The Top 4 Women's Snowboard Jackets of 2013

In the first installment of her new The Adventuress column, Ali Carr Troxell, who has over 16 year of snowboarding under her belt, reveals her favorite jackets for the current snow season.

(Sorbis/Shutterstock)

There’s so much more to a covetable snowboard jacket than just good looks—although that’s definitely part of it. For me, it has to be lightweight for all-day comfort, insulated correctly for the conditions I ride most, the right length to shield snow from going down my pants, and have a flattering cut in the waist (lest I look like a boy under my helmet and goggles). With over 16 years of snowboarding under my belt, I’ve definitely cycled through a few I’ve loved (and still hoard, much to my husband’s dismay) and a few that have stopped working for me over time (too boxy, too bulky, too hard to match to my pants). Luckily, I have had the opportunity to take over a dozen jackets out so far this season—from Lake Tahoe to Aspen to my hometown hill, Ski Santa Fe—to see which I like best. Here are my top four picks.

The Top Women's Snowboard Jackets of 2013: Arc'teryx Kamoda

In the first installment of her new The Adventuress column, Ali Carr Troxell, who has over 16 year of snowboarding under her belt, reveals her favorite jackets for the current snow season

Arc'teryx Kamoda Jacket. (Courtesy of Arc'teryx)

There’s no denying the price tag for the women’s-specific Kamoda is the equivalent to nearly a month’s rent for many. But with top-of-the-line technologies and details, the difference was noticeable. I couldn’t get over how lightweight and mobile I felt given how warm the jacket was. Usually that level of insulation requires some amount of bulk. Not so with the Kamoda thanks to the brand’s Coreloft Compact Insulation—crimped polyester fibers that have undergone a reduction process that not only shrinks the fibers but also creates air pockets that trap heat. Arc’teryx claims the material’s thickness is reduced by 50 percent but it still retains 90 percent of its warmth. While I can’t confirm or deny their claims, the stuff works. On a seven-degree, white out day at Aspen’s Ajax Mountain in Colorado, I felt toasty even while riding the lifts. Plus, I loved the oversize collar that I could zip over my mouth.

Another bonus? The jacket’s outer Gore-Tex Pro fabric, paired with the insulation, breathed exceptionally. I shed my mid-layer for a sunny day with spring-like conditions at Northstar in Lake Tahoe and was perfectly comfortable. The Kamoda has all of the bells and whistles you expect from a high-quality ski jacket (stretchy mesh powder skirt, a laminated brim on a large helmet-compatible hood, Recco avalanche reflector technology), and they’re all smartly placed and built well.

The Top Women's Snowboard Jackets of 2013: Patagonia Rubicon Rider

In the first installment of her new The Adventuress column, Ali Carr Troxell, who has over 16 year of snowboarding under her belt, reveals her favorite jackets for the current snow season

Patagonia Rubicon Rider Jacket. (Courtesy of Patagonia)

While some testers equated the Rubicon to the Michelin Man when it came to puff-factor, they were reveling in its warmth on single-digit December nights in Banff, Canada. “It was similar to wrapping myself in a down comforter,” one tester commented. “I generated enough heat just from walking around at night that I had to open the pit zips.”

While the Rubicon might feel as plush as down, it’s actually stuffed with 150 grams of Patagonia’s synthetic Thermogreen insulation—a compressible, mostly recycled polyester—which means, should it get wet, it’ll stay warm, unlike down. The jacket’s face fabric, a water-repellant softshell, added a lot of stretch for movement on the slopes and the sizable chest pocket earned it points—it was large enough to hold a pair of goggles.

With as many features as the Kamoda, like a removable powder skirt, an internal glove stash, and a media port, but not quite as much waterproofing, this was our go-to for cold weather outings in dry locales.

The Top Women's Snowboard Jackets of 2013: Ride Snowboards Magnolia

In the first installment of her new The Adventuress column, Ali Carr Troxell, who has over 16 year of snowboarding under her belt, reveals her favorite jackets for the current snow season

Ride Snowboards Magnolia Jacket. (Courtesy of Ride Snowboards)

When I first picked up the Ride Snowboards Magnolia jacket, its featherweight pleasantly surprised me. In the past, jackets with as much style have generally been heavier, forgoing technological advancements for good looks. But the Magnolia has both. This synthetically-insulated jacket—the most traditional of the bunch, with 2/3 the insulation of the Kamoda—is a comfortable, flattering snowboard coat with some good taper in the waist to make it look feminine.

The plaid flannel lining reminded me of sleeping bags from my childhood that were soft and snuggly—this jacket was no different. The waterproof twill-like face fabric fended off light flutters throughout a day at Ski Santa Fe, but unfortunately, the insulation wasn’t quite enough to do the same for the near single-digit temps, even with a wool baselayer and thick fleece underneath. While most of my core was fine, it was obvious that that’s where the insulation was because my shoulders and arms couldn’t shake the chill.

Not as full-featured as the Kamoda and the Rubicon, the Magnolia still had most of the details I needed—like a powder skirt and hand gaiters—but its chest pocket (where I like to keep my cell phone) was on the outside of the jacket, which drained my battery because of the cold temperatures.

The Top Women's Snowboard Jackets of 2013: Oakley Moving

In the first installment of her new The Adventuress column, Ali Carr Troxell, who has over 16 year of snowboarding under her belt, reveals her favorite jackets for the current snow season

Oakley Moving Jacket. (Courtesy of Oakley)

For warmer days that only require a shell, I kept reaching for Oakley’s Moving Jacket—a long, two-layer Gore-Tex with sophisticated styling. It’s one of the only snowboard jackets this season with a simple aesthetic: one color, a feminine cut, and an interesting asymmetrical zipper. It’s a mature snowboard jacket that doesn’t scream, “Snowboard or die!”

In function, however, it wasn’t as simple. The jacket has a lot going on; when I tried to splitboard into the backcountry with it, it just was too heavy and long to do anything super aerobic. For the way down, however, it got the job done beautifully and, come spring, this might become my staple. It’s one of the most waterproof covers here and features everything you want in a jacket: powder skirt, wrist gaiters, pit zips, magnetic closures, and more. My favorite feature? The oversize storm hood I could hide my face behind when the wind picked up.

Filed To: Women's / Snow Sports / Gear
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