Founded by a husband and wife team as a small climbing equipment company in 1960s San Francisco, The North Face has since grown into one of the world’s biggest outdoor brands.

They have a long history of making excellent ski and snowboard gear, having launched their first ski specific jackets back in the 1980s. These days their kit is worn by many of the world’s mountain guides, as well as a team of backcountry riders at the peak of their game. Three-time Freeride World Tour Champion Xavier de le Rue (a.k.a. the craziest Frenchman ever to step on a snowboard) wears their Steep Series kit when he’s screaming down 60 degree faces, which tells you all you need to know about its quality.

“Three-time Freeride World Champion Xavier de le Rue (a.k.a. the craziest Frenchman ever to step on a snowboard) wears North Face Steep Series kit."

Like the jacket which shares the same name, these pants are part of the Steep Series, and as such are the very top of the North Face ski-specific range. As you’d expect from a high-end product they’re exceptionally well-made and the FuseForm construction technique means the fabric is more durable than your average outerwear, while still remaining lightweight - they’re specially reinforced in areas that are likely to suffer high abrasion when you’re riding down or skinning up.

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The pockets, belt loops and zippers all benefit from the beefed up material, as do the backs of each pant leg, to stop them ripping and getting ragged when you step on them in ski or snowboard boots (as you almost inevitably will).

Features-wise, these have everything you’d expect from a high end pair of backcountry ski / snowboard pants, including vents on the inside of the legs, internal gaiters (with hooks to attach them to your boots) and plenty of pockets. But it’s the clever little details, like the loop in the left-hand knee pocket designed to hold your radio, that set these apart.

Of course this kind of quality doesn’t come cheap, but if you want a pair of pants that will let you spend long hours outdoors, snow camping, skinning up and riding remote lines, then they don’t come better than these.

The North Face FuseForm Brigandine 3L Trousers Stats:

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Shot on location in Chamonix