What are Ski Suits?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Ski suits are intended to be warm and aerodynamic.
Ski suits are intended to be warm and aerodynamic.

A ski suit is also called a snow suit. Ski suits cover most of the body, as they are basically a hooded jacket and a pair of pants. Warm, inner padding as well as an outer, windproof and waterproof nylon shell are the main features of a ski suit. Men's, women's and children's ski or snow suits are available in many different colors as well as styles. For instance, some of the jackets of ski suits have a cinched-in, or drawstring, waist while other models feature a shorter, bomber jacket look.

Thermal underwear is typically worn under ski suits.
Thermal underwear is typically worn under ski suits.

Although the jacket and pants of a ski suit are padded, the fit skims the body rather than covering it tightly. Skiers and others must be able to move or walk comfortably in the suit. Also, ski suits are made to be placed over layers of clothing. Thermal underwear, plus a sweater and slacks are typical clothing items worn under ski or snow suits.

Rather than pants, some ski suits consist of a one piece overall type of garment plus the jacket, or parka. This sleeveless garment looks a little like overalls, due to its straps that fit with clasps over each shoulder. It's often sold in children's sizes as a snow suit. A child's snow suit may be sold separately or with a parka.

Rather than just worn for skiing, a ski or snow suit can be used for many different cold weather activities — even for just being protected from chilling wind when walking outdoors. Cross-country, or Nordic, and downhill, or Alpine, professional skiers wear well-insulated suits that feature their team colors and logos. Snowboarders and sledders are also usually dressed in ski wear to stay dry and warm outdoors.

A ski suit may be sold as unisex, which means it's designed for both males and females. Unisex ski suits tend to feature sporty stripes or abstract patterns that both men and women find tasteful to wear. Children's ski or snow suits may be unisex or sold as boys or girls garments. A child's ski suit designed to last through several growth periods often has cuffed legs and sleeves.

Infant ski suits are also called buntings or snow suits. They are typically one piece that includes long sleeves and a hood. Many infant bunting suits also feature matching mittens and booties that may be detachable. Commonly sized from 0 - 24 months, a bunting or ski suit can help keep babies warm in cold weather. These snow suits are available in both bright patterns and solid colors.

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Discussion Comments


@Mae82 - If you are looking for light weight ski suits you should try on some of the ladies Obermeyer ski suits. I find that the pants are especially light but still manage to keep out the cold air.

You really need to find a suit that has the stretch panels inside so that the suit moves with your body and doesn't feel stiff. If you get your ski suit lined with fleece you will find it is super warm and very light. I like that the ski suit I have has a polyester with HydroBlock exterior as it keeps the water at bay and keeps me toasty warm.


Does anyone know where to find women's ski suits that aren't overly bulky?

I have been looking at some alpine ski suits and it seems like a lot of them aren't very aerodynamic. I know they are made for cold weather but I really want to find the lightest fabric possible so I can move freely.

I recently tried on a few ski suits and they all made me feel very restricted. I hated the feeling of not being able to bend my legs easily. I suppose that I don't really need to wear snow pants, but I hate freezing when the wind chill is high.


I prefer to snow board over skiing, and have a Burton ski suit to go along with my board.

This suit is a suspender type of ski pants that go underneath a jacket. Sometimes it is not as convenient when you have to go to the bathroom, but it sure keeps me dry.

When I was first learning how to board, I spent a lot of time in the snow. I found out real quickly how cold it was when snow got up your back or down your pants.

I also make sure they are roomy enough for a pair of long underwear underneath them. You want them to be bulky enough for some growing room, but not too bulky where you have a hard time getting around.


If you are going to be spending any amount of time in an outside activity in the winter, I would recommend buying a ski suit.

The first time I went skiing I just put together some mismatched pieces of clothing that included a jacket and some regular snow pants.

These did help keep me warm and dry, but when I saw all the great looking ski suits on the slopes, I said I wasn't going skiing again until I had an official ski suit.

I bought a Roxy ski suit that I absolutely love. They have a fabulous collection of items to choose from that are both fashionable and practical.

One thing I love about a ski suit is all the pockets you have. There are a lot of pockets on the outside and inside of my jacket. The hardest part is remembering where I put everything.

There area few things I wouldn't go without when I am skiing. That includes some lip balm, tissues, my cell phone, tylenol and a small brush. My hair is an absolute mess when I take my hat off.

Then by the time you include your goggles, gloves and any small snacks you might want, you don't have any trouble filling up your pockets.

I like to keep a map of the slopes in the back pocket of my ski pants. You will find almost every ski suit has a lot of pockets, and I have found all of them to come in handy.


Even though it seems like you are paying quite a bit of money when you buy a quality ski suit, it will last you a long time.

There are also a lot of choices when it comes to colors and styles for ladies ski suits. I have a two piece suit that has lasted me for over 6 years.

The only time I wear it is when I am skiing, snowmobiling or sledding, but it doesn't look any worse for the wear.

The next time I need to buy a ski suit though, I will buy a longer jacket, or get one that has a draw string waist.

My jacket just comes to my waist, and when it is really cold out, I wish I had something that went further down past my waist.

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    • Ski suits are intended to be warm and aerodynamic.
      By: Silvano Rebai
      Ski suits are intended to be warm and aerodynamic.
    • Thermal underwear is typically worn under ski suits.
      By: Lucky Dragon
      Thermal underwear is typically worn under ski suits.