Best Ski Pants
As ski resorts open around the country, and as you begin to get itchy feet in anticipation for the new slope season, it may also mean that it’s time for some new skiing gear. And while you may not be interested in replacing your full ski ensemble, investing in a crisp new pair of ski pants is never a bad idea.
A good pair of pants for skiing is essential for staying in good spirits on the slopes. Nobody wants to spend their time on a long chairlift shivering in wet, cold pants. Instead, a reliable pair of water-resistant pants will keep your mind off the severe conditions, because you will feel warm, dry, and comfortable.
Depending on what style of skiing you do, what you will look for in a pair of pants differ. If interested in snowboarding check our guide on snowboarding pants.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Versatility in movement
Designed for park skiing
Top Ten Ski Pants
1. Spyder Troublemaker
Versatility in movement
Designed for park skiing
Legs run long
The Spyder Troublemaker Pant was designed with park rats in mind. With articulated knee construction and scuff guards, these ski pants are built to stand up to days spent riding the park and the pipe.Read more
These are insulated with 40-gram synthetic lining, which makes them quite warm even on chilly days. They are also made with a waterproof, hardshell material and have taped seams to keep any extra moisture out.
Ventilation zippers on the inner thigh of these snow pants help make them comfortable on warmer days.
They have a fitted look that isn’t too tight or too baggy. This, along with the particular attention that is paid to the construction of the knee, gives them pants great versatility in movement. They are designed for men only and come in black, gray, blue, orange, and red. These winter pants are often found to run long in the leg, even when the rest of the ski pant fits perfectly. They have three pockets, in the front near your waist and one cargo pocket on the right leg, all of which can be zippered shut. These ski pants also feature elastic cuff gaiters at the bottom of each leg.
The price is typical of what one should expect to pay for pants for skiing of this quality. The Spyder Troubleamke Pant is a great snow pant for skiing on resorts. The versatility of movement they have means you will be comfortable using these for riding moguls, trees, and in the park alike. They are also very warm and will keep you cozy even on the chilliest days.
2. Burton Society
Come in lots of colors
The Burton Society Pants are a versatile and cozy choice for days spend riding a resort. Although Burton is technically a snowboarding brand, these pants are slim fitting enough to be a great choice for skiing as well.Read more
These skiing pants are insulated with 40-gram Thermolite insulation. They also have a taffeta lining for extra comfort. They are fully waterproof and have taped seams to keep moisture out.
These snow pants have zippered vents along both inner thighs. Around your ankles, you will find cuffs that help to stop snow from getting into your boots. Zippers at the ankle make putting the cuffs on a breeze.
They have a relaxed, yet streamlined look that is very attractive. The general fit works well on most bodies, and the pant legs aren’t too long. They come in many bright colors and are styled for women only. These ones also feature two front pockets and two back pockets that can be zippered shut, and an adjustable waistband so they can be adjusted to fit perfectly.
The pants come at slightly below the average price for what one should expect to pay for skiing pants. The Burton Society Pants are a fashionable choice for resort riding. With high-quality insulation for cold days and vents for hot days, they can work every day of the season. However, they won’t be a good choice if you plan on venturing out of bounds.
3. Columbia Bugaboo 2
Comes in multiple colors
Sizing to large
Red, blue, turquoise, black, yellow, green, and white. These (and more) are all of the colors that you can expect to find with this vibrantly colored ski pant. The Bugaboo 2 is a remake of the beloved original, and the pants are versatile, insulated, and made with quality materials. Find out why we love them below.Read more
The Bugaboo 2 is made with a waterproof technology called Omnitech. To ensure no moisture ever seeps into, the Bugaboo 2 have been fastened with critical seems. They are also insulated to keep you warm in cold temps. Along with the above features, there are reinforced cuff guards, which will keep snow from sneaking into the snow pants.
Not only are you protected from uncomfortable moisture sinking in and making the pants soggy, but they are also breathable to offer you the most airflow and comfort.
Columbia always provides customers with varied sizes that can fit just about everyone, and these pants are no different. To ensure that they fit you snuggly, you can customize the waistband with the adjustable waist tabs. Additionally, the knees in these Bugaboo 2 pants are articulated, so that they are durable to last for a run after the run (season after season).
If you are in the market for snow pants that can work for skiing or snowboarding, or if you want something that is reasonably priced and durable, you need to look no further.
4. Boulder Gear Pinnacle
Fit runs small
The Boulder Gear Pinnacle Bib is an attractive, insulated bib pant that will keep you very warm, even while skiing in severe weather. Adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt make these ones adaptable to many different sized individuals.Read more
These ski pants have 80-gram synthetic insulation and are fully waterproof.
These snow pants come with a small zippered hand pocket. They also have gaiters at the ankles, which help to keep snow out of the pants.
These ski pants come with a full bib style that covers your chest and back and is secured with shoulder straps. The straps are adjustable, as is the width of the waist. These snow pants are only available in black but can be bought in a style for men and women. Many customers have found that these winter pants run small and recommend buying a size larger than you usually do.
These ski pants are quite inexpensive compared to other similar products. The Boulder Gear Pinnacle Bib wit keep you toasty warm during cold days on the slopes. They are an inexpensive choice for someone who primarily rides at resorts.
5. Salomon Chill Out Bib
The Salomon Chill Out Bib Pant has important features like a removable bib and high-quality ventilation that make it an extremely versatile ski pant. It is particularly well suited to chilly adventures in the backcountry.Read more
These ski pants are insulated at 60-grams with Salomon’s Advanced Skin Warm Insulation technology. They are also fully waterproof.
These ski pants have a removable powder bib. This bib stops snow from going up the back of your jacket and makes these pants a great choice for backcountry riding. With so much insulation, these snow pants can get hot for skiing. However, large ventilation pockets are located on the outside of the pant that allows for airflow and releases heat.
These pants are styled to be slim-fitting without being restrictive. They are available in red and black. They are reported to be true to size. These ski pants are only made in style for men. They also have two front hand pockets and two backside pockets as well as a cargo pocket upfront. All of these pockets can be zippered shut.
These snow pants are on the upper end of the average cost for a similar pair of skiing pants. The Salomon Chill Out Bib Pant is a well-designed and versatile pant that will look good and work well in the park or skiing backcountry bowls alike. With their extra insulation, these pants are too hot for touring in warmer weather.
6. Burton Gloria
Over 30 colors/designs to choose from
Tend to fit tight in thighs
Aren't very stretchy
The Gloria is a stylish and comfortable addition specifically made for women. While these pants don't feature any specific insulation technology, they are water and windproof. Most skiers find that they are quite comfortable without an extra layer underneath. Even better, you can choose from over 30 different colors and designs.Read more
While there isn’t any specifically dedicated insulation, these pants do offer a decent amount of warmth. They are made from DryRide Durashell 2L Polyester with a taffeta lining. They feature two fleece-lined handwarmer pockets and two cargo pockets. To avoid any snow or cold air from sneaking in, the seams are fully taped. Additionally, the inside is very soft and would easily slide under an optional base layer.
With a moisture-wicking lining and mesh-lined inner thigh vents, you get plenty of breathability with the Gloria pants. They are finished with a DWR finish and are up to 10,000mm waterproof.
As Burton’s description claims, these pants are “tailored to fit like your favorite low rider jeans,” but more comfortable and flexible. They have a slim fit, button closure, articulated knees, and expandable snowproof gaiters that make it easy to slip them on and off over your boots. As for the general sizing of the pants, it seems that the waist measurements tend to run true to size but the pants are tight in the thighs for many women.
Depending on the color you choose, the price varies. Overall, they are averagely priced for ski pants. To aid in the durability of the pants, they feature anti-scuff cuffs and come with a one year warranty from Burton. Overall, they weigh only 1.10-pounds. They also feature an ATM pocket and key clip for extra convenience.
7. Flylow Chemical
The Flylow Chemical Skiing Pant is a stylish choice for skiing pants. These uninsulated hardshell winter pants are also very adaptable, proving comfortable on and off the resort.Read more
These ski pants have no insulation, making them a good choice for warm days on the slopes, or backcountry touring where you will be working up a sweat. They have a breathable waterproof membrane, taped seams, and waterproof zippers on the pockets. To further reinforce their ability to keep you dry, these snow pants are also treated with water repellent.
To ensure comfort no matter the weather or how hard your working, these ski pants feature a dual ventilation system. One set of zippered vents are located on each inner thigh, while another set on the outside of the pants. This maximizes airflow through the ski pants.
These ski pants have a slouchy, baggy fit, which is great for layering on cold days. They come in an assortment of black and brown tones and have stylish detailing on the knees and around the cuff. They are designed in style for men only. These winter pants have four pockets, two in the front and two in the back, all of which can be zippered shut. Finally, they also have powder cuffs around the ankles and an adjustable waist belt to maximize comfort.
These ski pants are expensive however they have a quality make and are worth the price. The Flylow Chemical Skiing Pant is an attractive ski pant that is well suited to pretty much any activity you want to do in the mountains. The lack of insulation and breathable material make them appropriate for backcountry skiing, while the baggy fit allows for layers on cold days of resort riding.
8. Volcom Freakin Snow Chino
Legs run long
The Volcom Freakin Snow Chino Pant offers a relaxed yet fitted look that’ll work both in and out of bounds. Uninsulated, and with extra ventilation capabilities, these are an excellent choice for an affordable all-around ski pant.Read more
These snow pants are not insulated, but can still provide am warmth on cold days if appropriately layered. They are also very waterproof and have taped to ensure you won’t get wet.
Large ventilation zippers along the inner thigh allow for airflow if you become hot. Gaiters and zippers around the ankle make it easy to get the winter pants on and keep the snow out.
These ski pants are technically designed for snowboarders, but the relaxed yet athletically tapered fit will look great with a pair of skis as well. They come in a variety of colors that all fall within the white, black, and brown spectrum and are designed for men only. They do tend to run long, so if you are short sizing down may be a good idea. These ski pants have two pockets located in the back. Finally, an adjustable waistband ensures the perfect fit.
The ski pants come at a price that is consistent with other similar products. The Volcom Freakin Snow Chino Pant will have you looking fly wherever you wear it. This versatile pant offers great movement and breathability and will be comfortable while doing pretty much any type of skiing.
9. Arc’teryx Sabre
Variety of colors
Fit runs large
The Arc’teryx Sabre Pant is a high-quality pant that is made to stay comfortable while skiing a variety of terrain. Breathable, highly waterproof material means you will stay cool on hot days, and dry in bad weather.Read more
These ski pants have a light, fleece lining, that insulates, and are soft against your legs if worn without a base layer. The outer is a fully waterproof softshell. Gore-Tex tape is also used along the seams of these winter pants to give added protection from the elements.
These ski pants have five pockets in total. Two of these pockets are vents on the outer thighs and provide quick relief if you are overly insulated, allowing you control your inner temperature.
These pants are slim fitting and are meant to have a streamlined athletic look. They come in many different colors, most with attractive two-toned details. They are available in a bib style as well but only come in a fit catered to men. They do tend to run large in the winter pant length and width, so if you’re looking for a tight fit sizing down may be recommended. All of the pockets can be shut with water-resistant zippers. They also have powder cuffs for keeping the snow out of your boots. Finally, a built-in belt will help make sure the snow pants fit right.
These ski pants come at a premium price, but you are getting what you pay for in terms of versatility and quality. If you are looking for an all-mountain pant, that will also do well for some light backcountry, the Arcteryx Sabre Pant is a great choice. Highly waterproof, breathable, and allowing for ample movement, they will keep you comfortable every day of the season.
10. Outdoor Research Trailbreaker
Available for men and women
The Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants are designed to be the ideal backcountry ski pant. The lightweight material and large zippered vents can keep you cool as you skin uphill, while the strategically placed waterproof material will keep the cold and wet out.Read more
These ski pants are an uninsulated softshell, which makes them very breathable. Most of these winter pant repels water but will not stay dry in the rain. In snow, especially the dry snow of the Rockies, these pants will work perfectly fine though. Around the lower part of the leg, there is a fully waterproof area, which helps keep your legs dry while breaking the snow.
These snow pants have large ventilation pockets on the outside of each leg that can be open to created airflow and release heat.
These ski pants are slim fitting, with a body-hugging, athletic look. There is also an adjustable waistband to ensure you get the perfect fit. They are available in black and tan and have a stylish, two-toned look. They are designed in style for men and women. The men’s version comes with suspenders. They also have two zippered hand pockets and a back pocket specifically designed to fit a beckon. Gaiters inside each leg and zippers along the ankles are there to keep snow out of your boots and provide added comfort.
These ski pants come at a price that is consistent with what one should expect to pay for similar products. The Outdoor Research Trailblazer Pants are an almost perfect backcountry pant, offering breathability, lightweight movement, and multiple handy features. Their lack of insulation makes them less desirable for truly cold days though, and the fact that they are only water-resistant means that are a bad choice for wet skiing or if you will be falling a lot.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Skiing in the backcountry involves more time spent trudging through heavy snow than flying down the side of a mountain. Skiing is a cardio exercise that will have you sweating even on a chilly day. For more cardio exercises check our guide on the best treadmills.
Because of this, uninsulated snow pants are the best for backcountry skiing. On truly freezing days, where temperatures dip into the single digits and below, some insulation is a good idea. Make sure that the pants you choose still have breathable fabric and are well ventilated though.
If you will be primarily skiing at resorts, then staying warm on cold chairlift rides is of a more significant concern than breathability. Insulated pants will be a lifesaver on chilly days in December and January, especially if you visit a mountain during peak times when you will most likely spend longs spells waiting in lift lines.
Most insulated pants use synthetic insulation, which is measured in grams. The number listed is a representation of how much a 1 meter by 1-meter piece of that insulation weighs. The higher the number, the warmer the synthetic insulation is.
It is overheating while skiing is uncomfortable and can impair performance. It can also be dangerous since wet clothes from sweat can cause hypothermia, pneumonia, and other problems when you become cold again. For more on common ski injuries read our blog.
Ventilation is especially important for backcountry skiers since they may be many miles from civilization when an issue arises. Therefore, any ski pant that is going to be used outside of a resort needs extra vents in the legs.
The larger the vent, the better. Look for ones that are on the outside of the leg, which will release heat more quickly than one’s against the thigh. Also, duel vent systems, with one on the inside and outside of the pant leg, gives extra versatility and dramatically increases the airflow throughout the pant.
Additional ventilation is not integral to resort skiing but can be useful if you want to have one pair of snow pants for every type of weather. Small vents on the inner part of the thigh or outside of the leg work just fine to cool down a pair of insulated pants on warm days in bounds.
More than anything else, the style and fit are a matter of preference. In general, skiing style favors athletic, streamlined cuts that hug the body. However, exceptions exist, such as park skiers, who tend to prefer a baggier look that is similar to the way snowboarders dress. The way winter pants fit can be broken down into slim, medium, and baggy. Well-made pants will look good and have shape no matter what fit they are designed with.
There are a few other variables that can inform the style that you choose. Bib pants are very functional in the snow and can be a good choice if you prefer to ride with a sweatshirt instead of a jacket. The extra protection in the front and back of your torso will keep you warm on days that aren’t especially cold. What colors a pant is available it can also be a deciding factor if you can’t choose between a couple of different styles. Think about what colors your jackets, sweatshirts, skis, and boots are. You want to make sure the pants you choose will match the rest of your outfit.
When looking for a pair of skiing pants, you will find the price tag varies depending on the pair you are looking at. When looking for a great pair for this winter season, do not be solely swayed by the price tag and do the research by checking the customer reviews to make sure you are getting all the features you are looking for in a pair of pants for skiing. If you just purchase solely on price, you may end up with an expensive pair that will not hold up this winter season.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Remember that wearing a pair of pants is only the first step, you should always wear a base layer underneath your skiing pants. The base layer ensures that you maintain warmth created from your body and that if any snow sneaks its way into your pants, you will not be uncomfortable.
Whether you are new or a novice, safety equipment is always a good idea. It seems that some people feel that a helmet is optional, but it shouldn't be. Even on a well-groomed slope, something unexpected can get in the way and cause a nasty fall. If you are new to the sport, there are also padded shorts that you can use to protect your butt and hips from aches and pains caused by falling.
While it may seem strange at first, skiing pants should be about four to five inches longer than your everyday pants. They should cover your boots for the most part. This gives them a great fit and also lessens the chances of cold weather sneaking in. If your pants are way too long, you can tuck them up and add in a few stitches to keep the cuff in place.
Other Factors to Consider
Most pants are made from fully waterproof materials. There are levels of the effectiveness of water resistance, though. For most this property is measured in 5,000 – 20,000mm, with a higher number signifying more waterproof material. Good water-repellent pants also have taped seams. How waterproof you need your pants to depend on the types of environment you typically ski.
For example, if the mountain your frequent are in the Rockies, where snow is light and dry, a less waterproof pant will do just fine. However, if you mostly ski in the Pacific Northwest, which has a humid, wet climate, highly waterproof pants are a prudent investment. Other situations when waterproof pants are important is in the spring when snow is very slushy, and if you are a beginner and know you will be falling a lot.
Sometimes it's the little things that make a product shine. The features of the pants for skiing can provide extra comfort, ease of use, and confidence on the slopes. Here are a few of the most important features to look for:
Although jackets have pockets as well, having more places to store your things while you always ski helpful, especially if you don’t like to wear a backpack. On warm days, when a heavy coat is a hindrance, pants pockets may be the only space you have for storage. Hand pockets in the front, back pockets in the rear, and a cargo pocket located halfway down the right leg are the typical spots to find pockets on the pants.
Gaiters are cuffs that are placed around the outside of your boots to help keep snow out. They sometimes have hooks that can be attached to your shoe to keep them firmly in place. Zippers on the bottom of pants allow for gaiters to be easily put on or taken off. Remember, this feature only works if the pant legs and gaiter are placed outside, not inside, your ski boots.
Some snow pants include hooks that can be attached to your jacket to stop it from moving up your back if you fall and to keep snow out. This feature typically works best if the same manufacturer makes the jacket you use as your pants. However, as long as your skiing pants and ski jacket both include the necessary straps for connection, they can be made to work.
Adjustable Waist Belt/Belt Loops
The ability to adjust the waist of your winter pants can make a big difference in terms of comfort – Nobody wants to spend their day pulling their pants up or worried they would fall halfway through a run. Many include adjustable waistbands, which typically work using Velcro. If the pants you choose don’t have this feature, make sure they do have belt loops.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why are some ski pants so expensive?
When it comes to these pants, you get what you pay for. A more significant price tag typically means higher quality. Highly breathable and durable fabrics cost more to make, as do extra features. More expensive ones are also better designed and will look more flattering on. Other qualities that make a pair of snow pants more expensive are waterproofness and a bib.
There are economy options. However, you do often loose functionality, versatility, and style when opting for the cheaper option. Another solution is to buy last year’s apparel. Also, if you can wait until the end of the season, many shops will have liquidation sales as they prepare to stock items for the summer.
q: What is the difference between skiing and snowboarding pants?
The only real difference between skiing and snowboarding pants is fit. Ski style prefers a slimmer fit, while snowboarders tend to wear baggier, loose-fitting clothes. However, in recent years, snowboarding pants have begun to favor a style that hugs the upper part of the leg, and flares near the bottom, which can look very stylish with a pair of skis. At the end of the day, skiing and snowboard pants are basically the same and what you choose really comes down to the style that you prefer.
q: What is the purpose of bib pants?
Bib pants are the snow pant equivalent to overalls. With a big panel of fabric in the back, bibs offer added protection when skiing powder. Even if snow makes its way up to your back, the bib will stop you from becoming cold and wet. Some bib pants also have a panel in the front, which helps to keep your chest warm, while others are styled more like suspenders.
The final advantage to bib pants is that there is no restrictive waistband, which allows for greater versatility of movement while you ski. Bib pants do tend to be heavier and bulkier than other pants for skiing. The extra fabric also makes it more expensive. Finally, when buying bib pants, look for ones that have zippered drop-seats. This extra feature makes going to the bathroom in the type of ski pant much easier.
q: Where should I look for good ski pants besides this guide?
There are many sites on the internet that cater specifically to clothing designed for outdoor recreation. These sites often have last year’s apparel at a significantly discounted price. Backcountry.com, Moosejaw.com, and sierratradingpost.com are all examples of great places to look for pants for skiing. Other retailer giants like REI and EMS are also good places to look at.
These two stores are also great if you want to try some winter pants on – they both have locations all over the country, although EMS stores are concentrated in the Northeast. Keep an eye out for when REI has their garage sales. These discount sales are a great place to find deals on any type of gear imaginable.
If you want to try some pants on, going to a brand brick and mortar store is a good option. Most cities have at least one store for each major outfitter. If you live outside the city, your town may have a ski shop where you can try on many different pairs at once.
Throughout this process, the most important thing is to take your time and carefully think about what you need. Pants for skiing are expensive, and buying the right pair can be an investment that will last you for years to come.
q: What kinds of ski pants are there?
Hardshell pants are typically made of nylon or polyester. These snow pants are usually a trifecta of being breathable, waterproof, and windproof. One thing to note about these winter pants is that they sometimes offer some insulation, but not as much as genuinely insulated skiing pants.
The benefits of wearing hardshell pants are that they tend to be more lightweight and less bulky than other types. If you find that you are a person who is always warm, hardshell pants are a good option. When it comes to freezing temperatures, you may want to opt for pants that offer more insulation.
Like the pants above, insulated ski pants have a waterproof shell; however, they come with more insulation to keep you warmer. The more padding that comes with these pants means that they will be a touch heavier and bulkier. The level of insulation that you find in these ski pants is measured in grams, so if you want a warmer pant, you will most likely want a pair of ski pants with more grams of insulation.
Softshell Ski Pants
Unlike hardshell pants that will make a rustling sound when you wear them, a softshell pant is made from softer fabric that is quieter. These winter pants are useful because they offer a lot of breathability and freedom of movement. One thing to note with softshell ski pants is that they are generally not as waterproof as hardshell ski pants, so they are best suited for dryer skiing situations.