When you're skiing, you want to keep warm. Most people think of a thick, comfortable, down jacket. But quality ski pants can, and will, make a world of difference in helping to keep you warm on the slopes. Warmth is just the beginning, however. The right pair of pants will also help you stay dry if you take a tumble.
There are several options to choose from when buying skiing attire. Skiers must focus on warmth, comfort, and the proper fit. Mobility is also important when selecting ski attire. Additionally, skiers have to consider the materials to make sure their ski clothes will last for years to come.
Ski clothing is essential to an enjoyable ski trip and a successful day on the slopes. Too often, skiers pay hundreds of dollars to ride a ski lift but don't take the time to choose good ski attire. Take a step back and make sure you have the best gear available. It'll make your life easier and ensure that you enjoy your skiing excursion to the fullest.
How to Choose Ski Pants
Ski pants come in many styles, material finishes, and quality levels. Several manufacturers also produce ski pants. When purchasing a new pair of pants, these are a few relevant factors to consider as a skier.
Warmth and waterproofing
Ski pants are usually waterproof and have a rating between 5,000 and 20,000mm for the most part. Skiers who want pants with the highest score should look for the best materials. Some popular options include Black Magic and GoreTex, among others. Waterproofing levels, however, will vary depending on weather conditions.
Warmth is another critical factor for skiers to consider when buying ski pants. Some pants feature insulation and some only have a thin shell membrane to help keep cold air from penetrating the materials. Some pants don't have a lining, while others feature fleece or other lining materials for increasing heat levels. Skiers should consider all elements, and understand their body (how cold they get) to find the best ski pants.
Ski pant style
There are three main styles of ski pants: bib, traditional pants, and one-piece varieties. Form depends on whether they prefer layering or not, and how much warmth they want to enjoy while skiing. One option is a pair of pants. These are similar to jeans or chino pants (or any other variety of pants). These feature an elastic waist or zipper fly and are more comfortable than some other styles. This style is riskier, however than other styles.
A one-piece is similar to an entire body suit. This style is warm, but it is also the bulkiest of the three. The increase in levels of warmth does include the drawback of minimal comfort. And, this style also weighs skiers down on the slopes. The bib is the final variety to consider. This style features a built-in suspender and comes up to the skier's chest. The overall system helps keep the pants in place. Like the one-piece, it is bulkier and warmer than a pair of pants. However, it is a little easier to mobilize in than a one-piece suit. Depending on desired mobility levels, warmth, and personal preference, each skier will choose something different.
Types of Ski Pants
Skiers also have to determine the kind of ski pants they want to buy. Like the style, the variety of ski pants will depend significantly on a skier's preference. However, warmth, comfort, and mobility are factors to consider here as well. Skiers can choose shell pants, insulated ski pants, or softshell ski pants. Shell pants feature a polyester or nylon blend. These pants are breathable, and typically water and windproof also. They don't have as much insulation as other materials and are lightweight. These pants are for mild conditions, but not the coldest skiing conditions.
Insulated pants have a waterproof shell and insulation barrier to protect from cold weather extremes. These pants aren't as breathable as shell pants but are warmer. The final variety is the softshell ski pant. These pants feature a softer exterior and greater breathability than shell pants. The pants are best for “dry” conditions, where skiers are performing tricks or are highly mobile. They are also available in waterproof varieties.
Most ski pants share common features that skiers are looking for when buying ski clothing. Although not every pair has each one, most manufacturers will include a series of features skiers desire. Some features skiers look for include:
- Adjustable waist with a strap, zipper, or loop-closure
- An attachment system to affix the jacket and ski pants together
- Side venting on the legs to increase breathability
- Zippered gusset to prevent snow from getting into the pants and a mesh lining for breathability
Other features are also available including hem reinforcements, ticket holders for the ski lift, and lining. Each skier is looking for something a little different when choosing ski pants.
How We Reviewed Ski Pants
We compared a series of different ski pant styles. In our comparison, we included consumer/owner reviews. This information provides a first-hand look at how the pants fit and function on ski slopes. With this information, consumers can easily compare the best pants to find the ones most well-suited to their individual skiing needs.
We also reviewed pants of varying price ranges from top manufacturers. This information provides consumers with a detailed look at the best products that fit their budget.
The Best Ski Pants Available
There are numerous pairs of ski pants skiers can purchase. Depending on their skiing style, comfort, and ski conditions, each will choose a different one. These are a few of the best options to consider when deciding on new ski pants and skiing apparel.
Columbia Slope Style Ski Pants
This traditional pant style of ski apparel has a button closure at the waist. The pants have cargo pockets on both legs for storage and slash pockets at the sides. There are Velcro-closure straps at the waist. This feature is great for those who like a roomy fit or like to adjust with additional layers.
The Omni-heat pants are excellent for colder temperatures. The pants also have a waterproof exterior so that skiers won't get wet in snowy conditions. There is a neoprene finish on the inside hem of each pant leg at the bottom. This feature helps to increase the breathability of the pants. A loose fit also increases comfort levels for skiers.
Clothing Insulated Ski Pants
This pair of ski pants also has a traditional pant-style fit. It is 100 percent polyester material, so it is lightweight and fits comfortably at the waistline. They have a zipper closure and a back zipper pocket. The pants have a cargo pocket for additional storage as well.
Zippered cuffs around the boot also help keep snow and wind out in chillier conditions. The pants have a full seam seal so that air won't penetrate at the seams. An articulated knee and waterproof exterior also help increase comfort.
- Adjustable waist,2 Waist Pockets,one cargo pocket and zipper back pocket
- Zippered cuffs open to fit around boots
- Fully seam-sealed to keep water from seeping through seams
- Boot gaiters fit around boots to keep out snow
- Articulated knees for a natural fit
QuickSilver Porter Ski Pants
These ski pants have a 10K waterproof rating, meaning they'll keep skiers dry in wet and snowy conditions. The Quicksilver quick drying materials wick the exterior fabric, so skiers stay dry and comfortable. In colder temperatures, this helps prevent chills or extremely cold extremities when skiing.
A regular fit and shell insulation provide a warm base for skiers in cold conditions. The polyester, plain weave material is durable and comfortable. The pants allow for a free range of motion when skiing.
Wantdo Bib Waterproof Ski Pants
These pants are 100 percent polyester material and have 200 grams of insulation. The bib also features a warm interior lining, to help increase comfort levels in colder temperatures. The collar has a reinforced hem and internal boot gaiters to fit perfectly with any ski boot.
A velvet patch at the hips and knees provides additional warmth for skiers who are looking for pants with lining. There is a D-ring at the waist to attach keys, gloves, or other carry-on items when skiing. The bib is perfect for skiing, hiking, or other extreme, cold-weather activities.
Arctic Avalanche Ski Bib
This ski bib has 85 grams of ThermaFit insulation to provide high levels of comfort and warmth in milder climates. It's 100 percent polyester, so it wicks water away quickly. It also has cargo pockets for additional storage, making it easy to carry small items on the ski slopes.
A robust and ballistic ankle design and scuff hem guards help keep cold air out. The pant legs fit comfortably onto the body and don't allow air to penetrate from the bottom. The hem guards help protect from daily wear and tear for those who wear the ski pants regularly.
- 100% Polyester Dobby ThermaLock Fabric
- 85 Grams ThermaTech insulation that keeps warmth in and cold out
- Inseam Length - 32 inches
- Custom adjustable shoulder strap for a comfortable fit
- Cargo pockets and chest pockets for added storage
White Sierra Insulated Bib
This product features 120 grams of insulation to keep skiers warm. The scratch-resistant guards towards the hem of the pants help keep cold air out so that it doesn't penetrate in from the bottom of the pants. A full zipper chest design allows skiers to adjust the ski bib for comfort.
Nylon exterior is waterproof, and the 100 percent polyester lining helps increase levels of warmth. The adjustable shoulder straps also allow skiers to adjust the bib accordingly, for a comfortable fit on their body.
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IceBreaker Merino One Piece
The lycra and Merino wool blend are soft and fit the body comfortably on colder days. This one piece suit fits perfectly beneath an outer layer to help increase levels of warmth for skiers.
It has a zipper chin guard to prevent wind chills from penetrating through the neck area. A zip hood also helps with temperature regulation in cold weather.
Airblaster Merino Outdoor Suit
This suit features a seven-point, form-fitting hood. It has four-way stretch, Merino wool that is comfortable and wraps around the body. It isn't loose or baggy, so it isn't bulky below outer layers.
This one-piece has a 350-degree waist zipper for easy access when skiers have to use the restroom. It has a full chest zip design to increase comfort.
- 4-Way stretch wicking Merino wool fabric
- 7-Panel form-fitting hood
- Thumb loops at cuff
- 350 degree waist zip
- 55% Merino Wool/37% Tencell Lyocell /8% Lycra
Our Verdict: The Best Ski Pants for Skiing Enthusiasts
There are many great products when choosing ski pants. Depending on the style of pants skiers prefer, there are several options to consider.
The Columbia Slope Style pant is an excellent option for traditional pants. They feature a button closure and Velcro-waist, for a roomier fit. The pants are waterproof, and ideal for moderate to chillier climates. With the waterproof exterior and baggy fit, the pants are also extremely comfortable for skiers.
Those who prefer a bib-style pant will love the White Sierra bib ski pants. They feature a 100 percent shell lining to wick away water and snow. A full front zip design helps increase comfort and doesn't fit too tightly around the body. This design increases the range of mobility for the wearer. It also has 120 grams of insulation to help keep skiers warm in mild to chilly conditions. Gaiters fit perfectly with any pair of ski boots.
Skiers who prefer a full one-piece will like the Airblaster one-piece suit. It features a hood and dyed wool finish to preserve the color. It has a four-way stretch design so skiers will feel comfortable and won't have limited mobility. The Merino wool is exceptionally soft to the touch. The seven-layer, form-fitting hood wraps around the head perfectly to increase comfort as well. A thumb loop at the cuff adds another touch of flair and comfort for skiers.