Summer fading into fall brings more than just a chill to the air. There's a tangible excitement as we count down the days until ski season, watching our local mountains with a close eye and baited breath as fall and winter fight for the spotlight.
Among items on the ski season prep to do list, "buy new gear" is probably one of the most fun, however ominous—with brands, styles, colorways, fit and insulation options outnumbering even the savviest shopper's attention span. Enter the 2015/2016 Ski Jackets Buyers' Guide, where we've collected the best ski jackets from the top manufacturers, reviewed and synthesized every feature, fabric and fit for you right here.
To make your decision even less daunting, we've taken note of a few trends to be on the lookout for, including the prevailing Pantone Color of the Year for 2015: Marsala, a deep red wine hue. Accent colors are being delivered by way of center, and sometimes pocket, zipper. We're also seeing several internal dual stash pockets to stow both goggles and gloves separately.
Ascent focused, lightweight, stashable shells are a theme as touring continues to takes center stage. Along those lines, manufacturers have different types of skiers in mind during the design process, and we'd be remiss to leave those distinctions out of our guide: Please note the Skier Persona addition to this year's Buyers' Guide featuring the following categories:
Weekend Warrior—For skiers hitting their favorite ski resort(s) somewhere between 6 and upwards of 20 days per season who may or may not dabble in some hike-to/sidecountry, being comfortable & warm (but not too warm) and looking good at a reasonable price point are all priorities.
Alpine A-Lister—Sparing no expense, these jackets are as much about looking good as they are about warm, skiing performance, for a statement-making style straight off the slopes and onto the après scene.
Backcountry Skier—Optimized for serious performance during deep-powder pursuits—be it a self-propelled tour or hike-to adventure to earn turns in—but mostly out of—bounds or a descent-focused cat or heli trip where lightweight and breathable tech performance are key.
Of course there are crossovers between these styles, just as different skier types can exist within the same person, depending on the day. Check back often as your skier persona and needs evolve; these reviews will be here throughout the season as well as in the app, and you'll also find some additional performance commentary updates for our favorite pieces.