
$299 List
$299.00 at REI
$360 List
$360.00 at REI
$77 List
$69.97 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
62
76
71
66
48
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Breathable, stretchy and comfortable, water resistantWarm, lofty insulation, soft, very mobile despite insulation, excellent comfort and fitRelatively inexpensive yet high-quality, breathable, great mobility, great ventilationWarm, three jackets in one, well-constructed with thoughtful features, versatileWarm, resort-oriented look, quite inexpensive
Cons Not very windproof, not all zips are water resistant, somewhat boxy fitLackluster ventilationNon-insulating, thin shell material, not for most casual skiersSlim fit, heavy, poor ventilation when both layers are wornNo ventilation, bulky insulation, chafes chin, ineffective hem and hood adjustment
Bottom Line This technical shell is capable at the resort in spite of its backcountry-oriented materials and constructionA super warm and soft resort jacket with a cool utilitarian look, this is perfect for someone who runs a little colderAn excellent value for a high performing technical shell that serves inbounds or in the backcountryThis jacket is versatile and has all the necessary ski features for a long day on the hill, all at a reasonable priceThis inexpensive jacket was able to keep us warm and dry in most low-exertion skiing
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Sk... Helly Hansen Powder... Outdoor Research Ca... The North Face Ther... Wantdo Snowboarding...
Weather Resistance (20%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Warmth (20%)
2.0
8.0
2.0
8.0
8.0
Ventilation (20%)
8.0
6.0
9.0
4.0
1
Style (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Features (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Outdoor Research Sk... Helly Hansen Powder... Outdoor Research Ca... The North Face Ther... Wantdo Snowboarding...
Main Fabric AscentShell 93% nylon, 7% spandex 70% nylon, 30% polyester 100% Nylon 100% Nylon 150D Dull Mechanical Elastic
Insulation None Body: 60g PrimaLoft Sleeves: 40g PrimaLoft None 100% Postconsumer recycled polyester Insulating padding
Waterproofing 3-layer AscentShell PFC free DWR 3-layer Pertex Shield 2-layer DryVent DWR, 10k waterproof fabric
Pockets 2 zippered hand, 2 zippered chest, 1 forearm, interior stash 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 2 internal drop-in 2 zippered chest, 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered arm, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal zippered chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 1 internal goggle Liner: 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand
Weight 1.3 lbs 2.2 lbs 1.2 lbs 2.0 lbs 2.5 lbs
Hood Option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, removable fur
Pit Zips Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Cuff construction Velcro Velcro with wrist gaiters Velcro Velcro Snap
Powder skirt No Yes Yes Yes, behind insulating layer Yes, snap away
RECCO No Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell is a jacket that is both backcountry and resort ready. Its constructed from OR's highly breathable and water-resistant proprietary AscentShell fabric with a few resort-oriented features.

Performance Comparison


outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the or skytour is a great option for a versatile shell-style jacket...
The OR Skytour is a great option for a versatile shell-style jacket at a reasonable price.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

Weather Resistance


The OR Skytour is constructed of a proprietary fabric called AscentShell. This material is made with a process called electro-nanospinning, which slowly layers a fabric until there are holes large enough for water vapor to escape but too small for water to enter. With a DWR treatment, this jacket did very well at both beading water and resisting wet through.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the thin and stretchy ascentshell fabric resists moisture well for...
The thin and stretchy AscentShell fabric resists moisture well for how supple it is.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

There were a few weak points in this jacket for the weather to creep in. Most noticeable are the non-water-resistant zippers in both the chest pockets and the pit zips. These rely on a storm flap of fabric for water resistance instead of the zipper itself. However, the hand pockets and main zipper sport water resistant zippers that kept our pocket contents very dry.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - both chest pockets rely on a flap of fabric, not a water resistant...
Both chest pockets rely on a flap of fabric, not a water resistant zip, to keep moisture out.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney


The helmet-compatible hood with a wire brim helps to lock out precipitation and wind, which we loved. The slightly thinner 40x65 denier fabric was susceptible to high winds. On the coldest and windiest days, we could feel the breeze pushing through this jacket.

Comfort and Fit


We really liked how the Skytour performed on active and mobile testing days. We took this jacket touring and powder skiing and were enamored with how soft and stretchy the fabric felt during these endeavors. For performing more like a hardshell, we liked how this fabric was soft and non-crinkly.

We also noticed that the jersey backing on the shell material was soft to the touch, soft enough to wear over very thin base layers. This jacket also has a slightly wider cut than a very backcountry-oriented jacket. It has a dropped hem and plenty of room in the chest and arms for additional layers, which you might want for this thinner shell.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the soft jersey-backed shell is comfortable to wear over a range of...
The soft jersey-backed shell is comfortable to wear over a range of base layers, and the cut leaves room for one or two insulated layers.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

Warmth


As a shell with a thinner weave and no additional insulation, this jacket did not perform very well here, understandably. There is only a light jersey knit backing on the AscentShell fabric, which provides hardly any additional insulation. The thinner material also doesn't lock much heat inside, especially on windy days.

This being said, with appropriate layering, this material does a good job of wicking away moisture while working hard. This will help keep you warm over the long term, as sweat and water vapor to stick around to make you feel clammy and cold.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - we found the skytour wicked moisture very effectively on both the...
We found the Skytour wicked moisture very effectively on both the ups and downs on this backcountry ski tour.

Ventilation


One of the strongest points of the OR Skytour Ascentshell is its ventilation. For starters, this jacket has large and functional pit zips with two-way zippers, which makes it very easy to quickly adjust airflow on the uphill climb.

We took this jacket ski touring in the backcountry and noticed that the fabric itself was very breathable. The Skytour effectively allowed body heat to escape, and it took several hundred feet of climbing before we were reaching for the pit zips. Once these were open, we were able to do entire laps without need to lose this layer.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the large pit zips with two way zippers were an effective point of...
The large pit zips with two way zippers were an effective point of airflow in the Skytour.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

Style


The OR Skytour AscentShell has a very classic look. It comes in both solid and color-blocked options, all of which sport stylish contrasting zippers.

We found the cut of this jacket to lean more toward a backcountry-oriented fit. While there was plenty of room for layering, there is a very subtly taper and longer hem. This did a good job of helping it swing into resort use, and we found it to be quite flattering.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - although a little more backcountry-oriented in style, the longer...
Although a little more backcountry-oriented in style, the longer hemline and contrasting color block of the Skytour fits right in at the resort too.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

Features


The Skytour has all of the features you might want for a jacket that takes you from the lifts to the lift-accessed backcountry. There are ample functional pockets, four exterior, and two interior (one zip and one drop) that fit all of our snacks, phones, and other small items. The interior zip pocket even has a media port if you still use corded headphones. There is also a pass pocket to keep your RFID pass away from phones and other cards.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the interior pocket of the skytour sports a headphone port.
The interior pocket of the Skytour sports a headphone port.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

We found the adjustable hem, hood, and cuffs to be noteworthy. The hood drawstrings are easy to pull one-handed, as is the hem adjustment. However, this hem adjustment is your only defense against snow, as the one feature this jacket lacks is a powder skirt. This fits its more backcountry-oriented style.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the hoodlock feature of the adjustable hood is easy to tighten and...
The Hoodlock feature of the adjustable hood is easy to tighten and loosen.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney


Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell?


If you're someone who mostly skis in the backcountry, but likes to hit the lifts for a big powder day here and there, this jacket can do both for you. If you value breathability and high-exertion days, the Skytour will treat you well. It excels at uphill pursuits while being passable at the resort.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - the skytour can take you from mostly backcountry to the lifts when...
The Skytour can take you from mostly backcountry to the lifts when you just need your powder fix.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

What Other Women's Ski Jackets Should You Consider?


If you are searching for a touring-oriented jacket, check out the award-winning and extremely weather-resistant Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro. It's a little more minimalist than the Skytour but its breathability and weather resistance are top-notch, and it was our favorite for backcountry use. A jacket that is slightly more burly and featured for the resort is the award-winning Arc'teryx Sentinel.

outdoor research skytour ascentshell for women ski jacket review - for the backcountry skier who likes a technical shell that can work...
For the backcountry skier who likes a technical shell that can work on the piste too, the Skytour is a great, reasonably priced option.
Credit: Jacqueline Kearney

Jacqueline Kearney
 
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More