Having loved snowboarding in the Italian ‘Freeride Paradise’ resort of Alagna, when I saw that Nitro Snowboards had launched a freeride hardshell jacket of the same name I had to try it. In this review of Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket I will let you know if it lived up to it’s name.
For those that don’t know Alagna the ski resort, it is based in the Piemonte region of Italy near Turin, and is linked with Gressoney as part of the Monterosa ski area. There is one lift out of town, and one pisted run back down, however there is a whole mountain of freeride terrain to play in.
I visited two years ago and was blown away by the resort, have a read my review of Alagna freeride snowboarding holiday to find out why. But to summarise in my opinion Alagna lives up to its billing as Freeride Paradise. The question is would the Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket also live up to its name?
Of course the Alagna jacket is not only designed for freeriding, so in this review of Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket I will talk about it performed all over the mountain, from piste to park to powder. But first I need to let you know about the tech that Nitro have stuffed into this freeride hardshell.
Starting with the big hitting numbers, it’s 20K waterproof and has 25K breathability. This is in the same region as Gore Tex materials – often considered the market leader – which range from 20-30k across for both factors. But what does this mean?
At 20k waterproof water won’t get in from the outside unless you are swimming in it, the jacket will also keep the wind out no matter how much it howls around you. With 25k breathability it means moisture will escape from the inside as you build up a sweat, helping to keep you warm and dry.
To further keep the elements at bay the Alagna freeride hardshell jacket uses YKK Waterproof zips and Bemis Tape Bonding on all the seams. To stop pesky snow getting up your sleeves it has sleeve gaiters with thumb hole, likewise there is powder skirt to keep snow at bay.
The hood is helmet compatible and adjustable in two ways – length and face hole size – and comes with breathing vents so you don’t fog up your goggles. There’s a Rentex chin guard which is nice and soft on your face. And for when you get too hot there are pit zips.
The Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket is a hardshell so there is no insulation. However, it uses 37.5™ technology, which is the new name for the industry leading fabric technology specialist Cocona Natural Technologies®, this utilises your bodies temperature to move moisture through the fabric keeping you dry.
Although the Algana snowboarding jacket is a hard shell it stretches in key areas to ensure movement is not hindered. It’s designed with an ergonomical fit, so that parts of the jacket move independent of each other, avoiding undue strain on the fabric and increasing freedom of movement.
It has two chest pockets and two handwarmer pockets with flaps, plus a sleeve pocket for lift pass. There is also an inner mesh pocket and it’s audio compatible.
I picked up the medium size in Electric Blue, the alternatives were Fire (red) or Storm (grey). When first trying the Alagna freeride hardshell on it felt a good fit, although slightly snug at the bottom hem – which was around the top of my thighs – when in a knees bent snowboarding stance.
I have now had seven days riding, and feel I can write a review of Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket for all conditions, and for riding piste, park and powder. I can also say my concern of it being too tight at the hem proved unfounded as I have never noticed it when snowboarding.
The 20k waterproofness was put to the test before I even snowboarded in the Nitro Alagna jacket. On our first day in Lech, Austria, it was raining heavily in resort. The Alagna kept me nice and dry with the rain just beading off the surface.
Hoping that rain down low meant snow up high we headed up the mountain. At the top we were indeed confronted with snow which was travelling sideways in a strong wind. Again the Alagna did it’s job and kept the wind and snow at bay, in fact I was surprised how warm it is for a jacket with no insulation.
I am a lover of good pockets, and when sticking to the piste I rather ride with them full than wear a backpack. This typically includes a snowboard tool, bottle of water, board lock, mini sun lotion, camera, wallet and phone. With four decent sized pockets I managed to fit it all in, without looking too much like the Michelin man.
The handwarmer pockets on the Alagna freeride hardshell jacket are not really suitable for warming hands. Entry is on the top, with a zip and flap which makes them a little harder to use, however a lot more secure as gravity is on your side. If you wear a backpack with a waist strap then you can’t use them, but then you’ll use your bag instead.
I wasn’t overly keen on the chest pockets. The entry is towards the edge of your chest, the angled zip helps but they are more difficult to reach into than a pocket that has an entrance in the centre of your chest. However they are well placed to avoid backpack straps and surprisingly roomy.
In my opinion the Alagna freeride hardshell jacket looks good, it’s not baggy but relatively fitted, with enough room that it does not restrict your movements in the park. Although it’s the wrong fit and a little too functional in style to appeal to park rats.
However for my infrequent spins through the park it does a good job. I had no problem twisting, spinning or reaching for grabs. The dark blue sections that wrap around the arms stretch slightly, giving you a better range of movement than a traditional hard shell.
When you do take a spill the material is robust enough to avoid any damage to the jacket. Plus of course if you fall in slush – like I did in the Pyrenees recently – the 20k waterproof material will keep you dry. If you are working hard hitting feature after feature, the 25k breathability will mean your sweat escapes keeping you dry on the inside.
Of course this review of Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket wouldn’t be complete without talking about it’s intended use – freeride snowboarding. As one of Nitro’s top spec jackets the Alagna is designed to keep the elements at bay while you are tearing up the off-piste.
I have not been in any deep powder this season but I have ridden in – and fallen in – 30-40 cm of fresh snow. Falling is an important part of reviewing a jacket, and a part that comes naturally to me! I am happy to report the powder skirt and sleeve gaiters do their job well – namely keeping snow out when you are rolling around in it.
The high breathability rating of 25k came in very useful during high intensity off-piste riding, and when hiking backcountry for fresh lines. The pit zips on the Alagna freeride hardshell jacket are easy to use, and with two way zips you can open just the part that suits you.
The fit and stretch fabric is great for freeriding. You don’t have any excess material getting in your way, or flapping in the wind as you speed down the mountain. However, when you need the extra range of movement the stretch fabric has enough give to allow you to pop tricks and tight maneuvers.
The Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket comes with top specs and it delivers top performance. It keeps the elements at bay without restricting your movement meaning you can concentrate on snowboarding whatever your style.
I would recommend it for anyone that rides in all conditions, particularly if you head off-piste. If you are a fair weather rider then you probably don’t need the specs the Alagna provides, but then you probably wouldn’t visit it’s namesake in Italy either.
Concluding this review of Nitro Alagna snowboarding jacket. Like Alagna the ski resort, this is a jacket that freeride snowboarders will love. And to be honest any serious boarder will find it does a fantastic job, regardless of whether you’re looking for ‘Freeride Paradise’.
To find out more about the Nitro Alagna jacket visit: www.nitrousa.com