Difference Between Ski & Snowboard Pants


Snowboarding and skiing are somewhat similar winter activities. They both get you out in the fresh air, on a snowy mountain, maneuvering your way down the carved out slopes or runs. However, when it comes to the essential gear for the two sports, you begin to see the major differences between the two sports. Snowboarding requires a single snowboard in which two bindings are attached and the feet, in snowboarding boots, are inserted. Skiing requires a set of two skis, each equipped with a single binding in which the ski boots clip into. Other essential pieces of gear, such as pants, differ in style between the two sports but are very similar in functionality and construction.

What Are Skiing And Snowboarding Pants?

Skiing and snowboarding pants are specialized outdoor pants designed to protect you from the winter elements. They are designed and constructed for comfort, to conserve warmth, prevent water absorption, and protect the skin from wind. Although the styles, or looks, vary between snowboarding pants and skiing pants, their basic function is the same.

Three Layer System

According to ABC-of-Snowboarding, “the Three Layer System is generally accepted as the best way to maintain your thermal equilibrium and protect you from cooling off too much.” The first layer of the Three Layer System should be in direct contact with your skin and be made of a moisture wicking material. The second layer, also called the insulation layer, is responsible for containing body heat as well as wicking some moisture away from the body. The third layer, the outer layer, should be waterproof and windproof, but still allow body moisture escape. Some ski and snowboard pants are constructed with the Three Layer System. However, most will provide the insulation layer and the outer layer, and you will need to purchase a base layer separately.

Padding And Protection

Some skiing and snowboarding pants are made with small amounts of padding in them to protect you from bumps and falls. Generally, the padding in ski pants is in the hip and buttocks area. The protective padding in snowboarding pants is generally found in the knees and buttocks areas. There are also padded shorts available for sale that offer protective padding on the buttocks, the hips, as well as the sides and front of the upper legs. These can be purchased and worn under ski or snowboard pants for extra protection.

Comfortable Fit and Style

One of the most important aspects of ski and snowboard pants to consider when purchasing a new pair is how comfortable they are. Ski pants are generally designed to be snug and form fitting. Snowboarding pants, in turn, are looser and baggier to provide the snowboarder with greater freedom of movement for jumps and other tricks. Purchase a pair of pants that feel good to you. If you are a skier but prefer the looser fit of snowboard pants, then purchase snowboard pants. You never want a pair of ski or snowboard pants that pinch anywhere or are uncomfortably tight.


Alternatives are limited when it comes to gear, such as pants, for winter sports. For example, whether you ski or snowboard, either type of pants will work. Also, a good quality pair of outdoor pants designed to protect you from the winter elements will be sufficient for a day on the mountain. However, casual pants and denim pants are not suitable alternatives for ski or snowboard pants. They are not waterproof or windproof, and they will not keep you warm and dry throughout the day.