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Helly Hansen Cordelia Jacket

A windproof, waterproof, breathable cocoon of comfort

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Price: $400

Sizes: XS-XXL

Materials: PrimaLoft® Black Insulation Down Blend, Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR), YKK® water resistant zippers

Features: powder skirt, goggle wipe, Recco® advanced rescue system, fixed helmet compatible and adjustable hood, dual hand warming pockets, internal pockets for goggles and electronics

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Stopped midway down the slope in complete whiteout conditions, I thought surely I'd lost the rest of my party. Amid low-hanging clouds, a rolling fog, and heavy falling snow, I was straining just to see the tips of my skis in front of me--there was no way my group would be able to spot me in such low disability.

But then I heard a holler from behind, and, turning over my right shoulder, saw my buddy emerging from the whiteness. "Hey! I knew it was you--I could see the pink on your hood," he said. Reunited, we skied off toward the end of the world.

Paying homage to Helly Hansen's nautical roots, the Cordelia jacket dons a bright strip of contrasting fabric on the perimeter of the hood, a design feature used in sailing (or in our case skiing) to help people stand out among low visibility--and it worked for me on more than one occasion.

The relaxed-fit jacket is designed for intense cold days and thanks to Helly Tech Performance fabric and Primaloft insulation I was warm and comfortable for three days of blizzard conditions last week, but could dump heat out of the pit-vents after skating across the flats. Super soft and movable, with extra long length, wearing this jacket feels similar to being cocooned on the couch under a fleece blanket while wearing your favorite hoody. Somebody pass the chips and dip.

The high collar zips up high enough to cushion your face in fleece and if you need the extra protection from the wind, the helmet-compatible hood cinches up tight enough to keep even the most frigid winds out. In fact, keeping wind out goes for the whole jacket. Nothing got in. Somehow this jacket managed to be windproof, waterproof, and yet still breathable. (Keep in mind, a jacket this cushy doesn’t pack up very small.)

Extra long sleeves with wrist gaiters and adjustable Velcro make sealing up the hatches very easy even with gloves on (which can be worn under or over the sleeves). The ski pass pocket on the left sleeve is a great alternative to stashing your pass in the interior chest pocket with your phone and risking a glitch. I fit a beanie, at least three or four mini Babybel cheese wheels and a granola bar in the front pockets (with room to spare). Great attention to functional details.

Skiing hot: It's simple, warm and comfortable, and easy to see.
Skiing not: The zipper pulls on this jacket is way too tiny. Tie something to the pull if you want to be able to unzip vents or pockets without fishing around with your ungloved fingers for a while.