Because I live in Austin, Texas, you would easily be mistaken that I’m not a huge winter sports fan. I grew up skiing and converted to snowboarding in my teenage years. There’s nothing quite like it, so it’s quite painful to realize I don’t have a single snow mountain within 300 miles of me.
When it comes to winter sports, the gear on your back is just as important as the gear on your feet. You’re going to need it to keep you warm and dry for hours at a time, so this is one area you don’t want to skimp on…trust me.
Here are my two favorite winter sports jackets this season.
Arc’teryx – Sidewinder SV – $725
This is Arc’teryx’s most durable snowsports jackets. It’s completely waterproof, and has a front zipper that curves away from your face, which is probably where it get’s it’s name from. This is a go to jacket if you’re the seasoned skier or snowboard who regularly buys a season pass. This jacket will last you through the season and more – this one has already lasted me a couple years.
It’s only a shell jacket, so you’ll need to stock up on some layers. I usually layer up with a base layer of Capilene followed by a long sleeve, breathable running athletic shirt. That’s been enough to last me hours on the mountain, and if you end up getting warm, you can open up the vents underneath the armpits of the jacket while on the gondola or chair lift.
Prana Lasser Jacket – $159
With the Lasser jacket, you’re not going to need as many layers as the above Sidewinder jacket – it’s quite warm itself.
It’s water repellent, so this jacket is perfect for the casual skiier, snowboarder, or outdoor trekker. What you’re going to miss from the Sidewinder is the extensive waterproofing and the powder skirt to keep snow from entering the jacket from below while you’re carving up some fresh powder or taking a big fall.
Although it’s not going to provide the same waterproofing as the Sidewinder jacket and wasn’t designed to cater to the diehard winter sports fanatics, you’re going to get a solid jacket for a whopping $566 cheaper than the Sidewinder.
The Lasser also is a bit more comfortable to wear around the city or ski town while off the slopes. You can forget the layers and don’t have to worry about how a simple trip and fall onto some concrete could ruin the waterproofing on a $700 jacket…yes that happened to me. I think I’m scarred for life.
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