First Impressions

All I wanted for Christmas last year was a softshell ski pant. Turns out these are pretty rare items as not many companies make them and fewer shops stock them. However, on Christmas Day I found a pair of Columbia Wildcards under the tree and happily skied in them most of last season.


Why softshell pants you ask? Well, I was simply tired of wearing hardshell pants and wanted a change. I was looking for the additional breathability and freedom of movement offered by stretch softshell fabric. The Columbia Wildcard pants delivered those features and many more.

As with most of their products, Columbia chose to go with an unbranded stretch fabric – not Gore-Tex or Schoeller – which allows them to keep the price of these pants at a reasonable level. The MSRP is $150, about 50% less than some other competing products that use pricier fabrics. The Wildcards are lined with a lightweight insulation and Columbia claims this will allow you to wear them without a base layer. While I’m sure that’s possible, I have a hard time recommending that practice.

Other features include four pockets – two waterproof zippered slash hand warmer/pant pockets, one mid-size pocket on the thigh, and a rear pocket. These latter two pockets are particularly impressive. The thigh pocket offers surprisingly large storage. And the rear pocket provides double sealing hook and loop to ensure you won’t lose your wallet on the lift. Nice touches.

Rounding out the features list is a set of inner thigh vents to control your internal temp.


No complaints here. There are two hook and loop waist tabs to adjust the fit, and belt loops should you need them. The inseam is a standard 32 inches which should work for just about anyone.

Final Verdict

Hard to fault the Columbia Wildcards. These are very nice softshell pants for the money, especially suited for those staying mostly inbounds. I’d remove some of the insulation if it were up to me. Other than that, I’m very satisfied with the quality, fit and features. If you’re in the market for a pair of softshell ski pants definitely check these out.

First Impressions:
[Rating:5/5] Features:
[Rating:4/5] Fit:
[Rating:4/5] Final Verdict:

Got a pair of Columbia Wildcards – or softshell pants from another manufacturer – tell us what you think in the comments section below.