A quality pair of salopettes or ski pants are an essential part of your ski trip packing list. In fact, the right pair of ski pants or salopettes can make the difference between a nice comfy day gliding on the snow vs an uncomfortable session where you wish you’d invested in better ski pants.
Over the years I’ve used a mixture of budget ski pants and more premium options, and while you don’t need to shell out big bucks necessarily, it does help to choose a good quality set of salopettes.
I’ve lined up some of the best options for ski pants, from the higher budget to the more wallet friendly end of the spectrum. I’ve tried to focus on quality rather than which brand is the coolest or whatever.
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Do You Really Need Ski Pants?
Before we line up the selection, we’ll start by answering the question: do you really need salopettes? If you are hitting the slopes for some serious skiing or snowboarding action, whatever your level, the answer really is a resounding ‘yes’.
One of the main reasons is the waterproofing. Whatever the weather, or your skill level on the mountain, you don’t want to endure a day with wet legs – trust me.
Salopettes and ski pants are a type of high-waisted insulated trousers worn by skiers, snowboarders, and outdoor enthusiasts in extremely cold conditions. They are usually equipped with adjustable waist straps, zippable pockets and other features such as elasticated gussets to avoid rips and tears when popping some sick air, or air vents to avoid sweaty legs.
There are several options for ski pants though, including snow pants, salopettes and bib pants.
What’s the Difference Between Salopettes, Ski Pants and Bib Pants?
When you’re looking at the options for ski or snowboard trousters, you’ll be faced with a slightly confusing choice of three types.
Typically, European skiers and snowboarders will use the term salopettes interchangably to refer to any pair of snow sports trousers. And while this is fine, when you’re shopping for a set of ski pants you might notice a few technical differences.
Technically speaking, salopettes are like a pair of ski pants with over the shoulder braces. The actual pants themselves will be high waisted, but still only come up as high as the waist. On some salopettes, the braces can actually detachable, meaning you can switch to standard ski trousers if you prefer.
An example of the style of salopettes. The braces can sometimes be detachable.
Model shown: Spyder Boundary Mens salopettes. £169 on Amazon
Ski pants or ski trousers will be, as the name suggests, a pair of insulated trousers which have don’t have braces. Instead, they might use adjustable waist straps, like a built in belt.
Standard ski trousers will have adjustable waist straps to keep them secure while you ski or snowboard.
Model shown: The North Face Freedom insulated ski trousers mens. £180 on Amazon.
Ski bib pants will have a higher profile at the front, typically coming up to the chest hence the bib. They’re held up by braces and may also feature some bonus pockets on the front of the bib. Think of ski bib pants like a set of ski dungarees.
With a higher profile, bib pants tend to be more secure and insulating and are well suited to freeriding and off-piste adventures.
Model shown: O’Neill Shred mens bib pants. £128 on Amazon.
Which is Best: Salopettes or Ski pants?
Thanks to the bib-and-brace style, salopettes and bib pants offer heightened warmth and snow prevention. This design reduces the chance of snow entering your attire if you take a tumble. And, more importantly, the braces obvously keep your trousers up easily, saving you needing to do too many adjustments throughout the day.
However, ski pants without the bib or braces are often preferred by those who prefer a lighter, less restrictive option. They usually include adjustable waist fasteners for a secure fit.
Of course, it all comes down to personal preference. Some might prefer the security and comfort of bib pants or salopettes, while others might just like to keep it simple with a pair of ski trousers.
Short answer: neither of them are best. It’s what you prefer.
How Much Does a Good Pair of Salopettes Cost?
As with many elements of ski gear, there is a wide range in price, fit, function, and fashion when it comes to ski pants and salopettes. You can expect to pay anywhere from under £100 (approx. €119) to up to around £500 (approx. €595) for a pair from reputable ski wear brands.
While you can find cheaper options below £100 (approx. €119), be aware that the quality may not stand up to the rigorous conditions on the slopes. Starting around the £150-200 (approx. €238) mark, you’ll find ski pants with premium materials such as Gore-Tex, offering superior sweat wicking and weather resistance.
Don’t assume that you must have Gore-Tex though, as many brands such as Picture Organic and Patagonia use similar waterproofing technology that doesn’t use the Gore-Tex branding.
More expensive options often incorporate cutting-edge technology for ultimate safety and comfort, like RECCO reflectors for avalanche rescue scenarios or insulation from Primaloft. So, while the initial investment might seem steep, a high-quality pair of salopettes or ski pants is often a worthy investment for regular skiers demanding superior performance and durability.
The Best Salopettes or Ski Pants
These are our picks of the best ski pants or salopettes, in no particular order. We’ve picked these out for premium materials and performance from reputable brands. Be aware also that ski pants and salopettes, like trousers elsewhere, come in mens or womens fits.
While the sizing can be tricky sometimes, most salopettes and ski pants come with adjustable waist straps for a better fit. If in doubt, go for your usual size.
Picture Organic Object ski pants (mens)
These ski pants hit a sweet spot between performance, comfort, and style. For those looking for Gore Tex performance, Picture Organic use DryPlay, which harnesses Teflon Ecolite for wind and waterproofing.
These ski pants also feature thigh vents for adapting to temperature changes. They’re also made from partially recycled materials for who want a sustainable focus for their winter sports gear.
Picture Organic Treva ski pants (womens)
With a stylish fitted look, the Treva ski pants from Picture Organic are built for performance but styled for lookin’ fresh.
For the eco-conscious, they also made from recycled polyester and are PFC free.
Kitted out with 10k breathability and waterproofing, Picture’s excellent DryPlay waterproofing, thermal insulation and air vents, you’ll feel cool (but stay warm) in these great ski pants.
The North Face Chakal ski pants (mens)
With two-layer DryVent fabric, these pants keep you dry and stylish, plus they’re breathable and packed with eco friendly insulation for maximum comfort. The Chakal ski pants also come equipped with leg vents for cooling and are made from recycled materials.
They’re also a slightly relaxed fit, and come in a selection of natty colourways including black, sage, almond butter and cave blue (aka indigo).
The North Face Snoga slim fit ski pants (womens)
For the ladies that don’t want a baggy fit, perhaps with one eye on the apres ski outfit, the Snoga ski trousers might just be what you’re looking for. These slim fit and high waisted ski pants are designed to look kinda like snow yoga leggings (hence the name), but obviously with all the thermal and waterproof protection of snow pants.
Not only are they very stylish, they’re designed for maximum performance on the mountain with Windwall breathable fabric and zipper pockets.
Patagonia Powder Town ski pants (mens)
Emphasising sustainability, Patagonia uses recycled materials and fair trade manufacturing in these top quality bib ski pants. You’re getting top performance with from Patagonia here, which means you can take advantage of their lifelong guarantee if there are any defects in the coming seasons.
And of course, these excellent ski pants are designed for all weather conditions, ensuring top performance on the mountain.
Volcom Freakin’ Snow Trousers (unisex)
Snow pants too snow panty for ya? These incredibly cool snow trousers from Volcom are designed to look maximum street and minimum ski/snowboard. They’ve got a relaxed fit which means they look like you could wear them around town – but don’t be fooled! They’re packed with snow sports essentials including 15k waterproofing, boot gaiters, taped seams and zippable air vents.
The female equivalent is the Battle AR, with a more slim fit and flattering profile, but all of the primo features.
In short, if you’re looking for cool snowboard style, these are your go to ski pants.
Helly Hansen Herren ski pants (unisex)
If you’re looking for an affordable option that does not compromise on quality, Helly Hansen ski gear is a great option. Perfect for the moderate skier, the Legendary Pant includes Primaloft insulation and a tailored fit for a stylish fit
Burton Marcy 2L High Rise ski pants (womens)
As perhaps the best known snowboard brand, Burton make serious kit for serious riders with a great choice for men and women. The Marcy high rise are womens snow pants designed with full functionality in the sights, but also look great. Of course. This is Burton we’re talking about.
Being high rise, they’re designed for all day riding or venturing further into the mountain. They’re equipped with DryRide waterproofing, zippered thigh vents and an elasticated waist with adjustable straps.
Ortovox 3L Deep Shell ski pants (unisex)
These lightweight ski pants are designed for performance when freeriding or off-piste, with a bunch of premium features for serious riders. They’re packing 20k breathability and waterproofing, merino wool lining for max moisture wicking, integrated gaiters and a high waisted profile.
They also come with ample deep pockets, one of which features a carabiner for your avalanche transeiver. These are serious ski pants for people who need the best snow kit.
Spyder Mesa Gore-Tex Ski Pants (unisex)
One of the cheaper options for Gore-Tex ski pants, these stylish pants from Spyder come in a selection of funky colours and have a relaxed fit. They also include Thinsulate insulation and have extra pockets for your essentials.
Both mens and womens options are available on Amazon.
Salomon Brilliant ski pants (womens)
Brilliant by name, Brilliant by performance, These womens ski pants offers Primaloft weather protection and insulation, and comes with air vent system with mesh backing.
They’re also 20k waterproof, have a fully adjustable waist and come in some funky colours too.
There are plenty of great options for ski pants, salopettes and bib pants over there, with styles to suit everyone. Of course, your choice of fit, colour and brand are totally down to you.
Ski pants are an essential part of your ski packing list, so make sure to check out our other guides including the best places to get cheap ski jackets, our pick of the line up of luxury ski goggles – or our pick of the best budget ski goggles.
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