Whether you’re arcing turns down freshly groomed corduroy or skinning uphill through secret stashes of snow, it’s important to have the best ski kit for the job. Crunchy zippers, ill-fitting pants and leaking seams are just a few problems that can ruin a good ski day. We believe the old adage: There is no bad weather, just bad clothes. So, let’s get you in the good stuff.
Both men’s and women’s ski jackets and pants typically have the same performance technology, but women-specific gear is designed to accommodate female-identifying bodies. The jackets are usually wider in the chest and hips, and bibs are looser in the quads and booty. Can you wear a men’s ski kit? Of course, but you may not like the cut.
We’re confident we have a ski kit on this list for you. Before making your choice, consider your skiing style. Do you stick to resorts and chairlifts? If so, you’ll want an insulated kit that will keep you warm while sitting. If you’re a backcountry shredder, opt for a ski jacket and pants that are highly breathable and lightweight. To help you make those choices, we enlisted the help of 21 testers across the country who put this year’s top ski kits through the powdery paces. From Alaska to Colorado and Utah to Vermont, our crew logged hundreds of ski days to bring you the six best women’s ski jackets and pants of 2022/2023.
For quick recommendations, check out the results of our round-robin here, or scroll down for in-depth reviews.
- Best All-Around Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit: Arc’teryx Sentinel Anorak and Pants
- Best Backcountry Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit: Patagonia Stormstride Jacket and Pants
- Best Resort Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit: Flylow Sarah Insulated Anorak and Sphinx Bibs
- Best Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit with Sustainable Features: Picture Organic Clothing Seen Jacket and Exa Pants
- Best Value Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit: REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Jacket and Pants
Other Top Performers
- Honorable Mention: Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket and Bibs
Best All-Around Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit
Arc'teryx Sentinel Anorak
Waterproofing 3-layer GORE-TEX
Notable Features on Jacket Flannel backer for added warmth; full-body pit zip (right arm) and standard pit zip (left arm); deep chest zip for easy entry; helmet-compatible hood; powder skirt; zippered arm pocket and zippered (both sides) kangaroo pocket
Notable Features on Pants Flannel backer for added warmth; double hip-to-knee side zips; two zippered thigh pockets and small zippered stash pocket
Weight 1 lb. 4 oz. (jacket size M); 1 lb. 3 oz. (pants size M)
Test results: Meet the ski kit that rules them all: the Arc’teryx Sentinel pairing. This anorak-and-pants combo (bibs are available, too) gives shredders the best of both worlds with all the lightweight breathability needed in the backcountry and the relaxed, trendy style desired on the chairlift. The secret sauce is a 3-layer GORE-TEX fabric constructed with tightly woven nylon. This dense fabric is incredibly abrasion resistant, but it still has a shockingly soft touch: “It doesn’t scratch my cheeks in cold weather,” reports our Colorado-based tester. Still, it resists snags from low-hanging branches, so backcountry folks don’t need to fret about ruining their kit.
Of course, neither piece is insulated (hence the breathability), so resort skiers will still need to layer up beneath the Sentinel kit. Thankfully, the stylish anorak boasts a 15-inch chest zipper that makes it easy to pull the jacket over a helmet-covered head. A monster 28-inch, elbow-to-hem zipper beneath the right arm means it’s easy to get on, no matter how many layers you’re wearing. “I typically don’t love anoraks because pulling them over my head is a pain, but this one almost feels like you’re swinging on a cape when all the zippers are opened,” our member-tester reports. “It’s just as fast as a standard jacket.”
There are pockets aplenty on both the jacket and pants, and we loved the Keprotec™ fabric/patches on the insteps of the pants. First designed for motorcycle racing, the durable material guards against ripping or slashing. Tradeoff: Near-perfection comes at a steep price. Buy the Sentinel Anorak and Pants.
Bott om line: Impenetrable materials, oodles of performance features and an all-around trendy aesthetic make the Arc’teryx Sentinel Anorak and Pants our top choice for women’s ski kits.
Best Backcountry Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit
Patagonia Stormstride Jacket
Waterproofing 3-layer H2No®
Notable Features on Jacket Polyester knit backer; adjustable helmet-compatible hood with visor; dual pit zips; adjustable wrist cuffs; embedded RECCO® reflector; 2 zippered chest pockets
Notable Features on Pants Polyester knit backer; embedded RECCO® reflector; dual hip-to-knee outer thigh vents; two zippered cargo thigh pockets
Weight 15.1 oz. (jacket size M); 15.6 oz. (pants size M)
Test results: Splitboarders, backcountry skiers or even snowshoers will love the Stormstride kit in all of its stretchy glory. Patagonia started with a 3-layer construction, the industry’s gold standard for nasty weather that uses a waterproof-yet-breathable membrane bonded between the outer shell layer and the inner backer fabric. But the real highlight is the stretchiness of the recycled nylon used in the brand’s proprietary H2No® fabric. It’s soft rather than crunchy, and the added movability is huge for backcountry enthusiasts. “I have a weekly route that ascends 1,800 feet in 1.8 miles, so it’s a lot of climbing,” reports one Aspen, Colorado-based tester. “But the added stretch and the articulation in the knees made the Stormstride the kit I always grabbed on my way out.”
Comfort is one thing, but weather protection is essential in the backcountry. The Stormstride is a veritable fortress in dry snow, as our crew learned during one high-alpine blizzard that dumped nearly a foot of fluff in 90 minutes. Patagonia’s kit does an excellent job of keeping weather out, but at a cost: It’s not as breathable as we hoped. Still, the dual pit zips and thigh zips made it easy to dump heat, so this wasn’t a major concern.
The kit is relatively streamlined without a lot of excessive features, but it has what you need. The two zippered chest pockets are large enough to store snacks, a phone, car keys or even an extra neck gaiter. The two thigh pockets are well-positioned, allowing mountaineers to access them even while wearing a harness. Bonus: It’s the lightest ski kit on this list. Buy the Stormstride Jacket and Pants.
Bottom line: The Patagonia Stormstride ski kit boasts lightweight packability and praise-worthy movability, making it our favorite choice for backcountry skiers and snowboarders
Best Resort Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit
Flylow Sarah Insulated Anorak
Waterproofing 2-layer Finish Intuitive fabric
Insulation Recycled synthetic
Notable Features on Anorak Helmet-compatible hood; powder skirt; 12-inch pit zips; wrist gaiters with thumb loops; 1 zippered chest pocket and 1 large zippered kangaroo pocket
Notable Features on Bibs Stretchy waist gaiter; 6 pockets (including the reach-through kangaroo pocket); two back jeans-style pockets
Weight 1 lb. 11 oz. (jacket size M); 1 lb. 11 oz. (pants size M)
Test results: Resort skiing can get downright chilly with nasty weather, windy chairlifts and slopeside snack breaks. That’s why our crew loves the Flylow Sarah Insulated Anorak and Sphinx Bibs for cold days on the hill. Flylow packs 80 grams of recycled insulation into the anorak along with a 10,000mm/10,000g membrane, a highly waterproof-yet-lightweight fabric. End result: high-performance protection that won’t weigh you down. When paired with appropriate base layers, our testing crew stayed warm on a 20°F day. Plus, let’s be real: It’s everything great about retro fashion.
While Flylow doesn’t necessarily recommend the Sarah and Sphinx for high-cardio endeavors like bootpacking up steep hills or even backcountry skiing, it’s possible thanks to the 12-inch pit zips that cool things down in a hurry. Meanwhile, the six pockets covering the Sphinx made it easy to stash everything from chairlift snacks to a preschooler’s neck gaiter, as one Colorado-based tester discovered while skiing with her daughter.
Fit note: Flylow’s snow pants have a tendency to run trim, so if you like a little extra wiggle room in the hips or are in between sizes, we definitely recommend sizing up. Buy the Flylow Sarah Insulated Anorak and the Sphinx Bibs.
Bottom line: Plenty of insulation, durable materials and a stylish fit push the Flylow Sarah Insulated Anorak and Sphinx Bibs to the top of the list for resort skiing.
Best Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit with Sustainable Features
Picture Organic Clothing Seen Insulated Jacket
Waterproofing 2-layer DRYPLAY
Insulation Thermal STD synthetic fibers
Notable Features on Jacket Body-mapped construction; drop hem for full coverage; wrist gaiters; double pit zips; attached powder skirt; zippered chest pocket, zippered wrist pocket and two zippered hand pockets
Notable Features on Pants Stretch waist gaiter; inner thigh vents; two zippered hip pockets
Weight 2 lbs. 4 oz. (jacket size M); 1 lb. 9 oz. (pant size M)
Test results: Historically, high-performance ski gear relied on fossil fuels for its techy synthetic fibers, but Picture Organic breaks that record by emphasizing plants instead. Their designers wanted to reduce their reliance on the traditional polyester fiber derived from petroleum, so the Seen acket and Exa pants use a bio-based polyester that comes from sugarcane waste. This creates a hybrid fabric on the shell: 58% comes from the sugarcane fiber while the remaining is recycled traditional polyester. According to Picture Organic, that adds up to a 30% decrease in carbon emissions for this particular pairing.
Of course, sustainability is critical but the gear has to perform, too. Both the Exa and Seen use a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment that doesn’t have any PFCs, the chemicals often used in waterproofing that studies have shown to be toxic to humans and the environment. And this kit still sheds moisture like a champ. “It nuked all day and it never wet out,” reports one member-tester after a powdery day at Alaska’s Eaglecrest Ski Area. Ample insulation in the jacket and pants makes for a cozy chairlift ride, but the dual pit zips on the Seen and thigh vents on the Exa dump heat in a hurry.
Fit was a favorite for our testing crew, too: “Just enough room for layers underneath but not so loose that I feel like a marshmallow woman.” Buy the Picture Organic Clothing Seen Jacket and Exa Pants.
Bottom line: PFC-free waterproofing and bio-based fibers make the Picture Organic Clothing Seen Jacket and Exa Pants our favorite pick for a ski kit with features you can feel good about.
Best Value Women’s Ski and Snowboard Kit
REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Jacket
Waterproofing Peak 2-layer waterproof/breathable laminate
Notable Features on Jacket Helmet-compatible hood; dual pit zips; removable powder skirt; zippered pass pocket on left wrist and two zippered hand pockets
Notable Features on Pants Dual inner thigh vents; articulated knees; two zippered hand pockets and zippered thigh pocket on right leg
Weight 1 lb. 9 oz. (jacket size M); 1 lb. 6 oz. (pants size M)
Test results: You’re already shelling out a lot of cash for lift tickets and gear, so why not save on your ski kit? The Powderbound clocks in as the most affordable jacket-and-pants combo on this list (bibs are available, too). But REI Co-op didn’t sacrifice quality when designing this budget-friendly duo. Instead, the co-op packed in insulation with more than 80 grams in the trunk of the jacket, 60 grams in the arms and 40 grams in the snow pants. Final math: You can save some money on your layers because you won’t need many. “Just a wool top and my jacket for spring skiing and I was good to go,” reports our Washington-based tester after a day at Mount Baker.
Ample pockets make it easy to nosh snacks on the chairlift and our crew really loved the drop-in goggle pouch inside the right zippered pocket. Our member-tester even tried her hand at backcountry skiing in this kit, insulation and all: “It definitely got warm on the uphill, but those pit zips and thigh vents helped me keep cool.”
So what’s the tradeoff for this price tag? Weatherproofing. The zippers aren’t waterproof and only critical seams are sealed. Wet snow or—the worst—rain could be issues. Also note that the fit is more relaxed than other options here. Consider sizing down. Buy the Powderbound Insulated Jacket (Regular and Plus) and Snow Pants (Regular, Plus and Petite).
Bottom line: The REI Co-op Powderbound kit is our top selection for an affordable jacket and pants that still offers plenty of features, warmth and comfort.
Other Top Performers
Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket
Waterproofing 3-layer Pertex Shield
Notable Features on Jacket Helmet-compatible hood with wired brim; pit zips; powder skirt; two zippered hand pockets, two zippered chest pockets, zippered wrist pass pocket, internal chest pocket and internal mesh stash pocket
Notable Features on Bibs Dual side zips with the right leg extending all the way to the knee; two zippered hand pockets and one large chest pocket
Weight 1 lb. 3 oz. (jacket size M); 1 lb. 6 oz. (pants size M)
Test results: It’s almost like sorcery: Outdoor Research strikes a keen balance between price and performance. This Carbide kit is built for the backcountry—no insulation anywhere—and manages to sneak 3-layer construction into the sub-$300 category. That’s a lot less than other 3-layer kits on this list, and the performance doesn’t suffer. “Spring skiing in the Chic-Chocs dumped a load of wet snow on us, but it never soaked through my shoulders,” reports our Quebec-based tester. While the price is right, it comes with minimal features. And instead of the zip that runs along the right side from the top of the bib to the knee, our testers would have preferred a drop seat to make peeing in the woods easier. Buy the Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket and Bibs.
Before purchasing new ski or snowboard jackets or pants, consider how you plan to use them and choose features accordingly.
Warmth vs. Breathability
In general, the first thing worth prioritizing when purchasing new threads is warmth. If you envision a spectrum with “warmth” on one end, “breathability” sits opposite: The warmer or more insulating a garment is, the less breathable it tends to be. If you plan to wear your ski jacket and pants at the resort, where you do a lot of sitting (chairlifts), chilling (lift lines) and breaking (mid-mountain or the lodge), warmth is super important. Even when you raise your heart rate skiing or navigating challenging terrain, you often come back down quickly.
For resort skiing, we tend to recommend insulated jackets and pants or bibs like the Picture Organic Clothing Seen Jacket, REI Co-op Powderbound or the Flylow Sarah Insulated Anorak. For more information, check out How to Choose Insulated Outerwear.
If, however, you plan to wear your ski jacket and pants during higher-output activities, a non-insulated option may be best. When you work hard—say, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, postholing or orchestrating an epic backyard snowball brawl—you warm up fast. It is much easier for all that heat to escape a garment that isn’t stuffed with polyester fill, which is why we recommend simple non-insulated shells for more aerobic winter activities. When you have non-insulated outerwear like the Arc’teryx Sentinel Anorak, Patagonia Stormstride or Outdoor Research Carbide, you rely on your layering system to keep you warm, fine-tuning it as your internal furnace oscillates. (Read more about the art of layering and learn how your layers work together.)
Other factors to consider: where you do most of your adventuring (do you have mild California or harsh New England winters?) and, of course, your body. Some people heat up fast and others run cold 24/7. Ultimately, you know best whether you need ultra-warm outerwear or more versatile, breathable outerwear.
You will also want to take inventory of features—mandatory, nice to have and unnecessary.
In general, skiers and snowboarders, whether they recreate inbounds or in the backcountry, need helmet-compatible hoods, internal gaiters that cinch over boots and cuffs that accommodate bulkier gloves and mittens. All of the kits listed here sport these features, not to fear.
But there are a handful of nice-to-have features that range in importance based on your personal preferences. The number and placement of pockets is a big one. Backcountry skiers may look for zippered pockets large enough to swallow an avalanche transceiver. A powder skirt can be a godsend if Lucky You skis or rides in a snow-blessed area. Vents can be lifesavers.
Unnecessary features are also a matter of personal preference. If you ride in the resort, newfangled things called toilets may render needless the ability to zip off your bib pants without touching your jacket. Ridiculously high-performance waterproofing may be overkill, too, for recreational resort riders who can pop into a lodge to warm up or dry off. Remember: Extra features cost extra dollars.
Last winter, we asked 21 REI Co-op Members from around the country (and Canada!) to shred the gnar for some quality snow testing. Our crew skinned uphill, arced through powder and suffered through a few gear mishaps before skiing some more. The ski kits listed here are the pairings that rated the highest in our field test; the scores are the averages based on tester feedback.
After we busted out our calculators and did the math, the Arc’teryx Sentinel Anorak and Pants received nearly perfect scores in every category, earning our top spot in test. The Patagonia Stormstride Jacket and Pants, Flylow Sarah Anorak and Sphinx Bibs, Picture Organic Clothing Seen Jacket and Exa Pants and REI Co-op Powderbound Jacket and Pants also took top spots with high scores in all categories. The Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket and Pants scored high in most of the categories, still hitting solid numbers all around.
We’d like to extend a huge thank-you to our crew of testers for shredding as hard as they did. May Ullr reward you!