Picking the right jacket for your skiing and snowboarding adventures can be a tough choice. You need something that will keep you warm and dry on the slopes throughout the day, no matter how much it snows; you need something that can be layered up or down, depending on temperatures; and you need something that’s great quality to last longer than just one ski holiday.

Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect ski or snowboard jacket for you, no matter your personal style or tastes.

 

Not all jackets are created equal

We’ll let you in on a little secret: there is a difference between a ski and a snowboard jacket, although it’s pretty minor. Snowboard jackets tend to be loose and long to allow for more coverage, mostly for when snowboarders are sitting on the snow to do up their bindings or adjust their boots; ski jackets require a little less movement and so are usually more fitted.

That is really where the differences end. Both are designed to keep you protected from the elements and comfortable, so don’t feel as though you need to choose a jacket that matches your discipline – stick to whichever jacket suits you best. 

It’s not just about the colour…

 …Although it’s worth keeping in mind that brighter colours are easier to spot on the slopes, especially on those cloudy or crowded days when it’s hard to see your loved ones! 

 Jackets now come in all kinds of shapes and styles, especially with brands such as Burton closely following the trends each year to release ski gear that comes in the latest colours and prints, and all in a range of sizes.   

Choose the right fit

The team at For Outdoors can help you choose your perfect jacket fit. However, it’s worth remembering that you’ll need to wear multiple layers under your jacket, depending on temperatures. 

On colder days, you might need multiple base thermal layers along with a fleece and a down vest; on warmer spring skiing days, you might be okay with just a thermal layer under your jacket. It’s best to find a jacket that allows you to layer up or down, as conditions might even shift significantly within one day. It is the mountains, after all! 

If you’ve fallen in love with a particular jacket and it fits you perfectly, all you need to do next is double-check to make sure that the waterproofing is right.

Breathability & waterproofing

A jacket might look great but without the right ratings, it won’t last a day on the mountain. It’s best to opt for a garment with a minimum waterproof rating of 10,000mm, especially if you’re going skiing in Japan, where you’ll see plenty of heavy snowfall along with some bluebird days. A 20,000+ waterproof rating is best, and will even keep you warm and dry if it should start to rain while you’re out skiing and snowboarding (although we’ll keep all our fingers crossed that it stays snowy for you).


You’ll also need to go for a jacket with some breathability, because skiing and snowboarding can involve a bit of exercise – and if you sweat, you want that water vapour going out of your jacket rather than being trapped inside. If you overheat easily or plan to do any hiking to get the really good turns in, check out jackets in the 15,000 to 20,000 range.

 

Those little extras

Keep an eye out for all the little accessories that might make skiing or snowboarding that little bit easier. A lot of jackets now have pass pockets incorporated on the arm, which makes it really easy to scan your ski pass at the lift gates.

You might also like to look out for a powder skirt, which will keep the snow out of your pants if you fall over; a detachable hood that will fit over a helmet; and plenty of pockets, for storing lip balms, glove liners, a goggle lens wipe, tissues and maybe even a snack or two.  

Tired of lugging your snowboard gear and apparel to your next snowboard trip, but still want to ensure that you look good on the slopes? Take advantage of the For Outdoors Direct to Resort service – simply be fitted for your gear at FOD’s showroom by a FOD specialist, and we’ll get it delivered to any resort in Japan for you, ready o your holiday to commence.