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The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024

Going skiing? You'll need a comfortable, well-fitting ski jacket that layers well and shields you from the elements. Check out our picks for the best women's ski jackets of 2024.
(Photo/Jason Hummel)
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Skiing and snowboarding means at some point we’ll face a whirlwind of elements from snow and wind to cold temperatures. Hopefully, when we do, our teeth won’t be chattering. There’s nothing like reliable protection from your ski jacket to help you stay warm and happy on the lift and slopes. You should love not only how your jacket feels but the overall fit and style.

To that end, not all women’s ski jackets are created equal. Beyond the basic protection against gusts, ice crystals, and sun, outer layers have a range of details from a helmet-compatible hood to a powder skirt and spacious pockets. Some options are insulated for warmth while others are more waterproof.

Our selection of women’s ski jackets left a lasting impression with their fit, overall design, performance, and looks. We put these layers through the paces with many days of testing in sunny, freezing, and blizzard conditions at ski resorts alongside long, challenging days in the backcountry.

While we typically wore these jackets to ski, snowboard, and snowmobile, they would also perform well for other winter pursuits from fat biking and snowshoeing to snowball fights, sledding, and extreme snow angels — you name it.

If you’d like to learn what differentiates women’s ski jackets, check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ at the bottom of the article. You can also scroll down to the comparison chart to help navigate your decision-making process. Otherwise, read our full gear guide and check out our awarded picks below for the best women’s ski jackets of 2024.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Women’s Ski Jackets guide on April 10, 2024, to include several new awards and ’23-24 jackets that were freshly field tested including the Rab Women’s Khroma Diffuse GORE-TEX Jacket, Flylow Charlie Coat, and Helly Hansen Women’s Powchaser 2.0 Jacket.

The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024

Best Overall Women's Ski Jacket

Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket


  • Fit Athletic
  • Insulation None
  • Shell PFC-free 3-layer ePE GORE-TEX H2No with PFC-free DWR, 100% recycled polyester
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) 20K / 20K
  • Weight 595 g
Product Badge The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Stretchy and breathable
  • Protective
  • Great cut
  • Very lightweight


  • Might not be the best for extremely wet snow climates
  • High level of breathability could sacrifice warmth on certain days
Best Budget Women's Ski Jacket

Picture Seen Jacket


  • Fit Straight, regular
  • Insulation Recycled thermal STD 60 gsm in body and sleeve, 40 gsm in the hood
  • Shell 100% circular polyester treated with PFC-free DWR
  • Waterproof rating (mm)/Breathability (g) 20K / 20K
  • Weight 1,031 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Super cozy on frigid chairlift rides thanks to insulation
  • Smart, spacious pockets
  • Extremely soft internal chin guard


  • Powder skirt is not removable
  • The hood could reach a tad further over our helmet
Favorite Athletic Resort-Backcountry Hybrid Jacket

Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket


  • Fit Relaxed
  • Insulation Not insulated
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm)/Breathability (g) 10K / 20K
  • Weight 576 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Soft, durable fabric
  • Great pocket design
  • Relatively economic price tag for such a well-built jacket


  • No powder skirt (which some skiers don’t need)
  • Zippers on pit zips are a tad small — we wish they were a smidge bigger to more easily grab
Best Breathability and Pockets for Backcountry Travel

ORTOVOX Women’s 3L Deep Shell Jacket


  • Fit Relaxed
  • Insulation None
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) 20K / 32K
  • Weight 736 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Extremely protective against the elements
  • Very breathable despite high level of waterproofness
  • Pockets are super functional, spacious, and ergonomic


  • Not the most lightweight ski jacket on our list
Most Waterproof Ski Mountaineering Shell

Rab Women’s Khroma Diffuse GORE-TEX Jacket


  • Fit Athletic, regular
  • Insulation No
  • Shell 3-layer GORE-TEX, 100% recycled face fabric
  • Waterproof rating (mm)/Breathability (g) 28K / unavailable. But the Thermal Evaporative Resistance is <9 i.e. very breathable (<6 is extremely breathable)
  • Weight 573 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Lightweight and tenacious
  • Roomy pockets
  • Extremely waterproof


  • Costly
  • Lacks interior zippered chest pocket
Best Insulated Resort Ski Jacket

Halfdays Lawrence Jacket


  • Fit Fitted
  • Insulation PrimaLoft ECO 100% PCR Black Insulation 80g in body, 60g in hood, sleeves, and collar
  • Shell 100% recycled polyester
  • Waterproof rating (mm)/Breathability (g) 10K / unavailable
  • Weight 930 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • One of the most comfortable ski jacket collars ever
  • Thoughtful tools integrated including a goggle wipe and phone leash
  • Stylish
  • 100% recycled polyester liner
  • Keeps you warm in freezing conditions even on the ski lift


  • Front zipper is easy to pull up/down but feels a bit stiff
  • At 10K waterproofing, this might not be top shelf for the wettest coastal winter conditions
  • Insulation could be a bit much for those warmer spring days
  • Underarm vents are a tad short
Best Women's Ski Jacket for Plus Sizes

Columbia Women’s Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange Jacket


  • Fit Relaxed
  • Insulation High-pile fleece liner (removable)
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) 10K / 10K
  • Weight Unavailable
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Storm hood is removable
  • Super adaptable 3-layer shell with a removable fleece liner


  • Not the highest amount of waterproofness and breathability but works for many climates
Best of the Rest

Patagonia Women’s Untracked Jacket


  • Fit Relaxed
  • Insulation None
  • Shell 3-layer PFC-free ePE GoreTex, PFC-free DWR, 100% recycled nylon
  • Waterproof(mm)/Breathability (g) 28K / 20K
  • Weight 595 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • 100% recycled material
  • Very durable and weatherproof


  • Light gray color is challenging to see on the slopes
  • More cost-prohibitive than other options

Flylow Charlie Coat


  • Fit Regular
  • Insulation 150g RDS (responsible down standard) down insulation, 800 fill power
  • Shell 2-layer proprietary breathable-centric fabric, Intuitive Perm, 100% nylon exterior, 100% polyamide liner
  • Waterproof rating (mm)/Breathability (g) 20K / unavailable. But has 0.02 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air permeability (0.01 to 1 CFM is windproof and 0 CFM is completely windproof)
  • Weight Unavailable
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Super warm
  • Underarm vents
  • Insulated collar and hood


  • Overkill for super warm or late spring days
  • Unlined hand pockets
  • Traditional DWR

Arc’teryx Women’s Sentinel Jacket


  • Fit Regular/athletic
  • Insulation None
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm)/Breathability (g) 28K / 20K
  • Weight 590 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Lightweight and high-performing
  • Fabric shields the elements
  • Slightly longer fabric in the back and arm length for extra protection


  • Powder skirt is not removable
  • At least one exterior chest pocket would be nice
  • Pricier

Helly Hansen Women’s Powchaser 2.0 Jacket


  • Fit Freeride, baggier side
  • Insulation 100% recycled 60g PrimaLoft Ocean Bound plastic
  • Shell 2-layer certified-bluesign and waterproof proprietary fabric
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) 20K / 20K
  • Weight 900 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Freedom of movement
  • Warmth thanks to insulation


  • Lacks exterior chest pocket
  • Exterior lower pockets are top-entrance only — not the quickest or most ergonomic

Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket


  • Fit Regular/athletic
  • Insulation None
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) 28K / 25K
  • Weight 642 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Center YKK zipper is strong and water-resistant
  • Storm hood is a great size — not too big — and slides over a helmet


  • Wrist gaiters could be less tight and more comfortable
  • Lots of pocket options but no hand pockets
  • Expensive

Helly Hansen Women’s Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket


  • Fit Relaxed
  • Insulation None
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) Unavailable
  • Weight 670 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • Proprietary chemical-free waterproof fibers
  • The interior liner of the chin guard has impressive reach for comfort against entire face from ear to ear
  • Some skiers love the extra length


  • Hood and brim are a bit large and floppy
  • When zipped up, the collar is rigid
  • Wrist cuffs are a bit too wide and inflexible for our preference

Black Diamond Women’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell


  • Fit Regular/athletic
  • Insulation None
  • Shell 3-layer
  • Waterproof rating (mm) / Breathability (g) 20K / 20K
  • Weight 455 g
The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024


  • The two harness-compatible chest pockets can hold skins
  • PFC-free DWR
  • Very lightweight


  • Jacket is missing interior mesh and smaller pockets
  • Bustier athletes noted the fit wasn’t dialed in the chest
Testing the Picture Organic Women’s Seen Jacket on a day full of cold smoke at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Women’s Ski Jackets Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Fit, Insulation, Shell, Waterproof/Breathability Rating, Weight.

Women’s Ski JacketPriceFitInsulationShellWaterproof (mm)Weight
Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket$488AthleticNone3-layer20K / 20K595 g
Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket$399RelaxedNone3-layer10K / 20K576 g
Arc’teryx Women’s
Sentinel Jacket
None3-layer28K / 20K590 g
Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket$799Regular/
None3-layer28K / 25K642 g
ORTOVOX Women’s 3L
Deep Shell Jacket
$730RelaxedNone3-layer20K / 20K736 g
Rab Women’s Khroma Diffuse GORE-TEX Jacket
$525RegularNone3-layer GORE-TEX, 100% recycled face fabric28K / NA573 g
Picture Organic Women’s Seen Jacket$330Straight, regularRecycled thermal STD 60 gsm100% circular polyester20K / 20K1031 g
Columbia Women’s Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange Jacket Plus$210RelaxedHigh-pile
fleece liner
3-layer10K / 10KN/A
Patagonia Women’s Untracked Jacket$699RelaxedNone3-layer28K / 20K595 g
Flylow Charlie Coat$600Regular150g RDS (responsible down standard) down insulation, 800 fill power
2-layer proprietary breathable-centric fabric, Intuitive Perm, 100% nylon exterior, 100% polyamide liner20K /NAN/A
Helly Hansen Women’s Powchaser 2.0 Jacket$350Freeride, baggier side100% recycled 60g PrimaLoft Ocean Bound plastic2-layer certified-bluesign and waterproof proprietary fabric20K / 20K900 g
Halfdays Lawrence Jacket$365FittedPrimaLoft ECO100% Recycled Polyester10K930 g
Helly Hansen Women’s Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket$750RelaxedNone3-layerN/A670 g
Black Diamond Women’s Dawn
Patrol Hybrid Shell
None3-layer20K / 20K455 g
Testing women’s ski jackets at Crested Butte Mountain Resort on a deep, cold day; (photo/Jason Hummel)

How We Tested Women’s Ski Jackets

In addition to more than 20 winter seasons of independent product reviews, the GearJunkie team has heavily researched and field-tested women’s ski jackets for this guide for several winter seasons. With input from expert skiers and snowboarders, we consider a wide range of metrics from comfort and ergonomics to sustainability, pocket design, quality, and value. We also note accolades, new technologies, and legacy designs. 

To determine the best designs, our product testers have worn these ski jackets for many hours in austere mountain environments around the country and world. These layers have withstood a spectrum of snowy environments, climates, and weather from Crested Butte Mountain Resort to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Our activities range from downhill and backcountry skiing to snowmobiling and loads of snow removal.

Leading the team, GearJunkie Senior Editor Morgan Tilton specializes in the snowsports category and grew up in the mountains of Southwest Colorado, where she still lives and plays all winter from the slopes to the backcountry on two planks and one, human-powered and by motor. She’s worn a ton of ski jackets over the past 3 decades and has been a gear journalist covering snowsports for more than a decade in the outdoor industry. That includes reporting at nearly 16 outdoor industry trade shows for the Outdoor Retailer Daily and Snow Show Daily, and serving as Snowboard Editor at Teton Gravity Research.

To bolster remote exploration, she’s earned a Wilderness First Responder certificate and a Recreational AIARE 2 completion based on the curriculum of the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. For two seasons, she’s managed the annual GearJunkie Ski and Snowboard Test at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. While she teams up with many gear testers, Tilton also field tests between desk blocks. 

To date in 2023, Tilton has tested women’s ski jackets on 58 days and throughout 175 hours of recreation in the backcountry and frontcountry. Those days have entailed blizzards, sub-zero temps, harsh wind, heavy and wet snow, plenty of perspiration, and sunshine. That metric excludes daily shoveling responsibilities at her home in Crested Butte, Colo., when she often pulls on a ski jacket. 

Gear tester Kaylee Walden is a Colorado-based backcountry ski guide and avalanche educator. She holds an American Avalanche Association Professional Level 2 certification through the Silverton Avalanche School and is an AMGA Advanced Ski Guide.

The final selection has been chosen by our team as the best of the best currently on the market. With this guide, we aim to include recommendations for a wide range of skiers and riders, taking into consideration the price, performance, fit, and special product elements.

Gear testers put the Mammut Women’s Haldigrat HS Hooded Jacket through the paces; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Women’s Ski Jacket

The pool of women’s ski jackets can seem endless. Choosing the best ski and snowboard jacket is based on where you ski most, the climate and weather conditions, your goals, and what fits well, as well as the product’s granular details — like where pockets are located and if the powder skirt is removable — plus your preferred aesthetic and style.

A couple of significant dividers: Maritime-based folks in the Pacific Northwest should consider options with a higher level of waterproofness. Skiers that frequent a sunnier, drier climate like Colorado, with a continental snowpack, can typically opt for less waterproof, more breathable jackets.

Another major factor is if you prioritize riding ski lifts inbounds or head in the backcountry, which influences the design of the jacket.

Within those goals and parameters, you can nail down other features you value like insulation, a larger hood, or underarm vents. The time commitment and demands of your skiing can inform how durable your gear needs to be and an appropriate budget.

There’s no getting around the fact that we also want our jacket to look good. Consider all the technical factors as well as the style to find the best option for you.

Patagonia Powder Town Ski Jacket in Action
Skiing on a blustery day in an insulated women’s ski jacket; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Insulated vs. Non-Insulated

Many dedicated women’s ski jackets offer no insulation and simply act simply as an exterior waterproof, windproof shell. Shell jackets are the most versatile option to use across a variety of conditions. You can pull on this outer layer to stay dry and protected from the sun, wind, precipitation, surrounding vegetation like tree branches, or abrasive snowburn if you slide out.

Designs without insulation typically have enough room to add a midlayer in addition to a base layer beneath for colder days. This type of jacket works best for climates with a range of temperature conditions as well as spring days (with cold mornings and warm afternoons) at the resort or powder days where you’re working harder and potentially building up more heat.

Skiers who spend time on hike-to terrain, or in the sidecountry or backcountry, will want a shell jacket so that they can maximize control over their layering system and temperature regulation. An option like the Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket would work well.

Other designs are insulated. If the temperatures are consistently cold, windy, or if you generally get chilled, an insulated jacket might be a good choice. Insulated ski and snowboard jackets can be prime for sub-zero or blustery conditions, long lift rides (especially with hair-raising gusts) and lift lines, or frequent breaks while going downhill. Photographers, teachers, instructors, guides, and parents might find value in a jacket with insulation while taking stops.

Some skiers can wear an insulated jacket over a base layer without as much consideration for what midlayer to bring along. The type and warmth level of insulation varies across each jacket from flannel to down-filled panels or synthetic materials. The Helly Hansen Women’s PowChaser 2.0 Ski Jacket is a great option for a warm yet versatile resort skiing jacket, as is the Halfdays Lawrence Jacket.

For some skiers, though, insulated jackets can pigeonhole them into donning too much warmth. To decide which type of jacket is right for you, consider the climate where you usually ski or snowboard, if there is frequent windchill, and your body temperature on the lift.

Some women’s ski jackets include an interior fleece or flannel liner; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Two-Layer vs. Three-Layer Waterproof Membranes

A two-layer jacket has a face fabric — often polyester or nylon — connected to an inner liner that protects the fabric, which adds comfort and breathability. These jackets usually feel less hefty than a three-layer jacket.

Some have an insulation layer, and the outermost surface is usually treated for waterproofness. The price is generally more moderate compared to three-layer jackets.

Dialing up the durability, a three-layer jacket is a waterproof/breathable membrane — often made by GORE-TEX or a brand’s in-house tech, like The North Face’s DryVent or FUTURELIGHT — sandwiched between a tough face fabric and liner. Sometimes the outer fabric is treated for waterproofness. These jackets offer more protection for fierce weather conditions, which the price tag reflects.

Broadly, you’ll want to scrutinize how robust you need your jacket to be for the conditions you’ll ski in as well as budget needs.

Heavier and wetter snow requires a more waterproof jacket; (photo/Jason Hummel)


A waterproof jacket is ideal for skiing because weather can change in an instant, and you don’t want to run the risk of getting wet from snow or rain. The top-tier standard for waterproofness is GORE-TEX, a membrane integrated into various jacket designs.

The material is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Some brands have a proprietary version of waterproof/breathable fabrics.

Often, waterproofness is measured by the amount of water that a fabric can withstand before it leaks, from 5,000 to 20,000 mm or greater. The latter end of the spectrum leads to a less breathable fabric.

  • 0-5,000 mm: Resistant to light rain, dry snow
  • 6,000-10,000 mm: Waterproof for light rain and dry, non-heavy snow
  • 11,000-15,000 mm: Waterproof for moderate rain and dry, non-heavy snow
  • 16,000-20,000 mm: Waterproof for heavy rain and wet snow
  • 20,000 mm and greater: Waterproof for heavy rain and dense, wet, heavy snow

For many locations, a waterproof range of 8,000 to 10,000 mm works well for mild to moderate precipitation. If you generally ski in a wetter climate with heavier snow (meaning, the snow water equivalent, or the water content in the snow, is higher) or you want to use your ski jacket for the backcountry, a jacket with more waterproofness is a good call.

Among the most waterproof ski jackets on our list are the Arc’teryx Women’s Sentinel Jacket and Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket, which both provide 28,000 mm of water protection and are great options for the backcountry.

Face fabric treatments, which can be eco-friendly formulas or chemicals toxic to the environment, can also make a jacket waterproof. And some ski jackets have sealed seams and waterproof zippers to help block moisture.

Lightweight and non-insulated jackets might require a puffy midlayer on super cold days; (photo/Jason Hummel)


A jacket’s breathability is the ability of the fabric to allow your body heat or perspiration to pass through from the interior to the exterior.

Generally, breathability is measured by the grams of water that can pass through one square meter of fabric over a 24-hour period (written as g/m² or an abbreviated g). However, there’s no industry standard for testing a jacket’s breathability, so the methods vary across manufacturers.

  • 5,000-10,000 g/m²: Not the most breathable, suitable for inbounds alpine skiing
  • 10,000-15,000 g/m²: Moderate breathability
  • 15,000-20,000 g/m² and higher: Super breathable, good range for inbounds uphill workouts and backcountry tours

For high-output resort skiing or on powder days, aim for a jacket with a breathability rating of 10,000 to 15,000 g/m². Backcountry skiers and uphill athletes should look for even more breathability — 20,000 g/m² or more.

Underarm vents are a key way to turn down the heat factor; (photo/Jason Hummel)


Ski jackets often offer ventilation by way of underarm zippers, which help regulate body temperature. This feature is great for warm-blooded folks or those who ride or ski in warm conditions and for powder days when your body works hard to make turns (on powder days, remember to close your vents before your descent!).

Some underarm zippers are longer than others. One of the most generous designs in our guide is offered in the Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket, which stretches from the hem past the entire armpit and to the underside of the arm.

One innovative ventilation design is in the Black Diamond Women’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell, which has a front-facing and closable mesh vent that parallels the front zipper. In terms of quality, YKK brand zippers are the toughest.

The silhouette of a jacket can offer more protection and style; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Fit and Sizing

Generally, ski jacket designs land in two camps: trimmer with a more streamlined, athletic fit or roomier and boxier with a more relaxed silhouette. Both can be comfortable. If you’re wearing a backpack in the backcountry, it can be better to wear a well-fitted jacket so extra fabric doesn’t get pinched up. A slightly longer jacket can provide extra protection from wind and snow, and keep you a bit warmer, but some skiers find the additional fabric cumbersome.

Each manufacturer has its own size charts. Ski jackets across the industry do not carry a universal size, so the measurements are unique to each brand. Plus, a brand can offer various fit styles across its lineup of ski jackets. Be diligent about checking your personal measurements and matching those with the size charts. Remember to consider the type of midlayer and base layer you’ll wear beneath your jacket, too. It might be better to size up, so the layering doesn’t feel restrictive.

A handful of companies deliver more size inclusivity with broader offerings in the women’s categories, including Columbia, Obermeyer, and L.L.Bean. We found the sizing on the Columbia Women’s Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange Jacket to be particularly inclusive.

Everyone’s body is unique, so check the exchange and return policy before you buy.

Some powder skirts are fixed while others are removable; (photo/Jason Hummel)


A jacket’s weight is an important factor for backcountry skiers who are already carrying a gear load and don’t want to carry extra grams uphill. Weight is also connected to density, which is essential when you need to stash a jacket in your pack and can’t sacrifice space for bulk. Uphill athletes completing a workout and creating continuous heat often want a light outerlayer. Occasional resort skiers take laps with a backpack and store their jackets as the conditions warm.

On the alternative side, not every skier wants a super-lean jacket. Some folks prefer a heavier weight and thickness, feeling that the layer protects them against cold and wind.

The lightest jackets in our top picks generally hover around 590 g, which is where the Arc’teryx Women’s Sentinel Jacket tips the scale. Being both lightweight and tenacious is reflected in the cost, which some consider to be a long-term investment. In step, the Black Diamond Women’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell is only 455 g and the Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket is 642 g.

Slightly heavier but still relatively lightweight designs include the ORTOVOX Women’s 3L Deep Shell Jacket at 736 g.

Lighter isn’t necessarily better for every circumstance. Consider the tradeoffs of an increased price, a potential decrease of durability, and examine the waterproof rating, which could be lower on a lighter jacket.

Helmet-Compatible Hoods on Ski Jackets
A helmet-compatible and adjustable hood is common on ski jackets; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Collar and Hood

An ergonomic collar and hood are significant features for face, head, and neck protection against sun, snow, sleet, hail, wind, or rain. Pulling up a hood can help you retain heat in chilly conditions.

Jacket collars vary in height and ideally have a fleece-backed interior chin guard that feels snug against the face — a key component on a gusty chair lift.

Many ski jacket hoods are helmet-compatible, which is a priority if you need extra protection and warmth around your face and neck while riding a lift or skiing during a snowstorm. Some hoods are adjustable via elastic pulls, like the Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket. And others have an integrated visor so they don’t collapse beneath moisture. Occasionally, hoods are removable, but most of the time they are permanently fixed on the jacket.

Every helmet-compatible hood fits a bit differently. The shape of each hood is unique and helmet sizes vary — not every size small is the same circumference, for instance — so it might even be best to try a hood on with your helmet and make sure they fit together well, and that there’s enough room to move. We do our best to share our field experience with ski jacket hoods in this guide.

Sleeve Cuffs and Powder Skirt

Powder skirts can be a great addition to a jacket to prevent fluffy flakes from flying up and soaking your base layers or lower back (which isn’t an issue if you prefer women’s ski bibs over ski pants). Some powder skirts are removable, and some have attachment points to connect to your ski pants.

Sleeve cuffs generally have a Velcro closure, though some designs have additional snaps, and cuffs vary in width and length. Some sleeve cuffs have an inner wrist gaiter — a stretchy fabric for warmth that sometimes has thumbholes to help secure the fabric over the top of the hand.

Wrist gaiters can help block out wind but they can also be too bulky for some folks especially if they like to wear a watch or tuck their glove gauntlet into their sleeve cuffs.

Interior Pockets and Organization in Ski Jackets
Interior zippered pockets help keep devices warmer; (photo/Jason Hummel)


Most jackets include two exterior hand pockets with zip closures, which can be low or placed higher for compatibility with a backpack belt or harness for ski mountaineering. Other exterior pockets can include small pouches on the arm or chest, such as for an ID or ski pass.

Deep, wide, higher-placed exterior pockets, like a chest pocket, can be nice for stowing a smartphone or notebook in the backcountry or on the lift, such as in the Halfdays Lawrence Jacket. In contrast, putting heavier or bigger items in the lower-placed hand pockets can sometimes smack against the upper thigh while uphilling, sitting on the ski lift, bending over to reach your ski boots, or making aggressive downhill turns.

Interior pockets often have a zip closure (these can be great for storing a credit card or ID), ports for headphones, or a mesh construction with an elastic band at the top. Deep, wide interior mesh pockets with an elastic closure can be essential for holding backcountry skins (especially in particularly cold and snowy conditions when you need to prevent the glue from freezing between laps) or gloves or goggles, like the interior pockets featured on the Helly Hansen Women’s PowChaser 2.0 Ski Jacket.

Occasionally, a zippered pocket is insulated to help extend the battery life of your smartphone like in the Helly Hansen Women’s Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket.

Examine what you’ll need to carry, the adequate pocket size, and if the pockets are located in the most comfortable place for you.


Choosing sustainable, environmentally friendly outerwear can help support brands putting in the extra work to make sure their manufacturing practices aren’t generating excess waste, pollution, or putting harmful chemicals in close contact with your body.

Eco-centric apparel helps protect wildlife, workers, natural resources, and the beautiful places where we recreate. No longer a huge minority, today’s sustainable designs are generally stout, comfortable, and shield well against the elements.

Toxic Chemicals: Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Traditional DWR (durable water repellent) treatments contain various fluorocarbons, which are extremely resilient chemicals that extend a product’s durability and life. Fluorocarbons, also known as perfluorocarbons or PFCs, are toxic and don’t biodegrade.

These harsh chemicals pollute water, and air, and are carcinogenic for humans, according to The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Fluorocarbons can lead to infertility, reports researchers from the University of Oxford. PFCs harm the environment and wildlife, such as dolphins and porpoises, according to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

It’s no surprise the European Union banned perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a type of fluorocarbon, and related compounds, in 2019. The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a regulation to control perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAS) nationwide including a request for public input in April 2023.

Ski Jacket Powder Skirts
Powder skirts with double snaps help secure the elastic band’s location; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Alternatives to PFCs

Pushing the benchmark, the 3-layer Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket is made with 100-percent recycled materials that are completely perfluorinated chemical (PFC) free plus the face is treated with a PFC-free DWR.

Helly Hansen features an eco-innovation in the Helly Hansen Women’s Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket with the Lifa Infinity Pro, a waterproof-breathable and wind-resistant textile that nixes the need for a toxic chemical DWR treatment. The brand’s proprietary hydrophobic Lifa fiber, which it’s been using for 50 years, is paired with a polypropylene membrane that has microscopic holes, allowing vapor out yet prevents water from seeping in. The waterproof qualities are permanent.

Recycled Materials

Norrøna, a Norwegian company that makes the Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket, implements more than 50% recycled synthetic fibers into the jacket.

In 2023, Picture launched the Circular polyester made from upcycled fabric from factory scraps and used jackets (in a 60/40 ratio), to replace the brand’s bio-sourced polyester, because the upcycled textile offers a significant reduction in emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. For 2023-24, 80% of Picture’s winter outerwear is made with Circular polyester including the Picture Organic Women’s Seen Jacket, which has 100% Circular Polyester in the fabric.

Likewise impressive, the Helly Hansen Women’s PowChaser 2.0 Jacket boasts Ocean Bound recycled polyester sourced from post-consumer plastic bottles, which are collected within a 31-mile radius of coastlines and central waterways that face a high risk of plastic pollution. For the certification process, the brand partners with OceanCycle as a credible global third party.

Another arm of the brand’s Ocean Bound program creates a polyamide using a minimum of 50% repurposed, abandoned fishing equipment: Nearly 10% of marine waste comes from the fishing industry’s ghost gear, reports Helly Hansen. Currently, the polyamide is sourced from buoys, turned into recycled nylon yarns, and utilized in Helly Hansen’s sailing apparel. In the future, snowsports products might incorporate the polyamide, too.

Hoods often have a cinch in the back to tighten the fabric when it’s windy; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Third-Party Health Certifications

The Picture Organic Women’s Seen Jacket meets the Global Recycled Standard to verify the content of recycled materials, as well as the efficacy of the entire process down the supply chain, as well as the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, meaning the textile was tested and clear of harmful substances. The Global Recycled Standard is provided by NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), a team of global scientists that assess health risk and certify products.

In addition to Oeko-Tex-certified fabric, the Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket is also Bluesign-certified. Bluesign examines the manufacturing process from the chemical suppliers to the production site to the brands and retailers. The human and environmental criteria includes chemical application, carbon emission, water and energy consumption, as well as worker health and safety. When a snowsports product carries a Bluesign label, that apparel meets the strictest requirements in the global industry.

Other options are made within a partnership with Fair Wear, a nonprofit that helps brands monitor conditions in their supply chains and adapt management practices to be healthier and safer.

Price has a huge range when it comes to ski jackets; (photo/Jason Hummel)


Women’s ski jackets run a wide price range. Depending on how many days you ski each season and your goals, you might want to make more or less of an investment.

Quite a few options are available that don’t break the bank. The Columbia Women’s Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange Jacket affords you an entire layering system for $210.

If you spend a bit more time on the slopes, it’s smart to invest in a jacket that can withstand more use and last for several seasons. A higher price point will also open up options for more specialized jackets such as designs tailored to backcountry skiing. That pool includes shells like the Black Diamond Women’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell ($365), Helly Hansen Women’s PowChaser 2.0 Ski Jacket ($350), or insulated options like the Halfdays Lawrence ($365).

At a slight bump, the lightweight and durable Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket will cost $449.

You’ll pay a premium for jackets with superior features including a high level of waterproofing, packability, durability, excellent pockets, and sustainable manufacturing and materials. This collection is best for dedicated skiers who venture inbounds and into the backcountry, which demands performance in all conditions.

Top-of-the-line options include the Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket ($799), Patagonia Women’s Untracked Jacket ($699), Arc’teryx Women’s Sentinel Jacket ($700), and the Helly Hansen Women’s Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket ($750).

A hem cinch is stretchy and helps tighten the bottom of your jacket when needed; (photo/Jason Hummel)


How much should I spend on a ski jacket?

The answer to this question largely depends on your budget and the amount of time you can dedicate to skiing. Our favorite women’s ski jackets here range from $210 to $799.

Have you never been in a winter climate and are skiing for the first time? Do you only ski or snowboard on vacation? Consider jackets on the lower end of the price spectrum, with fewer bells and whistles.

If you dedicate a lot of your time to winter activities each year, you’ll need a higher level of performance and technical features, and may need to pay a premium to ensure that your ski jacket checks these boxes.

Check out all the jackets on this list and find the one or two best for you, and then investigate to see if you can find them on sale. Often you can count on seasonal gear like ski jackets being listed at a discount after the ski areas close, so the spring and summer are a great time to shop for winter apparel.

If you are able, we strongly encourage trying ski jackets on, whether buying from a store with a return policy or shopping online.

We’ve included extensive notes on the fit of each jacket for this very reason — finding the right-fitting jacket is hard!

Do you really need a ski jacket?

If you’ve made it this far, you can probably guess the answer: Yes, a ski jacket is better than a soft-shell jacket (or any other coat that isn’t fully waterproof).

Although they’re also waterproof, we don’t recommend using a rain jacket for skiing. Rain jackets don’t have the capacity to fit correctly over insulating layers, the hoods are too small, and the pockets don’t have glove-friendly zipper pulls. They could also be too short in length to provide enough protection from water and snow. Rain jackets also don’t have insulation while some ski jackets do.

There are many sizes of jackets at a variety of price points on this list. Ski jackets also work great for other winter activities such as snowshoeing, dog walks, winter hiking, and sledding.

Deep Hand Pockets on Ski Jacket
Deep hand pockets are one of our favorite qualities of a ski jacket; (photo/Jason Hummel)
What’s the difference between a ski jacket and a normal jacket?

Ski jackets are a more complex and technical piece of equipment than they appear. They’re built for protection in very cold conditions but also a high level of activity. They have a combination of waterproofing, windproofing,  breathability, and ventilation, as well as warmth, durability, and tailored features like a helmet-compatible hood and ski season pass pocket. Other sport-specific features include powder skirts to seal out snow, pockets built for avalanche transceivers, and RECCO reflectors.

With the best ski jackets, you should be able to wear them all day — on the skin in, on a windy chairlift, a sunny day, or a cloudy day with negative temps — all without changing or removing your jacket. Seemingly small elements, like zipper vents and insulation are really important here. Outerlayers like the Columbia Women’s Bugaboo II Fleece Interchange Jacket are great budget friendly options that will help you hit the slopes with the proper protection.

Should a ski jacket fit loose or tight?

Somewhere in between. Not so tight that it restricts movement but not so loose that there’s extra space between the jacket and your body (you’ll lose heat and get cold more easily). Plus, extra material can feel bulky while going downhill or wearing a pack.

Especially if you are buying a shell (an uninsulated jacket), you may want to size up to leave room for a base layer and midlayer underneath. Always try on a ski shell with a sweater or fleece (a thicker layer) underneath — essentially, what you’d wear out in the cold.

You can usually tell if a jacket is too big by looking at the shoulder lines (as in, if the shoulders are too loose) and by zipping it up. If a jacket feels too tight, it probably is, and it won’t be comfortable to ski in.

Also, check a brand’s individual size charts for chest and length dimensions given each brand’s product sizes vary.

Large chest pockets for a device are a must, especially for busty skiers; (photo/Jason Hummel)
Is GORE-TEX the preferred material for ski jackets?

GORE-TEX is a waterproof, windproof breathable membrane that is part of the fabric. For a long time, GORE-TEX has been the gold standard in waterproofing.

However, there’s now a long list of other high performance, proprietary waterproof membranes out there. Many major brands have their own version of waterproof-breathable fabrics.

Whichever jacket you buy, make sure it’s waterproof. (Jackets have degrees of waterproofing, from 5,000 mm to 10,000 mm to 25,000 mm water column ratings.) Our Colorado-based gear testers, for instance, like to shoot for at least a 10,000-15,000 mm water column rating based on where they live and what kind of snow they experience.

However, the highest level of waterproofing will sacrifice a little on breathability. In mild to medium — not extreme — winter climates, you’ll want a balance between the two.

Also, see what its intended activity and usage are. If a jacket isn’t designed for skiing, and doesn’t have many of the features we listed in this guide, it won’t be the best choice.

How do I layer under my shell jacket?

Being too cold while skiing is a bummer. While we find that shell jackets provide the highest level of versatility to take us through every day of the ski season no matter the weather, the caveat is that they require a bit of layering finesse to keep you warm on the extra cold days. 

Generally, our preferred technique is to start with a quality wool base layer that fits close skin. On top, we’ll layer an insulated puffy down jacket, and maybe even a down vest, too, if the temperatures are sub-zero. For a moderately cold day, simply adding a fleece zip-up above your long underwear can make for the perfect system.

You’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to find out the level of insulation beneath is best for you. You also may want to consider an insulated ski jacket, like the Halfdays Lawrence Jacket or Picture Organic Women’s Seen Jacket.

Testing Ski Jackets While Skiing Moguls on a Cold Day
Skiing moguls on a cold day can be cozier with an insulated jacket; (photo/Jason Hummel)
Should I prioritize waterproofing or breathability?

The answer to this depends largely on where you live, and what type of skiing you like to do. For backcountry skiing, a jacket with high breathability, like the Black Diamond Women’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell , enables you to wear the jacket during heavy exertion without trapping too much sweat. This can help prevent you from getting too cold from excess moisture when you transition to head back downhill.

The tradeoff of a super breathable jacket is, inevitably, they are more breathable both ways — meaning they don’t generally provide as robust protection from the wind. If you live in dryer mountains, like in Colorado or New Mexico, prioritizing breathability is likely a good option.

Highly waterproof jackets like the Norrona Women’s Lofoten GORE-TEX Pro Jacket will keep you drier and more protected from the elements. Modern jackets with higher waterproof ratings also often maintain decent breathability.

Generally, the more waterproof a jacket, the less flexible and less packable it comes, compromising its utility in the backcountry. If you live in a wet snow climate, like the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, you should look for a high waterproof rating.

How do I find a sustainable option for my ski jacket?

More brands are prioritizing sustainable and environmentally friendly production methods. Look for brands that use recycled materials in their production. In the product specifications, the brand will list if the jacket is made from recycled materials, as well as Fair Trade or eco-friendly ingredients. Manufacturers usually spotlight their sustainable methods wherever the gear is advertised. 

Our top sustainable apparel options in this guide come from Patagonia, Picture, Helly Hansen, and Norrona with the Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket taking the cake for the most sustainable, eco-friendly, and all-around choice. Almost every jacket in this guide contains a portion of recycled materials, which is an exciting step in the right direction for the outdoor and snowsports industries.

Testing Insulated Ski Jackets on a Cold Day
Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton tests out an insulated jacket while skiing on a cold bluebird day; (photo/Jason Hummel)


The Best Ski Socks of 2024

Winter is in full swing, and that means you’ll be spending a lot of time in the snow. These are the best ski socks of 2024 that will keep your feet happy and warm all winter long.

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