Columbia Powder Keg II

Despite its powder hound sounding name, the insulated Powder Keg II will appeal equally to those looking to carve the front-side groomers in understated all-mountain style.

From the outside this jacket’s looks are street-friendly – the muted green with orange detailing of the model we tested only standing out from the crowd with subtle style rather than highlighter pen mountain bling. Until you open the zip and take it off…

Because on the inside the Powder Keg II is anything but muted, its Omni-Heat 3D reflective silvery starred liner more space blanket than cosy quilt. But that’s precisely the point, with Columbia’s heat-retention system designed to reflect your body heat back in – while still allowing your sweat to wick through to the outside when you’re working hard.

Although the soft-touch stretch fabric is only moderately waterproof and breathable, 60g of Omni-Heat Thermal Insulation inside further adds to the Powder Keg’s cold-beating armoury, with versatile double-zip pit zips available to let some heat out when you’ve built up a head of steam. You’ll need them too, as well as the front zip that opens from the bottom as well as the top, as this is not the most breathable of ski jackets.

An upside of the high-tech insulation is that the Powder Keg has been kept bulk-free, with an active fit and articulated sleeves that allow excellent freedom of movement from edge to edge.

Other features include a removable, adjustable and helmet-compatible hood which works well, a powder skirt, the most hidden water-resistant chest and side pocket zippers we’ve ever seen, a micro-fleece-neck enclosure, as well as a tough, textured finish to the lower arms and perfectly contoured adjustable cuffs with gaiters.

All said, a stylish, well-featured and comfortable ski jacket for most types of conditions and disciplines – though perhaps not for the coldest, wettest or most radical days.