How to Choose Ski Pants

How to Choose Ski PantsSalopettes, ski trousers and ski pants are all terms used to describe trousers that are worn for skiing.  Traditionally salopettes would have a high waist with a bib that braces can be attached to whilst ski trousers stop at the waist but can also have braces. Salopettes or ski pants are suitable for any winter sports including snowboarding. In this guide you will find all the information you need on ski pants and the Mountain Warehouse range to help you choose the right ski trousers for you.

Whether you are a first time skier or a regular on the slopes it is important that you wear ski pants, rather than regular trousers or jeans. Ski pants have many different features specifically designed with purpose in mind.

The Features

Integrated Snow Gaiters- Snow gaiters are located at the bottom of the leg opening on a ski trouser. Similar to a snowskirt in a ski jacket, snow gaiters prevent snow entering at the leg opening should you fall over. These usually come with zips, poppers or Velcro to make it easier to loosen and get over your ski boots.

Zipped Ankle Openings- A zipped ankle opening is useful when putting on or taking off bulky ski boots.

Under Leg Vents- Zipped vents in legs to allow extra ventilation.

RECCO®  Reflectors- These are reflectors added to the inside or outside of ski clothing to help rescuers search for and pinpoint skiers and snowboarders should they get caught in an avalanche or befall other mountain dangers.

Scuff Guards- A scuff guard is an extra durable piece of fabric positioned inside of the ankle of most ski pants. It is designed to protect the fabric from fraying (increasing the lifespan of the product) due to friction from snow or ski boots.

Reinforced Knees- The Knee area on ski pants are prone to wear, from either hard skiing or falling over for example. To combat this, extra fabric is added to the knees for reinforcement and longevity.

Insulation- Insulation in the form of fleece lining provides extra warmth.

Waistbands- Waistbands can be elasticated or adjustable for a comfortable but snug fit.

Pockets- Multiple security pockets give you somewhere to stash your belongings when out on the slopes.

The Fit

It is important that your ski pants are a good fit. This means they should not be so tight that your movement is restricted or too loose you have to pull them up often. They should be loose enough to allow freedom of movement especially around hips and knees (remembering to take into account any layers you may wear underneath.) Adjustable waistbands are useful for adjusting the fit based on the layers you may/may not be wearing.

Salopettes should be a bit longer than your normal trousers so that you can fit them over your ski or snowboard boots.

Type of Ski Pants

Ski pants can be made of many different types of fabric that affect the look, feel and often the waterproofness of the trousers.

Shell Ski Pants

Shell (hardshell) ski pants are normally made from polyester or nylon. They are often waterproof, windproof and highly breathable. Although they will be lightly insulated they won’t offer the same level of warmth as insulated ski pants.

Shell ski pants are lightweight and less bulky than insulated ski pants, so are often the preferred choice of those looking for added mobility. They are also suited if you are a naturally warm person, where base layers can be added for extra insulation.

They are not recommended for very extreme cold temperatures or if you will be inactive outside for extended periods of time.

Insulated Ski Pants

Insulated ski pants consist of a waterproof “shell” outer layer with an inner insulated layer, this would normally be fleece, down or synthetic insulation. The level of insulation will often be measured in grams, the greater the number of grams the warmer they will be.

If you feel the cold more or are skiing in very cold areas, insulated ski pants might be the preferred choice over shell pants. Insulated ski pants are however too heavy and warm for Spring skiing, especially as they are also less breathable.

Softshell Ski Pants

Softshell ski pants are made from a soft woven fabric, in contrast to hardshell ski pants that will ‘rustle’ more.

Softshell ski pants will offer a greater freedom of movement and are highly breathable. For these reasons they are well suited if you are particularly energetic on the slopes. They are more suited if conditions are likely to be relatively dry as they don’t offer the same  amount of waterproofness as hardshells. Look for softshell pants that are waterproof if conditions are likely to be wet.


The fabric of your ski pants will have a water repellent coating to prevent water seeping through should you fall or be caught in a snow storm.

There are different levels of waterproofness. For ski pants to be fully waterproof they will also need to have taped seams (sealed seams that prevent water entering through the stitched area of the fabric). Snowproof or water resistant salopettes will protect you from light snow fall but will not keep you dry should you sit or fall in the snow.

Ski pants may also have a waterproof, breathable membrane to prevent water soaking through but let perspiration out. This is especially important if you are an energetic skier or snowboarder. Combining waterproofness and breathability will keep you dry, warm and comfortable out on the slopes.

Our Range

Extreme Ski Pants

Voss Mens Extreme Ski Pants

Voss Mens Extreme Ski Pants

Our Extreme ski pants have a waterproof rating of 10,000 and a breathable rating of 5,000, the highest in the Mountain Warehouse range. The waterproof fabric, waterproof and breathable membrane and taped seams mean they are fully waterproof.

Key features include reinforced scuff guards, zipped ankle openings and integrated snow gaiters. The fleece lining adds warmth and the soft lined waistband makes for a comfortable fit. Our Extreme ski pants also include Recco technology, no other ski pants in our range include these reflectors.

The Extreme ski pant range includes the Voss for men and the Hydro for women and the Falcon for kids (please note our kids Extreme ski trousers are 3,000mm waterproof and 3,000 breathable and do not include Recco reflectors or scuff guards).

Waterproof Ski Pants

Salen Mens Ski Pants

Salen Mens Ski Pants

Our fully waterproof ski pants are rated as waterproof to 3,000mm (see How is Waterproofness Measured for what this rating means) and have taped seams, as well as being breathable.

Features include integrated snow gaiters, zipped ankle openings and scuff guards. These pants do not have RECCO® reflectors.

Our fully waterproof ski pant range includes the Salen for men and Homewood for Women.

Moon Womens Ski Pants

Moon Womens Ski Pants

Snowproof Ski Pants

The fabric of snowproof jackets has been treated with a water resistant coating that repels water, ideal should you get caught in a light snow shower. As they do not have taped seams they cannot be classed as fully waterproof.

Our snowproof pants have many of the great features of our waterproof ski trousers including integrated snow gaiters, zipped ankle openings and adjustable waistbands.

The Vail and Moon are our snowproof ski pants for women and the Algid and Dusk are our mens. There are also snowproof ski pants for kids in our range; these include the Sugar (girls) and the Eagle (boys).



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