The best winter coats for the sports enthusiast depend upon what type of sports are being engaged in, as well as in what temperatures and weather conditions. For extremely cold temperatures, lower than -20 Degrees Celsius (-20C.), with deep and blowing snow, the parka is king for slower sports, like snowshoeing. Good ski jackets, snow suits or snowmobile suits are the best winter jackets for the sports enthusiasts in the winter, for people enjoying those specific sports. Ski jackets or suits are the most versatile, but will not do much good on a snowmobile, or while bird watching or ice fishing, as they are meant for active bodies.
For temperatures between -10 C. and 5C., the lighter, or less expensive jackets will do just fine, as the body will generate enough heat while being active to keep you warm inside most winter jackets. If you must wear the cheaper jackets, sweaters will aid in keeping you warm, and can be taken off when you become too warm.
For the skier, snowboarder or snowshoer, where high mountain elevations, along with the extreme cold and blowing snow are commonplace, a good ski jacket, or one-piece snow suit is the ideal winter jacket. Skiers and other winter outdoor sports enthusiasts tend to sweat a lot, and need a jacket that will both wick the sweat away from their body, as well as keep the heat in, and the cold out.
For outdoor sports enthusiasts, it would depend upon how often you go out, and how much you can afford. Brands like Spyder, North Face, Decente and Columbia all have excellent entries in the outdoor sportsmen jackets in the $1,000.00 range (US dollars), with Columbia being the lower-end of the higher-end outfits. Spyder and Decente are two of the best jacket manufacturers for skiers.
Snowmobilers will need a more hearty jacket, as they tend to be sitting for most of the ride. And, as they do go rather fast, the wind chill is magnified, making the cold a lot colder on their bodies. With layered clothing, at least a couple of sweaters and sweat-wicking long underwear, the snowmobilers need a snowmobile jacket or suit. They are designed specifically for snowmobiling, and wearing even one of the best ski jackets will not compare to a good snowmobile suit while on a ski-Doo (or other make of snowmobile).
Of course, the reverse is just as true. Wearing a snowmobile suit while skiing will not keep you as warm as the same ski jacket that lacked in performance for snowmobiling. Sometimes, you really do have to buy the equipment that is designed for specific sports. With that in mind, you should decide how many of the diverse winter sports you will likely be enjoying, like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, and buy the jacket that is best suited for the majority of your winter sports.
If you are even a casual skier, going once or twice a month during the 5 to 6 months that most major ski resorts are open, then splurging on a really good ski jacket or one-piece suit will be a financial investment that you will not regret.