I know what you’re thinking: Ski Jackets? It’s only a week after Labor Day and you’re talking about ski jackets? Well, its never too early to pray for snow and most of the shops have received a bunch of the new gear and apparel. And we want you to be ready for the ski season with the hottest jackets available. So lets get right into it…

New for the 2007-2008 season, the folks at Gore have given us the brand new Gore-Tex Pro Shell material. This new fabric is lighter, more durable, and more comfortable to wear than its predecessors. It’s engineered to be the most rugged, most breathable, durably waterproof and windproof fabric you’ve ever experienced. And the top brands have embraced it with their top of the line offerings. Our favorite jackets made from this great fabric are: Arcteryx Stinger, Marmot Exum, Mountain Hardwear Beryllium, Outdoor Research Mentor, Venom Poacher and North Face Free Thinker.

Now we realize that the Gore-Tex Pro Shell jackets are probably the most expensive ski jackets you’ll find on the market. If you don’t need this “ultimate fabric” or just don’t want to spend the money, have no fear, as there are still several options for you out there. Several brands have their own proprietary waterproof/breathable fabric that will get the job done. Take a look at the: Marmot Tamarack Jacket, Patagonia Primo Jacket and North Face Varius Guide Jacket.

For those of you that are really cost conscious, you should consider purchasing a 3-in-1 ski jacket. When you get a 3-in-1, as the name suggests, you essentially get 3 jackets for the price of one. Typically these jackets are a combination of a waterproof shell and a zip in fleece (or other insulater) that can be worn on its own. Our picks in this category are: Columbia Bugaboo Parka, Marmot Tower 3 Component Jacket, Spyder Alpha Component and North Face Amplitude Triclimate Jacket.

Now if you’re the type of skier that absolutely can’t stand the cold and want the ultimate in warmth, then you need to find yourself an insulated ski jacket. Whether its down or synthetic primaloft, these jackets will keep you toasty on the stormiest days: Columbia Ballistic Insulated Jacket, Patagonia Rubicon Puff Jacket and Arcteryx Fission.

While a lot of the jackets we’ve reccomended above come in both men’s and women’s versions, most of the best brands have styles built specifically for women. As we all know a woman’s body is drastically different from a man’s and these jackets take into consideration the fit and needs of women: Spyder Meribel Jacket, North Face Foxy Suede Jacket and North Face Allure Jacket.

In the end, style, fit and personal tastes will ultimately determine which jacket or jackets you choose. Just know that you can’t go wrong with any of the models highlighted here. One item to note is that I have not discussed any softshell jackets. Soft shells have come a long way in the past few years and I feel they deserve their own article. So stay tuned for our chosen softshell jackets in another edition of OGE Picks.

Do you own any of these jackets? Do you think we missed the mark with our recommendations? Do you have a jacket you think should be highlighted here? Let us know about it by sharing your comments below.