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SKI PANTS BUYING GUIDE


Ski pants are probably the most underrated part of your on-piste ensemble. Not just there to look great (although they do that, too), chosing the right ski pants will make sure you stay warm, dry and comfortable all day, every day on the mountain. Here's what you need to look for when choosing your ski pants.

Waterproofing

Your ski pants should be waterproof to keep you protected from unexpected weather, snow flicked up off the mountain or, worst-case scenario, wipeouts. Some pants will have a waterproof rating, usually between 5,000mm and 20,000mm (5K - 20K); the higher the number, the more waterproof the pants. However, some ski pants are made from specialist materials, like GORE-TEX or The North Face's DryVent, which are waterproof but aren't rated using this system.

Warmth

The most versatile type of ski pant is an uninsulated shell with a lining for a little extra warmth and comfort. You can choose insulated pants with synthetic insulation, but if you get cold easily we'd recommend some shell pants and base layer thermal leggings instead - layers are always the best way to keep warm. For additional warmth and weather protection, consider high-waisted or bib pants. Backcountry skiers do far more aerobic exercise than piste skiers, so ski pants designed for touring are generally lightweight and unlined.

Key Features

Bear in mind these common features when choosing your ski pants.

FIT

If you like the retro racing glamour of a slim fit pant, look for 4-way stretch to allow for total freedom of movement and a great fit. Looser pants always offer freedom of movement, and have a more relaxed, urban feel.

 

For an even more bespoke fit, snow pants are available with varying leg lengths to suit all skiers. We love Roxy and Schoffel for long leg lengths, and Henri Duvillard and Eider for a shorter fit.

SNOW GAITER

A snow gaiter is a waterproof seal that most ski pants have, designed to fit around your ski boots to keep snow and water from entering. Gaiters might have hooks that connect to your ski boots' buckles for extra protection, and they'll all be adjustable to ensure the right fit.

CUFF REINFORCEMENT 

Unlike snowboard pants, ski pants are usually reinforced where the inner edge of the ski is likely to wear the fabric of the pants down. An extra-durable fabric is used to reinforce the cuffs and protect the pants against contact with your ski edges and crampons.

VENTS

Some ski pants will have vents on the insides of the thighs for air circulation and temperature regulation. These will vary in material and length depending on what the pants are designed for; technical backcountry ski pants will often have full-length side zips for maximum ventilation.

POCKETS

Different types of ski pants will have different numbers and styles of pockets, from baggy salopettes with cargo pockets to slim-fit pants with pockets only big enough for your ski pass. Consider what you'll need to take up the mountain with you when deciding on a pair of ski pants - it's always better to have everything you need than have to end your day early because you don't have enough pockets.

Seams

Seam taping prevents moisture from seeping through the seams of your ski pants. There are two common types of seam taping:

CRITICAL TAPING

Critical taping means that only the seams that are normally exposed to moisture are taped. This is the least waterproof option but if you're not expecting wet weather, critical taping should be enough to keep you dry.

FULLY TAPED

Fully-taped ski pants have every seam taped, on the outside and inside of the seam, for ultimate waterproof protection even in extreme weather conditions.


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