Reviewer: 6’0”, 150 lbs., Inseam: 31”
Size: US 8
- DRYtech™ 2-layer material with slight stretch (weight: 150 g. water column: 20.000 mm).
- Warm mesh lining
- Waist regulator system inside
- Spray resistant 2-way side zip for ventilation and easy entry and exit
- Stretchable snow gaiters
- Edge protection
- Regular Fit
- 700g total garment weight
Test Locations: Stowe, Bolton, and Sugarbush, Vermont
Days Tested: ~30
I have been on the lookout for the holy grail of ski pants for the past ten years now. I’ve tried numerous cuts, styles, and fabrics in the hopes of finding something that worked for my length (I’m admittedly longer than most, at 6’0″), still fit my waist and thighs, and actually looked halfway stylish, too.
Over the past few seasons, I had seen and appreciated the various colors that Mammut offered in their collections. Unfairly, however, I had always dismissed them without trying them on because I was aware that, generally, their line offers more of a traditional European, slim alpine fit. I thought that there would be no way that these skier’s thighs would jibe with that.
But this fall, as skiing season drew nearer, I became more annoyed than usual by the pant scene because my normal “go-tos” (Patagonia’s Powder Bowl and her lower-tech sister, the Snowbelle—both un-insulated) didn’t come in colors I liked, and my favorite style to date had just been discontinued.
So I decided to go on a quest for another pant. My goal was to try on every style by every major brand in the snow industry. After visiting a bunch of local shops, I felt that I had audited a really healthy sample. What I found really surprised me.
There was very little consistency in the sizing, and most brands traded out tech in favor of flair, and exhibited poor execution. Most pants really disappointed. So my find of the Mammut Vail pants made my drawn out quest worthwhile.
The fit on the Vail pant is fairly straight, meaning that there isn’t a whole lot of hip curve. The inseam is long enough—a first for me—which I loved, but I realize that if you’re 5’9 or shorter, these might not be your jam.
The straight cut works out pretty well because the long inseam is paired with a good fit that sits lower on my hip. The waist panel is cut so it sits lower across my front than the back, where it “swoops up” to keep out the elements. This is helpful in a range of scenarios, from sitting on the chairlift to getting after it in waist-deep pow.
The bum and hips have a flattering fit: no diaper butt; fitted, yet not painted on. The legs are roomier, but only enough to be comfy, not enough to require occasionally pulling them up your thigh to free up your legs to move. These aren’t the steezy-est pant on the block; they’re definitely more suited to someone with a fit body type who likes a cleaner-cut look.
I really appreciate how Mammut runs their sizing. Rather than S, M, L, etc., the sizing is 2, 4, 6, 8, so there are smaller increments in the scaling between sizes, making for a closer fit. If you’re a smidge bigger than a Medium, say, you don’t need to swim in a Large.
Typically, I would wear a Patagonia Medium, with measurements consistent with a size 6 in the chart you’d find in a clothing catalog. The Patagonia was always a bit roomy around the thighs and waist, but because of my height, downgrading to a small wouldn’t have worked.
I’ve worn Spyder pants in the past, too, which also have numeric sizing. I’m between a 6 and an 8 with their sizing, but the style of their women’s designs is more “fashion”: narrower yet accentuated, giving me less leeway to fudge it.
Because the Vail pant is designed with that traditional European slim alpine fit, however, the general rule in retail is to go up a size from your “chart size.” As a true size 6, an 8 was ideal for me. I did try on the 10 for comparison and found that the leg circumference / length didn’t vary much, but the hip, bum, and thigh were a true size larger, making them just a bit too baggy for my preference.
The 10 felt as if there was a bit too much fabric in the top of the thigh, and I suspect that I would have found myself pulling them up while skiing. This might not be an issue for you, so I would recommend trying the size above as well, as you might prefer the roomier fit, and you can cinch it down with the internal waist regulator system—a Velcro adjusting tab on either side so that you can further dial the fit down to perfection.
The tab system itself is well designed so that your back doesn’t get scratched by the Velcro when the tabs are in use.
Durability of the Vail pant seems solid. I have to admit that since I became the owner of my first pair of these, I’ve added a few more colors to my collection, one of which is white. I say this because I think the biggest testament to durability is a white pant. They show everything: cuts, friction wear, stains from spilling on yourself as you try to eat brekke while driving to the mountain—everything.
My white pair has seen about twenty days of use so far and don’t seem to show any signs of wear. The fabric is pristine, impressively, as I haven’t been mindful that they’re white while they’ve been in use.
The reinforced cuffs and hem on the leg are made of durable enough material that neither has yet to be compromised by trees or skis. Likewise for the snow gaitors, which are long enough to cover the lowest shin buckle on my boots and are awesomely stretchy. The elastic at the bottom of the gaitor hasn’t lost any of its stretch response with use either.