No matter whether you're lapping the lifts or putting in the hard yards in the backcountry, the Ascendant from Outdoor Research is an active insulation layer you need in your life.
With 95g of pioneering Polartec Alpha Direct insulation, the Ascendant manages your body temperature like a pro. If you haven't heard of Polartec Alpha Direct, it's basically fleece on steroids - a low profile, lightweight technology that keeps you toasty when you need it while simultaneously allowing your body to breathe when you're in active mode. The no mesh liner 'Direct' version of the original Polartec Alpha translates into both improved performance in terms of breathability and increased comfort as it feels super soft against your skin.
One of the elements that impressed us most about the Ascendant was the stretchiness of the 20D 100% nylon weather-resistant Polartec Microlight ripstop woven shell. There are many jackets that claim to offer unrestricted freedom of movement but the Ascendant really delivers. Every movement felt natural out on the hill from a long flat section of piste that demanded rigorous skating and poling to putting the skis back on the car at the end of the day.
So it breathes and moves with you but what happens when you're standing still? No complaints here either. More than fit for purpose, we found the Ascendant kept us adequately toasty on long lift rides but bear in mind, it is a venting piece so obviously works best as a mid layer in resort.
Weighing in at 345g in a Men's medium and 290g in a Women's UK 10, the Ascendant is impressively lightweight yet packs an impressively heavyweight punch when it comes to tech features such as internal thumb loops, insulated pockets and an adjustable helmet compatible hood.