TL/DR verdict summary
If you’re looking for the very best lightweight shell jacket for backcountry performance then the Arc’teryx Rush GTX Pro 2.0 Jacket is our pick of the bunch. More of a piste cruiser? You can’t go far wrong with the Spyder Leader, or Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity. On a budget? Columbia owns this space, take a look at their Iceberg Point jacket.
Buying a ski jacket - the basics
Ski jackets come in many shapes and sizes but there are a few key points to be aware of before finding the right ski jacket for you. Firstly, do you prefer an insulated jacket for casual skiing and very cold climates or the versatility of layering? If so, choose a shell jacket. If you ski hard then you should prioritise a jacket with a high breathability rating and pit vents. Finally, different brands tend to offer different looks. For instance, Arc’teryx tends towards athletic clothing for backcountry performance, whereas Spyder are distinctly geared towards piste styling. For more on buying a ski jacket, read our in-depth buyer’s guide.
The North Face Descendit Jacket
This sleek ski jacket is designed to be as dependable as a German car, keeping you warm and dry all over the mountain. The Primaloft Black synthetic insulation keeps you warm while maintaining breathability and the DryVent 2L outer is reliably waterproof. Although pared back visually, the Descendit jacket still offers handy features such as a wrist pass pocket with a goggle wipe, pit vents, and a helmet compatible, fully adjustable hood.
Buy The North Face Descendit Jacket: £299.38 at Amazon
Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity Jacket
Sitting towards the top of Helly Hansen’s ski jacket range, the Alpha Inifinty offers premium protection for the resort skier. Fit and styling are sophisticated and tailored but with enough room for layering and great freedom of movement. The soft-touch Lifa Infinity face fabric and Aquadry zips are highly waterproof, and warm but light Primaloft Black Eco insulation protects from the cold. This jacket features Helly Hansen’s patented H2 Flow ventilation, providing airflow through the jacket when the going gets tough.
Buy Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity Jacket: from £439 - £526 at Amazon
Columbia Iceberg Point Jacket
Columbia are masters of all mountain ski jackets that perform on the slopes but don’t break the bank. The Iceberg Point is a perfect example of this, featuring Omni-Tech waterproof fabric and a thermal reflective lining to keep the heat in. Although only critically seam sealed, the zips are water resistant and the powder skirt will help keep the snow out. Pit vents help with temperature regulation and the wrist pass pocket, zipped hand pockets, chest, and interior pocket keep your kit organised.
Buy Columbia Iceberg Point: £160 at Columbiasportswear.co.uk
Spyder Leader Jacket
This jacket has sat in Spyder’s ski jacket range for years, and rightly so. It has developed over that time to become one of the best resort jackets out there, and that’s not to say it doesn’t perform well over the rest of the mountain too. Although it comes at a premium price, it feels every bit of the £550, with precision construction and near-perfect fit and finish. This jacket is suitable for gentle skiing or more demanding skiing in colder conditions, with a hefty 100g of PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation keeping you warm, boosted by graphene heat conduction technology to spread and dissipate heat.
Buy Spyder Leader Jacket: £569 at Ellis Brigham
Patagonia Snowshot Jacket
If you prefer a shell jacket but without the plasticky interior feeling of a 3-layer then the 2-layer Snowshot with tricot mesh lining will suit you well. The 70% recycled H2No fabric is durable and waterproof, as well as offering great breathability while skiing hard, and the lining adds comfort and a touch of warmth. The loose fit suits layering and offers an easygoing look that will work equally well for resort skiers as it will for backcountry freeriders.
Buy Patagonia Snowshot Jacket: £156 at Cotswold <SALE DEAL>
Salomon Stance 3L long
Something a little different to your average ski jacket, Salomon has opted to incorporate urban street styling into their Stance 3L long. With a dropped back, this all mountain shell offers full coverage and a unique design aesthetic helping you stand out on the slopes. The 3L fabric is highly waterproof, breathable, and durable and is brushed inside for maximum comfort. Whip off the removable snow skirt when you’re finished on the mountain and head to the streets, comfortable in the knowledge that you’re getting maximum value out of this versatile jacket.
Buy Salomon Stance 3L long: £450 at Salomon.com
Arc’teryx Rush GTX Pro 2.0 Jacket
If you’re a serious skier or snowboarder who wants the best 3 layer shell jacket money can buy, what do you buy? Arc’teryx has to be on your list, and the Rush GTX Pro 2.0 is one of their most compelling offerings. The Rush GTX Pro 2.0 is a no holds barred style of ski jacket and while it looks unassuming, it packs a serious punch. Highly durable, waterproof, and breathable Gore Pro keeps even the worst mountain weather at bay and all zips are watertight. Pit zippers let you quickly dump excess heat and, although this jacket is built like a tank, it only weighs 590g, handy for stashing in a backcountry pack.
Buy Arc’teryx Rush GTX Pro 2.0 Jacket: £600 at Arc'Teryx