Arc’teryx makes some great ski gear, and the Saber Jacket is one option in their legendary lineup that offers excellent cold weather protection, durability, and functionality. That high quality comes with a high price, but that’s the only downside to an otherwise awesome jacket.
- Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, REI
- Best for: Serious skiers who want a high-quality jacket that can handle anything and everything thrown its way. Also good for anyone not concerned with the price tag.
- Pros: High-quality construction and materials makes this a fully functional jacket that’s made to last a long time. It has a great fit and provides excellent cold weather protection for any skier.
- Cons: Expensive. Very expensive. The colors are kind of particular as well and might not match with other brands.
- Alternatives: Arc’teryx Rush Jacket, Patagonia Powslayer Jacket, Mountain Hardware Boundary Ridge GORE-TEX 3L Jacket
Why Trust Me
Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I’ve skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I spent hours researching the Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket and talked with several other skiers who have used it as well.
The Arc’teryx Sabre is an awesome jacket that skiers of all ability levels and preferences can enjoy. It’s versatile, which means it can be used in all sorts of different conditions. That’s largely thanks to design elements such as GORE-TEX and the durable construction. There’s plenty of comfort too. The jacket is really expensive, but if you want clothing that can do it all season after season, this is an excellent choice.
Warmth and Weather
A key part of reviewing any ski jacket is looking at its warmth and weather protection. The Arc’teryx Sabre gets high marks across the board, which is part of the reason why it’s one of the best options for skiers at all levels. It does not matter if you take it out on the resort or venture into the backcountry during a blizzard, you’ll be thoroughly protected and insulated.
While just about any jacket can be fine on a nice winter day, the Sabre stands out when conditions turn a little nasty and the flakes start to fly. It’s built with three layers of GORE-TEX of effective and lasting weather resistance. In blowing snow, the GORE-TEX layers will deflect the elements, giving you the ability to withstand any conditions you might encounter during the winter.
The Sabre also comes with a brushed flannel-like backer that adds additional warmth without weighing down the jacket. In sub-zero conditions, you’ll still want to layer up because this jacket isn’t overly insulated. With that in mind, it doesn’t quite hold up on the roughest days. Even so, I would take a versatile option that doesn’t need much reinforcement over a burly down jacket that can only be worn a few days in the season.
Comfort and Fit
The Sabre’s comfort and fit are also nice. This jacket is one of the most comfortable high-performance options I’ve encountered, and I know a few other expert skiers who feel the same way. There’s something to be said about a jacket that offers amazing warmth without losing anything on the fit and feel.
The brushed flannel backer on the inside of the jacket has a lot to do with the comfort. It’s almost got the feel of your favorite hoodie and retains the ability to keep you protected from any harsh conditions that might come your way. The collar has a layer of fleece that feels great on your face when you need to bundle up, and it has a hood that easily fits over a helmet as well.
This jacket has a regular fit that isn’t too tight or too loose, making for a functional experience no matter how you ski. It runs true to size and fits similar to a lot of other classic ski jackets that I’ve used over the years. With a few heavy layers on underneath, you might notice it start to get snug. It also features articulated shoulders and elbows to provide you with unrestricted movement if you’re out there skiing tough.
Construction and Style
The Arc’teryx Sabre’s construction is a key reason so many like the jacket. The face fabric is made out of an N70p 100 percent nylon plain weave lo-loft soft shell. That soft material is comfortable without feeling crinkly and crunchy like some other ski jackets. It also has a center back length of 79 centimeters, which effectively helps to block out the snow if you get into a fresh stash.
The 3-layer GORE-TEX membrane built directly into the jacket makes it highly waterproof and effective at keeping out even the strongest winter winds. The layers are effective-but-thin, which makes them fairly breathable as well. I wouldn’t say this is the most breathable design, but the extra protection makes up for that.
The Sabre jacket has a classic look and design. It’s not a flashy jacket, but it will fit just about anyone and give you the look and feel you’d expect out of a higher-end option. I will say the colors the jacket comes in are a little particular. I like the black and blue options, but the other colors might be off-putting if you have a specific look or style.
The Sabre also comes packed with other additional features that increase its value and appeal. I’ve already mentioned the brushed flannel-like backer, but it’s worth another mention because of the warmth and comfort it adds. This isn’t a traditional insulation layer, and it makes the jacket one of the most comfortable I’ve seen.
There are plenty of pockets to help you pack any snacks or additional gear. The internal chest pocket has a laminated zipper to keep the wind and water out. It also comes with two hand pockets, a sleeve pocket for your pass or ticket, and an internal mesh pocket. There are also zippered vents in the armpits to help you bring in the breeze if the weather warms up or you’re skiing hard.
The helmet-compatible StormHood is another awesome feature. It has well-designed drawcords that allow you to pull the helmet down tight when you need a little extra protection in the backcountry or during heavy snow. It also has a powder skirt with a stretch panel, gusseted underarms, Velcro cuff adjusters, and WaterTight external zippers. All of these make the Sabre packed full of features you can use to your benefit.
Price and Value
The biggest downside to the Arc’teryx Sabre is its price. It’s not affordable at all. That being said, it’s worth the money for those with much higher budgets. Even with the hefty price tag, I would still give the Sabre high marks for value as it’s a great skiing jacket that will give you lasting cold weather protection and a comfortable fit for many years. It’s also highly durable, and that furthers the value.
What I Like
I like this jacket. Honestly, it’s pretty hard not too. In terms of performance, the Sabre sits in the top rankings of any jacket on the market. This jacket will keep you warm and dry, no matter where you choose to ski or how nasty the conditions get. The GORE-TEX construction is extremely effective and the entire jacket is durable throughout. I talked to a few skiers who were amazed that the jacket didn’t rip when they brushed against a tree branch.
I also like the jacket’s comfort. The brushed flannel-like layer goes a long way and there’s just something about the design that makes it flow. You never notice any restriction of movement and it will move, twist, and turn with you all over the mountain.
Some of the additional features also stand out. The hood is awesome and effective. It also features some of the best helmet compatibility you can find without being too big and burly. The pockets are all great at keeping whatever is inside of them dry. The powder skirt gets a thumbs up, as does the limited lifetime warranty the jacket comes with.
What I Don’t Like
There isn’t much to dislike about the Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket, but its high price is definitely one reason you might not want to get it. It costs as much as a decent set of skis. While you get excellent function for the price, the jacket will simply be unaffordable for a lot of skiers. If you can find the budget for it, the jacket will last you for a long time. That durability can make the price more approachable.
The only other thing I didn’t really like about this jacket was that I found that it wasn’t all that breathable. I run hot as a skier, and from talking to a few other skiers who also experience that, you can get overheated on a warmer day in the Sabre. Even so, I would rather be too warm than too cold.
If you’re looking for an alternative option to the Arc’teryx Sabre you might want to explore some of these other great ski jackets:
- Arc’teryx Rush Jacket – If you want a more backcountry specific jacket that has all of the same reliability and high-functionality of the Sabre, take a look at the Rush. It’s another versatile and effective jacket that’s great for freeride skiers who like to explore outside the resort.
- Patagonia Powslayer Jacket – This is another option from a trusted brand that offers serious protection from the elements, reliable comfort, good performance, and a solid fit. It’s another high-end and expensive option, however.
- Mountain Hardware Boundary Ridge GORE-TEX 3L Jacket – This is a more affordable option than the other models listed here, but it will still provide you with excellent protection for wind and cold alongside the fit.
Is the Arc’teryx Sabre a backcountry jacket?
Not exclusively. This jacket can certainly work well in the backcountry, but it’s also a good option for a resort jacket as well.
Why is the Arc’teryx Sabre so expensive?
Sometimes high-quality comes at a price. That is certainly the case with the Sabre. The high-end materials and excellent design make it an expensive option. However, it can be well worth it if you can afford it.
Is the hood on this jacket big enough to go over a helmet?
Yes. In fact, the StormHood is compatible with almost any helmet and works effectively on all of them.
The Arc’teryx Sabre is an amazing ski jacket that comes highly recommended due to its protection, excellent design, and comfortable fit. It’s also durable and can easily be the only jacket you’ll need on the mountain. However, it is extremely expensive. The price ruins it for a lot of skiers. That being said, if you can afford it the Sabre is one of the best ski jackets on the market.