Ski pants, snow pants, what’s the difference? And why are cross-country ski pants so expensive? If you are thinking that any pair of snow pants will work just fine for cross-country skiing, you are right…to a degree. Anything to protect your legs from the elements will work. However, there is a reason why there are pants designed specifically for cross-country skiing. In this review of the Bjorn Daehlie Power Pants, I will explain why.
In our gear reviews, we like to emphasize that having the right gear can make the difference between a less than enjoyable time, to the point where you are not sure if you want to do it again, versus having an awesome time! But in order to figure this out, people usually have to start out experimenting with rental/used gear to determine what they want/like. This situation has certainly been applicable to us with cross-country ski gear, snowshoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and the list goes on.
My journey with cross-country skiing began about twelve years ago. The first two times I tried it, it wasn’t very fun because I was using rental equipment that just didn’t perform well. But I could tell that cross-country skiing was a sport that I could really enjoy – with the right equipment. And once I had purchased my own skis and boots (we both have since purchased new ski equipment a few years ago), I developed a passion for it! I love cross-country skiing on groomed tracks and in the backcountry.
And during those first two times that I experimented with cross-country skiing, I wore a pair of Columbia snow pants, not knowing any different. They were bulky, and more designed for downhill skiing/snowboarding. I quickly learned how those types of pants are not conducive to the overall kinetics of cross-country skiing. Cross-country ski clothing, particularly when used for skiing on groomed tracks, is designed to be more formfitting and ultra lightweight to allow for optimal movement.
As such, I went to a ski shop and purchased my first pair of Craft cross-country ski pants. The pants are fairly formfitting, with a water and wind-repellant exterior and lightly lined interior fleece layer. They are just loose enough to be able to fit a pair of base layer leggings underneath. Once I got those pants, they made a big difference with my overall experience and performance by enabling me to ski with more grace, speed and comfort.
I still have and use my Craft pants when the temperatures necessitate the need for them. But they are quite warm, even without my Odlo base layer underneath, because of the fleece lining. That being the case, I had been searching, for about three years, for lighter cross-country ski pants to wear in warmer temperatures. I knew exactly what I wanted but was having difficulty finding it. And finally, while nosing around in a shop in Steamboat Springs, I found them!
FIT: Like all other cross-country ski pants, the Bjorn Daehlie Power Pants are intended to be fairly formfitting. But with any type of legging, I always choose one size larger because I don’t like tight waistbands squeezing my stomach. By going one size up, I have a very comfortable fit, yet without the pants being excessively baggy. They are a little longer because I went up a size, but that doesn’t make a difference since I cinch up the bottom of the pants around my boots using the zippers on each side. Along the inside of the waistband and around the cuff of the pants, there are silicone dots that work very well to keep the pants in place on the waist and the pants secure around your boots. These pants are very easy to move in.
FABRIC: The interior has a breathable mesh lining. On the exterior, there is a soft shell fabric along the front and back of the legs, providing superior wind and water-repellent properties. Just recently, I was breaking trail with my snowshoes in the backcountry through knee-deep snow. The temperature was sunny, about 30 degrees, with a cold wind roaring through the open valley where we painstakingly trekked to reach the trees. Once I had reached the trees, I suddenly disappeared into a sinkhole, buried in snow up to my stomach. It took a while to dig myself out of that situation, and these pants kept me completely warm and dry the entire time; I only had my base layer leggings underneath. Enough said.
VERSATILITY: Even though these pants are made specifically for cross-country skiing, they are versatile. I also use them for snowshoeing. And, they would work well for other fall and winter sports, such as hiking and biking, because of the fit and material.
FINAL THOUGHTS: These Bjorn Daehlie Power Pants provide me with the degree of comfort that I was seeking for temperatures of 25+ degrees. They are expensive pants, but well worth every penny. They fit very comfortably and perform well in every condition I have worn them in.
Price Paid: $140.92 includes tax
Place Purchased: Ski Haus ~ Steamboat Springs
Link to DÆHLIE Website: Dæhlie
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