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Best Overall: Outdoor Research Trailbreaker at Amazon "You can count on the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants to not just keep you dry, but to go above and beyond."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Helly Hansen Legendary at Amazon "Waterproof-breathable fabrics and professional-grade design and manufacturing."
Best Budget: Columbia Bugaboo Pants at Amazon "You can’t get better ski pants for the buck than these."
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Boulder Gear Tech Soft Shell at Amazon "Stretchy and warm, as well as a waterproof."
Best Performing: Obermeyer Bond II Pants at Amazon "Built for shredding."
Most Flattering: Spyder Women’s Slalom Pants at Amazon "Retro style and slim silhouette."
Best for Warmth: Mountain Hardwear Returnia at Amazon "Even the pockets are lined with fleece so you can keep your fingers toasty."
Most Durable: The North Face Apex STH Pants at Backcountry "Durable water repellent (DWR) keeps flakes and water at bay."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants
When you’re skinning a trail into deep snow you can count on the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants to not just keep you dry, but to go above and beyond. Up top, they have a breathable, double weave stretch-woven soft shell. Meanwhile, the lower legs are protected by a waterproof three-layer Pertex Shield DWR. Steep-and-deep ready design features include avalanche beacon pocket, outer thigh vents, reinforced scuff guards and stretch-mesh internal gaiter.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Helly Hansen Legendary Ski Pants
This Norwegian brand is renowned for their waterproof-breathable fabrics and professional-grade design and manufacturing. The Helly Hansen Legendary Ski Pants are exactly that, with a classic resort style and exceptional weather protection. These seam-sealed Helly Tech Performance 2L mechanical stretch ski pants will keep you dry, warm and comfortable no matter what your ski day throws at you. They’re insulated with 60g PrimaLoft to keep you toasty, and when it warms up mechanical venting ensures you won’t overheat, even when you’re charging hard. Other skier-centric touches include articulated knees, water-resistant zippers and RECCO avalanche rescue system.
Best Budget: Columbia Bugaboo Pants
Like the jacket of the same name, you can’t get better ski pants for the buck than these Columbia Bugaboo Pants. Count on these pants to shield you from the elements with Omni-Tech waterproof and breathable fabric that is seam sealed. They’re designed with an adjustable waist, reinforced leg hem and an active fit for all-mountain mobility.
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Boulder Gear Tech Soft Shell Pants
Another budget entry, Boulder Gear Tech Soft Shell Pants have a polyester-spandex blend fabric that is stretchy and warm, as well as a waterproofing DWR that keeps moisture out. Wear them with or without base layer – the micro fleece lining wicks away moisture, dries fast and feels great against skin. Pockets feature waterproof zippers to keep your phone safe and sound, and leg zips make putting them on and off a cinch, even over boots.
Best Performing: Obermeyer Bond II Pants
The 70-year-old ski apparel brand is built for shredding Aspen, Colorado, a four-resort powder paradise where the slopes range from mellow and scenic to steep and deep. The Obermeyer Bond II Pant is the brand’s most popular for their on-mountain performance and flattering fit dubbed “Skegging” (Ski Legging). They’re built with HydroBlock Sport 5,000mm waterproof/breathable technology to keep you dry and Ski Contour articulated knees for unrestricted mobility. Women-specific features include high-back waistband, zip hem gussets and elastic waist panel for enhanced fit.
Most Flattering: Spyder Women’s Slalom Pants
Spyder is the official apparel brand behind the U.S. Ski Team, but you don’t have to shred an Olympic slalom to rock these pants. Spyder calls their Slalom Pants their favorite because of its retro style and slim silhouette. There’s plenty of function, too, thanks to a Nylon 3L Windproof Soft shell with Xt.L 10k/10k laminate and Spylon DWR; inner snow gaiters with cuff anchors keep your boots warm and dry. Inside, soft bonded fleece feels so good against your skin, you might go without a baselayer.
Best for Warmth: Mountain Hardwear Returnia Insulated Pants
Pick up the Mountain Hardwear Returnia Insulated Pants if you want to stay warm on the slopes all day long. They’re built with proprietary Dry.Q waterproof and breathable fabric to keep you dry and filled with 60g of down-mimicking Thermal.Q to keep you warm. Need more heat? Even the pockets are lined with fleece so you can keep your fingers toasty.
Most Durable: The North Face Apex STH Pants
The North Face is known for making apparel for the harshest environments on the planet, and their Apex STH Pants not only perform on the slopes, they also look good in the resort village. These slim-fit, three-layer soft-shell ski pants are windproof, and a durable water repellent (DWR) keeps flakes and water at bay. Adjustable waist tabs ensure proper fit while a StretchVent gaiter with gripper elastic keeps your boots covered. They’re lined with fleece to keep you warm, and the Chimney Venting system allows airflow when conditions heat up.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
We bought three top-rated women’s ski pants that our reviewers tested for 76 hours on the slopes. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when wearing these ski pants, from their fit to their style. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in Women’s Ski Pants
Price If you hit the slopes frequently, ski pants are a necessary investment—don’t be afraid to spend a bit more on a pair that fits your body and how you move just right. If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of winter sports, it might be worth going with a more budget-friendly pair until you decide if skiing will be a serious hobby.
Style Some ski pants are super sporty and designed for high-performance athletes; others are so minimalist you might almost mistake them for yoga pants. The key for ski pants is that they keep you warm and dry, so do a little searching to find the style that suits your personal style.
Fit When it comes to fit, ski pants are designed to move with your body as you head down the slopes (and, perhaps, pick yourself up a time or two). Most are slim-fit, to hug your body, and there are a variety of rises out there (the Columbia Bugaboo, for example, is more high-waisted than some). Figure out how your favorite pair of jeans fits and then use that to guide your choice.
Test Results: Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pants
What We Like
Stretchy fabric moves with you
Perfect-sized thigh pockets
What We Don't Like
Dedicated avalanche pocket is small
“The Outdoor Research Trailbreaker ski pant is worth buying if you want an uninsulated, well-ventilated pant for the warm temperatures of spring skiing or the high exertion of uphill skiing,” one of our testers declared. Our reviewers liked the long leg vents that allow you to shed some heat and the stretchy fit of the fabric. Another plus? “Thigh pockets are the right size and location for storing energy bars and other quick-grab items,” one of our testers revealed. In terms of negatives, one of our reviewers said that “no insulation means you have to wear a base layer or only ski when conditions are warmer.” And while the pant has a dedicated avalanche pocket, one of our testers found it was too small for some units. Overall, though, our reviewers said you’ll stay “warm and dry” as long as you’re in temperatures above 32 degrees or are actively moving.
Test Results: Helly Hansen Legendary Ski Pants
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Cuffs aren’t adjustable
“The Helly Hansen Legendary Ski Pant is worth every penny,” raved one of our testers. “The pant has a flattering fit and is warm even when the temperature drops into the single digits.” Our reviewers were also fans of the leg vents that allow you to shed heat. The negatives? Our testers didn’t like that the leg cuffs “are a fixed size and don't have a zipper or snaps, which allow you to open them up to fit comfortably over a boot.” One of our reviewers also noted that the price is expensive for the occasional skier. Bottom line: “If you ski regularly, you will be pleased with the performance of these pants,” one of our testers reported.
Test Results: Columbia Bugaboo Pants
What We Like
What We Don't Like
No leg vents
Boxy, universal fit won’t appeal to all
The Columbia Bugaboo ski pants came highly recommended by our testers for their price and effectiveness. One of our reviewers explained, “[The] affordable price tag appeals to both the regular skier and those who can only hit the slopes a few times a year.” Standout features, according to our reviewers, include “plenty of insulation” and the fact that the “outer waterproof fabric sheds snow and rain.” On the other hand, our testers said the lack of leg vents means this pair isn’t great for warmer days. One of our reviewers also mentioned the “boxy, universal fit” wouldn’t appeal to all, and “the adjustable waistband is positioned on the inside of the waist making it difficult to adjust on the fly in between runs.” Still, for the price and the fact that these pants will keep you warm and dry, one of our testers said they’re “an outstanding value.”