The Columbia Skier Cross Parka is actually an outdoor clothing "system" consisting of a SoftShell inner jacket and a waterproof outer layer.
From the integrated drawstring for the collar to the embossed logo in the fleece of the inner jacket to the disappearing zipper seams in the outer shell, the amount of thought and experience that went into designing this parka is clearly evident.
For durability and hold, the buttons were made out of metal. For comfort and ease of use in cold temperature, they are rubber coated on the outside
The inner garment has an insulating, suede-like outer layer and a fleece inner layer. It stretches, is breathable, and is wind/water resistant. It traps the heat but lets body moisture pass through. The outer shell is both waterproof and breathable...sealing the elements out while letting body perspiration escape.
A variety of multi-function pockets have been designed into both the outer and inner garments and are suitable for google, MP3 players, etc...
There is also a cord management system for headphones built into the outer shell. The zippered pocket has a button hole opening at the top and a loop sewn into the the lining to guide the cord. Next thing you know, they will build membrane speakers right into the collar :-)
Another great feature of the outer shell is the integrated cold draft blocker at the waist. Buttons at the edge will hold it out of the way until needed. The draft block has an elastic band with a rubberized surface for maximum grip. The outer layer also has a drawstring to customize the fit.
Thermal regulation during physically active periods can be modified by adjusting the venting ports built into the underarm section of the parka.
Maximum venting can be achieved by opening both the inside and outside underarm vents! Perfect for those warmer days during the Spring skiing season :-)
All appropriate external zipper and seams are sealed, some with rubberized coating making the pockets practically waterproof.
The Omni-Shield fabric was used for the outer shell. The principle is exactly like that of GorTex...water droplets on the outside are too large to penetrate the fabric, while water vapor molecules from sweat and perspiration are small enough to pass through from the inside and escape. Waterproof, yet breathable.
We'll take this Columbia Skier Cross Parka outside in the first storm of the season and see how it performs. Check back in Dec for the FirstUse report ... we are sure we'll have had a chance to test it by the :-)