The 12 Best Men's Ski Jackets of 2021

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Patagonia Men's Snowshot 3-in-1 Jacket at Backcountry

"Partners a removable insulated layer with a breathable outer shell so you can be prepared for any condition."

Best Budget: Columbia Men's Bugaboo II Ski Jacket at Amazon

"At a price that blue-collar skiers can stomach, the Bugaboo has a solution for any type of ski day."

Best Lightweight: Arc’teryx Men's Sabre AR Jacket at Amazon

"At under 2 pounds, this ski jacket is lightweight despite having a Gore-Tex C-Knit inner liner."

Best for Resorts: Helly Hansen Alpha Lifaloft Ski Jacket at Amazon

"Features designated insulated pockets for your phone and lift ticket."

Best Splurge: Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Ski Jacket at Backcountry

"Comes with features built for freeride pros and has a price tag to match."

Best for Backcountry Skiing: Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket at Backcountry

"Designed to transition seamlessly between backcountry touring and lift-assisted runs."

Best for Extreme Cold: Spyder Rocket Down Ski Jacket at Amazon

"If you're dealing with extremely cold conditions, turn to the power of the Rocket Down Ski Jacket."

Best for Spring: Arc’teryx Gamma SL Softshell Jacket at Amazon

"Because it prioritizes breathability and flexibility, this ski jacket is great for warm days in spring."

Most Versatile: The North Face ThermoBall Triclimate Jacket at Amazon

"You can wear this versatile ski jacket in three different ways."

Best Eco-Friendly: Picture Men's Zephir Jacket at Moosejaw

"This ski jacket uses sugarcane waste and recycled fabrics in 100 percent of the materials."

Ski gear is famously pricey and there are no shortage of outerwear companies lined up to sell you a jacket. But the best jacket for one skier isn’t right for every skiers' skills, style of skiing, or budget. Avid skiers know that warmer isn’t always better and that layers are your friend in changing conditions. Still, there isn’t a perfect coat for everyone and a ski racer in Maine in January will need a very different coat from a spring breaker in Tahoe in March. In that spirit, we present great ski jackets across a range of categories so you can find the perfect jacket for you.

Read on for the best men's ski jackets available.

Best Overall: Patagonia Men's Snowshot 3-in-1 Jacket

Patagonia Men's Snowshot 3-in-1 Jacket

 Courtesy of REI

4.5

Two jackets in one, Patagonia's Snowshot ski jacket partners a removable insulated inner layer with a waterproof/breathable outer shell to let you dial the perfect configuration in practically any condition. Zip in the 60-gram Thermogreen inner layer for sub-zero days, or run with either jacket when conditions warm up or dry out. The integrated powder skirt connects with any Patagonia snow pants, and the helmet-compatible hood can be removed when protection isn’t needed. Pit zips help regulate heat, a tall collar keeps your neck and face isolated from the elements, and low-profile cuffs let you sport your gloves over or under the sleeves.

Tested by TripSavvy

The Snowshot is a 3-in-1-style jacket, which just means it’s a waterproof/windproof shell with an integrated but removable insulating layer—in this case, a reversible light, quilted synthetic down jacket that can be worn on its own. The concept is that you can have your cake and eat it, too: Use both layers on cold days, but if things heat up, you can wear the shell only or even the down inner jacket alone (quilted or smooth side), giving you three configurations, hence “3-in-1.”

The coldest days I tested it on were in the 20s, and I was never too cold with just a long-sleeve Smartwool base layer underneath. That said, if things got much colder, I could see needing another substantial layer, and this is where things could get messy. The jacket is roomy enough but the arms are fairly snug, so wearing another down layer would be a bit tight. 

If you’re looking at Patagonia, you’re probably already aware you’ll pay a small premium for the name plus the quality and corporate responsibility that comes with it, but if budget isn’t your top concern, the Patagonia Men’s 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket is worth the investment. You can expect a base level of performance from even Patagonia’s mid-tier options such as this one. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Patagonia Men’s 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket

TripSavvy / Justin Park 

Best Budget: Columbia Men's Bugaboo II Ski Jacket

Ski days can range from sunny to stormy and skiers need to be ready to adapt their clothing to changing conditions. Three-in-one jackets like Columbia’s time-tested Bugaboo provide an all-in-one layering system with an inner and outer jacket that can be worn separately or together. At a price that blue-collar skiers can stomach, the Bugaboo has a solution for any type of ski day. While it might not sport the same high-tech breathable fabrics of pricier jackets, it’s all a casual skier needs with multiple pockets, an adjustable hood, and a drawstring hem.

Best Lightweight: Arc’teryx Men's Sabre AR Jacket

3.5

This is the lightest jacket that Arc’teryx makes. It’s also outfitted with Gore-Tex Pro 2.0 weatherproofing which maximizes waterproofing, breathability, and durability. Arc’teryx doesn’t just license Gore-Tex technology or buy Gore-Tex fabric, they actually work directly with them to develop new treatments. At 1 pound, 8.7 ounces, it’s feather-light despite having a Gore-Tex C-Knit inner liner to soften the jacket. Reinforcing fabric in high-traction areas shows that Arc’teryx went ultralight without skimping for the sake of reducing overall weight.

Tested by TripSavvy

One thing to note upfront about the Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket is that it is a shell only. Unlike ski jackets with built-in insulation or integrated inner jackets, the Sabre will require other layers to keep you warm. The obvious downside is the need to purchase other layers. The benefit of the Sabre’s minimalism, however, is the ability to precisely customize layering to the conditions. Plan on hiking a steep trail in mild temperatures? Wear a thin base layer only under the Sabre. For sub-freezing, windy ski days above treeline add a down jacket underneath. This also makes the Sabre potentially a year-round layer in mountain climates.

The Arc’teryx Sabre might not be the right coat for people that run cold or who aren’t experienced enough with layering to know which base layers and inner jackets to choose on a given day. More casual skiers might prefer a two-layer jacket that provides at least a little insulation built-in and which simplifies their ski day decisions.

While there are pricier jackets out there, the Sabre definitely lands in 'luxury' territory, especially considering it’s only a shell and you’ll need to add at least a couple of other layers to your system. But if you understand what you’re getting with the Sabre, know that you’ll use it to its capacity and can afford it, it’s hard to go wrong with this jacket as your year-round shell for the next 5 to 10 years. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket

Best for Resorts: Helly Hansen Alpha Lifaloft Ski Jacket

4.3

This versatile jacket takes Helly Hansen’s best-selling Alpha shell and adds 80 grams of insulation, meaning you don’t have to layer as heavily underneath. Like any good ski jacket, it’s both waterproof and breathable, with a 20,000-milliliter waterproof and breathability rating—both the highest Helly Hansen produces.

Beyond the basics of keeping the elements out, the Alpha Lifaloft features a gel-insulated phone pocket meant to keep cold from shutting your device down and a designated pocket for your lift ticket. It’s also equipped with the Recco rescue system that helps emergency workers find you in the event of an avalanche. Beyond the tech and features, the jacket sports a classic solid-color design that won’t go out of style anytime soon.

Tested by TripSavvy

The Alpha Lifaloft jacket is definitely a skier's coat and the shorter, slimmer cut is far from your standard longer snowboarding jacket. That said, it’s not nearly as stiff, heavy, and tight-fitting as jackets from other race-inspired brands, especially European brands such as Descente. Thanks to a flexible face fabric, the jacket is soft and not at all stiff like many high-end waterproof ski jackets. I tested a size XL based on Helly Hansen’s helpful interactive size selector. I’m an even 6 feet tall, a tad chesty, and right around 200 pounds. The XL does, in fact, fit great though I immediately noticed that the jacket still felt short in front.

Staying warm isn’t an issue with the Alpha Lifaloft jacket, which takes Helly Hansen’s Alpha 3.0 jacket and adds their patented Lifaloft insulation. Integrated insulation is great since it adds an insulative layer that’s tailored into the jacket, unlike additional base layers that can create fit issues and bulk.

The trade-off is that this jacket is too hot for warm spring days, or for hiking in the backcountry and resort-adjacent sidecountry, I took the jacket for several hikes in the Tenmile Range near Breckenridge and the jacket spent most of the time-strapped to my pack to keep me from overheating, only slipping it on for the descents. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Helly Hansen Men's Alpha Lifaloft Jacket

Tripsavvy / Justin Park

Best Splurge: Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Ski Jacket

Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket

Courtesy of Backcountry

The Lofoten Pro is from a premium Norwegian manufacturer with a long history in ski clothing. The outer shell is made of Gore-Tex Pro, the top of the line in waterproof ski clothing, which translates into maximum breathability and durability, even after heavy use. This is serious gear with a price tag to match, and comes with features built for freeride pros and guides such as a velcro rescue beacon pocket.

But even if you’re a casual skier who just wants the best, this lightweight shell’s pedigree will work for you, too. The adjustable hood will fit over most helmets and zippered armpits release excess heat. It also adheres to a number of international environmental standards covering the use of chemicals in manufacturing, the percentage of recycled materials, and factory conditions.

Best for Backcountry Skiing: Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket

Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket

Courtesy of Backcountry

The growth of backcountry skiing has outerwear companies adapting and jackets such as the Carbide are the result. It's designed to transition seamlessly between the steamy ascents of backcountry touring and cooler lift-assisted runs. Large pit zips are there of course, but the jacket also double-zips in front allowing you to keep it closed enough to stay on but wide open enough to release excess body heat without soaking baselayers. It’s also a light 21 ounces despite being a true three-layer jacket. But the 40D outer fabric is durable, so those natural tight tree runs won’t shred this ski jacket.

Best for Extreme Cold: Spyder Rocket Down Ski Jacket

Down jackets (or puffers) are very warm, but often lack durability and don’t make sense as a standalone ski jacket. Spyder solves this with the toasty Rocket jacket that’s used by the U.S. Ski Team. A wool-like nylon outer fabric is a major upgrade to the paper-thin fabric used in down coats that are meant to be layered. It also sports a Gore-Tex Infinium treatment to ensure the goose down inside doesn’t get wet.

A built-in helmet-compatible hood keeps your head warm whether you’re waiting to enter the starting gate or just standing in the lift line. This isn’t the jacket for warm spring days out West, but if you’re dealing with extremely cold conditions, turn to the power of down.

Best for Spring: Arc’teryx Gamma SL Softshell Jacket

When the spring temperatures are rising but the snow’s still giving up great turns, a serious ski shell can be overkill. The Arc’teryx Gamma SL offers the comfort and breathability of a softshell jacket along with freedom of movement and just enough wind-cutting ability. Because it prioritizes breathability and flexibility over weather-resistance, this is great for warm, clear days in spring when a t-shirt might do if you weren’t going 40mph across the snow.

Most Versatile: The North Face ThermoBall Triclimate Jacket

The North Face ThermoBall Eco Triclimate Jacket is two integrated jackets that give you layering options designed to play nicely together. You can wear this ski jacket three different ways: as a standalone puffy inner jacket on lighter days, as a sturdy weatherproof shell, or wear both together for deep winter days on the hill. The ThermoBall Eco is made from 100 percent recycled polyester synthetic down alternative which stays warm even when wet. The outer is fully waterproof, windproof, and has an adjustable hood. This versatile outer shell also works well alone when temperatures aren’t too low.

Best Eco-Friendly: Picture Men's Zephir Jacket

Picture Organic Zephir Jacket

Courtesy of Moosejaw 

Eco-friendly manufacturing practices have crept into the features listed for many mass-produced ski clothing brands. But the organic Zephir Jacket from French clothier Picture takes it to another level, using sugarcane waste and recycled fabrics in 100 percent of the materials. The company itself was founded around sustainability and is a certified B-Corporation, meaning they’re certified as environmentally and socially responsible in their business practices.

Even if none of that means anything to you, the Zephir not only looks cool, it’s got 20,000-millimeter waterproofing and breathability which are near industry-leading levels. So you can release body heat and moisture without worrying about letting the outside elements in.

Best Style: Helly Hansen Men's Bardu Bomber

Plenty of skiers only get on the hill a few times a year and struggle to spend hundreds on a jacket that’s dedicated to just those few days. The Helly Hansen Bardu Bomber jacket is a fashion first ski jacket that gets the job done on the hill but doesn’t look so ski-specific you couldn’t wear it on any city street.

Waterproof, windproof, and breathable, the Bomber is insulated with a robust 100 grams of duck down for a jacket that’s guaranteed to be warm on or off the slopes. The faux fur hood liner is where the jacket most obviously departs from other ski jackets, and the bomber cut will also look cool when you're not at the resort.

Best for the Terrain Park: 686 GLCR 3L Pike Hoody

Long gone are the days where terrain parks were for snowboarding teens only. Skiers hit the park too and jacket styles now blend the once hard lines between ski- and snowboard-specific outerwear. But the terrain park ski jackets aren't just for looks, there are functional differences, mainly in the roomier cuts that allow for maximum freedom of movement. This pullover jacket from 686 has a laid-back cut, but still features serious waterproofing for a jacket that feels like a sweatshirt but performs like a ski shell.

What to Look for in a Men’s Ski Jacket

Price: If you hit the slopes frequently or if you live in a place where people tend to dress a little sportier, a higher-end ski jacket might not be a bad investment—you’ll practically be living in it for a good chunk of the year! On the other hand, if you don’t ski very often, it might be fine to spend a little less.

Style: From sleek black jackets to more snowboard style options, there are many styles of jackets available. Take a good look at your closet to see if your other attire (on and off the slopes) will complement whichever jackets you’re considering.

Fit: These jackets are designed to move with you as you fly down the slopes (and maybe as you pick yourself up off the ground once or twice). If you’re trying a jacket on in-store, pay close attention to its fit. Ski jackets should fit close to the body but have ample room to move around and add layers underneath. If you’re shopping online, be sure to check the manufacturer's measurements.

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