Welcome to our review page about the best ski jackets on the market. We are pleased that we get the chance to help you with your treasure hunt. Its cold in them thare mountains, you should probably make sure your wrapped up in something cozy. A slick looking snow jacket not only keeps you warm and protects you against crazy blizzard conditions, it is also a means of showcasing your own personal style. If you’re going to drop serious money on a nice jacket, you may as well get one that is comfortable and keeps you looking fresh while shredding.
On this run, you’ll find the best of section, where you’ll see a style for every taste and a design for every climate. We have a discussion about the top things that go into the making of the best jackets. You’ll get a quick peek at winter outwear tech. Along the way you’ll see a quick mention of the most popular snowboard and ski jacket brands. Don’t forget to check out the selection and sizing guide before checking out the latest and greatest gear.
9 Best Ski Jackets for Women 2017-2018 Season
You’ve found the treasure! Here are the best women’s ski jackets and best snowboard jackets.
This is an excellent 3-in-1 jacket pairing a waterproof shell with a cozy zip in liner. The hood is also fully removable via a zipper in the back. Overall, an excellent versatile jacket that can work for just about any weather condition.
One of Mountain Hardwear’s best, the Returnia Jacket is an insulated, waterproof jacket perfect for cold mountain days and off the path missions.
The Jet Set jacket from Burton comes in a dizzying array of colors and designs. The good news, you can find something that is sure to match the rest of your gear. Burton’s DRYRIDE 2-layer polyester and fabric weave is among the best snow jacket tech out there.
If money is of no concern, the Beta AR jacket is the queen among women’s ski jackets. A tough but breathable GORE-TEX shell is covered with a silky N70p fabric throughout. The DropHood works well with ski helmets and can be particularly nice during wild snow days.
The Kaleidaslope II Jacket is a stylish secondary jacket with light fabric for mild to calm days on the mountain. It isn’t bulky like super heavy jackets, though it does have a thin layer of insulation that’ll keep you warm.
Combining the advanced fabric tech of Motion Fit and Advanced Skin Dry, the Salomon Speed Jacket is built for adrenaline junkies. The fitted silhouette is sure to stay out of the way as you fly down the mountain.
The North Face Thermoball is one of North Face’s most popular jackets. The simple yet elegant black style, slim fit, lightweight nylon and synthetic build contribute to its popularity. It is another thinner jacket like the Kaleidaslope II jacket from Columbia.
Women fond of Roxy will appreciate their Jet Ski Jacket. It is our top pick for the best women’s snowboard jacket. This is a full snowboard jacket with all the trimmings: Dry Flight technology, polyester mechanical stretch, Thinsulate 3M 120g and 350g insulation throughout, and helpful features such as the removable hood and power skirt system.
This is a great softshell jacket for women by Columbia. It is probably one of the most popular snow jackets to date, it is perfect for layering and can act as a standalone jacket on mild mountain days.
9 Best Ski Jackets for Men 2017-2018 Season
Here are the best men’s ski jackets and best snowboard jackets.
The Dusk Jacket is a great budget option from Mountain Warehouse. If you aren’t going to the mountain a ton and just need something for the occasional ski trip, it’s an excellent choice.
Columbia Men’s Ski Jacket dubbed the Alpine Action comes in 6 color options. It is a sharp, mid priced ski jacket with a tough shell and synthetic insulation. The removable storm hood is a nice touch.
If you want the best of the best and cost is no issue, the Macai Jacket is our pick. Gore-Tex fabric, synthetic insulation, mesh lined PowerGuard venting, and plenty of pockets (without sacrificing style points) are just a handful of the high end features you get with this jacket.
This is an extremely versatile 3 in 1 jacket. You get a waterproof exterior shell and a warm insulated liner jacket (100g). Zip them together or wear them separately depending on the mountain conditions.
Helly Hansen makes some of the best performance ski wear out there. Their Accelerate Winter Jacket is an excellent flexible jacket with its 2 way mechanical stretch tech. PrimaLoft insulation provides plenty of warmth when you blow past your friends and are waiting for them at the bottom.
Another 3 in 1 jacket, this time from Salomon. They call their inner jacket Advanced Skin Warm with 100 g insulation and their outer shell the Advanced Skin Dry.
The Covert is our pick for the best snowboarding jacket for men. Burton delivers a fairly priced jacket with a denim, heather grey, or true black depending on your style preference.
Rossignol makes some of the top performing skis and they didn’t do too bad with this jacket either. A 10K waterproof rating and 100g body / 80g sleeve synthetic insulation provide a nice balance of warm and comfort.
A great jacket for just under $100 from The North Face. It is designed with plenty of freeride features: goggle pocket, powder skirt, pit-zips, and clip in integration with compatible pants from The North Face.
6 Best Ski Jackets for Kids 2017-2018 Season
Here are the best kids ski jackets.
Young lady skiers and boarders will appreciate Roxy’s Jetty Jacket. This jacket is our top pick for the best girls ski jacket. It is designed for girls ages 8 to 16. It has very warm 200g body insulation. It also features a snow skirt system to help keep that pesky snow out.
A pricey jacket from Spyder, the Challenger comes in 8 color styles. This is a performance jacket for the competitive youngster who’s going to be getting a lot of use out of it. The Challenger wins our pick for the best boys ski jacket. Reflective accents, powder skirt, goggle pocket, lens wipe, removable hood, and data card pocket are just a handful of the trimmings.
A snazzy name, an even snazzier jacket, the Snowcation Nation is offered in 8 style choices. We are fond of the OUTGROWN grow system which helps the jacket last more than a year before they inevitably outgrow it.
A quality jacket for boys that isn’t going to break the bank. 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation will keep the little one plenty warm. This kids ski jacket is offered in 4 colors.
The Columbia Boy’s Bugaboo Jacket is one of the most popular kids ski jackets out there. This jacket is also offered in Girls’ styles. It comes in a wide array of styles and colors and is decently priced. The three in one design is a smart choice to allow you to prevent your little one from getting uncomfortable in varying weather conditions.
A top notch jacket from Burton, the Elodie has functional room to grow sleeves that can extend as your daughter grows. A helmet friendly hood, expandable gaiter, DRYRIDE 2 layer fabric, contribute to help this one make our best kids ski jacket list.
The Captain’s Orders: Match Jacket to Climate or Go for a 3-in-1
From Alaskan peaks to snowy streets, there are jackets designed for just about everything. Obviously, a simple shell jacket is going to run a lot less than a jacket built for the most trying cold weather conditions. Just like you wouldn’t want to be cold slashing down a black diamond run in gnarly weather, you don’t want to be overheating and sweating up a storm inside your gear on a sunny day making passes through the park. True enough, the best ski jackets will both insulate you from the cold and let your body breath by allowing perspiration to escape from inside to out. They help your body stay an ideal temp, even after your 3-4 runs deep. On top of that, they are nearly waterproof.
For most intents and purposes there are four broad categories of ski/snowboarding jackets: insulated shells, hard shells, soft shells, and 3-in-1 jackets. Although none of these jacket types are necessarily better than the other, each has their own function and application that they are best at. Also, the ‘best skiing jacket’ for you may happen to greatly depend on your budget and/or how much you plan to use it. Someone who makes around 5-10 trips a season won’t probably need or want to spend as much on gear than an Alpine A-lister with a season pass to multiple resorts. The most versatile jackets are those that shield you from the wind and precipitation and also allow you to layer underneath to match the current temperature.
Here is a break down of ski jacket types.
- Soft Shell Jackets: The soft shell jacket bridges the gap between breathable fleece jackets and waterproof hardshell jackets. They are ideal for aerobic activity in light weather conditions, perfect for a sunny day at the mountain. This category is growing in popularity as manufacturers discover new woven materials and methods of creating excellent water repellent, light-weight jackets. They probably won’t keep you dry during a sustained rain or snowfall, but they will repel light rainfall/wind and keep you warm while your heart rate is up.
- Hard Shell Jackets: Hard shell jackets main function is to block wind and precipitation. They are generally very water resistant and help you stay dry. However, if you head up the mountain in just a shell in blizzard like conditions your timbers will be shivering in no time. The great thing about hard shells is that you can layer a bunch of other materials under them and you’ll heat up fast. Fleece, down layer, soft shell jackets, synthetic jackets, and even some casual winter inspired jackets can be put into service under a hard shell for skiing and snowboarding usage.
- Insulated Shell Jackets: The majority of ski and snowboard jackets fall into this category. It is a popular choice for the mountains and cold weather — insulated shells are simply warmer than noninsulated shells. The benefit to wearing something like this is that it will help you stay warm in the coldest conditions, and also on those chair lift rides. The downside is that sometimes they are rather bulky, heavy, and may get too warm on certain days or types of activities such as hiking and bombing through the backcountry. There is a wide spectrum of the quality of insulation, water resistance, durability, fit, style, and of course price.
- 3-in-1 Jackets: Another name of these types of jackets are modular jackets. Some jackets in this category offer a great customizable piece that is pretty darn cost effective. Jackets in this category have an insulating liner such as fleece or a synthetic fill and a shell. The cool thing is you can pop off the shell and wear the liner separately then when you need extra warmth you zip or snap the liner and shell back together. An example of this kind of jacket is The North Face Vortex Triclimate Jacket, great for adapting to the weather at any given time.
Ski and Snowboard Jacket Selection Guide
Here are the top things to look for before hitting that buy button. We go to the mountain to feel good, so you may as well spend time finding the right jacket that adds to the experience and doesn’t take away from it.
Like ski and snowboarding pants, ski and snowboarding jackets are rated on the WR/BR scale. The WR stands for water resistance, and it is given in mm. You may have heard ‘mil rating’ when people are talking about ski wear. This jargon describes how water resistant the material is, and usually the WR/BR is stamped on the inside of the jacket or found on the price tag. Most of the best snow jackets and pants have around a 5,000 to 20,000mm. A 20,000mm jacket for example, wouldn’t start to leak water through until a column was poured full of water and reached over 20,000 milimeters high. That is a pretty dang moisture resistant membrane. Some advanced fabrics like the well known Gore-Tex don’t follow this system at all, they had to make it more complicated. Thankfully, it is pretty easy to Google most fabric tech and get the 411 on it. Another leading factor in waterproofing is the taping method applied by the manufacturer. ‘Fully-taped’ jackets and pants have seals over all seams making them extra water resistant and highly durable. ‘Critical-taped’ seams are jackets that only have the major seams reinforced.
If you were wondering what the ‘BR’ stood for in the WR/BR scale we were talking about in the waterproofing section, now you’ve got the answer: breathability. The breathability of outerwear is actually measured in grams, not millimeters like the WR. The breathability rating tells you how much water vapor can pass through the material in a given day (24 hour period). Like with water resistance, the higher the rating, the better. The bottom line is snowboarding and skiing makes you sweat, and if that perspiration isn’t able to escape you’ll get cold and clammy inside your gear pretty quick. That could make for a pretty uncomfortable 2-3 hour hike into the backcountry.
Layers & Insulation
As the Captain said earlier, there’s definitely nothing wrong with a quality hard or soft shell. Sometimes a lighter weight jacket is a better option than a jacket with burly insulation. Nevertheless, in the heart of winter it can get so cold and wild the only thing that makes sense that day is a thick insulated jacket. With a little experience and quickly checking the forecast in the morning you’ll get the ideal kit dialed in for every weather situation. When layering, following a couple tips goes a long ways. It may seem as easy as slapping on a cotton hoodie and jacket, but that could lead to a sweaty (and smelly) experience pretty quick. Try and get a moisture wicking base layer and a breathable mid layer like fleece.
This one is pretty easy and mostly preference when it comes right down to it. Some people prefer a slimmer, form fitting kit whereas other individuals enjoy baggier jackets and pants. Really its up to you, there’s not a performance advantage either way. Keep in mind an insulated shell jacket is going to be bulkier than a light soft shell jacket for example. But if you’re heading into extremely cold conditions you probably need that extra bulk. Some jackets are longer in the torso than other jackets, which some people prefer. Surely, it does a bit better job keeping snow out, but there are those skiers and boarders who don’t like the extra fabric hanging down.
Most of the best ski jackets will offer plenty of extra features. These include things like ski pass pockets and clips, integrated goggle wipes, wrist gaiters, armpit vents, and adjustable/removeable hoods. The majority of jackets have numerous pockets to help squirrel away treats or to hide secret stashes (if you catch our drift) that coming in super handy when spending a day at the mountain. Another thing you may want to look for is a powder skirt or even a jacket that integrates with pants by zipping them together eliminating any chance troublesome snow finding its way into your gear. An example of such jacket/pant systems are the Spyder Titan and Helly Hansen Enigma.
Brand Gossip: Best Jacket Brands
There are dozens of cool snow jackets out there which makes picking the top brands pretty hard. Nevertheless, there are a handful of names that have built a rock solid reputation for themselves and their apparel goodies. Sure great snowboarding jackets make fine ski jackets, and vice versa. But if you’re big on style, these are the brands that garnered plenty of popularity in their respective category over the years. Every once and awhile you can stumble across a ski jacket sale and get a top brand cheap ski jackets so keep your eyes peeled. Online prices are pretty competitive but you may want to do some price research at your local shop if your bargain hunting just to make sure your getting a good deal.
Here are the best jacket brands:
The most popular ski jacket brands are Patagonia, Helly Hansen, The North Face, Salomon, Mountain Hardwear, Arc’teryx, and Columbia.
For snowboarders, the trending brands are Burton, 686, Adidas, Airblaster, Roxy, DC, ThirtyTwo, Volcom, and Vans.