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10 best men’s ski and snowboard pants to stay protected on the slopes

From stretchy soft shells to high-waisted bib salopettes, these are the trousers to hit the slopes in

James Forrest
Thursday 10 December 2020 15:32 GMT
<p>Key features to look out for include braces, ankle gaiters, reinforced kick panels, vents and pockets&nbsp;</p>

Key features to look out for include braces, ankle gaiters, reinforced kick panels, vents and pockets 

If the current climate doesn’t ruin your ski season, you’ll need a top-rated pair of ski pants or salopettes for when you (hopefully) hit the slopes.

A good pair of ski trousers will keep you warm and dry, whether you’re shredding fresh powder like a pro or nervously snowploughing down a gentle blue run.

Options are plentiful – from shell pants to insulated trousers, and high-waisted bib salopettes to stretchy soft shells – and picking the right pair for you can be a minefield.

The main choice is shell or insulated. Shell pants are a waterproof and windproof outer layer with no insulation, while insulated pants combine weatherproof protection with in-built insulation.

For maximum manoeuvrability, opt for shell pants. They are lighter and less bulky than insulated trousers, and their versatility – simply change your thermal base layers to match the temperature – is excellent. Shell pants often have higher grade waterproofing too.

If you feel the cold badly or will mostly be skiing in the height of winter, insulated trousers are a better bet, providing greater warmth and overall protection.

Whichever you choose, make sure to check the hydrostatic head waterproof rating of your pants – the most important technical feature. The lowest you’d ideally want is 10,000mm, with premium-end gear graded 20,000mm and above.

Other key stats to keep an eye on are breathability ratings (aim for 10,000g/m²/24hr or above for effective wicking of sweat and venting off excess heat) and the amount of insulation in grams.

But you can get too bogged down in geeky data. Ultimately, it’s all about what you find most comfortable. Some will prefer a snug, close fit, while others (especially snowboarders) go for the baggier look.

Key features to look out for include braces, ankle gaiters, reinforced kick panels, vents, pockets and Recco reflectors – a nifty safety device that enables you to be detected by an avalanche receiver.

We’ve carefully assessed the technical performance of each pair and graded them in terms of comfort, waterproofing, warmth, build quality and price.

Sadly testing didn’t take place in Verbier or Les Trois Vallées, but we did hit the slopes for a number of sessions at the Chill Factore indoor ski centre in Manchester.

And here are the results – our top ten pairs of ski pants to keep you warm, dry and comfortable from first lift to last.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

The verdict: Men’s ski and snowboard trousers

Our top spot goes to the Helly Hansen legendary insulated pants, thanks to their superb all-round performance at less than £100 – with the sensible price-tag setting them apart from the competition. If you can afford more, the Picture demain trousers are excellent shells that won’t let you down.  

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