What’s the one thing that makes a ski day so enjoyable?
For some it's using the right pair of skis or snowboard and feeling 100% comfortable on the slopes. For others it's getting a great ride on a freshly powdered run, slaloming effortlessly through the snow.
For many, the best part of the day is when you come to the end of the day’s runs, feeling exhausted, worked out, but still warm and comfortable.
Because without a warm women’s ski jacket, you’ll never get a chance to do any of those other things.
Don’t know a thing about ski jackets? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We’re going to talk you through, from beginning to end, how to purchase, select, wear, and enjoy the perfect ski jacket for ladies.
Here we're going to show you our favourite options of the best women's ski jackets to buy.
We’ll also give you the details on what you should be looking for, what brands are best, what features you should demand from your jacket, (and which ones to steer clear from).
That’s right. We’re going to do the hard work for you by giving you a handpicked selection of what we think are some excellent options for your ski wear this coming season. We’ve waded through some the best (and worst) jackets and we’ve put forth what should be an easy selection of women’s ski jackets for you to try.
So, don’t get lost in the technology, the terms, or the tricky sites not giving you all the info. Stick with us, and by the end, you’ll walk confidently into the store, knowing exactly what you need to stay warm this winter.
The Best Women's Ski Jackets
Let’s get into the detail of what you need to be looking at, and the brands of jacket that work for you.
We’ve got a range of jackets, from the novice skier to the expert mountaineer, of models we think will suit your winter activity best.
Mountain Warehouse Freestyle Women’s Jacket – Best Budget Option
Average buyer rating: 4.5/5
If you’re brand new to the sport, or if you’re brand new to winter, we’d suggest this Mountain warehouse jacket as an excellent starter. It ticks all the major categories of what you’d want to find in a ski jacket for women.
It’s warm and comfortable, and that’s your primary concern. The soft-shell exterior allows you the freedom to move and twist without being held back. It’s adequately waterproof and windproof for a novice skier who probably won’t be seeking out back country runs on a blizzardy day.
You’ll also notice that there are a few bonus features that we approve of. The powder skirt is excellent, because, let’s face it, you’ll probably be falling over a lot, and you don’t want snow up your up jacket. The taped seams are a great bonus to help you stay dry, and the quick access ski pass on the sleeve is a convenient way to keep you lift ticket with you.
It is meant for a novice skier, so if you’re looking for something more advanced, keep reading because we might have something for you.
Trespass Bela Soft-Shell - Soft-shell Ski Jacket
Average buyer rating; 4.5/5
Along the same lines at the Mountain Warehouse, the Trespass is another alternative to the beginner-friendly ski jackets for women.
It comes with pretty good water proof and windproof ratings. The 8000mm waterproof coating will keep you dry all day while you’re out. It’s not ideal if it’s raining, but the snow won’t get through this outer soft-shell exterior.
It’s also got an excellent breathability rating, meaning that it will suit those of you planning on not taking it easy when you strap on the skis. You can work up a sweat and still be comfortable.
All the openings (cuffs, waist band, and hood) have drawstrings and adjustable tabs to keep it snug against your body. The price tag is pretty agreeable too for the type of jacket this is. It’s definitely worth putting in your cart this winter.
Normally, we’d steer you away from brand names. But this is one that we’re actively trying to turn you towards. The Roxy Jet Ski comes loaded with a great many features for a price tag we see as pretty reasonable.
The 10,000mm waterproof rating with taped seams tells us that this is a serious jacket, meant to hold up on the worst days without compromising on warmth. It comes with a breathable membrane to keep you comfortable during those challenging runs.
The detachable powder skirt will work to keep out the blustery snow, and the 3-way adjustable hood works with whatever ski gear you have on your head.
This jacket also happens to look good. It’s a fashionable item on a ski hill that doesn’t give up its claim to being an excellent ski jacket. All in all, it’s a pretty good bargain to snatch up this model by Roxy.
As we get into the more pricey jackets, know that these are meant for riders who spend more than one day a year on the hills. This is going to be warm and toasty during a chilly day.
With an excellent waterproof and windproof rating, we’re pretty confident that Columbia has given you an excellent option with this down-filled jacket. The puffy exterior hides a whole bunch of features perfect for your ride.
You get a highly-rated storm hood, goggle and phone pockets, thumb holes to keep your gloves attached, and a dedicated pocket for extra heating pads.
This is one more expensive jacket, but you should consider as an investment for a longer period than just a couple seasons.
The North Face Gordon Lyons – Top of the Line
Ok, here’s the option we’re putting forth as one of the best you can get. It’s a high-end product that delivers high-end results.
The extremely high water and windproof rating will give a dryness guarantee in the coldest of climates. The DryVent coating repels water again and again, even in the driving snow and rain. The insulated liner keeps the moisture from accumulating on your body, keeping you dry and warm all day.
There are added vents, a powder skirt, goggle pockets, included goggle wipes, a helmet-compatible hood for those serious skiers.
It might not be for the preference of a first-time skier, but it is going to be one of the best ski jackets you can get from a brand that knows how it’s done.
Why Buy a Ski Jacket?
Like ski pants, buying a ski jacket is a pretty specific piece of clothing. It goes against just about any of the advice you hear about buying pieces of clothing that can suit more than one purpose. Ski jackets, while warm for any wintery day, are exclusively meant for one thing:
To get you into the snow safely.
There are several options online these days when you search for women’s jackets. There are sleek thin jackets, fluffy colourful jackets, and puffy fashionable coats.
But you need something that doesn’t just look nice. You need something that’s going to keep you warm and safe from the elements.
Did you know that it’s not the cold weather that will do the most damage when you’re out skiing all day? Nope, it’s the water and the wind-chill.
Wind-chill can take a balmy, sunny winter’s day and turn it downright deadly. A stiff breeze could be enough to freeze your extremities in a matter of minutes.
And if you get wet while outside? That’s even worse. Your body immediately loses the ability to heat itself because water is an excellent conductor of heat. That wet coat you’re wearing could actually be keeping you colder by sucking all the body heat out of your core, where you need it most.
You need a women’s ski coat that works to protect you from those two major enemies during the winter, the same as your ski gloves and snow pants do. You need waterproof and windproof material, while also insulating you against the most bitterest of cold days. Sometimes, when you’re out on the slopes, there’s nothing between you and the elements of winter, except your ski jacket.
We want to make sure you've got the right jacket on.
Best Women's Ski Jacket Features
What exactly do you need in a ski coat? Here are the key components of any women’s ski coat and what you should look for, regardless of what you’re looking for.
This is your first and major line of defence against anything that winter throws at you. Let’s take a closer look at the outer shell of your jacket:
When looking at the jacket, you’ll notice a little number indicating the waterproof rating of the jacket. What does that number mean?
Well, it’s measured in millimetres (mm). The rating comes from a Hydrostatic Head test that measures how well the outer shell of your ski jacket can withhold water from penetrating inside. A piece of fabric is held over an open beaker of water. Over 24 hours, they measure how much water it takes before the jacket starts letting the water seep in.
The higher the number, the more waterproof your jacket is.
As a guide, anything less than 5000mm is good for walking around and general everyday use. It’s mildly waterproof, enough so that falling snow doesn’t penetrate into your clothes, but it won’t hold up during rigorous skiing activity.
Numbers heading into the +10,000mm range are much better suited to keep you dry during the day. When snow is constantly blowing up on your jacket, or you take a lot of tumbles (admit it, you probably do), it helps that you won’t get wet and cold.
Some jackets do come with a coating of water repellent finish. That helps to bead the water and snow off, but that coating does wear off after use and washing. It’s better to find a coat with natural waterproofing than a simple coating that will eventually come off.
Right beside the number for waterproofing, you’ll be able to see another highly technical number measured in g/mm2. This is a measurement of the fabric’s ability to allow moisture to escape.
When you’re working up a sweat, you need to allow that sweat and heat to escape your body, otherwise you could be at risk of getting too sweaty inside the jacket. A breathable jacket allows moisture to wick away from your body the way it should without compromising on the ability to waterproof the shell.
The test is highly technical, with the measurement being how much water can pass through a square meter of fabric in a given 24 hour period.
Again, the higher the number, the better it is at wicking away moisture from inside the jacket. Look for jackets in the 10-20,000g/mm2 range.
As a side note, we wanted to mention this in case you ever came across it. Windproofing is measured in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and it shows what amount of wind will pass through the material of the jacket.
Instead of looking for high numbers, you should expect to find a 1 or a 0 on your ski jacket. Anything higher and you’ll notice the wind-chill as you’re charging down the slopes.
Usually a part of the jacket (although not always, as you’ll see in a minute), the inner liner does serve a couple functions that serve you better on the runs.
First, it’s going to be the part that is closely connected with your body. It should be a warm or fleecy material that helps retain your natural body heat.
Second, it allows you the freedom of movement. And there’s nothing worse than skiing in a rigid shell that doesn’t allow you to have movement.
And third, the liner can be removed from the jacket. This might not seem like a big deal, but wait until a few rides in. You’ll appreciate that you can take out the liner, throw it in the wash, and give yourself a fresh smelling jacket liner for the next time you’re out. Some experienced riders love the feeling of taking an extra liner that they can swap out in the middle of the day.
The insulation is your protection against the cold. There are a couple ways that women’s ski jackets insulate against the chilly weather. Normally, the outer shell is filled with some sort of filling that captures the heat. Down or micro-fibres are a popular choice to protect the wearer against the cold weather.
Puffier jackets can look bulky and restrict movement. That’s why many jackets rely upon the two separate liners to create an insulation layer. It frees up the wearer to have movement and mobility.
Different Types of Ski Jackets for Women
It might be confusing at first to find all these options when looking at ski jackets. Let’s just quickly look at each one so you can better understand what to expect from your own coat.
3 in 1 Ski Jackets
By this, we’re referring to the type of jacket that comes with two separate jackets combined; the inner liner and the outer shell. The two layers can become a jacket on its own. But combined, you’ll find that they form an excellent ski jacket, giving you protection and warmth in the one coat.
Insulated Ski Jackets
You’ll probably come across a number of puffy looking jackets. Like we mentioned, this is the insulation built in the outer shell that makes it look bulky. In fact, the bulkier your insulation, the warmer your jacket will be. If you only need warmth, we recommend this type of jacket.
Ok, so you managed to score yourself a sweet ski jacket for women that include excellent features. You’ve got a highly rated outer shell, an inner liner that’s warm and comfortable, and it’s got a great fit as well.
But what about all those extra features that each jacket comes with? Do they matter?
Despite its name, the powder skirt (sometimes known as a snow skirt) is not exclusively for women. But should you get a jacket with a powder skirt? It depends on your riding style.
Experienced riders, or those who are likely to find themselves waist deep in powder, might appreciate the benefit the skirt gives them. It’s an inner band with elastic stretched all around. This provides an extra layer of protection from snow getting up into the jacket or into the ski pants beneath the jacket.
If you're a beginner and might be spending some time on the floor, a powder skirt can be a very useful feature.
For added wicking away of the moisture that can build up, some women’s ski jackets add extra vents into their design.
It could be under the arm, on the front, or down the side, but the added option of an extra vent is perfect for those who plan on really giving it when they’re skiing or if it’s a particularly sunny day on the slopes. The zippered vents can also shut when you don’t need them.
Detach or not to detach?
Having a hood that can be removed from the jacket is great idea. We just can’t think of a probable scenario that makes it worth choosing one jacket over another. You need a hood. That much is true. So you can decide if you'd prefer it to be removable or not.
This is a pretty good indication of the make of the jacket. If you look at how the manufacturer finished the seams of the jacket, you can know if it’s made by a fellow skier who understands what you need on the mountains.
The seams can be either taped or sewn into double seams. A double layered seam is pretty rigid and will do an excellent job of keeping water out.
A taped seam is about as waterproof as you can get. It’s a heat-moulded tape that covers the seams and keeps them leaking anywhere on the jacket.
Look for zipped pockets, regardless of how many you have on the jacket. If you don’t have a zipped pocket, anything in there is as good as gone as you speeding down the ski run.
There are a few handy pockets that jackets can have. You can get an extra pocket on the sleeve for your ski pass, or deeper pockets for your goggles, you can even get zippered flaps to put your heating pads. Or some jackets include secret zips to keep valuables secure and close.
What Else to Look For?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what you should expect from a basic ski jacket, what else can you pay attention to?
OK, a word about money here. We’ve seen a number of jackets that although they were high-priced, didn’t live up to the reputation of other, less expensive jackets. They might have a name or brand attached to them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re great ski coats.
On the converse, we’ve also seen some cheap women’s ski jackets that come with everything you need for a fun and enjoyable day without compromising on the features. Price doesn’t always reflect quality, and that’s why we want you to understand the features that make up a great jacket in detail.
It’s tempting to choose a jacket based on the latest style and fashion. Please don’t do this.
Just because it looks great and makes you look great, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be effective on the hill. A great ski jacket can complement your ski gear. You can get matching ski pants, ski gloves and women’s ski boots, and still have a suitable jacket that works well against the water and the weather.
And now we send you out into the world of ski jackets. We’re confident that you know what it takes to sort through the mountain (pun intended) of jacket options and pick one that suits your skill and talent.
You’ll be warm, dry, and comfortable. The only thing left… is to learn how to ski.
Want to Read More?
Check out our guide to the best ski boots for women.