Best Ski Jackets 2014-2015
Best Ski Jackets 2014-2015
A great ski jacket will fight the good fight on two fronts: it keeps the cold and the elements outside, and handles moisture you actively build up inside. Waterproofing technology and DWR (durable water repellant) coatings have come a long way in the past few years and there are varying amounts of protection. If you live in a cold place that is dry in the winter (think Colorado or Utah) or are a fair weather skier, you can get away with what’s offered by a cheaper jacket. If you are an active skier, frequent the sidecountry or backcountry, or live in a place susceptible to wet snow (think the Pacific Northwest), higher-end technology like Gore-Tex or Polartec NeoShell will keep you covered in all kinds of harsh-weather situations. Some people prefer a non-insulated shell jacket to be able to layer underneath, and some prefer a bit of insulation to keep cold at bay. We’ve included both here with our picks for the best ski jackets of 2014-2015.
Men's Ski Jackets
Resort skiers who don’t want to spend a fortune on outerwear, but still want all of the essential features, should give Armada’s Highland Jacket a look. In terms of weather protection, it is made with a moderately waterproof/breathable membrane and a DWR coated, durable ripstop polyester. The fixed hood will fit over a helmet and is designed to move side-to-side as your head does, and a snow skirt will keep the powder from creeping up the bottom. If you are working up a sweat, mesh lined armpit zips let out the steam. And with plenty of pockets to stash your daily essentials, the Highland is ready for a day on the slopes.
What we like: A loose fit allows for plenty of layering on cold days.
What we don’t: Not enough breathability for long hikes or tours.
Dakine is well known for gloves and backpacks, but only last season began making outerwear. They have proven themselves in a short time and the Canyon is a great jacket for primarily resort skiers. It’s constructed of a soft 2-layer laminated polyester that has a moderate waterproof/breathability rating and fully-taped seams, keeping you dry in most kinds of snow conditions. A transparent pocket inside is handy for a season pass and a Napolean pocket on the chest keeps your phone quickly accessible. Pit zips vent things out if you heat up on a quick hike. For a similar non-insulated model, check out the Dakine Washburn.
What we like: Powder skirt has nice hook system to connect to Dakine pants.
What we don’t: Not ideal for the toughest of conditions.
Patagonia’s Powder Bowl series of ski jackets is ideal for all types of resort skiers. Our favorite model is the Freeride, which features 2-layer Gore Tex construction and fully-taped seams that will repel even the harshest of conditions. The jacket is soft and supple but also breathable and waterproof. A low-profile powder skirt won’t get in the way when just wearing around town, and the helmet-compatible hood is removable for when the conditions are clear. Skiers in places that can get frigid, like the Rocky Mountains, will appreciate the light synthetic insulation in Patagonia’s Insulated Powder Bowl, although this version is a bit on the baggy side. For a classic fit with less room, try the regular Powder Bowl.
What we like: Helmet-compatible hood is removable for skiing in clear conditions.
What we don’t: Cold weather requires layering.
With the inclusion of Polartec NeoShell, Flylow’s Lab Coat 2.0 is aimed at active backcountry and sidecountry skiers. NeoShell is a relatively new Gore-Tex competitor, prized for its high-level of breathability while still remaining completely waterproof. If long hikes or tours are on your to-do list this winter, the Lab Coat 2.0 is a great option. It has a “freeride” fit, which is not too loose or too athletic. It leaves enough room for mid-layer insulation or a micro-puff jacket underneath. Fully taped seams and waterproof zippers round out a host of standard features on this foul-weather warrior.
What we like: Simple, sleek, and highly functional.
What we don’t: Could use another color option or two, but not much to dislike.
Pacific Northwest-based Outdoor Research knows a thing or two about skiing in cold, wet conditions. They outfitted their White Room jacket with a stretch 3-layer Gore Tex fabric for the best waterproofing, windproofing, and breathability. It’s equally at home at the resort or on a multi-day trip into the backcountry. The White Room is designed for active skiers and movement: it stays down even when reaching high overhead. Huge chest-to-hip zippered vents dump heat when hiking, and the removable snow skirt connects to OR pants to seal out powder when you drop in.
What we like: Sleeve pass pocket for quick access.
Women’s Ski Jackets
From the Rockies to the Midwest to the East Coast, resort skiers in cold places will appreciate the protection and value offered by Columbia’s Snowfront Jacket. Utilizing a unique reflective material in the lining, it effectively traps body heat to keep you warm even when it’s very cold out. Made of durable, moderately rated waterproof/breathable fabric, the partially seam taped Snowfront is fine in heavy, cold snow, but not the appropriate jacket for areas prone to very wet snow or rain. The hood is helmet-compatible, and removable for days when the sun is shining.
What we like: Great value for a warm jacket.
Another good cold weather option, the Marmot Moonshot offers full protection from the elements and a touch of synthetic insulation—enough to keep you warm without making the jacket too bulky. Marmot uses their own waterproof/breathable membrane on the Moonshot and the seams are taped to keep moisture out, and if you’re working hard, pit zips will quickly let steam out. The hood is removable as well as the powder skirt. This is great option for resort skiers anywhere and a good value at under $300.
What we like: Bold colorways.
What we don’t: Vertical chest pocket would be more functional.
A jacket for the depths of winter, the North Face Sickline has virtually all the features you want while staying under a $300 point. A bit of PrimaLoft insulation wards off the cold temperatures without adding bulk, and a 2-ply waterproof/breathable fabric is durable and windproof for further protection. Aside from adding some flare, the pop color zippers on the front are water resistant to keep you and your stashables dry. Storm hood, snow skirt, and pit zips round out this jacket that is great for resort or light touring duty.
What we like: Sleeve zipper pocket outfitted with a goggle wipe.
What we don’t: Not much for the price.
The Ladyseven is a simple shell jacket for athletic resort and backcountry skiers. It’s designed to handle harsh winter elements, including freezing rain, with 2-layer waterproof/breathable laminate and fully taped seams. In colder weather you’ll want a layer underneath and the cut offers just enough room to comfortably fit a micro-puff or other insulating layer. The storm hood fits over a helmet and a powder skirt keeps the fresh at bay when you drop in. The Ladyseven is ultra compressible and will fit easily in a daypack for touring on sunny days.
What we like: Clean and utilitarian styling.
What we don’t: Could use more color options.
A highly technical shelter from the harshest winter conditions, the Stingray will be most loved by skiers who plan to spend a good amount of time touring. The Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric is fully waterproof and breathable, and has a comfortable softshell backer to enhance moisture wicking performance. This is a non-insulated, athletic cut piece that works well in conjunction with a ski pack and has just enough room underneath for a slim-fitting insulation layer. Waterproof zippers, fully-taped seams and a powder skirt round out the list of weather protection on the Stingray.
What we like: The helmet-compatible hood drops out of the way when not in use.
What we don’t: No chest pockets.
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