The best ski jackets

Nick

The best ski jackets - nickskithreevalleys

When we’re reviewing jackets, it’d be easy to say that the one with the highest waterproof rating is the best. Or the one with the most pockets. But choosing a ski jacket is so much more than just that. I’ve been riding for a lot of years, and I’ve used a lot of jackets. Some have been great, others not so much. So, each below is carefully chosen because it has something special, unique, or I just really like what the brand has done with it.

Firstly, the jackets have to be capable. They need to have adequate weatherproofing, breathability, and be stacked with enough features to make them versatile and truly useful on the mountain. And also, they need to both look good and feel good. As such, I’ve rounded up some stalwart brands, some newcomers to the stage that are making waves, and some curveballs you may not have heard of. So, if you’re ready to check out the best ski jackets for this coming season, then keep reading.

The winners

Let’s look at the winners briefly before we dive into the full reviews. Below, you’ll find the category, name, price, link, and what I think sets them apart from the competition.

Best Overall

Montec Fawk

Price: £201
What we love: This 20k/20k workhorse has premium tech and many features, a timeless design in many colourways, a shell and insulated option, and matching bibs, all for a price point way under similar jackets from other brands.

Montec has been around for the best part of ten years now and has only gone from strength to strength. They were known at one point for their snowmobile monosuits but have since geared their jackets and pants more towards ski touring and all-around performance. Their design ethos pairs jackets with pants in matching sets like high-end touring brands, but for a much more palatable price point.

The Fawk has been their flagship ‘do everything’ jacket for a few years now, and the design is close to flawless. With 20k/20k waterproofing and breathability, along with an eco-friendly DWR treatment, fully taped seams, and both insulated and shell options in a host of colourways, it’s a jacket that offers so much variety and capability that it’s hard to think of a reason not to get one.

And when it comes to features, you’re treated to all the high-end stuff like wrist gaiters, powder skirt, mesh pockets, three-way adjustable hood, fully-taped seams … the list goes on. And should you want a matching bib, they have those too, in every matching colour. And you can get both a jacket and bib for the price that most competitors offering similar specs tech charge for a jacket alone.

Best value for money

Dope Snow Annok

Price: £166
What we love: Simple and stylish design with lots of storage, 15k/15k waterproofing and premium tech like fully taped seams, and its available in lots of unique colours and patterns, all for an unbeatable price point.

Dope Snow has been around for fifteen years at this point, and while some of the ‘core’ brands didn’t give them a very warm reception at first, you’ve only got to look at their gear to understand why. Pioneering a direct-to-consumer model, they skipped the stores and their 50% mark-up and delivered high-quality gear straight to riders for way less than their competitors. 

And even today they’re sliding in at an unmatched price-point, which I think makes them the best value for money brand around. Especially when you look at the tech they pack in. The Annok is pick for the best value of all as it slides in at just £166, and still delivers 15k/15k of waterproofing and breathability, fully-taped seams, a high-end DWR treatment, 60/40g insulation, and all the features you need for a long day of riding. 

And all that means that despite looking pretty casual, it’s more than capable of taking on even the toughest conditions. And, it’s also got this super slick contrast detail style with the drawstrings and comes in a whole selection of unique colours and prints. It’s their most popular model of the jacket, and it’s easy to see why.

Best anorak/pull-over

Volcom Brighton Pullover

Price: £250
What we love: 15k/15k waterproofing and breathability in a super stylish and lightweight package, 2L stretch Oxford shell for mobility and durability, and a stack of other features and tech.

If you want to get a really great anorak, then you can’t go wrong choosing the Brighton anorak from Volcom. Named after the legendary Brighton Resort in Utah, this lightweight, stretchy shell jacket has everything you need to hit the Boneyard, or lap the pistes above Val! Volcom is renowned for its high-quality snow gear, as well as its super laid-back and skate-inspired styling, so you’re in good hands if you choose this.

It comes with a 15k/15k 2L stretch shell made from Oxford fabric, which is a woven material renowned for its durability and strength. So you can be sure that this jacket’s going to last multiple seasons. But other than the fabric, there are lots of great features that make it a really great choice for your daily driver, including a full-opening side-zipper for easier entry.

Speaking of zips, they’re all fully waterproof here, including the oversized kangaroo pouch, a personal favourite feature that makes pull-overs a really attractive prospect as a primary jacket. The extra storage is really handy! I also really dig the extra long collar zip and the meshed arm-pit zips, making this an ideal choice for the deep winter as well as those spring sessions when the weather starts heating up.

Most unique ski jacket

Protest Kakune

Price: £199.99
What we love: Asymmetrical zip design combines the versatility and ease of a zip-through with the storage and style of a pull-over.

Protest may not seem like a familiar name to many, but they’ve actually been around for thirty years. What began as a ski wear company has now evolved into a full-scale action sports brand offering gear and clothing for snow, sea, skate, and street. And though their focus might be split across different sports, they sure know how to make a ski jacket, which is why we chose the Kakune as our most unique.

Its asymmetrical zipped design is something that’s gaining popularity in the industry (Montec Doom, we’re looking at you), and creates a really exciting blend of what both zip through jackets and pull-overs have to offer. The convenience of unzipping any time you like can’t be beaten, but having a big kangaroo pouch in the front of your jacket is also really handy. And now you can have both!

But it’s not just a pretty face, as the Kakune offers solid 10k/10k waterproofing and breathability, along with critically taped seams and wrist gaiters, and some really cool blocked colourways, all at a price point that’s sure to please. It’s maybe not the most capable jacket on this list stat-wise, but it definitely has something very few other jackets do with its design. If you like it but want something a little higher specced, check out the Doom from Montec, which runs at 20k/20k instead.

Best for your first ski trip

Armada Bergs

Price: £244.99
What we love: Beautiful and timeless parka styling, super-durable Poly Oxford Weave Shell offering 10k/10k, mid-weight 60g polyfill insulation, and lots of other great features, making this a simple and effective jacket for all situations.

Armada are one of the biggest and most well-respected ski brands, and their Bergs jacket is a personal favourite, as well as a ride favourite. It’s a no-frills jacket that’s got lots of style, solid stats, and is built to last. This is a multi-season jacket and a timelessly styled all-rounder that’ll serve you well for years to come.

It has a 10k/10k waterproofing and breathability rating with a DWR treatment, along with 60g polyfill insulation for all-season use. Though it’s the Poly Oxford Weave Shell that’s the best part, as this fabric is completely bombproof and will stand up to any punishment you give it. On top of this, the jacket has all the features you need for all-day riding.

Personally, I think the Bergs is one of the best-looking jackets out there, and it delivers a really great ‘throw it on and go’ experience. It’s got all the storage you need both internally and externally, vents, and a helmet-compatible hood … It’s got it all. As such, it’s our choice for the best jacket for a first-time rider as it doesn’t overcomplicate anything. Plus, it’s low-key stylish enough to use off the mountain, too, so you can wear it all year round as a rain or winter jacket.

Best freeride jacket

Picture Naikoon

Price: £364.95
What we love: Premium 20k/20k 2L recycled polyester shell fabric with built-in stretch, waterproof external storage, and a super slick design designed to tackle the biggest freeride lines make this jacket the perfect choice for powder riding.

If you’re looking for something a little more technical, then the Picture Naikoon is an excellent choice. This 2L technical shell features a hardcore 20k/20k waterproofing and breathability split, but on top of that, the fabric also has built-in stretch for increased mobility and comfort. And it’s got a DWR treatment and loads of other features, too.

It comes from Picture Organic Clothing, so you know it’s not only bulletproof quality but also environmentally conscious. Picture jackets just feel like they’re worth the money when you put one on, and I have no trouble recommending them, having ridden one of their 3L shells all season and loved it. Sure, the price isn’t exactly accessible, but if you’re dropping burly powder lines in the Alps, then you want gear you can rely on. And let me tell you, in La Grave, you want reliable, not cheap.

In terms of the features, you get lots of waterproof external storage, along with a stormproof hood, articulated joints, fully taped seams, and so much more. While this is definitely overkill for a resort jacket, if you need something you can rely on in the toughest conditions, then the Naikoon is it. Oh, and matching bib pants are available, too, if you want to complete the look.

Best ski touring jacket

Peak Performance Vertical

Price: £720
What we love: Super premium lightweight Gore-Tex 3L construction with a full host of features specifically for ski-touring including waterproof zips and external storage, oversized vents, and two-way front zippers.

Peak Performance is probably the pinnacle of touring jackets. They’re super high-tech, high-quality, and high-ticket items that deliver premium performance for a premium price. Yeah, this is a seven-hundred-pound jacket. And with matching pants, you’re talking well over four figures. But if you’re out there slaying the biggest faces and touring all day, all season, then you need something that can stand up to punishment, not just from the elements but from constant wear.

Enter the Vertical. This technical 3L shell is packed with awesome stuff like a full Gore-Tex construction, fully waterproof zips and taped seams, oversized vents, and a two-way front zipper so you can access your bib without unzipping your jacket all the way down. This thing is also light. Truly featherweight, meaning it’s also really packable if you want to stuff it in a bag to ascend.

However, that’s not all. It’s got a long fit to help keep the snow out, and articulated sleeves make it more comfortable to ascend with poles. You’ve also got a 3-way adjustable hood, cinchable hem and wrist gaiters, and a built-in RECCO reflector. All of which is to say that this thing is just about the best jacket you could buy — so long as money’s no object, of course!

About the author

Nick is a seasoned skier and passionate about the Three Valleys region in France and likes to share expert advice on resorts, accommodations, and local gems, based on his personal experiences. Nick is dedicated to supporting local businesses and promoting the authentic French skiing culture for a memorable experience on the slopes.