Gear 360

Helly Hansen Whitewall Lifaloft Jacket

A longer-length, fully featured insulated women's ski jacket for snowy, windy, cold-weather skiing.

 

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Helly Hansen Whitewall Lifaloft Jacket, MSRP: $400 [BUY NOW]

Ladies who ski often in cold, snowy, windy conditions, listen up: Helly Hansen’s Whitewall Lifaloft Jacket was made for you. This insulated ski jacket with all of the bells and whistles is bomber in cold and uncomfortable weather—take it from a tester who is cold and uncomfortable even in moderate conditions.

Let’s start with the technology: The Whitewall boasts HH’s newest insulation, Lifaloft, which is made with a lighter fiber structure that allows the insulation to be 20 percent slimmer than the competition while keeping you warmer in the process. This added warmth without the added bulk is the magic behind the Whitewall Jacket, as I found during a series of frigid ski days in Colorado’s Front Range, where the temperatures never broke 15 degrees—and started out below zero. Normally, on such a cold day on the slopes, I would add a layer of down to my kit, and it was all I could do to resist doing so while testing the Whitewall Jacket. I wanted to see what Lifaloft could really do, so I put it on over a Merino base layer and a Polartec Power Air full-zip jacket and set out for the day.

During an initial chill on the first ride up the chair I double-checked that all vents were zipped and pulled the generous, helmet-compatible hood over my head for a little extra warmth. I also really appreciated this jacket’s extra length that covered my backside as I sat, as it had been flurrying for a few hours and the benches were covered in a layer of permafrost. After getting the blood pumping through my legs on the first run, all fears of not having an added layer melted away as I felt the Lifaloft doing its job. Despite a good breeze, I never felt the sharp chill of the wind or the snow blowing sideways, especially with the hood pulled up and cinched over my helmet.

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The longer length of the Whitewall Lifaloft Jacket keeps ladies warmer on the lift ride—an added bonus! Photo: Courtesy of Helly Hansen

As far as features go, this Whitewall Jacket is pretty kitted out. One of my favorites, though, is the Life Pocket, located in the zippered chest pocket. The innovative feature uses PrimaLoft Gold insulation with Aerogel, a NASA-developed technology, to keep phones 20-percent warmer than a standard ski jacket pocket, to help it keep its battery life longer. I usually switch my phone to low-power mode, but decided to slip it into the Life Pocket without doing so, just to see how my battery would fare. When I checked it after two hours of skiing in temps of around 10 degrees, my phone was at around 85 percent, which is an improvement. The next day I switched into low-power mode and also used the Life Pocket, and after two hours my phone had barely lost any charge.

The other feature on the Whitewall that I really enjoyed is the generous pockets—two fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets, ski-pass pocket on the lower sleeve, and inner pouch pockets for whatever you need to stash there: granola bars, car keys, extra Buff, etc. They are roomy and hold all of my added baubles with ease. The thumbhole on the wrist gaiters is also an appreciated touch, as the stretch fabric didn’t dig into my skin, even with gloves on over it. Finally, in addition to being a very warm option on the slopes, the Whitewall is also fully seam-sealed, windproof, and waterproof.

One caveat about the Whitewall Jacket is that it runs long and large. At 5’4”, the size medium was very generous on me and the longer length hit me around mid-thigh. I like the freeride look, so it didn’t bother me, but if you prefer to ski in a more fitted jacket, this might not be for you. Overall, though, this is an insulated ski jacket that I wouldn’t hesitate to reach for on cold, windy, snowy days at the resort when staying warm and dry while riding lifts and shredding powder is of utmost importance.