Are you looking for some eco ski pants for freeride, ski touring and time on the piste? Then read this Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell 2.0 Trousers review.
Helly Hansen offer some very nice-looking Elevation Infinity Shell trousers in a women’s cut. But as a fan of trousers with a wide leg I tested the men’s Elevation Infinity Shell 2.0 pants instead. Although I would strongly argue that they should be classified as unisex.
The trousers have a high waist and the waistband has velcro straps to adjust the fit to the wearer. It is this flexibility that means that can be adjusted to fit a female shape, where typically the waist is narrower than the hips. The other feature of the waistband that is worth a mention is that it is raised at the back to help keep snow out.
I tested these eco ski pants on a Lyngen Alps ski touring holiday in Norway. Conditions varied and were often challenging, including wind, rain, snow and warmer weather than expected. Find out how I got on below:
There are more seams on these trousers than on a typical pair. This is because the construction has been carefully considered to create an articulated construction at the seat and knee for a superior fit.
The comfort and flexibility that this offers the wearer is really useful when moving around the mountains. After all the last thing you want is trousers that restrict your movement.
One of my favourite things about these trousers was the strength of the reinforcement on the bottom of the inside leg and heel area. During ski-mountaineering crampons are taken on and off at least once a day, if not more. I seem to be very apt at putting a spike through my trousers during transitions, as my old ski touring trousers demonstrate.
Based on my experience during this Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell 2.0 Trousers review the reinforcement does a good job. So far resisted my best attempts to put holes in it, the quality and robustness really is second to none.
Inside the reinforced bottom of the trousers are snow gaiters to pull down over the ski boot. These are great for ensuring you don’t end up with snow in your boots when skiing powder.
Helly Hansen products always have well thought through pockets and these trousers are no exception. They have a reinforced transceiver pocket on the right thigh, whose zip is perpendicular to the leg. My transceiver is one that is best worn on the body, so despite this being a feature I was most excited about I cannot make proper use of it until I get a new transceiver.
I did however find that its depth made it a fantastic pocket for my phone. It’s perfect for being able to pull it out quickly for photos. The pocket also has a D-ring sewn in, to secure your transceiver, phone or other items to. This is subtle detail that shows how well thought through the trouser design is.
There is a similar bellow pocket on other side which is just as deep, although not reinforced. This made a good home for other “grabables” such as my lip salve.
The trousers almost spoil the wearer with the storage options. In addition to the two bellow pockets on either thigh, there are also hip pockets. The zips are at about 45 degrees, exactly the right angle for accessing them comfortably. Which is probably why the official description of the trousers refers to them as “hand pockets”.
These pockets are also not lacking in depth, so items also sit on the front of the thigh, which I find preferable to having items digging into the hip. There is a slight overlap between the bottom of these pockets and the top of the bellow pockets. But given the loose cut of the trousers and the depths of the pockets, I didn’t have any issue with this.
On the good weather days when I tested these eco ski pants ski touring, I was extremely grateful for the zips on either side. They can be opened along the thigh to allow air to circulate. Although the material, which I will come to shortly, is breathable, being able to open these zips adds a way to regulate temperature.
All of the outside zips on the trousers are Helly Hansen’s YKK® AquaGuard™ water resistant zippers. This means they are strong and won’t let moisture in. The material is cut well around all the zips, so there is no issue with it getting caught when opening or closing them.
Let’s move on from the features of the trousers to the material. These eco ski pants are made from LIFA® INFINITY PRO™ Technology which offers lifelong waterproofing with no need to reproof.
It is a lightweight and hydrophobic textile with a durable water-repellency that is achieved without any chemicals. And as promised, the material not only waterproof but also breathable. Which when I worked up a sweat ski touring meant they did not end up sweaty on the inside.
Helly Hansen takes sustainability seriously and their website notes, “Helly Hansen was born in the environment. It’s our duty to protect it.”
According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the clothing industry has a significant impact on the environment in a number of ways. One of these is the water usage, around 215 trillion litres of water per year are consumed by the industry. Furthermore it is estimated that around 20 percent of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and fabric finishing treatments.
I am extremely impressed with how seriously Helly Hansen takes sustainability and the depth of information available on the website. Purchasing from a company with such a philosophy makes you feel you are supporting a business that will lead the way in the future. As their CEO said:
“It’s our responsibility to make sure that while making professional-grade gear we are doing our best to preserve the mountains, ocean and climate. We must strive for continuous improvement in order to keep track of this vision.”
Read more about Helly Hansen’s impact and what they are doing to reduce their negative impact.
The orange colour is rather bold, especially when combined with a Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell Jacket of the same colour. That said, the vibrant colour was a benefit in bad visibility, even if my whole outfit did rather make me look like I’d been “tangoed”.
The colour is achieved by solution dyeing, which means that the colour is fused directly into the yarn at the beginning of the production process. According to the Helly Hansen website “Solution dyeing does not require any water and uses approximately 90% fewer chemicals, 50% less energy, and 60% less CO2 emissions compared to conventional dyeing”.
This means that the dyeing process is more responsible than water-based dyeing. Furthermore, the technique resists fading for much longer than traditional dye methods.
The RRP of these trousers is £450, which certainly doesn’t make them the cheapest ski pants on the market. But the quality and performance certainly justifies the price tag.
Personally, I am willing to pay more for a quality product that lasts longer than a lower priced items that only last me a couple of seasons. To conclude this Elevation Infinity Shell 2.0 Trousers review, they are so well made that I strongly suspect I will still be wearing them in the late 2020’s.