Best Ski Jackets 2013-2014
Best Ski Jackets 2013-2014
From cold to snow to wind to sweat, choosing a ski jacket is all about managing the conditions that you might encounter on the mountain. The right ski jacket for you depends on the specific kinds of skiing you enjoy most—skinning up a sunny ridgeline in the North Cascades is far different than bracing against a Nor’easter on a lift at Sunday River in Maine. From ultra-breathable to ultra-waterproof, we’ve put together the best technology at varying price points so you can find exactly what you need. Below are the best ski jackets for the 2013-2014 season.
Men’s Ski Jackets
Oakley has been making some of the highest quality technical ski outerwear over the past few seasons, and they reserve their top-of-the-line technology for Seth Morrisson’s pro model gear. The Oakley Beltline Pro Jacket is designed to tackle tough weather and terrain found in places Seth skis most, such as Alaska and Chamonix. It’s made with a three-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell and has a Gore-Tex Micro Grid liner that makes it even more breathable and comfortable while still being light weight. Built for storms, the Beltline Pro has waterproof zippers, a breathable collar to protect your face, and the snow skirt snaps seamlessly into the matching Beltline Pro Pants for a complete barrier against the elements. It also has huge pit zips to release heat, making this a great jacket for skiers who expend a lot of energy touring in the backcountry.
What we like: Gore-Tex Micro Grid liner to enhance breathability.
What we don’t: Over $1,000 with the matching pants.
Patagonia has made nice strides in the world of snow sports, and the company has added notable names to their ambassador team like skier Pep Fujas and snowboarder Josh Dirksen. It’s obvious that professionals like these two have had input into the design of the Primo jacket—it’s hitting the marks on all the necessary features of a freeride jacket and is good looking to boot. This is Patagonia’s most durable, waterproof shell and is made with a burly 70D nylon from recycled materials. Three-layer Gore-Tex is standard these days for waterproofness and breathability, so no matter the conditions or how hard you are working, moisture will be managed properly. You could even ski in the rain and this jacket will keep you dry, but hopefully it’s protecting you from waist deep powder instead.
What we like: Fit is “progressive” and it’s good to see Patagonia branching out from their historically tight outerwear.
What we don’t: Looks a little busy from the back in the color-blocked versions.
Another jacket made with athlete input—this time skier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and snowboarder Xavier De La Rue—The North Face Sickline is a well-deserved throwback to the original Steep Tech Work Jacket designed by Scot Schmidt for The North Face in the early 1990s. Colors and an integrated goggle/sunglass pocket are the few similarities between old and new, however. The Sickline is made from a lightweight 40D ripstop nylon and uses a 3-layer Gore Tex Pro membrane to make it waterproof. When used with snow pants from The North Face, the powder skirt clips in to create a formidable barrier against deep snow. With nice touches like offsetting the zipper so it doesn’t rub on your chin and an insulated cell phone pocket, the Sickline can survive all conditions inside the resort boundaries or out.
What we like: Interior cell pocket is insulated to preserve battery life in the cold.
What we don’t: We still can’t ski like Scot Schmidt.
With fully-taped seams and a two-layer Gore-Tex laminate shell, the Stealth Jacket offers premium level protection without a premium price tag. This regular fit jacket offers simple protection from any weather and has all the essential features you want at the resort or in the backcountry. Strategically placed fleece in the liner promotes core warmth and ample pit vents allow you to dump heat when you need to. Thumb-loop wrist gaiters and a dynamic snow skirt keep winter on the outside of this shell, making the Stealth a nice economical option for anyone who plans on skiing in a storm.
What we like: Simple, dependable performance.
What we don’t: An internal pocket would be nice.
Women’s Ski Jackets
Freeskier and team athlete Michelle Parker worked closely with the Mountain Hardwear design team for two seasons to hone the Snowtastic into the ideal ski jacket. Mountain Hardwear uses their proprietary Dry. Q Elite fabric in the Snowtastic, which they claim is more breathable and just as waterproof as Gore-Tex. Parker says she is able to keep her shell on for skinning in the backcountry when most of her partners wearing Gore-Tex are forced to shed theirs. With all the standard features you want in a ski jacket, the Snowtastic also has some nice features like pack-compatible pockets and comfortable jersey thumb loops. This is a great jacket option for resort and backcountry skier alike.
What we like: Pass pocket on the arm is very convenient.
What we don’t: "Snowtastic" name
From Norway, Norrona has been making quality outerwear in Europe for decades, but only recently has gotten traction in the North American market. The Lofoten shell comes in a Gore-Tex Pro Shell version as well, but we like the Gore-Tex Active Shell for a lower price point, lighter weight, and more breathability for active skiers. Still very much prepared for a storm, the Norrona Lotofen has a clever offset zipper to keep your mouth and chin chaff free and a powder skirt that will attach to any Norrona pant. Pit zips can be opened to vent heat in warm weather as well as the mesh-lined chest pocket. Handwarmer pockets come up high, so as not to interfere with backpack straps and waistbelt. The Lotofen has a slim, alpine fit and is a great option for backcountry touring and occasional resort skiing.
What we like: Great colorways with contrasting zippers.
What we don’t: Interior pocket is too tight for an iPhone.
The FlyLow Vixen Jacket is designed for the most active of skiers and will work best for someone who is putting in effort in the backcountry to earn their turns. This is a soft shell jacket and it breathes really well, which is one key factor in keeping dry on the slopes. A DWR coating provides moderate protection against falling snow and rain, but this jacket will do best in places where the sun is out a lot and the snow is cold and dry. FlyLow rounds out the Vixen with all the standard features you want in a ski jacket: underarm vents, waterproof zippers, and a powder skirt.
What we like: A solution for backcountry enthusiasts.
What we don’t: Doesn't provide full storm protection.
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