Finding the perfect pair of ski pants with all the right features can be a battle depending on what you’re looking for. Some features are necessary while others are an accessory and this is usually decided upon depending what type of activities you will be doing in your chosen pants. For myself, I have chosen the Peak Performance Black Light Core Pants for skiing. Due to the fact I decided not to get a season pass anywhere, I will be earning the majority of my turns this season by hiking up rather than using the charlift.
The Black Light Core pants are great for ski touring among a variety of other winter activities. They are lightweight and GORE-TEX so you get all the protection and weatherproofing without the heavyweight of most fabrics.
Winters here on the East Coast are generally very cold but I haven’t experienced any warmth problems as of yet while wearing the pants although they are lightweight. I wear the Black Light Mid Layer pants as a base layer and when I’m hiking up, I am the perfect temperature.
The pants themselves are full of technical features that are perfect for ski touring and mountaineering as well. There are two zippered handwarmer pockets at each side which are handy for small items although while hiking, I choose to keep items in my jacket pockets as large items may interfere or move around uncomfortable while hiking.
Another zippered pocket is located on the right thigh which, if you are skiing somewhere with passes that are not attached to your jacket or pants in some way, is a good spot to stash your pass. The pocket is conveniently located low enough on the thigh that smaller items such as a pass or credit card don’t interfere with your movements while hiking. The placement of this pocket is also convenient for those wearing a harness as it will not interfere with that either.
The pants are made with GORE-TEX material and all the zippers are AquaGuard zippers so you can be sure that you are fully weatherproof in the Black Light Core pants. There are also easy-to-pull toggles on all the zips so you can easily maneuver them while wearing gloves or mitts.
For those who get overly warm while hiking or you’re experiencing milder temperatures, there are long, side ventilation zippers on each leg which allows you to unzip the pants fully, exposing your base layer and allowing heat to escape quickly and efficiently.
Although the zippers don’t unzip all the way to the hip, they do unzip all the way to the bottom of the pants. These side zippers are also two-way zipper so you can choose how wide and exactly where you want your ventilation window to be.
For myself a pair of ski pants with adjustable waist straps and suspenders are crucial. Having a pair of pants that are too large and always falling down are distracting and can interfere with your performance. And pants that are too tight are just simply uncomfortable and don’t allow you to move as easily as you should. It’s not always easy to find the perfect fit so an adjustable waist and some suspender are perfect.
The Black Light Core pants have a velcro system which easily adjusts the waist. The suspenders are also adjustable and can be easily removed if you don’t wish to wear them. I find the suspenders are discrete enough that you don’t notice you’re wearing them and they keep the pants where they’re supposed to be.
Some people are on the fence about suspenders because yeah they’re fantastic at keeping your pants up but when nature calls, you’ve got to nearly take off every layer just to get down to your knickers. With the Black Light Core pants, this isn’t necessary. The suspenders are attached to the front of the pants by carabiner like clasps and the back is attached by an elastic loop through a velcro strap.
Sounds complicated? It’s not! When it’s time to hit the loo, you simply reach back and undo the velcro which holds the elastic loop attached to the suspenders and voila, you and your pants are free so you can do your business. Once you are finished, simply slip the velcro strap back through the elastic loop, attach and done. You’re ready for more snowy action!
The design and fit of the pants are tailored to those who need a pair of pants that will keep them protected without interfering with their movements. From the articulated knees and the gusseted crotch construction, the Black Light Core pants are designed to accommodate your movements during all of your winter activities. The regular fit keeps the bulk down and allows you to move easily whether you are skinning up the mountain or shredding pillows of powder.
Other likable features include a RECCO reflector located on the bottom right side of the right leg. This reflector enables you to be found easier by rescuers using the RECCO rescue system if you find yourself in an undesirable situation. A signal is sent out and reflects off the RECCO reflector which allows rescuers to locate you more easily.
This feature is ideal for those who are venturing out of bounds or heading into the backcountry often. Of course if you’re venturing into the backcountry, you should be equipped with other proper avalanche safety equipment which includes a beacon.
Last but not least, the pants have an adjustable foot width which can be adjusted using the toggle and elastic cord. I haven’t needed to use this feature yet although for those who may be touring or hiking in windy or wetter conditions, you can cinch the bottom of the pant for a more secure fit and keep the elements out.
There is also a lace hook located at the bottom of each pant leg. This hook can be attached to the laces of hiking boots if you are mountaineering and keeps the pants where they should be so they are not riding up and exposing you ankle or bare leg.
Overall, I have been very happy with the Black Light Core pants so far. They are comfortable and weatherproof and boast convenient features that are versatile enough for a variety of winter activities. Unlike the Black Light Core Jacket, I have not tested the pants in slushy, wet conditions yet although I’m sure once spring rolls around, there will be a few wet days on the hill. For now, let’s keep the cold, snowy and blue bird days.
*Photos by Desiree Wallace