The Difference Between Ski and Snowboard Clothing

It's fun to play in the snow if you're wearing the right clothes. Showing up in twenty-degree weather with the wrong outfit on isn't as fun. 

We want to help you make sure your family is well-prepared for a fun day in the snow, whether you're snowboarding, skiing, or crafting make-shift sleds to ride downhill. An excellent way to be snow-ready is to know what to wear in the cold and learn the differences between ski clothing and snowboarding clothing.

What the Skiing and Snowboarding Clothing Have in Common

Both ski and snowboarding clothes share a crucial feature: layering. Dressing in layers is essential to having a comfortable day in the freezing weather. These snow sports may differ slightly in their outer layers, but it's what's underneath that counts. 

They also both share some of the same winter accessories. You could add a beanie, balaclava, or neckwarmer for either sport as an extra defense against the wind, especially when you’re trying to protect your little ones from the cold. 


Wearing your outer layer alone would be an unfortunate mistake when outside for a day of snow activities. If you're a native to the snow, you probably know that already. If you rarely visit cold climates, you'll want to make sure you incorporate these cold-weather tips into your family's attire. Here are a few of the common ways to layer up for chilly days. 

Base Layer

For both snowboarding and skiing, you'll want to start with the undergarments. Be sure to select underwear that is thin, stretchy, and not made of cotton. Next, focus on thin leggings and a base layer shirt made of moisture-wicking materials. 

It's vital to select base layer items that fit you (or your child) perfectly to avoid articles bunching up while you're out skiing or snowboarding. The last thing you'd want to do is have to stop what you're doing to adjust uncomfy clothing. 

Mid Layer

The next layer that ski clothing and snowboarding clothing have in common is the middle layer. After dressing in a snug, light base layer to keep in warmth, you'll want to wear a layer of cozy clothing. 

This middle layer will be your outer layer when you're not wearing snowboarding pants or a ski jacket. Choose comfortable pants and a shirt that provides an extra cushion but doesn't suffocate you.


For both skiing and snowboarding, you'll also need to shield your face and neck from the freezing wind. Don't skip this step! Quality accessories can make or break your experience in the snow. 

While some items are up to your style, others are vital to keeping you and your children comfy in the elements. These are a few cold-weather accessories to pack up when going out for a snowy day.


This accessory is similar to a ski mask but with an alternate design. Rather than covering your entire face with only cut-outs for your eyes and mouth, a balaclava offers you the ability to show your full face while bundling up. 

A good balaclava will shield you or your child's ears from fierce winds, too. It's a worth-while accessory for fast-paced snow activities. 


If balaclavas aren't your thing, you may wish to substitute a neckwarmer. This accessory helps protect your neck and chest from any wind and snow that may try to seep in through your outerwear. Like your other layers, choose one snug to your skin that still allows you to be flexible in your movement. 

A Warm Hat

Another accessory that skiing outfits and snowboarding outfits may share is a hat or beanie. When you're out in the elements for extended periods, it's critical to make sure your extremities are trapping body heat. Wearing a beanie on your head can help you to feel cozy even in chilly temperatures. Invest in a quality beanie that will sit perfectly under your helmet. 

Ski-Specific Clothing

Ski clothing and snowboarding clothing don't differ much in their base layers, middle layers, and accessories. The outer layers are where each of the cold-weather wear has distinct characteristics. Though snowboarding and skiing both need durable pants and jackets, those clothing articles are slightly different between the two. Let's see the ways skiing outerwear is unique.

Ski Jackets

When you're excited to go out for a day of fun on the slopes, you'll need to make sure everyone in your family has a reliable ski jacket. Ski jackets tend to have a slimmer silhouette, meaning they're not too bulky. When you're searching for a ski jacket for yourself or your child, choose a weather-proof jacket for ultimate durability. 

Ski Pants

Like ski jackets, ski pants are a little bit slimmer than their snowboarding counterpart. The slim fit makes you feel light even with your multiple layers and helps your aerodynamics while you're speeding downhill. If you're looking for premium ski pants for you or your child, choose a weather-resistant pair and have braces attached for an excellent, snug fit. 


You might not realize this if you're new to snow sports, but ski gloves and snowboarding gloves are different. When you or your child is skiing, you need greater dexterity and grip to grab the poles. It's not enough to wear cotton gloves that would protect your hands on a February day near the equator. Choose durable gloves that fit you well so you can easily drift downhill. 

Snowboarding-Specific Clothing 

Snowboarding attire is unique, too. Snowboarders often encounter more contact than skiers do, so they need higher protection. If you're going to be trying snowboarding soon, invest in high-quality pieces to shield yourself more seriously from contact with ice and snow. Here are the clothing items that are typical of a day of snowboarding.

Snowboarding Jacket 

Like a ski jacket, this outer layer's purpose is to shield you from the cold. Unlike ski jackets, snowboarding jackets are slightly bigger to provide greater mobility. They're also longer, extending past the bum. A well-fitting, snow-proof snowboarding jacket will make all the difference on your day of trying tricks on the slopes or teaching the little ones how to balance. 

Snowboarding Pants 

Snowboarding pants have unique qualities as well. They're slightly larger than ski pants, allowing for more movement. Usually, snowboarding pants feature padding around the knees and bum for protection against occasional falls. You'll be set for your snow adventure after investing in the right pair of snowboarding pants. 

It's All About the Fit

Maybe you're not a pro at skiing or snowboarding. Perhaps you're going on a once-yearly trip to Colorado with your family and want to know whether ski or snowboarding clothes are the right option for you. 

The ultimate difference between ski clothing and snowboarding clothing is their fit. If you'd prefer a more snug, slim fit, ski clothes may be your ideal choice. If you think loose, baggy, bulky garments are appropriate for your snow day activity, snowboarding clothes are your best bet.

To Sum it Up 

You can totally wear ski clothing to snowboard and snowboarding clothes to ski. You might find that your outdoor experience is more manageable when you invest in the right apparel for each, but the most significant difference is in the fit at the end of the day. Whether you're skiing or snowboarding, make sure to layer up and shield your extremities to stay warm. Then, apply your sunscreen, grab your snow goggles, and don't forget your helmet. 



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