Burton Rubix | £235
This fantastic multi-coloured jacket is a typical long and spacious Burton snowboard cut, with excellent comfort and warmth. With two-layer Gore-tex on the outside and Thermolite insulation inside it will keep you warm and dry.
There are pockets low on the outside, and an inside pocket plus ski pass holder near the bottom of the jacket; which might mean you have to hoik up your jacket at turnstiles, but it’s a small price to pay for this jacket's look.
The material is impressively soft, given the Gore-tex integration – although it's so soft we worry about durability.
A good, comfortable choice that stands out on the slopes as well as offering Gore-tex performance.
+ Stand out design and comfortable fit
– Soft face material is prone to abrasion
Helly Hansen Sogn | £280
The Sogn is a jacket for riders who feel the cold – the soft Helly Tech Performance 2L outer shell fabric is seam-sealed and combines with PrimaLoft insulation and HH's H2Flow venting system to keep you warm, dry and comfortable.
It has a relaxed fit, which is good for freedom of movement as well as layering, and has a host of pockets as well as freeride specific features such as pit-zips, a jacket-pant compatible powder skirt, higher collar, goggle chammy in chest pocket and in-built Recco reflector.
Our only quibbles were the tightness of the wrist gaiters and lack of stated thumb loops.
If you prefer insulated ski jackets over shells, and like a loose fit, you should check out the feature-packed Sogn.
+ Warm with lots of pockets and features
– Poor hood fit when worn without a helmet
The North Face Gatekeeper | £275
The Gatekeeper jacket is an insulated ski jacket designed for recreational skiers which appeals to the more casual end of the ski market both in terms of looks and features – something that shows especially in the dainty zip pulls and the average fit of the removable hood.
The DryVent outer material protects and breathes well though, feeling soft to the touch, with a 2-way stretch that helps articulation.
Insulation works well too, with the Heatseeker synthetic fill retaining warmth well and adding a cosy feel. The flattering but not too close cut allows extra layers too.
Bridges the gap between fashion and technical functionality for the slopes with just enough performance.
+ Simple design with stretch comfort
– Non-adjustable hood; a little hefty
Picture Naikoon | £280
Picture's fully waterproof and breathable outer fabric sits on top of an insulated lining to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. The Naikoon is not trying to be a lightweight shell – and despite its extra bulk, freedom of movement is retained by its stretch outer fabric.
One complaint was the hood, which was too flappy without a helmet.
There are zipped pockets aplenty, with the zipped inner security pocket containing an internal waterproof phone case (but no audio ports). There’s also a large inner mesh stash pocket for goggles or other bulky items.
A serious, insulated riding jacket that's warm enough for the coldest days on the mountains.
+ Eco-friendly; lots of useful features
– Hood not adjustable enough
Salomon QST Guard | £300
The Salomon QST Guard has been designed to look like a shell but perform like an insulated jacket thanks to – well, insulation, in the form of 40 gram Primaloft.
This is a pretty good combination as it means the jacket isn’t heavy and bulky but still keeps you warmer than a shell. And, of course, it’s also waterproof, windproof and breathable.
The design has been carefully thought out, starting with the helmet compatible hood, which still works without a lid, and the high collar with its soft microfleece lining.
Pockets include a small zipped lift pass pocket on the left sleeve, one small zipped chest pocket (a bit too small to be much use really), two zipped hand pockets and on the inside of the Guard a big mesh stash pocket which easily holds goggles or a water bottle, plus a small, zipped security pocket.
Velcro adjustable cuffs sit over wrist gaiters, and there are mesh-backed pit zips for ventilation and a fixed powder skirt to stop cold air and snow getting in.
The Salomon QST Guard has all you need in an lightweight, breathable, lightly insulated ski jacket.
+ Extra warmth without weight and bulk
– Chest pocket a bit too small