The Best Women's Ski Pants & Bibs

The 2018 testing season happened to be a particularly cold one in the northern part of the country so testers had plenty of opportunities to test ski pants and bibs from February to April in the mountains and resorts of Montana and Canada. Testers experienced a wide variety of weather, from blustery days at -20ºF to bluebird conditions hovering right around freezing. Even though most people have a preference for ski pants or bibs, we included both in the same category for our test. Ski pants tend to be less expensive than bibs for a variety of reasons. However, ski bibs provide more coverage so that snow doesn’t get inside clothing while charging the mountain, while suspenders help to keep the bib above the waistline.

Six pieces were included for the 2018 tests, two bibs, and four pants. The Best In Class winner, the Stio Environ Bib, is a garment that is comfortable, practical and high quality. One of the biggest downfalls of bibs for women has often been the added challenge of taking off many layers to go to the bathroom. Stio solved the problem of going to the bathroom with the use of a drop seat that functioned very well in small bathroom stalls, adding major points to the eventual winner. The runner-up was the Salomon QST Snow Pant. These are a comfortable and stylish ski pant with just enough insulation to stay warm on colder days, while not overheating on warm bluebird spring days. The rest of the pants were all fairly close contenders but tended to have more specific uses that they were tailored to so they didn’t score as highly across all the categories tested.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Arc’teryx Azetta Pant
96
Best in Class
2015
Quality of Materials 8
Comfort 10
Warmth 10
Functionality 9
Fit 9
Value 10

Well placed back thigh vent

Burly elastic boot gaiter

Articulated knees

Durable

Pricey

Stiff fabric

MSRP
$475.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Patagonia Women’s Powslayer Bibs
94
Quality of Materials 7
Comfort 10
Warmth 9
Functionality 9
Fit 10
Value 9

Articulated construction

Comfortable with a backpack

Bomber zippers

Drop-seat

Bibs bunch when sitting or bending

Butt is a little saggy

Suspenders are not removable

Pricey

MSRP
$599.00
BEST DEAL
Black Diamond Vapor Point Pants
93
Quality of Materials 8
Comfort 10
Warmth 9
Functionality 7
Fit 10
Value 9

Very lightweight

Thigh venting

Excellent breathability and waterproofness

Loose waist

No gaiter to keep out snow

MSRP
$299.00
BEST DEAL
Marmot Women’s Spire Pant
89
Quality of Materials 7
Comfort 9
Warmth 8
Functionality 8
Fit 9
Value 8

Long fit

Bomber boot gaiter

Articulated knees

Burly side seams and zips

High back

Wide in the hips

Tight on the butt, crotch & thigh

Suspenders are extraneous (though removeable)

MSRP
$360.00
BEST DEAL
Trew Tempest Pant
89
Quality of Materials 7
Comfort 9
Warmth 8
Functionality 9
Fit 8
Value 8

Articulated knees

Interior thigh vents

Side cargo pocket

Burly “Superfabric” cuff guards

Zippers feel tight over hips

MSRP
$375.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Stio Environ Bibs
89
Best in Class
2018
Materials 8
Features 8
Weatherproofness 8
Temperature Control 8
Fit/Comfort 7

3-Layer Dermizax fabric

Adjustable suspenders

Side zipper vents and drop seat

Plentiful pockets

Expensive

Only comes in black

MSRP
$445.00
BEST DEAL
Salomon QST Snow Pants
88
Materials 7
Features 7
Weatherproofness 7
Temperature Control 8
Fit/Comfort 9

Very comfortable

Good ventilation

Stylish

Light insulation

Runs small

Minimal Durability

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
Eider Aoraki Pant
87
Quality of Materials 8
Comfort 7
Warmth 8
Functionality 9
Fit 7
Value 8

Relaxed fit, roomy hips, comfortable

Nice hand feel exterior fabric

Deep pockets

Non-adjustable gaiter

Tight fit over stomach

Heavy

No scuff guard

MSRP
$210.00
BEST DEAL
Trew Chariot Snow Bib
87
Materials 7
Features 8
Weatherproofness 8
Temperature Control 8
Fit/Comfort 6

Lots of pockets

Zippers down the side of legs

Recco reflector

Breathable

No drop seat

Inconsistent sizing

Shows signs of wear quickly

Expensive

MSRP
$399.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Columbia Millennium Blur II
86
Quality of Materials 7
Comfort 7
Warmth 8
Functionality 9
Fit 7
Value 8

Comfortable 4-way stretch fabric

Reinforced pant guard

Light insulation

Flattering fit

High microfleece-lined back

Microfleece-lined deep pockets

Not very technical

No venting

Long, tight gaiters

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Columbia Powder Keg II
85
Materials 7
Features 7
Weatherproofness 7
Temperature Control 7
Fit/Comfort 7

OmniHeat 3D

Comfortable

Large leg vents

Plenty of pockets

Bulky

Limited Use

Overly warm for everyday skiing

MSRP
$250.00
BEST DEAL
Black Crows Corpus Insulated Gore-tex Pants
83
Materials 7
Features 7
Weatherproofness 7
Temperature Control 7
Fit/Comfort 5

Gore-Tex shell

RECCO reflector

Soft inside lining

Good ventilation

Baggy fit around legs

Wide pockets that stick out

Crinkly sound

MSRP
$549.00
BEST DEAL
Black Diamond Helio Active Pants
83
Materials 7
Features 6
Weatherproofness 6
Temperature Control 7
Fit/Comfort 7

Gore-Tex shell

RECCO reflector

Very lightweight

Comfortable

Lacking in durability

Minimal features

Tight snow gaiters

MSRP
$349.00
BEST DEAL
Stio Environ Bibs

The Stio Environ Bib was a clear winner for 2018 Best In Class due to its well-constructed design, high-performance fabric, and its carefully thought-out features. The Environ Bib uses a high-quality three-layer Dermizax fabric that is both breathable and weatherproof. Since it has no insulation, it is highly versatile for either backcountry use or resort days when wearing additional base layers underneath. It scored particularly high due to the materials which allow for good temperature regulation with long zippered vents going from the waist down to the knee and breathable fabric. The features on the Environ bib were another strong point with adjustable suspenders, a drop seat for quick bathroom breaks in the backcountry and plenty of pockets. Testers liked the sleek all black bibs that were quite comfortable and have enough stretch to allow for full mobility while skinning uphill. The only downside to these amazing bibs was the price tag but if that’s not an issue than the Stio Environ Bib are an obvious choice.

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Salomon QST Snow Pants

The Salomon QST Snow Pant is a lightly insulated pant perfect for everyday use at the resort. These pants scored just beneath the BIC winner, the Stio Environ Bib but would be testers top choice for an affordable resort pant. The QST Snow Pant is made with Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Dry face fabric which is surprisingly waterproof and has the perfect amount of synthetic insulation to stay warm while not overheating on warmer days. These pants have all the necessary features of a resort pant such as a velcro belt and elastic snow gaiters without any extra unnecessary ones. They scored highly for temperature control due to their good breathability and mesh vents which were easy to open. They scored the highest for fit and comfort since the unique material of these pants are unlike other ski pants due to the stretchy and quiet fabric they are made out of. Overall the Salomon QST Snow Pant is an excellent choice for resort skiing in a variety of temperatures while not having to make any compromises in comfort.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Jans

Trew Chariot Snow Bib

The Trew Chariot Bib was updated for 2018 and is a high-quality garment equally suited to backcountry skiing as it is to resort skiing. It uses a three-layer Dermazix fabric that highly weatherproof while also providing unparalleled amounts of breathability. There is no insulation in the Chariot Bib so base layers are necessary when skiing in colder temperatures but that just increases the different uses it can have. Testers really liked all the features that this bib has such as the long side vents which help to cool down, the abundance of pockets, and the adjustable suspenders. They also come equipped with a RECCO reflector which makes people searchable by rescue professionals. The main thing lacking from these bibs is a drop seat which makes going to the bathroom as a female much easier. There was also minor amounts of fraying on the garment which decreased the durability rated slightly. Nevertheless, these are a high-quality article of clothing that is sure to impress whether slaying the pow at the resort or deep in the backcountry.

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Columbia Powder Keg II

The Columbia Powder Keg II is a comfortable resort pant that is intended for cold weather skiing. The Powder Keg II uses Columbia’s new Omni Heat 3D technology to provide top of the line heat retention that kept testers warm even in below zero temperatures. It comes with all the features expected of a resort pant like plenty of pockets, a velcro belt, and belt loops, and an internal leg gaiter easily accessed with large side zippers. Testers were able to cool off when exerting themselves by opening up the mesh covered thigh vents but the warmth of the pant is also its biggest downfall. These pants are best used on cold days so they aren’t the best choice for an all-around pant. If skiing in a variety of temperatures or primarily when the sun is out a lighter insulation pant or a shell pant would be a better option. However, if looking for a well thought out cold weather resort skiing pant that won’t break the bank, then the Powder Keg II is a great option to consider.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Getzs

Black Crows Corpus Insulated Gore-tex Pants

For the 2018-2019 season, Black Crows launched a full apparel line and the Corpus Insulated Gore-Tex pant is one of the models from their big mountain skiing category. These are a resort specific pant that features a 2 layer Gore-Tex fabric and a soft synthetic Primaloft insulation. Overall these are a solid pant but testers noticed a difference when it comes to fit and comfort. The Corpus Insulated Gore-Tex is baggier around the legs which may suit a particular person and also have wide pockets that stick out awkwardly. Testers preferred a quieter and more comfortable resort pant like the Salomon QST Snow Pant which was virtually unnoticeable when wearing. The Corpus Insulated Gore-tex still comes with many great features such as an abundance of pockets and a RECCO reflector. As their debut into ski apparel, the Black Crows Corpus Insulated Gore-tex is a solid choice but testers are confident that they will only continue to improve from here.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

Black Diamond Helio Active Pants

The Black Diamond Helio Active Pant is an ultra-light shell that is best used for fast moving backcountry adventures. The Helio Active uses a 3 layer technology that provides breathability and a weatherproof shell at under a pound. While these pants are excellent for backcountry skiing or other winter alpine adventures, they achieve their lightweight status by trimming down to the bare essentials. Of the features they do have, the snow gaiters are tough to fit over ski boots and the pockets are minimal. While the pants held up fine on a normal snowy day, testers would choose a different pant for use during an intense winter storm when weatherproofness is of utmost importance. Overall, these are a great pant for fast moving backcountry adventures, but lack in the versatility seen in some of the other pants in this test.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

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What Are Women's Ski Pants

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The Best In Class winner for this category is the Stio Environ Bib. The Stio Environ Bib is a high-quality bib made out of a three-layer material that is highly weatherproof and breathable with zippered vents along the sides. The Salomon QST Snow Pant scored only one point less than the Stio Environ Bib despite being the least expensive pant or bib tested. The QST Pant is a very comfortable and versatile layer with just enough insulation for warmer days and the ability to layer more underneath for colder ones. In general, the pants and bibs in this test each seem to be designed for specific purposes, such as backcountry skiing or cold weather conditions, but testers preferred the more versatile options that could be used in a variety of situations. When testing pants and bibs, testers evaluated each piece by rating them in each of five categories; materials, features, weatherproofness, temperature control, and fit/comfort. By testing these pieces throughout an entire ski season, in a variety of conditions, testers were able to come up with an accurate assessment of each piece and provide a final number value rating for each.

Materials

There are a variety of different materials used for the ski pants and bibs in this test but the main consistency is that they are all high quality. The Stio Environ was the highest rated due to the highly breathable 3 layer Dermizax material incorporated throughout the bib. The Trew Chariot is made out of the same material, but testers noticed slight fraying in some spots after testing causing it to lose a point. The Salomon QST and Black Diamond Helio were the two lightest weight and are both very comfortable fabrics but also appear to be less durable due to their very light material. Columbia and Trew both use heavy insulation in their pants and have a burlier feel compared to the other pants in the tests. These two seem to be the most durable but are also less breathable.

Features

The two pairs of bibs tied for the highest score on features. The Stio Environ Bib comes with plenty of well-placed pockets, comfortable suspenders, and well thought out snow gaiters. They also have long double zippered vents on the outside of the legs that allow even more cool air to enter compared to the inner thigh vents seen on most other ski pants. But the best feature of all is the drop seat making these bibs a game changer for the ladies that previously disliked bibs due to the inconvenience of unlayering with each bathroom break. The Trew Chariot has more pockets than any of the other pants tested, but lacks a drop seat, resulting in lower marks. The Chariot bib does come with a RECCO reflector, a feature only seen in one other pant, the Black Diamond Helio. The Salomon, Black Crows, and Columbia pants all have the standard features of a resort pant but not too much more. They all have enough pockets for necessary goodies and mesh covered vents down the inner thighs. All of them have snow gaiters that fit well over boots as well. And while the Black Diamond Helio does have a RECCO reflector and is very lightweight, it lost some points due to lack of vents and snow gaiters that are hard to fit over boots.

Weatherproofness

For weatherproofness, both the bibs scored slightly higher than the others due to the inherent nature of being bibs, providing more coverage to keep the snow out. Aside from this factor almost all of the pants scored about the same, doing well during storms to keep the wind and snow out. The Black Diamond Helio scored slightly lowered since it was such a thin layer, and while highly breathable, did suffer a bit due to its ability to allow cold and wind to enter.

Temperature Control

Temperature control was the highest scoring category in general. The Stio and Trew bibs are only shells so didn’t provide any insulation but are highly breathable and have large side vents to quickly cool down when skiing uphill. The Salomon QST is the highest scoring pant in terms of temperature control since it uses minimal insulation that was also highly breathable and had inner thigh vents that help to cool down if necessary. The Columbia and Black Crows pants are both heavily insulated pants so they are inherently much warmer. They both work great in cold weather but on warm spring days even with the vents open, they are a bit too warm. The Black Diamond Helio is highly breathable and great if constantly moving but doesn’t have enough material to help stay warm on the colder days.

Fit/Comfort

The Salomon QST snow pant was easily testers favorite pant for fit and comfort. It is made out a soft material that feels soft to the touch and is silent when moving around. The only thing to note is that Salomon tends to run small and these pants were no different with testers comfortably wearing a size bigger than normal. The Stio Environ fit very comfortably for a bib and fit true to size while the other pair of the bibs, the Trew Chariot felt tighter and more restrictive. The Black Crows pant feels rather bulky and restrictive and needs a bit of work to make it more comfortable.

Test Methods

All the ski jackets and pants reviewed are tested by the same five criteria; materials, features, weatherproofness, temperature control, and fit/comfort. All the pieces were tested over multiple days and in different conditions to see how they perform in a variety of situations. Testing ski pieces can be a bit tricky depending on when the samples are available during the season, but testers do all they can to try out every piece on the same day to compare each one and in a variety of conditions ranging from sunny spring days to stormy wintery days to see how they hold up. For the 2018 reviews, testers tried out all the ski pants and bibs at the resort in varying conditions and side by side. They also tested three of the six pants and bibs that were touring specific while in the backcountry. The pants and bibs were tested primarily from February to April in resorts and the backcountry of Montana, Utah, and Canada.

When rating materials, the specifications provided by the brands play a big role in determining the rating for this category. These specifications tell us what type of exterior coating and insulation the pants and bibs may have. Then testers can rate the materials by how well they perform and if relevant their weight to warmth ratio. Since testers only have one season to test these pieces, durability is determined in part by any obvious fraying, ripping or other signs of reduced durability in addition to taking note of what type of material the garment is made of.

The features of a ski pant or bib depend on what the intended use of the garment is since gear in this test often has a specific function like staying warm while resort skiing or going light in the backcountry. For this category testers are rating the pants and bibs based on having the essential features that would make sense for its intended use without too many extras that would add unnecessary weight.

When rating the weatherproofness of a ski pant or bib, once again the manufacturers usually have a specific function in mind. For this category, testers rate the pants and bibs based on the intended purpose by judging how well it does at its specific function and specifications.

The temperature control category is also based on the specifications and function of the ski pants and bibs. Most important here is breathability because regardless of its primary function, whether it be at the resort or in the backcountry, the user will inevitably be exerting energy and will need enough breathability to not overheat and sweat in their layers. Testers rate the pieces depending on how well they stayed warm while not moving and they were able to cool down when exerting energy.

Lastly, the category of fit and comfort is fairly subjective but having multiple testers use the product somewhat reduces the subjectivity. Factors that are important here are the length of the pant or bib and how well it can fit over a ski boot. How stretchy and soft it may be will usually be mentioned in materials, but can also add to how comfortable the piece feels. Bibs are a specific style that not everyone likes but they are rated on how well they perform as a bib which usually means how easy it is to remove when going to the bathroom or how restrictive the bib may feel.

What is a Ski Pant and what is a Ski Bib?

When it comes to bottom layers for ski clothing there are generally two options, pants or bibs. Snow pants go up only to the waist and are usually intended to fit over a ski or snowboard boot. They can have a specific purpose like cold weather skiing where more insulation will be used or a backcountry pant where the is usually minimal to no insulation and breathability is a high priority. The features that the ski pant comes with also depend on the function. A pant designed for the resort tends to have more features since cutting down on weight isn’t all that important. Resort pants typically have large pockets for snacks, a pass, and more. A dedicated backcountry pant may have pockets but they will typically be smaller and be the bare minimum necessary. Other features almost all ski pants have are a gaiter underneath the that can fit over a ski or snowboard boot. These gaiters usually are elastic though they may also have a velcro or zipper to loosen and fit over a boot. The outer cuffs on ski pants often are slightly adjustable as well with either a button or zipper so they can easily fit over the boot. Many ski pants come with added reinforcement around the inside cuffs and/or the knees since these areas can wear out easier.

A snow bib is similar to a pant except that it provides more coverage and has suspenders of some sort to keep them up. Bibs provide a range of coverage from just barely above the waist to a full chest and back bib. Having more coverage may affect how comfortable the bib feels but will also be that much better at keeping snow out. Some brands also use this coverage to add additional pockets which can be a handy spot for things like chapstick, a credit card, or phone that can easily get lost in pant pockets or a jacket. Oftentimes bibs don’t come with any insulation but are instead are a high-quality shell layer that can easily be used with base layers underneath.