Designed to be the do-it-all ski jacket, from cruising around the resort to setting off into the backcountry, the Black Diamond Mission is packed with the features to accommodate a wide range of uses. We’ve been testing it around Chamonix this spring to see how it performed.
Comfort & Fit
The Mission has a very Freeride orientated fit which I personally like as it gives unrestricted movement and has plenty of room for layering. The length of the jacket is just right (with a nice low down powder skirt that’s going to keep the sluff out) it’s cut isn’t ridiculous or park-ratty and makes for an overall comfortable fit. The bombproof shell (more on that later) is certainly on the stiffer side so a good base layer makes the whole scenario nicer on the skin.
Build Quality & Durability
As with other Black Diamond kit, the Mission jacket is built like a brick outhouse, with excellent stitching and burly hardware used throughout the construction the build of the jacket is not only sturdy but crafted accurately. On top of this excellent build quality, the Mission is hard as nails, the 175 g/m2, 100% nylon face is made to withstand plenty of face sliding down rocky slopes, it feels tough and it is.
With some strategy pockets on the breast (with nice side access, and top access for anything more droppy-outie), one feature we really like are the glove stash pockets (pictured above), which is handy for either keeping a spare pair or mitts or your outers warm ready for use. With a 3L breathable/waterproof GORE-TEX® and pit zips for ventilation, the Mission ticks all the essential boxes for a shell, it would be nice to see future versions include an attachment system with the pants and sleeve gaiters wouldn’t go a miss at this price point, but overall the Mission packs all the features you need.
For a heavyweight shell, the GORE-TEX® membrane breathes well and the fairly large pit zips allow for extra ventilation when needed. The burly, heavy shell does make this jacket excel more on the downhill then up, so it’s not necessarily a jacket we’d take on a long tour but for general skiing and short intense aerobic activities, the odd boot pack, it’s absolutely fine.
Water & Wind Resistance
Closely followed by it’s durability, the Mission’s wind and water resistance is it’s best feature. The GORE-TEX® 3L 70D fabric features a DWR outer and totally waterproof/windproof membrane. This jacket keeps everything out, it’s like skiing around in your own little habitat it’s fantastic. The zips have proved to be quite resistant to rain when things get pretty miserable, the Mission deals with anything thrown at it without issue.
With a price tag of almost $600 (approx. €520 / £405 at time of writing) the Mission is definitely punching at the high end of the price range, but that said, for a 3L jacket that’s as tough as this, it’s a good investment. You can keep buying cheap jackets that don’t perform and break after a few seasons, or invest in a good bit of kit that will last.
So when you’re sitting there deliberating with your $600, is the Mission worth it? At this price, there’s certainly some good competition so we’d always advice trying on different brands and models to see what fit you well, but if you like a more Freeride orientated shell that will do it all, the Mission is an excellent choice.