How to choose the right ski jacket with Hawaii Surf?

This season in your favorite ski resort promises to be grandiose with fresh snow announced, a real Winter, and long powdery slopes to hurtle down in the heart of the Alps or the Pyrenees with your brand new ski or snowboard equipment. Now do you know what ski clothing outfit and especially what ski jacket will you put on this Winter to keep you warm and ski with great comfort and a dose of freedom?

Just like your ski gear or snowboard pack, the ski outfit and especially the coat is an important element to be able to enjoy the mountains in peace with a technical garment that is breathable, waterproof, warm and offers great freedom of movement. Among all these brands of ski jackets it is sometimes difficult to optimize your choice according to your needs and your budget, this is why the ski shop specialist in winter sports Hawaii Surf offers to guide you in your choice of new jacket. ski.

What are the different types of ski jackets?

This section which follows at the level of explanation will finally make you forget the basic prejudices that the thicker a jacket is the more it will keep warm and conversely the thinner it is the less it will offer you warmth. Ending the era of Jean-Claude Dus in the tanned skiers wearing rigid jackets, offering little freedom of movement and with which you always end up feeling cold at the end of the day regardless of the snow conditions...

There are several types of ski jacket, each will satisfy many skiers depending on its intended use. It is relatively important to choose your jacket according to your practice, and there is necessarily one cut for you.

Hardshell ski jackets

This is by far the most used category of ski clothing products. This type of ski jacket is ideal for snow sports enthusiasts who spend most of the day looking for the best spots, regardless of the conditions, to descend fresh snow slopes. The hardschell translates globally to "hard shell", a perfect design to use in the context of a practice with intensity and regularity. Sending big tricks in the powder, finding the best place to ski off-piste on virgin slopes, or simply skiing in your favorite ski resort with a jacket perfectly adapted to all changing conditions, that's what the company aspires to. “hardshell” type ski jacket.

Often made with high-end fabrics like the Gore-Tex membrane, it has seams that are both glued, sewn and closed with fully waterproof zippers. No need for a jacket that is too thick, it's the quality of the fabric that does the job to guarantee you a dry day. So you can opt for a thinner ski jacket, offering greater freedom of movement, in a practice intended to harden your sports performance.

In terms of "additions and gadgets", the Hardschells-type jackets are simple, sober and minimalist, thus reducing the stitching points, the numerous pockets and other functions that can be cumbersome for a steep off-piste skier. For your accessories you will use your anti-avalanche backpack.

How do I know if I should opt for a Hardschell type ski jacket?

The choice to buy a Hardschell-type ski jacket should be necessary if:

- I practice ski touring on high altitude peaks like in Chamonix
- I like to ski off-piste, in large fields of powder and fresh snow
- A committed practice with a high mountain guide to seek new thrills.
- Invest in a technically durable ski jacket for many years.

The softshell jacket

As its name suggests, it is opposed to "Hardschell" jackets. This type of jacket is however a classic in the ski industry, with less exclusivity in practice of course. The big difference is that they generally offer more comfort with more flexibility in the fabrics, but also greater breathability.

This type of jacket is ideal for those who above all want protection against the wind and bad weather conditions, but without facing cubic meters of snow. The softshell type jacket is almost a "second layer" like a polar or technical fleece. It could be a good alternative at the end of the season with milder weather in terms of temperatures or for ski touring on less steep sectors.

The choice to buy a Softschell type ski jacket should be necessary if:

- I am embarking on a ski tour at low altitude
- I like to ski at the end of the season, taking advantage of the strong rays of the sun with almost no risk of rain.

The 3-in-1 ski jacket

It is now the number one choice for quite a few categories of skiers and snowboarders, because it combines both a waterproof outer layer, an intermediate layer that insulates against cold and moisture and a warm lining? This is called the “3-layer” system in specialist ski shops.

The 3-layer style breaks down as follows:

- An outer layer for waterproofing
- An intermediate layer for insulation and warmth
- An outer layer that is both waterproof and above all breathable

This type of jacket is designed with a zipped jacket inside that you can remove for the start or end of the season with milder weather. When the temperature drops sharply, you will thus have a renewal of heat by attaching this "second layer" which makes the connection of the 3 in 1 jackets.

It is by far the most perfect ski jacket for skiers who will face a wide range of weather conditions throughout the winter sports season.

The choice to buy a type 3 in 1 ski jacket must be necessary if:

- Versatile practice in various snow and weather conditions.
- Ski resorts with rapidly changing climate, quite cold and humid
- Days of ski touring in high season, with several risks of snowfall, rain, etc.
- Sustainable investment for many seasons to ski everywhere all year round.

What are the useful characteristics for choosing the right ski jacket?

Waterproofing: (we offer a broad explanation of this meaning here in our ski clothing buying guide).

The famous "Schmerber" unit of measurement, which offers a graduation system to know if your jacket is ultra waterproof or weakly. The test of the column filled with water placed on the fabric shows us the resistance in "MM" of absorption of your jacket. The higher the number, the more your jacket offers protection against water and humidity. On our category of the Hawaii Surf ski jacket site, you can directly filter our ski jacket offers by checking the unit that suits you.

- Below 10000 MM you opt for a rather spring jacket.
- Above 10000 MM you stay dry in case of snowfall and light rain.
- Beyond 20000 MM you opt for the perfect jacket in heavy snow conditions and capricious weather.

Breathability: (we offer a broad explanation of this meaning here in our ski clothing buying guide).

It is measured in “Grams”. The thicker your jacket, the higher its number, thus offering more warmth and insulation against the cold, conversely spring ski or softshell jackets have a lower unit of measurement, offering more freedom of movement, with a jacket that is often thinner, but less insulating.

Ventilation zips:

Located in the armpit areas and sometimes at chest level, these ventilation zips allow you to bring in fresh air without having to remove your ski jacket. Depending on the brands and models of jacket, the ventilation is either total or with nets so as not to let the snow enter your jacket inside. A very useful accessory between two slopes to evacuate perspiration if you have experienced a very rough passage on a large, very steep corridor...

The snow skirt:

Design element integrated into your jacket, it is an ideal complement that will allow you to prevent snow from entering your coat hem during an unexpected fall. During passages in fine powder orchestrating snow spurts, this snow skirt will also prevent snow from storing inside your ski jacket. Often brands suggest that the snow skirt be removable, and above all to be connected to your ski pants of the same brand and model, reproducing a bit the completely hermetic style of ski and snowboard suits.


No need to have too many pockets (think backpack with good ergonomics), however some jackets offer a perfect design and a number of robust and waterproof pockets designed to store essential personal effects in case of need (Smartphone , identity papers, vitamin bars or even a second screen or ski mask). We recommend two external pockets and one inside to ski comfortably.

The hood:

95% of ski and snowboard jackets are equipped with sometimes removable and above all adjustable hoods, with synthetic fur or not. In recent seasons, hoods have seen their ergonomics modulated to be able to wear a ski helmet without any problem. Ski jackets without a hood are more intended for 100% Freestyle practice in the Snowpark or on a Jib.

Cuffs & sleeves tightening:

You can tighten your sleeves at the cuffs on all ski jackets with Velcro, elastic or press studs. It is essential to properly adjust your wrist straps to be able to put on your gloves better, and thus minimize the entry of snow to 100% in the event of a fall by the hands.

There are also "thumb sleeves", an additional effective asset to stay even warmer and drier thanks to great elasticity, providing more comfort and optimizing the tightness of your hands in ski gloves or snowboard mittens.

Waterproof closures & zips:

100% waterproof zippers are increasingly common on leading ski jacket brands ( 686 , Picture Organic , The North Face, Armada, Oakley, etc.). Their functions are clearly to prevent moisture and snow from entering through the zippers.

The cut of the ski jacket:

We offer 3 cuts at Hawaii Surf that you can filter directly into the category of ski jackets (as for ski pants). It is above all a "fashion" aspect that belongs to you, which will have little influence on the quality of your choice of ski jacket.

- Ample cut (wide): Adopted above all by Freestyle practitioners in Snowpark, JIB and Street, this cut offers more amplitude and allows better overlapping of intermediate layers without feeling more cramped.
- Classic Cut (normal): Versatile, straight that fits perfectly, neither too wide nor too narrow, perfect for an everyday skier on the slopes.
- Adjusted cut (Slim/fitted): Closer to the body, ideal for skiers who prefer less to cover themselves with under layers, offering optimal insulation.

Should I wear an extra item of clothing under my ski jacket?

It is strongly recommended to increase the effect of comfort, warmth and insulation against humidity. This is called " thermal or technical underwear ", with the main role of gaining heat and being able to stay dry even longer.

We are therefore talking here about the famous “3-layer” system which consists of superimposing several types of ski clothing to obtain a 3-in-1 type jacket that we explained to you earlier in this ski clothing buying guide.

The first Layer:

It's a kind of undershirt, which strongly resembles the long-sleeved t-shirts used in running, trials...

It must be chosen according to its size (adjusted), and especially in 100% synthetic materials (fleece fiber, polyamide, etc.) (never 100% cotton or wool), in order to preserve comfort, warmth and quick drying after your session. ski.

The polar (fleece):

It's the perfect second layer for those who don't use a 3-in-1 type jacket. This garment can be worn just as well as a first layer for end-of-season decents in the sun, as well as in the city on a daily basis. Warm, insulating and breathable clothing, it must absolutely be chosen at its size (adjusted) and in 100% synthetic compositions (no wool and cotton).

You are now perfectly informed to make the best choice in your ski jacket purchase on the website or in our ski and snowboard store in Paris!

In addition to ski jackets, Hawaii Surf offers a range of ski pants and a wide choice of accessories to go with your ski outfit such as hats, ski socks, mountain pass balaclavas, facemask or even ski gloves and mittens. snowboard and products to maintain your ski outfit.