Here’s a list of recommended ski clothes that are either high-quality products and/or items which provide excellent value for money.
These items are either from brands, that I trust from experience, recommended by friends, or from thorough research.
If a piece of clothes is very popular, but I see multiple returns due to low-quality seams, zips or other problems, you won’t find it here. Of course, this is no guarantee, that a zipper won’t break – I’ve had this happen to me on some very expensive items. But I try my best only to recommend quality items.
So let’s take a look at some excellent choices – from the jacket to the socks – for keeping your warm and dry on your next ski trip.
Ski jackets are usually divided into three basic categories: shell, insulated/softshell, and 3-in-1.
A hardshell is waterproof, windproof and breathable, but offers little to no insulation. Insulated softshell jackets usually consist of a weatherproof outer shell and an insulation layer for warmth. A 3-in-1 jacket includes a shell and insulation layer, plus offers you the option to remove the insulation layer from the shell.
If you want a detailed guide to ski jackets, I recommend you read Are ski jackets warm? The complete guide to ski jackets
Hardshell ski jackets
These are all high-quality hardshells with a impressive attention to detail. The shells are designed to withstand rough conditions. They are to be used together with a baselayer, midlayer, and/or a softshell.
Women’s Arc’teryx Sentinel jacket comes with a 3 layer GORE-TEX membrane and a durable nylon face fabric, which is waterproof (28,000mm) and offers great breathability (20,000g). The jacket is lined with a lightweight flannel backing, a great hood, a powder skirt and lots of pockets. Buy now.
Men’s Arc’teryx Rush Ski Jacket will withstand most of what Mother Nature has to throw at you at the mountain. The fabric is highly durable, and the GORE-TEX Pro membrane offers a breathable, waterproof, and windproof experience. Great for groomers and backcountry. Buy now.
Men’s Mammut Crater Hs hardshell comes with a GORE-TEX membrane which is waterproof (28,000 mm), breathable, and windproof. The pockets on the outside are splashproof, and the front zipper is waterproof as well. There is zippered underarm ventilation, and the hood is helmet-compatible. Buy now.
Women’s Mammut Alvier Hs is a beautiful no-nonsense lightweight hardshell with a noiseless GORE-TEX membrane which is waterproof (28,000), windproof, and breathable. It has all the right pockets, splashproof zippers, and a detachable powder skirt. The hood is helmet-compatible, and it has underarm ventilation. Buy now.
Insulated softshell ski jackets
These high-quality products, which are designed to go together with a base layer and sometimes a mid layer. The waterproofing is mostly DWR coating, which is not as effective as a true waterproof membrane but will suit most recreational skiers just fine.
Women’s Nebulus Freestyle ski jacket is a heat-insulating, breathable, and waterproof softshell made from 100% polyester. The nicely designed softshell comes with waterproof zips, a ski pass pocket, snow guards, and sealed seams. Buy now.
Women’s Obermeyer Tuscany is a fashionable windproof, water-resistant (10,000 mm), breathable, insulated jacket made from nylon fabric. It’s warm, has a flattering cut, and pockets in all the right places. It has an adjustable hood with faux-fur trim, which is not helmet-compatible but can be removed. It features a powder skirt as well. Its available in both regular size and in a petite size. Buy now.
Women’s Obermeyer Cruz Jacket comes with a comfortable stretch shell with a wonderful freedom of movement for the torso and arms. It is waterproof (15,000 mm), breathable. The insulation is 100g PrimaLoft, which is both low profile, light, and warm. It has air vents under the arms, all the right pockets, and even a ski touch stylus, so you can use your smartphone with your gloves on. Buy now.
Men’s Nebulus Rocket is a stylish insulated jacket, which offers great value for money. The jacket is breathable, and the
Men’s Helly Hansen Swift 3 Jacket is a classic insulated (PrimaLoft) ski jacket, which is windproof, waterproof, and breathable (DWR coated). It comes with RECCO Advanced Rescue system, air vents, fully sealed seams, powder skirt, and a detachable helmet compatible hood. It also has pockets for your ski pass, goggles, and electronics. Buy now.
3-in-1 ski jackets
These high-quality versatile products, which are designed to go together with a base layer and sometimes a mid layer. They offer great value for money. The waterproofing is mostly DWR coating, which is not as effective as a true waterproof membrane but will suit most recreational skiers just fine.
Women’s The North Face Thermoball Triclimate jacket is a parka sized jacket, which features a waterproof and breathable (DryVent) coated shell with a great-looking zip-out (Heatseeker) insulated jacket (great for after-ski). It also has a helmet-compatible hood and powder skirt. All-in-all a very versatile jacket for the slopes. Buy now.
Men’s The North Face Thermoball Triclimate Jacket features a (DryVent) coated shell which is both waterproof, breathable, wind-resistant and has sealed seams. The insulating layer offers (PrimaLoft Thermoball) insulation comparable to 600-fill down. It has a helmet compatible hood, powder skirt, goggle pocket, and underarm vents. Buy now.
These are high-quality insulation ski pants, which are waterproof, windproof, and breathable. They can be worn with or without base layer pants depending on the temperature.
Women’s Helly Hansen Sensation Pants comes with the waterproof, windproof and breathable Helly Tech Performance membrane, fully sealed seams and DWR coating, which will keep you dry. The PrimaLoft insulation (60g) will keep you warm. The pants also feature inner thigh venting zippers, snow gaiters, belt loops, two hand pockets, good mobility in the knees, and RECCO system. Buy now.
Women’s Arc’teryx Sentinel pants are no-nonsense softshell pants, which features a three-layer GORE-TEX waterproof, windproof, and breathable membrane. These pants are great in demanding conditions whether on the pistes or the back-country. Buy now.
Men’s Helly Hansen Velocity insulated ski pants comes with the waterproof, windproof and breathable Helly Tech Performance membrane, sealed seams and DWR coating, which will keep you dry in wet conditions. The PrimaLoft insulation (40g) will keep you warm. The pants also feature snow gaiters, belt loops, two hand pockets, good mobility in the knees, and even a RECCO system. Buy now.
These are high-quality mid-layers designed to be worn under a hardshell and sometimes a softshell (on really cold days). They are also really comfy to wear at après ski.
Men’s Icebreaker Descender Long Sleeve Zip Mid Layer is an insulating (240 g/m2 mid-weight) and breathable mid-layer, which is great for cold days. It’s constructed by a mix of merino wool, nylon, and lycra, which ensures that it is quick-drying and odor free. Buy now.
Women’s Under Armour Tech 1/2 Zip Twist Long Sleeve Shirt is a warm, soft, and moisture-wicking mid-layer made from polyester. It has good mobility in the arms and a drop-tail hem to cover your back. It features a chic design for après ski. Buy now.
Not all base layers will fit all conditions. Some are good for warm weather, others are good for icy conditions. Some are made from Merino wool, some from synthetics, from bamboo, silk, or a blend.
If you want to learn more about how to chose the right base layer, you should start by reading this article: How to pick the base layer for skiing
Lightweight base layers (170-200 g/m2)
Helly Hansen Lifa Stripe is a great mid- to late-season baselayer. It is a synthetic base layer made from polypropylene, which has excellent wicking properties. I always recommend buying 3/4 length pants, which stops right above the boots for a chafe-free experience.
Mid-weight base layers (200-300 g/m2)
Women’s Icebreaker Winter Zone is a slim fit, chic base layer, which is as functional on the slopes as it is good looking for après ski at the slopeside chalet. It comes 260 g/m2 merino wool fabric with a bit of lycra blended in for stretch. It has a deep front zip, flatlock seams, and underarm panels for heat-dumping. I was not quite sure where to put this, because it will probably function just as well as a mid-layer on top a light-weight base layer. Buy now.
Icebreaker Merino Oasis Midweight Base Layer is made from 100% merino wool at 200g/m2, which is great for most resorts except when it is very cold. This particular model has an athletic fit with long sleeves, a zip neck collar, and flatlock seams. The pants are 3/4 length.
SmartWool NTS Mid 250 Baselayer is made from 100% merino wool with 250g/m2. It is great for most resorts and can be used in most conditions except icy unless you have a warm insulating mid-layer and/or jacket. It has flatlock seams, which eliminates chafing. The fit is athletic with nice long sleeves. The top is available in two versions – one with a crew neck and one with a 1/4 zip down the front.
The SmartWool Merino 250 Baselayer One-Piece is made from 100% merino wool at 250g/m2. It comes with a close-fit hood, thumbholes, and a zippered drop tail (front zip closure) for nature breaks.
Heavyweight base layers (+300 g/m2)
WoolX Glacier/Alpine is a heavyweight top made from 100% merino wool at 400g/m2. It is an excellent choice when the temperature reaches temperatures between -20 to -30 degrees Celsius (-4 to -22 degrees Fahrenheit). Wear it together with a pair of 250 g/m2 from SmartWool above, when it’s freezing outside.
SmartWool Phd Ski Light Elite Socks are simply some of the best socks on the market in my opinion. They are made from a blend of Merino Wool, Nylon, and Elastane, and are odor free. The fit is, of course, OTC (Over-the-Calf), and they are virtually seamless for no chafing.
If you want a tad warmer version, with some extra padding for your shin and foot, go with the medium version (non-elite model – but there really isn’t much difference) instead.
Icebreaker Ski Plus OTC socks are also some of the best ski socks you can get in my humble opinion. They are made from a blend of merino wool, polyamide, and elastane (lycra). They offer a great non-chafing, odor free, and temperature regulating experience. Like the SmartWool socks mentioned above, the Icebreaker socks are also available in a light and medium version.
Further reading: How to pick the best gloves and mittens for skiing