Outdoor Research Cirque Pants Review

The Outdoor Research Cirque pants are a great backcountry skiing pant.  They offer excellent water protection, the right amount of breathability, nice wide legs to go over ski boots, reinforced lower legs so you skis or crampons don’t chew them up, they are very durable and offer a nice adjustable waist so you can fit them over whatever layers you are wearing.  There’s nothing fancy about these pants (no crazy Gore Tex fabrics or anything), they are just a solid backcountry workhorse pant.

They have a somewhat slimmer cut than most “ski” pants but with ample stretch they never bind up and restrict movement.  Pocket placement seems to work well but I could have used a matching knee pocket on the left leg.  These pants do have one tragic flaw though and that is the main zipper on the fly.  I’ve busted two of these zippers and a friend of mine who owns the same pants has also busted his there.  The zipper itself on the fly becomes separated breaking the zipper’s ability to actually “zip”.  I’ve taken these pants back to Outdoor Research twice now and they have replaced them without question each time (one of the reasons I love Outdoor Research products) but I can already see my newest pair coming undone after just one use. I might just throw in the towel and stitch the zipper closed…


Overall great pants but with a single design flaw that is hugely annoying.  I probably wouldn’t recommend these to a friend – especially when Outdoor Research also sells a soft shell like the Trailbreaker which is pretty much superior in every way for backcountry skiing.

Outdoor Research Cirque Soft Shell Pants