Ski season is right around the corner which means you’ve purchased your season pass and are currently knee-deep in the typical pre-season anticipation period. You’ve waxed your board and skis (twice, for good measure), watched ski flicks, Googled weather forecasts, and hit the gym a bit to get your snow legs in shape. Depending on where you live, you may have even started hiking some of the local hills.
In between video premieres and pray for snow parties, you may also be doing a bit of shopping for new gear. Boots, boards bindings, helmets — there’s a lot to update and if a new jacket is on your list, you’re in luck. We’ve done the research for you and compiled the best ski jackets to add to your gear closet.
The KT Component from Marmot is a super slick, three-in-one coat that morphs from a fully insulated ski jacket to a thin liner to a shell with the pull of a zipper. Made with Thermal R synthetic insulation and fully seam-sealed MemBrain 2-layer fabric, it’s one of the warmest jackets on the market, capable of sustaining ripping winds and ice cold, arctic conditions.
The chest pockets unzip horizontally which makes them easy to drop your phone into and the cuffs offer excellent closure to keep the snow out. The pit zips open and closes smoothly to regulate temperature and its high-necked collar helps protect your face on blustery days. It also has a sleeve pocket, an interior media pocket, and a removable storm hood with a laminated brim.
Patagonia’s Pow Slayer jacket is just what the name suggests — a tough, burly, push-it-all-day jacket that slashes through thick fields of powder and stands up to pummeling winds and other elements, ensuring you stay dry with each turn. The coat’s recycled 3-layer nylon ripstop Gore-Tex Pro fabric is lightweight and strong with industry-topping waterproofing and breathability features.
Patagonia’s signature watertight zippers lock out moisture and the slim installation cuts out extra bulk. If you’re looking for a hardcore winter skiing jacket that holds its own wherever you ride, this coat doesn’t disappoint.
The Sabre is more than an “oldie but a goodie.” It’s undoubtedly one of the best skiing and snowboarding jackets in existence and the fact Arc’teryx continues making it each year after nearly a decade shows how much people love it. The newest iteration utilizes 3L Gore with a light flannel backer, giving the jacket just enough insulation to take the chill off and keep you warm.
The modern freeride cut offers a bulk-free design that won’t hamper your range of motion while you’re ripping powder lines or tearing through tight trees. Unlike some of Arc’teryx’s other generalist winter jackets, this one is ski and snowboard specific, featuring a powder skirt, storm hood, inside pockets, and a Recco avalanche reflector.
One of the pioneers of the three-in-one systems, 686 designed a brand-new ski and snowboarding jacket that incorporates the best elements of its previous coats. Featuring 20k infiDRY fabric with a Gore-Tex 2L DWR-treated waterproof shell, fully taped seams, and a powder skirt with a snapping pant system, you’re guaranteed to stay warm even on the most frigid days.
Inside, it boasts a soft-as-silk removable fleece jacket that pops out and looks stylish to wear around town — or in the lodge over warm drinks. The liner features stretch poly-fleece arms that feel soft at the wrists while wearing it with the jacket, and the 60g PrimaLoft Eco Polyfill in the torso keeps you warm when wearing it alone. The SMARTY is also loaded with pockets — one for your pass, one for your phone or tablet, and one made of mesh for goggles. This is one of the softest and comfiest jackets we’ve ever worn, that’s also chock-full of tech features.
The Roxy Essence is stylish and slick but more importantly, it lets you shred hard and fast in the burliest conditions without getting cold or having to stop to add a layer. Everything you need is right there — Gore-Tex 2L waterproofing with ultra-warm 60g PrimaLoft insulation and a posh polyester taffeta with brushed mesh lining. That combination means you can sit amid brutal winds on the topmost chairlift, or plow through frigid, waist-deep snow and feel warm the entire time.
Another solid feature is the jacket’s Cohaesive hood stopper system that allows you to adjust your hood while riding. Roxy’s best addition, however, may be the moisturizing neck liner made from Roxy’s patented X Biotherm. The material embeds microbeads of moisturizer into the fabric that break up as you move throughout the day, leaving your face soft, avoiding chafing in the process. As a company, Roxy does a lot right but its best strength is knowing how to make tough, technical gear designed specifically for women — and the Essence is no different.
This is a jacket designed specifically with the powder hounds in mind. It has Pertex Shield+ for superior waterproofing and windproofing, as well as custom, body-mapped Thermore Classic Compact insulation to keep you warm exactly where you need it. The materials are breathable, allowing you ski hard and work up a solid sweat without finding yourself drenched and stinky at the end of the day. Add to that a pair of pit zips that offer temperature regulation and you know this is a jacket capable of being adjusted to fit particular conditions or personal riding styles.
The Igneo’s powder skirt is removable on lighter spring days to combat bulkiness and the helmet-compatible hood has an easy-cinch so it works just as well with hats. Bottom line is, it’s a highly customizable jacket that’s also ultra warm.
If you tend to skip the resorts and head straight for the backcountry, Fjallraven’s Bergtagen Eco-Shell is a technical, three-layer beast designed specifically for the job. Engineered for ski touring, the thin shell features stretchy, flexible material that lets you move freely while hiking, skinning, stopping to pack gear, and, of course, ripping powder lines.
Meant to withstand harsh backcountry conditions including rain and sleet, the jacket’s material works by blocking the elements with fluorocarbon-free impregnation that forces water to bead up on the outside and roll off. Its thin polyester membrane also helps internal moisture escape via a line of hydrophilic micro-corridors.The result is a stellar shell you can trust on the most rugged cold-weather expeditions.
Dakine’s new Chaser 2L is a blazing warm insulated jacket intended for cold, stormy powder days when the air is icy and the wind is whipping. Exploding with top-of-the-line technology, the jacket features an asymmetrical hem and a zip-out powder skirt, as well as built-in wrist gaiters and a two-way adjustable hood.
The Chaser’s brushed tricot lining is silky warm and ultra-comfortable, leaving your core feeling snug and toasty with 40g PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation. If you’re the type of skier or rider who charges from the moment the lifts open to when the lifts start calling last chair, this jacket will be your favorite weapon of choice for staying warm from dawn to dusk.
Columbia Sportswear’s Alpine Action is a mega-warm, insulated ski jacket designed specifically for stormy, snow-smothered climates. With the company’s patented, seam-sealed Omni-Tech technology, it’s fully waterproof yet super breathable, allowing you to hit it hard and work up a good sweat.
On exceptionally cold days, its thermal-reflective Omni-Heat lining retains body heat while simultaneously keeping you warm. The jacket has an optional hood that can be removed on spring days, as well as a snap-back powder skirt to prevent snow from sliding into your pants and creating that frozen block of ice near the back of your waist. Other ski and snowboard-specific features include adjustable cuff tabs, a goggle pocket to stash a spare lens or second set, and a drop tail to keep your back end from freezing when you’re ratcheting down bindings.