Columbia Ridge to Run III Review
Cons: Zippers, pockets, and some seams let in extended poor weather
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ridge 2 Run II uses proprietary materials and basic construction to cut costs, but includes all the features you are likely to want. This allows occasional skiers to get good ski pants for a low price.
These pants provide enough weather protection to keep the elements at bay for a while. They feature a waterproof fabric that stood up to our hands-on testing, including a shower deluge. The main seams are sealed, but the secondary seams and zippers are not waterproof. During extended exposure to the elements, water will eventually penetrate through these weaknesses. Columbia's DWR treatment seems to wear off faster than others in our review, but of course, better DWR comes with a higher price tag. The compromise is acceptable for skiers who hit the slopes a couple of times a year.
Fit and Comfort
In general, these pants have a good cut for skiing. The cut is on the baggy side, loose through the legs, and we also noticed that the waist in these pants run small. Our main tester is a size Medium in most pants, and he had to go for a Large in this pant. The waist features velcro straps to tighten the fit, plus belt loops if that's your style. Overall, the fit is generic and not well-tailored. The Ridge 2 Run III pants are comfortable to wear all day, owing in large part to the softer shell fabric, both outside and inside.
The vents on these are located on the inner thigh, have a mesh backing, and are about eight inches long. In addition, the metallic, thermal hanging liner inside the pant feels hot and less breathable than other pant materials. Overall, the ventilation in these pants is just ok.
These pants feature a 2-layer construction, with a hanging liner between the user's legs and the outer shell fabric. The hanging liner in ski pants adds warmth and comfort, allowing space for warm air to be trapped. In this case, the liner is made with Columbia's "OmniHeat" material, which is silver, metallic, and has a space blanket feel. Having spent time in space blankets during unexpected nights out in the backcountry, our lead tester can verify that this material is not as warm as an actual space blanket, which is a good thing. Space blanket pants would be way too hot for skiing. To some of our testers, the OmniHeat lining feels gimmicky. Still, it adds the warmth that most people will need from their ski pants.
Short of a Recco reflector, the Ridge 2 Run II has all the features we look for in ski pants, including two handwarmer pockets, two rear pockets, and two leg pockets. They also have powder cuffs that open wide and fit over ski boot buckles easily. The thigh cargo pockets close with a velcroed flap and not with a zipper. Also, these cargo pockets are located right around knee level, which can inhibit comfortable motion if you put too much in them. None of the other four pockets have waterproof zippers. The six pockets organize your stuff on the mountain; just be careful not to put anything valuable in the cargo pockets. There is a clip for securing your car keys or lift ticket in one of the handwarmer pockets.
The style of the Ridge 2 Run III is neutral, slightly on the baggy side, and unrefined. Dual cargo pockets make them seem a bit juvenile compared to other modern ski pants in our review, which are moving towards a svelte, clean style without added pizzazz. The cargo pockets and zipper flaps stick out noticeably, compared to other pants we tested. These pants come in a large selection of colors, which is nice, but doesn't make up for the wide, untailored fit and cargo pockets. Then again, these pants are inexpensive, and fashion usually comes at a cost.
We think these are a great value for the occasional skier. If you ski regularly, you can pick up a better pair of ski pants for a marginal amount more. We don't think these pants will protect you in all conditions, nor do they feel all that burly and durable. But for occasional winter use, they are a bargain.
For the budget-minded winter enthusiast, these pants will do the trick.
— Jeff Dobronyi