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Review: A Warm Welcome to Nivis Gear to the Ski Industry

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We have been going to the Outdoor Retailer show for over a decade, and every year we see brands trying to get a foothold in the industry. Sadly, more often than not, we don’t see them the following year. The 2023 show in Salt Lake City was no different. This is where we ran into a new jacket company called Nivis Gear.

What does it take for a serious alpine jacket company to get the attention of ski buyers, especially when that company is based in Richmond, Virginia? Having a product that over delivers in fit, function and features is key, and we believe that Nivis Gear checked all three of these boxes in their jacket.

While Nivis Gear is based in Richmond, in the mid Atlantic, which is hardly a skiing mecca, most of their R&D was in Snowshoe WV, which is the 4th highest ski area east of the Mississippi, so you have a jacket that can withstand cold. The Nivis1 is a premium 4-way stretch with 20k/20k breathability and waterproof, Primaloft Gold Insulation. As far as warmth, what I liked about the Primaloft Gold is the range of warmth. We first tested the jacket in the low single digit temps of Colorado and Utah (with a light mid layer) and then in Tahoe where the temps were in the 20's. With just my SkiTalk quarter zip beneath, I was fine.

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The features include an interior Areogel insulated phone pocket which can preserve the phone battery, along with other very well placed pockets. The sleeve pocket contains a clear pass holder, which is really nice for use at resorts that still require you to show your pass.

The Nivis1 fit is billed as “athletic” and when I think of that, I think of a slimmer Euro fit, and that is just not the case with this jacket. We were supplied with two Nivis1 jackets in in Slate and Clay Red in a Men’s larges and we were fortunate enough get Andy Mink and Stephen, two of our other men’s testers, in the jackets as well. We all were not only impressed with the features, but also the fit, which for me, at 5’10” 195lb, was extremely comfortable.


Color Options:​
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(From Nivis's site) DESCRIPTION:
  • Premium 4-way stretch composite fabric
  • 20k / 20k breathability & waterproof ratings
  • Athletic tailored fit
  • Primaloft gold insulation (perfect weight -- not too much, not too little)
  • Lightweight yet highly functional in all conditions
  • Interior Aerogel insulated phone pocket -- preserves battery
  • Pass holder pocket in left sleeve
  • Interchangeable patch on right sleeve enables personalization
  • XL+ size has same sleeve and body length as XL, but larger chest

Andy: Yes, I showed up to Utah with shells and a puffy for the frigid weather we had. Since Phil took the Monday before WSSRA off, I wore the Nivis Gear coat to Deer Valley. While I usually wear an XL at 5'10" and 220#, the Nivis didn't feel overly snug; movement was comfortable and not constrictive at all. Even though it is not a heavy jacket, it was plenty warm in the temps that never exceeded the mid teens. Pockets were well placed and every ski jacket should now have a pass pocket on the sleeve. The Nivis has that. The overall construction appeared to be very good with no noticeable hanging thread, missed stitches, or other production faux pas. The YKK zippers worked easily and even the pit zips were easy to access and use, both ways. Will Nivis make it into the mainstream? That's a tough call, but there doesn't seem any obvious reason why they shouldn't.

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Stephen: This jacket is the bee’s knees, the fox’s socks, the cat’s meow. I would have never guessed this was a new jacket company. Throughout the day while wearing it, I kept coming across little things that made me think, "Nice! Well thought out.” I even thought I had “caught” them one time with a missing feature of a large inside pocket but nope, it’s got one, and it is of course - well thought out. The pass pocket on the sleeve has the nice bonus of a clear pass holder on a lanyard that is attached inside the pocket - a great help at non-RFID resorts. The four way stretch material is fantastic, making for a very comfortable fit that moves with you while you are active. It’s also how Phil, Andy, and I were able to all wear it comfortably and stylishly, in my opinion. The insulated phone pocket is great for those cold days, and I like the exterior zipper to access it. The only “problem” that I could find, and believe me I looked, was the the closure on the sleeve at the wrist. The gusset could use a slight adjustment and the velcro could use some heavier stitching all the way up to the edges. Neither of those things would deter me from getting that jacket. The Nivis1 gets 5 stars from me.

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One of the last fit/function aspects I would like to add was how well the hood is designed. When not in use, the hood lies flat on the back of the jacket so snow does not accumulate in it. While the hood is in use, it is one of the least obtrusive designs I have experienced. The zipper comes up nicely to right around the chin, but most importantly, the hood articulates easily and smoothly as I look left and right. Again, like many of the other intelligent features incorporated into the Nivis1, it does it without requiring any thinking by the wearer to make it function properly.

We are looking for some exciting things from this new company … when we see them at Outdoor Retailer next year.
  • Who is the Nivis Gear Nivis1 for: Those who are looking for a well built great fitting waterproof insulated jacket.
  • Who is the Nivis Gear Nivis1 not for: Peacocks, Nivis's color palet is in the conservative side.
  • Insider tip: Quality never comes cheap and the Nivis1 is a quality jacket.
  • Insider tip II: While the Nivis1 is not inexpensive at $650, quality never is, here is a Discount Code: 25skitalk.com Good till, 3/31/23
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About author
Philpug
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.

Replies

These really look great but they are lacking one key feature for me. A second upper pocket.

Depending on the weather, I wear a Obermeyer jacket or a Patagonia shell. Both have two upper pockets and I always have my glasses in one and radio in the other.

I really do like the flag patch on right shoulder!
 
These really look great but they are lacking one key feature for me. A second upper pocket.

Depending on the weather, I wear a Obermeyer jacket or a Patagonia shell. Both have two upper pockets and I always have my glasses in one and radio in the other.

I really do like the flag patch on right shoulder!
This does have an exterior upper pocket on the right and also an interior upper pocket on the left too.
 
These Look like really nice jackets but at this price point there are a lot of other premium known brands with proven customer service and longevity. I wish them the best of luck.

I don’t understand the new disruption model of charging the same premium as premier brands. I thought the whole point was to bring better products to market at cheaper prices by cutting out the middle man and expensive marketing.
I would probably try one for $499 but at $650 there are too many other options out there.
 
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Nivis is having a 40% off season ending sale and the discount code applies. That's a really good price that makes it worth giving it a try!
 

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