Arc’teryx Sabre Ski Pants for Men
Dakine Stoker Bib Ski Pants
Columbia Men’s Bugaboo II Ski Pants
Winter is coming. Well, perhaps it already has for you, and you’re late on getting all of your winter sports gear ready for a three-day weekend. No worries. We’ve reviewed the best ski pants on the market (among other ski gear we’ve reviewed) to equip you with everything you’re going to need to stay warm on the slopes. The best ski pants include excellent insulation, waterproofing, comfort and top-quality materials. We’ve not only listed the best ski pants but gone into depths about each aspect, every nook and cranny of the purchase process that you need to keep an eye out for.
The Best Ski Pants
Arc’teryx Sabre Ski Pants for Men
To kick things off, we have Arc’teryx coming in with a dozen styles of these stellar snow pants for the slopes. There are three primary materials that have gone into this, strategically placed and designed to maintain your body temperature while keeping the snow out. Speaking of that, you get the best of the best: Gore-Tex waterproofing to keep powder out of your suit. You will have a bit of a hassle getting into the pockets, even when you have them fully open.
Ski pants are notoriously more padded and insulated than snowboarding pants, but this pair is a bit light on insulation. It keeps your carry weight low but feels a bit thin. Arc’teryx did equip this with some advanced windproof aspects to not only prevent the chill from seeping into your ski pants, but also help to promote positive aerodynamics for a faster speed on the slopes, and a quick shake-off to get all that snow off you after a wipeout. Be sure to combine this with a cool ski jacket from our list.
Flannel, nylon and polyester blend
Cuts down on wind resistance, upping your speed and aerodynamics on the slopes
Breathable interior prevents excessive sweating
- Weight2.05 pounds
Embedded with Gore-Tex waterproof lining w/ flannel backing
Seams are tapered for additional powder proofing
Pockets are a bit difficult to dive your hands down into
Insulation is very lightweight
Salomon Men’s Chill Out Bib Ski Pants
Hopping into the silver medal in this uphill race, Salomon came in to give you something to get excited about. Their ski bib pants for men come with a fantastic inseam right out of the package, keeping it fitted and close by for additional heat retention. You have the perfect amount of insulation to be warm and toasty, without sweating and feeling like you’re actually in a sauna room instead of on the snowy slopes. Their prices do jump around a bit when you get into sizing and have a fairly wide range.
I talked about that good fit, and it truly was a good fit, but that’s if you pay attention to customer reviews and answered questions. The sizes are a bit off, so you should bump up by one to get the right fit for you. Thanks to the blend of nylon and elastane, you have a bit of wiggle room to move around and get that perfect bend on the knees while you’re racing downhill. Lightweight construction, plenty of pockets for a pair of ski gloves or your shades, and smooth gliding all the way down.
84% nylon / 14% elastane construction for a durable, yet contoured fit
Numerous pockets to stash ski gloves and sunglasses in
Very lightweight construction
- Weight1.8 pounds
Advanced insulation aspects keep your warmth nice and close
Flawless inseam keeps the fit on-point at all times during your run
Very wide price range depending on size
Sizes are all off, designed more for style than a proper fit; size up when available
The North Face Freedom Insulated Ski Pants
The North Face is always an excellent choice to go with in just about any circumstances, and their ski pants are no exception. They built these pants to be ultra-durable and tough, though you can’t get their usual lifetime warranty on these insulated pants like you used to. The good thing is, we highly doubt you would ever have to call on that. These are rated to last you twenty to thirty years, and include 60g Heatseeker technology for the perfect level of toasty warmth rolling around on the inside of your ski pants from the moment the trip begins, until it ends.
We are a bit upset to report that you have a limited number of sizing options, as these are a slightly newer product. You’ll get plenty of pocket storage for your add-on items, as well as a fully windproof shell that’s able to cut against some of the harshest winds up at the summit. Fully sealed seam, comfortable fit, and another piece of North Face gear to go along with the rest in your collection
Plenty of pocket storage for gloves or sunglasses
Includes Chimney Venting internal gaiters
Fully sealed seam
- BrandThe North Face
Insulated with 60g Heatseeker technology
Fully windproof while remaining breathable
Not a lot of sizes to cycle through
You don’t get The North Face’s usual lifetime guarantee
Columbia Men’s Bugaboo II Ski Pants
We love Columbia here on Gear Hungry (we’ve even devoted an entire guide to their astounding jackets), but when it comes to ski pants they really knocked this out of the park. These lightweight ski pants come with so many adjustable sections, from the internal gaiters to the external waist adjustment system, that you’ll be able to get snug no matter where you are. If you hop off the lift and notice something’s amiss, you’ll be able to fix it on the spot. These ski pants are extremely affordable, but they have it all backwards on sizing.
Whereas you run into things running small in most instances, these actually run big for the sizes. Larges fit like XL’s, and so on. Apart from that, the insulation on this pair isn’t the best, which tends to come with the price range. Mobility is on-point, as is waterproofing and wind resistance. These pants offer a fair blend of aerodynamics and fitted seams. Sealed, protected, definitely a pair to give a try. And also, they can be combined with a good Columbia jacket.
Includes internal adjustable gaiters
Reinforced cuff guard prevents snow from getting up your leg
Omni-Tech waterproofing w/ a breathable interior
- Weight1.5 pounds
Extremely affordable for most budgets
Very adjustable from the inside out; external waist adjustment system is out of this world
Fits larger than the size chart suggests
Lower grade insulation compared to other brands
Helly Hansen Legendary Cold Weather Ski Pants for Men
Helly Hansen was a new try for us, but the prices and user reviews painted it in a bright light, and we’re certainly glad we gave them a go. You get superior YKK Aqua guard pocket zippers to resist rust and the damages endured on the slopes (and wipeouts). There’s a fantastic bit of heat retention in these pants while keeping them nice and breathable, but you do run into a spot of an issue on the fit. They tend to run a few inches wide in the waist no matter what you order.
On that note, they also run in short supply, not always having a plethora of sizes in stock. We were lucky to snag a good size, and it was the last of that batch. There’s excellent waterproofing aspects, as well as ten different colors to choose from to align with your current ski gear. Last but not least, due to the tight-knit design and inseam, you’ll remain plenty aerodynamic on your ride down the slopes, maintaining speed without feeling the chill penetrate the pants. Be sure to also check out our list of amazing ski goggles for more great items like this.
YKK Aqua guard pocket zippers; no rust, no fuss
60g heat insulation
Available in ten colors and styles
- BrandHelly Hansen
- Weight1.3 pounds
One of the most breathable pairs on this list
Fully waterproof and wind resistant for a faster skiing speed
Waist always feels an inch or two too loose (other users agree)
Short supply, low variety on sizing
Flylow Baker Bib Ski Pants
We’re winding down into the lower tier selection, but we’re not out of the woods yet. This Flylow Baker bib-style set of ski pants gives you a few unique features, which validate the price tag. For one, you get ventilation along the inner leg area that you can control (sort of) to allow a gust of chilly air in to cool you down. You’re in full control of the internal temperature of your ski pants. Knee boxes also give you a lot more mobility to bend and pivot while you’re hitting the slopes, however, it does come at the cost of making these ski pants a bit baggy.
You’ll definitely need a powder gaiter, and as a word of the wise, watch out for the straps of the bib: they’re a bit rough and don’t offer the most comfort over your thermals, so use caution to prevent any irritation. You get three layers of protection to insulate and provide fantastic waterproofing, all wrapped up in a lightweight design. There’s no excuse not to be on that ski lift right now. Our handy guide to sunglasses for skiing features more great products like this.
Generous pocket space including a kangaroo pouch on the front
Fairly lightweight design
Knee boxes allow you more maneuverability and bending
- Weight2.3 pounds
Three layers of protection keep you warmer than you’ve ever been
Advanced inner leg vents let you control gusts of cool air to maintain your bib’s internal temperature
Bib straps can be rather rough, should have been padded better
Baggy around the ankles, will need a powder gaiter for proper use
Spyder Men’s Troublemaker Ski Pants
The whole title is a pun, but the price won’t leave you in stitches: a fair asking price and a lot of flexibility depending on your size. When it comes to sizing, Spyder Men’s Troublemaker Ski Pants always tend to come a bit longer than anticipated, and nobody wants to have to cuff their ski pants. For its odd size, you do get an easily adjustable waist section and wide belt loops, allowing you to add a bib harness system later if you would like. One of the best features is the thigh ventilation, keeping it cool when you would otherwise be sweating up a storm.
Because this is made of nothing but polyester, there’s a small problem in the design. You just want to give these some extra TLC so you don’t wreck the bonding between the poly and the waterproof layer inside. Zippered pockets, excellent cuff guards and a maneuverable knee box design all adds to the usability of these ski pants. We would say these are some hybrid pants that a snowboarder could even get behind, so if you want to rent a board for a few hours on your trip to try it out, these would be the pants to do it in. Pun on your winter boots and hit the road to some ski resort.
100% polyester construction
Cuff guards w/ knee box design
- Weight1.2 pounds
Thigh ventilation cooling system
Easily adjustable waist and belt loops
Sizes often come with a bit of extra length on the legs
You need to be careful cleaning these; polyester is bonded to internal waterproofing layer
Outdoor Research Skyward Ski Pants
Strap in and take off to the summit, because you’re ready to shred down those slopes with Outdoor Research. These fitted ski pants run with a blend of nylon, polyester and a touch of spandex to let this contour to your body. That fact is ever president when you take a look at the central section coming up your abdomen and extending through the straps that cross over your shoulders. They’re easily adjustable and don’t dig into your shoulders or irritate.
These pants are a bit thinner than we would have liked though. You’ll feel a bit of wind through them, despite the fact that it comes with great heat retention. The knee box design was intended to make your movements a little more dextrous, but due to the sealed inseam design (which is great) you really have to bend and crunch in these ski pants to get full knee mobility. Excellent for a hybrid snowboarder and skier, fitted with YKK zippers that won’t rust in the melting snow. These can also make a perfect gift for skiers in your life.
A blend of polyester, nylon and spandex
YKK Aqua guard zippers
Fitted sealed seams for an easy time slipping in and out
- BrandOutdoor Research
- Weight1 pounds
Easily adjustable and comfortable straps
Curves inward at the waist and protrudes halfway up your abdomen for added armor
Knee box design is limited due to the slim nature of the ski pants
Thinner material, you will feel a touch of wind through these
Black Diamond Mission Ski Pants
Black Diamond almost didn’t make the cut, but these prevailed through a big wipeout in a snowbank (and you know, we still looked dapper when we came out). Black Diamond teamed up with Gore-Tex to install the best waterproofing known to man along the inside of these ski pants, and even added in KRD impact foam to help with those unfortunate spills we mentioned earlier. For all this glory, expect to pay a fair price, and within a rather wide range depending on your required sizes.
The only design flaw we didn’t really care for, even though it’s marketed as a good thing, is how baggy it was around the ankles. It’s supposed to provide access to certain kinds of footwear on the slopes, but if you’re adding these to a pre-existing lineup of ski gear, it’s just going to be a bit bulky and awkward. You do get great flexibility throughout the rest of the pants as a result, all while holding onto heat like it’s going out of style. And they go well with good ski boots.
700D nylon construction
Large zippered thigh pocket along the exterior
Removable belt loop section
- BrandBlack Diamond
- Weight2.06 pounds
State of the art Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Extremely flexible interior for tight moves while retaining excellent warmth
Too baggy around the ankle
Higher end of the price scale + wide range
Dakine Stoker Bib Ski Pants
Last but certainly not least, we have our premium choice with all the fixings. You get Gore-Tex waterproofing throughout every aspect of these Dakine Stoker ski pants, including the extended knee boxes that provide an excellent range of motion to keep you swiveling and swerving down the slopes. It also doesn’t hurt that you get that same flexibility along the back panel, useful for when you grab your skis off the ground. Pair it all up with some YKK Aqua guard zippers, and you’re good to go.
The only real hassle here is the lower fly access; it’s a bit dodgy to get to, primarily to upkeep the waterproofing, but nonetheless an aggravating access point. Ventilated leg lining and a tailored fit will have you feeling as luxurious as standing at the tip of a frozen peak can make you. If you’re still not certain what ski pants you’d like, go on down and read our buying guide, then circle back to grab your favorite pair out of the list.
Extended knee boxes for added mobility
Fully tapered fit
Includes mesh lining for ventilation
Stretchy back panel to move with you when you bend to grab your skis
- Weight2.06 pounds
Superior Gore-Tex waterproofing throughout
Includes ample pockets w/ YKK Aqua guard zippers
Lower fly access is a hassle to get to
Ski Pants Buying Guide and FAQs
So you’ve seen the very best ski pants available, but now it’s time to find out what makes them tick. Everything you need to know about how we came to these deliberations, what to look for when you’re making a purchase, and all the little bits nestled in between. By the end of this guide, you’ll be handing off tips and information to your mates on the drive up the mountains. Let’s jump into it.
How We Chose Our Selection of Ski Pants
Brand - Brand is a seriously huge factor here. While in most of our guides we’re trying to find the best picks for a low price, you don’t encounter hundreds of brands trying to achieve the same thing in the ski and snowboarding space. While we have less brands to pore over, we still went through and found their best deals without sacrificing on quality.
Quality - Quality comes down to the materials and the method of the brand. You can have the best list of materials imaginable, but if it’s not constructed properly, then it falls flat. There’s a lot riding on your ski pants: insulation, comfort, drying ability, waterproof lining, and so on. We took a look at the most user-acclaimed ski pants on the market before testing them for ourselves.
Price - You can’t not look at the price tag when you’re shopping for winter sports gear. You’re going to run into some unfavorable prices here, but you knew the general prices of ski gear coming into this guide. As you compile it piece by piece, you’ll have a waterproof, armored set of ski gear that will carry you through anything. Even so, we still aimed for the lower end of the retail value to keep as much green in your pocket as possible.
Features To Look For In Ski Pants
Fit & Comfort - Just because you’re getting an immense amount of protection against the elements doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable while wearing your ski pants. The best ski apparel should be comfortable, fit you like a glove, and add a fantastic aesthetic touch to your mens ski wear that you have set aside for your trip up the mountain.
Warmth - You can’t very well enjoy the slopes if your legs are freezing and your toes have gone numb. Your torso is the most consistently-heated part of your body, and that flows directly down through your legs. They have a similar level of circulation and heat, but it emits far faster. You need some serious warmth and insulation to keep you from feeling the wind and dropping temperatures right through your ski pants.
Breathability - While you need them to be warm, there’s a difference between staying warm and making you feel like you’re being strangled. You want to aim for a snug blanket as opposed to the tightening of a sleeping bag head hole.
Ventilation - This all plays into breathability as well. While that relies on your ability to move around while retaining heat, proper ventilation is all about staving off those dreaded sweats from building up and making it feel like water got through your pants anyway. If it’s not ventilated properly and swapping air throughout the rest of your ski gear, you’re going to feel clammy and prunish before long.
Waterproofness - Nobody should have to hit the lodge to get out of their ski trousers after a single wipeout down the hill. Waterproofing is a must: these layers often rest beneath insulation, somewhere in the center of your ski pants construction.
Style - Nobody said you had to look like a dork out there on the slopes. While the main point is to not quite literally freeze your member off, you still want to have a stylish pair of ski pants that compliments the rest of your ski gear. We can’t really make a ton of recommendations on the style here since it has to go inline with the current ski gear you have at your disposal (at least if you want a seamless look).
Features - This includes pockets designed for additional gloves or EDC pouches sewn into your ski pants. In any case, these are specific to the brand and their model.
Types of Ski Pants
Hardshell Ski Pants - A blend between insulated and softshell pants, these provide some decent warmth and cut down on wind, while still allowing you decent movability throughout your environment. If you’re trying to navigate through dicey areas or you’re just a little nervous on your feet, these are an excellent solution to keep you in control.
Insulated Ski Pants - The go-to for warmth and protection, insulated ski pants provide better shock resistance if you end up wiping out, and keep you warmer throughout your trips. That being said, they also aren’t the best when it comes to movability. If you’re trying to navigate the slopes with extreme dexterity, these aren’t going to be the best fit for you.
Softshell Ski Pants - Not very warm, but you’ll be moving like never before. If you go with softshell ski pants, you’ll need to get some thermal underwear as well. The insulation is minimal, but if you’re really hitting a tough spot, you’ll need that dexterity to maneuver through the worst of it.
Bibs - These are basically a type of waterproof overall/ski pants hybrid. Snowboarders love having a bib to prevent snow from sliding between their ski jacket and getting into their thermals. These mostly come in handy if you wipe out and flood yourself skidding down the snow belly-up, and give an extra margin of protection.
Ski Pants FAQs
Q: What Are Ski Pants?
A: Quite simply, they’re trousers intended for skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. This essential item helps you maintain warmth, keep the chills of the cold out, and stay dry throughout an extended day trip up to the slopes.
Ski pants and snowboarding pants often get mixed up. Since you’re stationary with minimal rotations while skiing (on average), while snowboarding requires a lot more bending at the knees and full body movement due to a lack of poles, ski pants are usually stiffer and more insulated as a rule.
Ski pants also help to reduce the need for additional layers. We were all taught as kids to add extra layers for protection, but in reality the more layers you have, the more water will melt into your clothes, and the quicker you’ll freeze. You don’t need jeans or sweatpants under your ski pants, but you should wear some thermal underwear to maintain internal body heat.
Q: Why Are Some Ski Pants So Expensive?
A: You’re paying for snow armor, something to keep you safe from the elements. It’s not just a marketing gimmick that runs these prices so steep: there’s a lot of layers, and specific elements that come from trusted third-party providers, such as Gore-Tex for the best waterproofing in the business.
For some of the bigger brands, there is a bit of style associated with the cost, but we’ve done our best to select a happy medium between actually fulfilling the intended purposes of the ski pants. You won’t be using your winter gear all too often (not as much as casual, everyday clothing that is), and as such you can properly store and take these out for years to come. With a good quality pair of ski pants in your wardrobe, you’ll have them for a decade or longer: it’s an investment in your winter outdoorsman.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Ski Pants and Snowboarding Pants?
A: The main differences lie in the mobility. Winter ski pants are a bit stiffer and more insulated, and harder to move around in while providing additional warmth. Snowboarding pants are a bit baggier and may have down as an insulating agent, allowing for swift mobility. You have to imagine someone standing on a snowboard with a pair of stiff pants; they don’t have ski poles like you do, so they’re relying on their body’s movements and throwing their momentum around to properly steer.
That means they’re going to sacrifice a bit of their insulation for mobility. Ski pants are rougher, and as a result they’re built with far more durability. Snowboarding pants may need to be replaced every five to eight years, but a quality pair of ski pants with upkeep can last you from ten to twenty years (provided your body type doesn’t change drastically in that time frame).
Quality, longevity, and fit. Ski pants are also a bit more snug even though they have more insulation, keeping you closer to your outerwear, and still being breathable but using as little body heat as possible to warm the inside of your winter clothing.
Q: Should I Get Ski Pants or Bibs?
A: Both provide excellent protection, though we see more snowboarders using bibs than skiers. To help you make the decision on your own, we’ve simply laid out the benefits of each.
- Warmth: Bibs have more material to cover you up, but can sometimes get a little stuffy when you also have a ski jacket on top of things. If you’re wearing a one-piece thermal underwear as well, you might overheat. On the flip side, if your ski jacket isn’t necessarily state of the art, you could benefit from the added layer of a bib.
- Mobility: Bibs offer less mobility, but not in all situations. Ski pants are superior in mobility, because when you do go to make those rather sharp twists and turns, you’re not going to feel the pull of the straps and front section of material tugging at your chest.
- Fit: Bibs have more room to swim around in, whereas ski pants are designed to contour to your body and keep you as aerodynamic as possible for maximum speed on the slopes. For the purpose, bibs just completely fall flat here.
Q: What do I Wear Under My Ski Pants?
A: We recommend getting a pair of long Johns, better known as thermal underwear. Our personal preference comes in a pack of three, so you can have a fresh, clean and dry pair for each day of your three-day skiing weekend.
These cover you from your wrist to your collar, and all the way back down to your ankles. Another option is to get some full-body compression gear that you would traditionally use for exercise or cycling. The point behind that is that your blood circulation speed slightly increases, actually warming you up a little bit more.
The main thing we want to avoid is frostbite or any signals of it. Stick with something that’s easy to clean and get out of, such as cotton. You want to avoid polyester because if you do have a breach and snow gets inside, it’s going to feel like peeling dried latex paint off of your skin. You need to be able to get back indoors, and strip it off quickly to prevent any freezing effects.
Q: What Are Powder Gaiters and Why do I Need Them?
A: Ever seen those straps that hook underneath a snowboarder’s boot before he hops on the board? That’s what powder gaiters are. These keep your pants in the perfect position and strapped to your boot for two reasons. One: your boots can’t come off if you wipeout in a certain way. Two: it keeps your fit nice and snug, providing closeness and warmth, and keeping you in proper form with less bagginess.
If you’re serious about skiing, then yes, you absolutely should pick up a set of powder gaiters. These are ultra durable, and last for a few years before you should replace them. Whatever way you swing it, you can’t be 100% prepared for everything that’s going to happen out on the slopes. Keep your snow gear locked down, and it won’t fail you.