SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Dressed for Success: Mammut Allows Snowshoers to Go ‘Absolute Alpine’

I’m convinced that the Mammut brand exists solely in the high altitude extremes, the most remotely explored locations, the arctic corners of the Earth, and among the elite adventurers of the world’s cragged peaks.  It would be difficult to find the distinguished Mammut logo roaming the Mall of America or waiting for a burger in a lonely booth at a Burger King.  The Switzerland-based Mammut doesn’t haunt the stifled realms of living room entertainment centers; it can be found clinging to an ice-covered rocky outcropping on its way to a record-breaking ascent of Denali.  I wore the Mammut brand proudly during my numerous snowshoeing adventures in Colorado – using the Pizol Jacket, Sturdy Pants, Rapid Beanie, and Shelter Ultimate Gloves as my weapons of choice.  This heavenly gear combo is fraught with a divine goal: Go farther on the snow.

My account starts by studying – and desiring to live by – Mammut’s infamous moniker: Absolute alpine.  I first headed for the winter playground of Summit County: Known for its world-famous skiing and its awe-inspiring snowscapes.  This testing location offered epic snow conditions and weather that changed almost instantly.  And snowshoeing wasn’t my only activity of choice; I crossed over to participate in some gravity sports.

Ryan Alford and son Hayden at Keystone Mountain Resort.

At the core of the Pizol Jacket is the Mammut DRYtech laminate material, which boasts breathability, windproofing and waterproofing.  Much to my surprise, DRYtech has stretchable properties that keep the Pizol Jacket light, comfortable, and exceptionally warm in the most intense cold conditions.

Proprietary to Mammut, the DRYtech fabric is the hard shell component of the Pizol.  It’s also the truest form of waterproofing material while taming breathability and overheating.  My impression was that DRYtech controls the air temperature that circulates between the body core and the jacket.  This air pocket is the most important factor in preserving the warmth of the core, which distributes comfort and stability to the rest of the body.  The Pizol succeeds at safeguarding this crucial element that allows the user to stay out longer in the cold.

Advertised as a ski jacket, the Pizol is all snowshoeing – in my opinion.  Truthfully, I did use the Pizol during a ski jaunt at Keystone Mountain Resort.  Sub-zero temperatures prevailed throughout most of my ski experience and the Pizol didn’t back down at any moment.  The jacket assisted in a day with very few lodge warm-up visits and more turns on the powdery slopes.  Even some moonlight snowshoeing near the Keystone Nordic Center made for a motivating conclusion: Mammut’s high performance gear is set for the truest snowshoe experience, no matter the negative temperatures.  As a ski jacket, it’s not a bad choice either.

The Pizol’s ski benefits are top-notch: articulated elbows, wrist pocket for a ski pass, etc.  However, what’s ideal for the skier is the “Snickers Bar experience” for a snowshoer: two-way underarm ventilation zips, detachable/stretchable snow skirt, Lycra hand gaiters, detachable hood, and an inside pocket.

What do you get when you combine a video camera, snow, intense alpine winds, and a dude wearing the Mammut Pizol jacket?  You get this YouTube presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcqwwSyFEfQ.

My favorite Pizol feature?  The detachable hood fit nicely with Mammut’s Rapid Beanie stretched over a ColdAvenger Balaclava.  The Beanie’s wool, fleece and Polyacryl combination supplied the necessary head-warming for a day in the freeze.  On several occasions, the wool on the Rapid Beanie would be covered in frost if the right conditions were present: No complaints on heating the noggin.  The frost was always on the outside of the Beanie, never compromising the inside.

The Shelter Ultimate Gloves fit over the Pizol’s Lycra hand gaiters perfectly.  The glove’s GORE Windstopper Soft Shell is lightweight and built just for snowshoers.  The gloves’ fingertips and thumbs have fold-back openings; one moment it’s a mitten, the next it’s a glove with the fingers halfway exposed.  The abrasion-proof material allows snowshoers to adjust bindings and other gear without worrying about the damage it could cause to the gloves.

While the Pizol highlighted Mammut’s DRYtech benefits, the Sturdy Pants offered a two-layered GORE-TEX performance shell.  As many people are familiar with GORE-TEX, it matched the benefits of DRYtech: breathable and protection from the snowy elements.

As I’ve tested snowshoeing pants this season, one of the more appreciated features are adjustable suspenders.  Because snowshoers move aggressively throughout the day – some pants tend to slip below the waist and require support.  The suspenders keep the Sturdy Pants in place without uncomfortable slipping or readjusting required.

The Sturdy Pants are optimally suited for snowshoeing, especially with the pants’ reinforced material around the ankles to protect from crampons/cleats and other obstacles on the trail.

Another great snowshoe feature is the integrated gaiters with an adjustment system. This adequately covers both alpine boots and ski touring boots – eliminating the need to wear a separate pair of gaiters.

Additional features include:

  • Full-length, spray-proof two-way side zip with inner flap
  • Side zips can be used as ventilation (you can completely separate the front and back of the trouser legs)
  • Sprayproof YKK zippers
  • Two spray resistant front pockets, one seat pocket, with Powermesh

For more information on the Mammut Pizol Jacket, visit http://bit.ly/etvMdF.  For more information on the Mammut Sturdy Pants, visit http://bit.ly/ih9P90.  For more information on the Mammut Rapid Beanie, visit http://bit.ly/enwnaG.  For more information on the Shelter Ultimate Gloves, visit http://bit.ly/dEAgQ6.

To purchase the Mammut Pizol Jacket (men’s), click here http://bit.ly/9igRw6.