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The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023

Whether you frequent backcountry mountains or a local resort, we've found the best ski pants for women to help maximize your day on snow.

Gearjunkie editor testing women's ski pantGearJunkie editor Morgan Tilton testing women's ski pants at Crested Butte; (photo/Jason Hummel)
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The winter season is upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited to have the secret to staying comfortable: Wear ski pants. On the slopes. Around town. While driving. These utility pants are the ultimate tool for staying warm and dry. With plenty of women’s-specific options, many pairs are fun and fashion-forward, too.

We’ve researched, tested, and rounded up our choices for the best snow pants in all the top categories. We’ve also provided a breakdown on how to choose the snow pants that will best fit your skiing or other winter needs from sledding and walking the dogs, to shoveling the walkway. While many women’s snowboard pants are tailored to the sport’s style and boot fit, many ski pants also pair well with snowboard boots.

Ski pants need to fit well and work year after year. From smart, useful pockets to leg vents and waterproofing, we outline the best features of each pant. And while there isn’t a single best snow pant for every woman, we’ve organized this list into categories to help you find the best ski pant for your downhill turns, uphill adventures, and other favorite winter activities.

To learn more about ski pants and how to choose the perfect pair, check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ section at the bottom of this article. Also, have a look at our comparison chart to steer your decision-making.

Otherwise, jump to one of our top picks or scroll through all the options for the best ski pants for women in 2023:

The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023

Best Overall Women's Ski Pant

Stio Raymer Pant


  • Shell 3L PeakProof shell with 50-denier plainweave nylon (20K/13K waterproofness and breathability) plus DWR finish
  • Insulation None
  • Pockets 3 (two zippered thigh pockets, one zippered glute pocket)
  • Seams Fully seam-sealed for total waterproofness
  • Zippers YKK water-resistant Aquaguard coil zippers
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Regular
  • Cuffs 600-denier cordura kickpatch with TPU coat and DWR finish
  • Our favorite perk The robust material offers enough protection with no bulk and the pants look great
  • Best for Resort, backcountry, uphill workouts, and mellow nordic skiing
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Interior thigh vents for dumping heat
  • Internal gaiters easily slide over boots


  • If you tend to be super cold sensitive, consider looking at insulated ski pants
  • Interior vents are not the largest or longest
Best Budget Women's Ski Pant

The North Face Women’s Freedom Insulated Pants


  • Shell 2-layer DryVent fabric
  • Insulation The North Face Heatseeker
  • Pockets 3 (two zippered hand pockets, one thigh cargo pocket)
  • Seams Critically sealed (unsealed pocket seams)
  • Zippers Non-waterproof zippered front pockets and vents
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Regular
  • Cuffs Yes
  • Our favorite perk The venting system
  • Best for Enthusiastic resort skiers
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Fleece-lined pockets
  • Thigh vents


  • No DWR treatment
Best Runner-Up

Arc’teryx Sentinel Pant


  • Shell 3-layer N70p GORE-TEX with Lo-Loft soft shell construction (nylon plain weave fabric with DWR finish)
  • Insulation Brushed-knit polyester liner
  • Pockets 3 (two zippered thigh pockets, one flap stash pocket)
  • Zippers Not available
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Standard
  • Cuffs 100-denier Cordura cuffs with Keprotec instep patches
  • Our favorite perk High-reaching, stout interior cuffs for hem and pant leg protection
  • Best for Avid backcountry enthusiasts, blustery resort days, environments full of changing weather conditions
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Durable
  • Big side vents
  • Waterproof


  • No mesh backer on the side vents
Best Insulated Ski Pants for Resort Days

Flylow Fae Insulated Pant


  • Shell 2-layer polyester hardshell with DWR and 20K/30K waterproof and breathability
  • Insulation 60g Greenloft recycled polyester (previously 40g PrimaLoft Eco)
  • Pockets 3
  • Seams Fully sealed
  • Zippers YKK
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Regular (not too fitted or in the athletic category)
  • Cuffs Reinforced 500-denier fabric
  • Our favorite perk Insulation is made from post-consumer plastic
  • Best for Chilly resort laps
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Malleable material
  • Not-too-tight fit
  • Lightly insulated


  • Folks looking for a more athletic or backcountry-esce pant can look elsewhere
Best Backcountry Ski Pant

Outdoor Research Women’s Skyward II AscentShell Pants


  • Shell 3-layer polyester AscentShell fabric
  • Insulation None
  • Pockets 4 (two zippered hand pockets, two zippered thigh pockets)
  • Zippers YKK AquaGuard zippered hand and thigh pockets
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Standard
  • Cuffs Yes, with 420-denier scuff guards
  • Our favorite perk Range of motion and breathability
  • Best for Earning your turns
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Ample ventilation
  • Large, easy-access beacon pocket
  • Plenty of stretch


  • No integrated RECCO
Best Uphill Workout Ski Pant for Women

La Sportiva Women’s Excelsior Pant


  • Shell Midweight soft shell made of recycled polyamide and polyester plus elastane (bluesign-certified) and PFC-free DWR coating
  • Insulation None
  • Pockets 3 (two zippered hand pockets, one zippered thigh pocket)
  • Zippers Not available
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Streamlined yet stretchy
  • Cuffs An inch of reinforced cuff around the entire parameter and a 8.5″ high patch inside the leg
  • Our favorite perk Slender-fitting for exercise without any rub points or tight spots
  • Best for Uphilling, speed workouts, skimo races
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Breathable softshell fabric
  • DWR treatment sheds wet snow


  • Seams not sealed

Best of the Rest

Flylow Nina Pant


  • Shell Three-layer Oxford polyester fabric with DWR and 20K/20K waterproof breathable membrane
  • Insulation None
  • Pockets Four (three on the front)
  • Seams Fully taped
  • Zippers YKK waterproof
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Regular
  • Cuffs Reinforced
  • Our favorite perk Both interior and exterior leg vents
  • Best for Resort days
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Stretchy enough
  • Roomy, comfortable fit for layers beneath


  • Not streamlined for those looking for well-fitted ski pants

Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Insulated Pant


  • Shell 2-layer HellyTech Performance fabric with DWR finish
  • Insulation PrimaLoft (100% recycled polyester)
  • Pockets 4 (two zippered hand pockets, two thigh pockets)
  • Seams Fully taped
  • Zippers 2 YKK AquaGuard zippers on the front pockets
  • RECCO Yes
  • Fit Low-rise, standard
  • Cuffs Yes
  • Our favorite perk All-day comfort lapping runs
  • Best for Resort skiing or side-country skiing on lift-served terrain
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Warm
  • Stylish
  • Embedded RECCO reflector


  • Too warm for uphill travel

Dynafit Women’s Beast Hybrid


  • Shell 3-layer Dynashell polyamide-nylon fabric with DWR finish
  • Insulation None
  • Pockets 2
  • Seams Fully sealed seams
  • Zippers Water-repellent YKK zippers
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Athletic
  • Cuffs Yes
  • Our favorite perk Great performance in lots of different conditions (thanks to the ventilation zips)
  • Best for Those who like to tour
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Built for strenuous uphill travel
  • Waterproof knees, thighs, and seat


  • Not completely waterproof

Columbia Bugaboo Omni-Heat Snow Pant


  • Shell 2-layer nylon Omni-Tech fabric
  • Insulation Microtemp XF
  • Pockets 5 (two hand pockets, two back pockets, side leg pocket)
  • Seams Fully taped
  • Zippers Zippered front pockets and zippered leg pocket
  • RECCO No
  • Fit Active
  • Cuffs Yes, with snap closure
  • Our favorite perk Good performance for the price
  • Best for Beginner skiing in resorts
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Warm
  • Waterproof
  • Inexpensive


  • No ventilation

Helly Hansen Legendary Insulated Pants


  • Shell 3-ply, 2-way stretch polyester face fabric, 2-ply Helly Tech waterproof/breathable membrane, DWR treatment to repel moisture, Bluesign-certified materials
  • Insulation PrimaLoft Black 60g
  • Pockets 4 (two zippered hand pockets, two back pockets)
  • Seams Fully sealed
  • Zippers YKK Aquaguard zippers
  • Cuffs Yes, reinforced
  • Waterproof Rating 10,000mm
  • Fit Standard
  • Best for Durability and quality on a budget
The Best Women’s Ski Pants of 2023


  • Sleek appearance
  • Well-insulated
  • Reasonably priced


  • Not the most breathable

Women’s Ski Pants Comparison Chart

Ski PantsPriceShellInsulationFitRecco
Stio Raymer Pant$3493L PeakProof shell with 50-denier plainweave nylonNoneRegularNo
The North Face Freedom
Insulated Pants
$1692-layer DryVent fabricThe North Face HeatseekerRegularNo
Arc’teryx Sentinel Pant$4993-layer nylon fabric with GORE-TEXBrushed-knit polyester linerStandardNo
Flylow Fae Insulated Pant$3502-layer polyester hardshell with DWR60 g Greenloft recycled polyesterRegularNo
Outdoor Women’s Research
Skyward II AscentShell Pants
$3293-layer polyester AscentShell fabricNoneStandardNo
La Sportiva Women’s
Excelsior Pant
$179Midweight soft shellNoneStreamlined yet stretchyNo
Flylow Nina Pant$365Three-layer Oxford polyester fabric with DWRNoneRegularNo
Helly Hansen Switch
Cargo Insulated Pant
$2252-layer HellyTech Performance fabric with DWRPrimaLoftLow-rise, standardYes
Dynafit Women’s
Beast Hybrid
$3503-layer Dynashell polyamide-nylon fabric with DWR finishNoneAthleticNo
Helly Hansen Legendary
Insulated Pants
$2003-ply, 2-way stretch polyester face fabric, 2-ply Helly Tech membranePrimaLoft Black 60 gStandardNo
Columbia Bugaboo
Omni-Heat Snow Pant
$1202-layer nylon Omni-Tech fabricMicrotemp XFActiveNo
Senior Editor Morgan Tilton alpine skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
A good pair of ski pants will keep you ripping laps on storm days and bluebird days alike; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Why You Should Trust Us

The GearJunkie team is made up of intermediate to expert alpine and backcountry skiers. We’ve skied runs in-bounds and hut-to-hut all over North America, including bell-to-bell resort powder days, ski-to-surf trips such as on Vancouver Island, backcountry hut adventures, skimo races, and cross-country laps on the nordic trails.

Women’s ski pants are essential for staying comfortable and dry while in motion, riding the lift, or taking a snack break. Over the years, we’ve tested many different ski pants, and this list comprises the best of the best. GearJunkie’s Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton has more than 32 years of snow pant experience living and playing outside in the high-altitude mountains of Colorado.

While testing women’s ski pants in the field, we assess durability, overall fit, ease of movement, protection against the elements, fabric feel, breathability, ventilation, and functionality. We take a look at specific features from pockets, zippers, vents, and gaiters to the waistband and cuff design.

We’ve tested ski pants while carving turns in ice-cold temperatures, blizzards, blustery wind, intense sun, and even rain from far-out tours to parking lot tailgating.

Beyond our team’s experience, we also consider the most innovative, sustainable, legacy, popular, and bestselling women’s ski pants on the market. These ski pants represent a broad range of price points and features for a variety of applications and needs.

DSC03352 copy
Ski pant vents can be placed on the exterior or interior of the upper leg and range in size; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Women’s Ski Pants

Snow pants aren’t hard to find, especially if you live in a colder climate. But finding the right pair can be harder than you think. So here are a few tips to get you started.

Consider Activity and Usage

Chances are, if you’re looking for a pair of snow pants to wear for a specific winter sport such as backcountry skiing, alpine skiing, or snowboarding, they’ll each have slightly different design features, fit, and style that make those pants more comfortable and functional for the day’s winter activity. That being said, many ski pants do work for other winter activities such as sledding, shoveling, fat biking, ice climbing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, winter hiking, dog walking, building snow caves, snowball fights, pow surfing, ice skating — you name it.

As you narrow down your top activity, consider the average temperature, conditions, and your personal body heat. Do the temperatures hover at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or up towards 30 degrees, and is there often windchill? Do you expect dry or wet snow? Will you be consistently moving, or do you anticipate being sedentary such as on the ski lift or while watching the kids play in the snow outside? And do you generally tend to run hot or cold?

Depending on the activity and output, you’ll want either insulated or uninsulated pants and ventilation as well as waterproofness. Each of those factors influences the price tag.

Type of Fit

Do you prefer a relaxed or more athletic fit? While this is a personal preference, a more streamlined fit is often more comfortable and ergonomic for skinning uphill as well as activities like fat biking.

If you want an unencumbered range of motion, maybe go with a relaxed fit. And if you run cold and wear more or thicker base layers, consider an insulated pant or going up a size.

It’s also important to note sizing sometimes differs depending on the pant’s style. And fit will also depend on your frame — if you’re taller or shorter than average or wear plus sizes, look for pants that offer accommodations or sizes for those builds.

All the pants on our list have some form of adjustable waist.

Which Fabric Should You Choose?

For powder days or backcountry travel, it makes a lot of sense to invest in a GORE-TEX or similar fully waterproof fabric.

The climate where you venture outdoors is also an important variable. There are three general snowpack zones: maritime, closer to the ocean; transitional; and continental with lower humidity and colder temperatures. The maritime snowpack has more water content and will be more wet, such as on Vancouver Island. Comparatively, Colorado’s continental snowpack typically has less water content and is much dryer.

Furthermore, two-layer and three-layer fabrics have different weights, waterproofness, and breathability ratings.

Ask yourself whether the pant will work for what you want. The goal is to find a pant with a fabric that will protect you and complement your activity level on the mountain or in the backcountry whether you’re taking resort laps for a couple of hours or skiing hut-to-hut for a few days.

A close-up of an internal gaiter on women's ski pants pulled over ski boots
Interior gaiters help keep snow out of your boots on deep powder days; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Ski Pant Pockets and Features

Every pant has different features, but we have two must-haves for snow pants. They need to have internal gaiters that secure well over boots (gaiters with boot adjustment access are a plus) and functional, deep, wide, easy-to-open-and-close pockets. Ladies, you know what we’re talking about. That inch-wide chapstick pocket just doesn’t cut it.

Thigh pockets are especially great if you don’t like pocket items (like a cell phone or beacon) bunching up near your hips. Another important feature to consider getting in your pant is a RECCO reflector for safety in avalanche terrain.

Budget and Price

Depending on how often you hit the slopes, price is a factor. If you’re still starting out in a snowsport, or only make it to the mountain a couple of times a year, consider a more budget-friendly pant.

As you gain experience, you can always invest in a higher-quality pant that will ultimately perform better and last longer on the mountain.

Quality snow pants range in price from $120 (the Bugaboo Omni-Heat Snow Pants from Columbia) to the Arc’teryx Sentinel Pant ($550) — a benchmark of superior design, protection, fit, feel, and long-lasting quality.

On the lower end, you’ll also find the North Face’s Freedom Insulated Pant ($169) and La Sportiva Excelsior Pant ($179), which serve different purposes: one is tighter for athletic pursuits and the other is more robust for everyday work.

A tier up in price you’ll find the Switch Cargo ($225) and Legendary Insulated Ski Pants ($200), which are excellent for avid resort skiers and riders.

Next, you’ll see higher quality snow pants that are more robust for backcountry, race, or mountaineering pursuits like Outdoor Research’s Skyward II AscentShell ($329) and the Beast Hybrid ($350).


Female skier stands with skis at ski area
Morgan Tilton testing women’s ski pants at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)
How Much Should I Spend on Ski Pants?

The answer to this question largely depends on the type of skier you are. Have you never been in a winter climate and are skiing for the first time? Do you only ski on vacation? Look for a pair of pants that are more budget-friendly initially — you can always upgrade later.

Or, do you engage in winter activities that require a durable layer for much of the year? Make sure you get pants that have all the features you need — you may need to spend a little extra for technical features.

Our answer is always first, set yourself a budget. Check out all the pants on this list and find the one or two best for you, and then check to see if it’s on sale. Lots of times, seasonal apparel like ski pants and jackets go on sale after the season ends, so spring/summer is a great time to shop.

If you are able, we strongly encourage trying ski pants on, whether buying online with a return policy or shopping in the store. (We’ve included notes on the fit of each pant for this very reason — finding the right-fitting pant is hard!)

What’s the Difference Between Ski Pants and Insulated Ski Pants?

Regular, non-insulated ski pants are a protective, waterproofed fabric. Insulated ski pants are the same, but with (usually) synthetic insulation added between the fabrics for warmth. Do you need pants with insulation, and how much?

The answer all depends on what type of skiing you are doing, and where. How cold is it? Will you be traveling uphill, in the backcountry, or at resorts? Do you expect to be sedentary, in which case, your body temperature may drop, such as on the ski lift or while getting the kids booted up in the parking lot.

You may want to buy a cold-weather-specific insulated pant for those really snowy days on the mountain and a non-insulated shell pant for warmer days and backcountry use. Especially if you run cold, consider insulated options. Our best overall pant, best budget pant, and best resort pant all have insulation for instance. (PrimaLoft insulation is the standard in many ski pants.)

Let’s face it, you may not think about pant insulation while making turns on your favorite run. But when faced with -10-degree windchill on a chairlift, suddenly you’ll be wishing for some extra warmth on your bottom half.

What Is RECCO?

RECCO is an avalanche safety system used by ski teams and rescue professionals to help find people trapped in an avalanche. The first part of the system is a reflector sewn into outerwear apparel to help a buried skier be detected in the event of an avalanche.

A RECCO reflector doesn’t transmit any signals or need any batteries, but it’s great to have in an emergency. A RECCO detector transmits an active signal, with a range up to 120 m through the air and 10-20 m through snow.

Note that a RECCO reflector does not replace an avalanche transceiver, also known as an avalanche beacon. If you plan to go into the sidecountry (slackcountry) such as out the boundary gate at your local ski area, or into the backcountry, be sure to wear and know how to use your avalanche transceiver. Likewise, be sure that your ski partners wear and know how to use their avalanche transceiver.

Should Ski Pants Fit Loose or Tight?

Somewhere in between. Not so tight that they restrict movement, but not so loose that there’s extra space between the pants and your body (you’ll lose heat and get cold more easily plus it will feel too cumbersome or potentially get caught). If you wear thicker or more baselayers down below, consider sizing up to ensure that the pants fit properly.

Always try on ski pants with a thicker layer underneath — essentially, what you’d wear out in the cold. Especially if you are buying shell pants (uninsulated), you may want to size up or down, depending on the type of base layers you wear underneath.

With pants, it’s also super important to check the size and length — and see if they offer short, tall, or petite sizing for women who run short or tall.

Is GORE-TEX Good for Skiing?

GORE-TEX is a waterproof, windproof breathable membrane that is part of the fabric. For a long time, GORE-TEX has been the gold standard in waterproofing.

However, there are lots of other similar apparel membranes out there. Many major brands have their own version of waterproof-breathable fabrics.

Whichever ski pants you buy, make sure they are waterproof. Fabrics have degrees of waterproofing, from 5,000 mm to 10,000 mm to 25,000 mm water column ratings. Generally, a handful of our GearJunkie team likes to shoot for at least a 10,000-15,000 mm water column rating based on where we live and what kind of snow we experience in Colorado.

However, the highest level of waterproofing will sacrifice a little on breathability. In mild to medium — not extreme — winter climates, you’ll want a balance.

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