Iceland's 66°North is so named because of its wild and gorgeous homeland's extremely high latitude, meaning the climate around there is anything but comfywhich turns out to be a really good thing. If it weren't for the nasty weather up there, we'd all be missing out on some of the coolest technical apparel available today. Norseman-settled Iceland may conjure a harsh and faraway landscape few would want to visit, but pull on a pair of their techno-sexy Glymur Powershield Pants and you'll be prepared to amp your latitude up a notch or two, too. (Actually, I hear Reykjavik is, um, hot...)
With a rugged soft-shell exterior and a smooth layer of Polartec insulation inside, these ski-or-snowboard pants are perfect for any winter adventure. Wearing them over a polyester base layer, my glutes and quads stayed toasty warm during a frigid December weekend of skiing at Colorado's Copper Mountain Resort. I tend to overheat while pulling on my ski boots, yet the Polartec insulation provided just enough warmth to keep my leg muscles ready for every bump on the slope. When I wore them without a base-layer for a dozen runs on Santa Fe's sunny slopes, I stayed comfortable the whole day; it's an ideal garment for spring or deep-winter skiing.
The outer soft-shell material is windproof and water-resistant and shrugs off abrasions, and the articulated knees allow for terrific fit and flexibility. In addition to serving up superior warmth, the insulation can also provide a little padding if you ever happen to land a giant air on your butt.
After nailing the critical areas of warmth, durability, and comfort, 66°North tagged on just the right extras. Angled hook-and-loop cuff closures at the ankles mean your pants will slide easily over bulky bootsbetter than any other system I've seen, in factwhile a waterproof zippered waist pocket is perfect for a pass, some cash, and ID. The waist is cinched by a durable nylon belt and tough plastic clip.
My Montreal-based girlfriend has a pair of the Glymur Women's Softshell Pants, and she swears by their warmth and swank on- and off-piste looks. Whether snowshoeing through the forest park on Mont Royal or sloshing through city streets to shop and be seen, she finds them both practical and stylish in a fashion-obsessed city. Their clean lines and shape mean she can transition straight from the slopes to the barnow if only walking in ski boots could be more graceful. Both styles, $290; www.66northus.com