With Women's Ski and Snowboard Jackets ranging in price from £17.99 at Decathalon to £2k for the latest from Prada, we’re here to help you decode the lingo and understand which jacket is the best one for you. We believe you can buy a great jacket for around £150 to £300, one that will deliver on its promises and last you a long time.
It takes a lot of effort to design and manufacture a Ski or Snowboard jacket, from ensuring the right fabric is chosen to keep the snow out, heat in when you need it, but still breathable when you are breaking a sweat! To the design and placement of pockets, zips and the hood. It has to be one of the most technical pieces of clothing to design and manufacture and hopefully this guide will provide you a better understanding of how your product is constructed, allowing you to make the right decision for you.
Here's a list of what we are going to cover in this guide:
We want to be warm and dry on the mountain, whilst allowing sweat and heat to escape. Most jackets will display a Waterproof / Breathability rating that will give you an idea of how the jacket will perform. The waterproof rating is measured in mm of water the fabric can withstand without leaking. If you intend to be out on the mountain for a couple of hours in dry conditions a 5k Waterproof rating should be fine; however if you want to spend a longer time on the mountain in variable weather conditions we would suggest a minimum of 10k and you’re hiking the backcountry or out in extreme conditions we would suggest 20k or above.
Breathability is measured in grams of water that can pass through the fabric in 24 hours. The higher the number, the more breathable the fabric is. So have a think about how much you are likely to be exerting yourself on your adventure and how sweaty you are going to get!
Ski and Snowboard Jackets can come in 2L (layer) or 3L fabrics, the 3L construction has a outer layer, membrane and fully bonded inner layer. This is the most advanced construction offering better protection and more breathability, but it is more expensive. On the upside, a good quality 2L women's ski jacket will still do a superb job for the vast majority of skiers and snowboarders.
The Armada Gypsum Ski Jacket - 10k Waterproof /10k Breathability rating
You’ve got a couple of options here, either buy a women's shell jacket and use a separate insulator jacket underneath when you need it or buy an insulated jacket. The insulation is typically a synthetic polyester, but occasionally a down fill is used (its worth checking that responsibly sourced down is used with no live plucking of the birds).
Our sweet spot is around 80-100g of insulation. Not to hot, not too cold.
Most jackets have under arm or pit vents to let cold air in and heat out. Better jackets may have a 2-way zip which is useful if you are wearing a backpack and some may be mesh lined. This is a feature we use all the time, so if you are planning an active trip a good venting system is worth investing in.
The Nikita Hemlock Ski or Snowboard Jacket - mesh lined pit vents
No, not for table dancing after you’ve had a few schnapps! This is the elasticated band inside the ski jacket that can stop snow getting in if you take a tumble. Sometimes this has poppers to attach to your snow pants and sometimes its removable. Choose the right one for you.
The zip area is probably the most vulnerable part of the jacket, so its worth investing in a waterproof zip system. YKK® zips are pretty much the holy grail of snow jacket zips. Other pointers here are a chin guard over the top of the zip and easy pull system which is super handy if you don’t want to take your gloves off.
The other vulnerable area of your jacket is the seams, the tiny holes made in the manufacturing process to sow the bits of your jacket together can be taped over to ensure that the jacket is fully waterproof. It’s definitely worth investing in a seam taped jacket if you want to be out in all weathers.
Pockets can actually add quite a bit of cost to a ski jacket, as they add both fabric and construction time to the jacket. They are a key feature in the styling of the jacket, but have a think about what you’ll take out with you on the mountain. An internal smart phone pocket is handy as it keeps the phone warmer and extends battery life. If your phone’s important to you also check out whether the jacket has headphone loops.
Some jackets will have a Recco® reflector system built in which could improve detection if you were caught in an avalanche. Learn more about them here But please educate yourself before heading off-piste Henry's Avalanche Talks is a great resource.
Also called wrist gaiters, this is the Marmite of ski jackets – some people love them some people hate them. Personally, struggling with circulation and keeping hands warm they are a must!
Ski and Snowboard jackets are typically made out of synthetic fabrics Polyester or Nylon. Many jackets now incorporate recycled fabrics. If this is important to you do check out the proportion of recycled fabric the jacket contains some brands will make big claims about sustainability but the jacket may only contain 30-40% recycled content. The recycled polyester can be made from recycled plastic bottles such as the fabric from Repreve®
Most jackets will also have a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. Some brands still use a C8 PFC DWR coating which has been shown to be hazardous and not breakdown in the environment. The standard is now a C6 FC DWR coating, but some brands are now taking this a step further and exploring new DWR coatings which have a lower environmental impact.
For example the Planks Clothing Women's Good Times Jacket contains over 70% recycled fibres. Check out the British Camo colourway below, they even do Women's Ski Pants to match!
This one’s all down to you! Own your own style. We’d love to see it #withlatitude. Or check out our collection of Women's ski wear here.