Leg Lifts: The 6 Best Ski Pants

Aug 10, 2015

Category: Gear

On a lot of days, the job of the ski patrol is extremely boring, which means they will take any entertainment that they can find. If you show up on the mountain decked out in your best ski jacket, gloves, and helmet, but are sporting a pair of blue jeans, just know that much of their amusement is going to come from mocking you and laughing behind their hands. The key to avoiding this is to buy yourself a decent pair of ski pants so the giggling swine have nothing to mock but your skiing.

Choosing a pair of ski or snowboard pants is all about picking something that suits your style and can keep your legs safe from cold and wind abrasion. They’ll take a lot of abuse, so they need to be made of material that can withstand both shearing gusts and the occasional tumble down the slope. You need to decide if you want a sexy, sexy bib or just the pants, and you need to choose whether you want full insulation or whether the lighter shell pants are more your speed. If you can’t decide, let one of our 6 best ski pants entice you.

Boulder Gear Pinnacle

Boulder Gear Pinnacle

Pro: Inexpensive
Con: Wear out quickly

Boldly Basic: Most people who invest in ski or snowboard pants are buying something that is going to be with them for years, but not everyone spends their life waiting at the top of a hill. A few rare souls just want some passable pants that will work well enough for the few days they intend on spending out in the elements. For these Sunday skiers there is the Boulder Gear Pinnacle. It is a basic nylon pant that works as snow pants as well as ski pants. They are insulated, which means they can get a little toasty on warm days, and the bib style doesn’t appeal to everyone, but is great for keeping moisture out when sliding down the bunny slopes. They have been given a 5K rating for waterproofing and the same for breathability, so they aren’t a slouch when it comes to ventilation or protection. Gaiters keep snow from sliding into your boots and reinforcement around the cuffs prevents shredding from excessive wear. Extremely good for very little scratch. [Purchase: $60]

Mammut Verbier Pants

Mammut Verbier Pants

Pro: Lots of pockets
Con: Baggy fit

Pack Mule: Mammut makes some amazing pants that stand up to the coldest temperatures and let you slog through the deepest powder without bogging you down; but the best part has to be the pockets. While most ski pants act like pockets are offensive, the Verbier give you ample space for all your gear and ski swag so you’ll never be without an energy bar, your phone, or even a nice flask to help keep you warm on the hill. The body is a semi-bib that gives you a high waist and allows for a hermetic jacket to pants connection that will keep flurries from finding their way inside. The three layer Gore-Tex isn’t as warm as some options, but allows these to work better with layers when it is cold, using the philosophy that you can always put more clothes on. The legs are extra wide and fit easily over freeride boots while accommodating large strides, fast movements, and long underwear. [Purchase: $179]

Marmot’s Mantra Pant

Marmot’s Mantra Pant

Pro: Excellent moisture wicking
Con: Heat vents are not great

Bone Dry: The Dude might not like marmots, man, but that’s just because he’s clearly never been on a slope at the tail end of the season, when wetness abounds. The Mantra excels at handling moisture both inside and out. The 2 layer fabric with fully taped seams will prevent the elements from seeping into your clothes and giving you embarrassing wetness right in your lap, while also wicking away sweat so even on warm days you won’t find yourself getting embarrassingly damp. The internal vents can help you drop off heat, though given that the pants are insulated, they could stand to do a better job of this. Abrasion patches help extend the wear of these pants and help reinforce the body while the adjustable snap closure will allow you to change weight a little as time goes on. Includes both zippered and flap pockets for storing whatever you need, though accessing the zippered pockets while wearing winter gloves will be a challenge. [Purchase: $225]

Patagonia Powder Bowl

Patagonia Powder Bowl

Pro: Versatile
Con: Vents on outside of leg

Resort Rider: The Powder Bowl are made for the man on the chair lift who expects to be spending time in numerous conditions and needs a good general purpose pair of pants. These are the ideal lightweight shell with a waterproof exterior that can also breathe paired with an interior mesh which allows for easy airflow when the vents are opened. The minimum weight lets them work when its warm while the blousy, adaptable form helps them to pair with interior layers easily. With two layer Gore-Tex there’s a decent level of moisture wicking taking place even as the outside helps cut wind shear even at top speeds. The two vents are fairly basic, though they are located on the outside rather than the inside meaning your legs can get cool while your giblets will get char-broiled in warmer weather. The cuffs include stretchy gaiters to keep out snow and the waist buckles down nicely. For some reason these don’t include a ski pass pocket or ring. For shame. [Purchase: $164+]

Mammut Bormio

Mammut Bormio

Pro: Very warm
Con: Cannot be used in warmer weather

Ultimate Insulated: Using an insulated pair of pants is a bold choice that most people regret after about 5 minutes on a ski lift in the sunshine, but backcountry downhillers know that extra stuffing is what is needed when you’re going off the reservation in search of the purest powder in the world. For those who prefer maverick skiing in the wilds, the Bormio is easily the best option. The exterior layer is quiet but durable while the interior layer holds in heat thanks to a 40g/m brushed fleece lining. The zippers are all waterproofed and flapped so moisture can’t get in and the bottom cuffs fit snugly around your boots and never let snow sneak in to soak your thermal socks. The heat vents are more impressive than any other kind of ski or snowboard pants since they face forward to catch drafts, yet they still leave you sweltering in warmer conditions because it is impossible to keep up with the dense insulation. Velcro tabs allow for easy adjustment at the waist and loops allow you to use your own belt. [Purchase: $125+]

Arcteryx Theta SV

Arc’teryx Theta SV

Pro: Very flexible
Con: Costly

Best Bib: Hardcore bib fans who have a pocket full of dough should not even bother with anything other than the Theta SV. They’re comfortable, they’re durable, they’re flexible, and have all kinds of tailoring to make them easier and better than any other pair of bib ski pants on the market. The knees and seat are articulated for easier, freer movement that won’t bunch or catch as you move. The gusseted crotch gives you the ability to move your legs without tugging and gives your Most Prized Possession a little extra breathing room. The body is N80p-X Gore-Tex, and you know the more weird letters and numbers something has, the better it is. The cuffs are reinforced to prevent extra damage from ski edges or boot bindings. It even has a full drop seat option that can be used without ever removing the suspenders. Despite all that they don’t look bulky, awkward, or strange, but streamlined and daunting. [Purchase: $499]

More From Gear

This Peloton-Killing Connected Exercise Bike Won't Break The Bank

High-performance fitness in the comfort of your own home.

Posted By Sean Tirman

Partner

American Jazz Icon Art Blakey Inspired This Ultra-Rare Oris Watch

Modeled after Blakey's personal bass drum and cymbals.

Posted By Sean Tirman

Partner
Featured Image

Bond’s ‘No Time To Die’ Titanium Omega Dive Watch Has Been Revealed

007's special-edition timepiece is available for purchase.

Posted By

Dec 5, 2019

Featured Image

The 15 Best Fitness Gifts Under $50

Break into the workout world without breaking the bank.

Posted By

Dec 5, 2019

Featured Image

Snow Peak’s Living Shell Is An Adaptable Modular Tent For Off-Grid Camping

Providing a seamless transition between your living area and the outdoors.

Posted By

Dec 5, 2019

Featured Image

This USA-Made 5-In-1 Camping Tool Is An Outdoorsman’s Best Friend

An axe, saw, hammer, shovel, and camping peg hook combined.

Posted By

Dec 5, 2019