While snow cat or heli skiing you need the proper jacket to stay comfortable
How do you select the right winter jacket for snowcat or heli skiing?
The proper winter jacket can literally make the difference between staying warm and dry or getting cold and wet. There are several key properties you must consider when buying a new coat.
Shopping for coatscan be daunting because they are lots of different styles to choose from. They best way to select a jacket for snowcat or helicopter skiing is to find one that is designed to keep the elements (snow, rain and wind) out. Providing warmth is not the purpose of this garment, an insulating layer worn under your jacket will provide that.
It is important to buy a jacket that will protect you from snow getting up under it. That is why I look for a coat that is slightly longer then waist length. This will prevent any snow from getting in when you crash. Also look for a draw cord at the waist level as well as along the bottom. This will provide the extra protection you need to stay warm and dry. Face it, a jacket full of snow can end your fun quick.You should also look for either velcro straps or an elastic storm cuff around the wrists.
Both are very effective in preventing powder snow from getting up into your jacket while skiing. Cinching both of these draw cords is your first line of defense against the snow. Storm cuff around each wrist are also necessary to keep out snow.
One of the primary goals of your winter clothing is to allow moisture from perspiration to be expelled out. When the inner layers start to get wet they loose their ability to keep you warm. This include being able to allow moisture from sweat to escape. Gortex works best for this. Gortex is a breathable membrane that will allow water vapor to escape but prevents water drops from entering. A winter jacket without gortex will not be as water proof and certainly will not keep you as warm.
Some companies like Arcteryx have patented a zipper that is sealed when closed. This is a great feature since it prevents and liquid from entering through this "weak link". Wind penetration is also eliminated. It seems like a small feature but after having an Arcteryx jacket you will notice this addition.
Choosing the right winter jacket will allow you to spend hours outside at a time while remaining warm and comfortable. When your upper body is warm it prevents your blood from being pulled from the extremities. This will have a dramatic effect of your overall comfort.