Looking around the base area at the 2010 U.S. Telemark Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte, it was interesting to note how many of the competitors were wearing Flylow jackets and pants.
Flylow was founded in 2006 by two Colorado skiers, Dan Abrams and Greg Steen. Abrams grew up skiing at Vail, and Steen raced at Winter Park. The company started when they realized that companies like Patagonia were designing pants that were better for mountaineering than skiing.
The company’s first product was a men’s ski pant, and though the line has grown to include several different jackets, and even a backpack for 2010, as well as some wicked cool t-shirts, pants are still integral to Flylow’s philosophy.
At the 2010 SIA show, Flylow was displaying its new women’s freeride pant, the Ginger Pant, which is basically a women’s version of the company’s popular Chemical Pant, the one that started it all.
The Ginger Pant starts with a comfortable freeride cut. The knees, which are reinforced with Cordura, have a three-panel articulated construction that made for the most comfortable fit over knee pads of any pant I’ve used.
The pant is made with three-layer Intuitive Fabric, a water-resistant, windproof fabric ideal for skiing, and is fully seam-taped. On the skin up, you can stay cool with cross-flow ventilation. The outer thigh zipper is 14 inches long, and the inner thigh vent zipper is eight inches long; unzip both, and you’ll stay cool, even on a skin up in warm temps, as I discovered during the Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill.
The cuff has Cordura reinforcements and a snap system with two placements so you can customize how open the bottom is. Integrated gaiters keep snow out of your boots.
The waist is adjustable via an elastic Velcro tab so you can tighten or loosen the pant as needed, and belt loops are sewn in for the optional, but cool-looking, Flylow belt.
Other nice touches include four pockets, two in front, two in back, for stashing fundage, cards, and keys.
The Ginger is available in two colors: mint green and grey. I had the mint green, and got several compliments about the look. It also made it easy for people to see me when skiing Angle Gully on the Headwall at Crested Butte in a blizzard during the Telemark Extremes.
It’s not hyperbole to say the Ginger Pant is the best ski pant I’ve ever used. With other ski pants, to get a pant that wasn’t tight while skiing, I had to size up, with the result that the waist felt huge. The comfortable cut of the Ginger was never binding while skiing, but at the same time the waist was cut well enough that I never felt the pant would fall off me while using it. The elastic tabs let me get the fit perfect for whatever under-layer I had on. The Intuitive Fabric kept even big gusts at bay, and in snowstorms, I was dry and comfy.
About the only thing the Ginger lacks is full side-zips, so if you like to take your pants on and off in the backcountry for skiing, it may not be your cup of tea. With the cross-flow ventilation, I never felt I was going to overheat, and I loved having the pant on all day, but I know some skiers really prefer the option of taking the pants off on longer skins up. With the Ginger, you really need to put it on at the trailhead and leave it on all day.
The Ginger weighs 805 grams (28 ounces), so it’s probably not going to be your first choice if you’re anal about weight, but I’d trade a little extra weight for excellent functionality.
(Wildsnow guest blogger Candace Horgan has been working as a freelance writer since 1997. She was born and raised in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from College of the Holy Cross with a Bachelor of Arts in History and English. She currently lives in Denver, which is too far east as far as we’re concerned, but we’ll let that one go for now.)