Have you ever wondered what separates a great pair of ski pants from your everyday average pair? Maybe you’re a twin-tip skier who hits the park or maybe you can only be found in the backcountry or maybe your favorite place to ski is on the groomers. Whatever your style, it’s important to find the best ski pants to suit your needs. But when there are tons of pants to choose from (and some are very expensive), how do you know which pair to go with?

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’re obsessed with finding the perfect snow gear for every skier. We’ll show you how to shop for ski pants that suit your riding style and the weather you’ll be in. We’ll also give you our favorite picks of the year.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST SKI PANTS

  1. Arc’teryx Beta AR
  2. Flylow Chemical
  3. Marmot Motion
  4. Burton Cargo
  5. Patagonia Snowshot
  6. Patagonia Untracked
  7. 686 Authentic Raw
  8. The North Face Freedom
  9. Salomon Escape
  10. Arctix Cargo

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide To Snow Sports

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SKI PANTS

PICTURE
SKI PANTS
BEST USE
FIT
WATERPROOF TYPE
BASE FABRIC
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SKI PANTS
BEST USE
FIT
WATERPROOF TYPE
BASE FABRIC
PRICE
RATING
Arc'teryx Beta AR
Backcountry
Regular
Gor-Tex 3 Layer
Nylon
$$$
4.7
Flylow Chemical
Backcountry
Regular
3 Layer
Nylon
$$$
4.8
Marmot Motion
Backcountry
Relaxed
Marmot MemBrain
Nylon/Polyester
$$
4.3
Burton Cargo
Overall
Regular/Slim
Dryride 2 Layer
Nylon/Polyester
$$
4.4
Patagonia Snowshot
Overall
Regular
H2No Performance
Polyester
$$
4.6
Patagonia Untracked
Overall
Regular
Gor-Tex 3 Layer
Nylon
$$$
4.8
686 Authentic Raw
Overall
Regular/Slim
InfiDRY-10
Polyester
$$
4.4
The North Face Freedom
Budget
Relaxed
DryVent 2 Layer
Nylon
$$
4.8
Salomon Escape
Budget
Regular
40g AdvanceSkin
Nylon/Elastic
$
4.4
Arctix Cargo
Budget
Regular
3 Layer
Nylon
$
4.1

 

 

SNOW PANTS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SKI PANTS

 

1. WATERPROOFING

Almost all ski pants come with some level of waterproofing or water resistance. If you’re skiing in an area that’s known to have very wet snow or slush, solid waterproofing is extremely important. Wet clothing leeches heat from the body and quickly gets uncomfortable to ski in, cutting your ski session short. Waterproof ski pants will generally be 2 or 3-layers, or a specific waterproof fabric like Gore-Tex. As a general rule, stiffer outer materials tend to be more waterproof than the flexible soft shell outer fabrics.

Aside from the base fabric being waterproof, you’ll want taped seams and waterproof zip or button pockets because snow often gathers around these areas. When the snow melts from the heat of your body, you won’t want the water dipping into the inner lining or into a pocket with your electronics inside.

In an article that explains waterproofing and waterproof ratings by the Sierra Trading Post, they advise people not to use harsh chemicals or fabric softener when washing waterproof materials like ski pants, as this tends to break down the water repellent.

 

2. FEATURES

Some skiers want tons of features like jacket-to-pants clasps, O-rings, vents, and straps while other skiers want to cut down on the bulk and have their pants as simple and streamlined as possible. Though it’s a personal preference on how technical you want to get, a few key features can really extend the lifetime of your pants and help you stay warm.

 

GAITERS AND POWDER CUFFS

Gaiters and powder cuffs at the ankle ensure that the snow stays out even when you’re trampling through deep powder. This is a feature that’s so essential, it’s almost not worth buying a pair of pants unless it’s included. The gaiter and ankle hem should fit snugly over your ski boot so that it looks stylish and protects your legs from the elements.

 

SEALED SEAMS

Other key features are sealed or taped seams for durability, scuff guards, a mesh vent system to help you warm up and cool down as needed, and an adjustable waist strap to easily fit around your base layers.

 

CONNECT PANTS TO JACKET

More specialized skiers that often ride in powder or backcountry conditions should look for pants with flexible knees and loops that can connect your ski pants to your jacket.

 

RADIO POCKETS

There are also brands that come with radio pockets and a reflector to help pick up radio signals in case of an avalanche. Many snow outerwear companies are partnering with avalanche safety technology companies to increase safety on the mountain. You can read more about how the reflector and detector system works in this article by Recco.

 

3. INSULATION

Should you get insulated or just the shell when choosing the best ski pants?

Insulated pants come with an outer waterproof shell and are lined with material inside for added warmth. These tend to be more comfortable and can often be worn on their own, without any extra layering. If they have mesh vent pockets, insulated pants are a great choice for year-round skiing in all conditions – though they might be a bit too warm for some.

Unlined ski pants, or shell style pants, are best for skiers riding in variable conditions. These pants work best with an added layer underneath that’s tailored to the temperature of the mountain that day. Backcountry skiers tend to prefer unlined pants because they’re typically less bulky, cooler, and more flexible.

If you’re a beginner skier or ski in all types of conditions, opt for an insulated pair of ski pants with mesh vent pockets. After checking out our guides on how to choose downhill skis, gloves, a helmet, and ski poles, you’ll nearly be good to go.

 

4. FIT

How tight you want your ski pants to fit depends on your personal style. Many skiers like baggy pants while others want them to be nearly leggings. The important thing is that the pants fit snugly around the waist and don’t slide down when you sit — else you risk having a freezing lower back on the chair lift or might get a snow-in-the-crack surprise on the slopes.

The hem of your pants and gaiter should also fit over your ski boot all the way down to your ankle. If the pants are bunching up at the top of the boot, then the opening is too narrow. Many ski pants have zippers at the bottom to adjust to the girth of your boot. You should easily be able to crouch into a squat and stand up without feeling tension in the material or discomfort.

 

ski pants must-have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/anatols

 

SKI PANTS REVIEWS

 

1. BEST SKI PANTS FOR BACKCOUNTRY

ARC’TERYX BETA AR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Backcountry and powder skiers who need pants that can handle high performance

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Beta AR 

MATERIALS: Gore-Tex 3-layer waterproofing, nylon base, polyester inner lining

FIT: Regular

SPECIAL FEATURES: Reinforced seat, knees, and instep, powder cuffs, watertight sippers

PROS: Quality in every detail, versatile, stylish, perfect for powder skiing

CONS: One of the most expensive pair of ski pants on the market

 

 

 

FLYLOW CHEMICAL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers serious about backcountry performance

WOMEN’S VERSION: Flylow Donna 

MATERIALS: Nylon with 1,000 denier Cordura reinforcements

FIT: Regular

SPECIAL FEATURES: Powder cuffs, taped seams, waterproof zippers, mesh vent pockets, beacon attachment

PROS: Fabric is waterproof yet breathable, high-performance, knee area is flexible

CONS: Vent zippers can rub too close to the skin

 

 

 

MARMOT MOTION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers needing durable high-performance pants for backcountry and downhill skiing

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIALS: Nylon with polyester insulation

FIT: Relaxed

SPECIAL FEATURES: Taped seams, internal gaiters with elastic, scuff guards, adjustable waist, pockets, zipper vents

PROS: Easy to adjust, pocket system easy to use, durable

CONS: Outer layer is stiff and can be noisy, not insulated

 

 

 

 

2. BEST SKI PANTS FOR OVERALL

BURTON CARGO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers wanting a stylish option that can be layered for variable weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIALS: Polyester with nylon lining

FIT: Regular/Slim

SPECIAL FEATURES: Reinforced cuffs, audio port in the pocket, flexible knee fabric, taped seams, mesh vents, handwarmer pockets

PROS: Can be layered to suit any weather, comfortable, stylish

CONS: Price on the high end for not being insulated

 

 

 

PATAGONIA SNOWSHOT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Versatile skiers skiing in warm weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIALS: 50% polyester and 50% recycled polyester

FIT: Regular

SPECIAL FEATURES: Adjustable waistband tabs, mesh lining, powder skirt loop, thigh vents, zipper pockets, built-in reflectors to enhance radio signals

PROS: Easy to layer to increase insulation, comfortable, durable

CONS: Not insulated enough to wear in very cold weather – will need layering

 

 

 

PATAGONIA UNTRACKED

Check out the latest price on:
REI | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers wanting a stylish and versatile pair of pants

WOMEN’S VERSION: Patagonia Untracked 

MATERIALS: Nylon, polyester lining

FIT: Regular

SPECIAL FEATURES: Adjustable waistband, watertight zippers, powder cuffs, zippered pockets, enhanced radio reflectors

PROS: Free repairs on Patagonia products, compatible with snowboarding, warm, quality in details

CONS: Material not very flexible – restricts movement when hiking in backcountry

 

 

 

686 AUTHENTIC RAW

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers who easily go from the park to the backcountry

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIALS: Polyester with polyester/nylon lining

FIT: Regular/Slim

SPECIAL FEATURES: Boot gaiters, loop system compatible with 686 jackets for no-gaps, taped seams, zipper pockets, adjustable waist, extra insulation at seat and knees

PROS: Versatile, stylish denim look, breathable yet warm, great at keeping snow out

CONS: Cut is more snowboarder style for those who like the classic skier look

 

 

 

 

3. BEST SKI PANTS FOR BUDGET

THE NORTH FACE FREEDOM

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiers needing ski pants that can handle all types of conditions.

WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Freedom 

MATERIALS: 210-denier nylon, DryVent 2-layer waterproof fabric

FIT: Relaxed

SPECIAL FEATURES: Cargo side pockets, vent zippers, flap covered thigh vents, sealed seams

PROS: Warm yet breathable, comfortable, stretchy, durable

CONS: Tends to run large – especially in the thigh area

 

 

 

SALOMON ESCAPE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Cross-country skiers or those wanting a pant for multiple types of skiing

WOMEN’S VERSION: Salomon Escape 

MATERIALS: Nylon and elastic

FIT: Regular

SPECIAL FEATURES: Padded knees, bottom leg zippers, side pockets, drawcord cuffs and zipper, adjustable waistband

PROS: Stretchy, comfortable, versatile, multi-sport compatible

CONS: Waterproofing won’t be enough for skiers in wet snow

 

 

 

ARCTIX CARGO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Skiers who need a high-quality pair of pants but have a low budget

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arctix Cargo 

MATERIALS: Nylon outer and polyester insulation

FIT: Regular

SPECIAL FEATURES: Boot zipper for easy on and off, zippered pockets, powder cuffs, non-bulky insulation, reinforced seams

PROS: Price to value ratio the best on the market, comfortable, stylish

CONS: Does not run true to size so double check with size chart

Top 10 Best Ski Pants of 2017 – Snow Clothes For Women, Men and Kids – Snow Outfits for Winter - Accessories for Ski and Snowboarding – Best Skiing and Snowboard Gear
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