The Helly Hansen Powderstar is a solid resort jacket that is a great choice on cold, snowy days especially if looking good and being comfortable are important. This is a quality jacket with materials that are both warm and breathable though not as weatherproof as some other choices. It has the necessary features for a resort jacket but without an overabundance of pockets. The cut is shorter than most testers liked and fits a bit awkwardly. Nevertheless, testers enjoyed the warmth and feel of the jacket and wouldn’t hesitate to choose this jacket for the coldest days at the resort.
The Helly Hansen Powderstar is made out of highly breathable and waterproof 2-layer Helly Tech Performance fabric. It features an H2Flow system which is meant to trap air for more warmth while also allowing for the ability to cool down quickly with the use of pit zips. It uses a Primaloft Down blend on parts of the body and sleeves and 100g Primaloft synthetic insulation in the side panels, lower sleeves and hood. Testers found that the Primaloft lining provided plenty of insulation even when riding long chair lifts on the coldest days at the mountain. The overall material of this jacket is much softer than the typical Gore-tex jacket which also allowed for more freedom of movement. This jacket is obviously intended for females with its stylish contrasting color patterns which testers enjoyed since it was unique compared to the standard one color ski jacket.
The Powderstar has the typical features of a resort jacket but tailored more to looking good rather than the practicality of a snow jacket. The best feature is the easy to access side pit zips for quickly cooling down in this warm jacket. However, testers found them to be a bit difficult to open with gloves on due to the small zippers. The Powderstar also has an insulated interior phone pocket with a goggle wipe—a unique feature. Testers particularly liked having the easy to access insulated pocket for the phone since cellphones don’t keep their charge on cold days if not kept somewhere warm. Besides this pocket, the Powderstar has the typical hand warmer pockets and mesh pockets inside the coat for additional layers or snacks. This is in stark contrast to the Black Crows or Obermeyer jackets which had an overabundance of pockets that would probably be hard to fill. The Powerstar also has the typical powder skirt and a removable hood with a detachable fur lining. Another feature of the jacket is the wrist gaiters with thumb holes. However, though there wasn’t much room for under the cuff gloves if using the wrist gaiters. The Powerstar includes the Recco reflector which ups the price tag but is an extra safety feature to expedite rescues in the case of an emergency.
Testers thought that the Powderstar had a fairly average performance in most conditions that it was tested in. On snowy days it kept out the snow with the wrist gaiters and powder skirt though the short cut did allow some more airflow around the waist which was not ideal. Testers never had the chance to try it out on wetter days but its 10,000mm of waterproofness was significantly lower than other jackets in the test which coincided with their doubts about its ability to withstand heavy amounts of rainfall. Nevertheless, one would hope that when choosing to wear a heavy, cold weather snow jacket it doesn’t get warm enough to be stuck skiing in the rain rather than falling snow.
The best feature of the Powderstar is how incredibly warm it is. It really excels on the coldest days at the mountain and the H2 Flow technology excels at providing warmth while still being lightweight and not overly bulky. The jacket features mesh covered pit zips that are a bit tricky for testers to open on their own, but when open they worked great to dump heat. While this jacket seems primarily aimed at the skiers who would stick to lift accessed term, testers took it out for a quick hike in-bounds and still found the jacket to be quite breathable so that testers weren’t excessively sweating during their uphill jaunt.
The fit of this jacket was probably the least desirable aspect of this jacket. In contrast, the jacket was extremely comfortable. It isn’t overly bulky for such a warm jacket but the cut was quite short which testers disliked as it allowed unwanted cold air in and rode up when falling over into the snow. The proportions on the jacket seem a bit off because it was a good length in the arms yet too short at the waist and even puffed out a bit in the middle. Despite this, testers loved how soft the jacket was and the stretch fabric that allowed for plenty of mobility so it was easily a favorite for the comfort factor.
Value & Style
A couple other factors that don’t count toward to the jacket’s score but that play into the purchase of a jacket tend to be value and style. The Helly Hansen Powderstar isn’t cheap at $550 though it wasn’t the most expensive either. While testers really enjoyed the jacket, there weren’t any specific qualities of it that seemed to really warrant such a high price tag. Testers initially thought that the look of the jacket was overly flashy with the fur lined hood, but once testers removed that part, the jacket’s style really grew on them. While this jacket looks like it would be right at home while strolling through the mountain villages of a European ski resort, testers had no problem donning it to ride the steepest lines they could find.