Norrona is a Norwegian company which specializes in producing rugged outdoor gear for a variety of activities including skiing, snowboarding, and mountaineering. Founded in 1929, Norrona is currently run by the great-grandson of the original founder of the company.
The Lofoten product line consists of Norrona’s “big mountain freeride” products. The line is meant to be durable, functional, and stylish, and was created specifically for big mountain riders. Whether riding in bounds or in the backcountry, these products offer complete stormproof protection, comfort, and functionality.
The Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket and Pants utilize the latest Gore-Tex Pro fabric – an even more breathable version of one of the industry’s best waterproof/breathable fabrics. Gore-Tex describes their Pro fabrics as “extremely rugged, extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof.” This fabric will keep you dry in any and every condition from a coastal downpour to a sideways freezing rain to a wet Tahoe blizzard. The jacket is made from a thinner, lighter material with a ripstop backing, while the pants are thicker, stiffer, and even more durable. Both jacket and pants are available in five sizes from S to XXL.
Important Features. You can look on Norrona’s website for the exhaustive list of features, but here I will highlight some noteworthy features.
YKK Water-resistant zippers: High quality zippers keep moisture out.
Asymmetric cuffs: Extra protection for your gloves/hands while being a tad shorter on the palm side for a better fit.
Removable/modular powder skirt/bib/one piece integration: This is a great feature. You have the option to wear the pants normally, in conjunction with the jacket’s powder skirt. Or, for those who prefer a bib, Norrona includes a removable bib that zips into the pants. For those deep powder days when you want to stay absolutely dry and snow-free, Norrona includes another option – a removable insert that zips into the pants AND jacket, essentially creating a one piece suit, with 100% protection from any snow entering your system.
Underarm venting: The jacket has liberal underarm venting, also with YKK water resistant zippers.
Laminated stretch-woven hand gaiter: I simply won’t wear a ski jacket without wrist gaiters, so its great to see this feature included. The wrist gaiters are stretchy and comfortable.
Y-sleeves: Specially designed sleeves don’t pull up the bottom of the jacket when reaching overhead. This is a great feature to have when technical climbing is involved with a ski descent.
Pockets: This jacket is simple and doesn’t have a lot of pockets. There are two exterior chest pockets, a small left arm pocket which would be great for an RFID pass, and one internal chest pocket. I do wish the jacket had two waist-level hand-warmer style pockets as when I find myself without gloves I have nowhere to put my cold hands.
Weight: 622 grams
Price: $579 USD
YKK Water-resistant Zippers: Like the jacket, the pants feature YKK water-resistant zippers to keep you dry.
Lower leg reinforcement: As any skier knows, the bottom of your ski pants can quickly get shredded and sliced by ski edges. The Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro pants include an Aramid reinforced lower leg which seems very durable. This should protect well against damage from ski edges and crampons.
Custom-fit waist system: The pants have a very handy velcro-adjustable waistband to fine tune the fit.
Ventilation: The pants feature full-length side venting with zipper pulls on both sides. While I appreciate the ability to quickly dump heat due to the large vents, I have two minor gripes with this system. First, there is no mesh in the vents, so if you are riding or hiking through powder, your venting options will be limited unless you want snow in your pants. Second, due to the full-length zipper vents, the ankle gaiter has a gap in its connection to the pants – there is a small one inch hole around the gaiter that may allow snow into your boot area while hiking through deep snow.
Pockets: The pants feature two large front pockets, one small front pocket, and a single rear pocket. There is plenty of room to store snacks, phones, or other small accessories in the pants pockets.
Weight: 1051 grams
Price: $499 USD
Fit: Many technical shells have a tight fit. The Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket and Pants feature a more freeride-oriented fit. Comparatively, the pants are a little baggier than the jacket. The jacket has a good length that provides plenty of coverage without being overly long and interfering with a harness, and has a bit of stretch which makes it very comfortable and non-restricting. Worn together, this is a great looking, functional, stylish jacket and pants combo. I am 6′, 180 pounds and wear large pants with an XL jacket.
Overall impression: After 30+ days of testing, I am impressed by the quality of these products. Other than the minor pocket and venting issues, I can’t find anything to complain about. These products fit well, look good, and perform even better. I will do an update after a couple more months but I expect these to hold up quite well when it comes to durability. Already they’ve endured plenty of bushwhacking, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and resort skiing. If I washed off the grease and dog hair, they would still look brand new! Remember, this is only a shell, so you will want to layer up on colder days, but that’s what you should be doing anyway. If you are looking for durable outerwear with a freeride fit that will protect you against any weather, this is it.
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