Gear Guy

Primo Pants     Photo: courtesy, Patagonia

Q:

Which pants do you recommend for telemark skiing?

I a long-time snowboarder but have recently started telemark skiing as well. Based on the holes in my snowboard pants, they’re not designed for the stresses of telemark. What pants do you recommend instead? Chris Seattle, Washington

A:My guess is that the knees are blowing out a little, or perhaps the falls you take are putting different strains on the seat fabric than when you’re on a board. I will say that most snowboard pants seem to be made more with style in mind than function, so it could be you simply need a more serious pair of pants.

A good starting point is Marmot’s Randonee Pant ($300; marmot.com). These are made with Gore’s new Pro Shell material, which is lighter, tougher, and more breathable than the previous-generation XCR Gore-Tex. They’re suspendered pants—sort of short bibs—which is a design that works well when skiing. Cuff guards protect the lower leg from ski edges, and overall solid construction should hold up well. Yeah, they’re a bit pricey, but for top-end pants $300 isn’t too bad.

You might also like Patagonia’s Primo Pants ($285; patagonia.com). They’re not Gore-Tex, but rather are made with a stretch-woven material (sort of a soft shell) with Patagonia’s very good water-repellent finish. They’re more highly water-resistant than waterproof, but in cold weather, that’s enough. And the Primos are VERY ruggedly made, with reinforced knees and seat, bar-tacked stress points, edge guards and more. They also have internal gaiters and removable suspenders.

If you’re on more of a budget, take a look at The North Face’s Foundation Bibs ($170; thenorthface.com). These are made from The North Face’s proprietary Hyvent waterproof/breathable fabric, which is pretty decent stuff. They’re well made, with reinforcements in all the right places, and should hold up well to telemark skiing.

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