The Ski Jackets That Transformed Our Powder Days
Because you don’t want to be huddled in the lodge while fresh snow is falling
From fresh powder to freezing rain, these are the jackets that will keep you cozy and dry this season.
The North Face Brigandine ($749)
Best For: Freeriders with deep pockets
Developed for the North Face’s Pro freeride squad, the Brigandine is built to withstand hundreds of days of hard skiing. It features the company’s new super-breathable Futurelight waterproof membrane, which is set inside rugged 75-denier fabric, and it’s fortified with abrasion-resistant zones to fend off abuse. We appreciated details like the eight pockets to stash tools and the finely articulated fit that accommodates a low riding stance.
Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Hybrid ($300)
Best For: Comfort
If you hate loud, plasticky outerwear, consider this soft shell your new favorite jacket. Its four-way-stretch fabric feels like broken-in denim and stays blessedly silent when you move. And it adapts to sun and storms with a zoned design: the waterproof membrane in the hood and upper arms sheds snow, but everything else is porous for maximum breathability.
Norrøna Lofoten Gore-Tex Insulated ($499)
Best For: Arctic conditions
Norway’s notoriously cold and wet weather inspired the Lofoten. Norrøna wrapped recycled synthetic insulation in a Gore-Tex shell, then fortified it with waterproof zippers, a long hem, and a sturdy hood. To cut down on weight, the company skipped insulation in the hood and below the powder skirt, but didn’t bypass niceties like wrist gaiters and pockets. One of them holds a goggle wipe, helpful during a dismally rainy test in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park.
Burton Gore-Tex Kaylo ($250)
Best For: Protection on a budget
Burton cut costs on the Kaylo by using two-layer Gore-Tex rather than a lighter (but pricier) three-layer setup. The Kaylo kept us plenty dry and cozy during Jackson Hole’s record-breaking February snow cycle, and it costs a third of the top-shelf Brigandine. It comes with a tall wind-blocking collar, a big hood, and a long (too long for a few testers) hem to seal out swirling snow. Another thing we liked: plenty of pockets, including an insulated one to preserve your phone’s battery life.
Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex C-Knit Anorak ($500)
Best For: Exceptional breathability
During ski tours in Colorado and Wyoming, we slipped into the High Exposure in the morning and left it on all day, its supple and breathable Gore-Tex C-Knit fabric kept us from feeling clammy on the steepest skin tracks. A shorter front zip means you can’t open it all the way, but there are two huge chest pockets for organizing gloves, skins, and a phone. The powder skirt seals the hem in waist-deep powder.