This article is part of our series of 2020 Ski Clothing Gear Guides, in partnership with Collett’s Mountain Holidays. We tested key products from our ski collections in the heart of the Dolomites – giving you advice and insight about the best kit for snowsports this winter.
Second to your ski jacket, your choice of ski trousers completes the all-weather protective layer of outerwear that keeps you comfortable in the mountains. While many people may have more than one jacket, often ski trousers are replaced less frequently and so particular attention needs to be taken to pick the one that will suit you best. When looking for a new pair of ski trousers you can follow our testing criteria to give you guidance.
Fit & form
You’ll be wearing ski trousers in demanding conditions and sometimes very active days, so finding a pair that fits well and suits your requirements is key. How fitted or loose the trousers are designed will vary depending on style or function – often this will be personal preference.
In addition, there are more examples of “bib pant” construction, where the trousers include some form of integrated bib or covering above the waist – these can be particularly useful for skiing in deep snow to keep you covered from the snow. Whether you favour bibs or traditional style trousers, a good design will be well articulated through the leg to allow you to ski and walk without restriction.
As with a jacket, your ski trousers need to protect you from the weather in the unpredictable mountain environment. They may include insulation – best if you tend to get cold in the mountains or ski in very cold resorts – or have a more straightforward shell construction. Most people like to wear baselayer or thermal tights or shorts under their ski trousers according to how cold it is.
When you are skiing or enjoying any other winter sport it is often your legs that will be working hardest and therefore creating heat (and even sweat if you’re skiing really hard!). In this case, breathable fabrics and integrated vents help the ski trousers function correctly and keep your temperature regulated.
Ski trousers can include all sorts of useful additional features, including different styles of venting, elasticated gaiters to create a snow-proof seal around your boot, and various pockets. Each of the garments we tested include all of these features with differing approaches.
A note on our reviews: Our testing team from SportPursuit HQ used products on location in the Italian Dolomites to form reviews from hands-on experience. We aim to offer a useful summary of the product based on the performance for regular snowsports enthusiasts without too much technical jargon. Any specific questions about an item we tested? Let us know in the comments.
They say: an all-round design to access any parts of the mountain
We say: sustainable design with superior fit
Fit, form, and function: testers were impressed with the supple, soft fabric that Pyua calls CLIMALOOP – a recycled material that can be reused within their closed-loop system to reduce waste. The Release Pants have a slimmer fit than some – we loved how they moved well while skiing and had plenty of range while touring or walking.
Additional features: a simplified, streamlined design means only two low-profile hand pockets in these trousers. Some may want more but the payoff is a much more flexible feel – no bulky items in the pockets getting in the way of your legs. Just below the pockets a waterproof zip on each leg runs the whole length to the ankle, giving you huge amounts of potential to vent. A neat little strap can also clip around the cuff to stop it dragging when you’re walking around town in regular shoes – good if you remember to use it.
They say: Maxed out with technical features for backcountry missions
We say: Bombproof bibs with specific off-piste application
Fit, form, and function: bib designs can be divisive but many find the additional coverage a real bonus in deep snow. While conditions for our testers were more suited to on-piste skiing, we found the fit relaxed and comfortable – best for skiers who prefer a looser cut.
The 3-layer Ridedry20 Fabric feels tough and able to withstand the weather, and is highly rated on waterproof and breathable measures. This makes the Yeti Hunter well suited for storm days and deep snow missions.
Additional features: the large kangaroo-style pouch in the bib section of these ski trousers was a big hit with our test team – a really useful and spacious drop storage with an integrated slot for a mobile phone. Combined with large thigh pockets there is plenty of space to carry your essentials. Venting is achieved through full-length zips running down the leg which give great possibilities to dump a lot of heat but make it slightly trickier to have just a small opening while skiing in warmer conditions.
They say: recycled and recyclable fabrics in a big mountain style
We say: sustainable design that ticks all the boxes
Fit, form, and function: following the same design cues as the Obsidian Jacket, these trousers from Untrakt provide a good level of protection using an eco-conscious material set including the recycled ECOSHIELD membrane and a PFC-free water-repellant coating (DWR) that should keep you dry when the clouds open.
The fabric feels slightly lighter and more flexible that heavier styles like GoreTex. Long-term use will see if this affects durability but at first look the Obsidian trousers seem well-constructed and ready to take on the mountain.
Additional features: a removable bib and braces is the perfect middle ground for those who want the option for deeper snow protection but are not convinced about using a bib style every day. Long leg vents on the outside of the leg are similar to the Pyua Release and dump heat well.
This Untrakt model includes thigh pockets with a clever boxed construction for storage but omits the hand pockets. The lack of hand pockets takes a bit of getting used to and may not suit skiers who usually use them a lot.
They say: A must-have for any skier looking for performance and style
We say: lightly insulated for additional warmth, a good match for the Good Times Jacket
Fit, form, and function: compared to the shell style of the Yeti Hunter the Good Times Pant and equivalent All Time version are a softer and lighter fabric. A lower but respectable rating for waterproof and breathable performance, the real different compared to others on test is the light layer of quilted insulation that should help keep the chill off for skiers who feel the cold easily.
Additional features: vents here benefit from a mesh backing which is a good touch to help regulate temperature even while skiing in deeper snow. Dump pockets are a good size and well placed – combined with the hand pockets there’s plenty of space. An elastic cord within the pockets can be used to pull the cuffs up when you’re not in ski boots, though we didn’t find this feature particularly of use.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our 2020 Gear Guides for ski clothing.
Got a question about one of the products we reviews, or more general opinions on choosing a new ski jacket? Let us know in the comments below.