After fairly extensive testing, my conclusion was easy: Outdoor Research Ascendant jacket is my must-have winter layer. With its Polartec Alpha Direct insulation material completed with a stretchy, air permeable external shell, it is lightweight, warm, cozy AND good looking. Really, a treat for any occasion, be that a backcountry ski adventure in the mountains or an evening walk around town.
I’ve enjoyed the Ascendant’s insulated pockets. My hands tend to quickly get cold, so I’m in constant need of various warming strategies. Having a fuzzy place to put my frozen fingers, perfect.
I had the Ascendant version without a hood. I’d say that is the only component that was missing. But that’s just me. It’s nice OR offers options as I know some of you would prefer not messing with a hood. Size medium fit perfect, having a longer torso than most women’s jackets allows extra insulation over your lower back.
For me, this jacket is a bit too warm for skinning in sunny PNW spring conditions. Yet anytime the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up I was extremely happy to have my Ascendant. Essentially, know that in terms of layering strategy this is the type of shell that isn’t intended to be constantly worn during warmer days. You could say it’s not really the layer for spring skiing, yet it’ll work fine if you don’t mind stowing your shell in your pack during sweaty uphills.
I’m looking forward to permanently adding the Ascendant to my winter ski touring clothing arsenal.
Men’s and women’s specific fits available in the hoody, jacket and vest.
WildSnow Girl, Julia Dubinina, is a weekend warrior chasing snow in winter and sun in summer. A lover of long tours and steep skin tracks, she explores the Pacific Northwest and beyond. When she is not out adventuring, she is working away at her corporate desk job for a software company to make her next adventure happen.