When you spend a lot of time outdoors in the elements, protection is key, but functionality is equally important. With that in mind, I went looking for a workhorse ski pant and landed on the PowSlayer Bibs from Patagonia. The PowSlayers feature all the standards for top-of-the-line shells, like three-layer Gore-Tex, an embedded Recco rescue reflector, and lightweight construction. Where they stand out is in the details. The hips and knees are nice and roomy, providing full mobility on the skintrack and the downhill, while the overall design is low-profile and minimalist, meaning no unnecessary weight or bulk. The side-vents open from the knee or at the waist, meaning you can customize your heat-shedding tactics based on the situation, and the fly also opens from the top or the bottom, depending on how urgently nature is calling. I really appreciate the extra protection the bib design gives me, but with the included belt loops, I can drop the upper portion of the pants when spring backcountry days heat up. $600; patagonia.com.