A ski jacket is your first line of defence against the cold, harsh winter elements, whether skiing pistes in Meribel or backcountry touring in Colorado.
We've picked out the best ski and snowboard jackets this season and then further whittled down our selection to the stand-out performers of the year from the best brands. From great-value insulated piste jackets to high-end technical shell jackets designed for backcountry skiers and snowboarders, there's something here to suit everyone.
- Columbia Highland Summit Jacket
- The North Face Dragline Jacket
- Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket
- Keela Munro Jacket
- Salomon Moon Patrol GTX
- Klattermusen Brage 2.0
- Patagonia Storm Shift
- Picture Goods Jacket
- The North Face Chakal Jacket
- Arc’teryx Sabre SV Jacket (Sentinel is the women’s equivalent)
- Rab Khroma Kinetic
- Buyer's guide: What do you need in a ski jacket?
Columbia Highland Summit Jacket
Best for: Deep winter days on a budget
If you’re looking for an extra boost of warmth from your ski gear, Columbia’s new Highland Summit Jacket offers just that. Lightly insulated and lined with Columbia’s Omni-TECH™, it’s designed to offer instant warmth while remaining breathable. The gold dots reflect your body heat back towards you, significantly reducing radiant heat loss – ideal for a Scottish summit or a chilly chairlift. It’s waterproof and windproof with dedicated pockets for ski pass and goggles and the stylish drop tail design comes comfortably down over the back of your hips. When the wind picks up you can cinch in the helmet compatible hood and adjustable cuffs, button up the powder skirt, and enjoy a cold mountain day from first lift till last.
Buy Columbia Highland Summit Jacket: £270 at Columbiasportswear.co.uk
The North Face Dragline Jacket
Best for: Shredding all over the mountain
Boxy, bold and built for boosting around the whole mountain, The North Face Dragline Jacket will work for all your lift served snow days, from sun soaked resort laps to playing in the powder. The casual fit and looks hide an otherwise high-tech spec, with a durable 3-layer ripstop Dryvent fabric, full seam sealing, and YKK Aquaguard zips to keep all moisture out. In true freeride style the hood is large and helmet compatible, and the chin comes up high over the face to offer excellent protection from biting winds. Inside, there’s a media port for headphones and a ton of great storage including a large internal dump pocket and two deep drop pockets on the front. More muted colours are available.
Buy The North Face Dragline Jacket: £380 at The North Face
Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket
Best for: Skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
We’re big fans of Artilect here at SNOW—the Colorado-based brand just makes really nice looking kit. Their Shadow Canyon jacket is designed to be multi-use, so it actually doesn’t feature a powder skirt. But we don’t feel that detracts too much from what is otherwise a stonking ski jacket. The 3-layer, 40D, two-way stretch ripstop shell is soft to wear but highly abrasion resistant and performs brilliantly, whether skinning up a slope or kicking back in town. The styling is minimalist, meaning it will work in all settings and situations and it’s lightweight and packable for stashing in your backpack on summer hikes.
Buy Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket: £450 at artilect.studio
Keela Munro Jacket
Best for: Skiing in Scotland, where conditions are… Variable.
Robust, practical, and hardy. The Munro is the sort of jacket that you use to weather a Scottish winter - and that makes perfect sense as Keela are a proudly Scottish company. This no-nonsense jacket, with a barrage of features designed to help you survive in the toughest mountain environments, also comes at a very keen price considering the specs. So, despite not being your classic ski jacket, the Munro is worthy of consideration for ski holidays. Fully waterproof, windproof and breathable it’s built with Keela's System Dual Protection technology to wick moisture away from the body and so, despite a fair amount of heft to the material, it keeps you dry inside. It’s the first choice for mountain rescue teams, tactical forces and expeditions around the world, so we think it should do just fine on the ski slopes too.
Buy Keela Munro Jacket: from ££199.95 - £209.00 at Amazon
Salomon Moon Patrol GTX
Best for: Big mountain freeriders who need style and substance.
The Moon Patrol GTX is designed for skiers and snowboarders looking to make a statement with all the technical features for high performance riding. Built to deal with all conditions, it has a durable 3-layer GORE-TEX shell, and three large, easy access pockets - perfect for stashing gloves, goggles or even skins on short hike and ride missions. Breathable and protective, it has underarm zips for dumping heat quickly and a large, adjustable hood with deep collar. To give you the best freedom of movement whether you’re zipping down the bumps or lining up your next rock drop, it’s built with Salomon’s Motion Fit™ patterning. A design technique that should keep the fabric moving with your body without getting in the way.
Buy Salomon Moon Patrol GTX: £500 at Salomon.com <COMING SOON>
Klattermusen Brage 2.0
Best for: A one jacket quiver to take you from the peak to the pub.
Klattermusen come out of Sweden, and although that doesn't guarantee decent outdoor clothing, they do have skin in the cold-weather-game - so it tends to ring true. They're also a mountaineering focussed brand which gives us confidence that they know how to protect you from the elements. The Brage 2.0's 3-layer shell make-up is high end, it’s built with Pertex® Shield Revolve (a 100% recycled waterproof fabric) with fully taped seams. It’s soft and stretchy with a smart, low profile style. The adjustable hood moves with your head, cinching down easily over hat or helmet, and there’s good storage and plenty of adjustability to hone the fit. Overall, a top notch, street-style ski jacket that offers top performance on the mountain.
Buy Klattermusen Brage 2.0 : £649 at klattermusen.com
Patagonia Storm Shift
Best for: The eco-conscious skier or snowboarder who values performance and detail.
This jacket looks like any other 2-layer GORE-TEX shell, but it’s the Storm Shift’s eco-credentials that make it stand out from the crowd. In partnership with GORE-TEX, Patatgonia has created a line of waterproof shells completely free from PFCs. That’s no PFC’s in the DWR finish and, crucially, no PFCs in the membrane either. This ePE membrane is an important milestone for the outdoor industry and will no doubt be rolled out across many brands – but folks, you saw it here first. Coupled with a 100% recycled face fabric the Storm Shift offers a lower carbon footprint than ever before. It has all the usual features; pit zips, adjustable hood, powder skirt, and five useful pockets, but the finish and design are a cut above. Inside, there’s a soft, quick-wicking, body mapped fleece lining, giving it an edge on cold mountain days and easily regulating your temperature when you’re pushing.
Buy Patagonia Storm Shift: £449.90 at Snowleader.co.uk
Picture Goods Jacket
Best for: Resort cruising, comfort seeking, eco-warriors.
This jacket lives up to its name, it has all the details, protection and warmth you need for skiing or snowboarding, and it’s good for the planet too. The 2-layer outer shell is made with both recycled polyester and fabric derived from sugar cane, which significantly reduces its environmental impact, and the DWR finish is PFC-free. This makes the durable outer reliably waterproof and the 4-way stretch gives you excellent freedom to move. For extra warmth it’s lightly insulated with 100% recycled synthetic insulation, great for cold chairlifts in depths of winter. Fully sealed seams, waterproof zips, and an inner snowskirt make sure the snow stays where it belongs, whether you’re trucking through deep snow or brushing off a spectacular head plant.
Buy Picture Goods Jacket: £216 at Snow + Rock <SALE DEAL>
The North Face Chakal Jacket
Best for: All mountain riders looking for versatility.
The Chakal is the type of ski jacket that earns its place in your wardrobe by offering everyday wear versatility at a great price point, thanks to a low profile design, fully detachable, helmet compatible hood and lightweight insulation. It’s as waterproof, windproof and protective as any of the competition, built with TNF’s own DryVent fabric and lined with 70% post-consumer recycled polyester insulation. Stash all your essentials in any of the six pockets, refine the fit with adjustable hood, hem and cuffs, and seal out the snow with the powder skirt. This is a great value, 2-layer insulated shell for all mountain adventures.
Buy The North Face Chakal Jacket: from £135.00 - £394.78 at Amazon
Arc’teryx Sabre SV Jacket (Sentinel is the women’s equivalent)
Best for: Deep days (and deep pockets).
The Sabre SV offers premium performance at a premium price, but it’s worth every penny if that sharp, sleek design makes you feel as good as it looks. It has a long, freeride cut that, apart from keeping all weather out, looks impeccably stylish, and it can be locked into compatible pants to seal out any rogue powder snow. All that expert tailoring would be worthless without comfort and performance of course, which the Sabre SV has in spades. It’s built with GORE-TEX’s most durable shell - 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Most Rugged, standing up to all weather and any abrasion from rock or ice. You can move freely with excellent articulation through the sleeves and the helmet compatible hood is designed to allow your head to turn easily without impeding peripheral vision. Overall, it's a robust, long-lasting investment of a jacket that exudes quality on every level.
Buy Arc’teryx Sabre SV Jacket: £700 at arcteryx.com
Rab Khroma Kinetic
Best for: Ski touring adventures and hut-to-hut mountain missions.
As leaders in the mountaineering sector, we’d expect Rab to easily transition into ski touring gear, and their Khroma Kinetic does just that. Offering the feel of a softshell and the performance of a hardshell, its lightweight Proflex™ fabric gives you comfort on both the ascent and descent. Highly breathable and reliably waterproof it’s soft, supple and easy to wear, while packing down small for stashing in your pack. There are some clever additional design flourishes, like the through-draught created when you open the front pockets and rear arm zips, the deep front pockets that will swallow up skins or map, and the built in stretch and arm articulation – excellent if your ascent involves some mountaineering skills. And it doesn’t look out of place on the piste either.
Buy Rab Khroma Kinetic Jacket: £340 at rab.equipment
Buyer's guide: What do you need in a ski jacket?
Before buying a ski jacket ask yourself these questions.....
Is the jacket fully waterproof and how do I tell?
Get the basics right first, make sure your jacket is waterproof. We would suggest a minimum level for skiing and snowboarding of a 10,000mm hydrostatic head, this information can be found on the tag of the jacket or on the manufacturers web page. If you're really putting the jacket through its paces in all weathers then you should aim for a higher level of 20,000mm or above.
What are taped seams and do I need them?
Taped seams are important to stop the gradual creep of moisture past small holes created when the various panels of the jacket are sewn together. Some only have critically taped seams usually above the shoulder and in the hood but most dedicated ski jackets have fully taped seams i.e. every seam on the jacket has a layer of waterproof tape bonded over the top of it.
Are the zips waterproof?
Any zips will need to either have storm flaps - a flap of material over the top of the zip - or preferably be water tight. If they don't have either eventually moisture will creep through. You can tell if a zip is watertight by looking at the area either side of the teeth, if it has a rubbery looking coating then you're good to go. Also make sure that all zips run smoothly and have chunky pullers so you can easily use them with gloves or simply with cold hands.
How many pockets do I need and do I need pit zips?
Make sure you have enough for your needs, look for a jacket with a lift pass pocket on one of the sleeves as this will save a lot of hassle in busy lift queues. If you're going to be doing a lot of high intensity skiing or ski touring then pit zips are a must for ventilation through the body without having to remove your jacket.
Do I need an insulated ski jacket?
Whether you go for shell or insulated depends on if you prefer to layer up or not. Shell jackets (jackets with no insulation) are more versatile as long as you have a wardrobe full of technical layers to go underneath. You can vary these layers depending on conditions, from a light baselayer underneath on warmer days to a full compliment of base and mid layer for deep winter days. It also allows you to vary layers through the day for better temperature regulation overall. Some prefer insulated jackets for their simplicity and the fact that you don't have to buy expensive extra layers to go underneath them.
Is down insulation any good for skiing?
As a general rule synthetic insulation is better than down for ski clothing as it retains most of its insulating properties when wet. Although tempting be careful not to buy overly insulated jackets as they will quickly get hot and clammy when you're skiing.
Other features that skiers and snowboarders find useful, but aren't necessarily vital, are a powder skirt, which is designed to keep snow from going underneath your jacket, and thumb loops which keep your sleeves down and tucked under your gloves.