It’s easy to forget, what with all the boozing and melted cheese, but on a skiing holiday, you’re at the mercy of a mountain. An actual mountain. Unless you want to wind up living out the plot of Cliffhanger (well… maybe without the machine gun-toting hijackers), it’s important to dress for the occasion, so being prepared with the best ski jackets (and ski pants) for men isn’t such a bad idea.
Snowsports can get wet and cold, especially if you’re a beginner. The solution? Leave the hoodies and flannel shirts to the pros in the terrain park and invest in something equally stylish but also waterproof, functional, and durable.
The Best Ski Jackets For Men
Whether you’re bombing black runs on your planks, tearing up the halfpipe on your board, or just clumsily sliding down the nursery slope while watching your skis torpedo uncontrollably towards a group of children, these men’s ski jackets will keep you warm and dry (even if you do accidentally ram into a group of helpless children).
Here are the best ski jackets men need this season.
Best High-End Ski Jacket:
Arc’teryx Sabre AR
The premium Canadian performance brand is the Ferrari of the outdoor apparel world. And just like the turbo-charged supercars, there’s a lot going on under the hood to justify it.
The outer cuts wind like motorcycle leathers and resists abrasion extremely well, while the interior flannel lining keeps the wearer warm. The integrated skirt performs well even in deep powder, and the pit zips are expansive and easy to open and close. The ski jacket also sports a helmet-compatible hood and integrated attachments that connect to Arc’teryx’s Sabre AR snow pants, offering the ability to eschew the pow skirt and wear a singular snowproof system.
Best Budget Ski Jacket: REI Co-op Powderbound
Many folks don’t know that REI doesn’t only hawk gear and apparel from other brands. They have their own branded REI Co-op merchandise. The stuff isn’t exactly luxury apparel, but it hits the perfect price point between budget and functionality in a men’s ski jacket. The Powderbound is no exception, at a sub-$200 price point that’s near impossible to beat.
The Peak 2-layer nylon shell provides solid wind and moisture protection, while the 80 grams of synthetic insulation around the core offers reliable warmth, slightly less insulation (60 g) in the sleeves allows for a little more freedom of movement. Everything you need in a ski jacket is here. Pit zips, powder skirt, high collar, adjustable and helmet-friendly hood. Some nice accessories are here too, such as a media port, lift pass pocket, interior key clip pocket, and drop-in goggle pocket. For the price point, you can’t do better than this for a reliable, warm ski and snowboard jacket.
Best All-Around Ski Jacket: Patagonia Snowshot
Founded by legendary alpinist Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Ventura-based Patagonia has become the quintessential eco-friendly mountain fashion brand. That said, it’s blended over into the mainstream perhaps more than any other. Stop a person wearing a Patagonia fleece on the street, they’re just as likely to think the mountainous South American steppe was named after the brand as they are to think the opposite.
Regardless, Patagonia gear is bombproof stuff, and the Snowshot is a top-tier product at a very reasonable price point. For $300, you’re looking at a standout all-around men’s ski jacket, with an excellent focus on mobility but no compromise on warmth. The two-layer polyester microtwill shell keeps this men’s winter jacket both breathable and weatherproof, while an articulated fit lets your arms stay mobile.
All the lining fabric is bluesign approved, and the product is Fair Trade Certified sewn. All told, it’s a great all-rounder, with all the accessories you need, from pit zips to lined handwarmer pockets to built-in reflectors for exterior visibility. [Side Note: If you’re looking for a good backcountry ski shell and aren’t a fan of the OR Skytour below, check out the Patagonia Stormride].
Most Versatile Ski Jacket: The North Face ThermoBall Eco Snow Triclimate
The North Face is one of the mountain world’s mainstay brands. Though you’re just as likely to see folks wearing TNF apparel at the grocery store or movie theater, the brand still maintains a hardy lineup of technical gear. Their ThermoBall Eco Snow Triclimate is a stellar example, and one of the most versatile men’s ski jackets on the market at a more-than-reasonable price point.
The ThermoBall Eco Snow Triclimate features an inner down jacket with ThermoBall eco-friendly insulation, layered underneath a waterproof, breathable, and seam-sealed DryVent shell. These twin layers can be worn individually or combined for ultimate versatility.
The outer, in particular, adds a surprising amount of warmth to the insulated inner layer, and all told the jacket remains quite lightweight for its bulk (2 lbs 3 oz). At only $360, it’s a great purchase if you’re looking for an affordable do-it-all ski jacket that can be modified to keep you warm around town, on the slopes, and everywhere in between.
Best Lightweight Backcountry Shell: Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell
This Seattle-based outdoor apparel brand makes top-shelf gear for everything from alpinism to whitewater paddling, and like Arc’teryx, their heritage in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest means that OR gear, in particular, does a standout job of weatherproofing. The shell technology in their Skytour AscentShell is some of the most breathable and lightweight in existence, ideal for uphill burns and other situations where you’re moving fast and likely to heat up (and it’s even 20% more lightweight than the previous member of its family, the Skyward II). That said, it’s Outdoor Research, so as mentioned above, the weatherproofing is still top-of-the-line.
In short, this is a hard shell that wears like a softshell men’s ski jacket. All the technical accessories and features you need are here (adjustable hood, pit zips, waterproof YKK zippers, ski pass pocket and other stash pockets, etc.). At a mere 22.1 ounces, this is an extremely lightweight shell, and the breathability is unbeatable. For backcountry missions, you can’t go wrong here as this is certainly one of the best ski jackets available today.
Most Eco-Friendly Ski Jacket: Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity
You know that part in The Dark Knight Rises where Bane does his bit about being born into darkness and molded by it? Well, Norwegian outerwear brand Helly Hansen could pretty much say the same thing about snow. The label has been kitting out everyone from mountaineers to Arctic trawlermen since the 1800s, and skiers and snowboarders are no exception. Specializing in hard-wearing technical apparel capable of standing up to a hammering, Helly Hansen is a firm favorite among seasoned pow addicts and casual riders alike, and their Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket is one of their best current offerings, particularly for eco-friendly shredders.
The ski jacket features the brand’s proprietary LIFA technology, which is naturally hydrophobic, eliminating the use of any toxic DWR coatings. At a mid-range price, this is an extremely breathable, durable, and lightweight shell, and it moves well whether hitting the slopes or climbing technical ice, though it is only a shell (you’ll need to layer it with something else if you want warmth). Ultimately, the one-of-a-kind LIFA tech makes it stand apart as one of the most environmentally friendly ski jackets out there.
Most Durable Jacket: Burton [ak] GORE-TEX Cyclic
Considering snowboarding only came into existence in 1965 and didn’t really take off until several years later, Burton’s birth year of 1977 puts it up there as the oldest dedicated brand on the scene. As you might expect of a snowboard label that has been in the game since Day One, Burton produces some of the best and most reliable snow sports apparel in the world. These ski and snowboard jackets are well built, stylish enough to rock on or off the mountain, and come with a snowboarding pedigree that no other brand can match.
The Cyclic’s build is perhaps the most bomber in this lineup, with 200D nylon side panels and two-layer GTX all-around, making this a great buy for skiers and snowboards looking for a shell that can take a ton of abuse. This is a pure shell, with little in the way of warmth, but it’s slick, stylish, and handles wear and tear with aplomb. While many of the other brands featured here offer stellar apparel, when it comes to the best snowboard jackets, Burton’s signature style is unparalleled. If you’re looking for a jacket that screams, “I snowboard,” this is your buy.
Most Adjustable Ski Jacket: Descente i1
Japan is legendary among snow sports aficionados. If you’ve ever seen the sheer volume and quality of snow that covers the peaks of Hokkaido every winter, you understand why. It’s even earned it the nickname ‘Japow’ among those who make the annual pilgrimage to get up to their necks in the good stuff. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the best ski jackets in the world hails from Nippon.
Descente is highly regarded among skiers and has kitted out many an Olympian over its 50+ years on the slopes. Known for its industry-leading technology (think in-jacket heating systems and beyond) the label is the go-to for high-performance, teched-out ski jackets. The i1 is one of the most technically savvy jackets on our list, but the real draw here comes from its four BOA Fit dials. These micro-adjustable twist dials allow the wearer to hone their fit down to the millimeter in a split second, adjusting the space in the jacket to prevent so much as a sliver of warm air from escaping or cold air from entering. The result is a men’s ski jacket with next-level heat retention and fit.
Best Vintage-Style Ski Jacket: Planks Charger 3-Layer
Founded by British pro skier Jim Adlington, Planks is a true rider-owned ski brand – made by skiers, for skiers. Born out of swanky Val d’Isere in the French Alps, the label was a response to the rise in the popularity of freeskiing. For the uninitiated, freeskiers are the guys who drop out of helicopters in the backcountry or jib in the terrain park rather than bombing down black runs with their poles tucked in.
This is reflected in the brand’s men’s ski jackets, which tend to err on the longer, baggier, snowboard-ier side of things for a more relaxed look. Planks offers everything from technical three-layer shells to insulated jackets, and the Charger 3-Layer is a standout offering. Billed as the “stylistic lovechild of 80s mountaineering gear and British streetwear” this jacket is sure to turn heads on the slopes and streets alike, with classic freeride style but all the functionality you need out of an everyday resort jacket.
Flashiest Ski Jacket: Picture Naikoon Jacket
There are precious few companies that can claim the same commitment to ecology and ethics as Picture. The brand only uses factories that have signed a contract ensuring the best practice and working conditions for their staff and uses a high percentage of recycled fibers in their clothes. But that’s not all, Picture is one of the few sustainable brands that excel in style, too. If bright colors and quirky styling are your things, then there’s no brand better suited to your needs. Couple this with high build quality and ergonomic designs and you’re onto a surefire winner.
The Naikoon Jacket is one of Picture’s most eye-catching men’s ski jackets, with a smooth stone hue and bright details. The Naikoon Jacket is one of their more high-end jackets and has some of the technical bells and whistles you’d expect with the pricetag. At just shy of $400, it hits the sweet spot with budget and offerings, but the quality and environmental impact are unmatched. The PFC-free DWR, among other eco-friendly features, means this is a ski jacket you can feel good about buying, too.
The Best Of The Rest
When the guys who founded the brand are called Wooly and T-Dawg, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands when it comes to the best snowboard jackets. These guys live, eat, sleep and breathe boardsports – something reflected in the thoughtful finer details of Volcom’s products. The Californian label is well known for its outerwear among snowboarders and favored for features such as Zip-Tech technology, which allows the hem of a jacket to be connected to the waist of a pair of trousers. In other words, no friends on a powder day, but also no more soggy boxer shorts.
The L is a reasonably priced insulated snowboard jacket with two-layer GTX and low-profile, low-loft insulation that doesn’t compromise mobility. The brand’s trademark Zip Tech is here too, complete with a refined but classic Volcom look. Like Burton, this is another brand that plants you firmly as a snowboarder to everyone who lays eyes on you.
When selecting ski and snowboard jackets for slashing powder and bombing down groomers, you could do a lot worse than go with one of the biggest boardsports companies on the face of the planet. Whether you’re tube riding in Hawaii, skating bowls in SoCal, or shredding in the Rockies, Quiksilver has stuff to kit you out. The Aussie-born label equips snowboarders with everything from beanies to bibs, and its jackets are nothing short of game-changing either. Quiksilver’s offerings employ recycled fabrics and innovative technologies such as SpinDye coloring to ensure every garment in the collection is as ecologically friendly as possible.
Like the TNF ThermoBall shown above, the Mission Shell is a standout pick for its versatility, with both a shell and removable liner (3-in-1). It’s also roughly $100 cheaper than the ThermoBall, so it’s a great choice if you’re a bit tighter on budget, but still want a solid, versatile snowboard jacket. You’ll still find a tuck-away powder skirt, jacket-to-pant attachment system like Volcom’s Zip Tech, an adjustable hood, and all the other accessories you need, paired with a surprisingly warm hooded fleece liner.
When it comes to luxury outerwear few labels pack a bigger punch than Moncler. Born in the Alps, the Italian label has its roots in mountain culture and produces a suitably lavish line of premium skiwear to prove it. Named after the French mountain city, Grenoble is Moncler’s specialist ski range, boasting men’s ski jackets that look just as at home on a Fashion Week runway as they do on the pistes.
These jackets will leave even the flushest of wallets considerably lighter, and the Nahon is no exception, but if it’s style and status you seek then you’d struggle to do better. This lightweight shell features 3-layer twill with heat-seal taped interior seams, and a back air vent for added breathability, with dry sensation on the interior. If you’re thinking just as much about how you look on the slopes as you are how well you’re carving them up, then the Nahon is the best ski jacket for you.
For those of us not involved in action sports, it’s difficult to hear the word “Oakley” without immediately picturing a middle-aged man in a pair of regrettable wrap-around sunglasses. However, in the world of boards, dirt bikes, and beyond, the American brand is worshipped for its premium goggles and high-quality outerwear.
Oakley’s knack for making great gear has earned it some of the biggest and best names in the game as team riders. Olympic medalists like Ståle Sandbech, Jamie Anderson, and Sebastien Toutant all fly the flag for Oakley’s jackets. And if it’s good enough for them, it’s more than good enough for the likes of us. The Sub Temp Rc is a top-notch insulated ski jacket that offers stout moisture protection and all the bells and whistles you’d expect with a jacket at this price range. The removable snow skirt, hem cinch system, and RFID pocket are a few of the more beneficial features to note here, however.
If you’re going to jet off on one of the most bougie types of holidays there is (yes, we mean skiing), you might as well go the whole hog and drape yourself in some luxurious Italian outerwear. While several brands can cater to you in this department, Colmar is one of the more exclusive. You’re more likely to elicit cries of “Oh I love your ski jacket, where’s it from?” in the apres bar, than “Oh, we’re both wearing the same coat. One of us is going to have to change.” (Which is always awkward). Despite being relatively under-the-radar outside of ski circles, Colmar has been on the scene since 1923.
The 3-Tre Ski Jacket is more rugged than the sleek fashionista build lets on, the puffer jacket-style is built with high tenacity two-way nylon and 20,000 mm waterproofing and breathable (20,000). The technical fabric on the shoulder helps cushion the weight of your skis when carrying them. This is a high-end jacket (and the price tag reflects that). But you’re paying for more than just style here. The 3-Tre offers as much technical functionality as any of the best ski jackets on this list.
Things to Consider Before Buying Ski Jackets
When choosing one of the best ski jackets for men, looks are obviously a major factor. The slopes have always been a place for flaunting a little style flair. What’s more important, however, is that your chosen outerwear performs well, keeping you warm and protected from the elements. Here’s what you should be looking out for.
1. Ski or Snowboard Jacket?
Stand a skier and a snowboarder next to one another. You’ll notice some differences in how they’re dressed. Generally, the best snowboard jackets tend to be loose and long, while those men’s ski jackets are shorter and more fitted. This isn’t just a style thing.
“Snowboarders use their upper body much more than skiers when jumping, initiating turns, and grabbing,” says Jan Prokes, Volcom’s European Category Manager for Snow. “Also, given that snowboarders spend much more time on their bums than skiers [strapping in, taking breaks, etc] their jackets have a tendency to be longer to keep snow from getting into the pants.”
2. Waterproofing & Breathability
When you’re spending full days in the snow, you get wet. When you’re charging down mountains repeatedly, you get hot. It’s a fact of life. Finding a ski jacket that tackles both of these problems effectively is the key to staying comfortable while riding.
In short, you want something that lets moisture out, but not in. “Gore-Tex styles are the benchmark combo of waterproofing and breathability,” says Prokes. “Then you can dress in layers underneath your waterproof shell jacket when it gets cold.”
3. Shell or Insulated?
Speaking of getting cold, a shell isn’t your only option. Layers are preferable when you’re exerting huge amounts of energy or riding in changeable conditions, such as in spring weather.
However, if you know you’re going to be slashing powder in sub-zero temperatures all day, it’s worth opting for something with a little more protection. Insulated men’s ski jackets will give you this, but at the sacrifice of versatility. “It’s a question of personal choice really,” says Prokes. “Personally I prefer shells, then I can layer underneath and skip or add layers according to [the] conditions and activity.”
Pay attention to the finer details. Things like headphone compatibility and goggle pockets may not be as important as fit and waterproofing, but they can certainly make a day on the mountain more enjoyable and comfortable.
A powder skirt is a must-have for most people too. This will stop snow from getting up your back and down your pants when you plow into a snowbank. Alternatively, some brands offer their own systems, such as Volcom’s Zip-Tech, which allows some pants and jackets to be zipped together into one cohesive piece of apparel, eliminating the need for a powder skirt.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your chosen ski jacket has a strategically placed sleeve pocket to keep your lift pass handy.
Overall there are many things to consider when looking for the best ski and snowboard jackets for men and deciding to brave the mountain, make sure you also have the right ski or snowboard pants for an enjoyable day.