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We love the sleek Helly Hansen Alphelia LifaLoft's special features for safety and convenience.
Staying warm and dry are the two most important factors that can make or break your skiing experience (besides safety, of course). The best way to show up to the hill prepared is by bringing a waterproof ski jacket to ward off the elements.
We sent our off-piste pros and resort skiers into the mountains to try out 20 ski jackets for women. From hood to hem, we paid close attention to the design, comfort, warmth, and, most importantly, the waterproofing of every jacket. Our winner is Helly Hansen’s Alphelia LifaLoft ski jacket, which thoroughly impressed us with its special features like Recco reflectors for added safety, a detachable hood, and premium waterproof materials.
This was one of our most competitive product tests to date, with plenty of other jackets earning perfect scores and snagging coveted spots for the best shell, best range of motion, and best sustainable picks. To decide which is best for your winter plans, consider all our rave ski jacket reviews from testers who skied in Canada, Utah, Oregon, and more.
Helly Hansen Alphelia LifaLoft Ski Jacket
Why We Love It: This slim-fit jacket's insulated lining is discreet yet extra cozy and warm.
What to Consider: Some skiers will prefer a longer jacket.
There’s nothing worse than being cold while skiing, and we’re confident that the innovative, feature-packed Helly Hansen Alphelia LifaLoft Ski Jacket will keep you plenty warm while shredding. It earned its spot as the best jacket we tested after our tester skied for hours in 20-degree temperatures without feeling the least bit chilled. Arguably, the best part of this jacket is that it features the brand’s LifaLoft puffer-insulated lining, which keeps the fit of the coat notably slim and sleek despite it being so toasty. “The temperature dropped as the afternoon went on, but I was warm enough to continue skiing without an issue,” our tester said. And when it starts snowing or raining, the jacket will keep you perfectly dry thanks to the waterproof polyester shell and water-resistant zippers. If you find you do need a cooldown, underarm vents are at the ready.
Helly Hansen seemingly thought of everything when it comes to jacket extras for skier convenience. We love that the hood is helmet-compatible, and it’s also detachable so you can take it off during spring skiing with ease. The jacket even has Recco reflectors to increase rescuers' radio signal connection in the event of an avalanche and a special pocket to preserve your phone’s battery in the cold (our tester was shocked to find theirs still almost fully charged after her last run). Additional features include wrist gaiters, a detachable powder skirt, a goggle shammy, two hand-warming pockets, and a ski pass pocket on the sleeve.
Price at time of publish: $500
Sizes: XS to XXL | Insulated: Yes | Fit: Regular
Stio Shot 7 Down Jacket
Best Overall, Runner-up
Why We Love It: This exceptionally warm jacket kept our tester toasty during sub-zero temperatures.
What to Consider: It doesn’t have quite as many special features as our top pick.
The Stio Shot 7 Down Jacket is a close contender to our top pick, as it boasts similar warmth, comfort, and waterproofness. Made with a tough Gore-tex shell and 800-fill goose down, this jacket has a seriously premium feel to it — which is to be expected since it's on the higher end of the price spectrum among the jackets we tried. Our tester skied in the jacket in Canada, where the temperatures were around 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Shot 7 Down kept them plenty warm. Underarm vents help prevent overheating during tough runs. Another tester wore the jacket during whiteout conditions in Vermont and noted that the Gore-tex shell perfectly prevented any water from soaking through. Roomy pockets proved to be useful for holding items like a pair of glove liners, a phone, and a ski pass. Other special features include a removable powder skirt, an adjustable hood, and water-resistant zippers. With the higher price, we wish the jacket had some of the other additional elements our top pick is equipped with, such as chest pockets with goggle wipes and a detachable hood. Still, we think this is an excellent jacket for skiing in extremely cold weather — one tester who worked in Antarctica felt confident it would have kept her plenty warm in the region’s extreme weather conditions. Plus, if you prefer a more spacious fit and added length, this could be the perfect choice for you.
Price at time of publish: $649
Sizes: XS to XL | Insulation: Yes | Fit: Regular
Picture Organic Haakon Jacket
Why We Love It: The coat has a long back with a freeride-snowboarding design.
What to Consider: It might feel bulky.
For those who like the longer fit of a snowboarding jacket, the Picture Organic Haakon Jacket provides just that. This coat is designed with freeriders in mind, as it has a lower back and a looser fit compared to most shells. However, it boasts superb versatility with a hem, wrists, and hood that can be adjusted for a more fitted style. The outer material is a 20K/20K water- and windproof recycled polyester, and the interior is lined with a soft knit for extra coziness. We found the Haakon to be lightweight yet warm, and although the jacket has a looser fit, it’s easy to move around in. When the temperatures drop, we think the jacket is easy to layer underneath, and you won’t overheat during spring skiing thanks to the breathable membrane lining. “I especially like the breathable padding in the back of the jacket, it's comfortable and could absorb sweat easily,” our tester shared. We also love the wrist gaiters, pockets, powder skirt, and goggle wipes as special features.
Price at time of publish: $360
Sizes: XS to L | Insulated: No | Fit: Regular fit, long back
Sync Women’s Headwall Stretch Shell Jacket
Why We Love It: The material is thicker than most shells but still has plenty of stretch and breathability.
What to Consider: The pockets aren’t watertight.
Thoughtfully designed for snow athletes, the Sync Women’s Headwall Stretch Shell Jacket was a tester favorite for a multitude of reasons. Although the jacket is a shell, we love that the material is on the thicker side so it provides ample warmth in below-freezing temperatures on the mountain. The fit is slim, but our tester had excellent mobility in the coat with plenty of stretch for layering underneath when the temperature dropped. “The fit isn't too tight or too oversized, and it fits me nicely around the hips, chest, and shoulders without making me look like a marshmallow with three layers underneath,” our tester raved. While the jacket features a watertight zipper in the center, we found that the side pockets aren’t as waterproof as we hoped, with some moisture leaking through. However, the rest of the material is thoroughly waterproof and breathable thanks to the 20K/20K DWR three-layer recycled nylon and taped seams. Plus, the jacket includes helpful features like a removable powder skirt, helmet-compatible hood, goggle wipes on the sleeve cuff, and discreet chest vents, meaning this jacket is bursting with a technical design any skier will appreciate.
Price at time of publish: $549
Sizes: XS to XL | Insulated: No | Fit: Slim
Helly Hansen Women’s Alphelia Infinity Ski Jacket
Why We Love It: It’s exceptionally comfortable to wear and the fit is flattering.
What to Consider: If you prefer a looser fit, you can size up for a little more room.
Helly Hansen’s Alphelia Infinity Ski Jacket has the perfect balance of a flattering and athletic look to take you from the slopes to the après party. “Helly Hansen describes this jacket as having a ‘feminine fit’ and it definitely does. It's more of a slim fit that's pretty flattering for an insulated jacket. I wore a base layer and a pretty thin sweater under it,” our tester shared. However, they noted that if you have a larger chest or simply prefer a roomier fit, you should consider sizing up for the best feel for your preferences. During testing, the recycled polyester jacket proved to be warm and weatherproof in below-freezing temperatures with just the two light layers underneath when our tester took “some tumbles in the snow, skied through blasting snow-maker guns, and skied when the wind was blowing snow around.” The Alphelia Infinity also has special features including a powder skirt, armpit vents, a slew of pockets, goggle wipes, and adjustable cuffs that were helpful for customizing the jacket. In addition, it's armed with safety considerations like Recco inserts and a special pocket for protecting your phone’s battery life from the cold.
Price at time of publish: $600
Sizes: XS to XL | Insulated: No | Fit: Slim
Strafe Lynx Pullover
Why We Love It: The fit of the pullover is adjustable for style versatility.
What to Consider: It can be an inconvenience to take pullovers on and off with a helmet on.
While snowboarders and skiers often have different styles, the Strafe Lynx Pullover gives snow sports enthusiasts the best of both worlds. The longer anorak pullover or hoodie design is typically a boarder-loved style, but our tester said “the best part is that the fit of the jacket is definitely longer, but the waist can easily be cinched up to give it more of a traditional ski jacket fit. But when I snowboard, I'll leave it longer to fit the style of snowboarders.” The kangaroo pouch pocket proved to be exceptionally handy during a ski trip to Utah where our tester was able to fit four slices of pizza in a Zip-loc bag into the pocket for a mid-chair lift snack. The Strafe Lynx also has a ski pass pocket on the sleeve, thumbhole cuffs, and a helmet-compatible hood. Our tester used the pullover in wetter snow conditions in Oregon as well, and the 20K waterproofness and taped seams kept them perfectly dry despite the damp weather.
Price at time of publish: $499
Sizes: XS to XL | Insulated: No | Fit: Active
Arc'Teryx Sentinel Jacket
Why We Love It: Featherlight yet formidable, this Gore-tex shell proved to be thoroughly waterproof and agile during testing.
What to Consider: This premium jacket is a splurge-worthy pick with a higher price tag than many others on the market.
If you’re looking for a ski jacket to ward off the elements, the Arc’teryx Sentinel Jacket is your best option. The sleek jacket is a shield when it comes to rain, snow, wind, and ice thanks to the lightweight Gore-tex material and watertight zippers on the pockets and armpit vents, and it’s plenty warm with a few base layers. “You know how magnets of the same poles repel each other? That's what I was reminded of when I saw how the water reacted after putting my sleeve under the faucet,” our tester said. “I was so confident after skiing in this that I put one [pocket] under the water faucet with my Airpods inside with complete confidence.” The jacket is outfitted with a variety of pockets, but we found the interior chest pocket to be a tad small for a phone. Besides the impressive weatherproofing of the Sentinel, we love that the jacket is form-fitting but stretchy enough for our tester to have a full range of motion while carving down runs on the mountain. While this coat is on the higher end of ski jacket prices, we think it’s worth it for skiers looking to invest in weatherproof outerwear in a polished, flexible package.
Price at time of publish: $700
Sizes: XXS to XXL | Insulated: No | Fit: Regular
Black Diamond Recon Stretch Insulated Shell
Why We Love It: The looser fit makes it easy to layer clothes underneath.
What to Consider: It’s not insulated, so you’ll want to layer up.
Park City-based Black Diamond makes a variety of mountain sports gear, and we love that the Recon Stretch ski jacket is as lightweight as Utah snow. From the helmet-compatible hood to the adjustable waistline, this sleek jacket has a variety of premium features that earned it a nearly perfect testing score. We found that the jacket is exceptionally roomy, making it the ideal outer layer for a variety of weather conditions. If the weather is chilly, you can easily wear several base layers, and if you’re backcountry skiing, you can stick to just a single layer underneath. And no matter what the conditions are, the waterproof woven nylon material will prevent any wetness from seeping through. Our tester shared that although the jacket isn’t insulated, “it's roomy so it fits layers underneath and kept me very dry and warm. It features DWR-treated pit zips for ventilation, which come in handy during uphill ski adventures.”
Price at time of publish: $400
Sizes: XS to XL | Insulated: Yes | Fit: Regular
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket
Best Range of Motion
Why We Love It: The material is stretchy, making it easy to move around and layer clothing underneath the feature-loaded jacket.
What to Consider: The watertight zippers are a little tough to zip and snagged a few times.
The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell impressed us with stretchy material to give our skiers a full range of motion while on the slopes. The lightweight shell is made with a waterproof nylon and spandex blend that gives the fit a little bit of give for extra comfort. While the fabric is stretchy, the jacket still has a flattering standard fit with a length that isn’t too long or too short. The only downside to the jacket is that the sturdy YKK zippers snagged a bit when we zipped it fully, but since YKK zippers are self-lubricating, we’re hopeful that it won’t be an ongoing issue. Besides the comfortable fit, the jacket boasts a superior balance of warmth and breathability so you can wear the shell during various weather conditions on the mountain. Best of all, the jacket is outfitted with upgraded features for skiers like a helmet-compatible hood, plenty of pockets, adjustable wrist straps, and a tricot chin guard to avoid skin abrasion when the jacket is zipped up.
Price at time of publish: $379
Sizes: XS to XL | Insulated: No | Fit: Regular
Patagonia Women's Insulated Powder Town Jacket
Why We Love It: Packed with convenient features, the two-layer shell is made with 100 percent recycled materials that were created without environmentally harmful chemicals.
What to Consider: The jacket runs slightly big.
It’s no secret that Patagonia is an industry leader in sustainability, so we weren’t surprised that the brand’s Powder Town Jacket is the best eco-friendly option for skiers. The two-layer jacket is made with a 100 percent recycled polyester shell that is water- and windproof, and the lining has 80 grams of insulation that keeps our tester perfectly warm. Plus, the jacket is manufactured PFC-free, meaning there are no harsh chemicals used in the production process. “They also buy back their own products for Patagonia Worn Wear, and I love that sustainability. I really believe in the quality of Patagonia and think it's a phenomenal company, so I'm more than happy to spend money on their products,” raved our tester. Additionally, we love the ample pockets (one even has a cable routing for charging your phone), armpit vents, powder skirt, and adjustable hood. We found that the jacket has a looser fit, so if you prefer a slimmer fit, consider sizing down.
Price at time of publish: $399
Sizes: XXS to XXL| Insulated: Yes | Fit: Regular
Other Ski Jackets We Tested
This season’s competition for the best women’s ski jackets was incredibly stiff. Our skiers found a lot to love about the 20 jackets we selected for testing after pouring over market research, and we think four jackets that earned rave reviews without cracking the top ten still deserve consideration for some standout features.
Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Jacket at Ortovox: The jacket is warm and waterproof, but there aren’t any regular hand pockets on the sides and the fit was a bit awkward around the hips.
Stio Women's Environ XT Anorak Jacket: This pullover got a glowing review for its lightweight yet warm material, but we preferred the overall design and versatility of the Strafe pullover.
Trew Women's Stella Primo: This relaxed-fit ski jacket had our tester raving about the superb waterproofness, but the hood is a bit bulky and the pockets are awkwardly placed.
The North Face ThermoBall Eco Snow Triclimate: It’s very warm and breathable, and we love that it's a two-in-one, but our deal-breaker is that the jacket absorbed a small amount of water.
Our Testing Process
We tested 20 ski jackets from notable outdoor gear brands like Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Helly Hansen, and more to find the very best women’s ski jackets. With ski season in full swing, we sent our pros out into the wild to provide insights on the jacket’s warmth, comfort, waterproofness, value, and design.
Whether our team of testers was snowboarding or skiing, they evaluated the waterproofness of the jacket by spending time in the snow or by sticking a sleeve or pocket under a running faucet to find out how the material held up against the water. The best jackets for waterproofing shielded any and all water from getting through the material and kept our testers perfectly dry. For warmth, many of the outer layers were worn in below-freezing temperatures with the best options being thermal regulating and having the perfect balance of warmth and breathability.
Our favorite jackets for design were outfitted with a variety of technical features for any skier. The top-scoring jackets had features like goggle shammies, watertight pockets, helmet-compatible hoods, adjustable sleeves and hems, Recco reflectors, and powder skirts. On top of that, the best jackets we tried were exceptionally comfortable to wear during full-day ski trips and had a functional fit for range of motion.
Tips for Buying a Ski Jacket
Consider the fit
There are several different types of ski jacket fits, including regular or standard, loose, active, and slim. Skiers may like the regular or slim fit best, as those are ideal for aerodynamics while speeding down the slopes. Snowboarders typically enjoy loose or active fits better, as those are more closely in line with the “freerider” style.
Think carefully about shells versus insulation
This debate is a hot one amongst snow sports enthusiasts, as some athletes prefer the warmth of an insulated jacket, whereas others like the versatility of a shell. Backcountry skiers will lean towards a shell since they make it easy to take off layers for the uphill hike and add them back for the downhill portion. Skiers in extremely cold weather sometimes prefer the insulation of a non-shell jacket, but keep in mind you may overheat, so consider a jacket with armpit ventilation just in case.
Waterproofing is key
Regardless of your stance on shells and insulated jackets, the most important trait to look out for is waterproofness. Being wet while skiing will guarantee you a miserable experience, so it’s important to look at the waterproof scale in the jacket specs section on the website. It will usually include the amount of waterproofing and breathability, and you’ll want to look out for 20K/20K, which means the fabric can withstand 20,000 millimeters of water before you feel any type of dampness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of jacket is best for skiing?
<p>The best ski jackets will have superior waterproofing and breathability. Whether you prefer a shell or insulated outer layer, you’ll want to keep your eye out for technical features like powder skirts, adjustable hems and hoods, wrist gaiters, goggle shammies, RFID pockets, Recco reflectors, and watertight zippers. All of these key aspects will make the investment into a quality ski jacket worth its price tag. <br/></p>
How do I know if a jacket is good for skiing?
<p>When you’re on the hunt for a ski jacket, be sure to look at the specs listed on the brand’s website. The best ski jackets will be water- and windproof with waterproof and breathability scores of 20,000. When it comes to fit, that’s a personal preference, but generally, a looser fit is better for snowboarding, and a slim fit is the favored route for skiers. <br/></p>
What should I wear under a ski jacket?
<p>If you have a shell ski jacket, you’ll want to layer up. Consider wearing or bringing several layers of synthetic sweaters, tops, or fleeces that are moisture-resistant so you don’t sweat through the layers. Those with insulated jackets will likely need just one or two layers, but be sure to bring more just in case the temperature drops drastically. <br/></p>
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
T+L commerce writer Anna Popp grew up ski racing in Bend, Oregon, spending every winter skiing with her dad as her coach. Anna has also lived in Grenoble, France, where she got to ski in the heart of the French Alps. To put together the best women’s ski jackets, Anna participated in this test along with other skiers and expert product testers.
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