Outerwear is probably the most important piece of gear when it comes to all day comfort on the slopes, which makes having a solid pair of ski pants a must. You need a pair of pants which will allow you to both stay warm when the wind comes ripping through, and also allow you to shed heat when the sun starts to shine again.
There are always a host of new features coming out in ski pants from different materials, stitches and construction to innovative new features and cosmetic details as well. This has been an exciting year for ski pants and luckily we have exactly what you need for every situation. Searching for outerwear is exhausting, with so many features it is easy to fall into a state of option paralysis.
Our recommendations however will guide you in the right direction to help you get out onto the slopes quicker in a pair of pants that won’t sacrifice style for performance.
Best Overall Women’s Ski Pants: Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Pants - Women’s
Arcteryx is a brand known for durability and performance, and those are both guaranteed with the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR pants.
These pants are part of Arc’teryx’s AR line which stands for all around. That means that they are designed for multiple applications in a variety of conditions.
This is in contrast to other products labeled FL (fast and light), SV (severe weather), and LT (lightweight) among other signifiers.
The Sentinel AR is a gore-tex softshell outer layer which is lined with flannel insulation for extra warmth when the air temperature begins to drop and the wind starts picking up. This makes this pair of pants both breathable and warm, allowing you to easily shed moisture when working hard and retain heat when cold.
This temperature regulation is furthered by two wide zippered side vents, allowing you to promote airflow when you really need it. The cuff has a built in gaiter allowing you a proper seal between your boots and your pants to avoid any stray snow from working its way into your pants, and the cuffs are also made of a special durable fabric to prevent abrasion from crampon spikes or ski edges.
Two thigh pockets keep items close at hand, yet out of the way to give you access when you need it both. These are both sealed with a zipper to help prevent you from losing your goodies while spending long days in the mountains.
The Arc’teryx Sentinel AR is one of the best pants on the market for those wanting to spend long days at the resort, in the backcountry and fluidly moving between the two.
Best Overall Ski Bib: Flylow Foxy Bib
Ski bibs are an awesome choice for those looking to stay extra warm and keep out snow.
Having the pants rise up higher allows for a single layer to block out snow and also retain body heat around the torso, which is where most body heat is generated.
The Flylow Foxy bib is one of the most effective bibs available today.
The construction is a 3-layer softshell material which allows the bib to be both waterproof and breathable. The seams are fully taped to complete the waterproof outer, and the pockets come stock with zippered closures.
Additionally there are two extra zippered chest pockets and two zippered thigh pockets. Vents extend down the inner and outer thighs to aid in temperature regulation when building heat on the skin track, and retain heat when speeding through the storm at blinding speeds.
Gaiters extend down from the ankle to complete the seal around your boot to keep you warm and dry inside regardless of what the weather decides to do outside.
The Flylow Foxy bib has all of the features you need to keep you comfortable and help you ski further and longer, day after day.
Best Value For Your Money Ski Pant: Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pants
Patagonia is a company that prides itself on making high quality products which are conscientious of the impact they have on the environment, and the Snowbelle pants certainly align with these values.
These pants boast Patagonia’s H2No outer layer which contains 70% recycled polyester, working as a waterproof and breathable membrane allowing you to stay warm and dry in wet winter conditions.
There are two thigh vents allowing you to shed excess heat when moving uphill and two zippered pockets on the thighs as well. There is also a yoke in the back that is able to connect to Patagonia jackets allowing for ankle to neck protection from snow.
The hem around the ankle is an extra durable material to prevent fraying, crampons or other things which may snag at the ankle.
Not to mention that at $200, these are one of the cheaper snow pants on the market allowing you to save some money for perhaps a matching jacket or about twenty burritos.
These are half the price of many other high quality pants on the market, and seems to do so without sacrificing any of the necessary features a solid pair of ski pants needs.
Best Bargain Ski Bib: REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib - Women’s
The Rei Co-op Powderbound bib is your definite steal for high quality winter outerwear at an affordable price. Ski clothing is certainly expensive, and having all of the latest tech and features is nice, but many of these details can become superfluous.
Some people want something that will keep them warm, look good and save a little money at the same time.
In this regard, women everywhere should be considering the Powderbound bib. The bib uses a 2 layer construction, with a nylon shell to give you warmth, breathability and a waterproof membrane. In addition the liner is insulated recycled polyester, allowing you to forgo piling layers underneath for those cold days and also feel good about reducing your footprint on extra textiles.
There are two inner thigh zippered vents to promote airflow and zippered side and chest pockets for storing your phone, lift ticket or anything else you might need. The bib rides high over the chest to help keep out the weather, and the gusseted crotch and knees help the bib articulate with your movement while skiing and skinning.
Built in gators secure to your boot easily helping seal out snow when the slopes become steeper and deeper.
Best for Backcountry Touring: Outdoor Research Skyward II Ascentshell - Women’s
When it comes to ski touring and backcountry riding, what you look for in a solid pair of ski pants changes quite a bit.
Backcountry aficionados appreciate lightweight, breathable and flexible pants that will allow them to move unhindered through the mountains while still protecting them from the cold and moisture when the weather starts to move in.
In the resort weight may not matter as much, or you may not work as hard riding the lift up and skiing downhill, however when you begin gaining some serious elevation it’s important to recognize some key features that make touring pants unique.
There are two zippered hand pockets with an additional large avalanche beacon pocket for keeping your beacon out of the way. The Skyward II also boasts two long outside thigh vents to promote airflow when working hard on the skin track and avoiding sweating out your base layers.
These pants have 12% spandex, allowing you all of the stretch you need to make those turns when it counts. Outdoor Research has come up with all of the best features in mind we look for when selecting touring pants and bundled it all together into one superb piece of gear.
It's never too soon to begin cutting weight and looking for a lightweight alternative to traditional resort ski pants, you’ll thank yourself after 3000 feet of climbing an icy skin track sweat free and light as a feather.
Hopefully you found yourself an excellent pair of pants that do everything you need to help you perform your best. As always, gear is fun and exciting but what matters most is being able to stay outside longer with comfort and ease.
So pull your hat down, put your gloves on, zipper that jacket and cinch it down over your sparkling new ski pants and head up to the mountains prepared for anything the weather might throw at you.