Mountain Equipment are a long established British brand who have been making top quality climbing and mountaineering products for over 50 years. Recently they have taken all of this knowledge and experience to produce a range of ski clothing which I have been putting to the test this winter.
The products I have been using are pre production versions the Diamir Gore Tex jacket and pants, and the Spectre soft shell wind stopper pant. They will be available to buy this Autumn for next winter.
The fabric of the Diamir jacket and pants is 80D pro shell which I have found to be very hard wearing. With super light fabrics I can easily destroy clothing in less than a season but after a hard season of skiing there is very little wear. I often find zips can be a weak point as I’m not very gentle with them up in the mountains but have had no issues with the reasonably burley zips of the Diamir. For the average user this should equate to a very long life span. For something so hard wearing the weight as been kept reasonably low. By keeping the design simple and well fitted without excess fabric the weight has been kept to 1335g for the jacket and trousers combined.
The Diamir jacket has a clean aesthetic look with everything you need but nothing extra. It breathes well but when you are working hard the large pit zips allow easy extra venting and allows the jacket to remain closed, great for boot packing or skinning if its snowing. There is an integrated removable snow skirt to keep the power out on those deep days and a small pocket on the arm for your electronic ski pass which I have found really useful. The hood has a great fit over any helmet I have tried and also cinches down well when its required if you are not wearing one. The fit works well for me, its not baggy so minimal bulk means it works well with a harness but also it has an active fit and articulated arms to allow for a great freedom of movement. The two large pockets are a perfect size for slipping your skins into and are still accessible when wearing a harness.
The trousers have some very nice details, the articulated knee means they sit perfectly when in a skiing position and the large reinforced kick strips have protected the trousers from damage from my ski edges and even a few glances from my crampons. The trousers also have a venting zips on each for easy temperature control. The gaiter fits perfectly over a ski boot but is also removable if you don’t want to use them. A zip allows the trousers to expand around the ankle witch would be a great advantage if you were using Dynafit boots in touring mode with the buckle sticking out of the side. The lower pockets have really handy little clips in them you can attach things to so that you don’t drop them in the snow when you open the pocket, which I have done many times before and are also still accessible when wearing a harness.
The Spectre pants are perfect for ski touring, they breathe incredibly well but still cut 100% of wind out and provide enough warmth if the weather turns a little nasty. I found myself using the Diamir pant for free riding in deep snow and winter touring in harsh weather but now the spring is here the Spectre is my pant of choice. The fabric is stretchy and great to skin and climb in with a really comfortable inner against the skin. There is a pocket built into one of the venting zips designed for a modern small transceiver if you don’t want to wear it on a harness when skinning without lots of upper body layers on, but I have found multiple handy uses for this like an easy access energy gel. They also share the ski specific features of the Diamir pant such as the kick strips, articulated knees and removable gaiters.
All in all Mountain Equipment have struck a great balance between weight and durability with well designed, aesthetic products. For a company new to the ski market it’s an impressive achievement and I haven’t used anything better suited to the task the products are designed for.