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9 Shred-Ready Winter Ski Jackets for Long Days on the Slopes

Skiing presents a somewhat tricky set of circumstances. Sure, you need to keep warm and dry as the temperatures plummet and snow flurries fall, but you also need winter gear that’s breathable and motion-friendly as you start to break a sweat during long intense laps down the mountain. It makes sense, then, that the best ski jackets offer a technically marvelous and consequently pricy blend of both qualities. Some of the best ski jacket brands — like Arc’teryx and Helly Hansen, to name a few — utilize both waterproofing and layering tactics in their jackets to keep snow out and warmth in, respectively, and vents in all the right places to make sure you don’t overheat on hotter days.

Though any of the best ski jackets listed below will enlist those strategies, subtle differences come into play depending on what type of skier you are. If your idea of a ski trip is hiking up an uncharted peak with skis on your back, your needs might be a bit different than someone ripping laps on sunny bluebird days at the resort, or another rider dealing with sub-freezing temperatures in a snowstorm.

And, of course, if you’re a snowboarder, there’s no shame in rocking a ski jacket. The best snowboarding jackets offer mostly identical materials and technologies as the best ski jackets. They’re often just branded and designed differently, with baggier silhouettes and bolder prints that mirror the culture of the sport. Lastly, just because we’re talking about the best winter ski jackets here doesn’t mean these can’t function once your day on the slopes is done. Many of these ski jackets will work great for any kind of outdoor cold-weather activities, from neighborhood walks to shoveling snow.

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Regardless of your sport or intention, the goals with any of the best ski jackets remain the same — stay warm, keep the elements out and look great every step of the way.

  

1. Arc’teryx Sabre AR Jacket

BEST OVERALL

Arc’teryx is a Canadian outdoor apparel company whose products toe the seemingly impossible line between high-end fashion and unmatched technical quality. There’s a reason its Sabre AR jacket lands so many top picks in the best winter ski jackets game, and it deservedly takes that place on our list as well. This jacket has everything — a clean, minimalist silhouette that’s somehow both lightweight and breathable while still incredibly warm. It’s got all the secure storage space you’d need for keeping your valuables safe, and even attaches to Arc’teryx’s Sabre AR Pants, creating a watertight seal that won’t let in any snow.

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Courtesy of Backcountry
  

2. Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 Jacket

RESORT FAVORITE

Another big name in skiing, Helly Hansen’s iconic double-H logo is one you’ve surely seen in lift lines at your favorite resort. But there’s a reason why the Alpha 3.0 is so popular — it’s a comprehensive jacket with all the features you need for sending it this season, with a breathable and waterproof exterior that wields an impressive amount of stretchiness to move with you as you carve through powder. Helly Hansen even added its patented Life Pocket, a compartment for your phone that protects it from incurring damage in the cold.

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3. The North Face ThermoBall Eco Snow Triclimate Jacket

BEST 3-in-1

The North Face needs no introduction. Its ThermaLite EcoBall Triclimate jacket offers versatility for unpredictable conditions, as its outer shell and insulated mid-layer liner connect (or detach) for changing conditions. Keep them together for extra warmth, or shed the liner for warmer days where you still need that outer waterproof protection. You can even wear the liner as a stylish jacket to the bar after a day on the mountain.

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4. Columbia Whirlibird IV Exchange Jacket

BUDGET PICK

Skiing might be one of the most expensive hobbies out there, thanks to the plethora of gear required and the advanced (and pricy) technologies needed to keep you warm in sub-freezing temperatures. For that reason, sometimes it makes sense to go for the more budget-friendly option of the best winter ski jackets. This jacket from Columbia features the same three-in-one versatility as The North Face’s EcoBall jacket, but for almost half the price. It comes in eight different colors (or more, depending on which retailer you purchase from), including a couple of bolder prints that’ll ensure your friends never lose sight of you in the snow.

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Courtesy of Columbia
  

5. Arc’teryx Macai Jacket

WARMEST SKI JACKET

Arc’teryx cracks this list once again with its Macai jacket, which is widely considered one of the warmest jackets on the market. It accomplishes this feat with RDS-certified down for premium insulation, and a GORE-TEX exterior to keep water and wind chill out. That top-tier warmth costs a small fortune, though, as the Macai hovers around the $1,000 mark. Still, if warmth is your priority, we recommend splurging.

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6. Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket

CLASSIC CHOICE

True to Patagonia’s pedigree as a brand that’s committed to building great products that also keep mother nature in mind, its Powder Bowl ski jacket features a two-layer GORE-TEX exterior constructed with recycled polyester. It also includes a built-in RECCO reflector, a harmonic radar technology used in rescue missions to help locate people lost in the outdoors.

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Courtesy of REI
  

7. Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket

BEST FOR BACKCOUNTRY

Backcountry skiing presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to gear. Riding and traveling in uncharted territory means you need a jacket that can keep fresh powder out, but also stay light and breathable while climbing on foot to your next peak. Outdoor Research’s Skytour AscentShell jacket accomplishes this, with a lightweight build, three-layer waterproof membrane and sealed seams. The vented armpits ensure you’ll stay nice and cool while touring the backcountry.

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8. Burton [ak] GORE-TEX Swash Jacket

BEST SNOWBOARDING JACKET

Turns out the best ski jackets and best snowboarding jackets have plenty of overlap. It’s true. The apparel for each sport is the same, built to accommodate for warmth, breathability and motion. Still, there are brands like Burton that are tried and true snowboard brands. The company’s Swash jacket has two layers of GORE-TEX fabric for ultimate waterproofing, and a longer, relaxed fit that’s more customary for snowboarders.

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Courtesy of Burton
  

9. Flylow Malone Jacket

ALSO CONSIDER

Flylow’s Malone jacket offers a stretchy, lightweight feel perfect for warmer days or sweaty backcountry tours. Its tricolor design is particularly appealing in a lineup of ski jackets that are so often too monochromatic. The waterproof membrane should keep snow and wind out, but might not be heavy enough for colder days, so it’s best used on bluebird resort days, or even as your only outer layer on a spring skiing day.

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Courtesy of Flylow
  

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