The 12 Best Snowboarding and Ski Pants Actually Worth Investing in, According to a Former Competitive Ski Instructor

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For those who love to ski and snowboard, you already know there's certainly no time like the present to start taking inventory of your gear and make sure you’re ready for what is sure to be an epic season for winter sports (you're here, aren't you?). And you're probably specifically evaluating your snowboarding and/or ski pants (which are better suited for the sport than regular snow pants), which see the most wear and tear each season.

Aside from actual ski or snowboard equipment, which you can always opt to rent, you will most definitely need a pair of pants that are thoughtfully designed for keeping your legs warm and protected while you’re on the slopes. Ski and snowboard pants are thicker and more insulated than normal pants and they even have extra padding that can protect your legs to some degree in case you fall, notes Manou Maudgal, a former competitive skier, ski instructor and sponsored freestyle and freeride skier. “Your regular pants won’t protect you from cold, wetness and impact on the slopes, and they probably won’t be very comfortable either,” he says.

Experts In This Article
  • Manou Madgal, Manou Madgal is a ski instructor and sponsored freeride skier at GPX Adventures.

The 12 best snowboarding and ski pants for women, at a glance:

What to look for in a pair of snowboarding or ski pants

Here’s a look at what you should be searching for on your quest for the ideal snowboarding or ski pant.

Waterproof Rating

Measured in mm, most ski or snowboard pants will have a waterproof rating, notes David Rajewski, owner of Stoked Ride Shop in Torrance, California, and the higher the better. He recommends purchasing a pair of pants for skiing or snowboarding that have a waterproof rating of between 10,000 and 20,000—and Maudgal agrees. “If the fabric absorbs water, it will eventually come through your pants which will result in wet legs, feet, and bum—and combined with chilly temperatures on the slopes, you’ll eventually end up feeling very cold,” he says. “Be aware that you will be out in a snowy environment during most of the day so it’s crucial that you don’t get wet.”


Ski and snowboarding pants can be insulated or not at all and both types have their pros and cons, according to Maudgal—it all depends what kind of skier you are as we will see below. “Insulated pants have a synthetic fill, which is warmer, so this may be better for beginners who might fall more often and move at a slower pace,” he says. “If you are an advanced skier, or if you get warm too easily, however, you could go for non-insulated pants.”


As with any type of clothing you intend on wearing to perform a sport or exercise, the more breathable the better. “You want to avoid sweating extensively because you’ll get wet and eventually cold,” says Maudgal. He recommends pants with GoreTex, which have very good breathability.


Snowstoppers are extra pieces of synthetic fabric on the pant leg that you pull over the upper part of the ski or snowboard boot and keep in place by means of a stretch, explains Maudgal. This prevents snow from getting into your ski boot.

Fully Seam-Sealed

Fully seam-sealed snowboarding or skiing pants are considered to be the best option, according to Jon Callahan, founder and CEO of SkiJunket. “Not only do the seams prevent cold air and moisture from entering through, which can lead to condensation and icy legs, but, when these clothes are worn in cold weather conditions, liquid water will form on the inside of the pant legs due to capillary action,” he says. “These garments also have better insulation properties since water cannot move easily through them, keeping you warmer in colder temperatures than non-seam sealed counterparts.”

12 Best Snowboarding and Ski Pants for Women

If you’re looking for a pair of snowboarding and ski pants that are designed for a woman, here are some great picks.

Best Overall

Patagonia, Insulated Powder Town Pants — $269.00

Patagonia offers a wide range of ski and snowboard clothing that is versatile and comfortable.This pant is fully waterproof, breathable and has an insulation layer that helps keep you warm and dry even when snow is wetting your skin, notes Callahan.

“The waistband is contoured for a feminine fit and perspiration-wicking properties that help eliminate moisture from your body quickly,” he says. “The membranes located at the legs are also treated with DWR (durable water repellent) technology which prevents excess moisture from building up in these areas, ultimately keeping you cooler and more comfortable during long skiing sessions.”

Sizes available: XXS-XXL

Color options: 6

Best Adjustable Waist

Columbia, Women's Bugaboo™ Omni-Heat Insulated Snow Pants — $120.00

An adjustable waist is a huge plus in a ski or snowboard pant, especially since you’ll hopefully get several years’ worth of use out of them, but may go up or down in pant size. Not only are the Bugaboo Women’s Pants adjustable, but they are designed with movability and comfort in mind, making them perfect for skiing or snowboarding. “They come with an attached windproof shell and reflective detail for visibility when night skiing or boarding at dusk,” says Callahan. “They are also machine-washable which makes them easy to clean after a long day on the trail.”

Sizes available: XS-XL

Color options: 9

Best Waterproof

Norrøna, Falketind Flex1 Pant — $140.00

Callahan likes to recommend these pants because they provide waterproof reinforcements on both the knees and cuffs.

“This prevents water, snow, or mud from getting inside the pant legs and flowing down your leg to ruin your skiing experience,” he says. “The Gore-Tex fabric is very durable, offers good resistance against moisture retention and also wicks sweat away from your skin so you stay dry during extended periods of wear.”

Since the sideways woven construction offers stretchability, these pants fit comfortably regardless of your size or body shape.

Sizes available: XS-XL (currently sold out in XL)

Color options: 3

Best Insulated

The North Face, Freedom Insulated Snow Pants — $169.00

This pair of ski pants features ultimate insulation, thanks to their seam-sealed, two-layer DryVent™ fabric that not only provides warmth, but is also sweat-wicking and breathable. The outside of these pants feature a non-PFC durable water repellent (DWR) finish that blocks moisture from absorbing on the pant and keeps you nice and dry throughout your time on the slopes. Maudgal points out that the fit on these are quite baggy, so they may not be ideal for women who are looking for a slimmer fit.

Sizes available: XS-3X

Color options: 5

Best Budget

Marmot, Slopestar Insulated Pant — $140.00

Whether you’re just getting into skiing and/or snowboarding, or don’t plan to go very often, you’re probably not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on pants. This pair is less than $150 and gets you a quality pair of insulated ski and snowboard pants that will keep you comfortable, warm, and dry on the slopes. They feature zippered leg vets, an adjustable waist and internal gaiters that help keep the snow out of your boot.

Sizes available: XS-XL

Color options: 4

Best Splurge

Helly Hansen, Aurora Infinity Shell Pant — $315.00

Although on the pricey side, this pair of pants is designed to last you through the years. In true Helly Hansen form, they are ultra lightweight and made with a special waterproof material that’s also eco-friendly. Rajewski is especially a fan of the fact that this pair of ski pants is loaded with pockets and also offers superior ventilation to keep you nice and cool on the trail.

Sizes available: XS-XL

Color options: 4

Best Low-Rise Fit

Helly Hansen, Switch Cargo Insulated Pants — $225.00

These high-quality cargo ski pants are lightweight and built for performance, notes Maudgal. “They have articulated construction at the seat and knees for comfort during higher levels of activity and an embedded RECCO rescue reflector (a reflector integrated in the pants so rescue teams can track you in case of an emergency on the mountain),” he says. “They have extra cargo pockets on the thighs and stylish boot-cut flare to protect your pants from rips.”

Sizes available: XS-XL (selling out in all sizes)

Color options: 4

Best for Advanced Skiers

Arc'teryx, Sentinel AR Pants — $384.00

For performance seekers and those who spend quite some time in the backcountry, Maudgal recommends this pair of ski pant, which he says knocks it out of the park in terms of premium quality and performance. “In wet and blustery conditions, the three-layer Gore-Tex construction provides a reliable barrier from the elements, while smooth-operating side vents let you dump heat quickly on warm spring days,” he says. “On top of that, you get a light fleece backer for additional comfort and a touch of warmth.” He does point out, however, that this pair of ski pant is not insulated, so you may want to wear a base layer underneath.

Sizes available: M and XL

Color options: 2

Most Fashion-Forward

Roxy, Rising High Pant — $200.00

Though these are a little less practical in terms of what they offer to keep you warm (yet ventilated) on the slopes, Steve Karupa, full-time ski instructor for more than 10 years, likes to recommend them for those looking for a more stylish option. They have a flair design and come in a few fun colors you don’t often see in ski or snowboarding pants. They also have a waterproof exterior and a polar-fleece lining. So, not the best option if you’re a serious skier or snowboarder, but definitely a fashionable option if you’re more so going for the après ski vibe.

Sizes available: XS-XL

Color options: 4

Best Bib

Trew Gear, Astoria Bib — $299.00

If you’re looking for a pair of snow or ski pants that offer a bib design, this is a great pick, according to Rajewski. “The bib design will keep the snow out and add a bit of warmth and the ample pockets will provide you with all the storage you need to carry anything you want to have with you on the slopes,” he says. “There are also lots of great colors to choose from.”

Sizes available: XS-XXL

Color options: 5

Most Comfortable

Burton, [ak] GORE‑TEX 3L Kimmy Bib Pant — $480.00

This bib pant has rave reviews for so many reasons, but one thing that reviewers are saying on repeat is that they’re incredibly comfortable. This pant is made from a super lightweight and breathable GORE-TEX fabric that keeps you warm, but never too warm. They’re super breathable thanks to the zip vents and the quick-drying capability of the GORE-TEX fabric. They feature reflective details so they’re also ideal for those looking to do their skiing or snowboarding at night.

Sizes available: XS-XL

Color options: 1

Best Form-Fitting

Spyder, Winner GORE-TEX Ski Pants — $140.00

Form-fitting is not only flattering, but it can also be practical if you’re looking for a pair of pant that can help you feel more intact as you make your way down the slopes. This pair of ski pants feature the GORE-TEX material that’s both waterproof and breathable along with a synthetic insulation that keeps you warm and dry underneath. AquaGuard zippers around the pockets are great for storing items like your phone, earbuds or keys.

Sizes available: 0-38

Color options: 14

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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