Salomon Dynamics Jacket Review

Each year I update and tweak a group of clothing pieces for use in Nordic ski training and racing. Typically, two sets are sufficient to handle the spectrum of weather conditions we see here in the central Idaho mountains.

Sun Valley, as you might expect, is a very sunny place year round and particularly so in the winter, at least compared to most places that have a 5 month ski season. As such, clothing for extreme cold (-30+C/-20+F) is of limited use because, although the air mass may be very cold, the heat gain to clothing via absorption of energy from the sun can significantly alter the effect of the cold. Also, extreme cold conditions have become less and less frequent in the past 10 years, perhaps indicating a warming climate in the US Rocky Mountains. For instance we have not had a -32C/-25F temperature for over seven years. If you speak to some of the long time locals here, they will tell you that such low temperatures were common just 15 years ago. In any case, preparing for temperature minimums around about -26C/-15F is appropriate.

The extreme cold may occur for perhaps 3-5 days total so, in a ski season with 150 days the vast majority of skiing here in Sun Valley will be taking place in the -12C/+10F to 0C/+32F range. It will also typically be sunny and dry. So when I look for a group of clothing pieces for Nordic ski training in this temperature range, ventilation and breathability are critical.

The Dynamics Jacket

The past two years I have been using the Salomon XT Softshell jacket from the Salomon running collection as a basic part of my Nordic skiing clothing group.

Salomon XT Softshell running jacket- works well as a Nordic skiing training jacket as well.

I always wondered why Salomon did not include this jacket in their Nordic skiing collection as it is ideally suited to training for Nordic skiing. In previous years most of Salomon’s designated Nordic skiing jackets have been way too warm for training here in Sun Valley and I have only used the jacket and pants from the Momentum II ski collection for the extreme cold weather described above. Well, it appears that Salomon have gotten the message as they have a new Nordic jacket for F/W 2012-2013 that builds on the XT Softshell design with some refinements for Nordic- it is called the Dynamics Jacket and it is a great addition.

Salomon Dynamics Jacket for F/W 2012-2013. A great Nordic ski training jacket (and running jacket as well).

As you can see the fit of the Dynamics Jacket is bit more snug than the XT Softshell Jacket and has two vertical seams and one horizontal seam on the “ClimaWind” softshell windproof front. Also included is a nicely placed and sized pocket high up on the left side of the jacket. The pocket is perfect for a phone/music device, lip balm, or even a small (148 ml/ 5 oz) softflask fluid/fuel bottle. The pocket has a feed through for headphones.

The breast pocket of the Dynamics Jacket has a feedthrough for headphones.

The back is highly articulated with a unique “halter” shaped softshell panel in the center with highly breathable stretch woven fabric surrounding it. A large side entry vertical zip pocket is also included and is sufficiently large to carry enough fluid and fuel for at least 50 km/ 31 miles. The side-entry pocket is a thoughtful addition as horizontal pockets are difficult manage when reaching around.

DYNAMICS JACKET W

Back of the Salomon Dynamics Jacket showing unique “halter” shaped softshell panel and highly breathable stretch-woven panels. Shown is one of several Women’s colorways.

The sleeves are half softshell and half highly breathable stretch woven fabric. The sleeves also have an elastic band around half of the sleeve end which is different from the XT Softshell Jacket which has an elastic “ring” around the entire sleeve end. This is half-elastic band is very functional for Nordic skiing because one can pull the sleeves over gloves and attain a relatively tight seal thereby preventing wind from going up your sleeves. One can also put gloves over the sleeve ends which was difficult with the XT Softshell Jacket.

Elastic at the sleeve ends allows for a reasonable seal with gloves in windy and/or cold conditions- a nice detail.

The sleeves are nicely articulated and allow for full body motion without fabric stretching.

Sleeves are articulated allowing for stretch-free movement.

Salomon also added a retaining clasp in the upper portion of the jacket. This was found on the XT Softshell Vest last year. I found it to be very useful as it allows one to unzip the jacket (or vest) to allow for additional ventilation without having the jacket flapping around.

Retaining clasp across the upper chest area allowing for additional ventilation without the jacket flapping around.

A simple cinching mechanism is provided at the bottom hem and is an improvement over past cinching systems in that this one uses very minimalist parts that are essentially invisible to the user. The larger, spring-loaded systems are somewhat intrusive and bulky. This simple mechanism seems better suited to such lighter weight training jackets.

Minimalist cinching system at the bottom hem is an improvement over spring-loaded equivalents. Note also the sewn-in sub-pockets in the large back pocket- perfect for phones, music devices, keys, etc.

Use

I have had this jacket out on numerous runs from 16km (10 miles) to 35 km (20+ miles) (and rollerskiing for up to about 35 km (20+ miles)) in typical fall conditions of temperatures between 2C/35F to -8C/18F, mostly sunny  with some periodic light precipitation, although not actively raining. I have also had the jacket out in a snowstorm with significant precipitation and relatively high winds of about 32 km/h (20 mph). These conditions represent the majority of what will be present during the ski season. In all cases this jacket has performed outstandingly. From great ventilation to good wind protection, I can see that this jacket will be the mainstay in my Nordic ski training (and cold weather running) clothing group. The fit and articulation is well thought out and the various other details outlined above are much appreciated, particularly the restraining clasp.

I still need to test the Dynamics Jacket in truly cold conditions (-18c/0F) to determine the cold weather performance. If this jacket performs in cold conditions similarly to the XT Softshell Jacket, it will be fine right down to -18C provided one beefs up base layers. Anything below -18C and I switch to the Momentum II group, which provides additional thermal insulation.

One final note: I hereby request that Salomon produce a companion Dynamics Vest. I tend to use softshell vests in any sunny weather above -7C/20F and currently use the XT Softshell Vest for these conditions. Given the slightly “snugger” fit and articulation of the Dynamics Jacket, I think that a vest would be a nice addition to the Nordic clothing line. I find the Salomon Momentum II Vest to be way too warm for these conditions.

xt_softshell_vest_mens_medium_asphalt_3

Salomon XT softshell Vest, a nice piece for Nordic ski training in sunny and relatively warm conditions (above -7C/20F). A Dynamics equivalent would be a nice addition to the Nordic clothing line.

Price

$185. A relatively expensive jacket but you will likely get multiple years of use out of it and it can be used for running as well.

Bottom Line

A great jacket for Nordic ski training with some nice details that increase functionality.

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6 thoughts on “Salomon Dynamics Jacket Review

  1. Thanks for the detailed review!
    Have just bought the jacket and drove a few rounds here in Stockholm.
    Could not agree more, a super jacket!

    Skiing and skating greetings

    / Sten

    • Hi Sten,

      Glad you found the review helpful. I wear the Dynamics jacket every day and have yet to find a flaw- hopefully they will come out with a Dynamics vest, as this is the other piece that I use regularly (I use the 2011 Salomon XT vest which has many of the features of the Dynamics jacket, but they stopped making it).

      Enjoy your skiing!

  2. How is the fit on the Dynamics Jacket? I’m trying to decide between the Medium and Large. I see that The Clymb is offering them on close-out. Thanks.

      • Robert, I do not own any Salomon clothing, so that is way I asked. I normal would take a US Men’s Medium (e.g. Pearl Izumi). In some Euro clothing, such as ASSOS I have to go with the Large.

      • OK, yes it will fit Euro-like, but the fit for the Dynamics jacket is supposed to be what Salomon calls “Active Fit” meaning it will be close fitting in the right size. As you probably already know, the Euoros like their sports clothing to be a much closer fit than is typical in the US (and Scandinavia). Hope this helps.

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