How Should Ski Pants Fit? (Fitting Guide)

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: March 17th, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

There are a large variety of fashion choices on the ski mountain and it may leave you scratching your head. Many beginners question whether ski pants should be baggy or slim fit.

Your ski pants should fit looser than normal pants, as you need a larger range of motion while participating in the sport. Pants that are too tight restrict movement and can cause you difficulty when bending and turning. Ski pants should also be large enough to layer underneath.

skiing pants

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Sizing Tips When Purchasing Ski Pants

Tip: When it comes to your usual waist size, your ski pants tend to be sized up by one size.

There are a few helpful tips for beginners who are looking to purchase their first pair of ski pants. We'll go into more detail on how tight or lose the pants should be, as well as how long they should be below.

Check the label on your favorite pair of jeans and then add one size to get an idea of where you should be starting. When possible, you'll want to go to a physical ski store to try on pants before committing to a purchase.

Different brands of ski pants make suitable options for different heights, body shapes, and so on. Men and women will have different types of ski pants that fit them best, due to their body type and the fact that women tend to have wider hips and smaller waists than males.

Try on a few brands to get an idea of what is most suitable. Bring your base layers and when possible, your boots with you to the store. In my experience, this will provide you with the best idea of what is going to be comfortable on the slopes and how everything fits together when worn simultaneously.

Are Ski Pants Supposed to be Tight?

black skiing pants

The core purpose of your ski pants, like any other piece of your outerwear, is to keep you warm and protected against the cold and harsh elements. You also don't want your ski pants or your jacket to restrict your movements, which can often happen if they're too tight fitting.

Your ski pants should never be as tight as your favorite pair of jeans. They need to be spacious enough to allow you to move around and tear up the mountain and show off your wicked new moves. There is a great deal of bending and twisting in the sport of snowboarding and tight ski pants would impair your ability to do so.

Snowboarding has a wide swath of dynamic movements, from jumping into the ski lift, bending over to tighten your boots, or squatting down to take a quick breather. The last thing you want to do is to bend over partway and rip your ski pants down the middle.

People often add one or two layers underneath their outer ski pants to stay warm. If the pants are already a bit tight, you won't be able to comfortably layer.

Tip: Your pants should also be roomy enough to allow for base layers underneath.

How Long Should My Ski Pants Be?


Another thing that beginners often get wrong is by purchasing ski pants that are several inches too short. This ensures that they'll cover your ski boots.

The extra length will help secure everything around the boot. For those who ski and snowboard, there is a noticeable difference in the pants used by both sports. Snowboarding pants tend to be a bit baggier, which in part is due to the culture around the sport and its link to skateboarding.

You need slightly less range of motion when skiing instead of snowboarding. Your pants don't have to be quite as baggy and long but still have enough room to keep warm all day on the mountain and ensure you can twist and turn when needed.

Ski pants often come with a zipper at the leg to enable the wearer to cover their boots. When purchasing your pants, it's recommended to wear your boots and binding to make sure everything cohesively fits together.

Tip: A general rule of thumb is that your ski pants should be 4-5 inches longer than your normal pants.

Will Ski Pants Stretch Out Over Time?

Blue Ski Pants

While you're searching for the perfect pair of ski pants, you may be concerned about them stretching out over a few seasons. After all, this is what most clothing inevitably does. You don't want to find a pair that fits just right only for them to be a size too large next winter.

Ski pants won't stretch out with normal care any more than other clothing items would. You aren't going to be washing your ski pants as often as you would wash your work clothes, after all. There isn't a great deal of concern about sizing up to account for shrinkage.

The general rule of thumb is that you should wash your ski pants every 5-6 weeks. If they become visibly dirty before this point, then certainly wash them earlier than this. Most ski pants are machine washable, making the process quick and easy.

When you purchase your ski pants, make sure your base layers fit comfortably underneath. You'll also need to ensure that they're long enough to cover your ski boots. If you don't already have ski boots, then estimate that you'll need 4-5 extra inches at the ankles to account for the bulky boots.

Do Your Ski Pants Fit Correctly?

If you've been wearing a pair of ski pants that feel a bit too tight, you may want to seek out a larger pair. Even upgrading a size or two can make a large difference in how comfortable you feel while snowboarding. You may even find that your skills are improved from the increased range of motion.

Ski pants don't have to be baggy but they won't fit you the way your favorite pair of slacks does, either. Some prefer the baggy look, while others don't. There are slimmer variations on ski pants that still allow enough room for a base layer underneath while keeping you warm, protected, and able to snowboard for hours.