How to choose the right ski or snowboard jacket
Here is your guide to choosing the right ski or snowboard jacket for you. It may sound strange but you actually don’t want to think about your clothing… when you’re out there on the slopes. Your clothing should be an extension of your body, enhancing comfort and performance and never holding you back. That’s why it’s important to know what you need and we’ll try to lay that out for you here.
A ski jacket or snowboard jacket is arguably the most important part of your winter wardrobe. It’s not just a jacket, it’s a super smart jacket made to optimize your experience. This piece of clothing is a multi-tasker, keeping you warm, dry, flexible and ready for anything.
Discover how to choose the right ski or snowboard jacket now!
Here goes, what to look for when looking for your new jacket:
Differences ski & snowboard jacket
Waterproofing and breathability
Hood and collar
Cuffs and thumb loops
Under your jacket
Colour, fabric and print
The difference between a ski and snowboard jacket
Let’s start by saying that these two types of jackets are interchangeable, meaning that you can use a ski jacket for snowboarding and a snowboard jacket for skiing. The biggest difference between a ski jacket and a snowboard jacket is the fit. Snowboard jackets are looser than ski jackets and are usually longer in length. The extra length helps keep you warm when you are sitting in the snow strapping your board on.
For skiing, a jacket with a slimmer fit will make you more aerodynamic while you’re cutting up the slopes. Also you tend to make fewer big movements when skiing compared to snowboarding so the excess fabric isn’t really necessary. So if you’re snowboarding, look for a regular to relaxed fit and if you’re skiing, look for a slim to regular fit. If you are planning on doing both, then a regular fit jacket would be a good choice.
Waterproofing and breathability on your ski or snowboard jacket
The jacket needs to make a little magic. It needs to be breathable. The heat and moisture generated by your body as you ski or snowboard should be able to escape. At the same time, the moisture on the outside of the jacket needs to be kept out.
How waterproof and breathable a jacket is, is expressed in two numbers. The first is in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is. In the case of a 10k or 10.000 mm fabric this means you can place a square tube with inner dimensions of 3mm x 30mm over the jacket’s outer fabric and you could fill it with water to a height of 10.000 mm before water would begin to seep through. The higher this number, the more waterproof the fabric. 5.000mm is low waterproofing, 10.000mm is average and 20.000mm is high.
The second number is a measure of how breathable the fabric is, and is measured in grams (gr) of water vapor, which can pass through a square meter of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24-hour period. In the case of a 20k (20 000gr) fabric, this would be 20.000 grams. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric, meaning that 5.000gr is low and 20.000gr is very breathable.
If you’re looking for a 20K jacket, check out jackets like our Clavin 19 and Kikham for men or our Winter and Aricia for women. These jackets have a water resistance level of 20.000mm and a breathability level of 20 000gr. A 20K jacket is ideal for extreme weather conditions or when you’re often in contact with deep snow.
At 10K, we have some fantastic jackets to choose from. For men for example, we have the awesome Arram with its longer length, made from recycled polyester. For women, amongst many 10K jackets, we have the fabulous corduroy Cutie jacket and for the kids, there is the Keever JR for boys and the Twister JR for girls. All these jackets have 10 000 mm water resistance meaning that the fabric is water repellent on the outside and breathable on the inside. This type of jacket is perfect for the average skier or boarder.
Sealed seams for improved waterproofing
Rather than just stitched together, seams can also be taped on the inside. Taped seams are where tape is applied to a garments seam and sealed using heat. For a jacket to be highly waterproof the seams need to be treated in this way. This will stop water coming through the stitching. If the seams aren’t sealed, there’s a good chance that water will eventually manage to seep through these vulnerable areas and you’ll be wet anyway. Critically taped seams are when the most important seams have been taped which tends to be the hood, neck and shoulders. For a jacket with fully taped seams, see our men’s Vento and Wylam and our women’s Aricia and Nocton 19.
How to find the perfect jacket fit?
The fit that’s right for you depends on what kind of skiing or snowboarding you like to do. Slim fit is well suited to smooth riding over the pistes, while a regular or looser cut is good for bigger movements that freeriders and freestylers like to make. The addition of a good amount of stretch fibre into technical fabric means that a slim fit definitely won’t make you rigid and you’ll be able to make all kind of crazy moves. So it’s more a matter of personal taste.
Women’s ski and snowboard jackets tend to be more fitted and wider around the hips whilst men’s jackets tend to be wider on the shoulders and narrower on the hips. Generally it’s a safer beat to stick to your own gender in jackets but if for example, you’re a woman with wide shoulders, then you could consider a mens jacket to achieve your own perfect fit.
How to find the perfect jacket size?
So how should your ski or snowboard jacket fit? It should fit well, not too loose and not too tight. It needs to be loose enough so that you can move freely, especially at the arms and shoulders. There should be room enough for some layers as well. That said, if your jacket is too loose, you’ll have trouble keeping the cold and snow out. So it’s about finding a happy medium.
How to find the perfect jacket length?
Until recently the functional jacket has always been pretty standard in length but now with the rise of the parka jacket on the street, jackets on the slopes are also getting longer. Check out our Arram for men and our Complete or Marani 19 for women. The added length adds warmth, protection and some street edge. For snowboarders, this added length has the added advantage of keeping you warm and dry when you’re sitting in the snow strapping in.
Hood and collar for extra head protection
Ski and snowboard jackets generally come with a hood, which is either fixed or detachable. A detachable hood can be removed if you aren’t using it. A fixed hood is a permanent feature of the jacket. It has the advantage of always being ready and you’ll never lose it! Most hoods are adjustable – look for an elastic pull at the back for example, which is useful to stop it falling over your eyes. Some of our hoods have a detachable faux fur trim for added warmth and style. Collars in ski and snowboard jackets vary in height. There are short, medium and high collars. Choose a jacket with a high collar, like the Buston, Clavin 19, or Vento, for maximum protection from the elements.
Waist gaiter to keep the snow out
A waist gaiter is a wide elasticated band inside the jacket – sometimes called a powder skirt. If you’re already into exploring snow sports or other wintry outdoor activities, you’ll be familiar with the discomfort if snow, ice, rain or sleet manages to make its way inside your clothing. The function of this internal belt is to keep the snow and cold from getting inside. It acts as an extra barrier against the elements. You will find a waist gaiter on most of our jackets for skiing and snowboarding.
High quality zippers
All of our zippers are YKK. A zipper is a small element in a snow jacket but a very important part. If it malfunctions, you’re either not getting in or not getting out of your jacket. That’s why we use YKK zippers, which stand for quality and reliability. Some of our jackets, like the Virgo 19 jacket for men, have water-repellent zippers. This means that the zipper’s design is tailored to be water resistant. It is also coated with a vinyl material that makes it water repellent and eliminates the need for a storm placket (that extra flap of fabric that covers the zipper). To avoid chin chafe there’s a fabric cover over the top of the front zip called a chin guard, and there may be softer material behind it here too, for extra protection. Most of our zippers come with pull, which makes it easier to unzip your jacket with your gloves on.
Vents for improved ventilation
Most of our jackets have zippers under the arms; these are called vents. They allow hot air to escape from the jacket and cool air to get in. So it’s like built-in air conditioning. You won’t have to unzip at the front, which often leads to undercooling and lots of jacket-flapping while on the move. Our vents are mesh lined, allowing for breathability.
Cuffs and thumb loops for protection against the wind
Your adventure outfit should be wind and chill resistant. Points of weakness are where clothing pieces meet like between the gloves and the cuffs of the sleeves. Our answer to this is an internal stretchy lycra cuff inside the sleeve of the jacket, sometimes with a loop for the thumb to help it stay put. These extra sleeves can be stretched over the gloves or worn under the gloves using the thumb loop. Nice touch. On the outside of the cuffs there is often an adjustable velcro strap which helps to get a close fit and helps keep the cold and snow out.
Pockets to store all your belongings
You’ll find that our ski and snowboard jackets have an array of useful item-specific pockets. Think about what you need to take with you when you’re out there on the slopes. Most jackets will have zippered side pockets and a secure pocket for valuable cards or cash. There’s a handy lift pass pocket on the left arm so it’s on the side of the sensors at the lift gates. Some jackets have a special large pocket for your goggles (and sometimes there’s a goggle cleaner in there) or maybe also a phone pocket with easy access for your headphone cables. Nearly all of our ski and snowboard jackets have easy headphone access, helpful for when you want to set your action to music.
What to wear under your jacket?
To get the most out of your winter adventure, you need to stay warm. Obviously your body is going to be doing some of the work, as your activity will heat you up. The rest you can do by wearing layers under your jacket. The outside temperature will determine just how many layers you need. You can divide your layers up into base layers and mid layers and these are often interchangeable. Remember the base layer’s primary function is moisture-wicking while the mid layer needs to be warm.
The base layer is a super important part of your ski and snowboard outfit. Your base layer needs to be great moisture managers as well as bringing some warmth and comfort. Our thermals have great stretch so that you can do all those crazy moves totally unrestricted. For men we have the Ken thermal top and for women, we have the Stacie thermal top.
For the women we also have a whole new range of fabulous thermal ‘underwear’ in a range of amazing prints. These base layers are made for hard work bringing you that essential first layer of insulation, but are also well suited to lounging around on a chill-out day. Extra features bring more functionality like an added hood, high neck or longer length. Check out our Coil and our Bluebird thermal top. Remember if you really feel the cold, you could double up on your base layer.
Worn on top of your base layer, your mid layer is your defence shield against the cold. So the main task of this layer is to keep you warm. There should also be some stretch in the fabric so that your movements are unrestricted. It’s important that this layer is moisture wicking and breathable so that you stay comfortable. Just like with the base layer, the mid layer will be more effective if it’s fitted so that cold air doesn’t get in between your layers. Most of our mid layers have high necks for added protection from the elements. We have many options to choose from for men, women, boys, girls and toddlers.
Fleeces are multi-taskers. Many of our fleeces can function as both a base layer or a mid layer. Fleece is an excellent moisture manager as it is really good at moving the moisture away from the body, through the fabric and spread it across the fleece for evaporation. Our fleeces are moisture-wicking, breathable and warm. Check out what we’ve got to offer for men, women, boys and girls.
Colour, fabric and print to take your jacket from conservative to awesome
Colour is a game-changer. Colour can take the same jacket from conservative to awesome. So what are you after? A bright colour will help you stand out on the slopes and it looks great against a white powder backdrop. Another advantage of a bright colour is that your friends will always be able to spot you wherever you are in your winter paradise. Bright colours are also contrasted and combined in the same jacket like our Purton for men or our Kitten for women. On the other side, a subtler colour is easier to match with other items in your wardrobe and face it, won’t go out of fashion too quickly.
This winter season we’re bringing some serious street attitude to the slopes with our technical corduroy. We’ve created a corduroy fabric that is water-resistant, breathable and warm. With this functional material, we’ve created the Bluff jacket for men, the Cutie jacket for women, Dinant JR for boys and the Samona JR for girls.
Another great way of bringing some fun to your winter wardrobe is by using print. Protest is known for bringing street looks to the slopes so you’ll find fantastic on-trend prints on our jackets. For men, check out our camouflaged Gutter. For women, there’s the fabulous animal print on Dante or the camouflaged Xpress jacket.
Well done, you’ve just completed your crash course in everything you need to know about ski and snowboard jackets. We’ve covered water resistance, breathability, seams, fit length, size, pockets, ventilation zippers, hoods, layering and more. We hope that all this info has helped you on your search for the best ski or snowboard jacket for you. Anything unclear, feel free to mail us your questions at email@example.com. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.