Best Men’s Ski Jackets of 2021
A ski jacket is your first line of defense from the heavy gusts, layers of precipitation, and freezing temperatures that may descend upon you while you are recreating on the mountain. Therefore, choosing the right ski jacket is normally a process of comparing a product’s abilities with the type of conditions you are most likely to see during your favorite form of skiing. Backcountry skiers exploring the depths of the Cascades will more than likely face different conditions than skiers on a run at a eastern mountain resort. At some point during the process, a skier’s individual preferences also come into play. Many skiers search for the ski jacket that is the most versatility, while others prefer jackets with added insulation and various waterproof finishes. Our list of the best ski jackets of the year for men includes several jackets that fit both of these profiles and a few 3-in-1 jackets that will suit the budget seeker.
Best Ski Jackets
|Arc’teryx||Arc’teryx Sabre AR Jacketg||Best Overall Ski Jacket||$675.00*||NN8op-X Gore-Tex||Learn More|
|Columbia||Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchang||Best Budget Ski Jacket||$199*||Nylon||Learn More|
|The North Face||The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate||Best 3-in-1 Ski Jacket||$348.95*||DryVent 2-Layer||Learn More|
|Patagonia||Patagonia 3-in-1 Snowshot||Best Resort Ski Jacket||$329.00*||Recycled Polyester Micro Twill||Learn More|
|Marmot||Marmot Spire||Best Backcountry Ski Jacket||$435*||Gore-Tex||Learn More|
Best Overall Ski Jacket
Arc’teryx Sabre AR Jacket
Material: N8op-X Gore-TexLearn More
Pros: Premium materials and fit
Cons: Too heavy for extended backcountry use
For several years now, Arc’teryx has dominated the high-end ski jacket market. The company’s offerings have become long time favorites among a wide range of skiers, and the Sabre AR Jacket is no exception. The latest version of the jacket underwent a few changes since last season including becoming longer and receiving a more modernized fit. However, the jacket is still manufactured with premium materials like N8op-X Gore Tex, versatile enough for backcountry and resort skiing (the AR actually stands for “all round”), and very protective even in the coldest of temperatures. This ski shell jacket is perfect for skiers looking to complete quick trips into the backcountry or ski all day within the resort. Skiers will also appreciate the jacket’s well placed pockets and adjustable hood.
The downfalls associated with Arc’teryx ski jackets are normally very minimal. Our award for best overall ski jacket, only has one major flaw in our eyes. The jacket may not perform as well as other jackets on the market in an extended backcountry situation. At a total weight of around 1.5 pounds, the Sabre AR may become a bit bulky for the most seasoned of backcountry skiers. Skiers of this caliber should look to purchase a jacket more specifically designed for backcountry use. Though skiers looking to purchase a jacket for all types of skiing will find nothing finer than the Arc’teryx Sabre AR jacket.
Best Budget Ski Jacket
Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchange
Material: NylonLearn More
Pros: Inexpensive, versatile
Cons: bulky, loose fit, and out of date style
While the Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchange ski jacket does not offer users any flashy bells or whistles, there is still a lot to appreciate about the ski coat. At a price point of under $200 the Whirlibird takes home our award for “best on a budget ski jacket,” and the jacket’s 3-in-1 design offers skiers versatility and standard weather protection. Columbia ski jackets have long brought exceptional affordability to the ski jacket market and the Whirlibird IV Interchange does so with a waterproof outer membrane, an adjustable hood, powder skirt, and an array of well positioned pockets. Skiers looking to purchase a new jacket, but also trying to keep their wallet relatively safe will do well by purchasing the Columbia Whirlibird.
Our loudest complaints with the Whirlibird IV may be a bit unfair. Its fit is loose, boxy, and bulky which will leave seasoned skiers desiring more. However, the Whirlibird IV interchange was not designed to please the most hardcore of skiers. This Columbia ski jacket is best suited for occasional skiers or beginner skiers who are looking to be introduced to the sport. Overall, the jacket’s small price tag and versatility make it worthy of the mountain.
Best 3-in-1 Ski Jacket
The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate
Material: DryVent 2-LayerLearn More
Pros: Warm, versitalie, and protective
Cons: Heavy, poor ventilation
When the conversation shifts to deciding what is the best 3-in-1 ski jacket, the consensus around the skiing discourse is unanimous. The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate is consistently revered for its versatility, protection and warmth. Choosing to purchase a 3-in-1 jacket is a great option for skiers looking to save a few dollars while receiving an insulated midlayer and a waterproof shell. While there are several 3-in-1 jackets that are less expensive than this option from The North Face, the ThermoBall outperforms most of them across the board. The jacket contains a layered weather protection system, adjustable hood, an array of pockets, an adjustable hood, and even an attached google wipe.
The largest gripe against the ECO Snow Triclimate is its weight. This bulkiness and added weight is a result of the jacket’s 3-in-1 design. Jackets of this subset are almost always heavier than individual shells. The only other disadvantage associated with this particular 3-in-1 jacket is its lack of a proper ventilation system. However, ventilation only becomes a real problem on warmer spring days where skiers can opt to unzip the insulated inner layer and simply wear the outer shell.
Best Resort Ski Jacket
Patagonia 3-in-1 Snowshot
Material: Recycled Polyester Micro TwillLearn More
Pros: Patagonia quality
Cons: Poor fit
Another hardshell option, the Patagonia Snowshot offers skiers versatility and premium quality; both of which have become synonymous with the brand over the course of the last few decades. The outdoor powerhouse offers its Snowshot model in an insulated option and a 3-in-1 jacket option. However, comparatively the insulated option seems to have a larger upside and performs better in harsher conditions. While other Patagonia ski jackets are best used in the backcountry, the Snowshot is the perfect entry level resort ski jacket. The body of the jacket keeps skiers warm with 80-gram synthetic, while well placed pockets and pit zips offer increased versatility and comfort.
Best Backcountry Ski Jacket
Material: Gore-TexLearn More
Pros: Inexpensive for a 3-layer jacket
Marmot is a well respected brand in the general outdoor community, but rather untested in the skiing world. Their outerwear offerings are mostly premium rain jackets and hiking coats. However, the company does offer a few high quality skiing jackets. The Spire is the company’s finest ski coat, for it is constructed out of premium Gore-Tex, but still manages to maintain a reasonable price tag of $435.00. For comparison, our selection for best overall ski jacket, the Sabre AR, is also constructed out of Gore-Tex, but costs almost $250 more than the Spire. In addition to its low price point, the Spire also comes equipped with a zip-out powder skirt and a large adjustable hood which make the jacket perfect for backcountry skiing. Skiers will also like that the Spire is constructed out of recycled polyester in an attempt for Marmot to remain environmentally conscious and sustainable.
Compromises are expected from jackets that maintain a low price point. While the Spire roughly weighs the same as the Sabre AR, the jacket is missing the added flannel liner associated with the Arc’teryx option. Other long term problems are associated with the Spire’s zipper and overall durability. Unlike other competitive options the Spire’s zipper is not water resistant. However, it is protected by a designed fabric flap.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ski Jackets
What is the best ski jacket brand?
The best ski jacket brands are retailers who have long been producing quality products for outdoor use. The following are some of the most popular brands:
The North Face
What should I look for in a ski jacket?
When deciding what ski jacket to purchase you should compare several factors including weight, fit, materials, design, and shell type. While comparing characteristics you will most likely figure out what you like in a jacket and what you dislike. However, beginners may need to wear a jacket while skiing several times before they realize exactly what they would like in a jacket. During the process of purchasing a ski jacket, skiers should also be aware of what type of skiing they most likely will be practicing. Different types of skiing such as resort skiing and backcountry skiing require jackets with different strengths. A great jacket for backcountry skiing is versatile enough to stand up in treacherous weather, but also light enough that it won’t slow a skier down or overheat them. Ski jackets designated for resort style skiing don’t often possess features such as a snow skirt. Last but not least, skiers should also compare the cost of ski jackets before deciding on which one they would like to purchase.
Do ski jackets keep you warm?
Yes, ski jackets are generally designed to provide warmth to skiers recreating on the mountain. This warmth is often the product of the outer shell which protects the skier from heavy winds and precipitation, and the interior layer of insulation. Not all ski jackets possess an insulated interior layer. Besides keeping skiers warm, ski jackets are also designed for several other purposes. These purposes include weather protection, waterproofing, and gear storage. Often top of the line ski jackets come decked out with pockets designed to store goggles, gloves, and other gear.
How much should I spend on a ski jacket?
While ski jackets are normally expensive, you do not need to break the bank to purchase a ski jacket worthy of the mountain. Brands across the market often offer several ski jackets at various price points. For example, Outdoor Research sells the Hemispheres jacket for around $600, whereas they sell their Skyward II jacket for under $300. It is very tempting to overspend on a ski jacket, but overall a skier should only purchase a jacket if it is going to fit their needs.
Should ski jackets be tight or loose?
A ski jacket should fit a skier well. This fit should be not too loose or not too tight. The skier should be able to simultaneously wear the jacket with several layers underneath, and alone with one or no layers as well. Jackets that don’t fit a skier properly will end up causing the skier to become cold. A jacket that is too tight will not allow a skier to wear adequate layers underneath to protect from the cold, whereas a jacket that is too loose will result in air and snow getting underneath the outer shell. Jackets designed for downhill skiing normally fit tighter than other jackets. These jackets are designed this way to further protect skiers from the winds and snow they will face during downhill runs.
What do you wear under a ski jacket?
The simple answer to this question is that it depends for a variety of reasons. Are you wearing a jacket during a spring run in a resort, or are you embarking on a backcountry excursion in the middle of the winter. During the spring it is common for skiers to only wear one additional layer underneath their outer jacket. However, in extreme conditions and in colder temperatures skiers may wear several smaller jackets or insulated layers underneath their outer shell or ski jacket. The answer to this question also depends on individual comfort. Some skiers prefer additional layers, while others prefer none if possible.