GearSnow Sports
Gear Guy
Q:

Can you recommend some bibs for the not-so distant ski season?

Now that the venerable Patagonia Ice Nine ski bibs have been discontinued, what do you recommend in their place? I want something similar: waterproof-breathable, light but durable, great features. However, I've read not very complimentary things about The North Face's Gore-Tex XCR bibs. Richard Oak Ridge, Tennessee

A: Alas, yes—no more Ice Nine bibs. I have a pair, and they fit like an Italian suit. Beautifully made and detailed.

There are some good choices, though, if you're willing to up the ante. For instance, Arc'Teryx makes a pair of pants called the SV Bib, which uses Gore XCR fabric. It's designed as a climbing bib, but these would work fine as ski pants and have instep protection to guard against ski edges. But, they'll hurt your wallet: $400 (www.arcteryx.com). Check with REI for any sale items, but don't bet your house on it.

More wallet-friendly are the Sierra Designs Genesis 3.0 bibs, which use a proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric. All the features you want in a bib—side zippers, elastic straps, big pockets—for $260 (www.sierradesigns.com). Mountain Hardwear makes something similar using its proprietary Conduit fabric: the Recon Bib ($230; www.mountainhardwear.com), which is specifically designed as a snow-sports bib.

That said, I wouldn't discount TNF's Mountain Light Pants ($279; www.thenorthface.com) yet. They're more of a pant with suspenders than a true bib, but use XCR fabric and are nicely made. TNF also makes a true bib called the Mountain Bib, $360, which you can find on closeout as it's not now in their product line. I found some prices of $250 or so, which ain't bad if you can find your size.
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