What Do You Wear Under Ski Pants?

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Often, half the battle is just getting onto the snow. Skiing isn’t like basketball where just need some good shoes and a ball. With skiing, you need to be prepared for the weather, which can be pretty brutal at times.

Don’t Wear Jeans!

Before we get into what to wear as a base layer, know that ski pants are important – do not wear jeans. Wearing jeans or cotton pants isn’t good because they soak up water. Jeans can often be too tight, too. Ski pants repel wind, water and snow. They also keep you warm and should not restrict your movements. Wear actual ski or snow pants, not jeans.

I don’t even like wearing jeans under ski pants because I think they restrict movements and if you get the right base layer, you definitely won’t feel cold, so don’t worry about that. I just have my base layer on under my ski pants and not anything else… the main point is, don’t wear jeans.

ski-pantsWhat to Wear Under Snowpants or Ski Pants?

What you will wear under your ski pants will partly depend on the weather. On colder days, you may want a layer or two but in early spring some people just wear shorts. When you do wear layers underneath your ski pants, they should be flexible and not restrict your movements. It should also be breathable. They can be simple, long underwear but that’s usually made of cotton, which will keep sweat and moisture next to your leg. What’s better is a material that will take moisture away from your legs so that you don’t get cold.

For a good base layer, you can get what are called insulated tights (yes for both men and women). Under Armour makes a fleece pant that is warmer. My favorite ones are the Columbia Omni-Heat. They’re thin and keep you plenty warm without overheating. I can’t say enough about them, actually. They’re the best that I’ve found.

What’s best is to try or get a variety of things to wear under your ski pants so that you have options when you need them. Some days, you may start with a base layer, for the afternoon you might go without and then when the sun goes down, you might put the base layer back on. You just don’t want to overheat or get too cold.

It can take a little while to figure out what to wear and you have to watch the weather or look at the forecast but you’ll get the hang of it. Another good tip is to ask friends what they wear and what they would suggest. Again, I’m sold on OmniHeat.

What Should Women Wear Under Snowpants?

For women, you want something warm but not too bulky. The best option is a pair of thermal leggings or leggings that can keep you warm. Of course, wear some good socks that come up to your knees or right before them.

Make sure your socks or leggings are not bunched up in your ski boots or your legs will be in pain – this is because your boots will be on tight and you’ll be leaning on them as you ski downhill (your stance should be forward, not back). If anything’s bunched up, it’ll bruise your legs and hurt like heck.

What Should Men Wear Under Snowpants?

Guys, it’s up to you. I wear the base layer and that’s usually it. On cold days, I’ll put some athletic briefs on under the base layer since the chair lift seat can be cold. The danger there is that you wear too much. Your testicles can’t get too hot and you need some room there (seriously). If you’re a boxers type of guy, then you probably just want to just wear the base layer and that’s it… that is healthier. Another option is some shorts or thin sweatpants.


For underwear under ski or snow pants – it’s up to you. Go with what you normally wear. Just make sure it’s comfortable for you. Your leggings or thermal underwear will go over them and then your ski pants.

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  1. My pants are just an uninsulated shell. Underneath I usually wear expedition weight poly-pro long johns (or a lighter pair if it’s real warm). (Patagonia capalene are nice)

  2. “Under Armour makes a fleece pant that is warmer.”
    Are you sure that this is so?

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