This story first appeared in the Late Winter 2022 issue of Cross Country Skier (41.3).
Not familiar with this German activewear brand? Maloja’s offerings include a line of well-designed Nordic clothing, as well as the official kits of the U.S. Biathlon Team. Our tester loved this sleek, stretchy women’s jacket (the men’s version is the Auerhahnm) for its breathability, versatility and flattering fit. She never built up a sweat thanks to the Gore-Tex Infinium X-Fast panels on the front and sides, plus shoulders and upper arms, as well as the sunburst pattern of laser-cut perforations across the upper back. And yet on a 19-degree Fahrenheit day, the hooded, wind-resistant jacket provided enough protection (when worn with a thicker base layer) for her to stay warm. Eco bonus: the four-way stretch fabric in the lower sleeves and back contains recycled nylon and Spandex. $279, Malojaclothing.com
Norwegian brand Odlo recently redesigned its cross country apparel and upped its presence Stateside, including through a new partnership with the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center. Our tester reported “excellent” performance from this windproof women’s and men’s jacket in a range of conditions and temps (down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit). She praised the breathability, enhanced by a laser-cut, perforated jersey insert on the upper back and more breathable fabric beneath the arms. At the same time, falling snow beaded up nicely on the water-resistant finish and the jacket provided an unexpected level of warmth in bitter cold. The tester also appreciated the Engvik’s extra length when pole planting and gave it high scores for ease of movement. $180
Norrøna’s ski clothing line isn’t Nordic specific, but this men’s and women’s softshell jacket, positioned as a mid-layer though suitable on its own for aerobic pursuits, certainly fits the bill in performance and wearability, especially in colder temps and for longer tours. (The company is Norwegian, after all.) With the Bluesign-certified fabric containing more than 50 percent recycled fibers and a PFC-free DWR, this jacket has eco cred, too. The low-profile, brushed fleece lining kept our tester warm in a snowstorm (in the evening, no less), and the wind-resistant outer fabric deflected moisture well. With good breathability, the jacket didn’t leave our tester feeling clammy, either. A handy feature when the wind picks up: a face mask integrated into the light, stretchy hood. $189, norrona.com