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 2016-2017
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.
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.
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 2016-2017
Here are the best men’s ski jackets and best snowboard jackets.
Best Youth Ski Jackets
The Captain’s Orders: Match Jacket to Climate
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.