The 15 Best Ski Clothing Brands of 2021

These are the best companies in the world for creating ski garb

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

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Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

There’s zero shortage of good ski clothing brands, to be sure. But what makes a good ski clothing brand great? First and foremost is performance. A fun day on the mountain can quickly turn into a miserable one if you don’t have high-performing clothing from base layers to mid-layers, to outers. 

With performance as a baseline, we also placed value on innovation, sustainability, and style. Our list of this ski season’s best 15 ski clothing brands includes companies from all over the world. It includes companies that are nearly 160 years old to others that are less than a decade old. 

Here are the best ski clothing brands to shop from this year.

Best Overall: Patagonia

Patagonia Insulated Fjord Flannel Jacket

Patagonia

It feels a bit funny picking a company headquartered next to a beach for a ski clothing superlative. But Ventura, California-based Patagonia is just that good. From base layers to outers, Patagonia continues to innovate in the space. The Capilene base layers are classic. The Micro Puff Hoody was a game-changer. And we love the eco-focused proprietary H2No waterproof membrane found on the bomber Insulated Snowshot jacket and many of its other outerwear.

We’d also be remiss to not mention Patagonia’s doubling-down on its environmental activism in 2021. From ditching corporate logos on its products to shunning Jackson Hole Ski Resort after its owner hosted a soiree for the conservative-leaning House Freedom Caucus, Patagonia has left no question where its priorities lie. And that’s above the undercurrent of empowering environmental activists, giving itself a 1 percent “Earth tax,” and funding grassroots environmentalist groups. We’re down for it.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research

Amazon

Protection in mountain environments has been baked into Outdoor Research’s DNA from the get-go. Ron Gregg founded the company in 1981 after watching his climbing partner get airlifted off Denali with frostbitten feet. He was then hellbent on producing protective gear for outdoor adventurers.

Fast-forward four decades and Outdoor Research is still doing just that. We appreciate the protection and breathability of OR’s proprietary AscentShell three-layer fabric, which can be found on its Skyward II jacket and pants—one of the best backcountry and touring-focused kits you can find. Bonus for pivoting to a focus on medical PPE during the pandemic and partnering with more than a dozen nonprofits like Indigenous Women Outdoors, The Conservation Alliance, and Women’s Wilderness, among others.

Best Budget: Columbia

Columbia jacket

Courtesy of Columbia

Columbia is one of the oldest and most established outdoor gear companies in the United States. And for good reason. Besides acquiring brands like Mountain Hardwear and Prana over the years, Columbia continues to offer quality outerwear at a much more accessible price than its ski clothing and adventure apparel competitors.

But don’t let the relatively inexpensive price point fool you. Columbia constantly produces some of the most innovative and smart tech in the outdoor gear space. Its Omni-Heat technology has been revolutionary and Columbia recently announced another push in thermal-reflective warmth with Omni-Heat Infinity. And, the Bugaboo II Interchange is the best 3-in-1 ski jacket on the market for its price.

Best Eco-Friendly: Picture Organic

Picture Organic Anton Jacket

Courtesy of Evo

Gerzat, France-based apparel company Picture Organic has had sustainability baked into its DNA from the get-go. Launched in 2008, Picture is one of the newer companies in the game. Besides making top-shelf ski clothing, Picture leaves no question where its priorities lie as its site looks more like a hub and rallying cry for environmental activists than an apparel company.

A certified B-corp company, Picture goes into excruciating detail on its site outlining its environmental footprint and practices. It mentions 92 percent of the cotton Picture uses is organic. And 69% of the polyester used in its technical gear comes from recycled bottles. In 2019, Picture started making plant-based fabrics from sugar cane and castor beans. Some 60 percent of technical apparel in its 2021-2022 line is made from sugar cane.

Runner-Up, Best Eco-Friendly: Mammut 

Mammut Alvier HS Jacket

Backcountry

Some rare companies transcend time and generations. Mammut—founded in 1862—has done just that, remaining relevant for nearly 160 years. It’s kind of mind-boggling to think about. Mammut has obviously had to change and innovate over the decades. One of its newest changes has been a renewed focus on climate, highlighted by its goal of being carbon neutral as a company by 2030.

In a 47-page slide deck released earlier this year, Mammut highlights its climate action history, which began in earnest in 2009 when the company started using organic cotton in its clothing lines. It also outlines its path to carbon neutrality and the lofty steps and changes it will take like moving to 100 percent renewable energy in its supply chain, using zero-emission vessels and reducing air freight by 50 percent by 2030, and investing in circular business models like repairability, re-commerce, and recycling.

Best Weatherproof: Arc’teryx

Arc'teryxZeta SL Jacket

Courtesy of Backcountry

Launched in 1989, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Arc’teryx made a weatherproofing leap in 1996 when it obtained a license with Gore-Tex to start creating proprietary technologies to beef up its product lines. What has resulted is a leader in weatherproofing. One of the most recent—and impressive—manifestations of this partnership is the Sabre AR jacket and pants, which are some of the most bomber ski threads on the market.

Besides Gore-Tex, the Sabre AR line, and many other Arc’teryx ski jackets and pants, employ weatherproofing advancements like “WaterTight” pit zips, a “StormHood,” and a slide and locking system connecting the jacket to the pants.

Best Ski-First: Flylow Gear

Flylow Moxie Bib Pant (Women's)

Courtesy of Backcountry

Flylow Gear was created by two skiers from Colorado for one purpose: Make the ski gear that would hold up in the conditions in which they skied. With that guiding light, the duo launched their first line in 2005 with two products—the Cactus Pants and Black Coat. Since then, Flylow has greatly expanded its ski line while also entering into apparel for mountain biking, wakesurfing, and camping. But all the while, Flylow has remained committed to making a better product for the skier.

Runner-Up, Best Ski-First: Strafe Outerwear

Strafe OuterwearLucky Jacket (Women's)

Courtesy of Backcountry

Similar to Flylow Gear, Stafe Outerwear was created by skiers looking for better products to suit their needs. Founded in Aspen by twin brothers, Strafe launched its first products in 2010—a line of technical jackets, pants, and onesies. Since then, Strafe has branched out into mid-layers, insulation, as well as some general lifestyle lines and products.

Most Versatile: The North Face

North Face Osito Flow Fleece Jacket

Courtesy of Nordstrom

It’s one of the most well-known outdoor apparel and gear brands on the planet. It’s also the most versatile, offering many lines of various activewear products for all seasons and types of weather. While many brands hone in on certain types of skiwear, like outers, mid- or base layers, or socks, The North Face does it all and does it all well. If you’re looking for versatile products that look and perform just as well on the slopes as off, The North Face has you covered.

Best Splurge: Norrøna

Norrona Tamok GORE-TEX Pro Jacket (Men's)

Courtesy of Backcountry

Norrøna outerwear isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking for high-end ski outerwear, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Norrøna. Family-owned and run since its founding in 1929, the Oslo, Norway-based brand puts a premium on design, innovation, and quality. Norrøna was the first European brand to use Gore-Tex, glued zips and created the world’s first tunnel tent.

Best Backcountry-Focused: Ortovox 

Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Jacket

Courtesy of Backbone Media

Lots of brands make backcountry-focused products. But not many do it as thoroughly and thoughtfully as Ortovox. The European company not only boasts award-winning backcountry clothing options, but also offers backcountry safety gear like airbag backpacks, shovels, beacons, and probes. Ortovox takes it to the next level with avalanche safety courses and training, guide books, and an alpine touring app.

Runner-Up, Backcountry-Focused: Trew Gear

Trew Gear TREWth Bibs

Courtesy of Evo

Launched in 2008 in a garage in Hood River, Oregon, Trew Gear immediately made waves with its Trewth Bibs. Trew took the bibs to local ski mountains, letting skiers take laps to test-drive the bibs. Being based in the Pacific Northwest has certainly influenced the technology and design of Trew’s ski products, employing technologies like its custom and proprietary fabrics and membranes. Trew has also now expanded into mid-and baselayers.

Best for Innovation: Polartec

PatagoniaRe-Tool Snap-T Fleece Pullover - Women's

Courtesy of Backcountry

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Polartec. But you’ve almost certainly worn a Polartec product. The Massachusetts-based textile company has been changing the game for decades now. The company revved up in 1981 creating the world’s first fleece anything when it released a Polarfleece jacket. Since, it’s played a role in many classic and innovative products for brands like Patagonia and The North Face.

Best Style: Aztech Mountain

Aztech Mountain Hayden Hooded Ski Jacket

Courtesy of Mr. Porter

Who says ski garb has to be just about performance? Not us. For those fashion-forward skiers among us, Aspen-based Aztech Mountain has you covered. Led by Casey Cadwallader, who is the head of design, Aztech Mountain products are just as much for the apres as the action on the mountain. But just because the products are fashion-focused doesn’t mean performance is forgotten. A team of top athletes, like Bode Miller, are also in on the design and performance process

Best Tech-Forward: Gore-Tex

Burton Men's AK 2L Gore-Tex Swash Jacket

Courtesy of Amazon

If your ski kit doesn’t have Gore-Tex, it likely has some sort of Gore-Tex-like proprietary fabric. There might not be a more influential technological advance for outdoor apparel than Gore-Tex. First created in 1969, the expanded polytetrafluoroethylene that started it all came to market in 1976 with Gore-Tex jackets aimed at outdoor enthusiasts. Since then, Gore-Tex has expanded its own line and helped innovate ski clothing lines of dozens of other brands, including many on this list.

Final Verdict

It’s hard to beat out Patagonia (view at Backcountry). The Southern California-based brand checks all the boxes in terms of performance, innovation, sustainability, and style. That said, you won’t go wrong with any of the brands on this list. So take your time looking around to find what meets your needs and style.

What to Look for in a Ski Clothing Brand

Fit

When it comes to ski clothing, plenty favor a closer-to-the-body fit—there’s less material for things to snag on, and it’s more comfortable skiing in the wind if your clothes fit a little tighter. However, that isn’t everyone’s preference—just make sure to pick clothing that fits in a way that works for you, because ultimately, comfort is the greatest priority.

Cost

If you go skiing frequently—or if you live somewhere with cold, wet weather—you’re going to be wearing these ski clothes pretty often. If your perfect item of clothing is a little expensive, chances are you’re going to be using it often enough to justify the splurge (and if not, there are plenty of quality budget brands out there).

Ski-specific brand

If you’re shopping for clothing to wear primarily on the slopes—versus more general outerwear that will work fine on the slopes—then go for a brand that’s dedicated to designing clothing for skiing and/or snowboarding. Clothes from brands like these are likely to have details that are specifically designed for skiers, like fits that work with the body as it moves.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What articles of clothing do you need to go skiing?

    Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, you’re likely to need similar gear on the slopes. Layering is king. Start with long underwear or base layers to shore up warmth. Then add a light fleece or wool top. Pile on a ski jacket and pants for waterproofing. You’ll also need ski socks, gloves or mittens, and a neck gaiter or balaclava. For safety, plan on adding a helmet and ski goggles.

  • How should you clean your skiing clothes?

    You should wash your base layers according to the tags when you feel they need it; however, your waterproof layers need special care and attention. Ski jackets and pants are made from technical fabrics, which can break down if you use ordinary detergent or add-ons, such as fabric softener. These chemicals can also strip the fabric of its waterproof coating. Instead, opt for cleaners specially designed for technical outerwear. Before washing, we also advise closing all zippers and Velcro closures and turning your clothes inside out. If you have any ski clothing made of down, plan on adding tennis balls to the wash cycle (to keep the down from compacting) and running it through a second rinse cycle to remove all the soap from the down. Air dry all your waterproof garments and follow drying instructions from the labels of your other gear.  

  • How should you store your skiing clothes in the off season?

    At the end of the season, clean your clothing and gear according to the instructions on the labels or the advice above. We recommend opaque bins for storage, which will keep dust, UV light, and moisture from damaging your clothing in the off season. Your garments shouldn’t be shoved or flattened—particularly any down-based layers. Store your clothing uncompressed.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Nathan Allen is the Outdoor Gear Editor for TripSavvy. He’s skied nearly his entire life. While he’s now based near California’s coast, Nathan spent multiple seasons in Steamboat Springs where he logged more than 100 days of resort and backcountry skiing. Nathan spent hours extensively researching dozens of ski brands, tested new products from many brands on this list, and consulted with other TripSavvy writers like Justin Park and Berne Broudy.

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