Spyder Outerwear Eiger jacket and Norwand bib pants, a match designed for the freeride/big mountain skier. A lot of thought and engineering went into the creation of these pieces of outerwear, and they are a strong part of Spyder’s new Freeski collection. The pants and jacket are both lightweight and durable with Gore-Tex Pro. This outerwear has stood up to hard resort days, ski touring, and even backcountry sled ski trips. I have tomahawked, brushed up against rocks and trees, and even ice climbed (jacket only) over the last month wearing the Eiger Jacket and Norwand pant shells, meaning they have no insulation. In a sentence, Spyder has done well with this line of outerwear and I am quite impressed with their free ride line.
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My first impression of this jacket is “Extreme”, as in no matter the mountain adventure this would be the “go-to” jacket. The design of the jacket is minimalist, with 2 big pockets with mesh compartments to keep items from moving around and no insulation. It gives a feeling that you are protected no matter the environment. A noticeable feature are two areas of stretchy softer fabric on the back of the shoulders that look like exhaust vents from a fighter jet. They could name the jacket the Maverick if they wanted. These pockets aid in decreasing perspiration when working hard on the uptrack and increase range of motion. This jacket is very suitable to be worn with a pack and is for the skier that needs versatility and durability. The word that comes to mind when first analyzing this jacket is “functional”.
After 2 months, the Eiger jacket is sensational. It is durable and paired with the right base and mid layer, warmth is not a problem. Three top features of this jacket are the Pockets, Active Stretch material, and Durability… Also the fish scale reflections are cool.
First the pockets, the two main body pockets are large and useful because of the smaller compartments inside for organization. This is great for storing keys, snacks, camera and a cell phone (insulated pocket) without them moving around while skiing. As well, the mesh pouches on the inside of the jacket are good for quick storage of gloves, goggles and hats when on the move. This is great for adding functionality in the backcountry. Managing equipment, gear and food efficiently helps make days and trips easier and this jacket accomplishes that with the help of its well-thought-out pockets.
Second, the stretch panels allow for full unrestricted movement while being breathable and removing excess heat. This design feature sticks out as you can feel the ease of movement in the jacket and the breathability when working hard, increasing the comfort of the jacket.
Third, durability, I think this is important for any outerwear, but the fact that they have paired it with such a light jacket is impressive. Typically, light and durable don’t work well together, but the Spyder Eiger jacket seems to have managed it well. All these paired together have created an impressive jacket that I enjoy wearing. Some improvements can make this jacket tip the scales even more.
These improvements are simple and would make the jacket warmer, more comfortable, and more functional. The jacket is a bit short and could gain from an extra 2-3 inches on the bottom, which will reduce wind/cold that gets caught on the pants and climbs up under the jacket removing heat. As well, it will reduce the back of your pants getting wet on lifts and snowmobiles on deep wet snowy days.
The other improvement is to add a ‘thumb loop’ on the inside of the sleeve of each cuff, made out of an elastic material, to hook your thumb into. This will help keep the sleeves down, prevent snow from coming in the jacket sleeved, while keeping the jacket light. These minor changes would improve the overall warmth and use of the jacket. The Eiger Gore-Tex jacket is a top-notch addition to the Spyder lineup.
The Norwand Bib shell pants look big and baggy like I am wearing worker coveralls. They feel and look durable with big YKK waterproof zippers all the way up the sides. The bib part seems to be tight around the upper chest and would improve with a material that has more stretch. The pockets look to be in the right places and the fabric that protects the pant from ski edges seems robust. For a first look, they are what you want in a powder day bib pant to keep you dry and warm.
Initially, these pants felt bigger than a usual medium, which I am in most other brands. With some changes to the straps and time to let the band across the chest loosen, they fit better. The length is a bit long, but I love how comfortable they are and the range of motion they offer. These pants have stood up to a lot of wear and tear over the test and has made me a believer in the Gore-Tex Pro material.
This material and big zippers allow for heat control without reducing durability, which can be difficult with bib-style pants. To help with heat control, Spyder placed stretchy material along with the quads and back, similar to the Eiger jacket. This material is strategically placed in common spots where pants typically need to stretch improving the ease of motion.
One small feature that shows Spyder’s attention to detail is the beacon clip in the left pocket. Allowing you easy access to your beacon while keeping your layers on. Keeping the searcher warm and improving the speed at which one can start searching (Stay safe out there).
I will wear these pants for a long time to come, but there are some improvements that can improve their functionality. The gaiters need to be changed as they do allow some snow to enter as the velcro does not go all the way up and I was having issues with the button clasp coming apart while I was skiing. Duct tape easily solved this issue. The second small improvement is the pockets on the quads could be moved up slightly to make them a bit roomier.
The surprise for me was that I started to love the oversize feel of these pants for skiing as well as the inner leg ventilation on ski tours made it easy to shed heat and keep moving.
The Eiger Jacket and Norwand Bib Pant are some of the best outerwear I have used and would compare them with top lines from The North Face and Arc’Teryx. If you are looking for durable, lightweight and practical equipment that is versatile and will keep the winter elements out then it’s worth adding the Spyder Eiger Jacket and Norwand Bib Pants to your list of worthy candidates.
That all being said, this gear is highly specific to backcountry freeriders and because of the research and development that Spyder put into the Eiger Jacket and Norwand Pants with their team, they are expensive. This gear would be overkill for most skiers and as always I recommend going to a local ski shop like my ski shop in Calgary, Ski West, to get their opinion and search their massive inventory of jackets that will suit your skiing needs. Things to think about are durability, insulation, practicality, and your budget. Stay Stoked! Stay Safe!