Skiing, known for its expensive and gear-intensive nature, requires a reliable jacket and pant combination for comfort, whether you’re at a local resort or venturing into the backcountry. Our list features top players in ski apparel, ranging from budget-friendly options like Columbia to premium brands such as Arc’teryx and Norrøna, known for their focus on touring and ski-mountaineering. In our breakdown, we provide individual insights into some of the best ski brands for winter clothing, offering a glimpse into their history, background, popular models, and unique features that set them apart in the competitive world of ski apparel.
Norrøna, a rising Norwegian backcountry specialist, may not have the household recognition of brands like Arc’teryx or Patagonia, but its recent popularity in the U.S. is well-deserved. The flagship ski offering, the Lofoten, impressively compares to Arc’teryx’s Sabre Jacket, showcasing remarkable weather resistance, exceptional durability, and suitability for serious big-mountain riding.
While Norrøna lacks some features found in casual resort-oriented brands, its alpine-focused designs cater to those seeking optimal protection and durability. The expanding ski lineup, including the Lofoten, Lyngen, and Tamok, offers various styles and options, making Norrøna a worthy choice for those who prioritize premium performance and are willing to invest.
Trew Gear, an Oregon-based brand excelling in the mid-range and high-end resort and backcountry markets, is known for its well-built, durable designs with modern styling and protection comparable to pricier Gore-Tex options. A standout this season is the Cosmic Jacket Primo (and women’s Stella Jacket Primo), targeting the crossover resort and backcountry space with a hardwearing 3-layer construction, ample storage, and built-in stretch for comfort and range of movement.
For resort-focused users, the more affordable Jefferson and women’s Astoria provide a similarly competitive mix of durability and protection in a 2-layer construction. While Trew Gear’s designs tend to be heavier and bulkier, those who appreciate the styling and don’t mind the extra weight will find Trew Gear to be one of the top ski clothing brands that truly stands out in terms of durability, build quality, and price-to-protection ratio.
Columbia, originating as a hat manufacturer in the late 1930s, has become one of the best ski apparel brands, offering a diverse range of products from hiking pants to winter accessories and apparel. Renowned for providing capable products at competitive prices, this value-focused approach extends to their ski apparel collection, notably the Bugaboo line. The Bugaboo II Interchange Jacket, priced at $210, is a 3-in-1 piece that provides ample warmth and weather protection for most resort-goers.
When paired with the insulated Bugaboo IV pants, beginners and recreational skiers can get outfitted for under $350, often available at discounted prices. While Columbia’s offerings may lack the premium features of brands like Arc’teryx or Patagonia, such as breathability and advanced waterproofing, the combination of affordability and performance makes Columbia a popular choice on the slopes, particularly in regions with shorter ski seasons like the Northeast, where backcountry skiing is less prevalent.
Patagonia, founded in 1973 by rock climber and environmentalist Yvon Chouinard, is highly regarded among outdoor enthusiasts for its top-quality outerwear and strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Patagonia’s ski lineup, evolving over the past two winters, caters to both resort and backcountry riders. Core inbounds pieces include the Powder Town in various versions, while the Storm Shift enhances performance with a 2-layer Gore-Tex build. Backcountry-focused jackets range from the minimalist and breathable Upstride ($349) to the highly protective PowSlayer ($749). Despite a premium for the brand, Patagonia offers repair services, facilitating gear longevity and waste reduction.
Established in the late 1980s as a climbing company, Arc’teryx, based in British Columbia, stands as one of the best ski wear brands. Regarded as the gold standard among backcountry enthusiasts, Arc’teryx offers a broad range of high-end and technical shells that excel in harsh mountain conditions, benefiting from their proximity to the rugged Coast Mountains.
A longstanding favorite and the brand’s flagship jacket, the Alpha SV shell (meaning “severe weather”), is a premium and resilient design crafted for serious alpine expeditions and multi-day ski tours. Typical of Arc’teryx, the jacket boasts a high-end fit and finish, exceptional weather-sealing properties (thanks to Gore-Tex used in all their waterproof clothing), and an aesthetically pleasing design.
Originating in the late 1800s, Norway’s Helly Hansen (HH) was initially established to make waterproof clothing for people working at sea. While rainwear remains a big part of what they offer, the brand has been popular on snowy slopes for a long time. You can spot many workers, like liftees, ski patrols, and mountain guides, at Colorado resorts wearing customized HH gear. Notably, Helly Hansen supplied baselayers to the U.S. Alpine Ski Team at the 2012 Sochi Olympics and now dresses both Canada’s alpine and para-alpine ski teams, showcasing the high performance of their clothing.
Flylow Gear began when two telemark skiing enthusiasts from Colorado couldn’t find the right gear for their needs. Specifically, they were looking for backcountry ski pants that were not too technical for mountaineering yet offered better quality and breathability than typical resort options. Since introducing their first product in 2005, Flylow has become a strong brand with a wide range of backcountry- and sidecountry-ready clothing. Their apparel is notable for its vibrant colors, two-tone designs, and well-made construction.
Enhance Your Ski Adventures with the Best Clothing from Top Ski Brands
Gear up for your winter adventures with top-notch ski apparel. Whether you’re hitting the slopes at a local resort or venturing into the backcountry, our curated list covers a range of options from budget-friendly to premium brands, each offering unique features and styles. Discover durable designs, vibrant colorways, and high-performance gear that suits your needs. From reliable jackets to comfortable pants, find the perfect combination to elevate your winter experience.