We have women's ski jackets from trusted brands such as Dare 2b, Head, Oakley and Trespass, all of which feature different technologies and styles; ensuring there is something to meet your ski wear and style needs which is a very important consideration when on the pistes.
Value for Money
The price range of ski jackets reflects the level of technology, the variety of features and performance rating you can expect. Consult the specifications and technology information to ensure you get the right ski jacket to suit the type of skiing you will be doing. If you are planning some serious backcountry or off-piste skiing then a high performance jacket is recommended that has very high waterproofing, breathability and ergonomic features such as four-way stretch fabric that allows for free movement and the higher work rates needed in deep powder.
Below we discuss some of the technologies and features to consider when looking to buy a ski jacket.
Waterproof ski jackets
Ski jackets are waterproof by their nature – they have to be to operate in snow and powder. However, waterproof is a linear measure, not an absolute term. Waterproofing is measured in millimetres, representing the height of a column of water 1-inch wide that can be poured onto the garment without water ingress (static column water resistance test). So the higher the number, the more waterproof performance you can expect. Here is a quick breakdown of levels of waterproofing:-
- 1500mm- 5000mm – rainproof but not waterproof under pressure – if you lean into a snow drift you will eventually get wet – think entry-level skiwear. Perfect for beginners if you are not sure you are going to fall in love with skiing, so want to keep the costs down
- 5000mm – 15000mm – totally rainrproof and decent waterproofing under pressure – you can sit on the piste for a long, long time before there is any chance of getting wet. Perfect of intermediate skiers where you might try a bit of off-piste and backcountry skiing
- 15000mm – 30000mm – waterproof even under pressure – Gore-Tex and eVent and other PU laminates and PTFE membranes. This will likely keep you dry in low pressure water submersion.
- 30000mm plus – totally waterproof and impermeable - Perfect for the pro- cross-check with its breathability rating because unless this is also moderate to good you might get a bit sweaty!
A waterproof ski jacket is only useful to you if it is breathable too. Water vapour and sweat need to escape, so a decent level of breathability is recommended. This is especially true if you are a more advance skier and will be working hard in mogul fields or off-piste powder.
Breathability is generally measured by the formula g/m²/24h - meaning the grams of water passing through a square meter of fabric in 24 hours. This is also often expressed as MVP (moisture vapour perspiration) but it is the same measurement. So higher ratings mean they are more breathable ski jackets.
Unfortunately the is no universally excepted testing regime for rating breathability, so comparing manufacturers ratings can be less than fruitful. However, do gauge ski jackets against each other from the same brand as they will have undergone the same testing criteria within the brand’s testing laboratories. Here is a quick indicative scale of breathability:-
- 0 g/m²/24h not breathable at all
- 0 g/m²/24h – 2000 g/m²/24h – moderate breathability, suitable if you are not going to be too active. Think après ski
- 2000 g/m²/24h – 5000 g/m²/24h – decent breathability, suitable for less strenuous activities – think gentle carving on blue and green groomed pistes
- 5000 g/m²/24h – 15000 g/m²/24h – good breathability, suitable for moderate activity – think fast on-piste skiing on reds and blacks
- 15000 g/m²/24h – 30000 g/m²/24h – excellent breathability, suitable for very strenuous activities where you are definitely going to sweat a lot – think off-piste, deep powder and mogul fields
- 30000 g/m²/24h plus – this is top end performance and is suitable for winter athletes and the serious skiers working at the limit where compromise is not an option.
As well as breathable fabrics also look to see what venting features your ski jacket has. Many will have underarm zip vents. Others also use arm vents and waist pocket venting – so read the specifications to see what is on offer.
Ergonomics & Features
Your form and body position is everything in skiing. It determines how you ski and manoeuvre, where shifts in stance, angle, weight and pressure transfer physical force through your body into the skies. Therefore, freedom of movement and stretch fabrics plan a key role in allowing you to easily achieve the stance or position you require.
As well as stance and fit requirements also consider function ergonomics – is the hood detachable, will it accommodate a ski helmet easily, does the hood have a stiffened peak so it holds its shape at speed, does the waist pockets have ski glove hooks, and that old classic – does it have a ski pass pocket on the arm for the ski lift turn style?
If you are going to be speeding down the ski slopes then your skiwear will need to be windproof – so ski jackets are designed to be windproof as standard – otherwise you would get some very cold people getting off ski lifts! Softshells are generally windproof too but check the specifications to confirm this.
Depending on where you go skiing and what time of year you can be faced with a variety of conditions and temperatures. But there are known knowns so to speak – so if you are going skiing in Norway or Canada in January insulation is going to be key, as bitingly low temperature can be expected. But if you plan a bit of late season skiing on the glacier at Tignes then a light shell and Softshell combo might be perfect.