BEST IN TEST
I’m hugely excited about this jacket from Paramo, new this season. The men’s version, the Enduro, has won various product awards in the outdoor industry since its launch, so I was delighted to get my hands on the Ventura, which is the women’s jacket.
This isn’t a dedicated downhill skiing jacket – it’s designed for all sorts of high-mountain, fast-paced activities. So while it may lack the odd useful feature of a regular Alpine skiing jacket, like a lift pass pocket on the sleeve for example, if you’re looking for a jacket that you can wear for both skiing and winter walking or even mountaineering, this is a great one to consider.
One of the key features of the jacket is the fit. Paramo has been criticised for not paying enough attention to garments’ fit, with some products being bulky and shapeless. The company has rectified this with the Ventura jacket, which is the first women’s jacket using its Nikwax Analogy fabric to have an athletic fit. And it’s good: a nice shape while still allowing room for layers underneath, with long sleeves and a longer cut at the back to stop the elements getting in. It also has stretch panels under the arms and down the sides, giving the wearer greater range of movement.
The soft-to-touch Nikwax Analogy fabric directs moisture away from the body, keeping the wearer dry and comfy, while still deflecting the wind and rain. It doesn’t use any coatings or laminates to do this, so it’s not like there’s a laminate that can get punctured, and it can be infinitely re-waterproofed with Nikwax aftercare products.
Moving on to the Ventura’s features, it has a large hood that fits easily over a helmet and goggles, but is fine to wear when you’re not wearing a helmet too. I also like how stiff the peak is, and Paramo’s designers take the ponytail into consideration when shaping the hood on women’s products, which is great news.
To help with ventilation there is a massive zip-up vent under each arm; these are mesh lined to keep snowdrifts out should you fall with them open. The Velcro cuffs are wide enough to go over big gloves. The Velcro does up underneath the sleeve, as opposed to on top as per usual, which is to minimise chances of it catching on something and so there’s less bulk there for when you’re climbing. It’s strange at first but doesn’t take long to get used to. The main zip is two-way, for added ventilation and to give better access to your layers below, and the zip pull clips up to stop it from catching on anything. Unlike a traditional ski jacket there’s no snow skirt, but the adjustable hem and longer back will help keep the snow out here.
The jacket has fewer pockets than a traditional ski jacket, but there should still be enough to carry all your bits and bobs, and it’s rucksack friendly should you need to wear a pack too. There’s one large zip-up, map friendly pocket front left, and on the right chest a smaller Velcro pocket which would be perfect for a piste map. Inside there’s a zip-up chest pocket for valuables.
The jacket’s looks good – nothing too exciting, but it’s smart and fitted – and for me it’s a good combination of warmth but not too much weight. If the only time you venture into the snow is for downhill skiing, you will probably prefer a dedicated Alpine ski jacket. But for a multi-purpose jacket for high mountain activities it’s super – I can’t wait to wear it for winter mountain walking as well as skiing.
In a line: Great multi purpose jacket for all sorts of high mountain activities
- Fit: 8
- Features: 9
- Style: 8
- Warmth: 9
- Value for money: 9
- Overall: 9