What to Wear Skiing If You Don’t Have Snow Pants

If you don’t have snow pants, there are a few other things you can wear skiing. Any type of water and windproof pants can work, including athletic pants and wool trousers. However, you don’t want to wear anything made of cotton, such as jeans. 

I’ve been an avid skier for most of my life, and I’ve worn all types of ski clothing over the years. There have been a few occasions where I didn’t have snow pants, so I know what works as a good alternative. 

I’ll tell you what you can wear skiing if you don’t have snow pants in this post. While ski pants are always ideal, sometimes you’ll be in a pinch and need to find a different solution. 

Keep reading to find out more.

What to Wear Skiing Instead of Snow Pants

First things first, ski or snow pants are the ideal clothing to wear when you go skiing. These pants are specially designed to keep out the wind, snow, and cold. They can go a long way towards helping you stay warm and comfortable on the slopes. 

That said, there might be occasions when you don’t have proper snow pants for skiing. This could be because you forgot to pack them on your ski trip, or maybe you have an issue like a rip or tear in the pants you usually use. 

Here are some alternatives you can use instead of ski pants: 

1. Wind Pants

Wind pants are a somewhat common alternative to snow pants. These are usually nothing more than a flexible outer shell, but they are designed to block out the wind and are sometimes waterproof. 

Wind pants are also known as athletic pants, and they will be made of a synthetic material such as nylon or Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex wind pants would be an ideal solution because they offer wind protection and strong waterproofing capabilities. 

2. Leggings

Leggins are another option to wear if you don’t have snow pants. These are more common for female skiers, but some male skiers wear them. Cross country skiers often wear leggings because they are lightweight and still offer protection from the elements. 

Look for leggings made of synthetic materials designed to dry out quickly. Some might even offer wind and water resistance, which would be ideal for alpine skiing situations.

3. Wool Pants

Wool pants or trousers are another good alternative to snow pants. These pants are sometimes called “woolies” and are what people used to wear years ago before synthetic materials were commonly available.  

Wool is a very warm natural fiber that has the benefit of retaining its insulating properties even when it gets wet. That makes it a solid choice for snow pants, and the thicker the pants, the more warmth it will offer. 

What NOT to Wear Skiing Instead of Snow Pants

If you don’t have snow pants, don’t wear anything made out of cotton. This includes sweat pants and jeans. While you might see other skiers wear these, it’s a terrible idea and will cause you to get extremely cold if the pants get wet. Don’t do it.    


Here are a few common questions relating to what you can wear skiing if you don’t have ski pants. 

Can I wear legging to go skiing? 

Some female skiers choose to wear leggings to go skiing, and they can be an OK clothing choice if you don’t have proper ski pants. They aren’t very effective in deep snow or really cold conditions because they are not insulated. 

Can you wear sweatpants skiing? 

I try to avoid wearing sweatpants skiing. Most sweat pants are made out of cotton, which is a terrible material to wear in the snow. They will lose all insulating properties when they get wet, and you’ll be really cold and uncomfortable. 


If you don’t have snow pants, there are still a few good options you can use to go skiing. These include wind pants, leggings, or wool trousers. Ski pants are ideal, but sometimes you don’t have access to them when it’s time to go ski. 

And remember, never wear cotton pants as an alternative to snow pants!

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