When it comes to high-end ski gear, Spyder is a brand that comes immediately to mind. Best known for their trendy piste gear, but also producers of ultra-technical, dive-into-powder kit, they're a great choice for skiers who value looking good on the slopes as well as staying protected, and don't mind splashing a bit of extra cash to get this combination of qualities.
The first thing you're likely to notice about the Inspire is the colour. This jacket is no shrinking violet, in fact it's about as in-your-face as it's possible to be within the confines of ski gear, short of sporting an animal-themed onesie.
The combination of white, hot pink and green won't be everyone's cup of tea, but this is the perfect jacket for anyone who wants to stand out. The pattern itself is attractive, and for anyone who wants to blend in a little more with their surroundings, the Inspire does also come in a shades of black and grey iteration, as well as a much simpler design of white and purple panels.
The silhouette is sleek and flattering with clean lines and a feminine feel. We found the Inspire to be fairly true to size and there is room for some light layering underneath, but this is unnecessary in all but the harshest of conditions, as the Primaloft insulation does a fine job of keeping the cold at bay.
On top of the cosy padding, the outer fabric is a Gore Tex laminate to keep wind and moisture out while staying breathable. Pit zips and a vent running a little way alongside the main zip also help to dump excess heat. Fully taped seams and YKK Aquaguard zips add yet more protection and help to keep the Inspire waterproof.
The cuffs are Velcro adjustable to ensure a good fit, and the inner cuffs are very comfortable and feature thumb holes to keep them in place under gloves. The snow skirt is also removable for added versatility, and there's a good selection of pockets including two inside drop pockets, inside zipped pocket, small exterior zipped handwarmer pockets and a pass pocket with goggle cloth. The only other thing we'd have liked to see is an extra exterior breast pocket for easy to reach bits and pieces.
The Inspire GTX is a great piste jacket for looking the part and staying warm and dry when the weather takes a turn. This could be the perfect on-the-slopes companion if you don't mind the steep price tag.