Helly Hansen makes a big thing of the eco credentials of the Alpha Infinity ski jacket, which is fair enough since it utilises 100 per cent recycled, two-way stretch LIFA Infinity material in the shell along with 80 per cent recycled Primaloft Black insulation. The shell is also treated with a PFC-free water repellent and is, of course, waterproof and breathable, providing a winning combination that keeps you warm and dry whether sitting on a chair lift or hooning down the pistes.
It’s worth noting that the insulation obviously adds to the bulk and weight (1050g) of the jacket and means that the fit is quite snug, so if you want to layer up a lot beneath it you may need to go up a size. So is the Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity one of the best ski jackets around? Let's take a closer look.
Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity review: design and features
From the top, you get a detachable hood which is both insulated and adjustable, although it does tend to flap about a bit and doesn’t offer particularly good peripheral vision; on the other hand, it’s lovely and snug once you’ve cinched it down, even more so when you also have the usefully high collar zipped up, and the combination of the two does a good job of keeping wind and snow from getting down your neck.
The collar also acts as a good example of just how technical this jacket is, featuring as it does front ‘vents’ to allow your breath to escape and help prevent your goggles fogging up.
There are two handwarmer pockets and two chest pockets, all zippered, on the outside of the jacket, whilst inside the Alpha Infinity there’s a zippered security pocket and a generously sized mesh stash pocket, so there’s plenty of room to carry stuff like goggles, buff and energy bars if you don’t like skiing with a backpack. And you also get a zippered lift pass pocket on the left sleeve.
Mesh-lined pit zips help with temperature regulation on warmer days, whilst a snow skirt helps keep the snow out on snowier days, and further protection from the elements comes in the form of Velcro adjustable cuffs and an elasticated hem.
The choice of colourways is quite muted, which may not suit everyone, but if you don’t need your ski gear to make a statement on the mountain there’s a lot to like about the Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity, although it is towards the top end in terms of price when compared to similar products.
Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity review: performance and comfort
The Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity is ideal for piste skiers who like to clock up some serious mileage, with the combination of waterproof/breathable two-way stretch fabric and Primaloft insulation ensuring you remain warm and dry whilst doing so.
The left-hand chest pocket – also called a ‘Life Pocket’ – is specifically designed to hold your phone, featuring as it does Primaloft Gold insulation to help insulate the battery. This is a really useful feature as it’s annoying at best when your phone packs up because of the cold, and potentially dangerous at worst. And talking of safety, the jacket also incorporates a Recco reflector should you decide to head off-piste (but please take and know how to use a transceiver too!).
As Helly Hansen’s most technical ski jacket the array of features it offers are generally very practical, from the array of pockets (seven in total) to mesh-lined pit zips and a powder skirt to help keep you comfy whatever the weather is doing; it’s a shame the hood is rather floppy, but bearing in mind that most people don’t wear a hood whilst actually skiing this isn’t that big a deal.
Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity review: verdict
The Helly Hansen Alpha Infinity is an extremely well-specced ski jacket that will appeal to piste skiers who don’t mind shelling out a few quid for their gear. It’s both very snug and comfortable in use and you’ll be glad of it you’re sitting on an icy chairlift in the middle of a blizzard, but it will work equally well when belting down the piste on a glorious, sunny day. However, it’s noticeably heavier and bulkier than a shell jacket, which makes it less practical for more high energy, serious off-piste action.