Updated: May 29, 2015
Ski Pant Reviews:Skiing can be a very fun activity if you are dress properly and that includes owning a quality pair of ski pants or bibs. The key to staying warm, dry and protected from the elements is to dress in layers. This allows you to add or take off clothing as your body heats up or cools down. The weather on any ski slope can drastically change throughout the day and temperature fluctuations of 10 to 20 degrees within minutes are not uncommon as the sun come and goes behind cloud cover. Ski pants have come a long way from the days when I used to wear "powder pants" that seemed to eventually be water logged by the end of each ski day. What type of ski pants exist today and how do the materials help to keep you insulated and warm? We have put together a quick list of factors to consider when buying ski pants down below -- and what applies to ski pants generally applies to snowboarding pants as well.
Most ski pants today are manufacturered with tightly woven polyester or nylon which provide water-resistant and durable aspects. Some ski pants are made with nylon or polyester microfibers which make them lightweight, breathable, wind-resistant, and water repellent. The superior performance of these microfibers means they cost more, but piece of mind that you can withstand all weather is worth it. Look for ski pants that have Gore-Tex laminates so they remain water tight from rain, snow, or sleet. Ultimately, you want to let your natural moisture from perspiration escape the clothing while keeping out water from the outside environment. Be sure to ask the salesperson if the ski pants are waterproof, water-repellent, or water-resistant as they all have different meanings in the industry. Ski pants that are windproof are essential too, you want the wind to flow around you and not through you. Whether you buy an insulated or non-insulated pair of ski pants depends on what you will be wearing underneath them. If the weather is extremely cold outside or you don't plan on dressing in layers, go with the insulated ski pants for added warmth and comfort. On the other hand, if you will be dressed in layers then consider the lighter "shells" that are breathable and waterproof. If you choose an insulated pair of ski pants the insulation will probably be made of polyester or down. You'll want an elastic waist on your ski pants to that they are snug to your body reducing the chance of snow or water filtering through -- many people also opt for the suspender style pants that go halfway up your chest and back (this really keeps the snow from getting down the back of your pants, something no one wants to happen twice!). Some skiers prefer gaiters when skiing in deeper snow. Gaiters attach to the inside of your pants and protect you from snow entering your boots and pants. In terms of functionality, the ski pants you purchase should have zippers (not snaps) so that they are easier to open or close with gloves on. Storm flaps are an added piece of material that covers zippers and will eliminate cold and wind to leak through the zippered areas. If you are a beginner or intermediate, then look for ski pants with padded knees and rear ends since they will protect you when you fall. The top brands in ski pants are Columbia, North Face, Spyder, Patagonia, Marker, Burton, Salomon, Cloudevil, and Arc'teryx. You can browse the up-to-date list of best-selling ski pants here.
Mens Ski Pants:When it comes to mens ski pants, there are several styles available - cargo pants, bib style, or straight pants. Some are insulated for colder weather and the popular shell pants make the perfect outer layer in warmer conditions. The best mens shell pants are the Spyder Dare Pants ($185) that feature durable, nylon mini oxford weave fabric that is waterproof, water repellent and breathable. All the seams are sealed to ensure waterproofing and the zippered hand pockets provide quick access. The velcro adjustable waist tabs let you easily set your waist size. The Spyder insulated ski pants highly rated as well (browse entire Spyder line here). A budget pair of mens ski pants are the Columbia Haute Dog ($85) pants. These Omni-Tech waterproof breathable nylon pants have taped seams and welded zips. Skiers say they are good in thick powder (gaiters help) and in windy conditions and the hand-warming pockets work well.
Best Womens Ski Pants:For women, the Patagonia Women's Puffslider Pants ($220) and the Arc'teryx Women's Theta SK Pants ($400) are very popular models that provide superior protection. If spending $400 is just too much, then go with the cheaper Patagonia womens ski pants perform admirable with a 2-layer fabric insulation. They come with full-featured gaiters with gripper elastic so skiing through powder keeps your boots and pants dry. Women say they fit well and are light enough to not weigh you down. They receive praise for their efficient ventilation system and durable stitching. If you want to wear luxury ski pants, then fork out the extra $$$ and go with the Arc'teryx ladies ski pants. These high waisted, 3-layer Gore-Tex womens ski pants offer a low cut bib with a front fly and adjustable suspenders. The stretch pants give you easy movement and the adjustable waist belt keep you feeling comfortable. Top ski professionals and avid skiers rate these pants as the "best on the market". Browse and shop top selling women's ski pants here.
Plus Size Ski Pants:As we did some research online for ski pants, we realized that many people search for "plus size ski pants". We found several online stores that carry plus sizes for ski pants. Check out Junonia.com and Glscc.com (Greater Salt Lake Clothing Company) for complete plus size ski pant selections. RECOMMENDED - Amazon carries the Columbia Sportswear Women's Plus Moonlight Mover Pant which come in black or bark colors and are available in 1X, 2X or 3X plus sizes.
Best Kids/Youth Ski Pants:The The North Face: Youth Insulated Freedom Pant ($100) is top rated for kids of all ages. The ski pants are great for traditional skiing, but also perform well when snowboarding or snowshoeing. They are waterproof and breathable and the insulated pant will give you plenty of protection from the cold. The dual zippered hand warmer pockets have slant opening for easy access and the large cargo pocket on the leg gives you plenty of storage space. There is a waist adjustment tab to fit all sizes and the internal gaiters keep ski boots and pants dry. We figure is climbers on Mt. Everest wear North Face gear, why not put your kids in their ski pants. Browse or shop complete collection of kids ski pants, jumpsuits, and bibs.
More Ski Gear -- Ski Helmets -- Ski Jackets -- Ski Goggles -- Ski Boots