I must admit that I’m always a little hesitant to use a soft-shell pant. They definitely have their place in the ski world, especially if you plan on doing a lot of hiking or skinning, but the idea of sitting on a potentially wet lift with a soft-shell pant just screams wet butt. So maybe the Outdoor Research Valhalla isn’t the best resort pant, but it truly is a great option for backcountry skiers, or those who don’t ski if it’s really snowy or wet. Soft-shells are great for a couple of reasons; first, they are much more breathable than hard shells. In addition they often breathe much better, and are better suited to keep sweat from building up on the inside. The Outdoor Research Valhalla is made with Gore Windstopper which is one of the most breathable fabrics on the market. This is great if you plan on spending a lot of time hiking or skinning to earn your turns. The soft fabric is comfortable and with a slight stretch and plenty of articulation the Outdoor Research Valhalla is easy to move in. The leg vents are on the side of the pant, but do a fantastic job of releasing heat when you need to. There are plenty of pockets, although the two hand-warming pockets are a bit tight. They do have water resistant zippers, but again the Outdoor Research Valhalla isn’t the most waterproof pant, so you need to be careful what you put in them. Durability seems to be okay, but as a soft-shell pant they probably won’t hold up as well as certain hard-shells. The fit is true to size, but is slightly loose fitting. I was happy with the small, and still had some room to layer if need be. The pants are relatively warm, and being pretty resistant to wind, I never felt like I needed to layer a lot underneath. Overall the Outdoor Research Valhalla is windproof, breathable, comfortable, and easy to move in, but they don’t offer the best protection from water. Soft-shells aren’t for everyone, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the Outdoor Research Valhalla is a solid choice.
Pant Size – S – Regular
Normal Specs– 5’10”, 160 lbs,
Upper Body– 34.5” Chest, Torso Length 23” (collar bone to pant button), Shoulder Width Approx 22”, Arm Length 18.5” (pit to wrist)
Lower Body– 30” Waist, 38” Hips, 30” Inseam, 22” Thigh
Turn On’s: Active fit jackets that fit well around my chest and torso, but don’t restrict movement. Size S Pants that have a bit more room in my thighs, that way I can actually use my pockets.
Turn Off’s: Pants that fit too tight in the thigh, and I can’t use my pockets.