which one is best for you?

Whether you’re an avid skier/boarder or new to the sport, you’ve probably heard of Helly Hansen and Arc’teryx. While Helly Hansen has a long history and reputation for producing some of the best cold weather gear in the world, for a variety of sports, Arc’teryx has made a name for itself with high performance ski/snowboard specific gear. . . Although both brands are at the forefront of the ski/snowboard clothing industry, they excel in different areas. With so many similarities between the two and a number of options to choose from, determining which brand is best for you and your needs can be a challenge.

Like many great companies, Helly Hansen was born out of necessity and innovation. Founded in 1877 in Norway, Helly Hansen’s first products were linens soaked in linseed oil that were water resistant and optimal for wearing while fishing, which is one of Norway’s largest industries. Helly Hansen has deep roots and their gear is still known for being exceptionally waterproof. Innovation is at the heart of all Helly Hansen products, and they’ve invented a variety of useful gear that many of us take for granted, like the first technical base layer, Lifa. Helly Hansen was also one of the first apparel manufacturers to experiment with plastic yarns and helped pave the way for their patented Helly Tech high performance material that is both breathable and waterproof. In fact, many skiers and snowboarders prefer Helly Tech over traditional gore-tex.

Awesome Helly Hansen ski/snowboard jackets

Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 Jacket


Helly Hansen

Quick take: The Alpha 3.0 is a great resort jacket that has all the technology and premium features you need to tackle advanced terrain in potentially adverse conditions.

What you will love: The Alpha 3.0 is Helly Hansen’s best-selling jacket and features a hybrid design that maximizes functionality as well as luxury. For example, within the many interior and exterior pockets is a fleece-lined slot to help preserve your phone’s battery life in cold weather. Plus, in addition to a Helly Tech exterior, this jacket features a layer of PrimaLoft insulation that promises to keep you warm without limiting mobility. In that vein, the Alpha 3.0 has an articulated fit that optimizes mobility, making it an ideal choice for anyone who likes to hike on the best snow. Another great thing about the Alpha 3.0 ski/snowboard jacket is that it offers excellent value for money, especially when compared to similar Arc’teryx jackets which often cost twice as much.

What you should consider: This jacket lacks the breathability and ventilation of active hiking jackets, which means it can get a bit too warm during prolonged activity.

Helly Hansen Odin Infinity Insulated Jacket



Helly Hansen

Quick take: This eco-responsible jacket is designed to keep you warm, dry and above all active, in extreme or difficult weather conditions.

What you will love: This jacket won Outdoor magazine’s Gear of the Year Award in 2021 due to its innovative technology, impressive durability and excellent functionality. Innovations start with the patented Life Fiber that Helly Hansen uses in its flagship gear. Unlike previous iterations, Lifa’s latest generation, Lifa Infinity Pro, is a unique hydrophobic material that requires no DWR coating or chemical treatment (which harms the environment) to be waterproof. Another unique innovation included in the Odin Infinity Jacket is LifaLoft insulation, which is lighter, warmer and more flexible than standard insulation. Plus, because the Odin Infinity Jacket is designed for the backcountry, it comes equipped with an internal RECCO reflector and specially designed pockets for storing skins.

What you should consider: With a price tag of $800, this jacket is quite expensive. There’s also the fact that some wearers report that the underarm vents, which are often the most useful, are difficult to use with gloves on.

What makes Arc’teryx ski/snowboard jackets unique?

Founded in the Pacific Northwest Coastal Mountains near Vancouver, Arc’teryx is first and foremost a mountaineering company. Whether it’s climbing, skiing/snowboarding, or hiking, Arc’teryx builds performance gear for any mountain activity. Arc’teryx is known as a luxury in the ski industry thanks to the fact that its products are made with high quality materials, all of which are bluesign certified.

Arc’teryx products are also rigorously tested in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. This process is reflected in the durability of Arc’teryx products.

Awesome ski/snowboard jackets from Arc’teryx

Arc’teryx Macai Jacket

Men's Macai Jacket

Men’s Macai Jacket



Quick take: The Macai includes all the bells and whistles Arc’teryx has to offer for a resort ski/snowboard jacket.

What you will love: Featuring a breathable gore-tex exterior and goose down insulation, the Macai will keep you warm and dry whatever the weather. Arc’teryx’s enhanced gore-tex breathability works with the ventilation system to ensure you stay warm while stationary on the lift and don’t overheat while active on the way down. Unlike many down-insulated jackets, mobility isn’t sacrificed for warmth in the Macai. Plus, if the jacket feels a little too bulky overall, you can always remove the down-insulated hood on warmer days.

What you should consider: Because this is Arc’teryx’s flagship ski/snowboard jacket, the price is a jaw-dropping $1,100. Another thing to consider is that this jacket may be too warm for early or late season ski/snowboard conditions.

Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket





Quick take: Designed specifically for alpine activities, this jacket is ideal for demanding athletes who like to continually explore new terrain.

What you will love: In addition to the standard gore-tex triple layer used by Arc’teryx in most of its products, this jacket is also equipped with a durable storm protection coating, the most robust technology, to improve the protection that she offers. Gore-tex Pro’s toughest technology also increases the exterior’s resistance to tearing and scratching. Large areas of the Alpha SV Jacket include a micro-grid backing which further reinforces the outer fabric and helps prevent tearing. As you’d expect, this Alpha SV also includes an integrated RECCO reflector and a helmet-compatible hood to provide better protection against gales.

What you should consider: Although the SV in its name stands for severe conditions, this jacket is not insulated and will not provide enough warmth for winter without the addition of base layers.

Should you get a Helly Hansen or Arc’teryx ski/snowboard jacket?

Overall, Helly Hansen and Arc’teryx make high quality ski/snowboard jackets. In all likelihood, you’ll be more than happy with your purchase, no matter which brand you choose. However, there are some slight differences between the two that may bring you closer to one over the other. First off, while Helly Hansen isn’t cheap, it’s significantly more affordable than Arc’teryx in every way. This makes it the ideal choice for anyone on a budget. Second, Helly Hansen jackets tend to have slightly shorter cuts and narrower tails than Arcteryx jackets, giving them a more defined sense of street style. Finally, if waterproofing is your biggest concern, there’s no doubt that Helly Hansen leads the way in this area. However, if you’re looking for the latest and greatest materials and technology, Arc’teryx can’t be outdone. In terms of mobility, function and design, Arc’teryx jackets are built for the mountain through and through.