Spyder is well known for being a high end brand out on the slopes. You'll see it whizzing past you on the piste and keeping mannequins toasty in resort boutiques, but it might not be a brand you'd think to take out into the backcountry. Well that's about to change.
As soon as we unpacked the Solitaire GTX Pro Shell Bib, we got excited. Aside from the look of the pants, which is a striking and attractive mix of olive green, plum and neon pink, the quality of the materials and construction is instantly apparent.
The Gore-Tex Pro laminate offers maximum protection on the mountain and it's breathable for when you're charging hard, perfect for those who like to work up a sweat. The Solitaire is not short of vents, with zips on the outside and inside of each thigh which open completely to allow for rapid cooling off. The two zip pulls on the vents between the legs catch on each other slightly when you walk, this doesn't cause any problems on the slopes but could prove an annoyance on the trek to the lifts first thing in the morning.
There are a good number of pockets - one on the front of the bib, two front thigh pockets, and one lower down on the front of the right thigh. All zipped. Plus, all but one of the pockets has an anchor point for your keys etc., and the bib pocket has a goggle cloth attached with a tiny carabiner. The zips are all YKK Aquaguard water resistant to help keep yourself and your valuables safe and dry, and all of the seams are fully taped.
The Solitaire is a classic freeride shell pant, so there's no insulation to speak of, apart from a thin strip of soft microfleece around the waist for comfort. This means you'll have to factor in a base layer for colder days but you get the benefit and versatility of a layering system.
Overall fit and comfort is excellent with a loose cut and excellent articulation. Velco and elastic adjustment at the waist and a thigh-length zip help with getting in and out and allows for a 'Pee n Ski' feature which eradicates the age-old inconvenience of using a toilet in a bib. About time! We also love the anti-slide strips on the inside of the (neon pink!) braces, and the fact that the ladder adjusters sit flat, making the braces comfortable even when wearing a pack.
Other freeride friendly features include ankle gaiters, abrasion resistant fabric on the seat and knees and reinforced insteps, altogether making for an absolutely bombproof but ultimately comfortable pair of high end freeride bib pants.
We love the Spyder Solitaire GTX Pro Bib pants. If you're looking for something that looks great and offers maximum protection against the elements (and you don't mind parting with the cash) check them out now, you won't regret it.