A Guide to the Best Ski Jackets for the Season

Group of people is wearing the ski gear most specially the best ski jackets

So you think you can ski? Well, that jacket you scrambled to buy before your first ski trip tells a different story. Ski jackets are your status symbol on the slopes. But more importantly, they're the factor that decides whether you stay or leave during the last two hours of your ski day.

Get the wrong jacket, and you’ll find the ski lift is a lot colder at night. Thankfully we’ve got your back. You need an upgrade. It’s apparent. Let us fix you up with something that will keep you warm, dry, and looking fly.

Comparison Table

What to Look For in Ski Jackets

Man holding a ski pole and wearing a gloves,shades and ski jackets

Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels

The most significant decision is which type of jacket you want. There are three main types of ski jacket: shells, insulated jackets, and 3-in-1 jackets.

Shells are an outer protective layer that provides wind and waterproofing. They usually don’t offer much warmth, but allow layers to be worn underneath to make up for it.

Insulated jackets are designed to keep you warm in the coldest conditions. They’re usually bulkier than shells but less puffy than 3-in-1s.

3-in-1 ski jackets typically have a shell and insulated jacket attached to each other. You can choose to wear both, or only the shell or insulated jacket. They’re versatile and affordable.

After choosing your type, the most significant differences between jackets will be their weatherproofing, warmth, mobility, breathability, and functionality.

How We Reviewed

We conducted extensive research online to find the best ski jackets on the market. Next, we looked at top lists and reviews from various reputable sources including POWDER Magazine, Outdoor Gear Labs, SwitchBack Travel, Amazon, and more. We focused on a wide range of brands, jacket type, and price for a variety of preferences, ski styles, and budgets.

How Much Do Ski Jackets Cost?

black ski jacket

Image by bigbarbs from Pixabay

You can find quality 3-in-1 jackets and more basic shells for $ to $$. These will get the job done, especially if you’re a more casual skier. The mid- to high-tier shells and insulated ski jackets tend to fall between $$ and $$$.

Typically the higher-tier ski jackets will bring better mobility, breathability, and functionality compared to lower tier jackets. High-end insulated jackets will usually provide exceptional warmth, with a lightweight build that won’t restrict your movement.

The Top Ten Ski Jackets for the 2018-2019 Season

After conducting our extensive research, we narrowed the candidates down to these top ten ski jackets. There is no specific order to the list due to the wide range of styles, prices, and preferences covered.

OutdoorMaster Men's 3-in-1 Ski Jacket - Winter Jacket Set with Fleece...
  • VERSATILE 3-IN-1 SKI JACKET FOR MEN - 3-in-1 ski jacket set for all weather conditions. Both the hooded waterproof...
  • WATERPROOF & BREATHABLE HOODED SHELL - External hooded soft shell made of a waterproof & breathable material with...
  • REMOVABLE WARM INNER FLEECE LINER - The removable inner fleece liner provides great comfort & enough warmth for...

If you’re a beginner looking for something to hold you over for the season this should do the trick.

Key Features

The OutdoorMaster has good wind and water resistance while providing reliable protection against the cold. It also has plenty of pockets and an adjustable cuff.

Pros and Cons

The jacket provides a lot of protection against the cold and rain, especially for its price tag.

On the other hand, Amazon reviewers report that the jacket can fit a bit slim for men, so pay particular attention to the sizing chart.

Outdoor Gear Lab praises the Arc’teryx Macai as the “best-insulated ski resort jacket.” If you’re looking for a ski jacket to handle the coldest and harshest conditions, this is the one for you.

Key Features

The Macai’s Gore-Tex fabric makes the jacket impenetrable to moisture. The body-mapped insulation ensures longevity and moisture resistance for the jacket as well. Also, Outdoor Gear Labs states the Macai is incredibly lightweight for how warm it is. They also mention the jacket has a very form-fitting design.

Pros and Cons

The Macai is a jacket that will keep you warm and dry in just about any weather condition. Its lightweight and close fit make it an excellent jacket for hitting the slopes.

On the downside, ventilation in the Macai is lackluster, aPrimo Downn issue due to how warm the jacket is. You almost can’t take the jacket out unless its near subzero temps outside.

The Down Sweater is another top-tier insulated jacket with a more affordable price tag than the Arc’teryx Macai.

Key Features

The Down Sweater comes with Gore-Tex fabric, a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish, and 800 fill power down insulation. To add to the weatherproofing, the Down Sweater comes with a removable and adjustable snow skirt, keeping snow out of your coat during the worst of biffs.

Outdoor Gear Labs says the jacket has excellent mobility and fantastic warming abilities for its lightweight. They also praise the outstanding ventilation of the jacket due to its pit zips and main vent. To top things off, the jacket has waterproof zippers and mid diameter cuffs that will fit over most gloves.

Pros and Cons

This jacket provides excellent warmth, as well as top-of-the-line ventilation. Its design allows mobility, has excellent weatherproofing and is durable.

Outdoor Gear Lab’s biggest complaint was that the Down’s Sweater fit was a bit too baggy for their liking.

Winter Jacket Men Warm Casual Parkas Cotton Stand Collar Winter Coats...
  • Style:Casual,Type:Regular,Material:Polyester Cotton,Filling:Cotton,Clothing Length:Regular
  • Hooded:No,Brand Name:Show-Show-Fashion,Model Number:YA332,Cuff Style:Conventional,Decoration:Pockets
  • Sleeve Style:Regular,Down Content:50%,Collar:Stand,Outerwear Type:Down & Parkas,Detachable Part:None

This insulated jacket is another close contender to the Patagonia Primo Down and Arc’teryx Macai ski jackets.

Key Features

The wind and waterproofing of the Stio Shot 7 are almost as good as that of the Primo Down and Macai. The jacket comes with a waterproof shell and waterproof down insulation. Outdoor Gear Labs describes the fit as close and snug.

Some additional features of the jacket include pit zips, a helmet-compatible hood, a snow skirt, and waterproof zippers.

Pros and Cons

It’s one of the best jackets you can get for its price. It will keep you surprisingly warm for its weight. It has a great fit, and it may not be impenetrable, but it'll keep you dry in just about any weather.

According to Outdoor Gear Labs, the Stio Shot 7s outer shell tends to catch snow which then melts and soaks the outer shell.

Flylow Higgins 2.1 Coat - Men's
  • 3-layer stretchy Stormshell Intuitive fabric
  • 20k/20k waterproof breathable membrane
  • High performance DWR (Durable Water Repellent)

Moving away from the insulated jackets, we have the Flylow Higgins soft shell. Let’s just say this jacket is as great for touring as it is for inbounds skiing.

Key Features

This softshell sports a 3-layer Intuitive membrane and a DWR finish, along with fully sealed seams, providing excellent water and windproofing. The Higgins excels at wicking away moisture and has pit zips that provide outstanding ventilation. Additional features include six pockets, a soft tricot lining, and the ability to fold up tight into a backpack.

Pros and Cons

The FlyLow Higgins provides ample warmth for a soft shell. Along with that, it has outstanding weatherproofing. It’s durable, stylish, and wicks away moisture very well.

According to CampMan, the biggest drawback is the lack of a ski skirt. Outdoor Gear Labs also describes it as a bit of a stiff jacket compared to other softshell ski jackets.

Patagonia Women's Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover Raw Linen/White Crossdye...
  • Made of Polartec Thermal Pro polyester (51% recycled) fleece this quintessential fleece pullover has feminine...
  • Stand-up collar has doubled fleece for warmth; front placket hides the 4-snap closure and is reinforced with nylon
  • Kangaroo-style handwarmer pocket

This softshell/hardshell hybrid was designed specifically for touring, and it shows in its design and features.

Key Features

Starting off, it has a waterproof 3-layer membrane and a DWR finish. Throw the adjustable powder skirt in, and you’re sure to be dry no matter what when wearing this jacket. It lacks pit zips, but according to Mountain Weekly News, it stays very breathable. The soft knit backer wicks away moisture, keeping you dry on the inside. For increased mobility, the Descensionist also comes with a built-in mechanical stretch feature.

Pros and Cons

It’s weather resistant, breathable, and its moisture-wicking backer make it an excellent choice for touring. The added mobility and powder skirt make it a good choice as well.

Unfortunately, it lacks pit zips. This can hinder your ability to cool off when touring. It also lacks pockets.

Columbia Men's Bugaboo Interchange Jacket, Trail, Small
  • Omni-Heat thermal reflective liner
  • Omni-Tech waterproof/breathable critically seam sealed
  • Zip-in and 3-point Interchange System. Fleece liner. Removable, adjustable storm hood

If you’re looking for something a step above the OutdoorMaster 3-in-1, this jacket’s what you’re looking for.

Key Features

It has a durable design, a detachable hood, and folds up with ease. It’s a great run-of-the-mill 3-in-1 with quality and a stylish design.

Pros and Cons

It’s a very warm 3-in-1 jacket with excellent weather resistance. Its durability and affordability make it a fantastic choice for someone on a budget. It can be a bit bulky, though, and it lacks the ventilation provided by pit zips.

Dakine Men's Wyeast Jacket, Balsam, Black, M
  • More days on the mountain and more days in the water
  • Protection from the elements
  • Environmentally friendlier materials

Here’s a hardshell with a stylish design, affordable price, and a solid build.

Key Features

The Bugaboo Interchange is a weather resistant shell that will keep you dry on the slopes while looking fly. It will keep you decently warm, and if it doesn’t do the job for the temperature, there’s room for one or two layers underneath.

The jacket is pretty breathable, and if you want more airflow, it has pit zips that you can undo. It has a long, slim fit, and a durable design.

Pros and Cons

It provides an ample amount of warmth for a shell. It’s built very well so it should last you for a while.

On the other hand, the slim fit won’t allow many layers underneath. This can be an issue if you’re going to be facing icy weather.

The White Room Jacket is a weatherproof hardshell that's perfect for resort skiing. It’s warm, durable, weatherproof, and has a very functional design.

Key Features

First, it has a Gore-Tex membrane, so you already know it’s going to keep the weather out while staying breathable. Functionality is this jacket's middle name. It comes with hip vents, plenty of pockets including a sleeve pocket for your ski pass, as well as an in-pocket goggle wipe. There’s also a removable and adjustable snow skirt built in, along with stretch fabric for mobility.

Pros and Cons

The functionality, weatherproofing, and solid build make this a solid choice. On the other hand, Outdoor Gear Labs thought the jacket felt a bit stiff, especially when wearing fleece layers underneath.

Helly Hansen Men's Alpha 3.0 Waterproof Insulated Ski Jacket, Olympian...
  • Our best-selling ski jacket just got even better with the innovative Life Pocket
  • Helly Tech Professional
  • 2 ply fabric construction

Last but not least, we have the Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0. It’s a synthetic insulated ski jacket that matches up with the best of them.

Key Features

It’s a very weather-resistant jacket that’s a little less warm compared to the down insulated jackets in this list. However, because it’s synthetic, it will hold up better in soaking wet conditions compared to its down-insulated counterparts. It has mesh-lined pit zips and a host of other features, including a goggle wipe, forearm pocket, and hand warmer pockets. This jacket has a slim, close fit.

Pros and Cons

The many features, excellent water resistance, and good fit make this jacket an ideal choice for resort skiing. On the other hand, the synthetic insulation will wear out faster than down insulation.

The Best of the Best

a couple of ski jackets worn by a group of people

Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels

Ultimately, the best jacket in this list has to be the Stio Shot 7. One could argue it should be the Arc’teryx Macai. However, the Stio Shot 7 has a near-comparable performance to the Macai for hundreds of dollars less. The Macai’s price tag, as well as its limitation to near extreme weather, drop it below the Stio Shot 7 for the best choice for a go-to jacket for this year’s ski season.

What are your favorite ski jackets? Let us know in the comments below.

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