It zips from the bottom. This is the first thing, the thing that made me fall in love with UA’s Chugach Gore-Tex Bibs. I went to stop for a quick leak and realized I wasn’t gonna have to unzip my jacket and fumble around pulling down the chest flap. The fly zipped up from the bottom. Amazing.
I couldn’t tell you if there are any other bibs that do this, but I can say every bib I’ve worn before did not. And chances are, your bib does not. And there are few things as satisfying as zipping up from the bottom in the middle of nowhere.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for these leg-huggers. UA knows materials. They made their name inventing cutting-edge materials for athletes that revolutionized moisture-management and comfort. So obviously they’d nail the snowsport game.
Their Chugach GTX Bib proves just that: The company that made its fortune equipping laxxers — okay, that made its name equipping laxxers but made its FORTUNE equpping football players — knows how to equip us sick mountain goats.
Under Armour Chugach Gore-Tex Bibs Review
I’ve tested this in the wettest winter I’ve had in these Tetons. Rain has fallen every month in a winter where it’s dropped below zero for a few minutes one or two mornings at the most, where there’s hardly any snow on the valley floor and even when you top a peak it might be spitting all over you. That’s when you really need a Gore-Tex bib that’s made to handle the rowdiest of all precip — the dreaded wintry mix. Cold enough to freeze you, wet enough to make sure it sticks to your bones. I’ve worn these exclusively all winter and can safely say nothing’s getting through. When it comes to keeping out water their 28000 mm waterproofed triple-layer Gore-Tex construction blocks the elements with a fierceness reminiscent of my flyfishing waders. But they still breathe (20000g breathability, science), just as important in 30-degree temps. I’ve a history of overheating; never in these bibs, and that’s even with the added warmth of the chest panel. (Side note: bib chest/back panel also keeps that snow from sneaking down the drawers on big pow missions. Love the bib).
The Chugach Bib feels indestructible, even when ripping the garters against rock, sharp board edges and even a few catches under the crampon.
But the material science, that’s just a part of these. Zips and style drive ‘em home.
Pockets, Vents, and Playboy Steeze
There’s nothing worse than dreaded crotch overheating, pretty standard during sprinty bootpacks like Glory. These have medial zips to let out the heat.
Looking for a pocket you can reach while your jacket’s on? They got a lower hip pocket with a beefy zipper.
Looking for some interior pockets to be protected? Or even better, pockets you can carry your phone and Gu in on a long tour after you’ve shed your jacket? Got two of ‘em on the chest flap.
Of course there’s the top down chest zip and the previously-mentioned savior bottom-up crotch unzip (life-changiing).
But I really like the steeze. In my Big Bear/Mammoth park charger days of yore, that baggy steeze had a place. But if you’re earning your turns, extra material means extra weight and it’s also something else you might catch an edge, a crampon, a rock, a low tree on. I’ve been a large most of my life in most clothes, 34-inch waist, and I’m rocking these in medium so I’d definitely look at maybe going a size down. But with this fit, these bib pants cradle the upper legs tightly but not constrictingly, with a zippered flare out at the boots, giving you the look of a swingin’ playboy from the 70s. That means you can crush a couple thousand feet of vert in these, then ball out all night at Studio 54 without changing your pants. And with the mustard-ripped-out-of-Boogie-Nights colorway? Fuhgettaboudit. That’s some boss style right there.
The Grown-up Hard Charger’s Bib
Some complaints I’ve heard from boarders are that they’re too tight. I could see that, especially if you like to layer underneath or if you hate to feel your pants when you’re stretching and twisting. In that case, maybe go your streetwear size.
But if you feel silly paying your own rent and insurance and riding straight techy lines while still dressing like loose-legged johnny jib-rat, these are the right fit for you. If you’re all about going fast and light through hairy and variable and tight terrain, these are the right style for you. If you’re out riding in rain, sleet, snow, wind, pow, hot and cold, and want one pant to handle it all, like the damn USPS of shred, these are definitely the build for you.
Under Armour mashes up industry-leading tech — BTW, they have Recco too, like every nice piece of outerwear today — with distinct, tight steeze. And after getting that 4500-foot park descent going from gropple to pow to wind to bluebird for the descent, load up into your ’72 Cadillac Eldorado, jam it to 70 with the Commodores blasting and rip up to the Stagecoach for legendary ski town mixer Disco Night. Guaranteed everybody’ll have just three words to describe you when you swing in the door — like a boss.