How to Choose the Best Snow Pants

Snow pants or ski pants are a must when it comes to exploring during snowy winter months. These types of pants are insulated, waterproof and often have ventilating zippers, which are perfect for activities that cause you to work up a sweat.

This important piece of winter outerwear seems straight forward, but snow pants come in a number of different styles and have a handful of features to choose from. Read on to learn about these features and how to choose best snow pants for your needs.

Ski Pants

  • Ski pants should be wide enough below the knee to fit over ski boots.

  • Built-in gaiters, or a thin piece of waterproof fabric within ski pants, is a feature in ski pants that's meant to be pulled over ski boots to keep snow out.

  • Scuff guards, or abrasion resistant fabric from the shin to the ankle, is a feature that protects ski pants from hard ski boots and buckles.

  • Pockets are another desirable feature in ski pants, especially if you'll be doing a lot of resort skiing. It's nice to have a spot to put your ski pass and other small essentials.

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Fitted Snow Pants

  • Fitted ski pants and snow pants allow for more mobility than heavily insulated pants, which makes them ideal for activities that involve a lot of movement, such as alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Fitted snow pants aren't as warm as more heavily insulated pants and are best for high-movement activities. If you'll be doing more sedentary activities, such as ice fishing or snowmobiling, go for a snow pant with more insulation.

  • Fitted snow pants allow you to regulate your body temperature with ventilating zips more readily than more heavily insulated snow pants.

  • When wearing fitted snow pants for skiing or snowboarding, make sure that they flare out below the knee to properly fit over ski boots and snowboard boots.

Snow Bibs

  • Snow bibs are snow pants that include suspenders. Sometimes the pants stop at the waist, while other times they stop at the chest.

  • Snow bibs are advantageous to wear while skiing or snowboarding because the higher waist and extra fabric can protect you from snow if your jacket doesn't have a powder skirt. When you fall, there's an extra snow barrier between your jacket and your base layers.

  • Snow bibs are often warmer than snow pants because of the extra insulated fabric near the chest and upper back. During highly active snow sports such as Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, you could remove your jacket and keep your core warm with snow bibs.

  • Snow bibs are more complicated to put on and take off than snow pants, and they make it more difficult to adjust layers on the top half of your body.

  • Snow bibs move tension from your waist to your shoulders, which you might prefer depending on what style of pants you are most comfortable wearing.

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Now that you know a little more about what to look for in snow pants and ski pants, check out our selection of great brands, such as Marmot, Columbia and The North Face, all at our everyday value prices.
posted by
Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
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