There are many considerations when buying a pair of ski pants. You will want a pair of pants that will keep you warm, dry and protect you from the elements. Whether you're an expert or a beginner, this guide will help you through most of the decisions you'll need to make when buying ski pants.
When getting dressed for a day of skiing, you will need to dress in layers to keep your body warm and comfortable. There are three typical layers for a comfortable ski experience: base layer, insulation layer, outer layer. The base layer consists of long underwear and is not typically integrated into ski pants. Ski pants typically incorporate the remaining two layers - insulation and outer. Depending on the weather conditions, you may opt for pants that combine the two layers (cold and windy days) or are only an outer layer (warm, sunny, spring skiing days).
You will want ski pants that keep you dry, but are breathable as well. There are several types of fabrics that achieve this: waterproof/breathable, water-resistant, windproof and moisture wicking. If you opt for a pair of ski pants that are waterproof, look for zippered vents that you can open to allow more perspiration to escape. Water-resistant fabrics may be slightly more breathable than waterproof fabrics, but when saturated they will lose their ability to keep water at bay. Windproof fabrics are especially important for keeping you warm in high wind conditions. Moisture wicking fabrics will draw perspiration away from your body, keeping you warm in cold conditions. Choose ski pants that make sense for the weather conditions and your skiing ability.
You will want to find ski pants that fit you well. Ski pants should be roomy enough for layering underneath on cold days. You should be able to squat down comfortably in your ski pants. Remember that ski pants should allow for freedom of movement while skiing.
A few other things to consider for ski pants are zippers with large pulls to open/close them with gloves on. Also, gaiters built into the ski pants will fit over the ski boot and keep your boots dry inside. Large pockets come in handy for stashing things like your wallet, keys, lip balm, etc. Storm flaps that cover zippers are nice to keep the wind and cold from entering through the zippers. Reinforced areas, such as the inside ankle area, knee, and seat of the pants can make your ski pants last. While these extras are not must-haves, they do make your skiing experience a little nicer.