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Buying guide for Best women’s ski jackets

Winter outdoor activities can be just as fun as summer outdoor activities; that is if you’re properly dressed for the weather. Skiing is a classic winter pastime that requires a great deal of time spent out in the snowy winter landscape. In order to properly enjoy a skiing adventure, it’s essential to wear a ski jacket, which is designed to keep you as warm and comfortable as possible while skiing.

You can choose a jacket with a design catered to the conditions you’ll be skiing in, sporting the extra features you like, and fashionable enough to stand out on the slopes. Because there are so many options to choose from, like a hardshell versus a softshell jacket or whether to go with down or synthetic insulation, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.

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Some ski jackets come with a powder skirt, a strap inside the jacket that buttons over the top of your ski pants and prevents snow from sliding up your back or down your legs. This is especially handy for beginners who are likely to fall more often.

Key considerations


Determining what type of weather you’ll be skiing in most of the time is your first consideration. The weather will dictate what type of jacket best suits your skiing needs.

Warm: When it comes to skiing, “warm” is a relative term. Of course, it will still be cold enough to maintain snow cover, but it might not be so cold that you need a thickly insulated jacket. If you’ll be skiing in temperatures ranging from 25°F to 30°F, it’s best to purchase a shell jacket of some type so you can layer clothing underneath it. If the sunshine makes you sweat, it’s easy to remove layers. Also, if you’re skiing in higher temperatures, the snow will be wet and thick, requiring that you wear a waterproof outer shell jacket.

Cold: When skiing in very cold weather, you’re better off opting for an insulated jacket. The insulation will retain your body heat and prevent you from getting a chill. You can find insulated jackets that have an outer shell, the best choice for the coldest conditions.

Wet: Wet snow will soak into your jacket much faster than light, dry snow. A weather-resistant outer shell prevents wet snow from permeating your jacket and reaching your clothes (and you).

Dry: A jacket with an outer shell is useful when skiing in light, dry snow. Snow is more likely to stick to a fleece or cotton jacket.

Jacket type

Hardshell: This is a thinner jacket made from a durable, waterproof material. These lightweight jackets protect you from the elements. They can be worn over layers of clothing or a softshell jacket. Opt for a hardshell if you’re skiing in warmer temperatures and wet snow.

Softshell: A softshell jacket is made from soft or stretchy material that’s not as weatherproof as a hardshell. Snow can soak into a softshell jacket more easily. A softshell jacket is good to have when skiing in warmer temperatures with little chance that it will snow and a great chance of sunlight.

Three-in-one: A three-in-one jacket includes a hard outer shell and an interior softshell jacket that zip together. You can wear only the outer shell, only the inner jacket, or both of them together. There are some disadvantages to this type of jacket, however. For instance, the outer shell may have ventilation zippers while the inner jacket doesn’t, thus not allowing enough airflow to keep you from overheating.

Insulated: Ski jackets insulated with down or synthetic insulation will keep you the warmest of any ski jacket; however, they are also the bulkiest. An insulated jacket is innovatively designed to trap body heat, keeping you warm and comfortable while you ski. Choose down over synthetic insulation when you’re skiing in dry, cold conditions. Down is more effective than synthetic insulation for keeping you warm, but only if it’s dry.

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Expert Tip
Purchase a duffle bag along with your new skiing gear. You can keep all your gear together in your car and go skiing whenever the urge hits you.



Ski jackets come in bright colors and varied patterns to stand out against the white snow. Fun and funky patterns are a hallmark of today’s ski jackets.


Vents: Just like being too cold can be a nuisance while skiing, being too hot can ruin your fun as well. A jacket that keeps you cool includes vents built under the arms of the jacket to provide proper air ventilation.

Pockets: Extra pocket space is a great feature in a ski jacket because it provides enough storage to keep your valuables with you. For instance, if you don’t have a secure place to store your keys or phone, you can slip them into your zippered pockets.

Hood: There are many options when it comes to hoods: no hood, attached hood, detachable hood, and roll-up hood. A hood is mostly a personal preference. If you purchase a jacket without a hood, you can wear a hat, scarf, and earmuffs to keep your head warm.

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Expert Tip
If you like a tapered ski jacket that doesn’t look boxy, opt for a slim-fit jacket. It’s designed to conform to your body more than a jacket with a regular fit.

Women’s ski jacket prices

Inexpensive: If you’re a beginning skier and unsure if skiing is really up your alley, consider purchasing an inexpensive ski jacket. It will keep you warm enough for long enough so you can determine whether you enjoy skiing. These jackets range from $50 to $90.

Mid-range: The next category of ski jackets costs $100 to $200. These jackets will last for a few years but eventually may rip or deteriorate enough to lose their effectiveness. 

Expensive: The most expensive ski jackets should last for years. These jackets start at about $300 and can cost more than $500, depending on any extra features. Expensive jackets are worth the investment for avid skiers.

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Expert Tip
For ultimate ski jacket adjustability, look for one with wrist closures that can be adjusted to fit tightly, as well as a cinch cord around the bottom hem.


  • Use hand warmers. Have a designated pocket in your ski jacket to keep some instant hand warmers. If your gloves get wet or you start to feel chilled, you can warm up quickly.
  • Write your contact information in permanent marker on a tag in your jacket. Many jackets look alike. Make sure you can identify yours in the ski lodge.
  • Take your phone with you while you ski. It can be a lifesaver in case you get lost or hurt.
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Pay attention to the waterproof rating of your ski jacket to determine how long you can ski in a hard snowfall before water begins to penetrate the fabric. The minimum waterproof rating is 1,500 mm; the maximum is 30,000 mm. The average for women’s ski jackets is 5,000 to 10,000 mm.


Q. Do I need to purchase a ski jacket in order to go skiing, or can I use my regular winter jacket?
You don’t necessarily need a ski jacket to ski, but if you’re an avid skier, the right jacket is worth the investment. A ski jacket can keep you warmer for longer and is specifically designed for that activity. Other winter jackets designed mainly for fashion may not keep you warm or dry. And some winter jackets are too bulky to wear while skiing.

Q. Can a ski jacket be worn for other outdoor activities?
Absolutely. However, you may discover that a ski jacket can be overkill for some outdoor activities.

Q. Are there matching sets of ski jackets and ski pants?
Yes. A set can be a good investment, too. However, teenagers or young adults might want to wait to purchase a set after they finish growing.

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