Good Gear: Snow-trousers

You can't bend the knees if they're frozen stiff. Mike Higgins pulls on some mid-price salopettes and hits the slopes
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The Independent Online

We expect a lot more of snow-wear these days. Salopettes or trousers can't just try to keep you warm and dry. If you need to stay cool on a ski tour or uphill slog, they have to let your legs breathe – and if you want to look even cooler in the pub later, the Dayglo nylon look isn't going to cut it. All of which means mid-price snow trousers have to cover a lot of the mountain. (Those of you after more technical trousers will need to shell out at least £150.)

The £100-£150 range is competitive, so you should be looking for the following: full-length venting leg-zips, adjustable snow-gaiters, lightweight insulation, a proprietary breathable waterproofing system (the better-known systems, like Gore-Tex, are unlikely to feature in this bracket) and adjustable braces (though the trend in this price range is to strapless trousers).

Boarding and skiing are overlapping increasingly, in terms of equipment, attitude and, not least, clothing. So it's unsurprising to see Billabong (primarily a surf-wear manufacturer) in the market. Their Indy salopettes were the most boarding-styled trousers we tested: quite baggy, with plenty of useful pockets. But you might not want to venture anywhere chillier than the bar terrace in them – they were too thin to provide much more than token insulation.

Eider's Voodoo Pants are a bold attempt to attract the trendy boarder or skier – they're basically jeans for the slopes, insulated and lined with Eider's Defender waterproof fabric. While you wouldn't want to rely on them in bad conditions (the snow gaiters weren't adjustable), they're comfortable, handsome salopettes.

For something a little less flash, a little more technical, consider the Nike ACG Storm-Fit Pants and the Columbia Ballistic Pants. Both are well equipped to deal with variations in body temperature, featuring good insulation and full-length leg-zips with storm flaps. The Ballistic Pants were a little baggy, while the Storm-Fit Pants were a slimmer fit. Both featured adjustable braces. On the other hand, the Ballistic Pants felt more durable. Otherwise, there wasn't much between these straightforward, sound snow-trousers.

With thanks to Blacks, 0800 214 890, www.blacks.co.uk, and Ellis Brigham, 0161 834 5555, www.ellis-brigham.com

Eider Voodoo
Stylish, well-cut, competent – and, yes, they're denim. Stockists: www.eider-world.net/02site/dealers.asp
Price: £129.99

Billabong Indy
For the slopes wide-boy – flash without much substance or warmth. Stockists: 0800 085 1857.
Price: £105

Columbia Ballistic
Well-made, durable, full-length leg-zips – but too baggy for some. Stockists: 020 8996 8010, www.columbia.com
Price: £129.99

Nike ACG Storm-Fit
Good all-round trousers, with loads of features, including full-length leg-zips. Stockists: 0800 056 1640.
Price: £110

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