Best Ski Midlayers for Men and Women

Layering options to get you from first chair to the bar.

When it comes to your thermostat, what’s in the middle matters. Some like ’em light, some like ’em midweight—but all good layering pieces provide just the right amount of warmth and help regulate temperature beneath your jacket without being too bulky. The ski midlayers on this list all meet that criteria and should therefore be at the top of your list from October through May. Bonus: These pieces are stylish enough to double as an après jacket.

Best New Ski Midlayers for Men

Gear of the Year: Scott Superlight Jacket

Great warmth-to-weight ratio in a sleek, modern layer.

Scott Superlight Midlayer Jacket 2021
Caution: The Scott Superlight Jacket is warmer than it appears.Photo courtesy of Scott

With a solid tech story and modern styling, Scott’s Superlight Jacket is an impressive addition to the brand’s outerwear portfolio. Lightweight warmth and packability are the key concepts here, and Scott employs PrimaLoft Gold insulation with Cross Core technology—which uses NASA-engineered Aerogel to get as much warmth to weight as possible—to check those boxes. What’s more, the jacket is made from 25-percent recycled materials. [$220, scott-sports.com]

Rab Cirrus Alpine Jacket 

100-percent recycled synthetic insulator for cold resort days.

Rab Cirrus Alpine Men's Midlayer Jacket
The Rab Cirrus HL (high-loft) is 100-percent recycled. Photo courtesy of Rab

Insulation pro Rab brings the brand’s first 100-percent recycled synthetic insulation to market this season with the Cirrus line of jackets. Cirrus HL (high-loft) is 100-percent recycled, made from re-purposed down comforters and pillows, while the Pertex outer fabric is also fully recycled and treated with a DWR waterproof agent. A snug, under-helmet hood adds warmth on the coldest days, while zippered hand pockets, comfy stretch cuffs, and an adjustable hem make the Cirrus a great layering piece on cold days at the resort or early mornings on the way to the slopes. [$200, rab.equipment.com]

Columbia Peak Pursuit Midlayer Hybrid

Packable midlayer jacket that’s also weather-resistant. 

Men's Columbia Peak Pursuit Midlayer Hybrid
The men’s Columbia Peak Pursuit gets the job done when both warmth and moisture protection are must-haves. Photo courtesy of Columbia

When you need a light midlayer piece that’s also wind- and water-resistant, the new Peak Pursuit Hybrid is a solid option. With a little extra insulation throughout the front of the jacket and Columbia’s Omni-Shield Advanced for weather protection, the Peak Pursuit gets the job done when both warmth and moisture protection are must-haves. Wear it on its own on milder days or under a shell. More pluses: A lightly insulated hood that fits easily under a helmet, zippered chest and hand pockets, and a comfort-stretch fabric that makes it so easy to move in. [$140, columbia.com]

Norrøna lofoten hiloflex200 Hood

Versatile midweight insulator with built-in balaclava.

Men's Norrona Lofoten Hiloflex200 Hood
Norrøna’s lofoten Hiloflex was conceived as a midweight insulating layer that will retain heat when needed and dump it when you don’t.Photo courtesy of Norrona

With a wind-resistant face fabric and a highloft polyester fill on the inside, the hiloflex was conceived as a midweight insulating layer that will retain heat when needed and dump it when you don’t. It can also be worn on its own in milder conditions thanks to a water-resistant outer fabric. Niceties include thumb-holes, lined pockets, and an integrated facemask and balaclava in the collar that can be used as a light hood beneath a helmet or pulled down to offer a bit of added chin/upper-neck protection when the wind picks up. [$169, norrona.com]

Houdini Mono Air Houdi

Light and versatile midlayer with a promising eco story.

Men's Houdini Mono Air Houdi
The Mono Air Houdi, which is also available in a half-zip, is stretchy, lightweight, and offers great warmth to- weight ratio. Photo courtesy of Houdini

Born from a desire to reduce the garment shedding that contaminates our precious water supply, Polartec’s Power Air is the technology behind the Mono Air, Houdini’s new full-zip midlayer made of recycled and recyclable materials. Using a construction that traps air in tiny pockets, Power Air reduces microfiber shedding by up to 80 percent. The Houdi, which is also available in a half-zip, is stretchy, lightweight, and offers great warmth to- weight ratio, ideal for sliding beneath a shell for a little added insulation accompanied by zero guilt. [$200, houdinisportswear.com]

Best New Ski Midlayers for Women

Gear of the Year: Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Reliable insulating layer now with an even better eco story

2021 Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
A warm classic, now improved and better than ever before.Photo courtesy of Patagonia

The Nano Puff is no stranger to these pages. For the last decade, Patagonia has been improving upon its workhorse insulator—increasing its recycled content, reducing its material waste, now slashing its carbon emissions by transitioning to PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco with P.U.R.E. (Produced Using Reduced Emissions). By inventing a new way to manufacture synthetic insulation, PrimaLoft P.U.R.E. eliminates the use of thermal ovens, thus reducing carbon emissions by 48 percent. The Nano Puff’s features, warmth-to-weight ratio, and even price all remain the same, but now you can feel—and look—good wearing it. [$199, patagonia.com]

Kari Traa Eva Hybrid Jacket & Capri  

Down insulation on top and bottom plus stretch panels for added mobility. 

Best women's ski midlayers: Kari Traa Eva Hybrid Jacket
The Kari Traa Eva Hybrid Jacket is down-insulated for warmth and breathability, but mapped with a stretch fleece fabric.Photo courtesy of Kari Traa
Best women's ski midlayers: Kari Traa Eva Hybrid Capri
Once you’ve skied in insulated capris, there’s no going back. Photo courtesy of Kari Traa

Layering pieces designed for active days in the mountains, the Eva Hybrid Jacket and Capri are down-insulated for warmth and breathability, but are mapped with a stretch fleece fabric at key movement areas, including the sides, under the arms, shoulders, side of the legs, and below the knees. You’ll reach for this set on cold resort days when you just need a little more warmth, under a shell to add a splash of cozy, or at the cabin on chilly mornings by the fire. 

Holden Down Hybrid Pullover  

Stylish and cozy midlayer with extra pop of warmth where you need it.

Holden Down Hybrid Pullover
The Holden Down Hybrid Pullover is stretchy, warm, and stylish.Photo courtesy of Holden

Stretchy, warm, and stylish, Holden has hit the trifecta for women’s midlayers with this one. The body is made with Polartec Power Stretch Pro, an incredibly pliable and easy-to-wear material ideal for resort-skiing, après, or even throwing on en route to the yoga studio. A front panel lined with 750-fill responsibly sourced down adds warmth while the dropback hem and performance fit ensure you’ll look as good as you feel on the slopes and beyond. [$300, holdenouterwear.com]

Strafe Alpha Hooded Insulator  

Incredibly lightweight hoody for all conditions.

Women's Strafe Alpha Hooded Insulator
The Strafe Alpha Hooded Insulator insulates, breathes, and packs down nice and tidy.Photo courtesy of Strafe

Strafe went and made a good insulator great when they swapped Polartec Alpha Direct for the better temperature-regulating Polartec Alpha insulation, stuffing this soft and cozy piece with 80-gram Alpha in the body and 60-gram in the hood and sleeves. It’s so lightweight and easy to wear you won’t want to take it off, thanks in part to the two-way stretch outer fabric that’s incredibly breathable. This is a win-win for resort and backcountry skiers alike—it insulates, breathes, and packs down nice and tidy. [$269, strafeouterwear.com]

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL Jacket

Ultralight down layer stuffed with limited-availability down fill.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Mountain Hardwear’s popular Ghost Whisperer midlayer keeps getting better and better. Photo courtesy of Mountain Hardwear

How did Mountain Hardwear make its classic Ghost Whisperer down jacket warmer and more lightweight than ever? The 6.7-ounce insulator is packed with 1,000-fill RDS-certified down sourced from Hungary, using only the highest-quality plumes from the down selection process. The brand states that this jacket is its lightest full-featured down jacket ever, which, if you’ve ever owned this classic insulator, is saying something. [$375, mountainhardwear.com]

Best Ski Midlayers of 2020

Gear of the Year: Houdini Power Air Hoodie

Houdini Power Air Houdi
The Houdini Power Air Houdi features Polartec’s new Power Air.Photo credit: Däg Larson

The biggest apparel technology breakthroughs are not taking over the midlayer space. Which is one of the reasons why Polartec’s new Power Air is such a big deal. Fleece, a component used widely in the layering scene, is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to microfiber shedding. Power Air aims to reduce that by five times what a traditional fleece will shed over the course of its lifetime, contaminating our waters, landfills, and air. Power Air traps lofted fibers inside a continuous and multilayered yarn fabric construction, keeping shedding to a minimum while serving up maximum warmth and insulation. Think bubble wrap layered between a recycled polyester. Better performance, less environmental impact? We’re on board. Power Air rolls out this season in Swedish outdoor brand Houdini Sportswear’s sleek new Houdi.

  • Fit: Athletic
  • Men’s Houdini Power Air Houdi MSRP: $250 [BUY NOW]
  • Women’s Houdini Power Air Houdi MSRP: $250 [BUY NOW

Houdini Power Houdi – The Inside Story

Best Men’s-Specific Midlayers

Flylow D$ (Pronounced D-Money)

Flylow midlayer 2020
Photo credit: Däg Larson

Flylow dreamed up the perfect spring layer with the D$. Well, actually, the credit goes to downhill speedster Daron Rhalves (thus the D$), who requested a lightweight softshell layering piece designed to wick and breathe for touring and bootpacking missions later in the season. This may be just a simple polyester/Spandex blend treated with a DWR coating, but sometimes, that’s all you really need. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $150

Strafe Aero Insulator Jacket

Strafe midlayer 2020
Photo credit: Däg Larson

Another piece of apparel utilizing PrimaLoft’s new Gold Cross Core insulation—the stuff developed by NASA for spacesuits—the Aero is winning on every level. It’s super light, incredibly warm, and imminently packable at just 11.3 ounces. What’s more, the outer fabric is a water-resistant nylon ripstop, so you can even expose it to the elements without worry. 

  • Fit: Freeride
  • MSRP: $289

Eddie Bauer EverTherm Stretch Hoody

Eddie Bauer Midlayer 2020
Photo credit: Däg Larson

Eddie Bauer debuted its innovative EverTherm technology last season in a midlayer jacket packed with sheets of down, called Thindown Flex, rather than feathers, thus eliminating cold spots and heat loss at the seams. This season, the brand upped its game by moving to a four-way stretch outer fabric for great movability and adding a hood. A game-changer.

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $399

Montane Prism Jacket

Montane Midlayer 2020
Photo credit: Däg Larson

Montane’s well-loved insulator gets an update with a silky-smooth Pertex Quantum face fabric with DWR surrounding a recycled PrimaLoft Silver-stuffed interior, making it incredibly packable at 14 ounces and also warm and protective. Add in a roll-away helmet-compatible hood, articulated arms, and generous pockets for all the things you cannot go without, and this one’s great to grab and go.

  • Fit: Athletic 
  • MSRP: $165

Fjällräven Greenland Re-Wool Cardigan 

Fjallraven midlayer 2020
Photo credit: Däg Larson

Fjällräven’s Re-Wool technology is a green-minded concept so simple it’s a wonder more companies aren’t using it … yet. The Swedish heritage brand recovers discarded wool scraps from Italian textile companies and blends it with other fibers into a sustainable wool product that’s easier on the environment than making virgin wool. The Greenland Cardigan is an updated rib-knit ski sweater with a two-way zipper. You can’t go wrong here. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $160 [BUY NOW]

Best Women’s-Specific Midlayers

Women's Midlayers 2020
Women’s Midlayers, from top: Voormi High_E Hoody (Purple/Pink); Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer S (Dark Green); Big Agnes Willow Anorak (Red); Arc’Teryx Proton LT HoodyPhoto credit: Däg Larson

Voormi High_E Hoody

We consider the High_E Hoody from small Colorado wool knitwear company Voormi to be a new classic in the midlayer category. Made from a Surface Hardened wool that’s water resistant and moisture wicking—so you can wear it on its own during light precip—the High_E is that versatile layer you’ll not only reach for on ski days, but for pretty much any outdoor endeavor throughout the year. Throw in thumbholes, balaclava-style hood, and internal chest and kangaroo pockets for the win. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $229

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer S

The Ghost Whisperer is no stranger to the insulation scene. It’s been one of Mountain Hardwear’s most popular pieces for years. So why the attention? The redesigned Ghost Whisperer S was built to better accommodate the needs of skiers (S = Ski) with a shorter length for layering, an asymmetrical zipper for access, and a more durable 100 percent nylon face fabric for longer wear but with the same great packability and style.

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $325 [BUY NOW]

Big Agnes Willow Anorak

The PrimaLoft Gold Active-stuffed Willow Anorak is an imminently packable little piece that delivers surprising punch in the warmth department. A generously long zipper makes the on/off not as awkward as most anoraks, and nylon stretch panels at the sides increase range of movement. A roomy chest pocket keeps essentials close by.

  • Fit: Freeride
  • MSRP: $240

Arc’Teryx Proton LT Hoody

The redesigned Proton LT employs Coreloft inside to ensure warmth when you need it and a new face fabric, called Fortius Air 20, to provide breathability when you don’t. A helmet-compatible hood, also insulated with Coreloft, completes the package, serving up perhaps the ideal ski midlayer you’ll reach for in the most variable of conditions. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $299 [BUY NOW]

Originally published in the print edition of the 2020 SKI Magazine Gear Guide. Don’t miss an issue and SUBSCRIBE NOW.