Quality Women's Ski Jacket
January 5, 2014 6:10 AM   Subscribe

So Mr. Kitty and I stole away to Vermont last week for an impromptu ski trip during the amazing snow storm. I now have the bug for skiing and would like to get a quality ski jacket.

I am a beginning skier and wiped out in spectacular fashion on the slopes - so much so that I ripped the seams of my (admittedly poor quality) ski jacket.

I would like some pattern/color instead of a solid pattern and would like to spend $100-$150 on a soft shell jacket. I will pay more for outstanding quality.

I need a ski jacket that will stand up against the -22 degree weather we had at the top of Killington and that will be decently water proof, as I am still beginning and fall on occasion (although I made it all the way down the mountain a few times without taking a tumble!)

So MeFite skiers - what is the best ski jacket for the cost?
posted by Suffocating Kitty to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For that kind if environment I personally recommend a layered approach over a straight down jacket. I also recommend this in case you ever go skiing outside of uber windy New England. (Damn near died of heat stroke when I dressed for skiing in Germany like I was headed to northern Vermont) So you have two options. One is to buy separate layers -- I have a North Face waterproof, wind proof ski shell for the outside and a separate North Face (yeah I'm a yuppie shut up) soft shell under it. That does me good in all subzero windy conditions I've attempted so far, and one or the other is perfectly sufficient with normal base layers for warmer temps. I think each of those cost on the order of $150; I got a better deal on the softshell buying a season-specific color in mid-January.

The other option is to get a pre-layered jacket that is all zipped into itself. There's often a fleece or down soft shell layer there. I think I would have gone that route at first if I'd been able to afford it instead of having to spread out my purchases over years. The friends who use that style coat love them and I am usually jealous. It is much more expensive, but you get a lot of functionality for the money and they are toasty, toasty warm.

But if you want to go a little more left field and you specifically want a cool pattern, what you're looking for are snowboarding jackets. They're always a lot spiffier than ski jackets. They're sometimes cut a little differently, but they still do the job. (And are uber waterproof and some may still have the zip in layer thing going on)
posted by olinerd at 6:21 AM on January 5, 2014

I've skipped the shell and layer system for the last few years in favor of a vented but fully insulated Helly Hansen coat, paired with- here is the key part- womens overall, bib style snow pants, also insulated, also with side vents in case it gets too warm. Such snowpants are hard to come by, but damn are they worth not having exposure at your waist level when you take a tumble. For men get are a bit easier to find.

I make these recommendations after three years of living in Killigton and trying many systems of outerwear. These recommendations would differ slightly if you plan on skiing through April/May, when you will want thin, waterproofed but in insulated ski pants and a t shirt.
posted by slateyness at 7:11 AM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

EMS, REi and Backcountry.com are all having sales right now. They all have house brands as well, that perform just as well as fancy name brand stuff. (And amazing warantees...) The tricky bit about ski jackets is that different brands are cut diffrerently, so what fits me as a tall person may not be a good recommend for you.

If you are anywhere near woodbury commons (along the NYstate Thruway at Harrison I think), there's a northface store there where i've gotten my shell+ puffy for 75$ total.

I also recommend looking at snowboarding jackets, burton is a solid brand. Also a good thing too note is that if your snowpants and jacket are the same brand, often they will "integrate" into a giant snowproof system via strategically placed zipper or button or snaps. This is a good thing. I think this comes standard on all burton gear, not sure about other brands. (Very high end ski stuff will as well)

+1 on the bib with your snowpants, BUT, womens clothes tend to not have them since it means you need to take off too many layers to pee. Fancy snowpants have them set up so that the bib will zip off.
posted by larthegreat at 7:21 AM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought an Eddie Bauer Anorak (men's) about 20 years ago and it's STILL as pretty today as it was then. Technology has improved and now they have This Jacket, and I'd recommend them in a heartbeat. Anything they sell is WELL worth the price.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:34 AM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Now is a good time to buy, given that it's the sales season. Something like this would be good (this store is Canadian, but REI should have something similar).
posted by arcticseal at 3:03 PM on January 5, 2014

Seconding Eddie Bauer, they really have moved mainstream into the outdoor stuff - 900 fill power down and 1st class shells as above, and there are lots of stores to check out.

Sierratradingpost and Campmor have great sales, and they usually seem totally overloaded with excess women's winter-wear. I rely heavily on the reviews which seem to be accurate and real.
posted by buzzman at 5:06 AM on January 6, 2014

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