A GOOD ski jacket is an essential part of your holiday on the slopes.
Some can persuade you that you belong in the Olympic team as you gracefully slide down the mountain, while others might make you avoid group photos for fear of being tagged on Instagram.
Sadly, fashion and function don’t always go hand in hand so it’s essential to consider your priorities when it comes to ski-wear. A hint: style over substance almost never fares well, especially when it comes to sports.
Still, feeling sexy on the slopes is a legitimate requirement (confidence is key, after all) so we’ve rounded up the best ski jackets that not only perform well, but look good too.
It’s worth remembering that your jacket has to suit the place you’re heading to as well as the time of the year; a trip to Canada in November probably requires warmer gear than one to France in March.
It’s also worth checking out the weather conditions before you leave, as if you’re set for sleet or rainy conditions, you’ll want a little extra waterproofing.
Weighing up the pros and cons? We’ve done the hard work for you, trying and testing out a range of both budget and luxury ski jackets on the slopes to see how they stand up.
- Sloane Ski Jacket, £143.99 from Protest – buy here
Protest isn’t one of the biggest ski brands in the UK yet, but it’s definitely worth considering if you want a top quality jacket without the high-end price tag.
The Sloane jacket we tested covered all the bases: very warm, waterproof and breathable.
On top of that, the jacket has a snow skirt, arm lift pass pocket, thermal front pockets to warm your hands up and zip vents under the arms if you need to cool down.
Quilted to contour your figure (no mean feat with padded pieces), this slim-fit style is more flattering and less bulky than most – we loved the look and felt more than happy to wear it out to the bars at the resort.
This jacket did everything we hoped for and more.
- Alpine Action Omni-Heat Jacket, £119 from Columbia – buy here
Despite the minimalist design, Columbia’s Alpine Action jacket boasts incredible synthetic insulation.
It proved itself warm despite being lightweight, thanks to Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology (it’s got some fancy reflective lining, which does a good job of keeping the heat in).
Combined with solid wind and waterproofing, this jacket was one of the best we tested.
Comfortable, warm, great ventilation and with more than enough pockets; you’ve got everything you need.
- Helly Hansen Snowstar Jacket, £220 from Helly Hansen – buy now
Helly Hansen has been around long enough to consistently get it right when it comes to ski jackets and the Snowstar is no exception (although you do have to splash the cash for the quality).
So what do you get for the money? Warm? Check. Dry? Check. Stylish? We think so.
But there’s also a ton of neat add-ons that help to justify the price tag.
You get an insulated internal pocket that’ll stop your phone battery dying on the slopes, an attached goggle wipe in the sleeve which is always handy and wrist gaiters to make sure you stay dry.
Plus, the material is top quality, which means this jacket should last more than a couple holidays (although, obviously, we couldn’t test that in one week!)
The Snowstar is expensive, but if you can part with the cash, you won’t be disappointed.
- Salomon Icerocket Jacket, £300 from Snow and Rock – buy here
Salomon’s Icerocket jacket met all our expectations. The stretch fabric was comfortable and didn’t restrict movement on the mountain.
The lining is incredibly soft and warm and kept us toasty when the temperatures dropped.
Storage space was never a problem, with plenty of easily accessible pockets, and the high neck kept the worst of the weather out of our face.
The blue two-tone design is a modern nods to the wacky ski-wear of the 80s, and will be sure to keep you in sight on those off-piste runs.
The North Face
- Apex Flex Jacket, £252 from The North Face – buy here
Another premium jacket we tested was the Apex Flex from The North Face.
It comes in a slim-fit style, but manages to pack a lot of insulation in a lightweight shell, meaning we were never left cold.
The Apex Flex was designed with swift downhill skiing in mind, and protects against windchill very well.
It’s a little on the short side, and should definitely be paired with salopettes and braces, but it looks great and performed very well.
For those who don’t want to go all-out with trendy skiwear, the neon accents on this number are a great compromise.
- Polarino Ski Jacket, £99 from Curvissa – buy here
Polarino’s jacket is another warm option, with a long body (handy if you’re on a snowboard) and heat-sealed seams that keeps the moisture out.
Its muted style means you can walk around a cold Alpine village once you’re done on the slopes without looking like you’ve donned a high-vis vest.
Trimmed with faux fur along the hood, it’s a timeless but trendy style that will even serve you once the holiday is over.
Although in testing, we could have done with a bit of extra ventilation as the jacket really kept the warmth in.
- Alpine Sunshine Bomber Ski Jacket, £64.99 from Mountain Warehouse – buy here
In our experience, Mountain Warehouse makes some incredibly warm ski gear; perfect, if you’re heading somewhere cold.
This Alpine Sunshine jacket had a number of handy features, including an elasticated waistband to stop snow shooting up your back.
It’s got handy thumb loops at the end of the sleeves too, so you’re well sealed up against the elements.
The only downside of this jacket was that it was prone to absorbing a bit of water on wet days and its waterproofing wasn’t the best – so we’d suggest taking this one on spring breaks.
Still good value though, and in dry conditions/light snow, you won’t be getting cold.
- Women’s Providence Luxe Ski Jacket, £124.95 from Dare2b – buy here
- Women’s Surpass Ski Jacket, £124.95 from Dare2b – buy here
Dare2b knows how to make a striking jacket and its bold designs will make sure you’ll stand out at the Apres Ski.
These aren’t style over substance though; both the Providence and Surpass jackets were warm and windproof in some challenging conditions.
They tick almost all boxes we’d look for, including featuring a snow skirt to keep you dry and some added air vents to open up when you overheat.
We have to mark the Providence jacket down slightly though for its lack of a ski pass pocket on the arm – we will never understand why some brands don’t consider this a necessity.
Still, for a fashionista, these jackets are a win – especially the tricolor style with flattering quilting at the hips.
- Wed’ze Ski-P 150 Women’s Downhill Ski Jacket, £34.99 from Decathlon – buy here
Decathlon’s own ski line, Wed’ze, is probably the most popular brand you’ll see in Europe at the moment; you just can’t argue with these prices!
The jacket we tried did a good job of keeping us dry, although we found it wasn’t the warmest when the temperatures started to drop.
You can spend the money you saved on a couple of thermal layers, which should solve the problem.
Although since the body of this jacket comes up quite short, we reckon salopettes with braces are an absolute must.
If you’re looking for ideas on places to go, why not check out our experience of the Italian Dolomites?
Or if it’s France you’re looking for, the little known resort of Oz-en-Osians might also work.
Don’t forget to check out our guide to some of the best resorts around Europe as well.
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