Best Ski and Snowboard Pants for Women 2019-2020

This article provides reviews of my choices for the 6 best ski and snowboard pants for women.

Ski and snowboard pants for women can be one of the more difficult pieces of outerwear to shop for.  Sure there are some basic design features to look for and you definitely need materials that are durable, warm, waterproof, and breathable.  Don't worry, I can easily walk you through what to look for in that respect, but finding the right fit for your body type is usually the bigger challenge since we all come in so many different heights, shapes, and sizes.

When it comes to the fit of ski and snowboard pants for women you really must keep comfort front of mind.  Think of all the squatting, bending over, and getting up and down off of the snow that you'll inevitably do.

Trust me you don't want to be in a pair of pants that restrict your movements or make you feel uncomfortable.  On the other hand you don't want pants that are dragging on the ground or make you look like a human trash bag.

To find the right pants you do need to pay attention to inseam size but that is usually easier to sort out.  Your first thought should be the tailoring of the pants and how it aligns with your particular body type.  This is why I paid quite a bit of attention to this aspect in the detailed product reviews.

Sure that pair of slim fit capri pants may look super cute but whether it works with your body type and activity level on the mountain should be your primary concern.  Luckily some of the more form fitting pants are made of stretch material so they don't restrict movement as much as you might think.  If you are a more casual rider then these more style focused designs may work great for you.

But if you are more aggressive and like to hit it hard then you probably want to go with more of a regular fit or a pair that has more moderate tailoring so your movements are not overly restricted.

One of the more subtle design features that can be overlooked is waist adjustability.  Many pants have velcro or button adjustment systems built into the waist.  This allows you to customize the fit without wearing a belt.

If you're like me I'm on vacation when I'm on the mountain so my diet pretty much gets left at home.  So waist adjustability can make your afternoon a lot more comfortable if you decide to hit the loaded tater tots platter along with a few brews for lunch.

First I'm going to quickly introduce the pants I've chosen in a feature comparison table.  This gives you an overview of what's on the list along with a few key features and my rating.  Next I'll provide some quick tips of what to look for in choosing ski and snowboard pants.  Then I'll summarize the pros and cons of each of the pants in the more in depth product reviews to follow.

Ok so let's get down to business! Take a look at my list of the 6 best ski and snowboard pants for women. 

Feature Comparison Table: Best Ski and Snowboard Pants for Women

Photo

Brand/

Model

Waterproof/

Breathability

Warmth

Our Rating

10k/10k

Low-Medium

20k/20k

Low (Shell)

17.6k/High*

Medium

10k/5k

Low (Shell)

10k/5k

Low (Shell)

8k/8k

Medium

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

10k/10k

Warmth

Low-Medium

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

20k/20k

Warmth

Low (Shell)

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

17.6k/High*

Warmth

Medium

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

10k/5k

Warmth

Low (Shell)

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

10k/5k

Warmth

Low (Shell)

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

8k/8k

Warmth

Medium

*The North Face uses a different breathability rating system so a qualitative number has been substituted in this case.  See in-depth review for more information.

Quick Tips for Choosing Ski and Snowboard Pants for Women

I've compiled the following quick tips to help you understand the important aspects to be focused on while researching women's ski and snowboard pants.


Fit: Think about your personal style and body type as you choose between slim, regular, and relaxed fit.  Slim fit pants are fitted and more of a sleek street style but have less room and will feel tighter and possibly restrictive especially if you want to layer. Relaxed fit may feel too baggy unless you have a big and tall body type. Regular fit usually gives the best compromise of freedom of movement and ability to wear layers without restricting movement.  You should also consider if a waist adjustment system is included.


Length: You likely won't have as many choices of inseam length as you might find in a normal pair of pants.  In some cases, you might find only small, medium, and large.  Although many manufacturers do carry extra-small and extra-large and some even have tall, regular, and short within each of the basic sizes.  The key is to check the manufacturers sizing charts for the corresponding inseam length.  Don't assume sizes are uniform across brands.  For example, if you wear medium pants in Burton don't assume that is the same size as a medium in 686 brand.


Waterproof and Breathability: Generally you should purchase the most waterproof and breathable pants you can afford. The bare minimum is 5k/5k but 10k/10k and above is preferred. For detailed information on how these are rated check out our Buying Guide: How to Choose Waterproof and Breathability Ratings for Outerwear.


Insulation: Decide if you want just a simple shell or insulated pants. If you like to wear a lot of layers to adjust warmth then a shell may be right for you. If you are usually cold then you may prefer the extra warmth of insulated pants. Consider that insulated pants can't really be made "less warm". The degree of warmth varies by the type and amount of insulation used. So you can choose anywhere from low to heavy warmth. For detailed information check out our Buying Guide: How to Choose Insulated Outerwear.


Design Features: Pay attention to the features that are most important to you like pockets, vents, jacket powder skirt attachment system, hem lift system…etc. For me, two cargo pockets are a must because I like to carry everything I might need and I don’t want that bulk on my hips or back pockets.


Try it On: Set up all your gear ahead of your trip. Put on your layers you expect to wear and make sure you have enough room to move your arms and legs around freely with little restriction.

Product Reviews: Best Ski and Snowboard Pants for Women


686 Mistress Pants Review

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

10k/10k

Warmth

Low-Medium

OVERVIEW

686 Mistress is designed with a fit tailored fit that slims at the knees and flares back out at the bottom. This provides a stylish look without being too tight or too baggy.  The fabric provides medium waterproofing and breathability to keep you dry in moderate conditions. They are designed with light insulation in just the seat and knees.  This gives a little more warmth when sitting on your behind or knees while maintaining a more stylish look.

PROS

  • Lightweight with synthetic insulation at seat and knees
  • Articulated knees result in less bunching behind the knees while skiing or riding
  • Pants to jacket connection system provides the option for extra protection against snow making its way up your jacket
  • Waterproof rating of 10,000 mm and breathability rating of 10,000 g (10k/10k) offers light to moderate dry performance when the weather is wet
  • Internal waist adjustment so you can adjust the fit but it doesn’t affect the external styling
  • Plenty of pockets with two hip, two back, and two cargo pockets. Hip pockets don’t have flaps resulting in a sleeker style and are zippered to keep your items secure.
  • Belt loops if you like to wear a belt
  • Reinforced bottom hem for wear protection
  • Zippered mesh-lined thigh vents for airflow adjustment
  • Elastic boot gaiters so snow stays out
  • Slits at the bottom to allow easier fitting over boots

CONS

  • Be aware that insulation is only in seat and knees

BOTTOM LINE

These pants have a great feature set including all the pockets you should need. They will provide good dry performance in moderate weather conditions. They are tailored so they won't be baggy nor tight to the point where your movement should be restricted, providing good comfort all day on the mountain.  This is my choice for the best ski and snowboard pants for women.


Flylow Nina Pants Review

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

20k/20k

Warmth

Low (Shell)

OVERVIEW

Flylow Nina is a three-layered waterproof shell pant designed with a relaxed fit offering comfortable movement and plenty of room for layering while not being overly baggy. These are designed for the performance minded skier or snowboarder but their excellent design and waterproofing will be appreciated by skiers and riders of any ability level. One of the unique features of these pants is the inner and outer thigh zippered vents provide great ventilation.

PROS

  • Waterproof rating of 20,000 mm and breathability rating of 20,000 g (20k/20k) offers excellent dry performance when the weather is wet
  • Elastic boot gaiters so snow stays out
  • Zippers are waterproof
  • Inner and outer thigh vents (note that only the inner thigh vents are mesh lined)
  • Two hip pockets, one back pocket, and one thigh cargo pocket
  • Belt loops if you like to wear a belt
  • Reinforced bottom hem for wear protection
  • Zippered mesh-lined thigh vents for airflow adjustment
  • Velcro waist adjustment allows for a customized fit
  • Zipper pulls

CONS

  • No slits at the bottom so fitting over your boots may be just a little more work
  • Could use more pockets with just one thigh cargo pocket and one back pocket
  • These have a higher waist in the back which gives some protection against snow entering but there is no pants attachment system.  So there’s still some risk of snow going up your back if you take a spill during a heavy powder day.

BOTTOM LINE

Well designed pants with excellent waterproofing and breathability to keep you dry in very wet conditions. The relaxed fit, low profile waterproof zippers and dual-venting is designed for the active skier or rider.


The North Face Freedom Pants Review

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

17.6k/High

Warmth

Medium

OVERVIEW

The North Face Freedom Insulated pants are regular fit insulated pants with adjustable waist tabs and articulated knees so you will enjoy relaxed movement and comfort. These pants are made from a material that provides a highly breathable and waterproof performance. The zippered hand warmer pockets will keep your carry items secure while skiing or riding and there are elastic gaiters to keep snow out of your boots. Synthetic insulation provides good warmth without excessive bulk while thigh vents allow you to cool off.

PROS

  • Insulated with 60g of synthetic insulation to keep you warm
  • Regular fit allows comfortable movement and enough room for layering if you need it
  • Waterproof rating of 17,600 mm and breathability rating of 775 g/m2 offers high dry performance with good breathability
  • Elastic boot gaiters to keep the snow out
  • Two hip pockets and a cargo pocket
  • Belt loops if you like to wear a belt
  • Fully taped seams keep moisture and wind out
  • Velcro waist adjustment allows for a customized fit
  • Short, regular, and long inseam options available for most waist sizes

CONS

  • Some may find the regular fit too baggy and low on the style factor
  • No back pockets and only a single cargo
  • No slits at the bottom to make it easier to fit them over your boots but the relaxed fit somewhat compensates for the need for this feature
  • No pants to jacket connection system which may provide extra protection from snow going up your jacket in heavy powder

BOTTOM LINE

These pants are a solid buy made from a durable, waterproof, and breathable material. They have most of the design features you should look for. If you are looking for a regular fit pair of insulated pants that still allow for layering then the Freedom pants are a great choice.


Burton Avalon Bib Pants Review

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

10k/5k

Warmth

Low (Shell)

OVERVIEW

The Burton Avalon Bib pants are a great choice if you like the functionality and style that comes with a bib. The Avalon is stretch fabric and streetwear styled (slim fit) to look similar to high-waisted overalls that you may wear off the mountain. This is particularly evident in the “choo choo stripe” colorway. The modern-classic styling is evident in the detailing of the pockets, metal suspender strap buttons, and they’ve included elastic in the back to form fit to your torso to keep them from looking too baggy but still allow good movement.

These are 2-layered dry ride shell pants with taffeta lining. Inner thighs have mesh-lined vents to allow heat to escape and you to dry out easier. The front hand warmer pockets have a fleece lining to keep your hands cozy or carry your essentials.

The killer feature of this bib is the zippered drop-seat construction which makes for much easier bathroom breaks. The seat unzips on both sides without the need to take the suspenders off. This allows you to do your business while keeping your jacket on if you like.

Ok, enough about the looks now let's talk technical specs.

PROS

  • Waterproof rating of 10,000 mm and breathability rating of 5,000 g (10k/5k) offers light to moderate dry performance when the weather is wet
  • Elastic boot gaiters to keep snow out of your boots/pants
  • Slits at bottom help make fitting over your boots easier
  • Adjustable suspenders to help get the fit right
  • Pockets: Two hip, two back, and one on the chest
  • Zippered drop-seat construction
  • Belt loops if you like to wear a belt
  • Zippered mesh-lined thigh vents for airflow adjustment
  • Most of the available colorways are Bluesign® approved products which is a more sustainable method of textile production

CONS

  • Fabric breathability rating is on the lower end but still acceptable

BOTTOM LINE

The Burton Avalon Bib will perform well in moderate weather conditions. The pocket selection is great. The bib style gives you good protection from snow getting in your pants without having to fuss with a jacket/pants attachment system. Burton thoughtfully included the zippered drop-seat construction for easy bathroom breaks and the cute streetwear styling will keep you looking good on the mountain without sacrificing performance.


Burton Vida Pants Review

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

10k/5k

Warmth

Low (Shell)

OVERVIEW

The Burton Vida are non-insulated slim fit pants made of stretch material so you get a modern off-mountain style that still allows movement while skiing or riding. Attention to styling is seen with the quilted front zippered hip pockets. These pants have a light to moderate waterproof/breathability rating to keep you dry.

PROS

  • Zippered mesh-lined thigh vents too cool off in warm weather
  • Belt loops for belt wearers
  • Internal waist adjustment allows for customizing the fit without affecting the external styling
  • Slits at the bottom to allow easier fitting over boots
  • Waterproof rating of 10,000 mm and breathability rating of 5,000 g (10k/5k) offers light to moderate dry performance when the weather is wet
  • Two front and two back pockets
  • The stretchable material makes the pants roomier than many other slim fit pants
  • Bluesign® approved product which is a more sustainable method of textile production

CONS

  • Breathability could be improved
  • No cargo pockets

BOTTOM LINE

Burton Vida pants are lightweight, slim fit, and offer moderate waterproofing. These pants offer cute styling, sufficient design features, and the stretch material keeps them functional without restricting movement.


Volcom Frochickie Pants Review

Our Rating

Waterproof/

Breathability

8k/8k

Warmth

Medium

OVERVIEW

Volcom Frochickie is a classic chino style insulated pant with a slim but straight leg fit which provides just a little more movement in the pants. The pants include 60 g of insulation for medium warmth and a breathable lining system to avoid overheating during long mountain days.

PROS

  • Waterproof rating of 8,000 mm and breathability rating of 8,000 g (8k/8k) offers light to moderate dry performance when the weather is wet
  • Elastic boot gaiters to keep the snow out
  • Two hip pockets and two back pockets
  • Belt loops if you like to wear a belt

CONS

  • No waist adjustment system so finding the perfect size may be a challenge. If they fit too loose you do have the option to wear a belt.
  • Not enough pockets
  • No jacket attachment system so there’s risk of snow going up your back on those heavy powder days
  • No slits at the bottom so getting them over your boots may require a little extra effort
  • No thigh vents so if you overheat cooling down may take a bit longer

BOTTOM LINE

Volcom Frochickie is a good choice if you’re a casual skier or rider and you’re looking for an affordable basic pair of insulated ski or snowboard pants to keep you warm on the mountain but can do without all the high tech design features. They have a cute style while not being too restrictive to movement.  Keep in mind since the waist is not adjustable you should pay extra attention to sizing so you can be as comfortable as possible.


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