The 14 Best Ski Sweaters of 2023

Patagonia's Better Sweater Fleece delivers the warmth and comfort skiers crave.

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Best Ski Sweaters

Helly Hanson / Kari Traa

You need high-quality clothes to ski, whether you’re just taking a couple runs between beers or spending an entire heart-pounding day in the back bowls. Proper ski jackets and lightweight base layers are key, but it’s also crucial to plan what you’ll wear in between them. The best ski sweaters let you adapt your go-to uniform based on various weather conditions, and they might become some of your favorite wardrobe pieces off the slope, too. 

I first dealt with sub-zero temperatures and being pelted with ice pebbles on the frosty chairlift to the summit of Whiteface Mountain when I was 7. After hitting puberty and taking on more rigorous terrain, it became clear that the real trick is striking a delicate balance between staving off the cold and not feeling like you’re drowning in a swamp of sweat. Acting as your mid-layer, a great sweater achieves that balance (and looks fantastic for aprés ski).

While your breathable base layer wicks sweat away to keep you cool and your shell shields you from harsh elements, your sweater will provide the insulation that actually keeps warmth close to your body. When it comes to a great ski sweater, it doesn’t get much better than the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece. It’s expertly designed to take on cold days, has a flattering, contoured fit, and is manufactured in an environmentally conscious process that any mountain-lover should appreciate. Finding the best layers for you involves a host of different factors, including how cold your body runs and your fashion aesthetic, so a wide range of options are on our list.

These are the best ski sweaters to help you shred all season long:

Best Overall

Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket

Patagonia Better Sweater


Why We Love It: This adaptable, knit-style fleece is warm enough for frigid days and has a contoured structure that avoids mid-layer bulk.

What to Consider: Most of the colors are muted and some skiers might prefer something roomier than its slim-fit.

Patagonia’s top-of-the-line outdoor apparel earned it legions of committed followers long ago, and the Better Sweater Fleece lives up to the storied reputation. Above all, it’s warm. Whether an aversion to cold has you hesitant to give skiing a try or you’re a lifelong powder-head, you’ll be impressed by how toasty this 100 percent recycled polyester fleece keeps you on run after run. The knit jacket is relatively form-fitting without being too tight, a high collar helps keep the chill out, and it comes in nine understated colors. There are two zip pockets on each side of the jacket in addition to one on the left arm for chapsticks, hotel keys, and tissues, plus two interior sleeve pockets. Since it’s a full-zip, you can increase ventilation when necessary.

Patagonia’s website helps take the guesswork out of shopping. It shows garments on models who have a range of different body types, with notes on their measurements and which size they’re wearing included alongside pictures of the sweater.The brand is also transparent about their manufacturing process: To make the Better Sweater Fleece, materials from a textile mill in Taiwan are Fair Trade Certified-sewn in Sri Lanka and colored using Patagonia’s solution dyeing method, which uses less water and releases fewer pollutants than the traditional dye process. 

If you want a lighter layer that has all of Patagonia’s attributes, consider the R1 Air Zip-neck, which is also made from 100 percent recycled polyester but weighs 8.9 ounces compared to the Better Sweater’s 15 ounces. 

Price at time of publish: $149

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Materials: 100 percent recycled polyester fleece

Best for Warm Days

Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Midweight 2-in-1 Base Layer Hoodie

Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Midweight 2-in-1 Base Layer Hoodie

Helly Hansen

Why We Love It: The 145-year-old company’s expertise can’t be denied, and neither can the sharp style of this versatile hoodie. 

What to Consider: Although it’s the warmest of all Helly Hansen’s base layers, it’s not a true mid-layer.

Helly Hansen is one of the most trusted names in downhill apparel, and you don’t have to take my word for it: The brand outfits everyone from ski patrollers to lifties at all of the 37 properties owned by Vail Resorts, including three mountains in the Lake Tahoe area and British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb. Beyond first-rate specs optimized for rigorous alpine activity, Helly Hansen maintains a classic, minimalist aesthetic that’s never boring. To be honest, I couldn’t throw my money at the Norwegian company fast enough when I saw the stripe and seam lines on the off-white version of this mid-weight hoodie. 

A combination of Lifa fabric that moves moisture away from skin and Merino wool, this hoodie is the warmest base layer Helly Hansen makes. It can be worn as your first layer in the depths of winter, but has the perfect mix of ventilation and warmth to ride solo under your jacket on the gloriously sunny days of spring skiing. If you’d prefer a true mid-layer from the brand, the water-resistant LifaLoft Insulator Jacket won’t disappoint.

Price at time of publish: $120

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 57 percent Merino wool, 43 percent polypropylene

Best Multi-sport

Dovetail Apelian Utility Work Fleece

Dovetail Apelian Utility Work Fleece


Why We Love It: This fleece proves no one understands women’s workwear better than Dovetail, which was founded by female landscapers.  

What to Consider: It only comes in one color and is best for very cold days.

When Dovetail said this fleece was here to work, it meant it. I fell hard for the brand, which was launched by a landscaping duo and their apparel-pro partner in 2018, because of the way it unites firm construction and exceptional softness. This thick fleece features four zip pockets for extra on-slope storage and a layer of canvas on the chest, shoulders, and elbows to add warmth. The canvas is even treated with plant-based water resistance, which makes it perfect for schlepping skis on your shoulder when worn as an outer. On days that are dry but cold, it’s also a great outer for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. 

Although this fleece is a substantial garment, all of Dovetail’s clothes are designed with working women in mind, so you can rest assured it won’t compromise mobility when you’re flying around trees or moguls. I also love that the company is committed to production transparency; this hoodie is made by Lai Tak, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer.

Price at time of publish: $129

Sizes: XS-XXXL | Materials: 100 percent polyester (main fleece); 98 percent cotton, 2 percent spandex (canvas overlays)

Best Style

Kari Traa Voss Knit Half-zip

Kari Traa Voss Knit Half-zip

Kari Traa

Why We Love It: Athleisure leveled up in the creation of this glamorous, old-school look paired with modern sports tech. 

What to Consider: You can’t put it in the dryer, and not everyone will find the slim-fit to be the most comfortable.

Olympic gold medalist Kari Traa puts her athletic expertise and influences from her Nordic heritage into each piece from her sportswear line. Inspiration for this quarter-zip was also drawn from Slim Aarons’ classic alpine photography, and it was designed to win aprés-ski style points. The red, white, and black version thoroughly embraces this retro appeal, while the taupe option (the one I went for) adopts a trendy palette. No matter which of the three color combinations you choose, you’ll be getting all that sporty elegance boosted by functionality fit for a pro. A high collar protects your neck from chill and zips down when you need more air flow. Stretch and breathability are also enhanced by 15 percent elastane. One of Traa’s favorites, this mid-layer is also made from ethically sourced Merino wool — and has the traceability to prove it. Now that I think about it, I just might have to get this in red, too. 

Price at time of publish: $150

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 60 percent Merino wool, 25 percent acrylic, 15 percent elastane

Best Pullover Fleece

Stio Sweetwater Fleece

Why We Love It: Unique pops of color and creative seaming lends a stylish touch to this cozy fleece.

What to Consider: The relaxed fit can look a bit boxy.

Based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Stio knows how to keep you warm, agile, and sleek on the mountain. I've gotten plenty of compliments on the lavender version of this thick half-zip fleece, but it's the cozy, resilient (no pilling here!) construction and sustainable production that really make it a top pick. The brand offers a trade-in and buy used program to keep apparel out of landfills, and the Sweetwater Fleece is carbon neutral and 100-percent recycled. It has added length in the back to make those cold lift seats and buckling into snowboards a bit more enjoyable. Because of it's roomy fit with plenty of space for base layers plus oh-so-soft internal fabric, it's one of the most comfortable pieces in my winter wardrobe. The brand's pinecone logo adorns the fleece's back, providing a subtle, stylish nod to its environmentally oriented ethos.

Price at time of publish: $149

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 100 percent recycled polyester

Best Slim-fit

Prana Ice Flow Half-zip

Prana Ice Flow


Why We Love It: Made of polyester and elastane, the Ice Flow Half-zip is a lifesaver if wool irritates your skin.

What to Consider: The back pocket is great for running but may not be useful under other ski apparel.

If you’re someone whose skin just doesn’t jive with wool, you'll be particularly pleased with this pullover made of polyester and elastane. Designed for a range of cold-weather activities, Prana's Ice Flow line is packed with conveniences like thumb holes for extra hand warmth, dense-yet-stretchy fabric, and rear zip pockets. Although it's officially a second layer, note that this top is particularly fitted, so it’s worth considering sizing up to squeeze in a base. But since it has an ultra-soft interior that's gentle on sensitive skin, I often opt to wear it directly on my body anyway.

Price at time of publish: $110

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 87 percent recycled polyester, 13 percent elastane

Best Value Fleece

REI Co-op Groundbreaker Fleece Jacket 2.0

REI Co-op Groundbreaker Fleece Jacket 2.0


Why We Love It: Every skier should have a good fleece in their closet, and this is a simple, well-designed option you’ll get lots of use out of in the spring and fall, too.

What to Consider: Availability is not particularly size-inclusive, and, unlike many REI products, it isn’t made from any recycled material.

From champion-worthy base layers to backpacks that can take serious beatings, few retailers sell as much affordable and high-quality active apparel than REI Co-op. The Seattle-founded brand has put its money where its mouth is to make outdoor recreation more accessible and welcoming, and this durable and comfortable fleece is emblematic of that ethos. Perfect for working up a sweat in multiple environments, this pocket-adorned fleece can be used as an outer for hikes and other ventures during transition seasons, and its straightforward design certainly gets the job done as a winter-sport mid-layer. It’s completely made of polyester, which is an activewear mainstay because of its breathability, moisture-wicking, and resilience, and many skiers prefer full-zip sweaters because they’re adaptable for changing temperatures. This fleece is also great for winter workouts since it’s plush and insulating but doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. I have found that REI fleeces tend to get increasingly softer with wear, so don’t be discouraged if this isn’t quite as cuddly as you prefer when it first arrives.

Price at time of publish: $25-$50

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 100 percent polyester fleece

Best Extra-long

Prana Frozen Falls Sweater

Prana Frozen Falls


Why We Love It: This tunic-length sweater is warm and cute enough to get plenty of off-slope wear, too.

What to Consider: It’s a no-pocket option, which makes it impractical to use as an outer instead of just a sweater.

A sweater with added length is a great way to add protection from the cold, especially if you’re a snowboarder who’ll spend time sitting in the snow or bibs just aren’t your style. Prana’s Frozen Falls Sweater is made of 46 percent recycled wool that extends just past the bum on most people. Polyester and nylon (also recycled) make it great for wicking up sweat and staying ventilated as you muscle your way down black diamonds. Overall, it’s an extremely warm sweater that I’m very glad to have for frigid trips to summits.

When it comes to looks, three large buttons at the wide collar and eyelet detailing on the torso add a decorative touch. Neither particularly tight or overly roomy, this is a great middle-ground sweater to have in your ski arsenal. I like that it tapers in slightly around the waist and has a rounded hem to create a feminimine silhouette. 

Price at time of publish: $155

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 46 percent recycled wool, 34 percent recycled polyester, 17 percent recycled nylon, 3 percent other fibers

Best Size Options

The North Face Women's Denali Jacket

North Face Denali

The North Face

Why We Love It: This classic fleece earned its fame with long-lasting fabric, a flattering fit, and reliable insulation that can keep you cozy for many months out of the year.

What to Consider: This is a heavyweight fleece that may be best reserved for the coldest days of the season or wearing under just a shell.

Not only is it available in sizes up to 3XL, but this full-zip also gives you six different colors to choose from. Hues include a bright fuschia for those who like to turn heads, a sophisticated heather gray, and an extra-pale lavender that pops against the black overlays. Truly a fleece for all, the Denali also comes in kids’, teens’, and men’s cuts. If you prefer a fleece with a hood, The North Face has you there, too. 

It’s easy to see why fleeces from The North Face have long been ubiquitous in cold-climate communities: the clean lines look flattering on everyone, the substantial warmth provided makes them seasonal-versatile staples, and if you take care of them correctly, they can last you for years on end. I spent the better part of a decade constantly wearing mine from fall’s first chill through the budding days of spring and under my ski shell in between. 

Price at time of publish: $179

Sizes: XS-3XL | Materials: 100 percent recycled polyester fleece (main jacket), 100 percent recycled nylon (overlay)

Best Quilted

Marmot Women's Roice Crew Neck Pullover

Marmot Crew


Why We Love It: Marmot backs up its products with a lifetime warranty.

What to Consider: The polyester fabric is only partially recycled.

If you love the feeling of hitting the slopes in your favorite sweatshirt, the Roice Crew Neck Pullover might end up being your new go-to. With polyester and Tencel Lyocell, it's quick-drying, temperature-regulating, and resistant to tears. The square-quilted design adds a stylish flourish in addition to comfort.

Price at time of publish: $90

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 52 percent polyester, 41 percent recycled polyester, 7 percent Tencel Lyocell

Best Loose-fit

Under Armour Women’s Armour Fleece Storm Full-zip

Under Armour Women’s Armour Fleece Storm Full-zip

Under Armour

Why We Love It: It’s incredibly soft in addition to spacious. 

What to Consider: Some skiers find hoods on under-layers bothersome.

Honestly, this hoodie is so sumptuously soft that I have trouble taking it off. It’s often the most tempting thing to grab (along with the equally buttery Outrun the Storm Pants) when I’m going out to run errands or settling in for a binge-watch. Part of Under Armour’s line for rigorous physical activity in cold temps, the Fleece Storm Full-zip is water-repellant, which makes it an outerwear option during light snowfall. It’s surprisingly warm for how lightweight it feels, and since it has a roomy fit, you can add layers underneath to make things even toastier. However, spaciousness comes with the tradeoff of not being form-fitting to reduce bulk under your ski jacket. Still, it’s a wise, athlete-optimized choice to add to your mountain attire. Available from XXS to 3XL, it’s more size-inclusive than the industry standard, and winter runners will get additional use out of this polyester zip-up.

Price at time of publish: $70

Sizes: XXS-3XL  | Materials: 100 percent polyester

Best Crewneck

Smartwool Shadow Pine Color Block Sweater

Smartwool Shadow Pine Color Block Sweater


Why We Love It: It comes in four cool color-block designs.

What to Consider: Although it’s made of fabrics widely used in winter athleticwear, it was designed with everyday use in mind.

A crewneck sweater is a great option for anyone who feels a bit stifled with too much material around the neck (like yours truly). Probably best known for its socks, Smartwool extends its fabric expertise to the make-up of its sweater line. With a combination of polyester, Merino wool, and nylon, this knit is a textbook-perfect example of great fabric composition for a ski sweater. And while the materials are basic, the overall look is not: four color-block options put a lively twist on a ski-lodge essential. If rigid lines aren’t quite your look, consider Smartwool’s similar Edgewood Color-block Crew Sweater

Price at time of publish: $95

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 55 percent recycled polyester, 30 percent Merino wool, 15 percent nylon

Best All-wool

Dale of Norway Moritz Sweater

Dale of Norway Moritz Sweater


Why We Love It: The snowflake design and quarter-zip structure make for a timeless winter aesthetic. 

What to Consider: Pure Merino sheep wool tends to cost more than fabric blends.

In many ways, nothing beats a classic. Knitted in Norway, this timeless design is straight out of a winter wonderland-dream. With a 100 percent Merino wool construction, there’s no question that this sweater is warm, and the snowflake pattern will always feel at-home in a lodge. In addition to making a gorgeous creation, Dale of Norway’s expert handiwork yields a sturdy garment that won’t tear or fray no matter how intense your season gets. The Moritz Sweater was made to feel good when worn flush against the skin, so it’s a versatile everyday piece, too. Matching hats and headbands are available to complete the ice-queen fantasy. 

Price at time of publish: $290

Sizes: S-XL | Materials: 100 percent Merino wool

Best for Aprés Ski

Tentree Highline Fuzzy Crew Sweater

Highline Fuzzy Crew


Why We Love It: It's an earth-friendly way to cozily curl up in front of the fireplace.

What to Consider: The color selection is limited.

Sustainability and softness are two areas in which Tentree excels. The brand is known for its namesake dedication to planting ten trees for every item sold, and it makes giving back feel great in more ways than one. This soft, toasty sweater is perfect to recharge in. It has a less athletic look that makes it fit right into an everyday winter wardrobe as well. The same fabric mix is also available as a V-neck for those who prefer to finish their day in something a bit more breathable.

Price at time of publish: $78

Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: 39 percent recycled nylon, 30 percent recycled polyester, 29 percent responsibly sourced wool, 2 percent spandex

Tips for Buying a Ski Sweater

Prioritize Comfort

Trust me, when you’re 8,000 feet up, you’re not going to care how cute the sweater under your shell is—you’ll just be grateful it’s keeping you warm and dry. It’s imperative that they provide proper insulation, and Merino wool is a great option for its natural temperature-regulating qualities and moisture-wicking ability. Synthetics like polyesters and nylon also keep you comfortable by providing stretch and managing sweat. All of that being said, the world of ski-wear has plenty of performance-ready choices that are packed with style. Some may even become your winter favorites for off the mountain, too.

Consider specific weather conditions each day

As temperatures and precipitation levels change, so will your ski uniform. Never assume you should put on what kept you comfortable the day before without checking the weather report each morning. And remember, unless you plan to spend the better part of the day enjoying rounds at the lodge, you’ll want to base your attire on how cold it is at the summit of the mountain, not down below, so be sure to check the temperature for each before heading out. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a ski sweater?

    The main difference between ski and everyday sweaters is a focus on functionality. Ski sweaters are worn between moisture-wicking base layers that go flush against your skin and your heavy-duty, waterproof shell. Your mid- layer is frequently what you’ll wear while taking breaks in the lodge, so you should factor that into your style choice. They’re typically made of a combination of wool, polyester, polyester fleece, or nylon. Some people prefer to wear a puffy down jacket for their insulating layer rather than a sweater.

  • Do I need both a ski sweater and a ski jacket?

    You definitely need a waterproof jacket that’s designed for snow sports on a ski trip. Underneath, you’ll wear a combination of thermal base layers and mid-layers. Every skier has a different selection of garments they feel most comfortable in during any given weather condition, and you should pack plenty of options to play around with until you know your ski style. Some days I head out with just a thermal top and a thin crewneck under my jacket while companions are bundled up in two layers of Merino wool and fleeces. After a bit of trial and error, you’ll figure out what suits you best at different temperature ranges. Jackets and sweaters with vents and zippered collars are also great for adding airflow when your heart gets pumping throughout the day. 

    Some blue-bird days may be warm enough to wear just a base layer under your jacket or even a water-resistant sweater by itself, but you should never head out on a ski trip without reliable outerwear and plenty of mid-layers.  

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

T+L commerce editor Lydia Price tests and reviews the latest and greatest in outdoor and travel gear, apparel, and products. She started skiing before she learned how to read and has spent her entire life bundling up for Northeastern winters. To curate this list, she drew upon her own experience wearing ski sweaters, turned to fellow enthusiasts for recommendations, and researched the most up-to-date advancements in winter sportswear.

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