There are a few things one needs to keep in mind when buying a new pair of ski pants for kids. First of all, the pants should fit. I recommend getting pants that are slightly on the larger side so you don’t have to buy new ones again the coming year. The style these days leans toward the baggier side anyways, especially for our little snowboarders and jibbers (a new term for terrain park skiers). But make sure that the pant legs are not too long or the cuffs will likely become shredded when the wearer steps in and out of the bindings.
There is a multitude of great kids ski pants on the market these days. Your youngster should definitely be the one to pick the style—they’re the ones that’ll have to feel comfortable and “cool” wearing it — but you should make sure that the pants fulfill the basic quality requirements. Your kid’s ski pants should be warm but not too heavy. They should always be at least water-repellant, or better yet, water-resistant and, even better, waterproof. The best combination is always waterproof and breathable. You may find some very cheap pants that are labeled “waterproof,” but there may be little to no breathability. What will happen is that the fabric may keep the water out, but it will also keep the sweat in. That moisture, especially on a pair of pants with cheap insulation, will soon feel uncomfortable and your child will likely become chilled.
“Waterproof” means that water droplets are prevented from entering the fabric, whereas “breathable” means that water vapor will be able to move back out through the fabric. There are actually US standards for what can be determined as waterproof or breathable. Breathability is measured in grams (grams of water vapor per square meter of fabric per 24 hour period) and water-proofness is measured in millimeters (amount of water, in mm, that can be suspended above the fabric before water seeps through). Without getting too technical here, the rule for both is, the higher the numbers the better.
Water-resistant and water-repellent fabrics generally breathe better than the full-on waterproof versions. However, some of the water-resistant jackets listed here will do a great job keeping the moisture out, while some of the waterproof pants offer exceptionally high breathability. If your child only does a two-hour ski lesson once a week, water-resistant ski pants will do the job, even in heavy snow or rain. Also make sure that the pants are seam sealed for maximum protection.
All pants reviewed here are weatherproof and use first-class materials that keep the bulk down, yet provide warmth to protect against the elements.