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Skiing with the Treo

Last Updated Mon Feb 14, 2005 - 6:00 PM EST - By James Hromadka

Dressing the Part

When skiing, you have to make the right decisions about gear before hitting the slopes. There have been times when the conditions changed from heavy flurries to blinding sunlight over the course of an hour. Windchill is always a factor, so I try to take along a few extra things in my jacket when I ski, but I never seem to have enough pockets to take along everything, so I usually just tough it out when sitting on a slow lift while dealing with a crosswind.

For this trip, I was able to get the Three.0 Finetex Shell jacket by SCOTTeVEST, which offers thirty separate pockets for storage. The jacket is waterproof, has a breathable exterior fabric, Coolmax mesh interior, and can zip in the company's Three.0 Fleece (sold separately), which adds an additional 12 pockets of storage.

I was not able to get the Fleece for review, but the Finetex jacket did a good job of protecting me from the elements while skiing as long as I had a layer on underneath. The sleeves have velcro and can be adjusted to prevent snow from getting inside, and the pockets were great. I carried a Treo 650, camera, iPod shuffle, face pullover, sunglasses, and the Tec Fleece ear warmer without any trouble. I did find that while skiing, it is better to store things in the chest and upper pockets instead of the ones at the waist to allow better movement.

The jacket comes with a card in each pocket with recommendations on what items should go there, which I really appreciated. Figuring out where to store gear in thirty pockets seems a little daunting at first. I was still finding new pockets and new uses for the jacket by the time the trip ended.

I don't think I would use all thirty pockets at once, but I love options. The left side has a larger outer pocket that also has straps inside. I joked with my friends that it was a gun holster, but it's actually a bottle holder. The pocket holds items so well that at the end of one day I found that I actually had two bottles in the pocket!

This jacket is a great general purpose jacket, but it needs some improvements before it could replace my regular ski jacket. The zippers are too small to be gripped by gloved hands, even when I was wearing Dakine Cuda gloves which are thin enough for me to use my digital camera. The sleeves, which can be removed, also unzipped sometimes when I took off the jacket.

It would be nice if there was a ski version of the Finetex Shell that had better zippers and a snow skirt that prevented snow from getting into the jacket. After using it a few days, I preferred to wear the Finetex when going into town rather than on the slopes themselves. When walking around Breckenridge, I found that the jacket kept me warm enough to not need additional layers until the temperature dropped past 25° F.

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