Unfortunately, I am faced with posting this retraction of my previous, glowing review of the Mountain Hardwear Women's Alchemy Jacket. I literally gushed over this jacket last season and told everyone who asked that I HIGHLY recommended it.
However, this last weekend, my mind was changed. After skiing in a drizzle for 5 miles in 32 degree weather, I was soaked through to my baselayers. It was cold enough that I was fully zipped up and my hood was cinched down over my head so there was no interior exposure to the elements. Still, by the time we reached the place where we decided to camp, I could literally wring water out of the jacket by twisting it around in my hands. For a $395 jacket that claims to be waterproof, I was more than a little pissed. On top of that, it was at freezing and was starting to snow by the time we pitched our tent. I immediately had to strip out of my layers and bury myself in my sleeping bag. If it had continued to precipitate the following day, we would have been unable to continue on toward our objective (Diamond Peak) since I would have been left without a dry or waterproof layer.
(The jacket was frozen solid the next morning- it didn't dry out until we got home and I hung it up for a couple of days in my warm house)
It is worth noting that my 9 year old Burton ski pants kept me more dry in the rainy weather than this shell did.
It is also worth noting that I have received nothing but stellar service from the Mountain Hardwear Portland employees- they helped me ship the jacket back to warranty and were extremely apologetic. I commend them for being rock stars! I am still apprehensive about wearing this jacket in anything other than light snow now- how can I trust the highest level of waterproofing a company is offering if it isn't keeping me dry?