Can You Ski or Snowboard in Jeans?

Skiing and snowboarding in jeans has definitely developed a bit of stigma and gives the impression that the wearer is new to the sport and lacks experience. But what actually is the issue with skiing/ snowboarding in jeans? And what should you wear instead?

The Quick Answer

Skiing or snowboarding in jeans is not recommended because they are made from cotton so are not waterproof, windproof or well insulated. Hence, jeans will not keep the legs warm or dry when on the slopes. They can also limit range of movement and feel uncomfortable when tucked under the boots.

Jeans are Not Waterproof or Warm

The first big issue with jeans is that they can get soaked through very quickly. This is because they are made from cotton which is a very water absorbent material. That’s why bath towels are made from cotton too!

Think about it. Have you ever got caught in a torrential downpour wearing jeans and been soaked through for the next couple of hours? Not a very nice feeling.

Combine that with extremely cold temperatures and you’ll want to head back to the lift and get to your warm chalet as quickly as possible!

If you’re going skiing during peak season, you can expect the temperature to be around -10°C/ 14°F on the slopes which is incredibly cold. Jeans are not good at keeping your legs warm, especially if they have a tight fit. They also do not provide any protection against the wind.

Baggier jeans are a little better at keeping your legs insulated, but they just aren’t up to scratch in those kind of temperatures.

The clothing you go skiing and snowboarding in should be warm and waterproof, and unfortunately, jeans just don’t tick either of those boxes.

Some will argue that their jeans don’t get wet because they don’t fall over. Personally, I don’t think this is worth the risk and it only takes one slip to go from bone dry to soaked through when wearing jeans.

You can also get caught if the weather quickly changes and it starts snowing up on the slopes so my recommendation is to stick to ski pants.

Jeans Feel Uncomfortable

The second issue with jeans is that they can feel quite restrictive, especially if you’re wearing a tighter fit and they aren’t super loose. If you look at most other sports, you’ll find that jeans are rarely worn in those either.

This is because jeans are not very flexible or stretchy. Skiing and snowboarding is a physically demanding sport which requires precise movement so the last thing you want is to be restricted by your clothing.

The final issue with wearing jeans for skiing and snowboarding is that they usually need tucking under the boots and will rub against the shins. Especially if the fabric becomes damp, jeans can easily cause discomfort by abrading the skin and causing it to blister.

Wear Ski/ Snowboard Pants Instead

Ski and snowboard pants are warm and waterproof/ water resistant which means they’ll keep you warm and dry when you’re on the slopes. Two things you’ll definitely be thankful for especially if you fall over!

Instead of being made from cotton like jeans are, ski/ snowboard pants are typically made from nylon or polyester which are lightweight, and help to make them waterproof, windproof and breathable.

You can get either hardshell or softshell ski pants. The difference being that softshell pants are lighter and more flexible, whereas hardshell ski pants are padded to help keep them insulated.

Ski and snowboard pants also have a looser fit compared to jeans to extend the range of movement. This means that you’ll be able to perform at your best without worrying about feeling restricted.

Snowboard pants tend to be a bit baggier as more range of motion is required compared to skiing where the movements are a little more subtle.

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