Best ski jackets or snowboard jackets

What’s the best ski or snowboard jacket for you?

Here’s what you need to know when you’re looking for a new ski or snowboard jacket! Breathability and water resistance are key factors so look for a jacket with at least 10K water resistance. This helps to keep you warm and dry. Check that the fit suits your chosen sport; a looser fit for snowboarding can be helpful and is good for layering. Go for a softshell jacket if you want ultimate flexibility. Consider extra features like sealed seams, ventilation zippers and a high collar for even more comfort. Just keep on reading to learn what all this means.

It may sound strange but you actually don’t want to think about your clothing… when you’re out there on the slopes. Your clothing should be an extension of your body, enhancing comfort and performance and never holding you back. That’s why it’s important to know what you need and we’ll try to lay that out for you here.

A ski jacket or snowboard jacket is arguably the most important part of your winter wardrobe. It’s not just a jacket, it’s a super smart jacket made to optimize your experience. This piece of clothing is a multi-tasker, keeping you warm, dry, flexible and ready for anything.

Here goes, what to look for when looking for your new jacket:

Differences ski & snowboard jacket
Winter jacket as a ski/snowboard jacket?
Waterproofing and breathability
How to find the perfect jacket fit?
How to find the perfect jacket size?
How to find the perfect jacket length?
Why sealed seams?
Why a hood or collar?
Why a waist gaiter?
Why are jacket zippers important?
Why vents on your jacket?
Why cuffs and thumb loops?
Why pockets?
What under your jacket?
Colour, fabric and print

What’s the difference between a ski and snowboard jacket?

Let’s start by saying that these two types of jackets are interchangeable, meaning that you can use a ski jacket for snowboarding and a snowboard jacket for skiing. The biggest difference between a ski jacket and a snowboard jacket is the fit. Snowboard jackets are looser than ski jackets and are usually longer in length. The extra length helps keep you warm when you are sitting in the snow strapping your board on.

For skiing, a jacket with a slimmer fit will make you more aerodynamic while you’re cutting up the slopes. Also you tend to make fewer big movements when skiing compared to snowboarding so the excess fabric isn’t really necessary. So if you’re snowboarding, look for a regular to relaxed fit and if you’re skiing, look for a slim to regular fit. If you are planning on doing both, then a regular fit jacket would be a good choice.

Can you wear a winter jacket as a ski or snowboard jacket?

It’s obviously better to hit the slopes in a jacket that is designed to do just that. A ski and snowboard jacket is water resistant, breathable and warm plus this specialized jacket will come with many extra features to help improve your experience on the snow. Is your winter jacket warm, water resistant and breathable with room for layers underneath, then you could give it a go but we’d definitely recommend wearing a ski and snowboard jacket to make sure you enjoy your ride.

AUSTIN jacket | ARTUR mid layer | CHRISTIAN trousers

Why a waterproof and breathable ski or snowboard jacket?

The jacket needs to make a little magic. It needs to be breathable. The heat and moisture generated by your body as you ski or snowboard should be able to escape. At the same time, the moisture on the outside of the jacket needs to be kept out.

How waterproof and breathable a jacket is, is expressed in two numbers. The first is in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is. In the case of a 10k or 10.000 mm fabric this means you can place a square tube with inner dimensions of 3mm x 30mm over the jacket’s outer fabric and you could fill it with water to a height of 10.000 mm before water would begin to seep through. The higher this number, the more waterproof the fabric. 5.000mm is low waterproofing, 10.000mm is average and 20.000mm is high.

Waterproofing and breathability

The second number is a measure of how breathable the fabric is, and is measured in grams (gr) of water vapor, which can pass through a square meter of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24-hour period. In the case of a 20k (20 000gr) fabric, this would be 20.000 grams. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric, meaning that 5.000gr is low and 20.000gr is very breathable.

If you’re looking for a 20K jacket, check out jackets like our PVRE Green Taco and Dipper for men or our PVRE Green Alison and our Becca for women. The PVRE Green series is a fusion of our most technical series, PVRE, and sustainable design. These jackets have a water resistance level of 20 000mm and a breathability level of 20 000g, achieved by using an eco-friendly DWR coating. A 20K jacket is ideal for extreme weather conditions or when you’re often in contact with deep snow.

TACO jacket | ZUCCA 20 trousers

At 10K, we have some fantastic jackets to choose from. For men for example, we have the awesome Apollo with its longer length, made from recycled polyester. For women, amongst many 10K jackets, we have the fabulous velvet Diva jacket and for the kids, there is the Tymo JR for boys and the Zoe JR for girls. All these jackets have 10 000 mm water resistance meaning that the fabric is water repellent on the outside and breathable on the inside. This type of jacket is perfect for the average skier or boarder.

How to find the perfect jacket fit?

The fit that’s right for you depends on what kind of skiing or snowboarding you like to do. Slim fit is well suited to smooth riding over the pistes, while a regular or looser cut is good for bigger movements that freeriders and freestylers like to make. The addition of a good amount of stretch fibre into technical fabric means that a slim fit definitely won’t make you rigid and you’ll be able to make all kind of crazy moves. So it’s more a matter of personal taste.

Women’s ski and snowboard jackets tend to be more fitted and wider around the hips whilst men’s jackets tend to be wider on the shoulders and narrower on the hips. Generally it’s a safer beat to stick to your own gender in jackets but if for example, you’re a woman with wide shoulders, then you could consider a mens jacket to achieve your own perfect fit.

How to find the perfect jacket size?

So how should your ski or snowboard jacket fit? It should fit well, not too loose and not too tight. It needs to be loose enough so that you can move freely, especially at the arms and shoulders. There should be room enough for some layers as well. That said, if your jacket is too loose, you’ll have trouble keeping the cold and snow out. So it’s about finding a happy medium.

How to find the perfect jacket length?

Until recently the functional jacket has always been pretty standard in length but now with the rise of the parka jacket on the street, jackets on the slopes are also getting longer. Check out our Rover for men and our Jessica or the PVRE Green Longan for women. The added length adds warmth, protection and some street edge. For snowboarders, this added length has the added advantage of keeping you warm and dry when you’re sitting in the snow strapping in.

LONGAN jacket | LOLE trousers

Jessica Ski jacket Red
Price 199.99
Color: Rocky
Lole Softshell ski trousers Black
Price 119.99
Color: True Black

Why sealed seams on your jacket?

Rather than just stitched together, seams can also be taped on the inside. Taped seams are where tape is applied to a garments seam and sealed using heat. For a jacket to be highly waterproof the seams need to be treated in this way. This will stop water coming through the stitching. If the seams aren’t sealed, there’s a good chance that water will eventually manage to seep through these vulnerable areas and you’ll be wet anyway. Critically taped seams are when the most important seams have been taped which tends to be the hood, neck and shoulders. For a jacket with fully taped seams, see our men’s Frame and Blake and our women’s Amanda and Bite ski and snowboard jackets.

Why a hood or collar on your jacket?

Ski and snowboard jackets generally come with a hood, which is either fixed or detachable. A detachable hood can be removed if you aren’t using it. A fixed hood is a permanent feature of the jacket. It has the advantage of always being ready and you’ll never lose it! Most hoods are adjustable – look for an elastic pull at the back for example, which is useful to stop it falling over your eyes. Some of our hoods have a detachable faux fur trim for added warmth and style. Collars in ski and snowboard jackets vary in height. There are short, medium and high collars. Choose a jacket with a high collar, like the Backflip, Blur or Mount 20 for maximum protection from the elements.

BACKFLIP jacket | PIXEL mittens

Backflip Anorak ski jacket Green
Price 199.99
Color: Green Spray
Pixel Mittens Green
Price 49.99
Color: Swamped
Blur Puffer ski jacket Green
Price 249.99
Color: Green Spray
Mount 20 Puffer ski jacket Green
Price 219.99
Color: Green Spray

Why a waist gaiter?

A waist gaiter is a wide elasticated band inside the jacket – sometimes called a powder skirt. If you’re already into exploring snow sports or other wintry outdoor activities, you’ll be familiar with the discomfort if snow, ice, rain or sleet manages to make its way inside your clothing. The function of this internal belt is to keep the snow and cold from getting inside. It acts as an extra barrier against the elements. You will find a waist gaiter on most of our jackets for skiing and snowboarding.

Why are jacket zippers important?

All of our zippers are YKK. A zipper is a small element in a snow jacket but a very important part. If it malfunctions, you’re either not getting in or not getting out of your jacket. That’s why we use YKK zippers, which stand for quality and reliability. Some of our jackets, like the Frame jacket for men and the Chica jacket for women, have water repellent zippers. This means that the zipper’s design is tailored to be water resistant. It is also coated with a vinyl material that makes it water repellent and eliminates the need for a storm placket (that extra flap of fabric that covers the zipper).

To avoid chin chafe there’s a fabric cover over the top of the front zip called a chin guard, and there may be softer material behind it here too, for extra protection. Most of our zippers come with pull, which makes it easier to unzip your jacket with your gloves on.

CHICA jacket | PAISLEY 20 beanie

Why vents on your jacket?

Most of our jackets have zippers under the arms; these are called vents. They allow hot air to escape from the jacket and cool air to get in. So it’s like built-in air conditioning. You won’t have to unzip at the front, which often leads to undercooling and lots of jacket-flapping while on the move. Our vents are mesh lined, allowing for breathability.

Why cuffs and thumb loops?

Your adventure outfit should be wind and chill resistant. Points of weakness are where clothing pieces meet like between the gloves and the cuffs of the sleeves. Our answer to this is an internal stretchy lycra cuff inside the sleeve of the jacket, sometimes with a loop for the thumb to help it stay put. These extra sleeves can be stretched over the gloves or worn under the gloves using the thumb loop. Nice touch. On the outside of the cuffs there is often an adjustable velcro strap which helps to get a close fit and helps keep the cold and snow out.

BLACKBIRD jacket | HIKER 20 beanie

Why pockets?

You’ll find that our ski and snowboard jackets have an array of useful item-specific pockets. Think about what you need to take with you when you’re out there on the slopes. Most jackets will have zippered side pockets and a secure pocket for valuable cards or cash. There’s a handy lift pass pocket on the left arm so it’s on the side of the sensors at the lift gates. Some jackets have a special large pocket for your goggles (and sometimes there’s a goggle cleaner in there) or maybe also a phone pocket with easy access for your headphone cables. Nearly all of our ski and snowboard jackets have easy headphone access, helpful for when you want to set your action to music.

What to wear under your ski or snowboard jacket?

To get the most out of your winter adventure, you need to stay warm. Obviously your body is going to be doing some of the work, as your activity will heat you up. The rest you can do by wearing layers under your jacket. The outside temperature will determine just how many layers you need. You can divide your layers up into base layers and mid layers and these are often interchangeable. Remember the base layer’s primary function is moisture-wicking while the mid layer needs to be warm.

Base layers
The base layer is a super important part of your ski and snowboard outfit. Your base layer needs to be great moisture managers as well as bringing some warmth and comfort. Our thermals have great stretch so that you can do all those crazy moves totally unrestricted. For men we have the Ken thermal top and for women, we have the Stacie thermal top.

For the women we also have a whole new range of fabulous thermal ‘underwear’ in a range of amazing prints. These base layers are made for hard work bringing you that essential first layer of insulation, but are also well suited to lounging around on a chill-out day. Extra features bring more functionality like a high neck or longer length. Check out our Trish and our Wanda thermal top. Remember if you really feel the cold, you could double up on your base layer.

TRISH thermal top | HEATHER thermal trousers | REBEL beanie

Mid layers
Worn on top of your base layer, your mid layer is your defence shield against the cold. So the main task of this layer is to keep you warm. There should also be some stretch in the fabric so that your movements are unrestricted. It’s important that this layer is moisture wicking and breathable so that you stay comfortable. Just like with the base layer, the mid layer will be more effective if it’s fitted so that cold air doesn’t get in between your layers. Most of our mid layers have high necks for added protection from the elements. We have many options to choose from for men, women, boys, girls and toddlers.

Fleeces are multi-taskers. Many of our fleeces can function as both a base layer or a mid layer. Fleece is an excellent moisture manager as it is really good at moving the moisture away from the body, through the fabric and spread it across the fleece for evaporation. Our fleeces are moisture-wicking, breathable and warm. Check out what we’ve got to offer for men, women, boys and girls.

Why does colour, cut and print on a jacket matter?

Colour is a game-changer. Colour can take the same jacket from conservative to awesome. So what are you after? A bright colour will help you stand out on the slopes and it looks great against a white powder backdrop. Another advantage of a bright colour is that your friends will always be able to spot you wherever you are in your winter paradise. Bright colours are also contrasted and combined in the same jacket like our Ultra for men or our Kelis for women. On the other side, a subtler colour is easier to match with other items in your wardrobe and face it, won’t go out of fashion too quickly.

ULTRA jacket | BACKFLIP jacket

Ultra Ski jacket Purple
Price 189.99
Color: Eggplant
Ultra Ski jacket Brown
Price 189.99
Color: Beige
Kelis Ski jacket Blue
Price 179.99
Color: Space Blue
Kelis Ski jacket Green
Price 179.99
Color: Swamped

Here at Protest, we love to fuse street edge with functional ski wear. This season, we have been inspired by the coach jacket. Our designers have created the men’s PVRE Green Austin ski and snowboard jacket. This piece of outerwear is made from recycled polyester, has 10K water resistance and is PFC-free.

Another shape that will be hitting the slopes this winter is the anorak. It’s a design that actually comes from the workwear of the polar regions so it made perfect sense to use it in our technical collection. Have a look at the softshell Benz for men and the Gaby functional anorak for women. For the boys we have the Dylan JR and the girls have the Cloud JR.

Another great way of bringing some fun to your winter wardrobe is by using print. Protest is known for bringing street looks to the slopes so you’ll find fantastic on-trend prints on our jackets. For men, check out our camouflaged Rambo. For women, there are many tremendous print designs to choose from. We have the plaid-printed Baja jacket and the fantastic chains on the Dallas ski and snowboard jacket.

A Protest collection would not be complete without an awesome animal skin and this season, we have the beautiful Aiko, which combines two leopard skin prints in one jacket. The girls’ collection has an exotic floral print on the Dance JR while the boys can take on the slopes in the graffiti-inspired Husky JR.

AIKO jacket | ALANA trousers | FINGEST ski gloves | PAISLEY 20 beanie


Well done, you’ve just completed your crash course in everything you need to know about finding the best ski or snowboard jackets. We’ve covered water resistance, breathability, seams, fit length, size, pockets, ventilation zippers, hoods, layering and more. We hope that all this info has helped you on your search for the best ski or snowboard jacket for you. Anything unclear, feel free to mail us your questions at We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.