My Cart Close

You are $200.00 away from free shipping

You Get Free Shipping!


I Swear by My Chemical Pants

Jay Peak ski patroller David Tepper has had three pairs of Flylow Chemical Pants over the last 18 years. There are no other pants he’d trust out there.

David Tepper is a tinkerer. A longtime ski patroller at Jay Peak, Vermont, Tepper has a habit of holding on to things a long time, and tweaking them to his satisfaction. Case in point: He sewed a multi-tool pocket onto his ski pants and added magnets to his gloves so they would be more functional for his personal needs. We called him up to talk about his all-time favorite ski pants: the Flylow Chemical Pants. He’s had three pairs of the pants over the last 18 years.

I kept blowing through pants, like my ski brakes would catch on them or they’d get shredded somehow. I wasn’t a ski patroller at that point. I was just a regular skier, but my pants were lasting maybe a year or two at best. A friend said, ‘Check out the Flylow Chemical Pants.’ They had these reinforced knees and cuffs made from heavy Cordura nylon. That was around 2006. Those are the only pair of pants I’ve rocked ever since.

The death of my first pair of Chemical Pants is a funny story. We play a lot of pranks on each other at patrol. One of my locker neighbors screwed an old trail sign into the door of his locker. When the locker door was open, I walked by it, and I caught an open vent on the side of my Chemical Pants on a stray screw that was sticking out the sign. It mangled the zipper. I was still able to zip it from the bottom up to that point, but I couldn’t zip it from the top down. That sign is still on his locker to this day. That’s why I had to replace that pair, but it was premature. They weren’t worn out; they were just torn up.

The deepest snow I’ve ever skied in my Chemical Pants was the first time I went to Jackson Hole. Friends took me out to Four Pines and it had just snowed six feet in the last 11 days. It dumped every single night. I was skiing nipple-deep snow.

In Vermont, we ski in the rain a lot. A lot of us on patrol will switch to rubber pants when it’s raining. Because sitting on the chair, no matter what you’re wearing, the water’s going to push through. But with rubber, you end up getting wet on the inside because you’re sweating so much. I have this idea for Chemical Pants that unzip fully down to the cuff, so you can take them off to put rubber pants on without taking off your boots.

The Jay Peak tram had been down for a week or so due to electrical issues, so I got a ride up on a snow machine. I was up there by myself, and the tram operators hadn’t been up there yet. I walked onto the tram dock at the top and it’s just a smooth concrete surface, but since nobody had been there, it hadn’t been salted. It was this huge sheet of ice. I didn’t even see it. I fell completely flat out. Next thing I know, I’m in the bathroom, I look at my pants, and there’s a tear in the crotch across the seams. I was like, OK, that’s it. Time to get my next pair. They had lasted years at that point.

Custom Knife Pocket

Custom Knife Pocket

I bought a Singer sewing machine. I’m not good at it. It’s pretty ugly. But I sewed a pocket with extra reinforcements on the side of my Chemical Pants so I can have my Leatherman right there. Working on patrol, it’s super handy to have a knife in a utility pocket on the outside.

I like to keep things around for as long as I can. With my stick-shift standard transmission Audi Allroad, my mechanic kept saying, ‘When are you going to retire this thing?’ I’m also a hat connoisseur. They get old and dirty and gross, but I still like to wear them. Especially when they’re irreplaceable, like you can’t get them in the same style or graphic as you once did. So, I hold onto the ones I have.

I’m a gadget guy, a closet inventor. When Jay Peak tore down the old ski patrol building and put in this new complex with fancy hotels, they moved us from an old building with all wooden lockers to everything with metal lockers. When they did that, a lot of people put up clips to hang their gloves on their locker. But I was like, wait, I don’t need clips. I can just sew magnets into my Flylow Ridge Gloves. Now, my gloves stick to the safety bar on the metal chair, they stick to the side of my car. It’s a great fix.

I think washing and especially drying are probably going to kill your gear the fastest. So, I basically never wash my gear. The dirt just kind of brushes off, no? Or, at least, nobody’s ever complained to me that my stuff looks dirty.

Quantum Pro Jacket

This stormproof, three-layer hardshell jacket is ready to climb and ski powder.
Buy Now
Chemical Pant

This classic Flylow pant has hardshell fabric and cuff reinforcements.
Buy Now
Billie Coat

A versatile hardshell ski jacket for the woman who refuses to settle.
Buy Now
Nina Pant

A waterproof, hardshell ski pant that fits just the way you want it to.
Buy Now

Read Next

On Skiing the Redline Traverse

The numbers tell the story in part: 19 days, 145 miles, over 80,000 vertical feet, five peaks above 14,000 feet, 10 summits at slightly lower...

What’s In Your Pack?

And 10 other questions for cookbook author, ski guide, and Ski Journal editor Lily Krass Ritter.