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People tend to advise not to take into account fashion when it comes to saving your arse from the brutally cold weather.

However, snowboarders with their ‘I don’t give a crap’ attitude confidently root for ‘Be yourself. The world will adjust.’ The irony is the world doesn’t, and they end up buying pain relievers for a cough that sounds like a bark.

Anyway, I like the confidence and their reverence for fashion. But preparation is key to boosting your confidence. Skiers, on the other hand, play safe and prepare well for bitterly cold weather while compromising on style.

Do you see it? Both have to make compromises. Read on to explore the construction of ski pants and snowboard pants, and decide what you need to buy before hitting the snow.

What Are Snowboard Pants?

ski vs snowboard pants

The major differences between snowboarding pants and ski pants involve the cut, the padding, and some other distinct features like boot lace hooks and scuff guards, etc.

What mainly makes snowboard pants different from ski pants is their baggier look. The roominess of pants allows crouching and easy leg movements. Not to mention, the looser fit doesn’t aid much in insulation, so always wear warmers underneath against the chilly atmosphere.

Now let’s talk about some features that can only be found on snowboarding pants. A reinforced butt panel is one unique feature, although not found on all snowboard pants, but many offers it.

The reinforced butt pad allows you to sit on snow or a snowboard while taking some rest. Doesn’t it feel like spoiling you already?

Another feature is the Boot Lace hook that you’ll find on almost every pant. On the front panel of the gator is a hook that fixes on the boot laces and stops your pants from riding up.

What Are Ski Pants?

Ski pants are designed to be more body-hugging for the motive of more nuanced movements. The slimmer fit allows good-quality heat retention and potential aerodynamic form, leaving less room for air. Just so you know, the cool ski pants shouldn’t feel too tight but fit snugly.

Good quality ski pants will be made out of strong material especially reinforced around the ankle and inner leg, to prevent the ski from cutting into it. Since snowboarders are strapped into the board thus, they don’t require such pattern engineering.

This unique feature literally saves your day if you fall. I mean, if you don’t buy ski pants with scuff guards, your only way to save money is by staying in bed.

Difference Between Ski and Snowboard Pants

Although these ski and snowboard clothes are often used interchangeably, but there are some major and minor differences you need to know about.


Snowboard pants are the most stylish out there. The cargo look and the baggy silhouette topped with pockets, colors, and prints make it aesthetically very pleasing. The reason behind this cut is the influence of skateboard culture on this sport.

On the flip side, ski pants hold a traditional style. To remain more aerodynamic, the pants don’t possess many pockets.


Skiing equipment and handsome chances of falling during high speeds are the major reason behind pants tearing apart due to cuts. There are high chances that a skier will fall, and the sharp edges of the opposite ski may cut the pants.

That is why the leg cuffs and the back of ski pants are heavily padded with extra padding, which is an important feature. On the other hand, only the back and knees of snow pants are padded. However, knee padding is not found in ski pants.

what are snowboard pants


One can tell the difference between the two by just looking at the fit of the two as it is the most major difference. Ski pants tend to be more fitting than snowboarding pants. These form-fitting pants are designed to hug the body tightly to cut down the wind drag. Wearing these aerodynamic pants helps in achieving fast speeds.

The snug fit limits the body movement to some extent as these also feel rigid as compared to snowboard pants. However, the tight fit also keeps air from getting under the attire you are wearing. It means the rider gets to wear pants with better heat retention.

On the other hand, snowboard pants tend to be loose fit, courtesy of their skateboard-inspired background. It is not only aesthetically pleasing but also allows easy mobility.

A snowboarder like to perform stunts that demand high body engagement and easy mobility. The loose fit allows room for mobility but doesn’t provide good heat retention. So, better layer it with warmers before hitting the snowy area.

What to Look for in Both Types of Pants?

Let’s see what it takes to make really great ski or snow pants:


Comfort is the key to a fun ride. There is no point in owning expensive snow-specific gear and pants when it doesn’t perform the basic function. Let me make one thing clear to you: a pair of pants that suits you may not be comfortable for another person, as every person’s physiological and psychological comfort varies.

If you don’t want to walk as your legs are tied, try opting for perfectly fitting pants. By the perfect pair, I mean something that doesn’t fit wrong. It should neither be too tight nor too loose but fits fairly.

A baggier fit will get in your way to skiing, and too tight will result in immobility during snowboarding.

You can also switch pants for both sports, as some skiers like to go for baggy pants while snowboard riders like to wear a cut-down fit. So, it is a matter of personal choice.


 snowboard pants

As we are familiar with the fact that snowy terrains are windy and cold, there are handsome chances of you getting affected by the snow getting inside your pants, moisture, and precipitation.

Now, ski and snowboard clothing should possess the ability to protect you from moisture, snow, and other harmful weather conditions.

Gore-Tex is the best material for waterproof clothing. If you cannot afford it, use in-hand waterproofing technologies, they may not be as good as Gore-Tex but can hold up fine.

Try to use materials like polyester or nylon that are water-resistant and love to repel water. One more thing, keep your hands off any cotton or denim material because it will absorb as much water as it can, make you heavy, and take longer to dry.


Ski and snowboard pants both follow a three-layer insulation system. The three layers involve the base layer for moisture wicking, the middle layer for containing body heat, and the outer layer is water-repellent and windproof but still allows moisture escape.

There are two types of pants, mainly: insulation pants and shell pants. Shell pants keep you unharmed from the moisture and wind that you subject yourself to. These are suitable for people who run hot.

However, these pants lack insulation, so you have to wear additional layers underneath. On the flip side, insulation pants are made of synthetic materials and tend to be warmer.

Types of Pants


Breathability is as important as waterproofing and warmth. Sweat accumulating in your clothes can put you in trouble that’s why wearing breathable clothes like ski and snowboard jackets and pants adds to your protection.

In a park, you don’t need breathable pants, but in the backcountry, it gets necessary. Because going uphill on slopes of mountains causes overheating, as a result you sweat a lot. Your pants should be able enough to wick the moisture away.

Final Words about Ski Pants vs. Snowboard Pants

Pants, being an essential piece of snow sports, should be given significant consideration while buying them. It is important to consider your style, the features you desire, and the fit or material you need.

So, always find a suitable pair for an exhilarating ride. Otherwise, it might put a damper on your experience. Just like with the pants, other gear for both activities also differs, for example, ski boots vs snowboard boots.

Categories: Snowboarding


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