The Helly Hansen Alpha Jacket 3.0 is high-quality ski apparel that builds on the design of one of the most popular resort jackets of all time. Reliable, comfortable, and built to last, this jacket has been a favorite for many skiers season after season. It’s far from cheap, but if you want a jacket that will deliver in any condition, it’s more than worth the high price.
- Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, REI
- Best for: This is a highly recommended all-season resort jacket that holds up well through many different winter conditions. Perfect for any skier looking for high-end performance who’s not concerned with price.
- Pros: This is a well-made option from a trusted brand. That namesake alone is a bonus, but this jacket is a tried and true offering from the company. It’s durable, comfortable, and built to perform.
- Cons: Expensive. You could realistically get two ski jackets for the cost of the Alpha 3.0.
- Alternatives: North Face Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate, Patagonia 3-in-1 Snowshot, Flylow Roswell
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 have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I have used the Helly Hansen Alpha Jacket 3.0 in many different conditions and have spoken with other skiers who have done the same. My detailed review is below.
The latest version of the Helly Hansen Alpha Jacket 3.0 builds on an already legendary foundation. This is a great ski jacket that’s fully constructed and designed with the needs and demands of skiers in mind. It’s expensive, but will last for years and serve as the only ski jacket you’ll ever need. A reliable brand with an exceptional build.
Warmth and Weather
Every ski jacket needs to provide you with warmth and weather protection. While some options do a decent job, the Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 goes far above and beyond the norm. It’s a skier’s jacket that will give you reliable performance in both of these much-needed parameters no matter where you ski or what your favorite type of conditions happen to be.
Let’s start things off here with a word on the weather and water-resistance that this jacket provides. It’s built up to the standards of all Helly Hansen gear, which means it has serious protection from the elements. That’s largely thanks to the Helly Tech Professional fabric on the outside that excels at keeping water and snow away. This jacket seriously protects you from getting cold while you ski.
The jacket has PrimaLoft insulation all throughout it. That top-of-the-line insulation provides lasting warmth, but is also breathable when conditions aren’t as severe. The insulation layer also utilizes an H2Flow system that supposedly increases venting to keep you dry. I can’t directly attest to the effectiveness of this system, as I really didn’t notice any targeted venting, but the idea that it exists is pretty neat.
The Alpha 3.0 is not the warmest jacket in the world, but when paired with the proper layering it will keep you toasty easily in sub-zero conditions. It also does that without soaking in sweat when the weather gets warmer. That makes it a versatile, all-season option.
Comfort and Fit
The Alpha 3.0 is a comfortable jacket that comes in a regular fit. It’s a not too tight and not too loose option that’s available in sizes ranging from small to XXL. I typically wear a large, and although this size did fit me pretty well overall, next time I would go for an XL just to get a bit more freedom of movement in the shoulders on those days when I need to wear an extra layer or two.
With that in mind, I would say the jacket does run close to true to size. However, if you happen to sit in the middle ground between sizes, go ahead and get a size up. If you have narrow shoulders, I would stick with your normal one.
The elbows and shoulders articulate well no matter how crazy you get with your pole plants or wild waves to your friends. The jacket also stays in place when you’re skiing hard and fast. The thumbhole in the wrist gaiters helps to keep snow out too. I particularly enjoy that feature because of the extra comfort it adds.
Construction and Style
The Alpha Jacket 3.0 looks very much the part of a classic resort ski jacket. It sits snug on the torso down to the waist. That gives it a simple look that somewhat disguises all of the functions and features it has to offer. It’s available in several different color options to match your style. While it doesn’t stand out in terms of looks, its performance is above average.
This standard resort-style gives you a rugged zipper up the middle that can be zipped up all the way to block wind and snow on those extra cold, wintery days. It also has a built-in hood that will fit over a helmet and provide another layer of protection against the elements. That all comes together to provide a sleek looking jacket that makes you look like you know what you’re doing out in the snow.
The jacket is built with a layer of Helly Tech Professional fabric that’s equal parts effective and comfortable. It has a nice stretch to it that moves with your body without holding you back. The seams throughout the Alpha 3.0 are fully sealed as well. The Primaloft insulation features 80 grams in the sleeves and 100 grams in the body. That allows for a little extra ventilation when you need to let off heat.
The Alpha 3.0 also comes with some additional features that aren’t apparent just from looking at it. The articulated elbows and shoulders, as mentioned above, actually add more than I anticipated in terms of extra movement and flexibility. The jacket also has two hand warming pockets and two chest pockets where you can keep gear or snacks. The Life Pocket is said to keep electronic devices charged longer thanks to extra insulation as well.
The hood is also detachable, which is another feature that I always look for in a ski jacket. The snap-away powder skirt is very effective at helping you keep snow away from your under layers when you’re lucky enough to find deep areas. The H2Flow venting system is worth another mention because it helps make this such a great jacket.
Price and Value
With all of its high-end performance and function features, the Alpha 3.0 does come with a pretty hefty price tag. It’s worth it and makes for an excellent value if you can afford it. However, because this price can be a definite barrier to entry for a lot of skiers, I’m going to give the jacket a moderate value rating. It has everything you want and then some, but it’s an expensive item that can also be difficult to justify if you need any other gear or equipment.
What I Like
I’m a big fan of Helly Hansen gear. The Alpha 3.0 is one of the staples that I really like. It’s a solid resort jacket that hits all the marks you would want and expect from high quality winter clothing. It’s a warm jacket that comes with plenty of insulation to keep you cozy without being too hot. As a skier who goes hard and often works up a sweat, that’s a feature I truly enjoy.
I also enjoy the 4-way stretch fabric that makes up the outer layer. Even with a size that was a bit too small, the extra stretch gave me enough room to move without feeling constricted. That, alongside the added benefits of the H2Flow vent system, makes the jacket amazing from a performance and comfort standpoint.
The extra features the jacket comes with are also pretty great. A removable hood is a feature I love in a ski jacket. Multiple pockets are a must as well. This jacket has four that you can easily utilize. The brand recognition that Helly Hansen provides is another obvious advantage the Alpha has over its competition.
What I Don’t Like
There are only a few things I don’t like about this jacket. The biggest issue is by far the price. It’s really expensive. You get what you pay for in the terms of quality, performance, and a reliable brand name backed by excellent customer service, but I feel like a price that’s almost as expensive as a set of new skis is a lot to ask for your average skier. Many people simply aren’t going to be able to afford this option.
The Alpha 3.0 also isn’t the most stylish jacket around. It doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t stand out either. I tend to like jackets with a little more flair and style. This is a small complaint when you consider how the jacket’s excellent performance attributes, but it’s another reason I might consider looking elsewhere if you like to put your winter clothing style on display.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0, here are some other quality jackets:
- North Face Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate – This is a high quality resort jacket that will meet the needs of most skiers. It has a standard ski jacket look with excellent performance across all conditions. The jacket features ThermoBall insulation and a dry vent shell to keep you warm and dry no matter how hard you ski.
- Patagonia 3-in-1 Snowshot – Patagonia is another well-respected brand in the cold-weather game, and their Snowshot is an excellent all-around ski jacket. It’s a little bit more affordable than the Alpha 3.0, but still on the expensive end. Durable, warm, and ready for action, it’s another great jacket.
- Flylow Roswell – This is a great ski jacket from a brand I love. A little roomier and more comfortable than the other alternatives listed here, this jacket provides high-end performance at a more approachable price. It also has a modern, freestyle look.
Can the Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 be used in all weather conditions?
Yes. Just about, anyway. It has ample insulation for colder ski days alongside adequate ventilation to keep you cool in warmer weather. It will work in just about any condition.
Does the LifePocket actually keep an electronic device charged longer?
Hard to say. While cold weather shortens the lifespan of any battery, extra insulation can indeed extend the life. Whether the pocket does it any better than regular ski pockets is hard to determine.
The Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 is a great ski jacket, inside and out. It meets and exceeds performance standards across the board in a way that will provide you with reliable protection from the wind and snow. It also has a bunch of great, innovative features that greatly increase its value.
The price, however, is extremely high and a definite downside for the average skier. While you do get quality performance for the price, it’s simply not affordable for the majority of skiers. If you do have the extra money or can find a deal on the jacket, it’s a great option.