What are The Best Brands for Ski Jackets? A ski jacket is an important part of your outdoor gear! A high-quality ski jacket protects you from the wind whizzing by when you channel your inner Bode Miller. That nice jacket also keeps your body warm, when you decide to brace another sub-zero day because, well there’s fresh pow pow and nothing, not even a little dip in temperature will keep you away.
A ski jacket is an investment and one you will probably wear for at least five years or longer. I finally replaced my ski jacket after about 15 years- not because it didn’t keep me warm, but styles changed and I needed a fresh look to tackle those gnarly moguls on the backside of my favorite ski mountain.
What Makes A Ski Jacket Different Than Other Coats?
Ski jackets are made specifically for skiing. While you could certainly wear another outdoor coat skiing, it may not perform and protect you the way you were hoping. A ski jacket is designed to keep you protected from all the snow as you’re carving up the mountain, keep you warm while sitting on the chair lift and keep you dry, even when you yard sale it underneath the chair lift.
A ski coat is well insulated with either down or a synthetic material. You also want to make sure your ski coat is waterproof and windproof- this will keep your body protected from the weather. Also, look for a breathable coat- this will allow moisture (sweat) to move out of your coat, but keep body heat in. It’s not unheard of to break a sweat while skiing down a tough run, especially if the sun is shining.
A breathable coat will keep you allow that sweat out, so you don’t get overheated. Other elements that make a ski coat unique: venting in the arm area, secure hoods, powder skirts (keep snow from riding up into your coat) and wrist gaiters- those thumb holes around the end of your coat keep your wrist warm and keep snow from getting inside your gloves.
Okay, now that you know the basics of a ski coat, let’s take a look at the best brands money can buy. Who’s ready to go shopping?
This is not a ski jacket, but I include it here because it can be used as one. Fortress is setting the bar when it comes to making warm outdoor gear. The company got its start making gear for workers who stand outside in subzero temperatures all day. In fact, Fortress developed a patented technology that keeps you warm even if you become totally submerged in water!
The company makes several jackets from a windbreaker to an arctic jacket. For skiing, I’d go with the soft-shell jacket. The coat is comfortable with great hood coverage and incredible insulation. The soft-shell coat is designed to keep you warm in the coldest of weather!
Patagonia is a California company with a passion for keeping people warm and protecting the environment all at the same time. The company has been making high quality ski jackets since the 1970s. The company makes ski jackets that move with you- this is important if you catch an edge and need to wave your arms around frantically until you get back on the run. Oh, that’s just me? Carry on.
Still, you want a ski jacket that allows you to pick up your skis and haul them to the lodge or bend down and adjust your boots before you grab the first chair of the day. Patagonia ski jackets move and stretch with every movement and they keep you warm. Every Patagonia ski jacket is well insulated, breathable and has an incredibly durable waterproof outer shell.
The coats are designed to sustain harsh winds and blizzard like snow. When you’re in the mountains the weather can shift on a dime. In a Patagonia coat, you won’t even notice a change in weather. Plus, if you tear your coat or a zipper needs repaired, the company will do it for you-no questions asked. Now, that’s a guarantee I can get behind.
The North Face
For more than fifty years, The North Face has been making outdoor gear designed to keep people warm! The North Face has a limited selection of ski jackets, but what they do offer is impressive. The company pays close attention to every detail of its ski jackets, right down to the zippers. The coat is intuitive for a skier, with perfect placement to put your I pod and headset to listen to tunes while making turns down the freshly groomed run!
Every North Face jacket is waterproof, breathable and well insulated. Some ski jackets have less insulation in the sleeves- because that’s where you generate heat when your making turns. All that movement, and with too much insulation you may overheat. A North Face jacket is a timeless addition to your ski gear!
Marmot sets the bar when it comes to stylish and functional ski jackets. Marmot is making waves with its bright color combination and added extras to every jacket: cell phone pockets, reflectors for emergencies, and hoods that will fit around your ski helmet. Marmot pays close attention to every detail on its ski jackets.
Every zipper on a Marmot ski jacket is waterproof, which means there’s no chance water or snow will get inside your jacket if you fall or grab a granola bar for a mid-chair snack. Marmot ski jackets also come standard with powder skirts. A powder skirt is an inner layer around your waist that you can button or zip to keep snow from riding up into your coat, when or if you ever take a spill.
While Burton is technically a brand targeted to snowboarders, I’ve spotted several skiers sporting the cool clothes too! Burton has been making high quality warm winter gear for decades. The company got its start in a Vermont barn in the 1970’s when a guy names Jack Burton started making snowboards. The company is dedicated to making high quality snowboard/ski gear. While the jackets are specifically for snowboarding, they work well for skiing too.
Most Burton coats tend to be on the longer side, to cover the back of your legs. This extra coverage provides protection from cold chair lifts and those times where you catch an edge and roll into a snowman. Burton uses the highest quality Gore-Tex waterproof outer shell, which can withstand most weather conditions. Burton coats also come in a variety of wild, bold and colorful patterns. Who doesn’t want to ski in a pineapple pattern ski coat?
This brand got its start in the late 1980’s by a group of climbers. The company set out to make the best outdoor gear on the market. Almost forty years later and the Arc’Teryx is certainly making durable, stylish and incredible warm ski jackets. The company makes ski jackets to match your ski style: ski resort, back-country skiing and big powder skiing. Each jacket offers unique protection to where you will be skiing. For the resort style jacket, Arc’Teryx includes insulated collars to provide ultimate warmth for those chilly chairlift rides.
A back-country ski jacket has a bit more insulation and a powder skirt to keep the snow from creeping in on those killer off-piste runs. This brand tends to be about three times more expensive than most top ski jacket brands. Why? Well, it comes to down to quality. Arc’Teryx makes some of the best ski jackets in the world. Again, if you want to be protected on the chairlift and while cruising down a run, it may be worth the investment.
Salomon is company with deep roots in the sport of skiing. In fact, the company first started in the 1940s making skis in the French Alps. Salomon is pretty much synonymous with skiing. The company is dedicated to making not only the best skis, boots and binding, but the best ski jackets available today. Like Arc’Teryx, Salomon makes ski jackets for a couple different types of skiing: Alpine and Nordic.
Alpine skiing is downhill skiing, and requires a jacket that is windproof, well insulated and waterproof. Nordic skiing is also referred to as cross-country skiing. With a Nordic ski jacket, you need that is lightweight, medium to light insulation and moves with your body. Cross country skiing requires a lot of arm movement and so you need a coat that will work with you, not against you! Like most ski jackets, Salomon utilizes waterproof material and quality insulation to keep you dry and warm from the chair lift to the lodge!
Did you watch the winter Olympics this year? Chances are if you watched the top athletes in the world compete in the downhill or giant slalom, you may have also noticed those incredible athletes were also wearing Spyder gear. Spyder is the top choice for top skiers around the world. The company is passionate about providing the best performance outdoor gear available. Plus, you don’t have to be Lindsey Vann to wear Spyder gear, although one run in a Spyder jacket and you may feel like a gold medalist.
And the winner is…. YOU! Spyder uses its own proprietary blends of down and synthetic down to provide superior warmth, where you need it when you’re on the hill. The company also uses its patented waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric blends in each and every one of its coats. When it comes to keeping you warm and dry, Spyder isn’t messing around. A Spyder coat is an investment and will certainly last you dozens of ski seasons, if not more.
Helly Hansen knows a thing or two about keeping people warm and dry. This brand got its start in Norway more than 140 The years ago. Yes, you read that right. Helly Hansen has been making waterproof, warm outdoor gear for more than one hundred years! I think this brand knows what its doing!
Helly Hansen first started making jackets for folks working in fishing boats and on the docks. Suddenly, the company applied its cutting-edge technology and proprietary fabric blends to other outdoor applications: skiing, snowmobiling, hiking and so much more! Not only does a Helly Hansen ski jacket give you the ultimate protection from the weather, it’s the details that make it really stand out.
The hood of a Helly Hansen jacket not only covers your ski helmet, but it wraps around the front of your face- to provide the best protection against the wind. And, if you take a closer look at the collar of the coat you’ll see it zips all the way up to your nose. That level of protection could come in handy if the chairlift stops and you’re sitting idle in below freezing temperatures for a couple minutes.
Helly Hansen is however on the pricier side of ski jackets, with the typical jacket ringing in between $100-$800. The company also makes jackets specific to resort skiing and back-country skiing. If you want a Helly Hansen and it’s just not in your budget, find an outlet store! A Helly Hansen outlet store is a great way to get an awesome ski jacket for a fraction of the retail price!
Columbia knows a thing or two about making high quality ski jackets. The company started making outdoor gear decades ago in Portland, Oregon. Columbia is budget friendly and well made. With a Columbia ski jacket, you don’t have to break the bank to stay a warm on the slopes.
Columbia is known for developing new technology, like Omni Heat. Omni-Heat uses tiny silver dots on the inside of the jacket to reflect body heat back to your body. Now, that’s a jacket working double time! Columbia is quality and you can tell the difference when the wind is whizzing by you!
No wind or water is penetrating that ski coat. In addition to using high quality materials, Columbia knows what a skier wants: pockets for a cell phone and goggle! Columbia makes it easy to access your pockets, without letting body heat out or frigid weather in! How about that?