Last week we offered up our 2020 buyer’s guide for skis and boots. Today: outerwear, or soft goods. Choosing the right jacket and pants to wear while skiing can be daunting. There are tons of brands producing a variety of products for many different conditions. Shells for backcountry, insulated for resort life, one-pieces for overall warmth – the list goes on.
All of this matters a lot but so too does how it looks, fits and feels while you’re out on the snow. Taking all of this into consideration, here are a few suggestions to help keep you protected from the elements.
Why should you trust us? We’ve spent time at shows and on the slopes, learning about and testing these products. As you plan your shopping list, you might find in our recommendations new brands or products you’ll love – if nothing else, we’ve provided some food for thought to help you think through what types of materials or weight to look for.
For the High-End Powder Seeker
Spyder Hokkaido GTX Jacket | $800
When a jacket is named after the powder capital of the world, the bar is set very high. It’s a good thing for Spyder because their new Hokkaido jacket delivers in the white room and beyond. The insulation is key. It’s not bulky so you don’t feel like you are wearing a puffer and it moves with you thanks to its four-way stretch Gore Tex and stretch interior. The Hokkaido also happens to shed snow and cold temps like a boss so you’ll be good to go in the most extreme conditions.
Spyder Bormio GTX Pant | $449
Part of Spyder’s Gold Level Line, the Bormio works really well with the Hokkaido. Four-way stretch will allow the pant to move right along with you. It’s pow pow fabric sheds snow with ease while its not-overly-bulky insulation will keep you warm all day long.
For the Backcountry Addict
The Raymer collection is perfect for backcountry shredders and inbounds minimalists alike. Hands down one of the lightest shell jackets and pants collection on the market, you can easily forget that you are wearing either of them. Their light weight lends well to skinning in the backcountry where the Raymer’s breathability also really comes into play preventing even the hardest of workers from sweating profusely. The Raymer is also durable and highly waterproof which will certainly come in handy during periods of heavy snow. Overall, the Raymer collection is a well-fitting shell kit for both men and women looking to shred the backcountry or carve groomers on a warmer winter day.
For the Minimalist Who Prefers One Piece
686 GLCR Hydra Coverall | $359.95
Onesies are back in a big way and if you have the personality to rock one, rock the 686 Hydra Coverall. Cover your body head to toe, without any separation, for the ultimate warmth. If you get too hot, just undo some of those zippers to let a little fresh air in. The Hydra is rugged and durable with a fully taped shell design so the elements, especially the snow, don’t seep in.
For The Fashionably Functional Freeskier
As far as fashion-meets-function in the free ski world, Helly has nailed it with the Straightline jacket and women’s equivalent, Whitewall jacket. The waterproof corduroy gives this jacket a never-before-seen look that is straight up mint. But what is most impressive is how it fits like a regular shell jacket while still providing HH’s synthetic lifaloft insulation. This will ultimately leave you looking good while remaining very warm and well protected from the elements.
There is no better pant to pair with the Straightline Jacket than Helly’s iconic Garibaldi pant. A freeride pant, it’s non-restrictive design moves with you as you climb to seek sick lines. Comfort aside, the Garibaldi keeps you highly protected from the elements. Water beads up on the outer shell like sweat on your forehead, ensuring that you stay dry. Even though these pants aren’t insulated, their lining keeps you surprisingly warm on especially cold days.
Complete your kit by matching the Whitewall with this sweet new version of Helly Hansen’s bib pant. Offered now in full waterproof corduroy, these pants extend far beyond looks. It has pockets for days, protecting all of your backcountry needs, and the adjustable straps customize the fit to perfection. Especially useful is the zipper that extends from waist to knee, eliminating any bathroom pant issues that you may have.
The new Quantum has been reinvented to give you the best of both worlds. A hard outer shell delivers extreme durability and a burlier look, but not to the extent that it becomes too restricting. You’ll still be able to move with ease as you tour the backcountry, taking full advantage of its surprising breathability and outstanding weather protection.
Flylow Chemical Pant | $360
One of Flylow’s signature products, the Chemical Pant delivers on durability and style. With a fashion-forward look, they are a bit less baggy than other pants in this category. Their sturdiness is unrivaled, keeping out the nastiest of weather conditions and only adding to the longevity of this amazing pant.