Should You Really Ski or Snowboard in Jeans?

by Robert Stanley | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

You can wear lots of different garments and combinations of garments while skiing. The only catch is, that some of those garments are actually designed and performance tested for that activity, and others are not. 

While denim is a durable fabric, denim is not a waterproof material, is uninsulated, and typically has a limited range of motion compared to snow pants - which are designed and manufactured for the purpose of skiing. 

ski in jeans

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The truth is, you can ski in just about any attire you would like, however, the fabric of that attire might not necessarily provide the insulation or moisture-wicking qualities that, say, Gore-Tex will, and Denim is no exception.

Jeans vs Waterproof Pants

Most of what you wear in life is an expression of your personality, however, some attire is simply more functional than others. Certain occasions call for certain attire to keep your body warm or cool based on the elements - so wearing jeans while skiing is much more of a stylistic choice than it is practical, as skiing is almost always done in cooler temperatures.

Although unusual, it is not uncommon to see a skier or two wearing jeans during warmer Spring skiing. During the colder Winter months and variable weather conditions at higher altitudes, wearing Jeans is not recommended - especially if you are a beginner.

If you fall, they will get wet and as the jeans retain that moisture, your legs will get colder and you could get frostbite. Wearing the proper attire for the outdoor activity you are doing stretches beyond style. 

If you feel the weather permits, and feel like wearing Jeans on the mountain one day, go for it. Just pack your snow pants in case your jeans get wet or your legs get too cold out there. At the end of the day, it is up to each individual skier to determine the path of the best.

Jeans in the Snow

There is a running joke among most skiers about skiing in jeans and how those that ski in jeans tend to be inexperienced - or what is called a “Jerry”. This of course is a stereotype and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Skiing in Jeans is perfectly acceptable if the weather permits but they are definitely not the best pair of pants you could be wearing. They are a lot more impractical than other available options on the market. 

Photo by John Johnston licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alternatives to Jeans when Skiing

Consider a good pair of snow pants with thigh vents. This way you will prevent moisture from getting in, provide warmth to your legs and also have the option to cool your legs down by opening up any thigh vents in the event your legs get too hot.

Jeans were not originally designed for skiing, whereas snow pants or ski pants are, plain and simple.