Ski trousers are very similar to jackets in terms of their outer shell. The insulation is often lighter, because the leg muscles generate enough heat through the many movements.
Ski trousers used to be quite thickly lined, but with the advent of thermo underwear, this has changed. More and more trousers consist purely of a thin and waterproof layer of outer liner, with high breathability. For example, made of Gore-Tex material. By combining thin ski trousers with warm, insulating thermo trousers, you can still create a warm whole.
The advantage of lined ski trousers is that they are very warm. You don't have to think about different layers, you just put on one layer and you're ready to go. The disadvantage, however, is that these trousers are often too warm. Thin overalls are ideal because the insulating underlay can be changed so that the clothing can be adjusted to any temperature. However, you must have several insulating under-layers in order to do this properly.
Ski trousers often have a tighter fit than snowboard trousers. Often stretch material is added, so the trousers mold comfortably to the body. For women, there are also ski trousers called rennhose. These are ski trousers made of stretch softshell material that fits closely to the body. The advantage of softshell material is that it is highly breathable and yet waterproof.
TYPES OF PANTS
THIN HARDSHELL PANTS
These are pants made of lightweight and very thin material. Gore-Tex material is often used for this. Gore-Tex is extremely waterproof and breathable, rain and snow cannot penetrate and perspiration is discharged perfectly.
Many pants fall into the hardshell category. These pants have a synthetic outer lining, which is water- and windproof. The pants have light to very warm insulation.
Softshell pants are very versatile. Softshell material is supple and often slightly stretchy, which makes it comfortable to wear around the body. Breathability is the key to a softshell. A softshell is still very waterproof, but excels in breathability. This is why these pants have a pleasant climate underneath. Ideal for the sunny and warmer winter sports days.
BIB pants are pants we often see on snowboarders. These pants look a bit like old-fashioned dungarees. They are high and often have braces, which makes them ideal for protecting against the snow!
WHAT DOES THE WATER COLUMN MEAN?
The water column indicates the water pressure that the outer shell of a pair of trousers can withstand. The higher the number, the more waterproof the trousers are. Water column is indicated in mm's, e.g. 5000mm/8000mm up to 28000mm for GORE-TEX garments.
WHAT DOES BREATHABILITY MEAN?
Breathability is expressed in number of grams (e.g. 5000gr/10000gr). The higher this value, the better the trousers can wick away perspiration.
EXTRA OPTIONS AND FEATURES
To prevent moisture from penetrating through the seams of a pair of trousers, the seams are often taped on the inside. In the cheaper trousers, often only the critical seams are taped (shoulders, sides), in the more expensive trousers all the seams are taped.
An elastic flap which can be found on the inside of the trousers. Often, this flap can be tightened around the waist with press studs or velcro. This prevents snow and wind from getting under the trousers.
Some snow catchers have the option of being attached to jackets. Often with loops or a zip. This makes it really impossible for snow to get under the jacket or into the pants.
Braces are ideal for keeping your pants in place. They are often easily removable and adjustable.
Sometimes there are zipped slits on the upper legs. By opening these, the body gets extra ventilation, ideal for the 'warm-blooded' skier. Often these slits are lined with mesh to prevent snow from entering.