When you’re out for the day on the slopes, you need your clothing to keep you warm and dry so you can give full attention to the real task at hand: shredding the gnar. Mountain weather is variable and often unpredictable, and it’s essential to have a technical jacket that can withstand extreme conditions. You could head out to the mountain in your regular winter jacket, but we’re willing to bet that if you did, you’d be heading off to the lodge to dry off before you know it. Snowboarding jackets made using GORE-TEX product technology, however, are head and shoulders above the rest. Not only are they guaranteed waterproof — shedding both rain and snow — but the double- and-triple layer fabric also allows moisture from inside to be released. This is the sweaty snowboarder’s saving grace: the jacket will stay dry and warm, even as you perspire. Snowboarding-specific jackets have important features like down or nylon lining for added warmth; snow skirts at the waist, neck, and arms to keep snow out; a helmet-compatible hood; and pockets perfect for media devices and ski resort passes. It’s worth investing in the right jacket so the only thing you’ll have to worry about is how hard and fast you can fly down the mountain! Here’s a list of this season’s favorites:
A 2018 Powder Magazine Skier’s Choice award winner, the PowSlayer is the best winter sport performance jacket that Patagonia has to offer. And although Powder Magazine may be a ski publication, this jacket is perfect for snowboarding too. The light and packable shell is made with 100 percent recycled nylon ripstop GORE-TEX Pro Shell, offering maximum breathability and stretch. Additionally, pit zips allow for easy heat ventilation, while an adjustable powder skirt tightens to keep snow out of your jacket, and the adjustable, helmet-compatible hood is made with a visor to protect your face. Furthermore, the PowSlayer sports all the convenient details: chest pockets, a media pocket and cord routing, pockets for handwarmers, an arm ski pass pocket, as well as internal stash pockets – all with slim, waterproof zippers. And one huge bonus feature: if you plan to go off piste, this jacket has got you covered. An embedded RECCO avalanche rescue reflector sends out a search signal to backcountry rescuers – not a replacement for an avalanche beacon, but a nice built-in backup.
The Sidewinder Jacket has been an iconic Arc’teryx staple for almost a decade. Every detail of this jacket oozes Arc’teryx’s high-quality, thoughtful construction. A ruggedly durable shell features three layers of GORE-TEX fabric, making the Sidewinder waterproof, windproof, and breathable – and taped seams and waterproof zippers seal it all in. This jacket is fine-tuned for comfort, with a front zipper that leads away from your chin, pit zips for easy venting, and draw cords that pull tight with one hand. More, the hood is helmet-compatible with a laminated brim, and the bottom of the jacket has a powder skirt that snaps onto Arc’teryx pants. Weighing in at only 585 grams, the Sidewinder won’t slow you down with added bulk, but is still roomy enough that you’ll have the freedom to choose condition-specific layers for the day. If you lean more toward outdoor chic than snowboard chic and you’ve got the cash, it’s hard to beat the quality and rugged construction of the Arc’teryx Sidewinder.
The Arc’teryx Ravenna Jacket is every lady ripper’s solution for an active day in the snow, with the perfect mix of weatherproof fabric and flexibility that offers freedom of movement. This sleek and flattering jacket boasts N70s-4 3L GORE-TEX fabric — windproof, waterproof, and breathable — and allows four-way movement and stretch. Taped seams and bombproof Arc’teryx water-repellent treatment adds durability, while a front zipper with a chin guard and wind flap keep the wind and snow out. You’ll be able to regulate temperature no matter what the conditions: side zippers open and close for maximum all-day comfort, the helmet-compatible hood is removable for spring days on the slopes, and an insulated collar is perfect for chilly days. All in all, the Ravenna is a perfect snowboarding-specific jacket, sporting a snow skirt, a lower sleeve pocket for your ski pass, and an internal pocket for your phone and headphones. Like the Sidewinder above, it’s more functional than fashionable (depending on your fashion standards, of course), and one of the best winter shells money can buy.
Whether you’re shredding down the slopes on a cold, windy day, or you’re prone to getting cold on the chairlift, you’ll be psyched to wear the Burton 2L LZ – the ultimate cold-weather snowboarding jacket. Filled with lightweight, warm 900-fill goose down, this jacket is warmer than any other snowboarding jacket we know of, and the lightweight, lofty down doesn’t sacrifice ease of movement. More, all of this down is wrapped in GORE-TEX ripstop waterproof and breathable 2L fabric. Burton has spared no details in comfort or convenience either: A snow skirt on the bottom of the jacket keeps the cold stuff out, and gaskets around the neck and sleeves provide added snow-proofing. The snowboard-specific hood is attached low on the collar, can be worn with or without a helmet, and is shaped for careening down the hill sideways on your board. Similar to most other jackets here, the zippers are water-resistant, and there’s an interior media stash pocket that you can access without having to unzip the entire jacket.
Dakine’s Control Jacket is a stylish shell that will keep you dry and warm even in the harshest of winter conditions. With 2L GORE-TEX fabric and water-resistant zippers, as well as a removable powder skirt and wrist gaiters, you’ll shed rain and snow and stay dry all day. The interior of the jacket is lined with a bamboo charcoal and polyester quick-dry fabric that will keep you dry from the inside, while reducing those pesky odors. Mesh-lined pit zips and a collar venting system also help out when things heat up. Perfect for the avid snowboarder, this jacket has spared no details, with a goggle wipe and mesh goggle pocket, an inner zip storage pocket, and stylish chest and waist pockets perfect for stashing extra gloves or a snack.
It’s no surprise that the Silcox Jacket won Powder Magazine Skier’s Choice Award for 2018. This jacket is the perfect balance of performance and style, with 2L GORE-TEX fabric for optimal waterproofing and breathability, waterproof zippers, and a stretch powder skirt to keep out snow. And the Silcox won’t just keep you dry: brushed tricot lining with PrimaLoft insulation will make sure you’re warm and cozy inside that waterproof shell. More, the unique design has a longer drop tail to provide protection where you want it – ideal for insulating your rear as you sit on cold chairlifts. The long, trim fit with a cinch waist adds more style than your typical snowboard jacket, and details like playful stitching on the cuffs and pockets keep the flair coming. Wrist gaiters and a 2-way adjustable hood add comfort and weather protection, and pit zips help you cool off when you’re working hard. And like the others, the Dakine Silcox has a media chest pocket, stylish waist pockets, and an arm pocket for your ski pass.
Taking home the Freeskier Editor’s Pick for Jacket of the Year in 2017, the Spellbound is Oakley’s one GORE-TEX brand option for women, and it’s a good one. And the Spellbound is not just waterproof, windproof, and breathable – it is insulated too. Packed inside the two-layer GORE-TEX shell is Oakley’s proprietary BioZone Thinsulate insulation, making this a superb jacket for wintry days on the slopes, or everyday comfort on the chairlift. The Spellbound also includes a dedicated fleece-lined pocket with lens cloth to keep your goggles safe and sound, multiple other pockets for media devices, a fully adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, wrist cuffs with gussets, and a cinch hem to keep all the heat locked in.