Review: Columbia Powder Bowl Parka

22 Jan, 2011

Intended Purpose: The Columbia Powder Bowl Parka is a technical jacket that offers up advanced Omni-Heat warmth, sleek designs and an assortment of technical features to stay warm and dry on the mountain. It makes the coldest days on the slopes, the warmest and offers waterproofing for those cold/wet days.

Fit: When I was asked what size I wanted, I went with the bigger size.  #1 because I didn’t have the chance to try it on and #2 because I’d rather it be large and baggy than tight and small.  The fit on me is definitely bigger than I need but comfortably bigger, the length is good for the slopes.  It’s kind of a boxy shape and with the inner jacket, it’s definitely my warmest puffiest jacket I own now.

Appearance: I’ve dialed in my style in this year; keeping with simple colors and some bright but the Columbia parka was a pleasant surprise because it isn’t a style I’d pick for myself.  I probably would have gone with more solid colors than the crazy mix of green/gray but I’ve warmed up to it after wearing it more often.

Features:   The biggest feature of the Columbia Powder Bowl Parka jacket is the omni-heat that Columbia has made for themselves.  Omni-Heat is a thermal technology designed to maintain warmth and prevent heat loss so you are comfortable in cold weather.  The fabric is waterproof-breathable on the shell so if it’s wet out, you won’t feel it.  The inner liner is also water-repellent and insulated just in case you want to use it as a lighter jacket.  The jacket features a removable powder skirt for those powder days.  The zippers on the jacket feature underarm pit zips and zip-closed hand and security pockets are rendered nearly invisible thanks to Invizzip.

Durability: I received this jacket in early November and started using the jacket immediately outside on hikes, walks and shoveling.  Once the big snowfall dumped in Mammoth, I used it on the mountain on the colder powder days.  So far the jacket has held up through it all.  I did notice that one of the pockets has a hole (not sure if it arrived that way or I did it).

Thoughts: I’ve had this jacket through this season so far, it’s been my main jacket for shoveling, snowshoeing and hiking.  I was in this jacket for the 17 feet of snow we got in Mammoth over 3 days.  It’s also been my main jacket for the bitter cold days when I’m outside with my dog on the morning/evening walks and on the really big powder days on the mountain.

One of the first things I noticed was how I felt cold everywhere but the jacket coverage.  I’d be outside standing in the cold while walking the dog and realizing that I was warm everywhere that the jacket covered and cold everywhere the jacket didn’t cover.  It definitely holds in heat very well and was impressive with the first experiences with the omni-heat.

I’ve worn the jacket snowshoeing and snowboarding as the two main winter activities.  A couple things I’ve noticed with the jacket, the zippers are awkward and sometimes hard to open/close (definitely usually need two hands) but they are locktight for waterproofing.  The amount of pockets is good, more than you need but also some in kind of weird locations that I wouldn’t use.

On the wet days we’ve had here, the waterproofing in the shell has held up great.  I watched the water bead off and didn’t even look remotely close to coming through the jacket.  It’s also my warmest jacket, on the coldest windiest days at Mammoth I’ve worn this jacket to work and on the mountain.  It’s definitely built for the more extreme weather on the slopes and a jacket you won’t notice the weather in, so far I’ve happy with how it keeps me warm.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo to shop their full line of men’s snowboard jackets

On-snow photos

On-snow video

Review: Columbia Omni-Heat from Shayboarder on Vimeo.

Columbia Powder Bowl Parka Description


Review Disclosure:  This product was given to me from Columbia.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!


  1. January 22, 2011

    Awesome looking jacket Shay!

  2. January 22, 2011

    Definitely a warm jacket, I’ve been wearing it mostly without the liner because it just does that good of a job keeping me warm; or I wear the liner & a hoodie when I go out to walk the dog at night. I think they’re headed in the right direction as far as tech is concerned the Omni-heat works, but I felt like it needs wrist gaiters, and some sort of loop/clasp/snap for the sleeves so that when you try to take off the jacket, the liner sleeves don’t pull inside out (happens to me all the time). Also I feel like it could’ve been a few inches longer, the large comes barely past my waist and I’m only 6ft tall.