Here’s something I never thought I’d write: I really like softshell ski pants.
Before this season, I had a bias against “stretch pants.” This bias stemmed mainly from a bunch of “old-man” comments I heard while skiing with friends at Heavenly a few years ago. (Please note: Heavenly is awesome. These friends are awesome. They just have an odd obsession with 70s-style stretch pants).
While I intuitively knew that softshell ski pants, circa 2015, had to better than anything from the 1970s, I was reluctant to try them. I feared they would be less warm and, possibly, less water-resistant than my puffier, roomier, hard shell pants.
I’ll say it again. I love them.
Spyder Softshell Slalom Pants
Let’s start with three touchstones: puffiness, fabric and fit.
Relative Puffiness: Zero. There is no puffiness. But it turns out, puffiness doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to warmth. The thick soft-shell fabric is backed by fleece. Yes, warm, cozy fleece.
Fabric: And fleece isn’t the only winning attribute of this laminate fabric. It’s waterproof and it’s surprisingly windproof. Plus, it’s stretchy, making the pants very comfortable. They never bind, even when I’m wearing lots of layers.
Fit: Ha! While I equated roomy with layering, it turns out that these pants give enough to easily accommodate two base layers.
Other Good Things: The Slalom softshell pants are well made. They run a bit small, so order accordingly. They have asymmetrical flat front detailing (including a small change pocket hidden in a seam) and fasten with a side seam hook and eye and zipper, making them ultra-trim. The back waist is slightly higher than the front, offering extra protection from cold and snow.
The legs are slim cut, with knee panels for easy movement. They have a back zippered gusset making them easy to pull over ski boots. Inner snow gaiters with gripper elastic keep snow out and scuff guards on the inner ankles protect against tears and nicks.
The Upshot: I’m just as warm in these pants as I am in looser, hard shell pants. I really like the modern silhouette and fit of the Spyder Slalom pants whether I’m wearing a slim cut jacket or a fuller cut parka.
The only downside? Just one small pocket, good for a credit card, a $20 bill and a chapstick. If you like to carry extra handwarmers, liners, and such, you’ll be stuffing them in your coat.
Spyder Temerity Jacket
I look to Spyder for technical resort-oriented performance, with unique, athletic styling.
The Temerity Jacket has every technical featured you’d expect from powder skirt to helmet-capable hood (which I find a bit small, although it hasn’t stopped me from using it).
I especially like the stretchy, right-size lycra cuffs and the adjustable wrists. They fit perfectly.
Best of all, I enjoy how Spyder moves some technical features front and center and incorporates them into the jacket styling. Let’s start with the pit zips, which aren’t hidden in a side seam, but angle from the front to the side with a contrasting bright pink zipper. They serve the same purpose – regulating heat – but look good doing it. Same with the RF card pockets on each upper sleeve. Small zipper pockets, faced with a snap front pocket, they combine detailing with utility.
As for the overall look, I know I’m crazy to wear a white ski coat, but I really like the asymmetrical color-blocking, pairing shades of gray and pink accents with bright white. The jacket comes in darker, less disaster-prone combinations, but this is my favorite (and so far, I’m keeping it pretty darn clean!).
Paired with gray pants, it’s a trim look that works well in all conditions. The jacket is slim and flattering. It also runs a bit small, so buy up a size to ensure room for layering.
Side pockets, an interior stash pocket and an interior media pocket provide options for carrying small items like hand warmers, your phone and glove liners. Over stuff the pockets, however, and you ruin the trim lines. Every lump and bump will show.
All-in-all, it’s a great jacket. I love the modern look and judging from the number of compliments I’ve received, so do other people.
It’s a winner.
Rounding Out the Look from Spyder
I am fortunate to work with some great people at WinterWomen.com. And this season, in cooperation with Spyder, they outfitted me in the Temerity Jacket and Slalom pants.
In addition, they also provided me with other good stuff to round out the look.
Spyder Alyx Half-Zip Sweater
Utilizing the same color palette as the Temerity Jacket, this medium-weight wool sweater features variegated color and raised ottoman stripes. It is warm, comfortable and looks as good with jeans as ski pants. Be aware that it is long.
While I really like the one I have (Depth/Bryte Pink), I think the Black/Multi Color version is exceptional. Also available in two shades of blue.
Spyder Runner Baselayers
Made of wicking, antimicrobial fabric, these polyblend baselayers have light compression, flat lock seams, and Spyder’s femme fatale logo on the back.
Looking for wool? Check out the merino jacquard pattern Mynka leggings.
In addition to ski sweaters and baselayers, Spyder also makes ski socks (I have the Women’s Surprise socks with shin padding and light compression), beanies (I have the Twisty hat with variegated chunky yarn and an oversized pom) and mittens (my favorites are the Candy Down mitts – which come in either a more technical version for skiing or a lighter version for everyday wear).
Many thanks to WinterWomen.com and Spyder Active Sports for outfitting me this winter. While I chose the jacket, the team at WinterWomen.com pulled the rest of the look together.
As always, my opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
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