Size: Medium (U.S. 8)
Color: Deep Blue (available 2012-2013)
Reviewer: 5’6”, 125 lbs., Inseam: 31”
Days Tested: ~35
- Soft Hand Polyester with Sensortex Waterproof / Breathable Membrane (15,000 mm / 15,000 g/m)
- CPI Insulation
- Fully Seam Sealed
- Belt Loops and Size Adjusters on the Waist
- Waterproof Zippers
- Boot Gaitors and Scuff Guards
- Nano Technology Stain Repellent
- Relaxed Fit
There are a number of companies that not only make skis, but also offer an outwear line (Rossignol, Salomon, and Volkl, to name a few). In the past, I’ve largely dismissed their clothes as not being my style, and I’ve instead opted for companies that only make outerwear. Plus, I figured ski manufacturers should be directing all their resources toward making bomber skis.
Then this past January at the SIA tradeshow in Denver, I was looking for a pair of ski pants that would keep me warm in the colder temps we were anticipating on our upcoming review trip to Niseko, Japan. As I was walking past the Volkl booth, a few pairs of colorful pants caught my eye (OK, I’ll admit, I’m really attracted to bright colors), and I stopped to check them out. Upon closer inspection, the insulated Volkl Nanga pant looked warm, durable, and, I was glad to see, did not resemble my grandma’s ski pants from her trip to St. Moritz in the ‘50s. I was intrigued.
The first thing I noticed when I tried on the Nanga pant was that they were extremely comfortable. Volkl claims that the Nanga are designed to “feel like an old pair of jeans when you put them on,” and I would say that is pretty accurate. Volkl describes the Nanga as having a relaxed fit: they aren’t too baggy, but still looser than an athletic fit.
The medium size fit my waist perfectly, but the pants also have waist straps that cinch down in case there is a little extra room. A nice touch was a strip of silicone around the waistband, which prevented the pants from riding up when I was skiing—something that has always bothered me with other ski pants.
While the Nanga felt good around my waist, however, they were just a little too long in the legs. If I didn’t roll them up, they would either get caught in my bindings or drag on the ground. And though the Nanga had a reinforced cuff, after 30-plus days, the material began to fray on the outside. Rolling the bottom of the pants up prevented them from sticking in my bindings, but then the liner material on the inside of the pant was exposed to all sorts of abuse and, not surprisingly, began to tear.
So it’s important to get the right fit: on me, the waist was the perfect size, but the legs were too long; if I had downsized, I am sure the legs would have fit better, but the waist would be been a little snug. As I mentioned, the cuffs on the Nanga are reinforced, but they seemed less durable than the cuff guards on some of my other pants, and they could probably stand to be beefed up.
The Nanga pants seems to be made for simplicity and have a clean, sleek design with no extra frills. There are two deep hip pockets with waterproof zippers that provide plenty of room for a wallet, phone, etc. All of the seams have held up well, but one of the pocket liners ripped about halfway through the season, so potentially another durability issue here.
Volkl also uses their “Nano Technology Stain Repellant” on the Nanga. Without knowing about this feature at first, I was impressed to find how easily I could brush off stains with little more than my gloves (I tend to both drink and spill hot chocolate often). After a full season, I have not been able to find one stain on the Nanga—not too bad for a messy skier.