How to choose the right ski or snowboard trousers
Here is your guide on how to choose the best ski or snowboard trousers for you. Your trousers are an essential part of your gear, keeping your lower body warm and dry. What you wear on the slopes should be an extension of your body, allowing for every kind of movement whether you’re cruising the backcountry or lapping the mountain.
Discover how to choose the right ski or snowboard trousers now!
To help you save time, we’ve put together a list of the most important features you’ll need to consider when choosing your ski or snowboard trousers.
Differences ski & snowboard trousers
Softshell trousers vs insulated trousers
Differences trousers and salopettes
What to wear under your trousers
Waterproofing and breathability
Colour and print
The difference between ski and snowboard trousers
The difference between ski and snowboard trousers, in a nutshell, is fit and length. You just have look at the kind of actions involved in each sport to understand the need for a different shape.
Snowboarders tend to move their body more and this makes a looser fit more comfortable. The extra fabric allows for unrestricted movement and more room for layers. A skier wants to be more aerodynamic, making a slim fit with a more tailored shape a better choice. This doesn’t mean tight fit, there should be room for layers too.
The snowboarder spends more time sitting in the snow than a skier, strapping and unstrapping their bindings. This makes it a good idea to look for a longer length jacket that covers the ‘seat’. This will give you extra warmth and protection while sitting. A skier wants free movement from the hips and doesn’t need the extra length so a regular length jacket is a good choice here.
Both ski and snowboard jackets are interchangeable and provide excellent protection in both sports. So you can wear ski pants for snowboarding and vice versa.
Softshell trousers vs insulated trousers
Insulated trousers consist of a waterproof “shell” outer layer with an inner insulated layer. Most of our ski or snowboard trousers fall into this category.
Softshell trousers consist of one fabric layer which itself is made out of three layers. The outer layer is water-repellent and stretchy. The middle layer is both water and wind resistant as well as being breathable. The inner layer that is closest to the body is brushed providing soft and comfortable insulation. Softshell ski trousers 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 also more suited if conditions are likely to be relatively dry.
What are the the differences between ski and snowboard trousers and salopettes
To answer this question, we’ll have to bring everyone up to speed. For those of you who don’t know what a salopette is – think dungarees for ski and snowboarding. Salopettes and trousers have the same key functions and these are to keep your lower body warm, comfortable and dry. What’s the difference between trousers and salopettes? The difference is that salopettes have a bib at the front and braces running over the shoulders, trousers don’t. So salopettes are trousers with extra features. The bib serves to add extra warmth and protection from the elements while the braces keep the salopettes in place. Check out our Shuff salopettes for men and our fabulous corduroy Spontane salopettes for women.
What to wear under ski or snowboard trousers?
In order to stay warm when you’re out there on the slopes, you will need to layer your clothing. This can be done by wearing thermal leggings under your trousers. Some people heat up quickly when in action and need little insulation at their legs while other people stay cold. If you are the latter, add warmth by wearing our thermal leggings, look at our Blaine for men and our Zeta and Casey for women. All of these thermal items are insulating, highly breathable and feature 360degree stretch so that they will never limit your movement.
Waterproofing and breathability of ski and snowboard trousers
This is super important – your trousers need to be breathable as well as waterproof. The heat and moisture generated by your body as you ski or snowboard should be able to escape. At the same time, the moisture on the outside of your trousers needs to be kept out.
How waterproof and breathable your trousers are, is expressed in two numbers. The first is in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is. So thInk of this number as the waterproof rating of the trousers. In the case of 10K or 10 000 mm fabric this means you can place a square tube with inner dimensions of 30cm x 30cm over the trousers’ outer fabric and you could fill it with water to a height of 10 000 mm before water would begin to seep through. The higher this number, the more waterproof the fabric. 5000mm is low waterproofing, 10 000mm is average and 20 000mm is high.
The second number is a measure of how breathable the fabric is, and is measured in grams (g) of water vapor, which can pass through a square meter of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24-hour period. In the case of a 20k (20 000 g) fabric, this would be 20 000 grams. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric. That means 5 000g is low and 20 000g is very breathable. To manually increase the breathability of your trousers, you can make use of vent zips which are explained later in this guide.
If you’re looking for 20K trousers, check out our Miikka 19 and our Zucca for men or our Carmacks 19 for women. These trousers have a water resistance level of 20 000mm and a breathability level of 20 000g. 20K trousers are ideal for extreme weather conditions or when you’re often in contact with deep snow.
At 10K, we have some fantastic trousers to choose from. For men for example, we have the awesome Manley and the Oweny. For women, there is the Angle and the Kensington and for the kids, there is the Magnus JR for boys and the fabulous corduroy Cotes JR for girls. All these trousers have 10.000 mm water resistance meaning that the fabric is water-repellent on the outside and breathable on the inside. Generally speaking, any snow trousers with a waterproof rating of 10K or more is likely to make sure you stay dry and comfortable when charging the mountain. If you expect to be out there for a full day touring the backcountry, 20K is a better choice.
Sealed seams for improved waterproofing
Rather than just being stitched together, seams can also be taped on the inside. Taped seams are where tape is applied to a garments seam and sealed using heat. For your ski or snowboard trousers to be highly waterproof the seams need to be treated in this way. This will stop water coming through the stitching. If the seams aren’t sealed, there’s a good chance that water will eventually manage to seep through these vulnerable areas and you’ll be wet anyway. Critically taped seams are when the most important seams have been taped, usually waist and knees, for strategic protection against snow and water entry.
For trousers with fully taped seams, see our men’s Miikka 19 and Zucca and our women’s Carmacks 19 and Kensington.
High quality zippers
All of our zippers are high quality. A zipper is a small element in a snow pant but a very important part. If it malfunctions, you’re either not getting in or not getting out of your trousers! That’s why we use YKK zippers, which stand for quality and reliability. Most of our zippers come with pull, which makes it easier to unzip pockets and others with your gloves on. Some of our snow trousers, like the Fraser for men, have water-repellent zippers. This means that the zipper’s design is tailored to be water resistant. It is also coated with a vinyl material that makes it water-repellent. Some of our trousers have short zippers at the ankles to make it easier to get your boots off – handy.
Suspenders – to keep your trousers from falling of your shoulders
Why suspenders? Your trousers will stay exactly where you want them, no moving around or falling down. You can even use them to adjust the height of your trousers and you don’t have to wear a belt that is tight and uncomfortable. The suspenders have a cross back that keeps them from falling off your shoulders. Most of our trousers come with suspenders and these are detachable except for in the Shuff salopettes where they are built-in.
How to find the perfect trouser fit?
Okay now we’re going to talk fit. The fit you need depends on what you’re going to be doing out there on the slopes.
Regular fit is suitable for pretty much anything. You can easily add thermal layers under a regular fit pair of trousers. Typically regular fit trousers have an inseam that runs straight down the leg. Check out our Manley trousers for men and our Minnesota 19 for women.
Slim fit is sometimes also called technical fit. Slim fit trousers are more tailored to the legs’ shape and are therefore more aerodynamic and offer greater freedom of movement. These trousers are perfect for carving down the mountain. See our Hollow 19 for men and our Sanca 19 for women.
How to find the right trouser size?
What size ski trousers do you need? To figure out which size ski and snowboard trousers you should order, take a look at our size guide. Trousers should fit comfortably around the waist. Remember to leave some room for layers underneath. When trying on trousers it is best to have leggings or thermal underneath so you can get an idea of fit. Our trousers come with an adjustable waist so you can perfect the fit.
Colour and print to to take your trousers from conservative to awesome
Colour is a game-changer. Colour can take the same trousers from conservative to awesome. So what are you after? A bright colour will help you stand out on the slopes and it looks great against a white powder backdrop. Another advantage of a bright colour is that your friends will always be able to spot you wherever you are in your winter paradise. On the other side, a subtler colour is easier to match with other items in your wardrobe and face it, won’t go out of fashion too quickly.
For the women and the kids, there’s another great way of bringing some fun to your winter wardrobe – by using print. Protest is known for bringing street looks to the slopes so you’ll find fantastic on-trend prints on our trousers. For women, there’s the fabulous printed animal skin on Angle or our star-printed Starlet trousers. For the kids, check out awesome Magnus JR for boys and the Broomy JR and the Queens JR for girls.
Here are other extras which you can look for in your new ski or snowboard trousers:
This is when the legs of the trousers are pre-shaped in order to match the natural bend and flex of your knees. This adds flexibility, allowing for all sorts of moves.
Boot gaiters are elasticated cuffs which are attached to the inside of the trousers. The elastic band will make sure that the boot cuff fits securely over your boot to keep out any snow when you’re shredding on the hill.
The bottom of your ski or snowboard trousers can show some wear and tear. A scuff guard is an extra durable piece of fabric that is positioned on the inside of the ankle of the trousers. This helps prevents the end of the trousers from fraying.
Well done! You’ve just completed your crash course on everything you need to know when choosing the best ski and snowboard trousers. You’ve learnt about types of trousers, water resistance, breathability, fit, length, vents, seams, layering, zippers and more. This is a great foundation to start your search. Good luck finding your perfect trousers and if we can help out, let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.