Stay snug on the slopes with the North Face women's foil thermal ski jacket.

Ever wondered how those skiers on TV always manage to look so radiantly cheerful? Whenever you get out on the slopes there always seems to be a gale blowing in straight off the Arctic. To get the best out of your ski holiday, it's essential to stay warm. We checked the credentials of one popular item of  ski wear, the North Face women's foil thermal ski jacket.

Warmth is the operative word with this jacket. North Face (www.thenorthface.com) is a respected name in hiking and mountain wear, and they have placed the emphasis on protection from the elements. For those who like the jargon, the padding here is a baffled 550 fill down, which in laymen's terms equates to very cosy indeed.

Modern outdoor gear likes to get your respect by throwing in a couple of trademarked extras to suggest a team of white-jacketed scientists coming up with space-age breakthroughs to keep you warm. This jacket is no exception, with PrimaLoft Eco insulation in the sleeves and Polartec Power Stretch fleece in the underarms.

What that means is the jacket offers great breathable protection, and the important freedom of movement that you need to impress on the slopes.

Actually this isn't a jacket for the showy skier or alpine enthusiast, but for the seriously active who want to spend hours in the snow. Its Ripstop Taffeta shell features Goretex technology and that thermal lining to seal in body warmth when you've been outside for a long time.

Not that it doesn't look sharp, with a slick asymmetric zip to the neck and stitch detailing on the outside. It's not just for skiers either. Snowboarders and high-level hikers will appreciate its protection from the cold.

The North Face women's foil thermal ski jacket has been developed and enhanced in the North Face range, but it is possible to find the originals still online, in some outlet stores, and on ebay (www.ebay.co.uk). Expect to pay around £100.

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