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What Makes a Good Ski or Snowboard Jacket?

What should I look for in a ski or snowboard jacket? I’m a skier, can I wear a snowboard jacket? I’m a snowboarder so can I wear a ski jacket? Should I get one with a pit zips? and what colour is cool this season?!

Snow outerwear has come along way since we started skiing for fun. With so many options to choose from, and so many different features, buying the right ski or snowboard jacket has the potential to be quite overwhelming. It’s meant to be a fun and exciting experience, so I will give you a few insights into what I think makes a good jacket and what features to look out for.

For starters… yes there are outerwear companies whose product is mainly made for, and brought by skiers. Then there’s the companies whose product is largely geared up for snowboarders. It seems that it’s a bit of a fashion thing. Traditionally the culture has been that skiers have been wearing more of a fitted style of outerwear and snowboarders a baggier one. However, times are certainly changing and a good example was Shaun Whites choice of attire at last years X Games. Can’t get much more fitted. And yes! that is a leather jacket?!

So let’s put culture and fashion aside and stick to the facts! What should you look out for in a jacket?

Products vary, even within the ski or snowboard company, so I’m going to be very general. Here is some advice and a few of my favourite features to look out for.

Firstly, jackets are not meant to fit snug and fitted like your regular clothes. They are designed to be a little baggy. This is because you wear layers under your jacket to keep you warm. The key is to make sure there is plenty of room for layers, so you are still able to move about freely without feeling restricted.

If you are a snowboarder, a little baggier could be a good thing. As we bend over and stretch out our arms more when doing up our bindings, or when doing tricks. There is nothing worse than every time you bend over, your jacket rides up your back and as you stretch out your arms, your sleeves ride up and untuck from over your gloves.

Once you have the size right, keep an eye out for my favourite features.

#1 Pockets. I love pockets. Music pockets, change pockets, pass pockets, secret pockets, inside pockets, outside pockets, the list goes on! My jacket is full of them and I love them all. I have a pocket for my iPod (as seen to the right) that allows me to access it without unzipping my main zip, which lets the headphones run up the inside of the jacket through a specially made hole. Awesome.

#2 Pit Zips. Pit zips are just as they sound - zips located under your armpits. They’re perfect if you get too hot. Just unzip and cool off. Great for when you’re hiking or that hot spring day.

#3 Waterproof and breathable. It may seem silly to even mention this, but I am always bewildered at the amount of people I see on a snowy day looking very wet! Your ski and snowboard jacket should be waterproof and breathable. It will cut out the wind as you glide down the slopes and it will breathe so when you work up a sweat you will not end up soaked inside. Most reputable companies will be waterproof and there are different ratings as to how waterproof they are. This is a feature you will be glad to have on those snowy days. It’s also a key feature for your pants… but that is another story that we will get onto next week!

Having the right jacket can help make your day on the ski slopes a good one. Make sure you love your jacket and feel good wearing it.

If you look good, you feel good and if you feel good you ride good! (or ski good).


You may like some of our other related blog posts:

  • Snowboarding for the First Time – Should I or Shouldn’t I?
  • Skiing for the First Time - The Learner Skier
  • Taking Kids Skiing and Snowboarding
  • What Makes Good Ski or Snowboard Pants?
  • Ski and Snowboard Outfit Accessories
  • Travel Tips

Posted By: Paula Mitchell, @ Fri, 30th Nov 2012

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