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January 18, 2020

The Best New Ski Jackets of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:35 am

There are two types of skiers. Those who head into the lodge or hit the hot tub the moment the weather gets adventurous, and those who are stoked for Mother Nature’s wilder moods. We picked out these jackets for the latter group. But even if you’re a bluebird day-only skier, these superior, all-weather shelters will let you ski longer and harder because you’ll be warm, dry, comfortable, and perhaps most importantly, confident.

These fully featured, movement-friendly jackets are designed for when you’re dealing with unpredictable weather: rain, sleet, snow, and even pounding storms. Some come with light insulation, others are simply shells. All of them are reliable armor against the elements. Our favorite overall pick for 2024 is the mighty which hits all the essential chords flawlessly, from fit to function.

Related: Best Small Ski Resorts to Avoid the Crowds

When selecting the best of the best for 2024, we considered the perfect anatomy of the ski jacket. Our criteria are fabric, features, function, fit, and versatility. We looked at fabric for its effective waterproof and breathable properties, DWR (durable water repellent) treatments, and durability. 

Features are also important. Our testers are sticklers about helmet-friendly hoods that stay in place (especially under wind load) and pockets that keep go-to essentials at-the-ready. Function is critical. Are the elbows articulated? Is the cut in the shoulders wide enough? Are the wrist and powder skirt closures snug and comfortable?

Related: Powder Paradise: Snowcat Skiing at Colorado’s Purgatory Resort

Fit is a bit more individual. Some testers love a loose-fitting freeride style, while others find comfort in an athletically-cut garment. Versatility is a must. These jackets are designed for skiing, but they also need to look good around town. Tailored for all the right situations, the following 17 jackets confirm that the finest ski gear within your budget is the best investment between here, the top of the gondola, and beyond. 

Your outer layer is your waterproof, breathable first-line of defense against the elements.

Courtesy of Patagonia

Our Testing Process: Why You Should Trust Us

Our team of nine testers knows how to do our homework out in the field. Collectively, we’ll rack up more than 1,000 on-snow days in a given season just testing out ski gear to see if it lives up to its promise. Most of us have been running ski apparel through the ringer in every type of alpine terrain and weather condition imaginable for over 20 ski seasons.

We’ve run glades, bowls, couloirs, steeps, and remote backcountry in this gear—and we’ve taken copious notes. We’ve skied the slopes of New England and Eastern Canadian hardpack, Whistler powder, Pacific Northwest cement, and everything in between, including months in the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. We offer a combined ski history of more than 100 years of high-level race and big-mountain experience racked up from Japan to North America to the Alps—and we know exactly what we want and need from the gear we’re relying upon. We also love being dazzled and inspired by the latest, greatest ski gear innovations, which never stop.

We’ve rigorously tested and compared thousands of items, harnessing not only ambition, but wisdom and experience, with testers from their early 20s to seasoned vets. We also tested a lot of this stuff with less experienced skiers to assess their own valuable takes. It’s never easy putting so much great ski gear and apparel through its paces before whittling it all down to our favorite performers—but it’s always a ton of fun. 

How to Layer for the Slopes

The ideal outfit for skiing or snowboarding starts from next-to-skin and works out. You’ll want a wool or synthetic base layer (aka long underwear). Base layers should have a fairly sleek fit, as you don’t want air between them and your body. However, if you wear your “longhandles” as a standalone layer for post-ski drinks and dinner, think about moving up a size. The midlayer you select for the day is determined by temperature and activity. Midlayers should be versatile; think vests, light sweaters, and weightless down puffys. Think of your outer layer as your ski uniform. This hardshell (waterproof and breathable nylon or polyester material) is your first line of defense against the elements.

Columbia Titanium Highland Summit Jacket

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Best Budget Ski Jacket: Columbia Titanium Highland Summit Jacket

This Titanium Highland Summit ticks all the boxes when it comes to a bomber ski jacket. It’s a technical marvel with Columbia’s latest Omni-Heat Infinity reflective technology (read warmth without weight), plus a wealth of features including underarm zippers for venting, plenty of pockets, a helmet compatible hood, and sealed seams to keep out wind, rain, and snow. Testers (especially the taller ones) appreciated the longer cut. We also love this jacket as it comes in the standard sizing, but also Big and Tall, XL and XXL. Plus, it has the best price of any jacket with similar technology. You’ll still have money left over for your season pass. 

$150 (MSRP $200) at Columbia

More Ski Jackets That We Love

Patagonia Untracked Jacket

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Patagonia keeps you warm and cozy—as well as assured that the brand is dedicated to responsible sourcing and environmental activism. The Untracked Jacket is made from a PFC-free, 100% recycled, 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric that’s bonded to a recycled solution-dyed flannel backer. Testers loved the fact that the pliable fabric never restricted movement. The jacket features a fixed powder skirt, and a soft, brushed face fabric that’s kind to your skin. There’s a one-zippered chest pocket with an internally accessible pass-through media pocket (just don’t forget to always close both zippers), handwarmer pockets, a pass pocket, and internal stretch pouch. For a versatile midlayer, testers loved the clean lines of the innovative Nano Air Hoody ($329). The exterior of this cozy, versatile jacket is a 100-percent recycled, slightly stretchy polyester ripstop with a PFC-free DWR finish, so you can wear it alone on bluebird days. Inside, is a warm recycled polyester insulation.

$699 at Patagonia

Stio Figment Jacket

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You don’t have to be able to drop into Corbet’s Couloir to appreciate Jackson-based Stio’s new Freeride collection—but after wearing this kit, you may gain inspiration. The colors are fun and the fit is superb. The is designed for the full range of freeride motion that all mountain athletes demand. The material is Stio’s proprietary 3L PeakProof fabric for best-in-class wind proofing/waterproofing to handle the most intense storm days. The fully-featured jacket has everything you’d need for a full day in mixed conditions, including long two-way underarm venting for custom climate control, interior zippered security, and drop-in stash pockets that are big enough for skins. A highly-adjustable helmet-compatible hood offers great peripheral vision. 

Columbia Skywalker Pilot Ski Suit

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One-piece ski suits are back with a vengeance. Columbia’s contribution for this boomerang trend is—how else could we put it?— out-of-this-world. The new is part of their Star Wars collection and inspired by Luke Skywalker’s iconic flight suit. The suit was unveiled at the NASCAR Cup Series Championships for race car drivers like Bubba Wallace before its intro for skiers and snowmobilers. The Skywalker Pilot Ski Suit is a special edition piece (available online only) that’s built with Omni-Tech waterproof breathable fabric for epic snow days. The coverall-style suit features multiple cargo pockets, plus a pass pocket on the sleeve and flashy gold thermal reflective lining. Star Wars fans will appreciate the detailed patches, hidden blueprint graphics of R2-D2, and the T-65 X-wing Starfighter with messages in Aurebesh. (If you’re considering this one, you know that’s the written language of the Star Wars galaxy). Mark Hamill signed a handful of the suits. The autographed ones sell for $2,000, with proceeds going to charity. May the force be with you!

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Alpine Down Hooded Jacket

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If Alpine Touring is your game or you’re planning on resort skiing in frigid conditions, the is your new best friend. The ultralight Pertex shell fabric of this magnificent puffy is both water and abrasion resistant. Inside is responsibly-sourced, 800-fill down insulation. Testers loved the cuff that features a polyester insulation up to the first baffle to keep the sleeves from soaking in water, and the highly packable design that stuffs into its own pocket, complete with an internal carabiner clip loop for easy and secure carry. The hood is one of the most helmet compatible we’ve ever tested. It’s obvious that big-mountain skiers and alpinists helped design this jacket. For super-cold days, wear the ($275) under your shell. These low-profile, 800-fill down pants have the natural breathability of down and provide impressive warmth. They also pack down into a fist-sized bundle. 

Snow Peak 3 Layer Graphene Jacket

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Japanese craftsmanship is hard to beat for its unique fashion and superb function. Testers loved the unique geometrical color blocking and asymmetrical zippers of the Snow Peak’s 3L , a true showstopper. The jacket’s closure, with its unique hood and collar design, has a diagonal zipper that’s angled away from your neck, so the front of the coat is unfettered—and there’s nothing to scratch your chin. The stylish ($620) is both insulated and waterproof, with a hood drawcord, dual side pockets, pass pocket, and powder skirt. We tested both jackets in extreme Pacific Northwest storm conditions. Not only did they hold up to relentless sleet and snow, they kept us warm, cozy, and fashionable.

$720 at snow peak

Rab Mythic G Jacket

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Rab, one of the cool British alpine brands, has proven that warmth doesn’t need to equal weight—or bulk. At just 9.8 oz (men’s medium), the Mythic G Jacket provides next-level protection with 1,000 fill-power European goose down. The lining is a visible heat-reflective TILT material that’s body mapped to improve heat retention and thermoregulation. The nylon ripstop material has a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating that sheds snow and drizzle. We love the pre-curved sleeves and long tail for climbing and skiing. Testers report that jacket’s cut is perfect—not too baggy but never constricting. Consider the Mythic G a legend in its own time.

Paka Apu Parka

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Paka, the Peruvian-based brand that focuses on ethically sourced materials and supporting the local workforce, employs over 200 Quechua weavers at four-times the living wage, and makes 90 percent of its products locally. The Apu Parka, which just won a prestigious ISPO design award, features a high-stretch, PFAS-free DWR rainproof shell that repels moisture and wind. The insulation is the brand’s proprietary Pakafill material (sourced from free-roaming alpacas), that’s rated to minus-20 degree temps. Our après-ski focused testers also raved about the Paka Hoodie ($139), which is a mere 10 ounces and softer than most cashmere sweaters. The Royal Alpaca wool also has significant odor-fighting characteristics. Hang it in a place with good airflow and chances are you can wear it all season long without washing. 

$349 at paka

Rossignol Evader Ski Jacket

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The French take skiing very seriously, and Rossignol is no exception. The new Evader Ski Jacket has the luxurious feel of a stretch soft-shell with 3-layer waterproof protection. “I loved the slightly oversized fit, as I could wear a big puffy underneath on cold days,” says one Alaska-based tester. The seams are fully taped, so there’s no danger of leakage, even when snow turns to rain. Plus, there are all the features dedicated skiers require, including waterproof zippers, underarm vents, integrated powder skirt, and helmet compatible hood. We like the unique thumb loops that help keep sleeves in place when you’re putting on gloves. Inside is a handy emergency cheat sheet for backcountry warriors that provides signals for rescue helicopters and S.O.S. signals.

Montane Anti-Freeze XPD Jacket

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Montane is based in the U.K. and works with alpinists and skiers worldwide. So, it’s not unusual that when we think of a puffy, we think of the Anti-Freeze. The aptly-named jacket is one of the warmest ones we’ve tested. That it packs neatly into a 9×9-inch stuff sack reminds us of a magic trick (now you see it, now you don’t). The jacket is ideal for high-altitude mountaineering, dicey backcountry ski-mo adventures, and resort skiing on bone-chilling days. The outer fabric is 100-percent recycled Pertex Quantum Eco with PFC-free DWR; inside is 210g of water-resistance, fluorocarbon free HyperDry 750-fill down. There’s an inside stuff pouch for gloves and hat, two exterior pockets, and exterior chest pocket. The helmet compatible hood has multiple adjustments and rolls away when not needed. 

$295 at backcountry

Smartwool Intraknit Merino Insulated Jacket

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Using recycled fiber and body mapping construction, Smartwool levels the fashion-function playing field with the new Intraknit Jacket. The recycled wool insulation is breathable and warm without bulk. The texture of the sweater reaches artwork perfection; what you can’t see is the knit-in DWR that allows the fabric to shed water. The material moves with you without clinging. Knitting is body mapped, meaning that there is more yarn in places where you need it for warmth and durability, with less in other spots (like the back) to add breathability and dump excess heat. This is a jacket you’ll wear skiing, to work, and out on the town. For a smart baselayer, we recommend the Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Baselayer top and pants. The top comes in a crew, quarter zip, and hoodie. The Smartwool Merino knit is surprisingly soft—wearable next to skin with no itch at all. Testers loved the pants for their wide (read no pinch) waistband. 

$250 at smartwool

Decathalon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Down Puffer Jacket

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In terms of well-performing bargains, the Decathalon Forclaz (named after a Swiss col between Verbier and Chamonix) can’t be beat. The French brand has stores across the E.U., but is new to the U.S. market. This hooded jacket transitions seamlessly from piste to off-piste to après ski, with low-profile 800-fill responsibly sourced down that makes for a perfect second layer—or an as-needed one that can be stuffed in one- of two-zippered side pockets for storage. There’s also a handy loop for clipping the stuff sack on your harness if you’re not carrying a pack. The 3-panel hood is designed to wear under a helmet and the fit is snug enough that it’ll stay in place. We like the long, 4-inch collar that offers chin and neck protection when you’re zipped up tight. 

$100 at Decathlon

Black Crows Ferus Mechanical Jacket

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Clean, sleek lines, mesh-lined underarm vents (no snow sneaking inside on pow days), light insulation, and ample pockets made the a tester favorite. The 2-layer shell has sufficient stretch despite the slim/athletic fit, offering a full range of movement. The interior is in one word, gorgeous. The silky soft interior is printed with a detailed topo of the Mont Blanc massif, complete with glaciers, arêtes, monts, and cols—an inspirational bucket list map that our alpinist/big mountain ski guide testers spent hours poring over. Chamonix-based Black Crows is known for performance and fun. They nailed both with the Ferus Mechanical jacket.

$540 at backcountry

Picture Organic Clothing Welcome 3 Layer Jacket

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France’s Picture Organic Clothing is best known for its efforts to make apparel more sustainable—and more hip. The brand was one of the first outerwear companies to eliminate PFC’s (they actually beat Patagonia to the punch). And, in 2019, it developed the world’s first bio-based waterproof-breathable membrane. The new stretch 3-layer Welcome Jacket is designed for high-intensity splitboarding and ski touring. The polyester face fabric, made with sustainable bio-sourced polyester, features a 20K/20K membrane with a PFC-free DWR treatment and durable zips. Testers liked the jacket/pant 3-point interface, which keeps the removable snow skirt from riding up. We also appreciate the decorative seam taping with its black-and-white alpine pattern, and snow gaiters that are fumble-free. The material has a soft, supple feel to it that testers especially loved.

Elevenate St. Moritz Jacket

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Shells are great for when you’re layering, but for alpine skiing, insulated jackets are often the ticket. Based in Åre, Sweden, Elevenate is the brainchild of a former competition freeskier, Sara Rönngren, and mountain guide, Jimmy Odén. The St. Moritz Jacket is testament to their understanding of the mountains. Made from waterproof and breathable Gor-Tex Infinium Windstopper on the outside, with Primaloft inside for warmth, the St. Moritz has touches of luxury that testers loved. Lamb-soft fleece lines the inside of the collar, pockets, and even the rim of the helmet-friendly hood. We like the detail of the hood adjustment cords that are routed away from the face, so when you’ve kicked into overdrive, they don’t flap around. Inside is a roomy mesh stuff-it pouch for gloves or goggles, spray skirt, and phone pocket.

$880 at Elevenate


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