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Ski

The Difference Between Ski and Snowboard Clothing

When dressing for the snow it is essential to keep in mind what you’ll be getting up to. Whether you’re hitting the slopes to ski or snowboard, you’ll require different ski equipment to perform to the best of your ability – and with our help, you can do it in style.

From jackets to trousers, this guide has all of the details you need to know to keep you warm, comfortable and dry while out on the white.

The Difference Between Ski and Snowboard Jackets

Fit is the primary difference between ski vs snowboard jackets. In skiing, speed is the main focus and you’ll be doing more uniform movements, so as a result, these ski jackets tend to be slimmer-fitting, to support aerodynamics and for added heat retention.

Snowboarders, however, use much more varied movements as they keep their balance with their arms, and snowboard coats are baggier and looser-fitting to cater for this. Snowboarding coats are also longer in length, particularly at the back, as it’s often necessary to sit while stationary. As stated before, both provide ample warmth and protection, so you can swap one for the other without any major issues.

Read more about what to look for in a ski jacket here.

The Difference Between Ski and Snowboard Pants

As with the jackets, the major differences in snowboard vs ski pants are in the fit. Snowboard pants tend to be baggier to allow crouching and varied leg movements. The movements of skiing are more subtle and as with the jacket, the slimmer fit allows for a more aerodynamic form. The tighter fit also aids heat retention, trapping air close to the body.

Salopettes tend to have reinforced material at the ankle to prevent your opposite ski cutting into it, while the extra padding in snowboard pants is primarily found at the knees and rear, which you are likely to land on if you fall. These patches prolong the life of the pants but rely on you using the right pants for the activity.

Read more about selecting the right ski trousers here.

Style

While they both have physical differences that make them better suited to the sport, style plays a role in the design of the ski and snowboard wear. The latter became popular within skateboarding and surfing crowds, consequently influencing snowboard outfits to be more relaxed and baggier, like skate and surf shorts.

Ski gear doesn’t typically have the same attention to patterns and colour, though in recent years it has adopted some of the flair of snowboard clothes. Traditionally, skiing is focused on speed and practicality, while snowboarding is based on tricks and style. Times have changed but the culture behind both groups remains a major factor in the design.

While the differences can be fairly subtle, both styles have clear benefits for their specific sport, and for regular skiers or snowboarders, it’s smart to aim for specific gear to meet your needs. However, for a beginner looking to try a new snow sport, it’s perfectly fine to wear any gear as long as it provides warmth, comfort and protection.

Need some more guidance? Why not check out our
Expert Advice Guide to Skiing for Beginners.