Ski Jacket Buying Guide with Snow+Rock

Jackets are one of the first stops when it comes to kitting yourself out for a winter holiday. But what makes a good jacket? And do any of the features make a difference? Luckily our friends over at Snow+Rock are here to help you cut through the jargon and find a jacket that is right for you.

We also pick out some of our favourite jackets in the Snow+Rock range this winter. But don’t take our word for it, as with all ski gear, nothing rivals trying it for yourself so head in to a Snow+Rock store to try for yourself!

Types of ski jacket

There are three main types of ski jacket to choose from…

1. Hardshell

A hardshell jacket is the most versatile type of jacket on the market. They’re typically waterproof and windproof and don’t carry insulation, which makes them easy to pack down small and store away in a backpack. If you’re only going to own one ski jacket, make it a hardshell and carry additional layers with you on colder days.

2. Softshell

Softshell jackets offer unrivalled breathability; making them perfect for sunny alpine days. Those at the more expensive end of the scale usually come with a durable water repellent finish, which will hold up under light rain or snow but become saturated and ineffective in bad weather. Softshells perform excellently when worn as a mid-layer with a hardshell over the top.

3. Insulated

Insulated jackets come with either down or synthetic insulation, or with a combination of both. Natural down is warmest but more expensive, practically useless when wet and slow to dry. In the past this meant having to carry a hardshell with you in case the weather turned, but now more and more manufacturers are developing insulated jackets with a waterproof outer shell.

Planks

Key Features

Wrist Gaiters

There are two types of wrist gaiters: a simple inner cuff and an over-the-hand design with thumbholes. Although the latter is warmer and adds extra coverage, some people find they get in the way.

Vents

Vents can usually be found in the underarm area or around the chest. These zip vents will allow you to cool down by promoting air circulation and are often mesh backed to stop snow from entering the jacket.

Powder Skirt

A powder skirt is one of the features that set a ski jacket apart from a general-purpose outdoors jacket. They go around your waist to stop snow from getting up your back and come in a variety of different designs, so be sure to check out a few different brands.

Snow+Rock Range Guide

With Snow+Rock stocking hundreds of jackets, it's easy to feel a little like a child in a candy shop. We pick out some of our favourite items to help you make a choice of your own!

The North Face Purist Tri-Climate

We often talk about one-quiver, do it all skis, if we were to pick a one-quiver, do it all jacket, it would look a lot like this. The layered jacket is made up of two separate components: a shell armed with a Gore-Tex liner to keep mother nature’s worst out and an insulating liner layer. The latter of those is removable and even packs down in to a pocket within the jacket, allowing on the fly temperature adaptability. As part of this iconic brand’s Steep Series, the Purist Triclimate jacket is perfect for tourers and off piste skiers looking to head off the beaten track.

The jacket is available in both Men’s and Women’s fit.

Spyder Men’s Leader Jacket

Spyder is a brand steeped in alpine excellence, and the Leader jacket has been a part of their appeal line for as long as we can remember. The Thinsulate insulation will keep you cosy even in mid winter and the impressive level of waterproofing will keep you dry through the harshest storms. The warm, protective nature of this jacket doesn’t compromise it’s flexibility at all. The fitted jacket is made of un-constricting stretch material to ensure that you can squeeze efficiency out of every pole plant.

Check out the Leader jacket online or in-store.

Arc’Teryx Rush & Sashka Gore-Tex Pro

Where many jackets will offer all things to all people, the Arc’Teryx Rush and female specific Sashka are refreshingly simple in their ambitions. Arc’Teryx have created a true shell jacket in the Rush. The triple layered Gort-Tex Pro protection approaches the highest echelons of waterproofing available whilst still maintaining a high level of breathability and therefor comfort. Highly water resistant pockets allow valuables to be stashed safely, while taped seams keep those same elements from seeping in at the joints and a powder skirt to keeps bums dry.

Quite simply this is one fo the very best shell jackets on the market, but remember a good mid layer to keep you warm when the mercury drops!

Click here to view the women’s specific Sashka and men’s Rush.

Eider Cole Valley

The Eider Cole Valley combines street style with alpine functionality. Equally at home in London or Laax, you’d be forgiven for questioning whether this is indeed a ski jacket. However, don’t let the street-look fool you, everything about this jacket oozes high performance. Eider’s own Defender Weave fabric gives the garment a unique texture while providing ample waterproofing and their home made isulateion stops shivers, no matter the temperature.

The Cole Valley reinvents the traditional ski wear silhouette leaving you turning heads on the mountain and the high street. Available in both male and female models.

Kjus Formula

Kjus is the brainchild of Olympic Champion Lasse Kjus, who better to design ski gear than the world’s best? Few brands match this high end manufacturers levels of performance. The company’s ethos is one of no compromise, nothing but the very best will do. It’s easy to see why the Formula is the best selling jacket of the elite brand’s range. As soon as you pull one of the jackets on you instantly notice the close but comfortable fit. The jacket provides more than enough insulation and waterproofing for tough conditions but remains breathable enough to keep you cool when it gets a little warmer.

The real genius of this garment however comes in it’s flexible construction. By designing the everything in the jacket from the insulation material to the waterproof liner, Kjus have achieved something that few other manufacturers have: a stretchable garment throughout all layers. If you don’t believe us, try one on for yourself in-store!

Find out more about the Formula on the Snow+Rock website.

Planks Good Times Jacket

UK based Planks has long been a favourite brand amongst Ski Club staffers, and so we are pleased to see Snow and Rock stocking it. The relaxed fit of this jacket lends itself well to those who like the more urban look and the variety of colours available means it will match any outfit. The Good Times insulated and waterproof jacket will keep you warm and dry, no matter the conditions thanks to the with the added bonus of the long body and snow skirt combining to stop unwanted internal snowdrifts.

Perfect for those looking for a more laid-back look on the snow, available for both Men and Women.