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Kit review: Helly Hansen ski jacket and pants

Written by Fiona

January 18 2016

Ski wear needs to be functional and practical, as well as good looking, in my opinion. On test is Helly Hansen Women’s Motion Stretch Jacket and Helly Hansen Women’s Legendary Pants.

Take a look around the ski slopes today and most people wear brightly coloured and funky looking skiwear. The range of colours has grown hugely in the last decade and the style is either nice-and-neat fitting or deliberately loose fit. The split seems to be between skiers (more tailored) and snowboarders (baggier).

And while some people favour all-in-one colour, with jacket and pants matching, others prefer a contrasting look with jacket and trousers in opposing colours or brightly coloured jackets matched with black or white pants.

My preference is bright and contrasting and in a semi-fitted and more tailored style.

The Helly Hansen women’s skiwear collection is meant to be tailored. The cut suits a female physique with space for boobs, narrower waist, wider hips and thighs.

I confess I am mid-way between their small and large sizes. This might be because I am a taller UK10. I found the small to be too a little short on the arms and torso and not wide enough on the shoulders and bum.

I found the medium size felt a bit too baggy but in the end I went for comfort and length. I think the medium would best suit UK12/14, while the small would be for a shorter UK8/10.

Helly Hansen W Motion Stretch Jacket

62534_253_main_zoomHelly Hansen have clearly paid a lot of attention to technical features. They include:

  • Waterproof, windproof, and breathable outer fabric
  • Two-way stretch fabric
  • Fully-seam sealed
  • Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR)
  • PrimaLoft Black Insulation (100g in body, 80g in sleeves)
  • RECCO® Advanced Rescue system
  • Articulated arms and elbows for better fit
  • Snap-out powder skirt
  • Detachable helmet-compatible and adjustable hood
  • Two hand warming pockets and chest pocket
  • Wrist gaiters
  • Internal pocket for electronics
  • Ski-pass pocket in sleeve.

In addition the jacket has Helly Hansen’s H²Flow system, which is found at the back of the jacket and helps to regulate body temperature.

On test: Helly Hansen W Motion Stretch Jacket

See the back xx system.

See the back H²Flow system.


First things, this is a good looking ski jacket. There is a good choice of colours and I loved the silk blue colour, especially when worn with the Princess Purple Legendary ski pants.

While skiing in Austria in some very cold, snowy and windy conditions I didn’t once feel chilly. I wore two lightweight base layers and a thin and light insulated jacket under the HH ski jacket.

The jacket’s outer fabric effectively kept out the wind and wet. I expect that much of the waterproofing comes from DWR so this will wear out over time but it’s possible to re-waterproof with wash-in DWR.

The breathability of the jacket was also good. Even when I was sweating heavily due to working hard on the slopes (mainly when I was semi out of control in a white-out on a mogully ski run) I did not feel wet and clammy inside. So it would seem that the jacket’s breathable outer fabric and the H²Flow™ system at the back panel of the jacket do work well.

Bright and beautiful: The colour contrasts of my Helly Hansen ski wear.

Bright and beautiful: The colour contrasts of my Helly Hansen ski wear.

The outer fabric is soft to touch yet durable looking. It also has an in-built stretch that allows for freedom of movement. This is an asset when skiing as, er, dynamically as I do! What I mean is that because my skiing is none too stylish I end up flailing around a lot with my arms and body and I prefer not to be restricted by a strait-jacket style ski jacket!

I like where the pockets are placed and the adjustability of the hood and sleeves. The snow skirt kept out the snow when I fell in a deep snowdrift. The wrist gaiters with thumb-hole loops prevented my wrists from being chilled because they held the sleeves in place inside my gloves.

My only complaint about this jacket is that the medium was a bit too big for me while the size small was too small. In terms of features and style it’s a great jacket and well worth a look if you have £260 to spend. See Helly Hansen W Motion Stretch Jacket.


On the slopes with ski pals in StAnton, Austria.

On test: Helly Hansen W Legendary Ski Pants

Legendary ski pants in Princess Purple.

Legendary ski pants in Princess Purple.

These ski pants offer many similar technical details to the jacket. The features include:

  • Waterproof, windproof and breathable outer fabric
  • Two-way stretch fabric
  • Fully seam-sealed
  • Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR)
  • PrimaLoft Black Insulation 60g
  • Inner thigh venting zippers
  • RECCO Advanced Rescue system
  • Articulated knees for freedom of movement
  • Boot gaiters with silicone gripper
  • Reinforced bottom hem
  • Dual hand pockets and back pocket
  • Waistband adjustment
  • Belt loops.

The insulation was a little more than I usually wear on the slopes but during my ski trip to Austria recently it was welcomed. I didn’t need to add thermals yet I still did not feel cold even when the temperature was low due to wind-chill.

The outer fabric is also waterproof. This was proven when I repeatedly fell in deep snow and did not end up wet-through.


The stretch fabric was great and it allowed me lots of freedom to move about. I liked the length of the pants, too, although I think they might be a touch long for women of average height. I do have long legs.

The waistband height of these pants is also good. It’s important to be able to secure the waist fairly high up so you do not feel wind-chill on your back or get snow down the waist band when you fall. There is a fair amount of adjustability in the waistband to fit a range of sizes from about UK11 to 14.

The reinforced bottom hem is a good addition to ski trousers because this is where you tend to get a lot of abrasion from ski boots.

I never bother to use pockets in ski pants but the Legendary pants have more than enough to keep anyone happy.

Again, I wished there was an in-between size; something in between the Small to Medium size. The smalls were a bit tight on me while the mediums were too loose. However, it’s probably got nothing to do with the Helly Hansen brand but simply that I am awkward. The Helly Hansen W Legendary Ski Pants RRPO at £160.

You’ll find equivalent men’s Helly Hansen ski wear.

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