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When tearing down backcountry bowls or skiing casual groomers at the resort, your legs need quality coverage to stay warm and dry! That’s why we’ve sorted through the pretenders to bring you the contenders – the best ski pants money can buy.

We’ve also included a few ski bibs (think winter overalls), since there’s a healthy rivalry between the pro-pants and the pro-bib groups. Whatever your liking is, we’ve carefully reviewed a wide array of choices and brought a truly versatile line up that will appeal to just about any skier, use, and condition imaginable.

For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Kids Ski Pants

LOOKING​​​​ FOR A GIFT FOR A

FELLOW SKIER?

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From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Ski Pants

  1. Patagonia Powder Bowl
  2. Arc’teryx Beta SV
  3. The North Face Freedom Insulated
  4. Arc’teryx Sabre AR
  5. Norrona Tamok GORE-TEX Pro
  6. Dynafit Beast Hybrid
  7. Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II
  8. The North Face Freedom Bib
  9. The North Face Freedom
  10. Columbia Ride On

 

Comparison Table - Best Ski Pants

PictureNameWeightStyleWindproofTypePriceRating
Patagonia Powder Bowl1 lb. 9.9 oz.PantsYesHybrid$$5.0
Arc’teryx Beta SV1 lb. 9 oz.BibYesSoftshell$$$4.9
The North Face Freedom Insulated1 lb. 11.5 oz.PantsYesInsulated$4.9
Arc’teryx Sabre AR1 lb. 5.1 oz.PantsYesSoftshell$$$4.8
Norrona Tamok GORE-TEX Pro1 lb. 12.4 oz.BibYesInsulated$$$4.8
Dynafit Beast Hybrid1 lb. 3.2 oz.PantsYesHybrid$$4.7
Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II1 lb. 9 oz.PantsNoSoftshell$$4.7
The North Face Freedom Bib2 lbs. 1.2 oz.BibYesHybrid$$4.6
The North Face Freedom1 lb. 9.4 oz.PantsYesSoftshell$4.6
Columbia Ride OnN/APantsNoInsulated$4.5
PictureNameWeightStyleWindproofTypePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Pants for Skiing

Patagonia Powder Bowl

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 9.9 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: Yes
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Uses Recycled Materials To Reduce Carbon Footprint
  • Mesh-Lined Thigh Vents Help You Regulate Body Temperature
  • 4 Zippered Pockets Make It Easy To Stash Items And Keep Your Hands Warm

BEST SUSTAINABLY-MADE PREMIUM SKI PANTS

When it comes to making the highest quality products that also respect the earth and the workers who craft them, Patagonia rises above the rest. Their Powder Bowl snow pants are an incredibly crafted, premium quality product that’s sure to keep you warm and dry. 

Waterproofed with the original and most renowned material, these ski pants use a double layer of Gore-Tex that not only keeps water out, but is also windproof and breathable. On top of that, the outer layer is finished with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating that wicks away any wet snow or rain that may come your way. 

The Powder Bowl ski pants also come with an integrated Recco reflector, a passive beacon system that speeds up rescue time for ski patrol in the event of an avalanche. If you don’t have a ski jacket with a Recco reflector already built in, then these pants are a must! 

Lastly, these ski pants come with a yoke to attach to your ski jacket’s powder skirt, helping keep snow out and warmth in!

Arc’teryx Beta SV

Specs
  • Style: Bib
  • Type: Softshell
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 9 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • 2 Zip Pockets At Chest Height For Storing Items
  • Fully Waterproof Side Zips Allow You To Remove Bib Over Boots
  • Powder Cuff Hooks Secure Cuffs To Boots For Maximum Protection

BEST PREMIUM SKI BIB 

Sure, a bib isn’t technically ski pants, but they function just the same. In fact, many consider them to be superior to just regular ol’ ski pants, likening them to “ski pants+”, “ski pants 2.0”, and my personal favorite, “Snowveralls!” 

While the pants vs. bib debate rages on the slopes, we decided to give fair attention to those who prefer a little more coverage. If you’re one that strongly dislikes snow going down your pants (or being cold), then the best premium ski bib is the Arc’teryx Beta SV. 

Fashioned with a triple layer of Gore-Tex waterproofing laminate to keep you dry, this bib will breathe well letting you regulate your body temp very easily. Also, any fears of losing mobility with this bib can be put to rest. Where most bibs can feel somewhat constraining, the Beta SV sports a low cut to maximize coverage while minimizing any lost mobility. 

Finally, this ski bib also features advanced powder cuffs that can be attached to your boots to keep snow out and your feet warm all day long.

The North Face Freedom Insulated

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Insulated
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 11.5 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Proprietary Chimney Venting System Regulates Moisture
  • 50% Of Insulation Comes From Recycled Polyester
  • Adjustable Waist Tabs & Belt Loop Help You Dial In The Perfect Fit

BEST INSULATED BACKCOUNTRY SKI PANTS

When backcountry conditions are at their harshest, you need a pair of ski pants that will not only keep you warm but also perform well. Enter The North Face Freedom Insulated ski pants. 

Sporting a 2 layer breathable waterproof fabric matched with a recycled polyester insulation, the Freedoms will keep you warm and dry all day, no matter how bad the weather gets. The proprietary Chimney Venting system helps you regulate moisture by allowing air to pass through the mesh gaiters at the cuffs, rise through the pants, and then vent through the inner thigh vents allowing you to stay warm, but not super sweaty. 

These pants also have reinforced kick patches to help protect them against sharp edges and last longer through extreme wear.

Arc’teryx Sabre AR

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Softshell
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 5.1 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Includes Small Zippered Stash Pocket For Smaller Items
  • Instep Patches At The Ankles Guard Against Abrasions From Constant Rubbing
  • Proprietary Slide 'n Loc System Attaches To Compatible Jackets To Keep Snow Out

BEST PREMIUM SKI PANTS

For the most premium quality ski pants, look no further than the Sabre AR (All-Round) by legendary ski apparel maker Arc’teryx. Designed to be the perfect snow pants for all-round use, these bad boys will keep you warm and dry as you rip through moguls and bomb down black diamond runs. 

Starting with a triple layer of Gore-Tex nylon fabric for a maximally waterproof pant, the Sabre AR’s are then lined interiorly with flannel for some light insulation. The zippered pockets are completely watertight, keeping out any and all moisture to make sure dry things stay dry. 

Lastly, the powder cuffs ensure that snow won’t work it’s way into your boots, even when wearing these for snowboarding.

Norrona Tamok GORE-TEX Pro

Specs
  • Style: Bib
  • Type: Insulated
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 12.4 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Exterior Hang Loops Make The Bib Easy To Dry
  • Left Side Zip Goes To The Top For Easy Removal Over Boots
  • Zippered Pockets Feature A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) For Total Waterproofing

BEST INSULATED SKI BIB

For a fully covered day on the slopes that’s guaranteed to keep you warm, dry, and snow free, the Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Bib is your ideal apparel companion. 

Based on the fit of classic workwear overalls, the Tamok Bib is a suitable choice whether you’re skiing slushy snow, fresh powder, or backcountry trails. Not only is the entire garment made from Gore-Tex, but the seams are also taped with 13mm Gore-Tex tape for complete and total waterproofing. 

While bib haters may say that bibs aren’t as functional as pants, consider the Tamok Bib’s 4-way stretch panel in the rear and the stretchy (but durable) shoulder straps. 4-way stretch means that the material stretches both horizontally and vertically for maximal mobility. The knees also feature an articulated construction for the most movement. Now you can have the best of both worlds!

Dynafit Beast Hybrid

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3.2 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Available In 2 Colors
  • Ventilation Zips Sport Water-Repellent Design To Keep Your Items Dry
  • Adjustable Hem Accommodates Varying Waists For A Perfect Fit Everytime

BEST SKI PANTS FOR VERSATILITY 

Whether your ski adventures bring you from groomed slopes to backcountry powder, or from drier climates to wetter, slushier snow, the Dynafit Beast Hybrid pants are the most versatile ski pants on the list. 

Blending the warmth of insulated pants with the mobility of softshell pants, the Dynafit Beast Hybrids are the crème de la crème. Sporting a triple layer of windproof and waterproof fabric and finished off with durable water repellent (DWR) tape on the seams, you’re sure to stay dry even in the sloppiest conditions.

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Softshell
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 9 oz.
  • Windproof: No
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Available In 2 Colors
  • Zippered Thighs Help You Vent Off Excess Heat
  • Can Be Mated With Suspenders For Supreme Coverage

BEST SOFTSHELL BACKCOUNTRY SKI PANTS

When it comes to traversing backcountry powder and off-piste trails, a softshell ski pant with maximum mobility is the key to getting more out of your runs. The Trailbreaker II ski pants by Outdoor Research are a perfect match to keep you dry and light when knee-deep in powder. 

Proprietary ActiveTemp thermoregulating technology ensures that you stay both warm and dry, allowing your ski pants to breathe while staying waterproof. The Trailbreaker II’s also feature articulated knees to improve mobility and have reinforced scuff guards that make for extra durability.

These ski pants also feature an avalanche beacon pocket (beacon not included) to stay safe during backcountry expeditions.

The North Face Freedom Bib

Specs
  • Style: Bib
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 1.2 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Available In 3 Colors
  • Side Entry Zip Makes For Easy Removal When Wearing Boots
  • 5 Pockets: 1 Bib Pocket, 2 Hand Warmer Pockets, & 2 Side Cargo Pockets

BEST HYBRID SKI BIB

Looking for a premium ski bib that’s affordable and can serve up the best of both softshell and insulated ski pants? The North Face has you covered with their Freedom Bib. 

Modeled after their Freedom ski pants, the Freedom bib caters to those wanting more coverage and less possibility of snow making its way inside. Lined with polyester to keep you warm and then reinforced with a waterproof nylon fabric, this ski bib is a true jack-of-all-trades garment. 

Possibly the smartest tech on ski gear by The North Face is their Chimney Venting system. It helps you eliminate moisture by letting air in through the mesh gaiters where it rises up through the leg and then vents out of the inner thigh. The result is a warm and dry ski pant.

The North Face Freedom

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Softshell
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 9.4 oz.
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Available In 2 Colors
  • Side Entry Zip Makes For Easy Removal When Wearing Boots
  • Adjustable Waist Tabs & Belt Loop Help You Dial In The Perfect Fit

BEST SKI PANTS FOR TALL SKIERS

Making their most popular design even more accessible, The North Face has upped their game by offering the highly renowned Freedom ski pants available in tall sizes. Finally, no more cold and wet ankles!

Though softshell by the books, the Freedoms feature a polyester lining that provides a moderate amount of insulation, giving them a warmer advantage over traditional softshell ski pants. On the outside, the Freedoms rock a double layer of breathable waterproof nylon that will keep you dry all day. 

The Freedom ski pants also come with The North Face’s specially designed Chimney Venting system that keeps you warm and dry while venting off excess moisture.

Columbia Ride On

Specs
  • Style: Pants
  • Type: Insulated
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: N/A
  • Windproof: No
  • Recco Rescue Detector: No
  • Powder Cuffs: Yes
Features
  • Available In 3 Colors
  • Adjustable Waist Helps Dial In The Right Fit
  • Zippered Pockets Ensure Items Stay Put When Shredding Slopes

BEST BUDGET-SAVVY SKI PANTS

Great quality doesn’t always have to come with a premium price tag. For the skier who values the intersection of high quality gear at a financially strategic price point, the Columbia Ride On ski pants should be your go-to. 

Lined with polyester and filled with synthetic insulation, the Ride On’s are a warm ski pant for even the coldest of snow days. Relying on Columbia’s Omni-Tech waterproof fabric, these pants are also breathable, letting you keep all the warmth without any of the humidity or dampness. Stay warm – and dry! 

Lastly, the Ride On’s feature internal leg gaiters that cuff over your ski boots to make sure snow stays out, keeping your socks and feet dry as well.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SKI PANTS

TYPE OF SKI PANTS

Insulated

Ski pants with insulation are ideal for extremely cold backcountry temperatures and for when conditions are wet (like in the Northeastern U.S. and Pacific NW) as they feature a waterproof outer layer.

Softshell

Made from a softer and more breathable material, softshell ski pants offer greater mobility (for highly active skiers) and are ideal for drier conditions (such as in the Rockies). Due to the different fabric, softshell ski pants don’t “rustle” as much.

Hybrid

Hybrid styles of ski pants can range in their offerings but most often are found to blend the waterproofing of insulated ski pants with the flexibility/mobility of softshell pants. Most are not insulated.

 

STYLE OF SKI PANTS

There are two styles of leg coverings for your day on the mountain and it all comes down to preference and the conditions you will be skiing mostly. Each style of pants have their benefits.

Pants

Pros

  • Fit: Streamlined and light
  • Warmth: Great for highly active skiers
  • Protection: Can be mated with ski jacket powder skirt to keep snow out
  • Function: Easier to manage, especially when going to the bathroom

Cons

  • Fit: Less coverage than bibs and may slide down if not the right fit
  • Warmth: Provide less warmth overall than bibs
  • Protection: Possibility for snow to get into your pants
  • Function: Could slip during highly mobile activities

Bibs

Pros

  • Fit: Full coverage of torso and won’t fall down
  • Warmth: Provides more core warmth for more extreme environments
  • Protection: Keeps snow from getting into your pants/bib
  • Function: Won’t ever fall or slip down during activities

Cons

  • Fit: Bulkier than pants and can feel constraining
  • Warmth: Could be too warm for more active skiers
  • Function: More difficult to manage, especially when going to the bathroom

 

WINDPROOFING / WATERPROOFING

These are usually achieved by the same fabric and are essential when choosing ski pants. Whether you’re skiing sloppy, wet conditions or in a drier climate, wind- and waterproof pants will help keep you warm and dry for all day comfort.

 

INSULATION

Some ski pants come with a synthetic (waterproof) insulation that helps keep you warm when conditions are especially cold. If you’re a highly active skier, you may want to avoid insulation as it may be too warm.

 

AVALANCHE SAFETY

When purchasing ski apparel, you may want to consider having a Recco Reflector sewn into one of your pieces of gear. It’s a passive emergency system that helps rescuers find you in the case that you’re caught in an avalanche. Most ski patrol at resorts have Recco Detectors that help find you. However, if you’re skiing in the backcountry, this won’t serve as a replacement for an avalanche transceiver – a necessary piece of equipment.

 

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Powder Cuffs

Powder cuffs, while not essential, are really nice to have. They’re an extra flap of fabric inside the cuff of your snow pants that cinches over your ski boots to keep snow out.

Side Cargo Pockets / Extra Pockets

Cargo pockets are a nice way to store extra gear or snacks you may need on the mountain, keep track of your wallet, or for stowing gloves when hanging out at the lodge.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

GORE-TEX

A name brand waterproof, yet breathable, fabric. Each manufacturer has their own “in-house” versions, such as Omni-Dry by Columbia, DryVent by The North Face, or H2No by Patagonia.

SIDE ENTRY

Some ski pants and bibs offer a zipper from the cuff all the way up to the waist (or underarm for bibs) that allow you to completely remove the garment without taking off your boots. Think “rip away pants” that basketball players wear, except with waterproof zippers.

READ MORE

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About The Author

A soulful southerner from Atlanta, Ga, Jonathan Dufner is an outdoor writer, adventure enthusiast, and a certified kayaking instructor. Whether hitting fresh powder on the slopes, paddling a Class IV river, or trekking into the Sahara, he carries a wide range of experience and knowledge. He has also led countless group tours into the wilderness and has taught a variety of outdoor skills clinics.

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