Helly Hansen Women's Powderqueen Bib Ski Pants review: keep the powder out when you’re lapping the deep stuff

Made for backcountry adventures, these ski salopettes keep you cozy in a biting wind, and let you vent heat when you’re working up a sweat

Julia Clarke skiing in Verbier
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Advnture Verdict

These ski bibs let you have all the backcountry fun you want in any conditions, sealing out wind, cold and snow while allowing you to dump heat when you’re uphilling or shredding powder

Pros

  • +

    Breathable and lightly insulated

  • +

    Waterproof and windproof with fully taped seams

  • +

    Adjustable elastic suspenders

  • +

    Adjustable waist with fastener

  • +

    RECCO reflector

  • +

    Zipped, reinforced hems fit over boots and hold up to your skis

  • +

    Five sealed pockets

  • +

    Outer thigh venting zips

Cons

  • -

    Skiers with muscular legs may need to size up

  • -

    A little pricey for the casual skier

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Helly Hansen Women's Powderqueen Bib Ski Pants: first impressions

The Powderqueen Bib Ski Pants keep you warm on frigid lift rides and let the sweat escape when you’re thrashing powder in the backcountry. The waterproof, windproof shell fends off a harsh wind brilliantly, while light insulation keeps you cozy without being too heavy or bulky. The bib design features adjustable waist and suspenders so these are easy to pull on and make sure that even the deepest powder stays out of your undies when you’re tumbling through the snow. Breathable fabric and venting zips on the outer thighs mean you can stay cool during sweaty adventures. 

Specifications

• List price: $300 / £260
• Gender specification: Women's
• Weight: 1 lb 12 oz / 793g (women’s S)
• Sizes available: XS - XL
• Materials: Shell: 100% polyester; lining: 100% polyamide
• Colors: Slate, blue fog, black
• Best use: Resort skiing, backcountry skiing, ski touring

Because these bibs are designed with the backcountry in mind, they’re equipped with a built-in RECCO reflector. Zipped cuffs mean they’re easy to pull on over your ski boots, and the hems are reinforced to withstand the sharp edges of your skis and boot buckles, meaning you can wear these season after season.

Five sealed pockets including a handy chest pouch mean you can keep all your vital gear close to hand and these overalls leave plenty of room for layering base layers and mid layers underneath. Make sure to size up if you have muscular legs so you have plenty of freedom to move and layer these over thermal underwear when it’s cold out.

These salopettes are priced for expert and pro skiers, but they deliver for those skiers with super performance in all conditions.

Helly Hansen Women's Powderqueen Bib Ski Pants: in the field

Julia Clarke skiing in Verbier

You can layer an extra mid layer on top if you don't love the bib look, but it's more fuss when you have to go to the bathroom (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I’ve only had these ski bibs a short time, but I’ve already put them through their paces on a Nordic ski jaunt across country in the Scottish Highlands and over four days of piste and off-piste powder skiing in Verbier and I can tell you that I’m now a convert to salopette-style ski pants. These overalls have kept me toasty in sub zero conditions, dry in deep powder and kept me from overheating when I’m gliding across country.

Here’s how they performed:

Fit and comfort

I’ve been testing a women’s small which is my normal size and these bibs are perfect for me. That said, I was skiing with a group of other journalists and a couple of them commented that they felt the thighs were a little tight. I’m not known for my muscular legs, so this hasn’t been an issue, but if you are, you might want to size up so you can move properly and layer properly.

As for comfort, these feel great on, thanks to the elasticated, adjustable suspender straps which mean I can adapt them to my frame without them pulling uncomfortably in the crotch.

Weather protection and breathability 

I’ve skied a lot over the past 20 years, in various temperatures and conditions, and I’ve never been more comfortable than when I was out wearing these in -19°C conditions in Verbier. I was wearing them over thermal underwear, but they’re full windproof, even against a pretty brutal assault on the chairlift and at the top of the mountain, and even skiing through fairly heavy, wet snow in Scotland they kept me bone dry. The beautiful thing about overalls is that they keep the snow out, which is good because I took a couple of tumbles in the snow.

On the other end of the spectrum, Helly Hansen has done a top job with breathability. They have two thigh venting zips on the outer thighs but I have to admit that, even when I was skiing uphill, the fabric is breathable enough that I didn’t need to use them.

Wearing Helly Hansen ski pants on the chairlift

I tested them out in some challenging conditions, and stayed warm and dry (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Weight and packability

When compared to other ski pants we’ve tested, these are midweight. The added insulation means they’re not ultralight, but they’re not in the same ballpark as some of the heaviest ones we’ve tried out. I traveled with a checked bag so I wasn’t too worried about their packability, but if you’re rolling them up and stuffing them in a backpack, they squash down to about the size of a Yeti Rambler 26oz flask. Not tiny, not super bulky either.

Storage

I certainly didn’t run out of pockets in these with two zipped hip pockets, a zipped thigh pocket plus another with a velcro flap, and a chest pocket with velcro flap. To be honest, I’ve been wearing these with my Helly Hansen Infinity Elevation 2.0 shell jacket which is also rife with pockets, so I haven’t used them as much, but I love being able to tuck things into the chest pocket and it’s good to know that, come spring, I can lose the shell and still have plenty of storage.

Durability and value

These are hard wearing trousers and the hems, where I always see the most damage, are reinforced, so even after quite a few days they still look as good as new. They’re not the most expensive ski pants we’ve tested, but they’re up there in terms of budget, but you definitely get what you pay for. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the snow, you can rely on wearing these for many seasons to come.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.