What to Look For
A waterproof shell with high-performance, two-layer coated fabric such as DryRide Durashell, StormTech, Thermacore, Permaloft, Quallofil or Thermaweb insulation is the main thing to look for when selecting the best ski jacket for your child. Other features such as expandable hoods and brushed tricot and taffeta linings provide comfort and ease during movement. Taped seams, jacket-to-pant interface to allow the bottom of the jacket to snap or zip to the pants and waist gaiters are additional bonuses. Sound pockets with cable port and media pockets provide space for items like MP3 players to free your child’s hands during skiing activities.
Make sure the jacket has vents to ensure body heat and perspiration is released and the inner jacket remains comfortable. Check the tag or label for grow-fit features; not all jackets have them. The jacket is cut with an additional two-inches to allow for growing room, which extends the life of the garment. Jackets without double-layer reinforcement at the cuffs, elbows, side panels and hem do not withstand abrasion or keep snow from entering. It is also important that the insulation does not prevent easy movement or motion during skiing or snowboarding.
Where to Buy
Websites such as Winterkids, Backcountry and Altrec offer you a range of boys' and girls' brand ski jackets and top-rated customer reviews. Independent retailers such as Burton and Patagonia have ski jackets as well as ski gear. Hoigaard’s store offers a variety of brands online as well as at their brick-and-mortar shop. Department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s will offer certain styles of ski jackets seasonally.
Burton ski jackets range from $69.95 to $120 and Spyder jackets range from $120 to $175, depending on the types of features the jacket offers. Patagonia's insulated Rider jackets retail for $149 for boys' and girls' styles. North Face ranges from $99 to $139. Helly Hansen and Orage range from $100 to $180. Cloudveil insulated jackets range from $89 to $149.95.
Look for additional add-on features depending on your needs. For example, the Obermeyer Nac-Nac jacket has fleece ear-warmers, clip mittens and a working compass. The Patagonia Puff Rider jacket has a mini-powder skirt and a hidden pocket with interior cable routing as well as reflective zipper pulls. Safety features such as reflective piping, logos and trims are not included on every style.
Features such as microfleece-lined hand-warmer pockets and chin savers provide extra warmth. Flash pass pockets, clear plastic window pockets for electronics and mesh pockets for goggles are all convenient jacket add-ons.