We have had a seriously epic winter in Jackson Hole, WY; I feel lucky to have Sto’s Women’s Durrance Down Jacket to see me through it in warmth and style. It’s a well-crafted down-insulated jacket built for the demands of my winter activities by a Jackson-based company that knows exactly how rugged and fabulous a mountain lifestyle can be.

Stio Men’s Durrance Jacket

This versatile, warm jacket has served me amazingly well for bone-chilling dawn patrols, shoveling the house out from relentless back-to-back storms, riding lifts in blizzards, and all the errands that support the above activities, like trips to the grocery store, breakfast spot, and ski shop.

On an arctic day when the temperature readings at the lifts ranged from one to eight degrees Fahrenheit, I had to prepare for battle to ski at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. I often won’t ski in such low temperatures, but it was the first day of my local women’s ski group. I didn’t want to wimp out. I was able to fit a base layer, a mid layer, and a down sweater under my Stio Women’s Durrance Down Jacket without looking or feeling overly bulky. The helmet-compatible hood provided extra warmth as well as a velvety-soft lining around my chin and neck area that made me feel like I was enveloped in a cozy cocoon. I stayed dry and warm, thanks to the powder skirt with extra length through the back (so I stay covered when I have to adjust my boot buckles). Amazingly, I stayed warm throughout the day, only stopping when my toes became too cold. I was impressed by the durable fabric  that stood up well to snagging branches when I skied through the trees.
I also like the fact that both the hood and powder skirt are removable. There will be times later in the season when I’ll have other uses for the Durrance jacket. I always like keeping my essentials as close as  possible.  I was able to stash keys, cell phone, and cash in the zippered inner pocket, and extra handwarmers and an energy bar in the cozy main zippered side pockets.

On another full-on blizzard powder day (this time in more reasonable 20-degree temperatures), I hiked Mt. Glory on Teton Pass for a backcountry ski lap, happily sporting my Stio Women’s Durrance Down Jacket to the bakery café to pick up artisanal breakfast burritos on the way. Although I hadn’t been planning to pack along the Durrance Jacket, intending to wear it as my approach and apres puffy coat (which is how I typically use it for backcountry and cross-country skiing), I had a feeling when we parked the car that it would be windy at the top.

While I only wore a mid-layer on the hike up, by the time we got to the summit ridge I was grateful to have the Durrance Jacket to cozy into as part of a quick transition, made easier by the jacket’s robust zipper-pulls, intuitively placed drawstrings, and user-friendly wrist tabs. I was able to cinch myself in without removing my glove liners.

Even though I had been sweating on the way up, the jacket had enough breathability–thanks to its waterproof, breathable outer shell material and is zippered pits–that I was comfortable on the way down without overheating. I was pretty much dry by the time I was waiting to hitch a ride back up to the top. It isn’t the most packable or lightweight down jacket for backcountry skiing, but it was reasonable and well worth it for a shorter tour. Factoring in apparel changes and constant snow, I’m glad the Durrance Jacket has waterproof down so I don’t get soggy or cold even if the snow gets wet.

It’s shaping up to be quiet a snowy winter, so I’ll be wearing the Durrance Jacket for watching dogsled races, tubing, and attending bonfires. It’s a warm, comfortable, functional jacket, and I’ve happy to say I’ve also been told that it’s flattering and “cool.”

The Stio Durrance Down Jacket is available for Women in two colors, Poseidon and Tap Shoe, in sizes XS-XL. It’s available for Men in three colors,Foliage / Ponderosa Pine, Snorkel Blue / Poseidon, or Tap Shoe / Tap Shoe, in sizes S-XXL. My usual size, small, fit true to size with enough room for layers, and I loved the Tap Shoe color’s cheery black and bright green color combination.

Bottom Line:  A warm, high-functioning, and good-looking down jacket for skiing and wintertime activities.

Manufacturer’s site:  www.stio.com

$375, Stio