The Norrona Lofoten GTX Pro set up just might be the best overall outwear gear I have ever owned. I feel as though I have been on an un-ending quest for the perfect outwear since I bought my first outfit at age 12 with my very own lawn mowing money. Every season new players in the outerwear game come on to the scene and I scratch the money together to buy the latest and greatest. I sell my old gear and revel in the awesome features promised by some brand story. I love the journey and now I think I have found my white whale.
Lately, there seems to be a groundswell of smaller, core brands popping up all over the place – each one with it’s own store and unique perspective on what outwear designed to be worn in the mountains should be. What is more important? Waterproof rating? Windproof? Breathable? Made to move or be indestructible? I believe that Norrona as answered most if not all of these issues in their Lofoten GTX Pro shell jacket and pants. Here’s my review of the Lofoten GTX Pro by Norrona.
Birds of a feather wear the same Gore-Tex
I have skied with the same crew of guys for almost 20 years. We constantly go on road trips together and are all equally obsessed with gear. Last season we all picked up Norrona outerwear from Valhalla Pure Outfitters and headed out on an epic road trip to BC’s north the very next day. We had never tried it on before only hearing rumors about it’s build quality and fit. We weren’t disappointed…
The first trip turned out to be the perfect test for pretty much every characteristic listed about that we all mull over when deciding on gear. As we drove the snow pounded harder amounting to 75cms by the time the storm was done. It was -10C and looking like the perfect storm. It was snowing so hard we couldn’t fly into our destination so we had to play around the village jumping in and out of the massive mounds of snow. Professional testers we are.
All weather, all terrain, all good
We go out skiing the next day and saw weather and snow conditions transition right before our eyes. It warmed up to +2C and the wind started to howl. We skied as much as we could because we knew that the next day everything would be un-skiable. We were right! The bonus is, we were all in love with the Norrona gear. It was tough, light, moved well and was most definitely waterproof!
Throughout the rest of the season we skied about 15 days in the backcountry and many days at the resort. The underlying theme that we all felt about Norrona is that it was built to last. None of us got tree punctures (a common occurrence skiing the trees of BC!). We all stayed dry and loved the layering capabilities of wearing shells. Temps ranged from -30 all the way up to above zero so we really got to ski the shells in everything.
If the jacket fits…Norrona Sizing Guide for the Lofoten GTX Pro
To me, the fit of Norrona is best described as mountaineering blended with freeriding. The cut is closer than regular ski wear but not so close that you can move freely as you hurl yourself down the mountain side. I have skied in mountaineering shells before and I find the fit great for ascending but the mobility is limited for freeskiing on the way down. On the other end of the spectrum, go too baggy and climbing is downright terrible. Norrona has found the ‘Goldie Locks’ zone with their fit. That being said, I am 6′ 3″ and appreciate the length in the arms and legs. I fit an XL properly. In many other brands an XL would be good for length but baggy in the body. I guess I am built to Norwegian specs! See here for a detailed size guide from Norrona
The jacket is jam packed with features but you wouldn’t know it from it’s clean design. In my opinion, they have perfected the powder skirt. If fits snug around the waist and stays in place with a sticky rubber waist band and four snaps that attach to the pants. This is a much appreciated feature given that my happy place is in ample powder. Also keeping the pow out of the inside are well-crafted hand gussets. They are thin enough that when you slide into your gloves they don’t bunch up. I don’t even notice them. The skirt and gussets result in warm dry hands, no snow down the back and happy smiles at the end of the day.
Pockets and zips are clever as well. The two front pockets are huge and easy to access. I stuff in a snack, facemask, and my phone (mostly for selfies). They also changed the design this season and added a front vent with a mesh back. When you open the pit zips and the front vent you get maximum flow without the jacket blowing up and filling with air. I also ski with a pack most of the time and although the pit zips are easy and convenient, if I want to shed some heat quickly I just open up that front vent for a few minutes and let off some steam.
GTX stands for Gore-Tex
The Lofoten series is made from the best Gore-Tex has to offer. The material is super tough. I put it through its paces skiing trees the majority of the time. We also encountered a few Pacific warm fronts where the waterproofness was appreciated. I call these ‘Gore-tex Appreciation Days’! The GTX series moves really smoothly and sheds water incredibly well. The past few seasons I had skied with materials other than Gore-Tex and was one of those guys poo-hooing the virtues of the Gore. I am totally converted back. GTX is where it is at.
Get in these pants!
The Lofoten GTX pants are incredible. They have a bib feature that is a sort of hybrid. The pants fit great without the bib but the geniuses at Norrona have included a stretchy Lycra-type material with suspenders. it flexes with the shape of your belly which can be an asset if you are a burrito lover like myself. I kid you not, every day I was skiing someone asked me about these wonderful pants I was wearing.
The pockets and zippers on the pants are well thought out. The leg pockets are angled in such a way that they are not on the sides of your legs (bad for injuries) and not right on the front (strange for weight). They are also generous and fit all sorts of goodies.
Those cuffs go all the way around
One of the features that stands out the most on these pants is the bomber cuffs. They are made of a harder shell material that I have yet to cut. This is a major pet peeve for skiers both front country and backcountry. I put these to the test on the ski track, in and out of helicopters, on machines and just lately I got them caught in the chain of a fat bike! I thought, “finally, something that will shred the seemingly indestructible cuffs!”. Nope, still look new. The boot gussets are flexible and move well but more importantly, they stick to where you put them on the boot from first run to last.
Features we really like about the Norrona Lofoten GTX Pro:
- Longer arms with cuffs that are cut longer on the top of the hand.
- Internal wrist gators that move really well – you don’t even notice them.
- Deep, easy access pockets in the jacket and the pants.
- A powder skirt that straps firmly to the pants almost making it feel like a one-piece
- Pants that are slightly heavier in weight than the jacket.
- Bullet-proof ankle cuffs – a must when backcountry and mechanized skiing.
Shop Norrona online at VPO.ca
About the author:
Todd Avison is a skier and adventurer based out of Kelowna BC. His home mountain is Big White but he can be found logging days in the backcountry of the Kootenays either by snowcat, helicopter or human powered. If he could only ski one place for the rest of his life, it would be in the Valhalla Mountains. During the summer Todd is an avid mountain biker, kayaker and a newly obsessed paddleboarder! Check out his adventures on Instagram.
All photos by Geoff Holman:
Geoff is a sports photographer from Kelowna British Columbia. He am very passionate about photos that capture the beauty and culture of British Columbia’s backcountry. Geoff’s primary obsession is action sports specifically backcountry skiing in deep deep powder. See more of Geoff’s amazing work at geoffholman.ca