Whether you’re new to mountain adventures, or you’re an enthusiast looking to upgrade your outwear, choosing the right ski jacket is one of the most important considerations. It will help you deal with extreme temperatures, keeping you warm and comfortable while not impacting your performance nor style. Ladies’ ski jackets come in many different styles with a number of features such as insulation, waterproof rating, breathability and more. Here are the most popular types of women’s ski jackets for your next experience on the slopes.
Types of Women’s Ski Jackets
When searching for the perfect women’s ski jacket, there are two main factors to consider – the type of skiing and the weather conditions. Your ski jacket needs to keep you warm and dry while you’re enjoying snow sports in the great outdoors.
Insulated Ski Jackets
This type of ski jacket comes in many different weights and materials. Most commonly, the insulation found in ladies’ ski jackets is measured in grams, from a minimum of 30 grams up to 800 grams. Due to the fact that they include an outer layer that is waterproof and windproof, as well as an insulating layer that is built directly into the ski jacket and provides additional warmth, insulated women’s ski jackets are the most suitable option when skiing in colder areas. The insulation inner layer is usually made of fleece, down, or synthetic fabric and it’s lightweight, breathable and water repellent. It keeps the jacket dry and offers you warmth and comfort. Some designs contain an additional insulator piece that can be snapped or zipped together to the outer layer perfectly and these models are also known as a 3-in-1 jackets.
Shell Ski Jackets
This type doesn’t feature internal insulation but offers versatility and comfort. Waterproof and breathable layers will keep you protected from the weather conditions, allowing sweat to evaporate easily. This type of ski jacket is usually worn in warmer areas, and on colder days it can be worn over a base layer and a mid-layer, keeping the warmth of your body and providing and an additional range of mobility due to their lack of bulkiness.
Soft Shell Ski Jackets
This type of ski jacket is made from a soft and stretchy fabric, with layering pieces and is highly breathable. It balances out wind and cold protection and is comfortable enough to be worn as a mid-layer in colder areas or as an outwear garment for wet and windy conditions.
One Piece Ski Jackets
This type of ladies’ ski jacket is a combination of jackets and pants. It gives a classic, retro look to your overall appearance, without compromising your comfort.
Water Resistance and Waterproof Ratings
Water-resistant jackets feature a coating that resists water, which makes them durable in various weather conditions since the fabric doesn’t absorb rain or snow. Whether it’s insulated or not, an outwear garment for snow sports should be waterproof. Waterproof ratings are measured and indicated in millimeters. The fabric is pulled tight under a sealed tube of water and then observed for a certain time period in order to see how many millimeters of water it will withstand until the water penetrates to the layers below. For a women’s ski jacket to be classified as legally waterproof it needs to achieve a 1500 mm rating at least. The average rating begins typically from 5000 mm up to 10000 mm, and above. Between 10000 mm and 20000 mm is the recommended Australian minimum as it can withstand hours of rain and wet snow.
Breathability ratings usually go next to the waterproof ones and they show you the ski jacket’s level of protection. Mainly it’s because the same fabric pores that prevent water from penetrating inside the jacket, let the sweat molecules out of a ski jacket. While practicing extreme sports, people sweat a lot and lose moisture through sweat, and if this moisture doesn’t leave the clothing, after a while it will make you feel cold and uncomfortable. Breathability ratings are referred to in grams, indicating the grams of moisture that can pass through a square meter of the fabric within 24 hours. That’s why higher breathability in women’s snow jackets is recommended, so that less humidity will form inside the garment.
Fit & Length
Keep in mind the shape when looking for your ladies’ ski jacket, whether you prefer a slim, regular, or relaxed fit. For a more active fit, you can choose a slim design, tailored at the shoulders, body and waist and sitting close to your body. A regular fit is true to size, tailored below the waist, while a relaxed fit comes with a little to no tailoring at all, providing more comfort in the shoulders and chest.
Women’s skiing jackets can be found in different lengths and cuts, suitable for different snow activities, depending on how much coverage and warmth you need from moisture and snow. Length stands for the actual length of the ski jacket, and depending on your personal preference you can choose one that accentuates the waist and gives a flattering fit, like cropped length, or opt for a hip length that provides an athletic and tailored fit.
For additional protection, you can choose thigh length ski jacket that offers full bottom coverage and tailored fit at the same time, or a knee length one for a flattering silhouette. For a full body coverage, you can choose a full length ski jacket with a more tailored fit.
Seams are important to prevent water to leak through and add to better waterproofing performance of the ski jacket. Manufacturers tape seams in a few different ways, and you should always look pay attention to it before purchasing your skiing jacket.
Fully Taped – This means that the stitched seams have been taped for waterproofing with a waterproof tape glued on the interior and exterior of the seam. This type of ski jacket is suitable for zones with high moisture levels.
Critically Taped – This indicates that only some of the seams are taped, but it doesn’t mean that these types of skiing jackets are not a good choice. On the contrary, they are the best solution you’re planning to spend more time inbounds on groomers and cruises, offering the needed protection.
Additional & Important Ski Jackets Features
Hood – Attached hood is a fixed and non-removable option, while a detachable one offers versatility and can be removed on warmer skiing days. However, many hoods have a drawstring that will help you make sure it fits well over your helmet and you can look from side to side.
Front Zipper Cover – It covers the front zipper of the ski jacket and prevents wind and moisture penetration.
Powder Skirt – It is an elastic band located at the waist, on the inside of the jacket. Providing a snap closure in the front it prevents snow from going up the front or back of the jacket. Most of the powder skirts are removable by snaps or zippers and are highly recommendable if you’re practicing any powder skiing.
Wrist Closures – They keep snow from entering through the sleeves and their adjustability allows comfortable fit with your ski gloves, keeping cold air from going up your arms.
Underarm Venting Zippers – Located under the arm, they allow adjustable temperature control and ventilation, keeping heat close to your body.
Electronic/Audio/Media Pocket(s) – It is specifically designed to offer convenience when carrying your portable electronic devices such as cell phones, personal audio players, digital cameras and more.
Goggle Pocket – This one is designed to keep your goggles safe when you’re not skiing.
Data Card/Ski Pass Pocket – It is intended to keep your important cards safe and in one place and can be located inside or outside your ski jacket.
Articulated Elbows – This feature allows you free range of motion, built into elbows and offering a natural blend to that area.
Internal Cuffs – They’re attached to the inside of ladies’ ski jacket’s sleeve cuffs and keep snow and cold away. Internal cuffs can be worn under your ski gloves for extra warmth.
Taking Care of Your Ski Jacket
After a day on the slopes, it is recommendable to hang up all your gear on hangers at room temperature with a lot of airflow around it. This will help you keep your skiing gear in a good condition for a long period.
When it comes to washing your outwear, it is good to know that dry cleaning your snow jacket is not a good idea, so it’s better to wash it in a washing machine, on a cold and gentle cycle. Make sure to use a detergent that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, or look for a detergent specially designed for the materials your ski jacket is made of.
Drying your ski garment is very easy as well, just hang it on a hanger at room temperature and make sure there is a lot of airflow around it. There is no need to use heat or tumble drying at all.