Ski and Snowboard Jackets: A Symbiosis of Functionality and Originality
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to hit the snow park, head out on backcountry expeditions, or just carve up the slopes - there’s one thing you should never leave behind: the perfect ski or snowboard jacket. But what should you look out for when buying a new jacket? The market is just as huge as it versatile, which is why Blue Tomato can here you help you get a good overview of what’s out there.
Water column, breathability, GORE-TEX® and DWR-treatments are fancy words describing the criteria you should look out for when choosing your snowwear to ensure you are well equipped for all types of weather on the mountain.If the skies are looking promising, an outdoor jacket or a ski and snowboard vest is also good alternative.
Water Column – the secret behind millimetres, columns and drops
Snow is wet, cold and uncomfortable on the skin. But it’s still every winter athlete’s favourite thing, as long as they are well protected by their snowwear. A water column simply describes how waterproof your jacket is. It indicates the water resilience of the material in millimetres. But where does the column come from and why is it measured in millimetres? Picture it like this: an open cylinder is filled with water and placed on top of the material to test how much water pressure can be applied before the first drops seep through the material. The higher the water column, the more fun you can have in the snow without feeling wet.
Breathability – why snowboard jackets need to breath
Even if many people don’t want to admit it: we all sweat. This is where breathability comes in. It is measured in grammes per square metre. Breathability indicates how many grammes of water vapour can escape through the fabric per square metre in 24h. If a park rider chooses a snow jacket with a breathability level of 5.000 g/m², that means it can transport about 5 litres of sweat away from the body within 24h. That may sound like a lot, but on average, the human body produces about one litre of sweat per hour…
Which features do I really need? Membranes and more
Next to water column and breathability levels, it’s also important to pay attention to the different features offered by different brands. For example, GORE-TEX® technology is currently the Nonplusultra when it comes to snowwear. An inner membrane prevents water from passing through the material from the outside, while still transporting water vapour outwards from the inside. In numbers, it has a water column and breathability of over 25.000.
DWR-treatments are also used for ski and snowboard jackets. These are usually used for softshell jackets, which are seen as a compromise between fleece and rain jackets. They are a popular alternative, especially in spring on the mountain for winter sports, but also for hiking. The abbreviation DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent and is a coating that makes a jacket water repellent, but not waterproof!
It’s not difficult to see that the quality of a mountain jacket increases or decreases with its waterproofness. That’s why taped seams are a popular feature amongst manufacturers. Depending on the fabrication and price, all seams or just the critical seams, that are particularly susceptible to letting in water, are welded to make them waterproof.
Features that are guaranteed to sweeten your day on the mountain
If you want to have maximum fun all no matter the weather conditions on the mountain are, these are the most helpful features:
- Jacket-to-Pant interface
- Powder skirts and wrist gaiters
- Goggle pocket (usually with built-in goggle wipe)
- Lift pass pocket
- Ventilation system
- Adjustable hood
So, if your grandmother wants to get you a new snow jacket for your birthday, you should definitely explain to her whether you want to be able to go hiking in the backcountry with it or prefer to shred in the park, before she chooses any random jacket to put in her Blue Tomato shopping cart. If you don’t want to rely on your grandma, why not stop by yourself to check out the huge selection of ski and snowboard jackets at Blue Tomato.
Now you have the necessary know-how to pick your perfect style from brands like Burton, Volcom, Zimtstern and Bonfire!