10 best women's ski pants 2018/2019
Make sure you're kitted up for the new season with top-performing bottoms
Heading for the mountains? Pack a pair of our tested and highly recommend ski pants. Snowsports pants are also known as salopettes – the latter traditionally sit higher on the waist and have braces, but the terms are mostly used interchangeably. Ski pants need to be warm, flexible and waterproof, ready to take on snowstorms and winter weather and able to breathe when you’re skiing or snowboarding hard.
There are myriad different styles available and in recent years ski wear has become a bit of a style statement, with skiers often favouring slimmer salopettes and snowboarders going for baggy, low-slung ski pants. Bright colours and retro patterns are popular for both, which we also like as it makes you easier to spot on the mountain than plain black or white.
From a practical point of view, we recommend high-waisted snow pants or bib pants, as they keep your middle warm and keep snow out if you do fall over. Ski pants should be on the long side when you try them on in socks, as that means they will sit well over ski or snowboard boots. They also need to be both warm and waterproof.
Just like with waterproof walking trousers, look for salopettes with a waterproofing technology such as GORE-TEX or a rating above 1,500mm. If you tend to get cold on the slopes, pick an insulated pair. When trying on salopettes, make sure you wear a pair of leggings or base layer bottoms underneath to check they still fit well – you’ll need an inner layer to keep warm on most winter days.
We also like pants with reinforced inner kick panels, plenty of pockets, snow gaiters at the bottom (these pop closed to keep snow out), taped seams for waterproofing and zippable vents to keep you cool.
Wear Colour Cork: £149.99, The Board Basement
There’s nothing we don’t like about the Swedish-designed Cork pants. Stylish snowboarders will love the relaxed fit and warm orange colour.
They offer a reliable 10,000mm of waterproofing and are the Goldilocks of the salopette world – warm when it’s freezing cold but breathable when you’re moving at a fast pace on warmer days.
Beginners will appreciate the higher waist and well-padded bottom, too. Go a size up if you want to wear thicker base layers underneath.
O’Neill Shred Bib Pants: £154.99, O’Neill
You won’t be hard to spot on the slopes in these bright bibs, inspired by O’Neill’s design archive and nodding to this season’s retro ski wear trend. We rate the slim, hip-hugging cut and the deep side zip, which makes them easy to pull on and off. The pretty, patterned material is waterproof and warm and features handy pockets including a wide chest pocket. The Shreds look so cool you’ll want to go clubbing in them.
Picture Ticket: £193, Blue Tomato
Another pair of slim-cut salopettes, the Ticket is not a ski pant to eat a hefty portion of fondue in, but besides that obvious downside we love their look and fit. The high-cut, comfortable bib keeps you warm all day and we rate the thick shoulder straps, stretchy side panels and zipped front of the bib, plus the fact that you can remove it when you want to wear regular ski pants. The Ticket is made of 100 per cent recycled polyester and is water repellent enough to hit the off-piste powder in.
Patagonia Insulated Powderbowl: £300, Patagonia
They may come with a hefty price tag but Patagonia’s Powderbowl pants do deliver excellent quality for the money. If you’re working in the mountains or are into backcountry touring these salopettes will go along for the ride with no issues. The sleek, simple design sits nicely on the hips, feels free and flexible when you’re moving and is flattering to wear. The tough, 100 per cent recycled fabric is waterproofed with GORE-TEX and packs 60g of insulation to keep you warm in bitter weather.
Burton Gloria insulated: £225, Burton
The Gloria (that also comes in six other hues) is rather easy on the eye and performs just as well on the pistes. The low-cut pants fit perfectly over ski and snowboard boots and look almost like normal trousers, ideal for wearing straight to après. Our tester loved the zippered pockets on the front, handy velcro pockets on the bottom and great waterproofing. Comfortable from first lift to last lift. They also come without insulation for spring skiing.
Protest Kensington: £79.99, Protest
Another hard working, well-priced all-rounder. The Kensington cleverly snaps together with Protest’s winter jackets to make an instant snowsuit. Our tester liked the high, comfortable waist, the simple cut and the good quality zips. Sizes come up small, so if you usually wear base layers beneath salopettes go one up from your usual.
TOG 24 Taylor: £70, TOG 24
Our top performer for both price and performance, the TOG 24 Taylor is a great choice for taking along on your first ski holiday. It was one of the comfiest salopettes we tested – so comfy that we could get away without wearing leggings underneath. The Taylors are nicely cut, if a bit on the chunky side, and come with well-designed detachable braces and tough inner leg panels. Pity they’re only available in black.
Mountain Warehouse Moon: £34.99, Mountain Warehouse
Our pick for tight budgets, these cheap and cheerful salopettes are simple, comfortable and effective on the pistes, all at a bargainous price. We like the high cut, decent snow gaiters and roomy zipped pockets. The water-repellent outer material works well against snow and the inner is warm and comfy to wear all day. The braces do feel a little flimsy and loose, but they are removable.
686 Smarty Cargo: £220, The Board Basement
They may be priced north of £200 but you get a lot for your money with the Smarty Cargo – they come with separate soft base layer leggings to wear underneath that’ll double up for yoga or the gym when you’re back from the mountains. The Cargos, which sit low on the waist, also felt like the most durable ski pants we tried, with a hefty 15,000mm of waterproofing, inner kick panels and good boot gaiters. The smart maroon colour doesn’t show up dirt, either – a good choice for seasonnaires or instructors who will be skiing every day.
Legendary Alpine Signature: £285, Legendary Alpine
Not your average salopettes, the legging-like Signature reminds us of the slim pants favoured by skiers in the sixties. Legendary Alpine claim their one-size salopettes works for sizes 6-12 due to their stretch, we found they fit our size 12 tester perfectly.
The bib and top half of the legs are made of a thin, stretchy material but from the knee down there are tough gaiters made of a different fabric – very clever. The inner lining is cosy fleece. Good zipped pockets and we also like the padded knees, designed for ski racers but really useful if you tend to fall over.
Verdict: 10 best women’s ski pants 2018/2019
Sian Lewis is the editor of thegirloutdoors.com
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