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In Defense of Insulated Ski Pants

For the extra-cold among us, we have a solution to your problems: insulated pants.

My friend Kathleen is always cold. It’ll be the middle of July and everyone is in T-shirts but Kathleen is wrapped in a puffy coat. In the winter, her coldness runs extreme. She backcountry skis with hand warmers and three layers of fleece—even on mild days. At the resort, she’s buried under what looks like multiple layers of down. Her temperature doesn’t stop her from getting outside year-round, but she has to dress accordingly so she doesn’t freeze.

Recently, Kathleen discovered the Flylow Sphynx Bibs, a women’s insulated bib that has a thin layer of micropuff insulation that’s indistinguishable to anyone but her. She also rocks the new Insulated Foxy Bibs, which we debuted this year exactly for people like Kathleen, who like to get after it but know themselves and their chilly nature. Wearing either of these bibs gives her an extra layer of warmth on those cold days (or, let’s be honest, on any day because she’s always cold) but they’re not so toasty that she can’t go for a hike in them. If you’re the kind of skier who’s already wearing two layers of long underwear bottoms, you might want to consider insulated pants.

When you say insulated jackets or pants, a lot of skiers and riders—especially those in more mild climates like the Pacific Northwest or the Sierra—balk. They would be far too hot and stifling, people assume. Or they would look stuffy and puffy. None of those things are true. Despite what you’ve heard, insulated pants aren’t marshmallow suits. They’re just regular waterproof, breathable hardshell ski pants—with a secret superpower built in. (Sidenote: Kathleen did wear her insulated bibs on an early June ski tour up California’s volcanic Lassen Peak in slushy snow and bright sun—and she overheated. So, there is a limit to insulation. Choose your days and outings wisely.)

Sure, insulated jackets and pants aren’t for everyone. If you run warm and sweaty, or your preferred method of powder hunting involves a lot of bootpacking and sidestepping, then a smart collection of layers that you can shed or add to may be a better call for you than insulated outerwear.

But say you live in the Rockies or the East Coast—places where temps often hover in the single digits—or you’re like Kathleen and you just run on the cold side. Give insulated pants or an insulated jacket a chance! They might make a difference in how long you stay out there.

Check out our full collection of insulated outerwear.

For women: Fae Pant | Sphynx Bib | Avery Jacket | Sarah Jacket | Sarah Anorak

For men: Snowman Bib | Snowman Pant | Albert Jacket | Roswell Jacket

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