Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Ski Pants for Women of 2022

We tested women's ski pants from Arc'teryx, The North Face, Flylow, and more to find the best options
Best Ski Pants for Women of 2022
Ready to take some early season laps in the Hemispheres Bib.
Credit: Emily Tidwell
By Sarah Sherman ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday April 5, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Seeking the best women's ski pants? Combined with 8 years of testing over 34 unique models, this 2021-2022 review includes the 13 top options of the season, tested and assessed side by side. Spending hundreds of hours on the slopes, our lady testers had sweet powder turns, faced biting cold weather, and grunted through slushy, wet conditions. We evaluated each ski pant based on six performance metrics to score each one comparatively. Whether you're looking for a pant that'll go from the resort to the backcountry, keep you dry when the weather turns foul, or leave a little more change in your pocket, we've outlined the best options available for you to consider.

If you need other ski gear, fear not — we've tested it all (including backcountry-specific ski gear). We've got reviews on ski clothings like ski jackets, gloves, and base layers. We've also put women's skis, boots, and snowboards to the test, so you can spend more time shredding and less time comparison shopping. We encourage safety, so don't forget a helmet to protect your noggin!

Related: Best Ski Pants for Men

Top 13 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 13
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Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award    
Price $199 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$189 List
$199.00 at REI
$101.40 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$110.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$114.83 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score
75
71
60
54
57
Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, warm, RECCO, great price, ideal for novice to intermediate skiersVery warm, good ventilation, affordable priceAffordable, warm, stylishPrice, warmthStylish, stretchy
Cons Not great for backcountry use, waterproofingLimited style and color options, few extra featuresLimited use, hard to size rightNo vents, limited featuresWaterproofing, odd fitting, pockets
Bottom Line This pant offers resort style with comfort and warmth at an approachable price pointSimple yet functional, this bib is an affordable option for those looking for a basic design with solid performanceA warm, stylish, and functional pant that comes at a great priceThis is a basic pant that is a solid option for a first timer who isn't sure if they want to invest in the sportThese bibs are just as comfortable for aprés as they are on the mountain
Rating Categories Patagonia Insulated... REI Co-op Powderbou... The North Face Free... Columbia Bugaboo Om... Burton Avalon Bib
Weather Resistance (25%)
6.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
4.0
Fit and Comfort (25%)
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Ventilation (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
1
6.0
Warmth (15%) Sort Icon
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Features (10%)
7.0
5.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
Style (10%)
8.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
Specs Patagonia Insulated... REI Co-op Powderbou... The North Face Free... Columbia Bugaboo Om... Burton Avalon Bib
Measured Weight 1.4 lbs 1.7 lbs 1.6 lbs 1.4 lbs 1.9 lbs
Waterproofing 2-layer H2No Performance Standard 2-layer Peak 2-layer DryVent Omni-Tech 2-layer DryRide
Vents Inner thigh Inner thigh, outer thigh Inner thigh None Inner thigh
Insulation/Lining 100% polyester taffeta 40g polyester 60g Heatseeker Eco, 90% recycled polyester 60g Microtemp XF II polyester Living Lining
Main fabric 75D 100% polyester Nylon 160D nylon 100% nylon twill Stretch polyester
Waistline construction Button & zip fly Bib Button and zip fly Button & zip fly Bib
Pockets 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 zippered hand, 1 velcro cargo 2 zippered hand 2 handwarmer, 1 zippered chest


Best Overall Women's Ski Pants


Arc'teryx Sentinel AR Pants - Women's


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Resistance 9.0
  • Fit and Comfort 8.0
  • Ventilation 8.0
  • Warmth 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Style 7.0
Insulation: Thin, brushed liner | Waterproofing: 3-layer Gore-Tex
REASONS TO BUY
Weatherproofing
Versatile for resort and backcountry use
Durability
Well-designed pockets
Color and size options (short, regular, tall)
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited pockets
Price

For a pant that will work for everything from groomer laps to the harshest storm days, our top choice is the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR. This pant earns its high marks for a handful of reasons. With bomber construction and high-performing weather resistance, fleece lining for comfort, and just a bit of warmth, as well as pocket space for your essentials, this pant is ready for whatever you may throw at it. There's space to layer up underneath them for cold resort laps while also featuring large external leg vents to dump heat while ski touring. We also loved the sleek and tailored look.

The catch? You pay for what you get. The price is high for a pant without many techy features, but we appreciate the minimal, less frivolous approach to ski pants. If it's performance you want, you're likely to be happy with the results that the Sentinel provides. Put it this way — investing in high-quality pants now may mean you don't have to buy ski pants again for several seasons. As far as women's ski pants go, we haven't found anything that checks all the boxes as well as this model.

Read review: Arc'teryx Sentinel AR Women's Pant

ski pants womens - best overall women's ski pants
Even on colder days, these non-insulated pants still kept us cozy when paired with a baselayer.

Best Overall Ski Bib


Flylow Foxy Bib


78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Resistance 8.0
  • Fit and Comfort 8.0
  • Ventilation 9.0
  • Warmth 5.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Style 8.0
Insulation: None | Waterproofing: 3-layer Intuitive Stretch Stormshell
REASONS TO BUY
Plenty of pocket space
Drop seat
Appropriate for many functions
Burly
Exceptional ventilation
REASONS TO AVOID
External material quickly absorbs liquid

It's rare to find a product that lives up to the hype built around it, but that was our experience with the Flylow Foxy Bib. This bib has everything you'd typically want for everyday use while still excelling in a variety of conditions. With thoughtfully placed pockets (the kangaroo pocket quickly became a favorite), a drop seat for easy relief in the backcountry, and a variety of color options, this bib did not disappoint. We expect this pant to handle on-snow abuse with the best of them, too, potentially providing multiple seasons of use. This bib also has the most efficient ventilation system of all pants we tested, with leg vents on the interior and exterior of the legs to shed heat quickly.

Not everyone wants bibs, though, so even this fantastic pair might not pull you over to the bib side. After extended use, the DWR coating on the Foxy Bib wore off from the pair we bought, which allowed the external fabric to saturate quickly, although no water penetrated to our legs. Using a waterproofing wash to re-up the DWR treatment is suggested. If you're looking for a resort bib, this is the first place to look.

Read review: Flylow Foxy Bib

ski pants womens - best overall ski bib
We like the cozy kangaroo pouch as an extra handwarmer. Note -- this photo is of a past colorway, though the construction is the same.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Best Bang for Your Buck Ski Pant


Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pants


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Resistance 6.0
  • Fit and Comfort 9.0
  • Ventilation 6.0
  • Warmth 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Style 8.0
Insulation: 100% polyester taffeta | Waterproofing: 2-layer H2No Performance Standard
REASONS TO BUY
Warm
Comfortable
RECCO technology
Price
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the greatest weather resistance
Not versatile for backcountry use

Whether you're looking to save a few bucks or just getting started with skiing or snowboarding, it's comforting to know you can get a pair of ski pants that won't break the bank while still performing. The Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pant steps up to the plate in this category, offering solid, base-covering performance at a reasonable price. This pair hits the sweet spot of performance that most beginner to intermediate skiers want. It looks good, is very comfortable and allows great mobility, has zippered pockets, keeps you warm on frigid chairlifts, and even has RECCO location technology.

This pant is best for someone who tends to get cold at the resort—they're insulated to keep you toasty, but wouldn't be ideal for backcountry touring or hitting double blacks regularly. Additionally, with just average waterproofing, this model may not be your best choice if you ski in wetter areas like the Pacific Northwest. That being said, it comes in a myriad of different colors, is warm, easy to move in, and you can rest easy knowing that you didn't over-pay on a great pair of ski pants.

Read review: Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pant - Women's

ski pants womens - best bang for your buck ski pant
Early-season resort ripping in the Insulated Snowbelle.

Best Bargain Ski Bib


REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib - Women's


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Resistance 6.0
  • Fit and Comfort 7.0
  • Ventilation 9.0
  • Warmth 9.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Style 6.0
Insulation: 40g Polyester | Waterproofing: Peak 2-layer fabric DWR coating
REASONS TO BUY
Warmth
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited options
Few features

When testing the REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib we were impressed with how much there was to love at such a reasonable price. Simple yet functional, this bib offers most of what an average skier or rider might want while lapping a resort. Utilizing a Bluesign approved 2-layer nylon shell with a DWR finish, this bib kept us dry during weather resistance testing as well as warm on cold, long chair rides. Articulated knees and hips left room to move, and the adjustable shoulder straps allowed a customizable fit.

But, here's the catch. At such a reasonable price point, this pant doesn't include many of the bells and whistles that more expensive, technical models do. We would not recommend wearing this model for extended periods of time in wet climates as the 2-layer DWR finished fabric is not designed to withstand heavy rain or snow. Its small chest pocket doesn't leave much room for storing gear, though the two thigh pockets each easily fit a phone. Finally, the Powderbound Insulated Bib is only available in two colors, limiting available options for those who value style. This bib is a great option for someone wanting a great basic model, who would prefer to save a few dollars than to have a fully feature-loaded piece of gear.

Read review: REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib - Women's

ski pants womens - best bargain ski bib
We liked the simple style of this bib both on and off the mountain.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Best for Backcountry Touring


Outdoor Research Skyward II AscentShell - Women's


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Resistance 8.0
  • Fit and Comfort 8.0
  • Ventilation 9.0
  • Warmth 5.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Style 7.0
Insulation: None | Waterproofing: 3-layer AscentShell
REASONS TO BUY
Roomy pockets
Weather resistance
Performance-per-dollar
Comfort
Features
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited Options
One zipper didn't lie flat

The Outdoor Research Skyward II is filled to the brim with thoughtful features that backcountry skiers or riders are sure to appreciate. Lightweight, with a stretchy, 3-layer fabric, we found this pant to be both incredibly comfortable and weather-resistant during our testing. We were impressed that such a stretchy material could also fight off the elements so well.

The Skyward II Pant scores high in the features category as well, having four pockets with ample space, one of which is beacon-specific, an adjustable waistband, booster strap compatible boot gaiter, and long, large outer thigh vents to easily dump heat when you work up a sweat on the boot pack. This pant is an easy choice when looking for a backcountry adventure option, and the fact that it is reasonably priced for all that it offers, especially when compared to comparable options, is the icing on the cake. If you prefer bibs to pants, check out the higher-priced but similarly high-performing Outdoor Research Hemisphere Bib.

Read review: Outdoor Research Skyward II AscentShell - Women's

ski pants womens - the skyward ii&#039;s adjustable waistband makes for a more customized fit.
The Skyward II's adjustable waistband makes for a more customized fit.
Credit: Eric Sales

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
79
$549
Editors' Choice Award
A reliable and comfortable pant that is ready for anything
78
$420
Editors' Choice Award
Ready for anything, these bibs combine form and function
77
$299
Top Pick Award
For those looking for a high-performing shell, this pant offers technical features in a reasonably priced package
77
$599
An ideal bib for backcountry enthusiasts, fully loaded with features
75
$199
Best Buy Award
Insulated and simple, this pant performs the best in its price point for novice to intermediate resort skiers
75
$349
Comfortable and lightweight, these are your backcountry friend
75
$350
A stylish bib that is very weather resistant, but lacks a convenient drop seat option
75
$600
These pants are for those who are preparing to take on harsh conditions
74
$350
A technical bib that is simple yet effective for ski touring
71
$189
Best Buy Award
For those who prefer the fit and protection of a bib, this option is warm and functional at an affordable price
60
$169
Thanks to its warmth, style, and overall function, these ski pants offer great value
57
$230
These bibs win all of the style points, getting attention in the lift line and town, but don't fully satisfy on-snow
54
$110
Offered at a low price tag, this pant is great for someone who isn't ready to commit to a more expensive pant

ski pants womens - our favorite testing days for ski pants -- knee-deep pow. the...
Our favorite testing days for ski pants -- knee-deep pow. The Sentinel AR held up without an issue in these conditions, and more.

Why You Should Trust Us


Since 2014, Sarah Sherman has worked in the ski and snowboard industry as a ski and snowboard instructor, marketing professional, photographer, and journalist. Regularly spending more than 100 days a season on snow and a self-proclaimed "gear nerd," there are few things she enjoys more than shop talk and helping others find the right gear for their needs. Throughout her experience, she has learned what makes a product great or bad, as well as which products suit different kinds of skiers and riders. She aims to provide all of the necessary information to get the right product in your hands so that you can have the best days out there, ever.

To accomplish this lofty goal, Sarah and a team of skiing and snowboarding friends spent hours researching the top pants and bibs on the market, finally narrowing down the selection to the top 10 featured here. Pants were purchased and worn while sliding and riding for two months throughout California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, from Mammoth Mountain to Palisades Tahoe to Sierra-at-Tahoe, as well as in Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon, experiencing the whole gamut of skiing conditions. There were spring-like days, powder days, and days where the snow fell more like rain. To ensure each pant received a thorough inspection, specific tests were also conducted. For example, every single pair was put through a shower test for waterproofing. And throughout it all, notes were taken on their various attributes such as warmth, ventilation, comfort, features, and style.

The OutdoorGearLab shower test in full effect.
The OutdoorGearLab shower test in full effect.
Getting some early season rips in the Lofoten ski pants.
Getting some early season rips in the Lofoten ski pants.
Our favorite way to test pants for warmth... In fresh snow.
Our favorite way to test pants for warmth... In fresh snow.

Analysis and Test Results


To effectively rate and test each pair of pants and bibs, each one was tested and ranked via six different categories: style, weather resistance, fit and comfort, warmth, ventilation, and features. Be sure to pay attention to each rating and its reasoning as you go on, as different metrics may matter more or less to you. For example, if you know you want a pant for ski touring, you will not mind that a pant scored low on the warmth metric, as you probably want an uninsulated pant.


Value


When it comes to ski pants, it can be hard to discern what justifies such a range in price. What is the difference between a low-priced product and a top-shelf, high-dollar one? We dove into the question in our testing, trying out pairs across the price spectrum, and analyzing what made them great or not.

The results were pretty straightforward. If you are looking for a pair of pants to get you through a couple of days a season that will keep you warm and function well, then it usually doesn't make sense to spend a ton. In that situation, the Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pant or the REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib might serve you well, depending on if you prefer a pant or bib. Neither may be the most durable long-term, but what you get for the price will allow you to enjoy most days at the resort you might encounter. For a small increase in price, the Patagonia Snowbelle provides a slight upgrade with a stylish design and warm insulation for resort skiing. If you are looking to make a more long-term investment, we recommend the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR Pant. Though it is on the high side of the price spectrum, durability provides value in the long run. These are a pair you can expect to put through the wringer and still get quality performance season after season. If you're looking to explore the backcountry, we recommend the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant, which we found to be both reasonably priced while also fully loaded with features to keep you dry and comfortable both up and downhill.

ski pants womens - when it comes to insulated pants, we are big fans of the snowbelle...
When it comes to insulated pants, we are big fans of the Snowbelle from Patagonia. We also appreciate the price point.

Weather Resistance


Weather resistance was the most important metric we considered during testing, meaning it significantly affected a pant's score. No matter what kind of day you plan on having on the mountain, staying dry is a key factor in your overall comfort and happiness. Nothing ruins a fun day quicker than soggy pants.


To test weather resistance, we not only wore the pants out in all kinds of conditions (sun, very wet snow, and cold powdery days), but put each pair through our "shower test"—two minutes of constant water exposure in the shower, testing zippers, seams, and overall waterproofing.

There were very few surprises during this testing process—we typically found that the higher-end pants generally performed better than the rest. Coming out on top was the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Shell Pant. This model seemed to shed water like an umbrella and, even after two minutes in the shower, felt almost completely dry after a good shake-off. Following close behind were the technical, high-end pants, including the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR, the Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib, the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant, and the Patagonia Snowdrifter Bib. These pants all received strong scores for weather resistance with zero leakage during testing and limited absorption of water.

ski pants womens - shower testing the weather resistance of the or hemispheres. our...
Shower testing the weather resistance of the OR Hemispheres. Our shower test didn't phase them at all, as the water simple beaded up and ran off the outer fabric, and didn't seep through the waterproof zippers.

The Flylow Foxy Bib had no water leakage on the inside, but the external material seemed to absorb water and felt heavy to wear, taking on liquid. The Burton Avalon Bib did not bode well during testing, with water seeping through its zippers. Finally, and notably, the REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib held up well for its price point with no leakage and minimal water absorption on the outer fabric.

ski pants womens - water seeped through the zipper seams into the inside of the pockets...
Water seeped through the zipper seams into the inside of the pockets of the Avalon during our intense shower tests.

Fit and Comfort


When you're on the mountain, the last thing you want to be bothered by is the way your outerwear fits and feels. You want something that feels like an extension of yourself, isn't fussy, and gets the job done. This was kept in mind throughout our testing, as well as mobility and adjustability. While this metric is inherently subjective, multiple women tried on each pair of pants, comparing how they fit different body types, how the pants moved on and off the hill, and noting how often they needed adjusting.


Scoring high in the fit and comfort category were the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant, the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR, the Flylow Foxy Bib, and the Patagonia Snowbelle Insulated Pant, though all for different reasons. We were impressed with the incredible stretch and mobility found in the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant during testing—Outdoor Research has created something special with their stretchy 3-layer AscentShell fabric—which allowed for unrestricted movement both up and downhill.

ski pants womens - touring uphill in the skyward ii pants.
Touring uphill in the Skyward II pants.
Credit: Eric Sales

The Foxy Bib was not only simple to get on with easily adjusted straps, but once they were on, it was easy to forget they were there. The straps remained in place throughout rigorous testing and did not need constant adjusting, as other bibs sometimes did. The legs were roomy with plenty of space for layering, and the material felt comfortable and soft. One tester with wider hips did note that she would probably size up as the material tapers at the hips into the waist.

ski pants womens - it&#039;s a hard job, but someone&#039;s got to do it. out testing and...
It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it. Out testing and shredding in the comfy and well-fitting Foxy Bib.
Credit: David Williams

The Patagonia models also ranked high in fit and comfort, thanks to their super soft, buttery, inner lining. Putting these pants on felt like putting on a cloud, and they remained comfortable throughout the day of skiing. On the other end of the spectrum, the Burton Avalon Bib scored fairly low. The material of the bib felt stretchy and comfortable, even with the legs of the bib being a slimmer fit, but they ultimately scored low due to sizing and mobility. The pants fit longer compared to others tested and consistently unzipped on the sides when testers bent at the waist.

ski pants womens - adjustable waistbands are a favorite feature among our testers, and...
Adjustable waistbands are a favorite feature among our testers, and the Snowbelle nails it.

The Norrona Lofoten Pant scored in the middle of the ranks—it remained comfortable with a baggy fit, but its stiff material felt bulky at times. The Columbia Bugaboo Pant was large at the waist, but thanks to its Velcro adjustable straps, we could adjust them to fit as needed.

ski pants womens - zipping up the top bib, which is removable on the lofoten.
Zipping up the top bib, which is removable on the Lofoten.

Ventilation


Ventilation, similar to warmth, is a metric that matters depending on your preference. Those who ski tour or hike inbounds to less-traveled objectives should pay attention more attention to ventilation. While some pants are designed to provide added heat to escape the elements, many are designed to provide merely a layer of protection from wind and precipitation while allowing you to regulate your body heat with vents. This is especially important while ski touring or days when temperatures are warmer and the sun is out. To test the ventilation of different pants, we measured the vents on each pair and tried them out in practice.


The Flylow Foxy Bib ranked highly in this category, as they have inner and outer leg vents, allowing for maximum airflow through the pants. Some skiers may never need this level of airflow, so we don't consider vents on both sides of each leg to be a must-have. However, testers who preferred high levels of ventilation noted that the inner and outer leg vent combo was awesome. Note that the Foxy Bib's upper body portion doesn't vent very well, though.

This is followed by the Norrona Lofoten Pant, which has vents that begin at the boot and go almost all the way up the side of the pant. This is complemented by two-way zippers, which allow for a customizable vent size. The Patagonia Snowdrifter Bib also ranked highly, with large outer vents that can also be adjusted by dual zippers, similar to the long and sufficient vents on the Sentinel AR and the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant.

Our testers found the Sentinel AR pants to dump all the heat we...
Our testers found the Sentinel AR pants to dump all the heat we needed at the resort and on the way up in the backcountry.
Utilizing the outer thigh vents on the Skyward II Pant.
Utilizing the outer thigh vents on the Skyward II Pant.

Finally, it is again worth noting that many insulated pants come with very basic venting and score lower in this category. Ventilation openings on the inside of the leg provide less airflow than on the outside of the leg, and those vents covered with a mesh lining inhibit airflow as well. Those mesh linings keep snow from entering in deep powder or a tumble, but most of our testers found they preferred the free and open vents. Unless it's a particularly warm day, we generally zip up any vents when heading downhill. The Columbia Bugaboo Pant came with no venting.

ski pants womens - the vents on the snowbelle are relatively long, but their location...
The vents on the Snowbelle are relatively long, but their location on the inner thigh and mesh backing inhibit ventilation.

Warmth


On a cold winter day, having a pair of pants that will keep your legs warm can make all the difference. However, not all pants are designed to be warm. Shell pants are meant to be lightweight and paired with base layers for warmth when needed. With that in mind, it's worth noting that insulated pants will inherently score higher in this category, and shells will score lower. We recommend considering the typical temperatures at your favorite resorts or ski locale when deciding what level of insulation and warmth you need. A low warmth score does not necessarily indicate a poorly performing pair of pants. To measure warmth, we tested pants in a variety of conditions, including early cold mornings when temperatures reached well below freezing, windy chairlifts, and during hike sessions to get fresh powder.


The Patagonia Snowbelle Insulated Pant ranked the highest in this category, with its 100% polyester taffeta insulation providing warmth even in freezing conditions. This is followed up by the other insulated pants tested, The North Face Freedom Pant, the REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib, and the Columbia Bugaboo Omni-Heat, all of which perform well in colder temperatures thanks to their insulation. The Burton Avalon Bib is listed as a shell product but is lined with a thick material that still provides some warmth, earning a higher score than other shell options. These models listed above would be best for those looking for added warmth on a cold resort day.

ski pants womens - the insulation packed into the snowbelle makes all things cold a...
The insulation packed into the Snowbelle makes all things cold a little more enjoyable.

The Arc'teryx Sentinel AR is lined with a thin, fleece-like fabric that adds just a touch of warmth to this shell pant. Testers noted that this made the pants feel less cold and more comfortable when worn without a pair of long underwear underneath. It is worth noting that, again, most technical shells scored low in this product, such as the 3-layer Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant, which are lightweight and have no insulation. Warmth is up to the layering ability of the user for these shells, which many skiers and snowboarders prefer.

Features


Sometimes it's the little things that separate a great product from a mediocre one, and when it comes to ski pants, this is certainly the case. A thoughtfully placed pocket, an added buckle, a key clip, RECCO technology — these are all features that can make a difference in your overall experience when wearing a pair of pants or bibs. To rate this, each pair of pants was thoroughly inspected to note each feature offered and how practical it is.


One pair of pants that ranked scored well was the Black Diamond Recon Stretch Pant. Coming with a removable belt, an avalanche beacon-specific pocket, RECCO technology, gussets, and leg gaiters, these pants are filled with features for those looking for an out-of-bounds adventure. Similarly, the backcountry-designed Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib ranked high in the features category, with all of the pockets one could want (both thighs, a kangaroo pocket, and a chest pocket), including an avalanche beacon specific space. They also notably have a drop seat for necessary breaks in the backcountry (or making resort bathroom breaks easier), an easily overlooked but much-appreciated feature.

The upper body portion of the Hemispheres Bib is well-designed with...
The upper body portion of the Hemispheres Bib is well-designed with useful features.
The drop seat of the Hemispheres Bib.
The drop seat of the Hemispheres Bib.

The Hemispheres also features a ski strap slot to adjust your boots without having to take off the internal gaiters—a thoughtful touch that was also found in the similarly ranked Arc'teryx Sentinel AR and another Outdoor Research product that scored high in this category, the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant. The Skyward II Pant comes with all but the bib-specific features of the Hemispheres. The Sentinel Pant additionally comes equipped with a key clip and large, articulated pockets. Finally, it has a low-profile, removable belt that some of our testers really liked.

The removable, low-profile belt included with the Sentinel AR.
The removable, low-profile belt included with the Sentinel AR.
The beacon-specific pocket features a clip and a small inner pocket...
The beacon-specific pocket features a clip and a small inner pocket for security on the Skyward II.

Both the Patagonia Snowdrifter Bib and the Snowbelle Insulated Pant come with RECCO technology, and the bib design allows drop seat access from either the left or right side but are fairly simple other than that. The Norrona Lofoten Pant comes with a zip-on attachment that allows them to work as a bib, but it lacks the drop seat that is now featured on many bib designs.

The Burton Avalon Bib has a chest pocket and two thigh pockets, but the thigh pockets do not come with zippers, which resulted in a lower score since testers felt uncomfortable storing valuables in them. The Flylow Foxy Bib came fully equipped with plenty of pocket space, featuring a chest pocket, kangaroo pocket, and two roomy thigh pockets that could easily fit a beacon, a beer, or a phone for music. The other pants' features are generally basic, with sometimes an extra pocket or two for aesthetic purposes.

ski pants womens - checking out features like pocket size.
Checking out features like pocket size.
Credit: Claire Gibson

Style


Feel good, ski good—or something like that. Style is part of the game when purchasing a pair of ski pants and matters in buying decisions more than we often acknowledge. While this is inherently a subjective opinion, we consulted with friends and current trends to identify pants that can take you from the slopes straight to the après scene and beyond, considering colors, sizing options, and the pant's overall look.


Topping the charts in this category is the Burton Avalon Bib. This pant was designed with style in mind, looking casual and similar to regular everyday overalls. The Flylow Foxy Bib, the The North Face Freedom Pant, and the Patagonia Women's Snowbelle Pant all come in a variety of different colors as well as different length options (short, regular, tall), meaning that there is sure to be an option for anyone's preference or need.

On the other side, some pants like the REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib Snow Pant and the Patagonia Snowdrifter Bib come in very limited color options, so scored lower.

ski pants womens - calling a wrap on a fun day of skiing in the stylin&#039; avalon bib from...
Calling a wrap on a fun day of skiing in the stylin' Avalon Bib from Burton.

Conclusion


In the end, your personal preferences should take precedence in your purchase decision, but we certainly hope that by providing you with our detailed review, we can help you make the best-informed decision. Not everyone can be expected to rigorously test each pair of pants to find out what is best for them when buying, but we are happy to do it for you and share the results. We hope these reviews allow you to spend less time in the fitting room and more time on the mountain.

Sarah Sherman


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