Can you Ski in Jeans?

Skiing in denim jeans is probably not a good idea because these pants are usually made of cotton. We all know cotton is the worst material when it comes to outdoor activities as it doesn’t wick moisture and takes longer to dry. If you wear it anyway, it will become heavy in the wet or if rain happens. The fabric will start to rub against your skin leaving you cold and uncomfortable.

Jeans also restrict your movement, which is critical for activities like skiing and snowboarding. If you opt for baggy jeans, it may allow for a little movement and may fit over your boots, but your snow pants should be tucked under your bindings for a comfortable ride. You can tuck your jeans under your boots but they will start to rub against your shins as you ride.

Another thing about jeans is that it’s very rare to see people skiing in jeans. You look an idiot and it looks like you have no idea what you are doing.

Why People Ski in Jeans?

When ski pants weren’t so popular, people used to do ski in denim jeans and it was considered good. Then these people got old and stopped skiing as much but it continued the jeans trend. But with the emergence of ski pants with new styles and technologies, it looks weird. I still see people in jeans (although rarely) on the slopes in spring conditions but it’s very rare to see people in the cold of winter wearing them.

So What to Wear?

So, if jeans are not recommended for skiing then what should you wear on the slopes? Well, a good pair of ski pants is always recommended for good and enjoyable moments. Ski pants are made to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable, and they do feature a lot of snow-specific features like pockets, ventilations, and RECCO. Learn more about RECCO here.

The North Face Freedom: Best Ski Pants

The North Face Freedom Pants
Type: Hardshell
Insulated: Yes
Fabric: Nylon, Polyester
Best Use: Resort skiing

The North Face Freedom is a good example of budget-friendly ski pants. They come in both insulated and non-insulated versions. They are a good option for weekend warriors and for those people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on ski gear. These are hardshell pants with a thicker 2-layer construction, which is pretty durable and it blocks wind and snow well. These pants also feature a venting system that efficiently removes excessive heat. There’s a Velcro at the sides that you can use to adjust the fit. The Freedom Pants come in a wide range of sizes from XXS to XXL and three different inseam lengths. This is very surprising to see these features in such a budget pair of ski pants.

Keep in mind that this is a budget option and it will certainly do the trick for skiing laps and long chairlift rides. However, if you are an experienced and performance-minded skier, you will want more. In that case, you can slightly increase your budget and get a pair of Helly Hansen Legendary Pants. These pants look and feel more premium and are a great blend of comfort, price, and performance. Some of the downsides of Freedom pants included limited ventilation and stretch. It’s fairly easy to get overheat because the cheap waterproofing doesn’t allow for good ventilation. Finally, the fit is pretty generic and they are quite baggy around the thighs and at the legs.

What I like: Great value, proven and tough design for resort skiing

What I don’t like: Baggy fit, limited ventilation & breathability

See The North Face Freedom See the Women’s Freedom


To summarize, a pair of denim jeans is not an ideal choice for any type of skiing as they absorb moisture, don’t dry faster, and rub against your skin when wet. For a good experience on the slopes, you need a dedicated pair of ski pants with built-in snow-specific features. Two good examples of ski pants are The North Face Freedom (budget) and Helly Hansen Legendary (premium) which are specifically made for snow.