The Best Boys’ Ski Jackets to Maximize Performance and Comfort on the Slopes

The best ski jackets for your mini-shred

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There’s a well-intentioned instinct to bundle boys up in snowsuits like Randy from A Christmas Story. But, just like adults, kids benefit from smart layering and high-tech fabrics. The same performance attributes matter with boys’ jackets: waterproofing, breathability, and warmth.

Buying a ski jacket for a child can cost a pretty penny, which is hard to swallow knowing they might quickly outgrow it. Luckily many outerwear manufacturers include features that let a jacket grow with the child to a point and thankfully, kids’ jackets aren’t quite as expensive as adult options.

Kids don’t regulate body temperature as well as adults, so they’re likely to both overheat and get colder. The upshot? A modern, breathable jacket that’s also windproof and insulated is essential. Tailoring your boys’ jacket to the conditions is also important, so we’ve tailored our picks for different kinds of young rippers.

These are the best boys' ski jackets currently available.

Best Overall: Quiksilver Boys' Ambition Jacket

Quiksilver Boys' Ambition Jacket

Backcountry

Quiksilver’s Ambition Jacket delivers serious waterproofing and breathability rated at 15K/10K for performance that’s above what most kid (and plenty of adult) jackets offer to help deal with the temperature extremes kids face on the hill. It’s also smartly insulated with a reasonable 80 grams of Quiksilver’s WarmFlight around the body and 60 grams in the arms, so the jacket doesn’t turn into a sauna when he’s working hard.

It’s also Quiksilver, so it’s got some cool factor but is still reasonably priced for the performance it delivers. The Ambition has all the ski-specific features you want including a pass pocket, an internal mesh goggle pocket, pit zips for shedding heat, a snow skirt for keeping snow out, and internal wrist gaiters.

Best Budget: Columbia Boys’ Snow Problem Jacket

Columbia Boys’ Snow Problem Jacket

Columbia

My first real ski jacket was from Columbia and more than three decades later, they’re still making performance outerwear for kids and adults at a reasonable price. For less than $100, the Snow Problem offers the same tech as Columbia's adult jackets including the Omni-Heat reflective liner around 100 grams of Microtemp XF II synthetic insulation that stays effective even when wet. On the outside, the OmniTech 2L polyester construction is waterproof but still soft and comfortable.

You also get growth spurt insurance with Columbia’s Outgrown system that allows you to simply snip a thread to get an extra inch and a half of fabric to get another year or two of use. Hood and pockets are fleece-lined for comfort and warmth and you get all the expected ski-specific features such as a pass pocket and powder skirt despite the low price.

Most Eco-Friendly: Picture Organic Clothing Boys' Realer Insulated Jacket

Picture Organic Clothing Boys' Realer Insulated Jacket

REI

French ski wear company Picture Organic has set a new standard for ethical manufacturing and sustainable practices, but what might be most notable about their boys’ Realer Jacket is the performance. The Realer delivers 20K waterproofing and 10K breathability that’s usually only seen in high-end adult ski jackets. The Teflon Ecoelite durable water repellent (DWR) is PFC-free and most of the materials are recycled. 

Despite being so breathable, there’s smartly allocated insulation to keep them warm, with 80 grams around the body, 60 grams in the sleeves and 40 grams in the hood. In addition, the Grow with Me system permits letting additional fabric out to extend the life of the jacket.

Best for Racers: Swix Junior Insulated Ski Jacket

Swix Junior Insulated Ski Jacket

Amazon

This best-selling boy's ski jacket has a relaxed fit to avoid constriction during high-flying aerials and park tricks. The jacket boasts full breathable waterproof protection against the elements and a network of Primaloft insulation that keeps things toasty without overheating. Kids will also appreciate a built-in sleeve for ski passes, chin guard, built-in powder skirt, and a wide network of pockets, while parents will love the high-vis hood color that’ll make it easy to find kids in deep snow or crowded lift lines.

Best Splurge: Canada Goose Logan Parka

Canada Goose Logan Parka

Backcountry

While not a ski-specific jacket, the Logan Parka from Canada Goose is a great down option that’ll keep your child warm on even the coldest days thanks to lofty 625-fill power real down insulation. The durable exterior fabric gets a durable water repellent finish plus reinforcements on the elbows. It’s cut at hip length, so it’s appropriate for skiing.

The jacket isn’t cheap, but the Gosling Graduate System offers 1.5 inches of cuff extension to help you weather a growth spurt. And in part, because it’s not just a ski jacket, this jacket can be worn on and off the slopes and is a great fit for kids that only ski a few days a year but still need a winter jacket away from the hill.

What to Look for in Boys' Ski Jackets

Price

If your kid is planning on doing a lot of skiing (or if this coat will double as their everyday winter jacket), it's worth spending a bit more for something that's proven to be durable. On the other hand, if you live somewhere warm and won't ski very often, you could probably make do with something more budget-friendly, especially if your child will grow out of it by next season.

Fit

Generally speaking, ski jackets are meant to move with your body, not constrict it. That being said, there are really three main fits: slim, regular, and loose (though different brands might have slightly different naming variations for those). The mentality is that the tighter the fit, the more streamlined you'll be going down the mountain. Unless your kid is skiing competitively, you can opt for whatever they feel most comfortable in. One other thing to note: The looser the fit, the more room for layers.

Features

Beyond what you'd normally expect to be a part of a coat (pockets, zippers, a hood, etc.), there are some other elements to consider that help make ski jackets more functional. Some of those include clips integrated at the sleeves for their gloves, snow skirts, dedicated pass pockets, protective padding, and grow-fit features, among others.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are all ski jackets waterproof?

    Usually, yes. Though some are better than others. Look for phrases like “Gore-Tex” and “DWR” (Durable Water Repellant) coating on labels and in online descriptions. Generally, it costs a bit more for that level of waterproofing, but it's worth it, especially with kids who are quick to have meltdowns.

  • Are snow skirts necessary?

    Snow skirts are elastic waistbands, attached with a snap closure, located inside the jacket. They're meant to keep snow from entering inside the jacket while playing in the snow. They're not necessarily essential, but they're good for kids who are prone to falling down or sitting in a snow pile.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Author Justin Park is a lifelong skier based in Breckenridge, Colorado. He’s worn nearly every major ski jacket brand at some point and has tested adult ski jackets extensively. For this article, he tested several boys’ ski jackets with the help of a volunteer corps of local groms in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to help make his picks.

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