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Best Women's Ski Jackets Ella Boyd Hiking

Arc’teryx’s Sentinel Relaxed Jacket brings Arc’teryx quality and a freeride fit. Photo: Chase Boyd/The Inertia


The Inertia

The ski outerwear market is saturated. You know it, and we know it. But the reality is you really only need one – maybe two – ski jackets to get you through a season (and hopefully many more). With that in mind, we considered factors ranging from durability and waterproofing to breathability and weight in our search for the best women’s ski jackets of 2024. Functions and features were, of course, strong considerations as well. And we certainly didn’t neglect style, cut, and fit. If you’re gonna shred hard, it’s worth looking good, too.

This 23/24 season, we did the research and got our hands on more than a dozen different jackets to put to the test. And this season certainly did just that – from storm days to bluebird days, in the rain, dense “Sierra Cement,” and blower powder, we tested these jackets in all of the variable conditions that this season had to offer.

The jackets we included in this list not only survived, but did so with the functionality to keep us dry, warm (but not sweaty), and looking stylish until the last bell. Read on for our top-picks, and for more information, check out our Comparison Table, and Buyer’s Guide. To complete the look, check out our guide to The Best Women’s Ski Bibs. For men, check out our guide to The Best Ski Jackets.

The Best Women’s Ski Jackets of 2024

Best Women’s Resort Skiing Shell Jacket: Arc’teryx Sentinel Relaxed

Best Women’s Backcountry Ski Jacket: Black Diamond Women’s Recon LT

Best Women’s Budget Ski Jacket: Mountain Hardwear Women’s Firefall/2

Best Women’s Resort/Backcountry Jacket: Rab Women’s Khroma Latok

Best Women’s Insulated Ski Jacket: Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0


 Best Women’s Resort Skiing Shell Jacket

Arc’teryx Sentinel Relaxed Jacket Women’s ($750)

Sentinel Relaxed Jacket Women's

Weight: 655 g / 1 lb 7.1 oz
Fit: Relaxed, size as normal but expect a roomier fit (Arc’teryx also offers a regular-fit version).

Pros: Comfortable, stylish, durable, holds up in all conditions
Cons: Limited color selection, may not be ideal for backcountry skiing as it does have more material than the average ski jacket

The Sentinel Relaxed jacket from Arc’teryx brings everything to the table that we know and love about Arc’teryx, with the benefit of a freeride-style cut (read: roomier, comfier, and a little more stylish in today’s world). 

The fabric feels luxurious, maintaining durability without feeling stiff thanks to a brushed interior backer. On the technical side, the 3L GORE-TEX fabric ensures wind protection and dryness on even the stormiest of days. The hood actually fits well over a ski helmet, and the pockets are large enough to fit most things you could need for a day of skiing at the resort. 

With ample layering space thanks to the roomy cut, stick a thin puffy underneath for bell-to-bell warmth in the winter, and when spring comes around, pair this jacket with a baselayer, and unzip the armpit vents for breathability and comfort all day long. For the backcountry, this jacket is surprisingly light, even when compared to dedicated backcountry shells, making it a decent option for occasional journeys outside of the resort. However, that brushed interior lining will add a bit of warmth, worth considering for the uphill. 

The color options, while only offered in Yukon and Black, are gorgeous neutral shades (not to mention unisex, a positive in our tester’s book), and pair well with just about any bib you already have in your closet.

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Best Backcountry Women’s Ski Jacket

Black Diamond Women’s Recon LT Shell ($400)

Black Diamond Women's Recon LT Shell Jacket

Weight: 427 g / 15 oz
Fit: Regular

Pros: Incredibly lightweight and breathable, soft/stretchy, fun colors
Cons: Lacks pockets/features 

Most things Black Diamond makes have a preference for the backcountry. The Recon LT Shell Jacket takes that preference to the extreme, shedding tons of weight without compromising waterproofing or windproofing. The four-way stretch material is exceedingly comfortable, and allows for completely unrestricted movement, something surprisingly hard to find in a true shell jacket.

The pit zips are large and allow for plenty of ventilation if the lightweight and breathable material isn’t enough for your exertions on the uphill. Underneath, there is enough room to layer, although this jacket is slightly more fitted than the other jacket we tested from Black Diamond, the slightly heavier and more feature oriented Recon Stretch Shell.

That being said, the features are not lacking on this backcountry shell, especially when considering most skiers wear a backpack when venturing off-piste. A helmet-compatible hood, adjustable drawcord hem, zippered pack-compatible hand pockets, adjustable velcro cuffs, and a zippered pass pocket are all packed into this lightweight shell. 

Because this jacket is designed for the backcountry, it would not be our first choice for in-bounds skiing. While it is fully-featured, it lacks interior pockets, and the two large hand pockets + small upper-arm pass pocket provide enough room for essentials if you’re carrying a backpack, but don’t provide the level of organization we’ve come to expect in a resort-skiing shell. Additionally, it may not be the best option for intensely cold or stormy chairlift-accessed skiing due to the breathability. And while it is fairly durable, especially for such a lightweight jacket, it’s not up to the same standards of toughness as a true resort shell.

As noted, though, it is not marketed for that, and this in no way a strike against this jacket. If your primary concern is low weight, combined with top-tier waterproofing, windproofing, and breathability for alpine touring, this is the jacket for you. 

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Best Budget Women’s Ski Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Firefall/2 Insulated Jacket ($289)

Mountain Hardware Women’s Firefall/2 Insulated Jacket

Weight: 950 g / 2 lb 1.5 oz 
Fit: Standard

Pros: Great price, comfortable fit, venting system, adjustable hood
Cons: pockets could be deeper, insulated (resort specific), color options

With a comfortable fit, breathable shell fabric, insulation for simplified in-bounds skiing, a helmet-compatible hood with a drawcord, zip vents, pockets galore, and even a powder skirt with pant integration, at $289, the Firefall/2 is a steal for those who ski strictly lift-accessible terrain and want a do-it-all jacket without shelling out the big bucks.

The only aspects of this jacket that could be improved on are the features and color options. The pockets, while definitely providing enough storage to get through a full day of skiing, would be even better with deeper inner pockets. In terms of style, some of the colors/patterns offered are a bit odd, though our tester noted the Berry Glow and Dark Pine colorways as fairly stylish, and it is offered in a classic black, as well. But again, it’s a durable, capable jacket, and for under $300, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better. 

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Best Resort/Backcountry Ski Jacket

Rab Women’s Khroma Latok GORE-TEX Pro Jacket ($680)

Rab Women's Khroma Latok GORE-TEX Pro Jacket

Weight: 546 g /1 lb 3.2 oz
Fit: Fitted, with room to layer

Pros: Attention to detail, durability, 3L GORE-TEX Pro 28,000mm waterproofing/windproofing, partially recycled materials
Cons: Color choice

The Khroma Latok Jacket, without question, rose to the top of the list out of every jacket we tried. Lightweight enough to tour with, yet still extremely durable and more than wind/waterproof enough for any big day in serious conditions, this is the jacket we would trust no matter what the day brings. Somehow, it looks good, too. 

The functionality is of the highest standard: every single aspect of this jacket has been engineered for the hardcore skier. For example, the zippers are extra-large to make opening and closing the front a breeze, even with thick mittens on.

While this jacket is designed for the backcountry, it is more than capable of handling anything skiing in-bounds throws your way: blower pow, rain, sleet, high winds, or a bluebird spring-ski day. With two weights of GORE-TEX Pro Most Breathable to balance protection, weight, and breathability, the jacket is flexible, durable, and breathable, a rare combination. With heavier duty fabric across the shoulders and outer sleeves, the jacket can withstand almost all scrapes and falls. The lighter-weight fabric around the core allows for a lower overall weight and bulk, greater mobility, and improved breathability. 

The length is perfect as well: not too short, and not so long it looks strange or impedes movement. Powder is no match for getting inside this jacket, and we tested it out on some proper powder days (4 feet coming down in one day, to be exact). The features are also impeccably designed: inner and outer pockets accessible even with a backpack on, a two-way adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, and a stretch Matrix powder skirt you won’t notice unless you need it. 

The only aspect of this jacket we could find fault with was the limited color selection, but even that is a stretch, as the colors offered are not offensive in the slightest: the choice between deep maroon, muted green, slate grey, and bright blue should have something for most, but the absence of black or tan is odd, considering this jacket could easily be a staple for any dedicated skier. 

Complete with a 100% recycled face fabric, the Khroma Latok Jacket leaves nothing to be desired, and allows you to focus on the parts of skiing that should require your attention, like avalanche safety, reading the conditions, and choosing lines in and out-of-bounds. 

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Best Women’s Insulated Ski Jacket

Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 Jacket ($450)

Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 Durable Jacket

Weight: 1100 g / 2 lbs 6.8 oz
Fit: Average

Pros: Insulated, durable, ample pockets, helmet-compatible neon hood
Cons: Not as breathable as a shell jacket

This jacket surprised us away with its durability. Bell to bell powder skiing in Sierra Cement? No problem. Fall down a chocolate-chip-studded chute and come out without so much as a rip in your coat? Check. If you’re looking for an insulated jacket that will survive cold temperatures, powder, and long days at the resort, this jacket is right up your alley. 

What it lacks a bit in style it makes up for in functionality and fit. For an insulated jacket (which often looks frumpy as opposed to shells with separate underlayers), the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 has to be the best looking one on the mountain. 

There’s a reason Ski Patrol often chooses Helly Hansen for their uniforms: the durability and warmth of this thing is no joke. With nothing but a baselayer on underneath, our tester wasn’t the least bit concerned about getting cold in the coldest of temps on offer (given, it’s the West Coast). Truthfully, she was a little worried about overheating, but the breathability was a lot better than comparable insulated jackets, and the seam-sealed, waterproof outerlayer was worth it on deep days. Her notes read, “I stayed out for 8 hours in a blizzard without issue. Did not need to layer. Got a little sweaty but never hot or cold.” 

With tons of pockets (including a ski pass pocket), a powder skirt, helmet compatible hood (with the classic HH neon flare), elastic cuffs with thumbholes, and Recco technology, this jacket is an obvious choice when you’re switching your goggles out for a storm lens and it’s coming down hard out there. 

The main downside of this jacket is the reduced breathability due to the insulated construction, which also makes this jacket less versatile than a shell jacket. The color choices are surprisingly pretty, with muted greens and purples to choose from, but weirdly, there is no black option at this time. 

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Best of the Rest

Runner-Up Best Resort Shell Jacket

TREW Gear Stella Jacket PRIMO ($480)

TREW Stella Jacket PRIMO

Weight: 814 g / 1 lb 12.7 oz
Fit: Relaxed/freeride (but not as relaxed as other freeride styles)

Pros: The breathability of a shell with the durability of a resort-specific jacket, great color options
Cons: Material is a little stiff, combined with the more fitted sizing, can be a different experience from a typical freeride jacket, pockets can be slightly difficult to access due to stormproofing flaps

The Stella Jacket is a tried-and-true member of Trew’s collection, and for good reason. It is durable, capable, and comes in colors to die for. The Stella Jacket puts function and style on equal footing for the female skier who is interested in skiing bell to bell at the resort.

The material is fully recycled, always a plus in our book, and the features and weatherproofing are top-tier. If getting the most hours possible at the resort is your goal, this may be the jacket for you. Our tester enjoyed the large pockets, meaning you can save some weight by ditching the backpack. GoPros, sandwiches, and more disappear easily into the roomy pocket design. Plus, this jacket is rated to be 20k waterproof and breathable, so our tester found the elements to never pose problems, no matter the weather. Even better, the seams are fully-taped.

While the material is slightly stiffer than some other jackets we tested, this is understandable, given the shell is designed for in-bounds skiing. That said, the pit vents also mean this jacket could, in a pinch, be used for touring if you really refused to buy a backcountry specific jacket, and it goes without saying that this thing is spring-skiing ready. 

The features leave little to be desired: a removable powder skirt, adjustable velcro wrist cuffs, a helmet-compatible hood, and RECCO reflector all add to confidence no matter where you’re skiing. Bonus points to TREW for offering a variety of color options, all the way from hyper-feminine pastel purple to burnt orange (our tester’s favorite) to classic black. 

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Runner-Up Best Insulated Jacket

Flylow Charlie Coat ($599)

Flylow Charlie Coat

Weight: Not listed
Fit: Regular

Pros: Down insulation, color options, weather resistant, durable
Cons: Fit

Flylow’s Charlie Coat brings the heat, packing 700-fill down insulation into a top-tier waterproof/breathable shell. This jacket is on the snug size, so definitely size up if you are in-between sizes. Our tester found this jacket to be slightly more fitted than other similarly-marketed jackets. Keep in mind, she does prefer relaxed fit jackets, but  between all of the jackets our tester wore, this was definitely on the slimmer side, with only a bit more room than the Ortovox Guardian jacket. 

That being said, Flylow Charlie Coat comes in some gorgeous color options, is extremely stretchy and soft for an insulated jacket, and would be a great option on a colder storm day. The seams are fully sealed as well, meaning you can feel confident about staying dry even if you stay out until last chair. 

The 700-fill down insulation is also surprisingly breathable, a huge plus for those who will still work up a sweat in the coldest of conditions. While it is only rated at 10k for breathability, with insulated jackets, breathability typically is not the number one concern. Our tester found this jacket to be breathable enough on all skiing days below freezing. Another bonus are the larger-than-normal underarm zips, providing solid venting if it is a warmer day or you’re bootpacking somewhere. 

With a removable powder skirt, internal and external pockets, and an adjustable hood, this jacket has everything you could need for a day of cold or stormy skiing inbounds. 

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Runner-Up Best Resort/Backcountry Ski Jacket

Black Diamond Women’s Recon Stretch ($450)

Black Diamond Women’s Recon Stretch Shell

Weight: 667 g / 1 lb 7 oz
Fit: Normal, room to layer but still reasonably fitted

Pros: Lightweight, extremely durable, designed for optimal functionality in all conditions
Cons: Lacks inside zip-able chest pocket, zipper slightly harder to zip than others due to waterproofing

Black Diamond blew us away with the Recon Stretch Shell jacket. With seamless comfort, impressive breathability, windproofing, and durability made to last (with a practical lifetime warranty, to boot), although the color options leave a little to be desired, this is true ski outerwear performance at its finest. The price point, at a reasonable $450, seals the deal.

While this jacket is marketed as a hybrid, it is actually lighter than many backcountry-specific shells of the same variety. Even better, it somehow retains body heat better than similar-weighted shells, meaning less packing of unnecessary layers for all but the coldest days.

The Recon Stretch Shell combines a durable 4-way stretch fabric (it really is noticeable, think Lululemon NuLux fabric versus regular cotton leggings to work out in) with their waterproof/ breathable solution, BD.dry for a jacket that is designed to be capable for a full day of skiing in or out-of-bounds. 

Our tester noted how intuitive the temperature regulation was while wearing this jacket. She did multiple bootpacks at Palisades Tahoe, descended icy chutes, ripped moguls until her quads were sore, and cruised around with friends on the groomers, sat for significant periods of time without moving, and never felt too hot or too cold. 

The only area this jacket could improve on was in regards to the features. While this jacket has all the pockets you could need, including a chest pocket and two mesh internal drop pockets in addition to the standard side pockets, our tester (and many skiers) prefer to store phones inside the shell near their chest, where some jackets offer a final, zip-able interior pocket. While not a deal breaker, it would be a nice improvement to see in the future. We also found the zipper to be a bit harder to zip and unzip than other jackets we tested. 

Ending on a high note, the jacket’s powder skirt and ski-helmet compatible hood was a much-appreciated bonus, making this jacket a true one-jacket solution for backcountry enthusiasts, powder hound ski bums, hardcore 150-days-a-year skiers, and everyone in between. 

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Light and Versatile Ski Jacket

Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket ($400)

Outdoor Research Women's Skytour AscentShell Jacket

Weight: 576 g / 1 lb 4.3 oz
Fit: Relaxed

Pros: Lightweight and stretchy, but still capable as a resort shell
Cons: Color options

For a backcountry-specific shell, the OR Skytour AscentShell is surprisingly capable in-bounds. The fit is superb, and the material is stretchy, making for incredible ease of movement. 

Extremely breathable AscentShell 3L provides windproofing and waterproofing with all seams taped for extra peace of mind. Armpit zips, a dedicated pass and inner phone pocket, helmet-compatible hood, and a chin guard are all dedicated, useful features. 

The sizing is relaxed without being baggy and allows for multiple layers underneath without restricting movement. Add a backpack on top and there’s no problem — this jacket is made for touring, but it’s fully capable of resort-skiing, too. At 576 grams, this jacket is lighter than any pure resort shell (and some backcountry shells as well, such as the Ortovox or Backcountry shells), but not quite as light as the Rab Khroma, which is our first choice for a hybrid shell. 

The colors offered for this jacket are bright and classically outdoor-oriented, although the options could be expanded to include more muted or neutral choices. 

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Backcountry Cardiac GORE-TEX PRO Jacket Women’s ($650)

Backcountry Cardiac GORE-TEX PRO Jacket Women's 

Weight: 680 g / 1 lb 5 oz 
Fit: Relaxed/roomy (plenty of layering room, size down if in between sizes)

Pros: Durable, wind/waterproof, lightweight, comfortable, colors
Cons: Stiff material, can be chilly in extreme cold temps

The Backcountry Cardiac GORE-TEX Pro Women’s Jacket delivers on just about every aspect you could want for a hybrid shell, with the only exception being the stiffness of the fabric and the very roomy fit. 

Besides that, the design is intuitive, the shell is roomy enough to never get cold by throwing one or even two extra layers beneath, ventilated enough for even the warmest days, and the colors are to die for. This was by far the jacket our tester got the most compliments on while wearing from other skiers on the mountain (probably due to the matching lavender bibs). If style matters to you, this is your jacket. 

Besides the material (the 3L GORE-TEX Pro shell offers durable, breathable waterproofing) the features on this jacket stand out. The underarm vents are useful while ascending, and the powder skirt, helmet-compatible hood, and waterproof zipper are all functional and highly appreciated elements of this jacket’s design. We also appreciated the double-front zipper design with a perforated flap to let air in, something we have not seen before on other ski jackets. 

The pockets are roomy to a fault, and the only bone to pick with that aspect of the design was the horizontal zippers for the bottom outside pockets (not our tester’s favorite, personally, but definitely not a knock against the jacket overall). The last criticism we have for this jacket would be on extremely cold days, it might not be our top choice as it runs a bit cold with the roomy fit (though the fit does allow for extra layers underneath), but it is a solid shell capable of all conditions for both the resort and in the backcountry. 

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Stio Women’s Figment Jacket ($500)

Stio Women's Figment Jacket

Weight: 765 g / 1 lb 11 oz 
Fit: Relaxed

Pros: Lightweight, plenty of pockets, beautiful color options, seamless fit
Cons: Waterproofing

The Stio Figment Jacket is lightweight, stretchy, and has an effortless outerwear-without-being-outerwear feel to it. Precisely what we are looking for in a touring shell, this jacket makes a great option for touring even though it is slightly heavier than shells such as the Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket, for example.

The jacket feels extremely breathable for being given a low rating of 10,000 mm. Our tester noted that she never felt too hot or sweaty, and the zip vents add to its appeal to take into the backcountry. The features do not disappoint either, with the helmet-compatible hood, inner mesh pockets, goggle wipe (something you don’t think about, but definitely use!) and the storm-sealing hem. 

The only major downsides of this jacket are the waterproofing and the durability. While Stio’s Figment Jacket is marketed to have a waterproof rating of 20,000mm, our tester found it to be less confidence-inducing on truly rainy days than, for example, the Rab Khroma Latok or other similar, lightweight shells.

That being said, this jacket fit almost perfectly, was stretchy enough to allow for a full range of movement without feeling overly thin, and looked great (for apres, too, not just the skin track). The durability felt similar to the OR Skytour AscentShell Jacket. The light color options leave this jacket susceptible to oil stains, dirt smudges, and things of that sort, but, of course, you can always go for classic black, so this isn’t a fault of the jacket itself. 

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Strafe Outerwear Women’s Lucky Insulated Jacket ($500)

Strafe Lucky Jacket Women's

Weight: 840 g / 1 lb 13.6 oz
Fit: Regular

Pros: Warmth, interesting stylistic design, vent system, great fit
Cons: Features, breathability

Strafe’s Lucky 2L Insulated Jacket is a solid option for anyone who skis a colder resort: think East Coast or Colorado. This jacket combines the best of both worlds with the warmth of an insulated jacket and the venting system of a shell. The 4-way stretch ensures a seamless fit, which greatly impacts the comfort of a jacket. That kind of thing matters exponentially when you wear a jacket all day long, and with the Women’s Lucky Jacket, you can and will. 

This jacket is also a top choice for storm days with its powder skirt, water resistant zippers, and removable helmet-compatible hood. The removable hood is extremely useful and something a lot of jackets surprisingly do not offer. Not only for the weight difference, but the sensation of not being dragged down by the extra fabric in the back makes a world of difference when spring rolls around or you want to cruise groomers on a bluebird day. 

Like any insulated jacket, however, it poses the issue of being not quite as versatile as a shell. That said, that decision comes down to the personal preference of the skier above all else, and did not dock this jacket any points in our ranking process. 

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Arc’teryx Theriss Down Jacket ($950)

Arc'teryx Theriss Down Jacket Women's

Weight: 709g / 1 lb 9 oz
Fit: Regular

Pros: Surprisingly lightweight for an insulated jacket, stylish, warm, stormproof.
Cons: Price, cut was slightly shorter than ideal for powder days, features were nothing out of the box

Coming in at a price point of $950, we expect great things from any ski jacket marketed so highly. The Arc’teryx Theriss Down Jacket certainly delivers, but does it deliver twice as much as, say, the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 ($450)? While it is certainly lighter and more breathable than similar insulated ski jackets, the $1,000 price point Arc’teryx has set it at is a tough sell. 

The cut, while stylish and feminine (although a little boxier than would be ideal for a fitted jacket), sits higher than most of the other jackets listed here. This, combined with where the powder skirt falls on the body because of the high cut, makes it difficult to imagine this being the best choice unless you are always wearing bibs (which, to be fair, we at The Inertia usually are).

This jacket is still an excellent resort jacket: waterproof, windproof, and breathable 2L GORE-TEX protects you on the outside, while responsibly-sourced goose down keeps you warm without sacrificing breathability. Our tester found herself wearing this when things cooled off, although, due to the higher cut, for triple-snorkel powder days, she reached for something a little longer. 

The insulated hood is an interesting and welcome addition for truly cold days. Arc’teryx makes great products, and their other jacket included here, the Sentinel Relaxed Jacket, ranked as one of the best on the list. It’s not so much the brand, as it is this particular style (and the associated price-point), that just wasn’t a winner for us. 

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Ortovox 3L Guardian Shell Jacket ($820)

Ortovox Guardian Shell jacket

Weight: 741 g / 1 lb 10 oz
Fit: Slim

Pros: Stormproof, iconic style, ease of movement, lightweight but still durable
Cons: Cut is very slim at waist 

The Ortovox 3L Guardian Shell Jacket is a capable, durable shell perfect for intense backcountry missions or everyday lines in the resort. The only major downside of this jacket is it runs slim, making it difficult to layer more than one underlayer, and the fit in the hips is very slim, unlike the other women’s jackets on this list. 

If you are a woman who dislikes traditional women’s cuts, this may be the perfect jacket for you. However, it is marketed as a freeride jacket, and fits more like a regular, fitted shell. 

Nothing is sacrificed in the way of weatherproofing. This jacket can take on cold, windy, and wet days no problem, and feels slightly more capable in serious conditions than other jackets on this list, such as the Stio Figment or OR SkyTour AscentShell. Impressively, it is also lighter than the Stio. This jacket is wind and waterproof but breathable, with 20k/20k waterproofing/breathability. It is soft, stretchy, and lightweight, so if the cut is for you, ease of movement is a breeze. The colorways, while extremely unique, were a plus for our tester, who enjoyed the iconic Ortovox look, and paired with black bibs, any color will look good.

The pockets and features also delivered: an adjustable storm hood, two-way front zipper, an inner pocket, ski pass pocket (a huge plus for the resort!), underarm vents, and a removable powder skirt. Overall, this jacket is a great choice for skiers who are looking for a slimmer and more fitted option for touring. This jacket could easily be a one-jacket solution to winter, if you are someone who enjoys the backcountry and the resort equally. 

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Lightweight Insulated Jacket

Outdoor Research Tungsten II Jacket ($480)

Outdoor Research Tungsten II Jacket

Weight: 819 g / 1 lb 12.9 oz
Fit: Relaxed

Pros: Lightweight with insulation, comfortable, great features, GORE-TEX protection

Cons: Color options, stretch, breathability

The Outdoor Research Tungsten II is a unique option for cold-blooded skiers, colder-climate skiers, or anyone looking for a simpler layering strategy than the shell/underlayer combo. The best part of this jacket is the added room for layering inside of the already-insulated jacket.

This jacket is surprisingly lightweight for being insulated, and the GORE-TEX waterproofing ensures you won’t regret choosing this jacket on even the nastiest storm days. The powder skirt, seam tape, helmet-compatible hood, drawcord hem, adjustable wrist cuffs, and chin guard add to that weather-ready protection.

Another major plus of this jacket is the pockets: internal zip and stash pockets, outer pockets, and an exterior chest pocket make this jacket a great choice for those staying out all day without requiring a backpack. However, as an insulated jacket, breathability takes a hit, making this not our first choice for spring skiing or backcountry use. 

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Best Women’s Ski Jackets Comparison Table

Jacket Price Overall Rating Best For Weight Material/Waterproofing Fit
Arc’teryx Sentinel Relaxed Jacket Women’s $750 9.5 Resort/ Backcountry 655 g / 1 lb 7.1 oz 3L GORE-TEX, light flannel backer Relaxed
Black Diamond Women’s Recon LT Shell $400 8.5 Backcountry 427 g / 15 oz BD.dry 3L stretch material | 20k waterproofing / 20k breathability Regular
Mountain Hardwear Women’s Firefall/2 Insulated Jacket $289 8.4 Resort 950 g / 2 lb 1.5 oz Dry.Q 70D Textured Weave 2-Layer Regular
Rab Women’s Khroma Latok GORE-TEX Pro Jacket $680 9.1 Backcountry 546 g /1 lb 3.2 oz 80D recycled GORE-TEX Pro Most Breathable 3-Layer construction Regular
HellyHansen Powderqueen 3.0 $450 8.3 Resort 1100 g / 2 lbs 6.8 oz Shell: 100% polyester. Lining: 100% polyester (recycled). Insulation: 100% polyester (recycled) True to size
TREW Stella Jacket PRIMO $480 8.6 Resort 814 g / 1 lb 12.7 oz Nylon PRIMO material, 20,000mm waterproof/breathable Regular
Flylow Charlie Coat $600 7.6 Resort  Not listed Intuitive Perm 2-layer fabric True to size
Black Diamond Women’s Recon Stretch Ski Shell $450 8.5 Backcountry 667 g / 1 lb 7 oz BD.dry 3L material | 20k waterproofing / 20k breathability Relaxed/true to size
Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket $400 8.5 Backcountry 576 g / 1 lb 4.3 oz AscentShell 3L, 93% nylon, 7% spandex, 40 Denier and 65 D stretch face fabric  True to size
Backcountry Cardiac GORE-TEX Pro Jacket Women’s $650 8.5 Backcountry/ resort 680 g / 1 lb 5 oz 3-layer GORE-TEX PRO shell Relaxed
Stio Women’s Figment Jacket $500 8.3 Backcountry 765 g / 1 lb 11 oz PeakProof 3L 100% recycled polyester, 150 Denier face fabric Relaxed
Strafe Women’s 2L Lucky Jacket $500 9 Resort 840 g / 1 lb 13.6 oz Recon 2L material. 4-way stretch with DWR treatment  Regular
Arc’teryx Theriss Down Jacket Women’s $950 7.5 Resort 709g / 1 lb 9 oz 2L GORE-TEX True to size
Ortovex Guardian Shell Jacket Women’s $820 7.5 Backcountry 741 g / 1 lb 10 oz 100% polyamide exterior, 100% polyurethane membrane, 100% merino wool interior Relaxed (but fits slim, esp. in hips)
Outdoor Research Tungsten II Jacket $480 8.3 Resort 819 g / 1 lb 12.9 oz GORE-TEX 2L, 100% Polyester, 75 Denier Relaxed

Best Women's Ski Jackets Arc'teryx Sentinel Relaxed

A roomy freeride fit is one of the many winning features of the Arc’teryx Sentinel Relaxed Jacket. Photo: Chase Boyd/The Inertia

How We Tested The Best Women’s Ski Jackets

We rated each jacket on its durability, comfort, features, and breathability/ventilation. For consistency, we mostly tested only 3L shell jackets, focusing on all-mountain durability, but there are a few insulated options in there, which we noted. 

Our lead tester for this review is Ella Boyd, a born-and-bred east-coast skier who skied in Maine for almost 20 years before turning her attention to the West. Ella currently lives in Tahoe with over 100 days under her belt at Palisades Tahoe/Alpine Meadows this season.

We are publishing this review after a wonky season in the west: the perfect variable conditions for gear testing. Rainy days, powder days, bitterly cold days, and bluebird sunshine: we have seen it all. 

So have these jackets. We carefully considered every aspect of every jacket, and not only tried them on for size, but skied at least two full days in each jacket to accurately report on every aspect you, as a skier, care about. 


Best Women’s Ski Jackets Ratings Table

Jacket Overall Comfort Durability Breathability/ Venting Pockets/ Features
Arc’teryx Sentinel Relaxed Jacket Women’s 9.1 9.5 9 9 9
Black Diamond Women’s Recon LT Shell 8.5 9 8.5 8.5 8
Mountain Hardwear Women’s Firefall/2 Insulated Jacket 8.4 9 8 8.5 8
Rab Women’s Khroma Latok GORE-TEX Pro Jacket 9.1 9.5 9 9 9
HellyHansen Powderqueen 3.0 Durable Ski Jacket 8.3 8.5 9 7.5 8
TREW Gear Stella Jacket PRIMO 8.6 8.5 9 8.5 8.5
Flylow Charlie Coat 8 7 9 8 8
Black Diamond Women’s Recon Stretch 8.5 9 8 9 8
Outdoor Research Women’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket 8.5 9 8 9 8
Backcountry Cardiac GORE-TEX PRO Jacket Women’s 8.5 8.5 8.5 9.5 7.5
Stio Women’s Figment Jacket 8.3 8.5 7.5 9 8
Strafe Women’s 2L Lucky Jacket 8 9 9 7 9
Arc’teryx Theriss Down Jacket Women’s 8.1 8.5 9 7 8
Ortovox 3L Guardian Shell Jacket Women’s 8 7 8.5 9 7.5
Outdoor Research Tungsten II Jacket 8.3 9 8 8 8

Putting the Arc'teryx Theriss to the test

Putting the Arc’teryx Theriss to the test. Photo: Chase Boyd/The Inertia

Best Women’s Ski Jackets Buyer’s Guide

Features

Pockets

Exterior pockets, often either on the chest or at the hip, are a necessity. Some jackets place those hip pockets higher up, so they’re still accessible with a backpack on.

Even when wearing a backpack, pockets are useful for resort and backcountry expeditions (to hold things like skins, gloves, or a phone for music while going up and down the mountain). 

While we often rely on pants or bibs for beacon pockets, jackets can be holders of radios, phones, and other important gear you need quick access to in a pinch. Some pockets have weatherproofing in the form of seam-sealed zippers or flaps that cover horizontally-opened pockets. This can be a plus if you do a lot of powder skiing, but for the average day it can be cumbersome and add time during critical moments reaching for a ski pass, quick snack on the hill, or anything else you may need in a pinch. For example, Black Diamond offers a jackets with waterproof seams, and TREW offers a jacket with powder-proof coverings over the zippers. 

Pockets on the TREW Gear Stella Primo Jacket

Powder-proof pockets on the TREW Gear Stella Primo. Photo: Chase Boyd/The Inertia

Hood

Look for the keyword “helmet-compatible hood” when purchasing, meaning the hood is big enough to accommodate your head with a helmet on. While helmet-compatible hoods are useful, without adjustability, they can feel massive. Two-way adjustability is even better, giving you the ability to cinch down the hood for wearing without a helmet. Some hoods are also removable, which is great if you ski somewhere where you see a lot of bluebird days. 

Ventilation

If you’re looking for a one-jacket-quiver, you will need some sort of ventilation. Plenty of jackets are capable of touring and lapping the resort, and what sets this kind of jacket apart is the ventilation system, both in the material choices, and in terms of features like pit-zips. It goes without saying that shells are going to be more breathable than insulated jackets, and you have the freedom to choose your own layering system as opposed to getting the same warmth every time. However, most jackets take things a step further with pit zips, one of the more commonly found methods for ventilation. The Stio Figment Jacket, Outdoor Research AscentShell Jacket, Rab Khroma Latok Jacket, and Backcountry Cardiac GORE-TEX Pro Jacket are some options with zippered ventilation. 

Other Features

Features can be the difference between the absolute best jacket and the second-best ski jacket. Powder bibs, wrist gaiters, and large zippers to grab on to may feel silly on regular days, but on storm days, become absolute necessities. 

Wrist gaiters, a small, thin cuff with thumb holes that goes under your gloves and keeps out the snow, are a much-appreciated feature on a small number of the ski jackets included here. Rab, for example, included these in the Khroma Latok Jacket, and it elevated the performance of this durable shell on a powder day when the wind is blowing powder up and down the mountain. Wrist gaiters are truly a gamechanger for keeping snow out of your sleeves, whether you prefer a gauntlet-style or an undercuff-style glove, a wrist gaiter will ensure no snow gets down to your inner layers. 

Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 jacket

Burly material on the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 jacket earned it some points in the durability category. Photo: Chase Boyd/The Inertia

Material

The material of the jacket is, of course, integral to its performance. The unfortunate part is you cannot have the best of both worlds: breathability and weight versus waterproofing and durability are somewhat inversely correlated. 

As a general rule, look for GORE-TEX material in terms of waterproofing and durability, but, given the previous, may not make GORE-TEX jackets the winner in terms of weight and breathability. 

Proprietary fabrics and DWR finishes like Black Diamond’s BD.dry, Flylow’s Perm HD fabric, and others follow close behind GORE-TEX, and may sometimes be superior overall, depending on the jacket’s other construction factors. 

You may also notice the 2L vs. 3L descriptors of various jackets. Both of these construction types have a waterproof (but still breathable) membrane sandwiched by an exterior layer of material on the outside for durability and a lining on the inside to separate the waterproof/breathable membrane from your skin. The outside layer is then coated in a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish that keeps water from seeping in and adding weight as well as reducing breathability. This DWR can wear out with use, but is easily revived with special washes.

In a 3L design, all three layers – inside, outside, and the waterproof membrane – are fused together, making for a single contiguous piece of fabric.  2L material has the outer two layers fused together and the inside liner hanging separately. 2L material is also often used for insulated jackets, where that inside liner is replaced with layers of insulation. For backcountry touring, 3L material is far and away the top choice for increased breathability and reduced weight, whereas if you’re hitting the resort, 2L will do the job.

Backcountry Cardiac Ella Boyd

Backcountry’s Cardiac kit uses GORE-TEX Pro for increased durability, though the material is a bit stiff compared to other options in this review. Photo: Chase Boyd/The Inertia

What is GORE-TEX? 

GORE-TEX has been around for a while. Since 1969, in fact. GORE-TEX is just the name, given by W. L. Gore & Associates, for their waterproof, breathable fabric membrane. GORE-TEX blocks liquid water while allowing water vapor to pass through and is designed to be a lightweight, waterproof fabric for all-weather use. In other words, it combines waterproofing and breathability, doing exactly what we need as skiers and what we all previously thought was impossible. Nowadays, GORE-TEX comes in different constructions like GORE-TEX Pro (designed for increased durability) or GORE-TEX C-Knit (for increased breathability and lightweight without sacrificing weatherproofing), among many others. 

Return to Top Picks | Return to Comparison Table

Editor’s Note: For more options in women’s outerwear, check out our guides to The Best Women’s Snowboard Jackets and The Best Women’s Snowboard Pants. For winter jackets, here’s our guide to The Best Women’s Winter Jackets. For men, see our guides to The Best Ski Bibs and The Best Ski Jackets. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here

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