Are you getting excited about finally hitting the slopes this year? Then, you’ve probably already begun rifling through your gear closet to see what needs replacing or buffing up. Do you hate being cold but love being on the slopes? Then it’s always good to have a good pair of ski pants; maybe even get a second pair, and perhaps a third! There’s a lot of variety for women, but no brand has more variety than Backcountry. The best Backcountry ski pants for women range from bibs made for the deep and steep backcountry chutes to slim-fit pants made for warm spring conditions. You might think that you don’t need ski-specific pants, but they do make a huge difference when it comes to keeping you dry and warm on the slopes. Plus, they even avoid you having severe cold chills or leg pain due to the powder.
That’s why the outer layer of Backcountry ski pants is your first line of defense against the cold, wind, rain, and snow conditions. People think about the best skiing neck warmers and skiing heated socks, but they often overlook pants! Don’t you do that; instead, read through to know all about excellent women’s ski pants. To that end, here are the 13 best Backcountry ski pants for women.
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Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib
We begin the list of the best Backcountry ski pants for women with the Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib. If you can get over the 450 USD price tag, then you’ll be happy with this bib, which is ideal for backcountry skiers. There is more than one reason for the same. But, the bib’s most useful feature is its ability to keep the conditions such as snow, wind, and rain out. The Hemispheres can do that and much more, for which it’s even won many impressive ski gear awards. What’s more, it’s loaded with backcountry features, right from a side zipper for mid-mountain bathroom breaks and giant stash pockets to stretch fabrics and an avalanche beacon pocket. The outer thigh vents help disperse heat during any uphill walks, while the Gore-tex fabric successfully keeps the sleet out.
- Stretch fabric for a full range of motion.
- Entirely waterproof.
- Designed by backcountry athletes.
- Slim in legs and hips.
Helly Hansen Powderqueen Bib Pant
Despite being a bib pant, the Helly Hansen PowderQueen Bib Pant is one of the best women’s ski pants as it comes with some light insulation. So, it works well for most resort ski days out in the powder, with the addition of it being designed for women who earn their turns on the uphill. Moreover, the four-way stretch fabric is completely waterproof, which means any snow, rain, and sleet won’t reach your skin. Plus, the fleece lining on the knees, the thighs, and the rear add extra warmth in the areas that’ll most likely come in contact with the snow. If that wasn’t enough, the straps are adjustable. Finally, thank the snow-gear gods as this bib has lots of pockets, including a roomy chest one that’s large enough for you to stash a beanie and even a pair of the best women’s ski goggles.
- Non-restrictive and lightweight material.
- In-built beacon pocket and jacket attachment system.
- Very waterproof.
- Resort skiers might not find it to be very insulated.
Columbia Women’s Plus Size Bugaboo Omni-Heat Pants
The Columbia Women’s Plus Size Bugaboo Omni-Heat Pant is one of the best Backcountry ski pants for women because it’s one of the few size-inclusive brands. Not many ski brands make plus-size pants for women, which is a shame since this is 2021! And anyone paying attention knows that today, of all eras, skiers come in all shapes. Fortunately, Columbia is doing just that with the Bugaboo, an excellent women’s ski pant. Even the men’s version is one of the best plus-sized hiking pants. Plus-sized skiers will love the highly effective Omni-Heat tech that keeps you warm on the mountain all day long. The adjustable waist means that you don’t need to struggle to fit into the pants while also finding customization of fit at the same time. The boot gaiters and the reinforcement around the seams are Rounding up the features.
- Insulation and OmniHeat tech.
- Adjustable waist.
- Inclusive sizing.
- No short or tall options.
- No leg vents.
Arc’teryx Sentinel AR
If one ski pant worked anywhere on the mountain, then it’d be the Arc’teryx Sentinel AR. The ski pant is perfect for all sorts of conditions, right from wet and overcast to bluebird. These pants have it all – a lightweight fleece backer for a touch of warmth and comfort, standout build quality, and a three-layer Gore-Tex build for protection from the elements. What’s more, it also boasts a solid feature set with tons of storage, something that women will love. Furthermore, you also get an ideal fit that’s neither too tight nor too baggy, along with the sleek styling that Arc’teryx is famous for.
When it comes to usage, the Sentinel is perfect for active resort skiers and those who love getting beyond the ropes. The best bit? It’ll not be out of place during quick backcountry trips either, thanks to the big side vents for dumping heat and a fantastic range of motion.
- Excellent fit and quality.
- Fantastic build.
- Very pricey.
Patagonia Powder Bowl
One of the best Backcountry ski pants for women is the Patagonia Powder Bowl, one of the brand’s signature ski kits. There’s a lot of things to like about the pant, such as the great all-around looks, the 100 percent recycled face fabric, and solid weatherproofing in the form of a Gore-Tex membrane. What’s more, it’s also designed to withstand resort abuse thanks to the durable 150-denier shell. If that wasn’t enough, the brand has included superb touches such as large pockets and low-profile zippers on the side vents, despite being a mid-range model. The pant does beautifully even when it comes to the fit, leaning slightly towards the baggy end. However, the two inseam options (regular and short) and an articulated cut keeps most skiers happy.
- 100 percent recycled face fabric.
- Durable construction.
- Good looks.
- Expensive for a two-layered design.
Patagonia SnowDrifter Bib
Patagonia’s SnowDrifter Bib has been a real winner amongst the many major revamp that the brand’s collection has gone through over the past few years. The bib’s design has two parts: a stretchy softshell covering the upper body, and the other is the three-layer waterproof fabric that protects below the belly. Both offer an excellent range of motion for extended boot packs, steep uphill sections, and weather resistance. All this, along with a large venting system and creative two-way zippers at the back doubling as a drop seat, make the SnowDrifter a formidable season-long option. Wrapping up the features is SnowDrifter’s waterproof lower, which uses a burly 75D fabric, thus helping with tear-resistance and wind-proofing and making it great for resort days.
- Comfortable and stylish.
- Offers weather portection.
- Burlier waterproof lower.
- Upper portion isn’t waterproof but has a DWR coating.
Helly Hansen Legendary Pant
The Helly Hansen Legendary Pant is one of the best Backcountry ski pants for women. These super-clean resort pants with just the right amount of warmth and an excellent fit are what make this pant ‘legendary.’ The pant boasts a two-layer waterproof shell that’s perfect for those who don’t frequently work up a sweat, thus keeping costs in check. What’s more, the Legendary has a slight touch of PrimaLoft in the knees and the butt for those cold lift rides. Skiers will also love the simple design and the lightweight feel, and also the fact that it comes in a wide range of colors. Moreover, the pants do great even in terms of movement thanks to the mechanical stretch fabric that gives, well, extra “give.” So, you can use them for both downhill travel and sidecountry hikes, especially since it’s not overly bulky.
- Great price.
- Comfortable fit.
- Just-right warmth.
- Durability of the fabric.
Arc’teryx Andessa Pant
Those who run cold or are heading somewhere extremely cold will do well to choose the Arc’teryx Andessa Pant. On sub-zero ski days, especially at resorts, these pants are perfect for layering up to protect you from the chills, especially on the ski lift. There are more reasons why this pant is a smart go-to option for those crazy-cold days. For one, the 80-g synthetic fill is almost double what most skiing pants have, and it also continues to insulate when it gets wet due to the synthetic fill. Add to that three layers of Gore-Tex material, and the sleet is kept well off your skin. If and when the sun does show its face, all you need to do is unzip the thigh vents so you can cool down, with the mesh liner keeping snow on the hill.
- Tall mesh and waist liners that keep the snow out.
- the three-layered Gore-Tex is virtually leakproof.
- Very warm.
- Limited colors.
Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II Softshell Pant
The Outdoor ResearchTrailbreaker II Softshell Pant is one of the best Backcountry ski pants for women. The pant offers superb levels of stretchy hardshell protection for backcountry skiers, elevating uphill performance to the next level. It’s comfortable at the top and all business at the bottom, with supple softshell fabric around the thighs and waist and a burly three-layer Pertex Shield from the knees down. Thus, this results in breathable and stretchy pants with waterproof protection where you need them. And thanks to the easy put-on, take-off zip cuffs, lots of storage, outer thigh vents, and removable suspenders, the Trailbreaker certainly sets itself apart from generic softshell pants.
- Protective and stretchy.
- Not enough waterproofing for wet days.
Marmot Refuge Pant
The Marmot Refuge Pant is amongst the best ski pant in the 200 USD price range, which is chock-full of options. The Refuge makes its case with modest upgrades from many budget models and an excellent fit. To begin with, the pant features water-resistant zippers, which are certainly a surprising addition to a mid-range design. But, they end up giving the pant a technical and premium look. What’s more, you even get a more tailored fit around the legs as well as a rather useful RECCO reflector for very useful help in an avalanche rescue scenario. Finally, the pant is available in a wide range of colors, thus checking a whole lot of boxes for season-long use at the resort.
- Tailored fit.
- RECCO reflector.
- Water-resistant zippers.
- Not value-for-money exactly.
Arc’teryx Beta AR Pant
The Arc’teryx Beta AR Pant is yet another fantastic Backcountry ski pants for women. This hardshell pant is an absolute classic among serious backcountry skiers and alpinists, thanks to its premium Gore-Tex Pro fabric with an extra-durable “Most Rugged” build. That makes the pant packable, light, and yet super tough, with a superb finish and fit that places it miles ahead of anything else on the market. Additionally, the sizing is spot-on, thus making it easy for women to pile on layers beneath sans, inhibiting mobility. All this is possible even with the pant weighing just 1 lb, and you still getting functional touches such as reinforced instep patches, powder cuffs, and generous thigh zips. For most backcountry skiers, you can’t ask for more.
- Fantastic performance fit.
- Packable and light.
- Bomber Gore-Tex Pro construction.
- Missing a few ski-specific features.
Black Diamond Women’s Recon Stretch Ski Pants
The Black Diamond Womens Recon Stretch Ski Pants is one of the more quality options from the brand. The Recon Stretch Pant emphasizes mobility and comfort thanks to the woven softshell-like face fabric. Combined with the readily accessible side vents and a smooth jersey backer, that makes it perfect for long runs on the skin track. However, an essential feature is a waterproof membrane, Black Diamond’s in-house design, complete with full seam sealing. So, you can even don it on stormy days and keep the wind and the water off your back. All in all, the Recon Stretch is an excellent one-quiver pant for women skiers who split their time fairly evenly between the resort and the backcountry.
Outdoor Research Skyward II
The Outdoor Research Skyward II tops the best Backcountry ski pants list for women. The women’s ski pant is one of the most well-balanced designs on this list, but where it shines is in the backcountry. All the credit goes to the brand’s proprietary AscentShell three-layered fabric, which stretches like a dreamy softshell. What’s more, it’s also fully waterproof with taped seams and is air permeable for excellent breathability. Furthermore, the pant moves very nicely as you move, whether you’re going into a deep telemark turn or whether you’re high stepping to break through fresh snow. If that wasn’t enough, the side vents and the breathable fabric keeps you comfortable and cool, while the four pockets offer excellent storage.
- Breathable and comfortable.
- AscentShell fabric provides amazing stretchability.
- None, really.
How To Choose The Best Backcountry Ski Pants for Women?
Usage and activity
Different kinds of activities require different types of skiing pants. For instance, snowshoeing and snowboarding pants are very different. Think about whether you frequent or will want to frequent the resorts or the backcountry. Backcountry pants are designed to withstand much more cold due to colder, off-piste runs. Also, many brands add venting in the skiing pants so heat can be released when you’re, say, boot-packing uphill.
Do you prefer an athletic or a more relaxed fit? This might be a preference, but it’s essential to know that pants’ sizing sometimes depends and differs according to the pant’s fit. What’s more, the fit will also depend on your frame. So, if you’re shorter or taller than average or wear plus sizes, you need to look for pants that offer such sizes for such builds. Additionally, if you’re looking for an unencumbered range of motion, go for a relaxed fit. Do you run cold or wear thicker or more layers? Then go a size up or choose insulated pants. Comfort is also a huge part of fit, and many skiing pants also have some or the other form of an adjustable waist.
For backcountry travel or powder days, it makes a lot of sense to invest in a Gore-Tex or similarly fully waterproof fabric. Furthermore, double-layered and triple-layered fabrics have different breathability ratings, waterproofness, and weights. The rule of thumb is asking whether the pant works for what you want. The goal is to find such a fabric that complements your activity level.
Every pant has different features, but there are a few must-haves for ski pants. Firstly, they need to have internal gaiters to secure well over boots. If you get pants with gaiters that also have boot adjustment access, then it’s a huge plus. And if they have useful pockets too? It’s an absolute winner! This is especially true for women, who’ve had to make do with smaller, or worse, no pockets all these years. Secondly, consider pants with a RECCO reflector, which offers safety in avalanche terrain.
Are Gore Tex ski pants worth it?
Gore-Tex and similar waterproof fabrics make a big difference when snow is coming down in sleets or when it’s raining.
How should women’s ski pants fit?
For one, the waist should fit comfortably even during movement but shouldn’t have any gaps. Plus, look for pants with snaps, cinches, Velcro to adjust to your waist for the best fit. Finally, you might also want to look for pants with belt loops for a belt.
Are bibs good for backcountry skiing?
The short answer is not really, as not all bibs are great in the backcountry. While they keep snow out, an uphill ride could make the bib feel like an oven. Also, if you feel the need to go for bibs, pick one that’s not so heavy.