ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SKI JACKETSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SKI JACKETSSKI JACKETS REVIEWSNORTH FACE INITIATOR THERMOBALL TRICLIMATEARMADA ASPECTARC’TERYX SABREBLACK DIAMOND HELIOVOLCOM LSALOMON FANTASYUNDER ARMOUR STORM HILLCRESTHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SKI JACKETSINSULATIONSYNTHETICDOWNSHELL (NO INSULATION)WATERPROOFING AND BREATHABILITYWATERPROOFINGBREATHABILITYPOCKETSCUFFSVENTSHOODSNOW SKIRT AND PANT CONNECTION When you’re up in the mountains you want to be focused on the pistes, the powder and the perfect pop; you don’t want to worry about being too cold or too hot. Making sure you invest in the best ski jacket will not only eliminate your temperature troubles, but it’ll also accommodate a good range of motion, keep the snow out and keep your snacks safe. Snow sports are tough on the body and tough on your equipment. A ski jacket has a variety of tasks and one that’s not up to the job will quickly become the bane of your time in the mountains. With a few crucial points to understand, read on and you’ll soon be able to identify the ski jacket of your dreams. For more of our top snow sports gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Skis | Ski Poles | Ski Bindings | Ski Boots Snowboards | Snowboard Bindings | Snowboard Boots Goggles | Helmets | Cameras | Bags Jackets | Pants | Socks | Gloves | Hats LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR AFELLOW SKIER?Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your skiing friends.From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone. VIEW NOW QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SKI JACKETS 1. NORTH FACE INITIATOR TRI VIEW AT REI 2. ARMADA ASPECT VIEW AT REI 3. ARC’TERYX SABRE VIEW AT REI 4. BLACK DIAMOND HELIO VIEW AT REI 5. VOLCOM L INSUATED GORE-TEX VIEW AT REI 6. SALOMON FANTASY VIEW AT AMAZON 7. UNDER ARMOUR STORM HILLCREST VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SKI JACKETS PICTURESKI JACKETBEST USEINSULATIONPRICERATING PICTURESKI JACKETBEST USEINSULATIONPRICERATING North Face Initiator ThermoBall TriclimateOverallYes$$4.3 Armada AspectOverallNo$5 Arc'teryx SabreBackcountryYes$$$4.5 Black Diamond HelioBackcountryNo$$$5 Volcom LBackcountryNo$$4.5 Salomon FantasyDownhill/AlpineYes$$4.3 Under Armour Storm HillcrestBudgetNo$5 SKI JACKETS REVIEWS NORTH FACE INITIATOR THERMOBALL TRICLIMATE Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: All-mountain downhill WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A INSULATION: Outer Jacket: None / Inner Jacket: Synthetic PrimaLoft ADDED FEATURES: 3-in-1 jacket, lots of pockets, helmet-compatible hood, popper powder skirt, armpit vents PROS: Removable internal insulated jacket means good for warm weather and cold, PrimaLoft insulation copes with dampness and remains lightweight, goggle cloth inside goggle pocket so you can clear smears on the mountain CONS: Powder skirt only works when in shell mode, muted colors ARMADA ASPECT Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: All-mountain WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A INSULATION: None ADDED FEATURES: Microfiber chin lining, range of pockets, armpit vents, powder skirt can snap onto pants, fully taped seams PROS: Jacket to pant compatibility with Armada pants, helmet-friendly hood for inclement weather, soft microfleece chin protection keeps skin irritation away, very affordable CONS: Baggy fit might not be ideal for some, may not withstand heavy rain or wet and heavy snow ARC’TERYX SABRE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Backcountry and ski-touring WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A INSULATION: None ADDED FEATURES: Microfiber chin lining, range of pockets, armpit vents, powder skirt can snap onto pants, fully taped seams PROS: Helmet-compatible storm hood turns with your head, brush lining offers slight insulation, RECCO avalanche reflector embedded inside, lightweight build is great for backcountry touring CONS: Pretty pricey although Arc’Teryx tends to live up to its cost, powder skirt popper connection only works with compatible pants BLACK DIAMOND HELIO Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Expert backcountry tourers WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A INSULATION: None ADDED FEATURES: Very lightweight, packs up small, armpit vents, chest pockets PROS: Just 13oz (370g) so it won’t hold you back on backcountry ascents or sunny spring pistes, harness compatible, the extra-large chest pockets ideal for use with gloves, GORE-TEX waterproofing means no water will get through CONS: Fairly roomy in the chest area which may annoy some users, expensive for those who aren’t regulars in the backcountry VOLCOM L Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Beginner and intermediate backcountry skiers/snowboarders WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A INSULATION: None ADDED FEATURES: Fully taped seams, GORE-TEX waterproofing, 8 pockets, mesh vents, VOLCOM jacket to pant zipper system PROS: Affordable jacket with all the backcountry plus points, fully taped seams work in conjunction with GORE-TEX waterproofing for lasting dryness, emergency whistle on zipper, hems tightens from within pocket CONS: Not a very interesting design, lacks water sealed zippers SALOMON FANTASY Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Resort and alpine WOMEN’S VERSION: Salomon Women’s Fantasy INSULATION: Synthetic 100g ADDED FEATURES: Removable powder skirt, lots of pockets including lift pass pocket, moisture wicking cuffs, RECCO reflector, removable hood PROS: The removable hood allows this jacket to suit you on sunny days all the way to blizzards, fully taped seams combined with 10K/10K waterproofing and breathability, 100g insulation keeps you warm on the pistes CONS: 10K waterproofing might be on the low side for snowboarders or low valley resorts, media pocket is undersized for larger smartphones UNDER ARMOUR STORM HILLCREST Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner backcountry and resort holidays WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A INSULATION: None ADDED FEATURES: Thumbhole cuffs, pockets and headphone opening, thermal lining for added warmth PROS: Taped seams and thumb-loop cuffs help keep snow out, powder skirt and elastic hem protect you in falls, trademarked ColdGear technology coating helps retain body heat CONS: Hood not helmet-compatible, not particularly lightweight for backcountry expeditions Gear up for snow adventures, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on Snow GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SKI JACKETS INSULATION Unless skiing on a particularly warm day or ski touring, chances are you’ll need some kind of insulation. Many people choose insulated ski jackets with insulation built in, but you can also choose a shell jacket and add insulation yourself in the form of a fleece or lightweight down jacket underneath. SYNTHETIC Synthetic insulation is much cheaper than down and has some interesting and useful capabilities. It works well when damp, is washable and the top of the range stuff has properties like odor-control and super softness. The downside of synthetic insulation is weight and size. Synthetic insulations don’t pack down as easily as down and more material is needed to provide the same level of warmth. However, some companies, like PrimaLoft, are creating down-like synthetic insulation. DOWN Very lightweight and highly compressible, down is from ducks or geese and is the warmest type of insulation. More expensive than synthetic, down comes in specific fill grades; the higher the fill number (i.e. 800) the less down the jacket needs to keep you warm. The negatives of down are price and its generally poor performance and recoverability after getting wet (it cannot be washed with water either). There are some ethical concerns regarding down as well, however, many companies are now using responsibly sourced and cruelty-free down. SHELL (NO INSULATION) Shell jackets are very popular because you can wear them for any kind of skiing or mountain activities. Waterproof and often very breathable, shells are great for warm weather as they lack insulation but are often designed with room underneath for a thin down jacket, fleece or other mid-layers. WATERPROOFING AND BREATHABILITY Ski jackets have two main jobs. Job A) Stop water getting in and Job B) Allow water vapor (including sweat) to get out. GORE-TEX is commonly used and is roughly equivalent to 20K/20K waterproofing and breathability. WATERPROOFING Ski jacket (and tent) waterproofing is measured in millimeters of water. For instance, if a jacket has 5K written on the label, that means that a square inch of the fabric (I know, mixed unit systems) could hold 5000mm (16.4 feet) of water before leaking. That actually only equates to a rain shower and possibly not a sustained one. When it comes to choosing a ski jacket, you’ll have a choice from 1K to 20K waterproofing; the higher the number, the more expensive the jacket will likely be. BREATHABILITY Another weird looking number system, breathability is measured in grams per square meter (g/m2). This means that a 10,000g/m2 rating allows 10,000g of water to pass through a square meter of fabric. The high the number, the more breathable the fabric is. Breathability is very important for skiers and all mountain lovers. Snow sports are tough and when you sweat, you need that sweat to evaporate away from your skin and out of the jacket without making anything damp on its way. The more breathable a fabric, the drier you’ll stay and the less likely the sweat is to make you freeze on the next lift. POCKETS A ski jacket with pockets big enough to access with gloves on is a huge plus but what might you even need to put in your pockets? Snack bars, wallet, cell phone, keys, mp3 player, pocket suncream, lip screen and a trusty pack of tissues can usually be found in the typical downhill skiers pockets. If you love music while you’re skiing then look out for a jacket with a specific mp3 player pocket complete with hole for headphones. Goggle mesh pockets are also common. Backcountry skiers and ski tourers wear backpacks for safety gear and water, so an abundance of pockets is less important. In fact, for backcountry skiing, you might prefer to keep your jacket fairly empty for greater range of movement. CUFFS This really comes down to thumbs loops or no thumb loops. For those who detest the idea of cold loops, snow creeping up cuffs in a fall or just like to be snug, tight inner cuffs with thumbs loops are a great feature. VENTS Vents are different from breathability and are usually under the armpits and sometimes in the chest of a jacket. Ski jacket vents can be unzipped to reveal a mesh or hole that allows much more air to get through and cool you down. HOOD Is the hood helmet compatible? Hoods that are big enough to fit over helmets are useful if the weather gets particularly savage but not a deal-breaker. Some people find hoods obscure their view when skiing and only need them for snowy walks around the town. Is the hood detachable? Detachable hoods are great on bluebird days when you just don’t want or need the extra weight. SNOW SKIRT AND PANT CONNECTION Snow skirts, also called powder skirts or waist gaiters, secure around your lower waist to stop any powder rushing up in a fall. Some people love them, some people hate them but they’re definitely a nice option to have in your ski jacket, even if you don’t think you’ll use it. With clips, velcro or even zips, some jackets have inbuilt capabilities for attaching to snow pants. Once attached, not only will your jacket never ride up in a tumble, but no ounce of snow will work its way up to your midriff. SNOW SPORTS RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSSNOW SPORTSTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. BASICS 5. SKIING 2. SNOW CLOTHING 6. SNOWBOARDING 3. ACCESSORIES 7. SNOWSHOEING 4. SNOW SAFETY 1. BASICS 2. SNOW CLOTHING 3. ACCESSORIES 4. SNOW SAFETY 5. SKIING 6. SNOWBOARDING 7. SNOWSHOEING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.