Ski Jacket (blog)
It not only needs to keep you warm and dry in possibly very cold and snowy conditions, but it also needs to look good.
If you have any questions on what to buy then please give us a call: we don't sell jackets so the advice really will be impartial.
The main things to look for are shown below.
Don't you just love marketing departments? They must sit around for hours coming up with different ways to say the jackets made by their company are NOT waterproof, for example shower-proof, snow-proof, spray-proof, weather-proof, etc the list is endless. The reason they do this is that there is a binding ISO Standard which material must have before they can call something “water-proof”, which is ISO 811 (and BS EN 20811). So remember that if it doesn't say water-proof, it isn't.
Your jacket should keep you warm and dry, but not too hot. It can do this as you are warm and the outside world is colder, this causes a difference in pressure which pushes warm air through the garment. As the warm air contains moisture this is also pushed out. The reason moisture can be pushed out whilst still maintaining the water-proofing is that water droplets are much bigger than moister molecules. Water-proof garments are made from material with close knit fabric where the gaps between the fibers are small enough to stop water coming in but big enough to allow the moisture out.
When it's snowing your hood will fill with snow, so most hoods are either detachable or fold into the collar. Some hoods are large enough to go over your helmet and are adjustable with either elasicated loops, drawstrings or Velcro, although not many people ski with their hood up as it restricts movement.
You'll need a high collar which can be pulled up higher than your chin, or maybe even a little higher, as this will keep the(possibly gusting and sub-zero) wind off your face. A little extra protection is always worth it.
The main zip at the front of the jacket must be covered by a large flap of material which extends all the way over the zip. This will stop water and wind seeping in through the zip.
As you'll be carrying loads of “stuff” whilst skiing big chunky pockets are a definite bonus so the more the merrier. Outside pocket zips should have “pull tags” so you can open them without taking off your gloves.
These are either zipped or clipped openings in the jacket which allow heat to escape. You'll find them under the arms or at the sides and occasionally on the front.
6 Sealed seams
In the olden days (1990's) jackets were stitched together which, regardless of how water-proof the material was, formed lines of small holes, allowing water to seep through. In modern jackets many (or all) seams are now sealed together rather than stitched.
These are at the end of the arms and made of stretchy material with a hole to hook over your thumb. Not only will they stop your sleeve riding up but will also keep the snow/wind out.
8 Powder skirt
This is an elasticated band to stop snow going up into your jacket if you fall over or are (as the name implies) skiing in deep powder.
9 Lift pass pocket
Virtually all ski resorts now have automatic barriers on lifts which are opened by brushing your lift pass over a large sensor (normally on the left). This means you don't need to continually scramble for your pass at each lift and so there is no chance of forgetting to replace your “very” expensive lift pass back into your pocket.