Your snowboard jacket should keep you dry when you’re riding wet, sloppy snow, breathe enough that you don’t sweat hard when you’re riding hard, and be warm enough that you don’t freeze on the way up the lift for another lap. Most people will want a powder skirt to keep out the snow. Insulation, venting, helmet-compatible hoods, pockets, fit, and fabric choices come down to what’s best for your riding style.
A jacket’s waterproof rating tells you how well its fabric, membrane, and seam construction protect you from wet weather. Look for a higher waterproof rating (20k+) if you spend lots of time in stormy weather or in a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest.
Generally, most snowboarders want a powder skirt to keep the snow out and venting to help them stay cool. A jacket designed for resorts will have features focused on comfort or convenience whereas a jacket designed for the minimalist or backcountry snowboarder will keep things simple to save weight.
Heavily insulated jackets are inherently warm and can be worn over minimal layering. Jackets without insulation require extra mid layers or an insulation layer, but they allow you the flexibility to dress down on warmer days.