SIX BEST SKI JACKETS
12th November 2018 | Alf Alderson
Last modified on May 18th, 2020
O’NEILL JONES RIDER £249.99 www.oneill.com
The Jones Rider is a feature-packed fully insulated ski jacket that won’t break the bank.
It’s been engineered with recycled polyester and two-layer four-way stretch fabric with 10k waterproofing and breathability.
Insulation is provided via 3M Thinsulate and O’Neill’s own Firewall Magma Retention Lining which is claimed to provide warmth for 25 per cent longer than a jacket without this feature, although that’s not easy to measure in practice.
Suffice to say, the Jones Rider is warm.
There’s a fixed, adjustable hood that is also snugly insulated, and a snow skirt to keep snow and cold winds at bay.
Its zippered side vents help you keep cool when things warm up.
There are plenty of pockets – two zipped handwarmer pockets a zipped chest pocket and zipped lift pass pocket on the left sleeve and two inner mesh stash pockets for goggles and the like.
Other useful features include snug wrist gaiters and Velcro adjustable cuffs in what is a well-kitted out, decent-value ski jacket.
VERDICT Lots of very practical features at a very decent price.
HELLY HANSEN LIFALOFT HYBRID INSULATOR MEN’S JACKET £220 www.hellyhansen.com
The Lifaloft Hybrid Insulator comes in both men’s and women’s designs.
It features insulation comprised of 75 per cent Lifa fibres and 25 per cent synthetic fibres to give a less bulky construction along with 20 per cent less weight than standard polyester alternatives.
Helly Hansen say it took four-years of development to get these reductions in weight/bulk and added warmth, although a large part of the former is also down to the minimalist design.
The jacket features little more than two handwarmer pockets, two inner stash pockets and elasticated cuffs, which means it’s as much a layering piece as a stand-alone ski jacket.
The shiny, quilted look gives something of an urban appeal to the Hybrid Insulator too, which gives it yet another potential use.
For us though it’s ideal for stashing in your pack as added insulation, or as a super lightweight and low bulk outer-layer for ski touring and spring skiing.
VERDICT More of a layering piece than a full-on ski jacket, but great if you’re wanting to keep weight and bulk down.
CMP MAN SHELL JACKET £219.95 www.cmp.campagnolo.it *BEST BUY
The CMP Man jacket is thankfully a little more inspiring than its name.
Its well-made shell has heaps of features and goes well with the matching CMP pants that we’ve also reviewed.
Like them its a great option for anyone looking at getting into backcountry/freeride on a budget.
The jacket features fully-taped seams and CMP’s micro-porous Clima Protect fabric which offers thermal protection with superior breathability.
The loose fit allows for easy layering.
It has a helmet-compatible, adjustable hood and high collar to keep you well protected from blowing snow and winds, and two large hand pockets with waterproof zips will easily hold stuff like goggle and water bottle.
There’s also a lift pass pocket on the left sleeve and a small zippered security pocket on the inside.
A detachable powder skirt, wrist gaiters and Velcro adjustable cuffs and adjustable hem all further help to keep the weather on the outside in what is a really good-value, good-looking shell with all the essential features.
VERDICT Excellent value, lots of features, good looking; an inner stash pocket would be useful though.
ARC’TERYX RUSH LT £550 www.arcteryx.com
The super-light and very packable Rush LT is aimed very much at backcountry skiers.
It has a minimalist design which keep the weight down to a mere 405 grams, but it still provides most of the essential features (although note that there’s no powder skirt).
The Rush features N40p-x GORE-TEX Pro in the body for durable waterproof, windproof protection.
An even more durable N80p-x GORE-TEX Pro is used in high wear areas across the shoulders and bottom of the jacket.
The fabric also sheds snow and blocks wind but is breathable enough to be comfortable when skinning up, or on warmer days.
There are just the right number of pockets – two chest pockets, which are accessible when wearing a pack, an internal security pocket and good-sized inner stash pocket along with a lift pass pocket on the left sleeve (all the outer pockets have water-resistant zips, of course).
Other essential features include Velcro-adjustable cuffs, pit zips which are angled for easy access, and ‘Cohaesive’ hood and hem adjusters that are easy to use, even while wearing gloves.
VERDICT An excellent, minimalist jacket for the backcountry crowd.
SALOMON ICEFROST £350 www.salomon.com
The Icefrost has been designed as a kind of hybrid.
It is somewhere between a piste jacket and a backcountry jacket and it does a decent job of it, although committed off-piste warriors will no doubt balk at its weight (1105g) and bulk.
However, when you’re sitting on a freezing cold chair you’ll appreciate the ‘AdvancedSkin’ insulation and little things like an insulated (although not especially adjustable) hood and wrist gaiters.
When it warms up there are pit zips to help you keep your cool and the hood can be removed.
Amongst a plethora of features the Icefrost also has two chest pockets, two handwarmer pocket and a lift pass pocket on the left sleeve (all with zips) plus an internal security pocket.
There’s also a large inner stash pocket, so you can probably dispense with a pack for carrying your gear if you’re staying on the piste, whilst the powder skirt and adjustable hem and cuffs will keep the snow at bay when you hit the powder.
VERDICT For those who like to split their time between piste and off-piste, the Icefrost is worth checking out.
JOTTNAR FENRIR £295 www.jottnar.com *EDITOR’S CHOICE
If you like warmth, light weight and simplicity of design in your ski gear you’ll love the Fenrir.
In terms of warmth for weight the 850 Fill Power goose down, in a premium 93/7 down/feather ratio, does a superb job.
It’s so light you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it.
Sure, the Fenrir doesn’t offer the waterproof protection of a shell, but its ethically sourced DownTek down has ten times the water repellency of untreated down.
The outer is made of a water-repellent rip-stop face fabric that resists rain and wet snow.
Potential moisture zones at the cuffs, hem and collar contain synthetic insulation that will dry out more quickly should they get soaked.
The Fenrir’s features are quite minimal – a cinched hood, two zipped, rucksack-compatible handwarmer pockets and a zipped inner security pocket, stretch technical cuffs, drawcord hem and a stuff sack for easy carriage.
Oh, and great looks too.
VERDICT A well-designed, stylish, warm and water-repellent down jacket – what more could you want for your skiing adventures?!
Some of these Ski Jackets are for sale on the Ellis Brigham website – Click here to browse through Ski Jackets.
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.
For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news