If you live to ski, you won’t regret shelling out on this uber technical ski jacket that’s hard wearing in rugged terrain and conditions, but moves with you and never needs reproofed
Performs like a hardshell, but ultra light
Breathable, chemical-free, everlasting water repellency
Wrist gaiters and detachable powder skirt for powder days
Underarm venting zips for spring conditions
Helmet-compatible hood for blizzards
Tons of pockets (including sleeve pocket for ski pass)
Fitted with RECCO transponder
Life pocket stops your phone dying in the cold
Cord-attached goggle wipe in pocket
Pricey for the casual skier
Front zipper can be hard to pull up over a lot of layers
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Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity 2.0 Ski Shell Jacket: first impressions
To design this groundbreaking technical ski jacket, Helly Hansen consulted the people who know best – ski professionals. Because the company outfits tens of thousands of ski patrollers and instructors around the world, it was able to gather a lot of data about what skiers need from their jackets and the results are impressive.
This three-layer, breathable waterproof shell jacket repels the elements like a hardshell, but moves with you when you’re carving down the mountain. Instead of using harmful PFCs to maintain water-repellency, it's heated and stretched the fabric to obtain the same results for a better result for the planet, and created a jacket that never needs to be reproofed.
• List price: $750 / £700
• Unisex: Men’s and women’s fits available
• Weight: 1 lb 8 oz / 680g (women’s S)
• Sizes available: Men’s: S - XXL; Women’s: XS - XL
• Materials: 100% Polypropylene
• Colors: Black, deep fjord, gray fog
• Best use: Resort skiing, backcountry skiing, ski touring
Worn over a base layer, this jacket is light enough for spring conditions, but it has all the details you need for frigid temps and those whiteout days when you practically need a snorkel to battle the powder. A detachable powder skirt keeps the snow out of your ski pants when you go down, and wrist gaiters mean you don’t have to fiddle with your gloves to keep a frigid blast out of your sleeves.
The hood fits easily over your helmet if it’s puking snow and you want to keep your goggles clear and there are pockets galore for your extra gear, snacks and ski pass: four deep, zipped outer pockets on chest and hips, one of which keeps your phone from dying, an inner zipped pocket and mesh pocket, and a handy pocket on the left sleeve that’s just big enough for your ski pass, and ensures you can zoom onto the lift or gondola and catch that next run.
It’s equipped with a RECCO reflector in case you get in trouble, and the bright orange hood makes you visible to others on the gnarliest of days. If you’re even remotely serious about skiing, this jacket delivers impressive performance and it’s the only one you’ll ever need.
Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity 2.0 Ski Shell Jacket: in the field
As nature would have it, I got to test out this jacket while skiing the most intense conditions in which I’m likely to ever test a ski jacket in. During four days in Verbier on a press trip with Helly Hansen, we got 25 inches of new snow (the first 2.5 days were mostly whiteout conditions followed by sunshine) and the temperatures ranged between -22°C and -4°C on a balmy day. I’ve been skiing for 20 years and I can honestly say this high performing jacket outshone every piece of ski gear I’ve tried yet.
Here’s how it performed:
Fit and comfort
This jacket fits true to size, and do remember that all ski jackets should look a little big when trying them on over street clothes. The articulated fit means that it isn’t baggy, but I was still able to layer it over a base layer and two mid layers easily. It comes down to just below the seat, so my bum never got cold on the chairlift, and the sleeves come down to my first knuckle.
Lots of factors play into how comfortable it is: it’s breathable and it’s super lightweight for what is essentially a hardshell in terms of performance and it allows for great freedom of movement. The wrist gaiters have thumb loops that I can wear under my ski gloves so no annoying gaps for cold air to get in.
The only thing that was slightly uncomfortable was I found that when I wore too many layers under it (a fleece plus a hooded mid layer) I had difficulty zipping the front zip all the way up, but I was arguably wearing too many clothes and others in my group didn’t seem to have this problem.
Weather protection and breathability
Between the water repellent fabric, taped seams, large hood and powder skirt, no snow or moisture got in when I was wearing this thing, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a few tumbles. Plus, because the water repellency is created by the structure of the fabric, and not a chemical treatment, it lasts for life! Along with my other layers, I never got cold in this jacket and I’ve never been more comfortable skiing or on the lift.
I know lots of waterproof garments say they’re breathable, but this really is. Even though it was freezing out, I had to do plenty of skating along powdery cat tracks and also some hiking in thigh deep powder during avalanche training. All this is to say, I got hot and sweaty but never felt damp or chilled. Layer it correctly and neither will you.
Weight and packability
This jacket is surprisingly lightweight, about the same as a dinner plate, when you consider all of the features it boasts. I traveled with a checked bag, so packability wasn’t an issue, but it rolls up to about the size of my Hydroflask no problem.
Storage and other features
For spending the day on the hill, I needed to carry my neck gaiter, ski gloves, beanie, goggle bag, ski pass, phone, tissues and hotel room key. I managed that and still had room to spare. Two deep zipped hip pockets, a chest pocket and two inner pockets carry everything you need, while the left chest pocket is designed to keep your phone from dying in the cold. I had my phone out to take pictures non stop and it never got low or died. The right hip pocket has a super handy goggle wipe attached to a stretchy cord which I used loads to keep my goggles from getting handy, but the most convenient pocket of all was on the left sleeve. This one is just big enough for your ski pass, and it’s perfectly positioned to scan and get you past the lifties or through the turnstile at the bottom of the gondola.
I’m not a fan of super obnoxious, brightly colored ski gear myself, and this one came in a nice dark blue but it has a practically neon orange hood (no matter what color you choose). This meant that, while skiing in whiteout conditions with a group of people I’d only just met, we could always see and find each other. It’s a seriously underrated feature and makes you really visible on the hill.
I skied with my hood up over my helmet quite a bit to keep the snow out of my goggles and I found that it stayed up in the wind and didn't restrict my visibility. And I love the powder skirt and wrist gaiters which keep the cold and snow out.
Durability and value
This is a really hard wearing jacket and is built for super rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions. Hopefully I won’t be skiing close enough to any trees to catch a branch, but if I do I expect this jacket to hold up the way a softshell can’t, while not being as difficult to move in as a typical hardshell.
As for value, well the price is a little eye watering and truly, if you’re planning skiing groomers on bluebird days, you can pay less elsewhere and be happy. But if you’re at all serious about skiing and venturing out in all weather, I can honestly say I’ve never been more comfortable skiing and I think this jacket delivers on its price tag.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.