After wearing a tight, tapered women's snowboarding jacket for my entire snowboarding life, from Collingwood's Blue Mountain to Club Med Tignes in the French Alps, I'd had enough. In addition to making me look like a dork on the slopes (no offence, skiers, it's just not the vibe for snowboarders), I find the cinched silhouette uncomfortable and restrictive when I'm carving.
Men's Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket: What is it
Slightly smaller than men's sizes and slightly larger than women's sizes, Burton's men's snowboarding jackets are made to be more in line with unisex wear. I go for the Men's Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket in Jake Blue, a colourway inspired by the late founder, Jake Burton Carpenter, whose children still run the company.
When it comes to Burton's men's snowboarding jackets, this one is the middle of the road — not on the low-end or the high-end for price, warmth or features. It's from the Burton [ak] line, a high-tech series that's designed for freedom of motion.
Men's Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket: The features
I usually wear XS to S in women's clothing, so the men's XS is a perfectly baggy fit. The sleeves are a little long and the jacket covers my bum, which I like. A drawstring in the bottom hem gives the option to hike up the jacket for a more cropped look, or for easier movement, but I like the length. The loose fit isn't restrictive at all, and I have complete range of motion. It's the most comfortable wear I've experienced in a snowboarding jacket.
The first time out, it's a freakishly warm day at 11 C in December. I don't bother with a mid layer, just wearing my base layer and the Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket. With both underarm vents open, I'm comfortable.
My next day on the slopes is the opposite — a frosty -10 C with a fierce wind. This is where the jacket's core insulation really comes in handy. With a base layer and a mid-layer on, and the waist gaiter and wrist gaiters keeping out the wind, I'm warm for hours.
Between the insulated hand warmer pockets and chest pockets, there are plenty of places to store items. Tapping my lift pass against the card reader is smooth and seamless with a bicep pocket in just the right spot. An insulated inner chest pocket keeps my phone warm enough, and, of course, it has a little headphone cord hole.
I'm past the point of falling or sitting in the snow to strap on my board, but when wet snow starts drizzling, I'm grateful for the Burton [ak] Swash's fully waterproof GORE-TEX.
The Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket is also made with Bluesign® approved materials that reduce environmental and human impact.
Men's Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket: The verdict
Coming in at almost $700, the Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L isn't cheap, but it is a warm snowboarding jacket with all of the tech features I would want for hitting the slopes. Breathable for warmer days with core insulation for colder days, it's great for our unpredictable climate. The fit is incredibly comfortable and not restrictive at all, giving me full freedom when I'm riding.
Men's Burton [ak] Swash GORE‑TEX 2L Jacket, $669.99, burton.com