What’s better? Ski Bib vs. Ski Pants

by Simon Knott | Posted On: February 23rd, 2022
Wearing Ski Pants

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When you’re looking to buy either a ski bib or ski pants the choice can be overwhelming. Which one to choose? There are numerous advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of skiing you do.

The differences between a ski bib and ski pants are much more than mere fashion. Each style of pants has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of skiing you undertake and the amount of protection you need from the elements. Bibs offer greater protection and warmth but can be more cumbersome. Pants are less bulky but aren’t as snug for colder skiing environments.

At first, choosing between a ski bib (salopettes in Europe) or ski pants might seem frivolous. However, when you are going to be in sub-zero temperatures for hours at a time, you’ll be glad you put some thought into buying the correct gear.

Ski bibs and ski pants have advantages and disadvantages over each other, but in general, they should offer warmth and protection from the elements. In terms of design, a ski bib is like a pair of ski pants but with an extra ‘bib’ section extending from the waist up to the lower part of the chest.

Ski Bibs and Ski Pants can both come with Braces

Often braces are attached, which go over the shoulder and attach at the rear. Ski pants on the other hand finish at the waist and may have braces over the shoulder. Both ski pants and a ski bib should fit snugly but there should also be adequate room for the skier to make a full range of movements.

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Whether you go for a ski bib or ski pants you will need to keep dry and keep snow out. Ski bibs and ski pants have different thermal insulation properties and most nowadays are also waterproof. Also, check how many pockets your choice of ski bib or ski pants has.

There are numerous small items you must take out with you on a day’s skiing, so ensure you are going to have enough pockets in your pants.

Pros & Cons of a Ski Bib

Pros

  1. A ski bib offers better protection from the cold than ski pants. The bib covers most of the stomach area providing an extra layer of insulation against the cold. In general, if you tend to feel the cold when out on the runs a ski bib may offer that extra insulation you need.
  2. When wearing a jacket with a ski bib there is plenty of overlap between the two garments. This is very useful to keep out snow after a fall, during bad weather or if you do a lot of powder skiing.
  3. For kids a ski bib offers better adjustment as they grow. Often the braces can be adjusted to a greater degree than those which attach ski pants.
  4. If you already have a ski jacket and it doesn’t come very far down your waist a ski bib would offer extra protection to stop snow and the elements from getting in.
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Cons

  1. As a result of the extra fabric, from the bib, around the waist the ski bib may feel more cumbersome than a pair of ski pants.
  2. Going to the bathroom is more involved with a ski bib. You must take your jacket off, unhook your braces and then the bib.

Pros & Cons of Ski Pants

Pros

Ski-Pants
Photo by meridican licensed under CC BY 2.0
  1. Ski pants feel less bulky than a ski bib because there is less fabric above the waist and some skiers prefer the sense of freedom this gives. Ski pants finish at the waist although they may have braces attached.
  2. Ski pants come with a zip fly making bathroom stops a lot easier.
  3. Ski pants often come with a better choice of linings. Some offer better insulation and warmth, while others have no lining, which is ideal for ski touring and back-country skiing.

Cons

  1. If ski pants don’t have a snug fit, it’s easy for uncomfortable snow and ice to gain access.
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