The 8 Best Men's Ski Pants

Published on 11/19/2023 · 15 min readHit the slopes in style and comfort with our guide to the best men's ski pants, featuring top choices for durability, warmth, and flexibility in various winter conditions.
Matthew Geraci, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Matthew Geraci

Photo by Dmitry Molchanov

Skis? Check. Boots? Check. Poles? Check. Jacket? Check. Gloves, helmet, goggles? Check. What’s missing? Ah, that’s right — going pantless might be cool when no one else is home, but doing that on the mountain will only lead to a bad time.

For some reason, choosing appropriate ski apparel gets overlooked from time to time by those new to the sport. Wearing the right ski pants or bibs can genuinely make the difference between a perfect ski trip and a frigid, wet, uncomfortable time on the mountain. To avoid the latter and enjoy the former, one should take all available details and personal preferences into account when selecting the proper pants — especially if purchasing online, since you can’t try them on first.

Now, maybe you were just planning to rock your finest, most flexible denim to the chairlift this year. That wouldn’t be a terrible idea for closing days in the spring when the wilder the outfit is, the more smiles are induced.

But if you want to keep your long johns dry throughout a chilly day on the mountain and avoid being chirped and featured in Snapchat videos from other resort-goers calling you a jean skier, you’ll want to check out some of the best ski pants and bibs on the market.

Of course, everyone has their tastes when it comes to protecting the lower half from the elements. So let’s dig into the pros and cons of this year’s top options after considering the most essential elements when choosing what’s right for you.

The Essentials

Waterproofing

The cornerstone of any quality ski pant or bib is its ability to keep you dry while allowing your body to breathe. Brands like The North Face continue to push the boundaries with their FUTURELIGHT technology, providing exceptional waterproofing and breathability.

Breathability

Skiing is hard work, and that means body heat can escalate even on the coldest days. Especially for backcountry skiers who skin up miles to the tippity tops where the trees don’t grow, having vents to get some cool air inside can make all the difference between a comfortable day and a sweatfest. Breathability is measured by the number of grams (g) of water vapor that is able to pass through a square meter of fabric from inside to outside in 24 hours. The lower the number, the less breathability. Backcountry riders expending more energy typically want pants in the range of 20,000g/m2 or higher.

Insulation

Choosing between insulated and non-insulated options depends on individual preferences and the climate of your skiing destination. 686’s 3-in-1 SMARTY Cargo Pants, for example, are known for their versatility, featuring a removable fleece jogger that provides added insulation for warmth without compromising mobility. On the other hand, Norrona’s Lofoten GORE-TEX pants provide a lightweight, non-insulated option for ski touring and those who prefer to layer up. I know, like me, you haven’t forgotten that one super-duper cold day that everyone experiences when the chairlift stops working for 10 minutes and that howling Colorado Rocky Mountain wind sends a whiplash into the vent by your crotch with the broken zipper. And that is why proper insulation (or layering) is vital to happiness.

Fit and Mobility

The importance of a proper fit cannot be overstated when it comes to ski pants and bibs. This season, brands like Helly Hansen are introducing innovative designs that cater to both style and functionality. The Alpha 3.0 pants, with their articulated knees and ergonomic fit, exemplify this commitment to ensuring unrestricted movement.

Durability and Material

Polyester or nylon? How reinforced do my knees and cuffs need to be? Do I like bibs or pants better? You should be asking yourself all these questions and more when considering new snow pants. Ski pants and bibs need to withstand the harsh conditions of the mountain. For durability, many brands like Norrona utilize tough materials like GORE-TEX to provide a nice balance between ruggedness and performance.

Photo by Nikola Spasenoski

Sustainability

  • As environmental consciousness grows, brands like Burton are incorporating recycled materials into their ski pants. Their ak GORE-TEX 3L Pro hover pants, for example, feature recycled nylon and polyester, reducing the environmental impact.

Smart Technologies

  • Ski wear is getting smarter with integrated technologies. Helly Hansen’s Ridge Infinity pants, for instance, boast RECCO reflectors for added safety, enhancing the overall skiing experience. RECCO is a rescue technology that utilizes a harmonic radar to help detect anyone lost in the wilderness or buried in an avalanche.

Ski Suits

  • Sure, ski suits may have been the thing back in the good ol’ days when skis were strapped around your legs rather than bound to your feet, but these things have made a comeback in recent years, as fashion often does. With brands like Tipsy Elves, which took off after a Shark Tank appearance becoming popular recently, colorful, vintage-looking, full-body ski suits are all the rage these days. For the more serious skiers who really get after it, these probably aren’t an ideal choice. However, they’re a super fun and often colorful choice for closing-day parties or aprés-ski fun. Plus, ski suits like Airblaster’s Beast 2L Suit offer sauna-like warmth for any weather.

Top 10 Men's Ski Pants or Bibs for Comfort and Functionality

1. The North Face Freedom Bib Pants

A wise man once (probably) said, “You can’t go wrong with ski pants from The North Face.” I mean, there’s a reason that The North Face is likely the most widely recognized winter sports gear brand, and their Freedom Bib Pants are a great example of the brand’s staying power. The pants are designated as one of the Most Recommended Snow Pants under $250 on Curated, and they feature all the go-to necessities that anyone from a beginner to a high-level skier needs in a pair of bibs.

Sure, the Freedom Pants are The North Face’s entry-level bibs, but as the Curated Expert Community has suggested, they can hold up well through a season of 40+ days on the mountain. The pants are durable, waterproof, and windproof, and they work for skiers and snowboarders. If you’re on the mountain more than 50 days a year and frequent the backcountry, there may be some better options for you, but as I said, you can’t go wrong with The North Face.

  • The Details: StretchVent gaiters with gripper elastic; inner-thigh vents; waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed DryVent 2L fabric technology to keep you dry; DWR; adjustable suspenders; and reinforced kick patches and hem
  • Pros: Durable, breathable, and waterproof performance; has all the most desirable and quality features for a price that won’t make you squirm
  • Cons: Must unzip your jacket to access the front zipper, which makes bathroom breaks a little more complicated
  • Best For: Handling high usage and solid for both skiers and snowboarders
  • User Reviews: Users rave about the warmth, waterproofing, and durability, plus the ability to use them for snow activities like snowmobiling. Some users have issues with the lack of a two-way zipper and say the pants aren’t totally ideal for deep powder days.

2. Spyder Dare Pants

As someone who has rocked Spyder snow pants for as long as I can remember, let’s just say I’m a big fan of the brand and their Dare Pants. I’m in the market for a new pair this year, and I’m starting to lean towards this pair right here. I love the detachable suspenders, which don’t exactly make these bibs, but they almost do — and for some reason, I like that.

Spyder makes high-quality gear, and these pants are no exception. They will keep you dry, warm, and fully mobile in any condition, in any type of skiing. Plus, the pants come in seven colorways, so you can pick just the right hue to match your aura.

  • The Details: EXO Shield 30k 4-way stretch recycled polyester plain weave with PFC-free DWR; PrimaLoft Silver eco insulation; removable, adjustable suspenders with silicone gripper elastic; YKK AquaGuard thigh pocket; articulated kneed construction
  • Pros: Fitting for all conditions; durable, breathable, and waterproof performance; for a middle-of-the-pack price, the Dare pants offer durable longevity
  • Cons: A slightly higher price tag than The North Face’s Freedom bib pants, a snug fit, and smaller vents not ideal for those who overheat easily
  • Best For: Very cold or wet days and deep pow pow
  • User Reviews: Users appreciate the pants' ability to keep them warm and dry in challenging conditions.

3. Norrona Lofoten GORE-TEX Pants

A lesser-known brand than The North Face or Spyder, Norrona and its Lofoten GORE-TEX pants make up for its lower brand identity with this strong pair of ski pants perfect for the backcountry. With a high waistband in the back, articulated knee construction, and gusseted crotch for high-level mobility and comfort, these pants will feel like your favorite sweatpants on your hike up to the untouched peaks.

Although they lack insulation, these pants can be used for any ski experience if you add some layers for the cold days. They’re a bit on the pricier side, for sure, but you get what you pay for with the Lofotens.

  • The Details: bluesign-certified, three-layer shell, GORE-TEX, DWR, waterproof, zippered phone pocket
  • Pros: Even the wettest weather is never getting inside of these babies.
  • Cons: A high-end price point at $549 and zero insulation; can also accumulate some interior moisture since it’s a full GORE-TEX pant
  • Best For: Touring and super wet conditions
  • User Reviews: Users highlight that the Lofoten, as a shell pant, is ideal for touring and wet and snowy resort days, although, with little insulation, you’ll want to throw some layers underneath on the coldest days.

4. Strafe Nomad Bib Pants

If these bibs are anything, they are cool looking and high quality. If you’re a freeride enthusiast or a local trying to show off to the tourists trudging all over your mountain, you’ll want to consider the Strafe Nomads.

These bibs take most of the key features that skiers look for in a pair into account, showcasing the two-way front zipper; extra durability with CORDURA hem guards and scuff guards; water-resistant and reliable YKK AquaGuard and VISLON zippers; additional storage with zippered chest and back pockets; oversized hand pockets; and an interior sleeve for the phone you’ll get your riding tunes from. I know, I know, these pants have it all. Plus, check out that bright, eye-catching fuschia colorway. These bad boys are fun, to say the least.

  • Key Features: DWR finish; soft and breathable stretch bib upper section that regulates body climate in all ski situations; two-way, full-length zipper with magnet closure; belt loops; and lastly, stretch powder gaiters with zippered hem gussets on the cuff, ideal for boot or binding compatibility
  • Pros: Quality construction; dope colors and design; an excellent choice for most types of skiing
  • Cons: Price of $569 may be a barrier for some
  • Best For: Freeriding anywhere and everywhere, whether in the resort or off-piste backcountry tours. The Nomad is a foundational bib built for those who charge hard day in and day out
  • User Reviews: Skiers who love bibs far and away love these bibs. Users highlight their light breathability, clutch waterproofing, sticky-free zippers, and grade-A fit. Of course, as with anything, there are features that bother some folks, like the lack of insulation and added zippers, but the overall reviews are largely positive.

5. Volcom Freakin Snow Chino Pants

The Volcom Freakin Snow Chino Pants are kinda freakin’ cool. Okay, sorry, I just had to do it. Honestly, though, these pants look great as an everyday pair of street pants, and yet they’re built to keep you dry, warm, comfy, and cozy on the mountain. That’s pretty awesome, but it’s also something that Volcom has come to be known for. These pants simply get the job, especially when it comes to park riding and chilling in comfort after shredding all day.

  • Key Features: 15Ks of waterproofing and breathability in a polyester blend fabric; V-Science 2-Layer; stretch oxford with Repreve and non-fluorinated DWR; a breathable lining system; triple-reinforced rise; recycled/repurposed materials; Zip Tech pant-to-jacket interface; adjustable waist; brushed tricot handwarmer pockets; and a boot gaiter with a lace hook
  • Pros: Ultimate comfort and a clean, sleek style highlight the Freakin Snow Chinos, which will have you ready for whatever after hitting the slopes, whether hitting some aprés-ski, rocking out at a concert, or possibly even sneaking back into the office
  • Cons: You’ll love it if it’s the kind of look you love. Okay, that sounds obvious, but some users mention the pants can be a bit on the baggy side, so keep that in mind.
  • User Reviews: Praised for their packability and versatility in changing weather

6. Flylow Baker Bib Pants

The Flylow Baker bib pants put up a mighty fight with Strafe’s Nomad bibs as some of the best bibs on the market. Perfect for any day on the slopes or off them, this stylish setup from Flylow will have you ready to shred wherever and whenever.

  • Key Features: Polyester fabric; plenty of pockets, including a Kangaroo chest pouch; articulated knee box; powder gaiters; DWR coating; YKK waterproof zippers; cuff reinforcements to dodge any tears from whatever the mountain throws at you; large vents on the inner and outer thighs
  • Pros: Tons of colorways give you the option to manifest the right style for you, but regardless of the hue you pick, you will get a terrific pair of versatile bibs that are excellent for both inbounds resort frolicking and backcountry skiing in the deep pine woods and high mountains of off-piste terrain.
  • Cons: With no insulation, warmth could be an issue with these bibs, although you won’t be complaining when you still have half the mountain to climb. Throw an extra layer underneath on super-cold days, and you should be good to go.
  • User Reviews: Some Curated Experts have mentioned that the bibs aren’t as breathable as the 20,000g/m2 rating would make them seem, and yet other Experts exclaim surprise at the high level of breathability. Regardless, these pants come highly recommended by the vast majority of users who extol the beauty of the venting zippers, reinforced knees and hems, and all-mountain versatility.

7. 686 SMARTY 3-in-1 Cargo Pants

Maybe I’m a sucker, but I miss the days when it was socially acceptable to rock those pants that zipped off at the knees to turn into shorts. There’s just something about buying one item that can be fully functional in alternate ways. That’s what you get with 686’s SMARTY 3-in-1 cargo bib pants, which display a wide stash of special features, including the removable SMARTY® 3-in-1 fleece jogger. So you get sweatpants and snow pants all in one. And for the warmer spring days, you can take out the fleece to opt for the lighter, more breathable shell.

  • Key Features: Shell design with the removable fleece jogger; 2-layer Duracore, infiDRY® 20K Fabric + PFAS-free DWR; belt loop stash pocket and hidden seam stash pocket; Air-Flo inner leg vents; boot gaiter and boot lace hook; lift ticket eyelet on belt loop; BOA® compatible system in gaiter; 500D Horseshoe Hem; and 500D reinforced inner kick panel.
  • Pros: These pants are supreme for both skiers and snowboarders, featuring all the key details most resort goers seek in a pair of snow pants; With a 12-pocket design, a proprietary Pant Jacket Connect System that offers multiple layering options, and reinforced areas for added durability, these cargo pants should have your ski fit set up for years to come, especially if you’re a more casual rider who averages between 5 and 20 days on the slopes per year.
  • Cons: With all the features and details on these, they can be a bit on the heavier side, but all in all, there aren’t many cons to report, although some users mention the sizing can be a little off.
  • User Reviews: Users seem to love the versatility, durability, and number of pockets that 686 offers with their 3-in-1 cargo pants.

8. Burton Reserve GORE-TEX 2L Bib Pants

Topping off the list are Burton’s Reserve GORE-TEX 2L bib pants. This latest version of the pants has been updated with all the finest tech details like the Test-I-Cool zippered vents and Living Lining® thermo-regulating technology that adds climate-controlled comfort.

As any good, eco-conscious company does in today’s world, Burton manufactures these bib pants with bluesign-approved materials. Durable, stylish, motion-friendly, and waterproof, the Reserve bibs have everything you need to hang loose on any trail.

  • Key Features: Two-layer shell construction; 20,000 g/m2 breathability rating; 28,000 mm waterproof rating; GORE-TEX, taffeta material; Living Lining mapped with embossed taffeta and small-hole mesh; zippered microfleece hand-warmer pockets; full-seam taping; and a relaxed fit built with adjustable elastic suspender straps and a crotch gusset for ultimate flexibility.
  • Pros: Did you read any of the above? These bibs have a metric ton of pros that make them a desirable option for skiing or boarding anywhere on the mountain, and the excellent ventilation options and the high breathability and waterproof ratings make them perfect for touring efforts.
  • Cons: Without a drop seat, hitting the toilet can be a bit of a nuisance, and warmth could potentially be an issue on very cold days.
  • User Reviews: Users rave about the comfort of these bibs, which is one reason why so many snowboarders turn to Burtons, and the price point turns a lot of heads considering other pants with similar features often go at a higher rate.

As ski apparel continues to evolve and advance in technology and performance, the 2023-2024 season brings forth a myriad of options for men's ski pants and bibs.

By keeping in mind the essentials like waterproofing, breathability, insulation, fit, and durability, coupled with emerging trends and technological advancements, winter enthusiasts should make informed choices to fully maximize their time spent on the mountains. Whether conquering the backcountry or traversing the resort greens, blues, and blacks, the right ski pants and bibs can drastically improve your ski and snowboard experiences. For free, personalized advice on the best skiing gear for you, please contact one of our Curated Skiing and Winter Sports Experts today!

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Skiing on Curated

The North Face Men's Freedom Bib Pants
$249.95
Airblaster Beast 2L Suit
$259.93$429.95
Spyder Men's Dare Pants
$230.30$329.00

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Norrona Men's Lofoten GORE-TEX Pants
$349.99$549.00
Strafe Men's Nomad Bib Pants
$340.99$569.00
Volcom Men's Freakin Snow Chino Pants
$122.47$174.95
Flylow Men's Baker Bib Pants
$322.46$429.95
686 Men's SMARTY 3-in-1 Cargo Pants
$160.97$229.95
Burton Men's Reserve GORE-TEX 2L Bib Pants
$269.96$359.95
K2 Mindbender 85 Skis · Women's · 2023
$199.98$399.95

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