Best Women's Ski Jackets for Warmth & Performance (2020-2021)
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Let’s face it – one of the most important purchases every skier or snowboarder has to make is a perfect jacket for the slopes. After all, this item of clothing is one of the most critical pieces of clothing protecting you from the snow, the cold, and the elements. Of course, you’ll need to pair it with a good set of base layers, gloves or mittens, and boots, but it’s absolutely critical to have one of the best women’s ski jackets for your adventures on the slopes to keep yourself safe and warm. Determining which products are the best women’s ski jackets can feel overwhelming because of the sheer number of options, but don’t worry: we’re here to help.

The perfect ski jacket will feel like an old companion – warm, protective, and comfortable – and will likely cost a bit more than you may be used to paying for an item of clothing. Despite being a big investment, the best women’s ski jackets will last several years, as many seasoned skiers and snowboarders still have some of their decades-old gear on hand when they hit the slopes each year.

This guide is meant to help you narrow down the vast number of ski and snowboard jackets out there to a handful of really fantastic options. To do this, we sifted through dozens of products and reviews, tested out several models ourselves, and settled on a handful of women’s ski jackets that will provide the warmth and comfort you need on the slopes at any price point.

Best Women’s Ski Jackets for Every Budget

To narrow down our list of the best women’s ski jackets, we performed our research just like any customer would before making a buying decision to bring you the most practical, down-to-earth, and realistic information about each jacket. We know research can be time-consuming and overwhelming, so we sifted through hundreds of reviews and tested several products in-store, at home, and on the slopes to bring you this list of fantastic jackets.

Our main goal with this guide is to help you make an informed decision on the best women’s ski jackets for your own activities, budget, and style.

Helly Hansen Powchaser Lifaloft Jacket
Overall Best Women’s Ski Jacket

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: HELLY TECH® Performance fabric (nylon and polyurethane), LIFALOFT™ Insulation
  • Notable Features: Pit zippers, several external & internal pockets, removable powder skirt
  • Pros: Very warm and waterproof, great pocket and zipper functionality for convenience and breathability
  • Cons: Some reviewers say this jacket fits larger than normal for the size

Helly Hansen is one of the premier ski brands out there, and their jackets provide top-of-the-line warmth, weatherproofing, and breathability for resort and backcountry activities. They’ve made some of the best women’s ski jackets for years, and their Powchaser Lifaloft Jacket is no exception.

With a tough outer shell featuring high-quality synthetic HELLY TECH materials and Durable Water Repellency (DWR) treatment, it’s designed specifically to keep the elements out. Eighty grams of LIFALOFT Insulation keep you warm in this dual-layered jacket, and reviewers have nothing but glowing recommendations about how warm and lightweight the Powchaser Lifaloft Jacket is on the slopes.

We’ve chosen this as our best overall ski jacket for women because of its exceptional weatherproofing and warmth, with tons of great functional features like several pockets, a removable powder skirt, and pit zippers for breathability. We had trouble finding any cons about this jacket – it’s actually that good.

This jacket truly has the best of all of the ski jackets on our list, and it’s right in the middle of the pack in terms of price. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, we have no reservations recommending the Helly Hansen Powchaser Lifaloft Jacket as your companion for skiing or snowboarding.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR POWCHASER LIFALOFT JACKET:


Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchange Jacket
Best Women’s Ski Jacket on A Budget

  • Price: $
  • Materials: Omni-Tech™ waterproofing, Omni-Heat™ thermal material, Thermarator™ insulation
  • Notable Features: 3-in-1 construction, pit zippers, lots of internal & external pockets
  • Pros: Affordable, breathable, very functional with pockets and zippers, lots of colors
  • Cons: Less warm and weatherproof than higher-end options, inconsistent zipper quality

Columbia is well-known for making affordable, functional outerwear, and their Whirlibird IV Jacket is the best of the best when it comes to buying a ski jacket on a budget. It’s got all of the requirements of a great ski jacket: waterproofing, warm insulation, lots of pockets, and breathability elements like pit zippers. By far the most affordable option on our list, the Whirlibird IV is a 3-in-1 jacket that comes with an insulated liner, a durable outer shell, and connector zippers to create a great insulated ski jacket.

While this is an excellent jacket for resort sports, you won’t find the premium materials and construction that the higher-end jackets possess. This means it’s generally less waterproof/warm than some of the other options on our list, and it’s probably not great for backcountry activities. Some reviewers also complain of the zippers breaking or being difficult to put together, which can be a pain when you’re trying to maneuver around on the slopes.

However, if you’re mostly planning on skiing in warmer places or don’t feel you need the warmest jacket on the market, the Whirlibird IV is a fantastic option for the price.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE WHIRLIBIRD IV JACKET:


Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Jacket
Best High-End Women’s Ski Jacket

  • Price: $$$$
  • Materials: GORE-TEX outer shell
  • Notable Features: Pit zippers, longer jacket length, “StormHood™,” powder skirt
  • Pros: Lightweight, breathable, very weatherproof and windproof, high-end GORE-TEX construction
  • Cons: Expensive, requires thermal mid-layer in colder temperatures

Arc’teryx makes some of the best and most high-end outerwear in existence, and their Sentinel AR Jacket is one of the best women’s ski jackets for avid skiers and riders. While it’s not as insulated as some others on our list, it’s great for layering or using in warmer temperatures, and is a very versatile and weatherproof option (possibly the best weatherproofing of all of the options on our list).

These jackets are made with advanced skiers and snowboarders in mind, and come with all of the bells and whistles that make being on the slopes smoother and easier. Pit zips, lots of pockets, and the adjustable, helmet-compatible StormHood™ add to the durable build and weatherproofing of this jacket. WaterTight™ zippers are water resistant and prevent pesky moisture and ice from entering when they’re zipped tight.

The biggest drawback of the Sentinel AR? It’s very expensive – one of the priciest on our list. For most resort skiers who only go a couple of times a year, this jacket may be overkill for the price, especially since you’ll need a midlayer to stay warm enough in it throughout the season.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE SENTINEL AR JACKET:


Outdoor Research Hemispheres
Best Women’s Ski Jacket for Backcountry

  • Price: $$$ to $$$$
  • Materials: GORE-TEX
  • Notable Features: Stretch panels, TorsoFlo™ ventilation zippers along the sides
  • Pros: Very warm, solid weatherproofing, great flexibility and mobility, breathable for touring
  • Cons: Expensive

Outdoor Research is another well-known cold weather outerwear brand, and their Hemispheres Jacket (in addition to their gloves and mittens) is an excellent jacket for all-mountain and backcountry skiing and riding. It’s beloved among skiers and riders for its superior construction, excellent weatherproofing, and breathability, which is best-in-class.

Experts largely agree that this is one of the best women’s ski jackets out there, and it even won POWDER Magazine’s “Apparel of the Year” Award. Made of GORE-TEX with special stretch capabilities, this jacket provides the warmth, weatherproofing, and flexibility necessary for long days of touring or resort skiing. It was a very strong contender for our “Best Overall” jacket, but its higher price and hit-or-miss construction left it slightly behind the Helly Hansen Powchaser.

Despite being a fantastic jacket for all types of terrain, there are some nuances that make this product a little different from others on the market. First of all, there are no pit zippers – instead, there’s a large torso zipper that you can open or close as much as you want. Some people love this, some hate it. Reviewers also say this jacket runs a little small, especially if you want to use a puffer or thicker mid-layer underneath.

Despite these minor drawbacks, this is hands-down one of the best women’s ski jackets on the market, and we’d recommend it to anyone wanting a fantastic, weatherproof outer shell for the winter.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE HEMISPHERES JACKET:


Patagonia Primo Puff
Warmest Insulated Ski Jacket for Women

  • Price: $$$$
  • Materials: GORE-TEX, Plumafill insulation
  • Notable Features: 65g of Plumaloft insulation for extra warmth, pit zippers
  • Pros: Extremely warm, slim and stylish fit
  • Cons: Very expensive, zipper construction can be challenging to open and close
Best women's ski jackets - black Patagonia Primo Puff jacket

Eco-friendly and conscious, Patagonia is a leader in the outdoor gear world for thermal layers and outerwear. Their products are highly functional and comfortable, and are well worth the often premium price tags. One of their warmest offerings is the Primo Puff jacket, which was designed with snowboarders and skiers in mind, and it is arguably the warmest jacket on the market.

With 65 grams of heavy-duty insulation and a GORE-TEX outer shell, you’ll get top-of-the-line materials and construction with this jacket. Sub-freezing temperatures and inclement weather are no match for the Primo Puff. The weatherproofing on this thing is incredible, protecting your body from wind and moisture. For those looking for an eco-friendly option, the GORE-TEX on this jacket is made of recycled polyester.

While the Primo Puff is an outstanding jacket, it is the most expensive option on our list, with a price tag that’s more than double that of some of the other fantastic, high-end options. Despite the fact that this is possibly the warmest ski jacket we’d recommend, there are others that are comparable in warmth and weatherproofing that are available for a much lower price. It’s also a bit less breathable than other offerings. If budget isn’t a concern and you want to invest in the absolute warmest ski jacket on our list, the Patagonia Primo Puff is second to none.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE PRIMO PUFF JACKET:


Burton Women’s Prowess
Best Women’s Snowboarding Jacket

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: Dryride Durashell, Sherpa fleece collar
  • Notable Features: Sherpa fleece lined collar, pit zippers, powder skirt
  • Pros: Affordable, lightweight, longer torso great for snowboarding, lots of colors to choose from
  • Cons: Thinner construction, less warm, looser fit on torso than other jackets

Burton is one of the world’s leading snowboarding brands, making gear that’s great for spending a lot of time on (and in) the snow. Their Prowess Jacket is a fantastic option for snowboarders or skiers looking for a looser, longer fit in a comfy and warm shell. It’s waterproof, weatherproof, and functional, perfect for a day of riding or wearing around during aprés-ski activities.

One of the best things about this jacket is its length, making it great for sitting in the snow (or wiping out), like snowboarders often have to do. There are several giant pockets for storing electronics and necessities, and the powder skirt helps prevent pesky snowflakes from getting into the inside of the jacket. Additionally, it comes in a lot of fun colors (possibly the widest range of all of the jackets listed here), and it’s more reasonably priced than most of the other options here.

Despite being a fantastic jacket, it’s a little thinner and less insulated than most of the options on our list, so you’ll need to pair it with a fleece or down mid-layer in colder temperatures. It runs a little large, which some people like and others dislike. However, if you like to wear layers or ski in milder temperatures, the Prowess Jacket is an excellent companion that we’d recommend wholeheartedly.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE PROWESS JACKET:


Norrøna Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro
Best Non-Insulated Ski Jacket

  • Price: $$$$
  • Materials: GORE-TEX® Pro
  • Notable Features: Non-insulated, made of 50% recycled fibers, zip-off powder skirt, ventilation & pit zippers
  • Pros: Lightweight, versatile for milder or more extreme conditions, weatherproofing is top-tier
  • Cons: Expensive, not very warm
Best women's ski jackets: light blue Norrøna Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro

While many people aren’t as familiar with Norrøna, this family-owned Norwegian brand creates high-quality outerwear for the extreme weather found within the country’s northern borders. The Lofoten Jacket – named after a super picturesque region in the northern part of Norway – is one of the best non-insulated ski jackets available, and comes highly recommended by avid skiers and riders.

Outside of warmth, the Lofoten has it all – the best weatherproofing, smart zippers, a removable powder skirt, and lots of internal and external pockets to protect your things. There’s also a great mesh-lined ventilation system along the front to get as much (or as little) air as you want. What’s better? Over 50% of the synthetic materials found in the Lofoten are from recycled fibers, meaning your purchase is more eco-friendly than non-recycled options.

The Lofoten is somewhat of a niche jacket – it’s best for those who are specifically looking for a non-insulated outer shell that’s completely weatherproof and blocks out the elements well. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is the clear winner. However, if you’re seeking a warm, thick winter coat, this jacket is probably not your cup of tea. This is not a cheap jacket (actually, it’s one of the more expensive ones we recommend), but it’s got premium materials and construction that provide best-in-class weatherproofing and protection from extreme conditions.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE LOFOTEN GORE-TEX PRO JACKET:


The North Face Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate 3-in-1
Best Multi-Layer Women’s Ski Jacket

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: DryVent 100% recycled polyester shell, PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation inner puffer
  • Notable Features: 3-in-1 construction
  • Pros: Affordable, very versatile, with two jackets that can be worn separately or together
  • Cons: No wrist gaiters, not suitable for extreme temperatures

The North Face makes excellent winter outerwear, and their Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate 3-in-1 jacket is a fantastic, versatile option for skiers and snowboarders who want some variety. Its high-quality construction and durable materials make it a great contender for both snow sports and casual use, since it can be worn in 3 different ways.

As most 3-in-1 options go, there are two separate layers (an outer shell and an inner insulated jacket) that can also be worn attached to each other. Perfect for skiing in mild temperatures or on sunny days, this jacket has a lot of versatility without too much bulkiness. The outer shell is very weatherproof and windproof, and it works seamlessly to keep the elements out.

Some customers note that the zippers can be faulty in this jacket, and the pockets are an awkward angle to use frequently. Others mention that the velcro lining that goes all the way up the zipper is a pain to use and can cause damage to the fabric of the jacket. The most common issue, however, is that the jacket simply isn’t warm enough for extreme weather, which may or may not be an issue for you. Either way, we’d recommend this jacket for milder temperatures, and it’s a pretty good deal for the price.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE THERMOBALL ECO SNOW JACKET:


Patagonia Snowbelle 3-in-1
Honorable Mention

  • Price: $$$
  • Materials: H2No® Performance Standard outer shell, Thermogreen® insulation
  • Notable Features: 3-in-1 construction, pit zippers, removable hood, Fair Trade Certified™
  • Pros: Very versatile design, lots of pockets, well-insulated
  • Cons: Tight fit, inconsistent zippers, small pocket sizes
Best women's ski jackets: green Patagonia Snowbelle 3-in-1

Patagonia makes a second appearance on our list with its Snowbelle 3-in-1 Jacket, a fantastic alternative to The North Face’s Thermoball 3-in-1 we mentioned above. Made with premium materials and lots of insulation, this two-jacket combo offers versatility and weatherproofing for long days on the slopes.

We felt that the Patagonia Snowbelle 3-in-1 was worth a mention on our list because it’s a bit warmer than the Thermoball Eco Snow 3-in-1 (The North Face). However, too many reviewers complained of poor zipper quality, lack of pockets, and a tight fit (especially around the hips) for us to feel good recommending it for everyone.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE SNOWBELLE 3-IN-1 JACKET:


Outdoor Research Skyward II Jacket
Honorable Mention

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: AscentShell waterproof outer layer
  • Notable Features: Designed for backcountry, AscentShell 3-layer technology, pit zippers
  • Pros: Great jacket for backcountry touring, spacious pockets, very weatherproof
  • Cons: Poor fit for some body types

Outdoor Research creates fantastic winter gear, and we couldn’t help but mention it twice, this time with its Skyward II touring jacket. This non-insulated outer shell is a great piece for those who prefer to layer and for those who focus much of their time and energy on the backcountry. Its minimalist, functional design and lightweight construction make it a great skiing or snowboarding companion as a weatherproof outer shell.

We felt the Skyward II was well worth a mention on our list because it is a fantastic non-insulated shell option. Customers especially love this jacket for touring in the backcountry and many have praised its breathability and weatherproofing for that exact purpose. However, it’s not as versatile for resort skiing and riding in extreme weather because it does not provide insulation, and the Norrøna Lofoten won out for the best non-insulated jacket with its superior weatherproofing and durability.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE SKYWARD II JACKET:


Flylow Billie Coat
Honorable Mention

  • Price: $$$
  • Materials: OmniBloq DWR outer shell, 3L Poly Intuitive insulation/lining
  • Notable Features: Slim fit, removable powder skirt
  • Pros: Stylish with a slim fit, good ventilation and breathability, lightweight
  • Cons: Lesser-known brand, rough outer shell material

Flylow makes quality gear for touring and resort activities, and their Billie Coat is an excellent shell to consider. This jacket is a non-insulated outer shell, meaning that it doesn’t come with any insulation. The Flylow Billie Coat excels in many areas, including fantastic weatherproofing, but it is most beloved for its beautiful aesthetics and style. Customers love the way this coat fits them and many opt to purchase it primarily because it looks good.

However, complaints included rough or stiff outer shell material and strained mobility, which were huge detractors for us. If you’re looking for a stylish, fitted women’s ski jacket and don’t mind a stiffer fabric feel, this could be a great coat for you.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE FLYLOW BILLIE COAT:


Best Women’s Ski Jackets: Side-By-Side Comparison

WARMTHWEATHERBREATH
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*Scores are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible

What to Look for In A Women’s Ski or Snowboard Jacket

Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing, along with warmth (see below), is one of the most important features to look for in a ski jacket. A weatherproof jacket will protect your body from all of the usual suspects on the slopes – wind, snow, cold air, and moisture. The materials used in the jacket’s outer shell, as well as the jacket’s construction and weatherproofing features, are what will keep you warm and toasty inside.

Material is key when it comes to weatherproofing. The outer shell of any ski jacket should be waterproof and windproof, using a synthetic or waxed material to keep cold air out and warm air in. Some of the most popular outer shell materials include:

  • Gore-Tex
  • Polyurethane
  • Nylon

The ski jacket’s construction is also a huge contributor to its weatherproofing capabilities. Many jackets come with cinches for your wrists and waist that are designed to keep cold air out by adjusting the fit of the jacket to your own body. Additionally, a powder skirt is something you may want to look for in a jacket, which is an additional piece of fabric in the waist area that is designed to keep snow out if you’re sitting on the ground (as snowboarders often do) or if you fall in the snow. Lastly, a spacious hood that fits over your helmet and has a cinch or tightening mechanism is an important feature to look for when you’re sifting through the best women’s ski jackets.

Warmth

Another one of the most important (if not the most important) features in the best women’s ski jackets is warmth. Wind and frigid air are par for the course when it comes to skiing and snowboarding, and it’s critical to have a jacket that will keep your arms and torso warm and comfortable in sub-freezing temperatures. Some of the most common insulation types you’ll see include:

  • Primaloft (& variations)
  • Thinsulate
  • Wool or Merino wool
  • Fleece

Depending on where you live and ski/ride, different jackets may make sense. For example, the alpine temperatures of the Rockies differ from the extreme lows of the Midwest and the Northeast, which will differ from the warmer temperatures of California and Mid-Atlantic resorts. Additionally, if you’ll be resort skiing, you may need a different level of warmth and insulation than backcountry skiing, which provides less access to the indoors for warmth.

Note that some ski jackets are non-insulated – these are for skiing in warmer temperatures or for using on top of separate mid-layers and base layers. If you prefer to layer rather than having one thick, bulkier jacket, a non-insulated ski jacket may be a good choice for you.

Best women's ski jackets: woman skiing in red jacket with chairlift in the background

Breathability

While it may seem counter-intuitive, breathability is an essential feature of a good ski jacket. Why? Because non-breathable jackets will hold in sweat and moisture, and will make you feel like you’re swimming in a swamp the whole time you’re wearing them. (If you’ve ever spent hours sweating in a cotton t-shirt in 80+ degree weather, you’ll know what this feels like.)

Materials and construction also play a huge role in the breathability of a jacket. Breathable fabrics like Merino wool and certain synthetics wick sweat and provide air to flow freely through. Adjustable cinches and zippers provide fresh air in places that need it throughout the day. In our review of each jacket, we’ve tried to gauge breathability from the specific features built for moisture wicking and distribution of air.

Comfort, Fit, & Style

Although it’s highly individualized, the comfort, fit, and style of a ski jacket should absolutely factor into your decision. You’ll want one that fits your specific body well without being too tight or too baggy. If you’re planning on wearing lots of layers underneath your jacket, you’ll want to factor that into your buying decision by looking for a jacket that provides space inside to wear whatever you’d like. Here are some of the comfort elements people look for:

  • Internal lining material softness
  • Fit of the jacket on your body
  • Number of pockets and storage areas
  • Style and color

While it might seem silly, color and style should be a part of your purchasing decision, too. Some people prefer muted tones and dark colors, while others enjoy wearing bright colors or patterns. If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on a ski jacket, you’ll definitely want to make sure it matches the aesthetic you’re looking for! Just make sure that you’ve considered the other functional aspects – weatherproofing, warmth, and breathability – first.

Price

There’s no sugar coating it: ski jackets are expensive. Typically, you’ll find that high-quality ski jackets range from $150 to over $700, with premium materials and features stacked in the higher end of that range. However, just because a jacket costs less does not mean that it is less warm!

While we aim to keep price out of the equation when we’re evaluating each of the individual women’s ski jackets, it’s absolutely an important factor to consider when you’re choosing a jacket for yourself.

For the purposes of this review, we’ve grouped these ski jackets into four price tiers:

  • $ = Under $200
  • $$ = $200 to 350
  • $$$ = $350 to $500
  • $$$$ = $500+

Choosing the Best Women’s Ski Jacket For You

If there’s anything you should take away from this guide, it’s that there is no “one size fits all” option for everyone. While we’ve listed our recommendations some of the best women’s ski jackets on the market here, some will work better for you than others depending on your circumstances, activities, personal preferences, and body type.

With that said, it’s important to order from reputable websites that enable returns, so you can try on your pick(s) before fully committing to them. For making any big gear purchases, we love REI and Backcountry – both have generous return policies and offer great seasonal sales where you can get many of these items at a discount.

Only you can decide which one of these is the best ski jacket for you, so make sure the one you go with fits you well, is comfortable and stylish, and keeps you toasty warm and dry.

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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, surfing, or playing in the snow.

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