Skiing on the West Coast is... different. Whereas our brethren in Alberta or Montana or Utah or Colorado will brag about their light snow until the lifts close, they never like to talk about what makes that snow so light—long extended periods of seriously sub-zero temperature. Out here, sure we get the occasionally wet snow, but we've learned to adapt wonderfully. We wear shell pants and shell jackets and we dress in layers and for the most parts it's a cinch. It rules. We rule.

Except for one small wrinkle: you put you base layer on, then your shell pants and when you got to put your boots on... you bunch up the legs of your base layer so your boots fit tight to your calf. The result is not only uncomfortable, it's caused a generation of skiers to suffer from Visible Fat Knee Syndrome (or VFKS), which cause the knee to look puffy and lumpy thanks to all the excess material.

ski

So imagine my surprise when I came across these base layer pants by Arc'teryx. The Axino keeps all the insulating top part, ditches all the bunched up calf part and in so doing have created a perfect solution to VFKS. I like to imagine the team of Arc'teryx clothing engineers slaving away in their North Van HQ trying to create a fully waterproof jacket that folds down to the size of a small napkin, when Jerry Axino from accounting pops his head in and says "What about cutting the calves of those pants?" a suggestion at once so basic and brilliant that the room sat in stunned silence.

However it came about, it's puzzling that companies even make base layers that go down to the ankle anymore. I guess they don't care about VFKS.

Axino Knickers (yup, that's their official name), $200