Snow pants question
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12 users
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wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
283 posts
Seeing the forecast for Elk this weekend, I'm thinking that maybe it's time to finally get real snowpants.

Are the $160 - $180 snow pants worth it? Typically, I've been wearing long underwear, sweat pants and 25 year old reversible edelweiss snow pants with minimal/no insulation. Most days that's enough for the Mid-Atlantic.

The ones I see in the local ski shop are insulated, so would that be enough with just long underwear on a windy 20° day?
MarkRebuck
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 12/16/2020 🔗
17 posts

Not the fanciest thing in the world, but I bought a pair of these bib overalls from amazon and they work great, at 25% of the price you were looking at.  I did the sweatpants thing when I was a kid, and my first time skiing again as an adult.  Works, but only when dry.  Under outer shell pants, my sweatpants would always get wet from sweat eventually.  Bibs are totally worth it when things are wet.  I was find in with them and long underwear at 25 degrees one night session in 2020.  As I recall my nose was cold that night but not my butt or legs :).  (Sorry if amazon would be too late for this weekend!  I would say spend whatever you need to spend to be comfortable.  Well-made bibs will last a loooong time)

Keith_Moon
5 months ago
Member since 02/19/2019 🔗
176 posts
I paid $60 for the Arctix heavy duty bibs a few years ago and I love them.
Jeremy
5 months ago
Member since 12/7/2004 🔗
73 posts

I think the key is to get the best waterproof ones you can. After that, everything else is pretty much about nice to have (elastic gaiters on the bottom, padding, more insulation, etc). Like so many other things I think it is an S curve. If you go budget they will tear, be cold, leak, etc. If you put in a solid amount ($100 -$150) you will get much better performance, comfort, and longer lasting for the money. After $150, you are paying for colors, brand names, down insulation, might last forever (but then you can't buy the next great thing in 5 years), etc. 

It seems tough to find bib pants these days, mainly regular pants, which is fine. My wife and I still like suspenders though and I can't recommended these enough on Amazon as they have served us very well for a number of years: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KE8FA9Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
283 posts
I wound up getting some Columbia snow pants at the local ski shop. I'll report back.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,809 posts

wfyurasko wrote:

I wound up getting some Columbia snow pants at the local ski shop. I'll report back.

 Always nice when you can support a local shop.  Columbia makes reasonably good stuff.

snowsmith - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,436 posts


  You should never wear cotton sweat pants for skiing. Cotton absorbs moisture and when it evaporates it removes heat from your body. I have a couple pair of ski pants. One is heavily insulated fro cold days, one is water proof and one is a medium weight. Of course color comes into play since it's nice to look good too.  Gortex is a great fabric for snow pants but is very expensive. 

Cotton anything should never be worn as a base layer or even an intermediate layer. NEVER wear cotton socks unless you want cold feet. Being dry, warm and comfortable on the slopes is important. Wearing one ski pant for years has got to create some funky ski pants. Treat yourself. Buy 2 pair. If you can afford to ski, you can afford 2 pairs of ski pants.

wfyurasko wrote:

Seeing the forecast for Elk this weekend, I'm thinking that maybe it's time to finally get real snowpants.

Are the $160 - $180 snow pants worth it? Typically, I've been wearing long underwear, sweat pants and 25 year old reversible edelweiss snow pants with minimal/no insulation. Most days that's enough for the Mid-Atlantic.

The ones I see in the local ski shop are insulated, so would that be enough with just long underwear on a windy 20° day?
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,938 posts
When questioned about the cold winter weather, this is a quote from the mayor of a small town in Minnesota: "There is no such thing as bad weather. There is only bad clothing."
bob
5 months ago
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
707 posts

I stay away from any insulated outer garment. I ski in a shell jacket and non-insulated pants.  I layer up.

When it gets warm, I skip layers. When wearing insulation and it  gets warm, whaddya gonna do?

I've skied in 30 below weather in Colorado (and regularly when it is below 10 degrees) and NEVER got cold  - frostbitten face, yup, but my body never got cold.

I don't remember ever using more than 4 layers up top  and 2 layers down below.

snapdragon
5 months ago
Member since 01/27/2015 🔗
178 posts
I concur with Bob...dressed as he described during 4 days of filling the gnar jar compliments of Izzy at Tline and stayed dry and toasty...that was a good test storm...yew!
Denis - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,281 posts

bob wrote:

I stay away from any insulated outer garment. I ski in a shell jacket and non-insulated pants.  I layer up.

When it gets warm, I skip layers. When wearing insulation and it  gets warm, whaddya gonna do?

I've skied in 30 below weather in Colorado (and regularly when it is below 10 degrees) and NEVER got cold  - frostbitten face, yup, but my body never got cold.

I don't remember ever using more than 4 layers up top  and 2 layers down below.

My strategy exactly.  I have different favorite layers for different conditions.  For an outer layer when it’s cold or windy, gore-Tex.  It is always promoted for water repellency but it also stops wind.  I’ve been using the same pair of Patagonia goretex shell pants with suspenders for 20 years with fleece pants or wool tights as a base layer.  Goretex needs periodic renewal, first with a product called tech wash, then with another that renews the water repellancy of the outer fabric layer.  Renewal is needed when a drop of water on the fabric spreads out rather than beading up.  Google to get the full details.  Goretex from the top brands of technical clothes is expensive but will last many seasons.  The Sierra is a warm range so I often wear a ‘soft shell’ outer layer rather than ‘hard shell’.  Most CA skiers will not go or stay out if it’s below 20 degrees.  If it’s snowing and blowing and cold and the powder is deep and getting deeper I want goretex.

 

Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,938 posts
I prefer gore-tex shell pants with zippers on pants down the inside thigh and jackets with armpit zippers. Uninsulated shells allow you to layer as described above. I have gore-tex pants with crotch zips made by Spyder and a hooded shell jacket with pit zips made by Marmot. I bought both at end of season sales and paid less than $200 a piece.
wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
283 posts

Long ago, I had pretty specific layering system.  I switched to some reversible snow pants that I'd where over cargo pants or something like that.

Now, it's all Columbia stuff, giving them a test run tomorrow.

snowsmith - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,436 posts
I can't wear more than 2 layers from the waist down. Thus have a range of technical layer 'long johns' - light, median and heavy. Ski pants I do have a waterproof lightly insulated shell type pants (North Face). For the top part I usually wear 3 layers - technical under garment, then a fleece layer and then the parka.  I have a down ski parka for the cold days. I know many of my buddies who wear the same ski parka, day-in/day-out for years. You could stand the thing up in the corner. And washing a parka tends to ruin it after a bunch of washings. I prefer to have several and alternate to keep them fresh. Some of my buddies are too cheap to buy a new parka, despite the fact that they can afford it. What other activity would you wear the same clothing for 20 years? I was in the HV ski shop today and an older gentlemen was in there buying new boots. He said his current boots were 25 years old! Those boots have to be packed out and the plastic must be brittle. It's like the old diehards you see still skiing on straight skis. Why?
Shotmaker
5 months ago
Member since 02/18/2014 🔗
108 posts

Have 4 pair of snow pants. 2 of them rarely get used they are the insulated variety and cause me to sweat way too much. They also are not very well made with stitching coming apart around pockets. Spent roughly $150 & $50 on these years ago.  I do not recommend insulated snow pants.

My 2 everyday pairs are Patagonia Powder Bowl & Burton AK. Both of these are Gore-Tex. For many of the reasons mentioned you would be smart to invest in a good pair of snow pants. The only time I have been somewhat uncomfortable in these is when the temp dips below zero with a -20 to -30 wind chill. You can find these for $200-$300 on sale.

I always wear CW-X 3/4 length base compression wear. I have both the insulated and non-insulated compression pants. I have been adding these over the years and would highly recommend this brand. The prices have gone up quite a bit lately but my average price for 5 pair of these was about $65-75.

JohnL
5 months ago
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,537 posts

I’ve never been truly cold in CO or UT or Tahoe or NM, but man, MT or NE or even WV/PA can be brutal.

You don’t have sheltered 2k bump or tree runs in the Mid A to get you warm… And you generally aren’t hiking.

I swear by lined ski pants - Northface Freedom pants. With varying weight base layers - Patagonia and such. I have plenty of unlined tech pants, but haven’t worn them yet this season. I guess I know what days to wear the lined and what days to wear the unlined. Only wear two layers on the bottom. Three actually, since I don’t go commando. Lol.

Up top, generally 3 layers. I have lined, unlined and spring shell jackets. Two different weights of fleece and down jacket as the single middle layer. Three different weights of base layer. Under brutal temps, I’ll add a tech T-neck.

JohnL
5 months ago
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,537 posts
One thing I’ve found extremely useful - zippered middle layer. Helps to regulate temps on lift rides up if I’ve had an energetic run down.
wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
283 posts
My new insulated Columbia snow pants with the reflective lining + long johns worked very well yesterday at Elk. I doubt it ever got over 25°. It was a blue bird day, which surely helped. I was very comfortable though the day.
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